Maugerville, New Brunswick Canada

Discovering Maugerville, New Brunswick: A Historical and Touristic Overview

Maugerville, New Brunswick, is a charming unincorporated community nestled on the east bank of the Saint John River. This quaint settlement, located in Maugerville Parish, Sunbury County, is a mere 16 kilometres southeast of Fredericton, the capital city of New Brunswick, and just 3.18 kilometres northeast of the town of Oromocto.

The Early Settlement History of Maugerville, New Brunswick

Maugerville holds the distinction of being the first English settlement established on the Saint John River after the British took control of the area from the French in 1759. The history of its establishment reveals a complex narrative of colonial officials in Halifax, Nova Scotia, dispossessing the Wəlastəkwiyik (Maliseet) indigenous peoples from their territorial lands without their knowledge, in violation of earlier Indian-British Treaties and the Royal Proclamations of 1761 and 1763.

The area now occupied by Maugerville was originally a hunting territory of the Wəlastəkwiyik, with the closest native settlement being at Sitansisk, just above present-day Fredericton. However, early British maps failed to illustrate the ancient presence of the Wəlastəkwiyik on the River, including the settlement at Sitansisk and their down-river hunting territories.

The Establishment of Maugerville, New Brunswick

Despite the Royal protection of Wəlastəkwiyik territory, in 1761 Captain Francis Peabody was granted authority by the Government of Nova Scotia to survey a twelve-square mile township on the Saint John River. The surveyed area, approximately seventy miles from the River’s mouth, centered on what is now Maugerville. In 1763, one hundred people, the core of which were disbanded officers and soldiers, accompanied Captain Peabody to the new settlement, named Peabody in his honour.

The settlers were descendants of the original Puritans from the midlands and south of England. Due to the ever-expanding population in New England, land suitable for farming was becoming scarce. Consequently, the Planters looked to colonial frontiers, such as Nova Scotia, for settlement opportunities.

The Growth and Development of Maugerville, New Brunswick

The Planter settlement on the St John River flourished. By December 1766, a government census revealed there were 261 people in the Maugerville community. The settlers owned two sloops, a gristmill, and a sawmill. Given the success of the settlement, new settlers from New England continued to arrive.

The economy of early Maugerville was centered on agriculture, lumbering, fishing, and the fur trade. Settlers were able to produce quantities of agricultural produce beyond the needs of their community. The River contained an abundance of fish and the countryside copious numbers of furbearing animals and wildlife for pelts and skins.

The Maugerville Rebellion

During the American Revolution, in 1776, George Washington sent a letter to the Maliseet of the Saint John River asking for their support in their contest with Britain. Led by Chief Ambroise Saint Aubin, the Maliseets immediately began to plunder the British in the community, burning some of their homes and taking others prisoner back to New England. In 1779, Maugerville was raided again by Maliseets working with John Allan in Machias, Maine. In response, a blockhouse was built at the mouth of Oromocto River named Fort Hughes.

Today, Maugerville, New Brunswick, stands as a testament to the resilience and determination of its early settlers. Its rich history and picturesque location make it a must-visit destination for history buffs and tourists alike.