The Loyalist Excursion

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The Loyalist Excursion
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THE LOYALIST EXCURSION. An excursion to Gagetown by the members of the Loyalist Society and their friends was a happily conceived idea. Gagetown itself is one of the most beautiful places on the St. John River, and it has a history which anti-dates the arrival of the Loyalists in this province. At the time of the settlement of Maugerville by the immigrants from Massachusetts, or very soon afterwards, some of the lands about Gagetown were occupied by people from other parts of New England. Among the families which settled Gagetown prior to the Loyalist were the Coys, a fact which is stated by Mrs. Bradley in her book of biography and religions meditations. Mrs. Bradley was a Coy born near Gagetown in 1770 and one of her sisters was said to be the first child born of English speaking parents on this river. The Gagetown settlers like those of Maugerville were all Congregationalists and they generally had a minister among them. The Rev. T. Wood, a missionary of the society for propagating the gospel, who was stationed at New Jersey paid a visit to the St. John river settlements in 1760, and he speaks of Gagetown, Burton and Maugerville being rising townships. The Loyalist immigration of 1783 was so much more extensive than that which took place prior to it that the existence of Gagetown as a township before the Loyalists came here has been well-nigh forgotten. A good many of the Gagetown settlers appear not to have had any grants of their lands and this caused the removal of some of them when the Loyalists came. The story of these early settlements is quite interesting and the hardships they endured were hardly lees than those which fell to the lot of the Loyalists. The lands upon which they settled, however, were extremely fertile and they soon got beyond the reach of want. But there were no great fortunes to be made here at that time and settlers had to be content with a bare living and very little besides.