First Settlers.-Ferocity of the Richibuctos.--Early Struggles.
(From Cooney's History of N. B.)
After the capture of Fort Beau Sejour (1755) the Acadians who had been pardoned, as already mentioned, dispersing themselves throughout the Country, many of them settled in different parts of Kent, particularly on the Richibucto and the Buctouche. It may therefore, be inferred, that the first European settlement of this county, was commenced In the year 1785;
It is said, however, that before these events occurred, there was a French Village, containing upwards of forty houses, situated a short distance above, or in the immediate vicinity of the present Court House of Liverpool. It also maintained that another, but smaller village was, at the same time, seated near the burial ground, at the mouth of the Aldoine, a River discharging into the Richibucto. These statements appear to be candid enough; indeed, when we consider the contiguity of Miramichi, and the much earlier date of Its settlement, we are, at first blush, a little surprised that this county was so far behind it. Perhaps the extraordinary ferocity of the Richibucto Indians, formerly very numerous and exceedingly cruel, coupled with the comparative smallness of the Rivers, and the then incapacity of the harbors, may account for the apparent discrepancy. However, be the cause what it may, the first settlement cannot be traced to an earlier date than that which I have assigned.
After the taking of Quebec, whatever settlements had been formed by tbe indulged Acadians, captured with La Crone, were abandoned; some of the inhabitants returning to France, others dispersing themselves through the Baie des Chaleurs. Thus from the year 1760 or 1761 until 1787, a period of twenty-six years the county of Kent lay in relapsed barbarism
In the latter year, Mr. Powell, an American loyalist, settled on the Richibucto; at this time there were but four families, Acadians too, in the whole County; and but eight in all the tract of country lying between Baie des Vents, in Miramichi, and Baie Verte, in Cumberland; and from the entrance of the Richibucto, to the head of the Grand Lake.
For twenty-two succeeding years, i. e. until 1800, it cannot be supposed that anything of an historical character could have distinguished the annals of a wilderness country, containing but a few scattered families, chiefly Acadians, from Bona-venture, Tracadash, and other parts of the District of Gasne, and who came hither in a few years after Mr. Powell, and settled, chiefly, upon the marshes and beaches that skirt the coast.
In the year 1723, or 1724, a very general war was commenced against the English, by several divisions of the Micmac, or Eastern Nation, of which the most violent, as also the most sanguinary, were the Richibuctos. This tribe, assisted by a party of the Penobscots, and com-manded by a formidable and stalwart fellow, called Argimoosh, or the Great Witch, attacked Canso, and other harbors in its vicinity, whence they took 16 or 17 sail of fishing vessels belonging to Massachusetts. Governor Philips, happening to be in Canso, at the time, ordered two sloops to be manned, and sent them under the direction of a Mr. Elliot, of Boston, arid a Mr. Robinson of Cape Anne. Elliot, while cruising along the coast, perceived seven vessels lying in a harbor, called Winnepaug. As he approached them, ho observed the decks to be crowded with Indians, who, when he came within hearing, hoisted their pennants, and cried out, “strike English Dogs, and come aboard, for you are all prisoners." As they had caught a Tartar, an engagement immediately ensued, in which, with desperate bravery, did the Indians maintain their ground, for nearly an hour. Being at length, overpowered, they jumped into the bold, and when driven thence, by the hand grenades, Elliot flung amongst them, they plunged into the sea, where nearly all of them, were either drowned or shot.
In this encounter, Elliot received three severe wounds; several of his men sustained similar injury; and five of them were killed. The seven vessels thus captured, were part of the fleet taken from Canso; but of their former seamen, consisting of thirty-eight individuals, only fifteen were recovered, the Indians having wantonly murdered nine of them, and sent the rest prisoners to their settlements. Robinson retook two vessels, and killed several of the marauders; and the remainder, with their crews, were, alter some difficulty, obtained by ransom.
A few years after these affairs, the Richibuctos condemned one of their tribe., convicted on some treasonable correspondence with the Mohawks to be stoned to death, after a regular and formal trial, the criminal was conveyed with a great deal of solemnity, from Snider's Point, about three miles further up, and there, being previously bound hand and foot, and fastened upon a rock, still visible at low water, was the sentence executed. This mode of execution, so analogous to the Jewish custom, affords some illustration of Penn's theory, wherein he contends that the aborigines of America are descended from the Jews. Did an enquiry of this kind correspond with our views, we might without much difficulty, advance some arguments to sustain it.