MacLauchlan and Allen knock at the doors of Madawaskans

Under Article IV of the Treaty, starting in April 1845, two Commissioners appointed by Fredericton, James A. MacLauchlan and John C. Allen, visited the occupants of his Britannic Majesty’s possessions situated on the north side of the St. John River. The field investigation produced a set of 11 maps (those bound in the atlas shown in the display case). These plans defined the New Brunswick land registry as recognized by the Treaty and specified, for each lot, the name of the confirmed owner, the geographic location, and the acreage of each parcel.
From the Indian Reserve to the Seigneurie du Madoueska
This map from the New Brunswick series serves as a good example of the work done by MacLauchlan and Allen. It describes the riparian lots along the Madawaska River from the Little Falls up to what is now the border with Quebec. As with the other maps in the series, one never tires of looking at it. Note, for example, these few observations:
  • At the time, the Madawaska River was called the Little Madawaska River (and the current area of Saint-Jacques was called Little Madawaska).
  • The names of the families living along the Madawaska River appear to be of many different origins, e.g., Acadian, Canadian (Québécois), Irish, Scottish, English, etc.
  • The first lot at the bottom of the map, unnumbered, was exceptionally granted to Simon Hébert before the Treaty. It was on this property in 1842 that the Little Falls Blockhouse was located.
  • The first Edmundston “downtown” was developed on Hébert’s lot (the part of Victoria Street which today is a park); many important buildings of the city are still located along Hébert Boulevard, including the Madawaska Historical Museum.
  • The lot where the word “Reserve” is found is the current location of downtown Edmundston. It was also the original site of the Maliseet village.
  • The owners of lots numbered 1 to 6 located at the confluence of the two rivers are not identified; these properties, facing the river, are defined elsewhere on another map devoted to the bank of the St. John River (see the mosaic map).
  • The “Postal Road from Grand Falls” was the precursor, in Little Falls, of the current Canada Road, i.e., the road to Canada (before New Brunswick joined the Confederation in 1867).
The old atlas preserved at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick and shown in the display case contains 11 maps produced under the direction of James MacLauchlan and John C. Allen. The two Commissioners appointed by Fredericton visited the territory recognized by the Treaty of Washington as belonging to Her Britannic Majesty in order to definitively settle all equitable land claims in the area. “Plan No. 11” delineates the southeastern Madawaska properties of New Brunswick at the signing of the Treaty.
Between Fort Carleton and the settlement of Grand River
“After portaging the falls, the small flotilla halted on the promontory […] They were on the threshold of the new country, the land of peace that they had dreamt of.” [Translation] (Thomas Albert, describing the arrival of the Acadians in Madawaska in June 1785, in his Histoire du Madawaska, p. 92.) “Plan No. 11” provides an overview of the human landscape that travellers by the Grand Falls might have discovered some sixty years later. Note, for example, these observations:
  • To defend the border, the Governor of New Brunswick, Thomas Carleton, built a fort close to Grand Falls in 1791. The map shows, in pink, the extent of the land allocated for military operations.
  • The family names along the river to the west of the cataracts are of various origins, but with a clear predominance of Acadian surnames (especially Cyr and Thibaudeau).
  • The map indicates clearly the other border between Maine and New Brunswick, that line “beginning at the monument at the source of the river St. Croix […and] thence, north […] to its intersection with the river St. John”.
  • In 1873, this same south-north meridian served as the starting point of the new Madawaska County which was carved out of Victoria County, starting at lot 170 belonging to Joseph Dupré.
  • The “Post Road,” precursor to the TransCanada Highway, is marked “from Quebec,” on the left, and “To Halifax,” on the right. For the British authorities, the Treaty of Washington had to preserve this link between the two capitals at all costs.
  • Downtown Grand Falls today occupies the tip of a bend in the river. The military planned to dig a channel so ships could sail around the vertical drop of 20 meters between the upper Saint John River and the gorge.
  • The proposed location of the canal reveals where a tunnel today forces the water from the upper basin to drive the turbines of the hydroelectric power plant built in the lower basin.
  • As the map shows, the town of Grand Falls was then called Colebrooke, honouring the Governor of New Brunswick, the opposite evolution of the name Little Falls, upper north, which became Edmundston, to honour the following Governor.

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