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Private Neil McNicol, 42nd Regiment, War of the American Revolution
Plot #35, Letete Cemetery, on east side of road from Letete to Mascarene.

Private Neil McNicol served in the British Highland Regiment called the 42nd Regiment of Foot, or as more popularly known, the Black Watch. He saw serve in North America during the War of American Revolution. At the conclusion of the war, 181 members of this regiment were disbanded in North America and most took up land in a regimental block along the Nashwaak River (See entry for York County). However, for some unknown reason, Private McNicol settled at Letete, raised thirteen children and died in 1844 at the age of 104 years.


Fort Tipperary
Near Fairmount Algonquin Hotel, St Andrews

Fort Tipperary was built in 1808 during the threat of war between Great Britain and the United States over the Chesapeake Affair. It is a star-shaped defensive work located on a strategic hill, which commanded both the Town of St Andrews, the harbour, and part of the adjacent country. The original plan was to build a large redoubt on the site, but it was never completed. However, during the War of 1812, the Fort consisted of a blockhouse capable of housing 70 men, barracks, a stone bomb-proof magazine, storehouses, a guard room, and a fuel yard. It was armed with three 18 pounders and six 12 pounders cannons. Later Fort Tipperary was garrisoned during the Fenian scare of 1866. The ramparts of the Fort still exist and have been recommended for status as a provincial historic site. 1
Section of the exisiting ramparts from Fort Tipperary.



Joe’s Point Blockhouse

Fairmount Algonquin Golf Course, Joe’s Point, St Andrews

Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Gubbins was a British regular officer responsible for inspecting annually the New Brunswick militia. During his inspection in 1811, he expressed the view that St. Andrews was a port "of the first importance” and recommended that it be fortified. Local citizens took up the suggestion and undertook to build three new blockhouses and to refurbish Fort Tipperary at their own expense. Joe’s Point Blockhouse was one of the three new blockhouses. It was located on the St Croix River, opposite Robbinston, Maine and consisted of a blockhouse, armed with a 4 pounder gun on the second storey, and accommodation for 30 men. In front of the blockhouse, a 24-pound cannon was mounted, capable of firing upon the American shore. In addition to being garrisoned during the War of 1812, it was manned during the Fenian crisis of 1866. It was demolished to make way for the golf course.


St Andrews Blockhouse National Historic Site
Joe's Point Road, St Andrews
This blockhouse and gun battery, dating from the War of 1812, protected the border community of St Andrews from the threat of invasion from the nearby United States. This was one of the three blockhouses built at the expense of the local public minded citizens, chiefly Robert Pagan and Christopher Scott. It is a National Historic Site with a plague from the Historic Sites & Monuments Board of Canada.


Nineteenth Century 24 Pounder Cannons

Market Square, St. Andrews

The tops of the barrels of the 24 pound cannons overlooking the harbour in Market Square have the mongram of King George III. All British cannons manufactured between 1760 and 1820 carry this emblem. On the left trunnions are found the initials “WC,” which indicates that these cannons were made in the Waller Cannon Factory in Rotherham, England. These cannons were once located at the West Blockhouse, now called the St. Andrews Blockhouse National Historic Site. During restoration of the blockhouse in 1967, they were placed in front of Hall Town, and later moved to their current location.


19th Century British Artillery Battery Position
Near Letang, off Highway #772

A British artillery battery was established near Letang to control the passage into the harbour late in the eighteenth century.


British Outpost of the War of 1812
Dipper Harbour

In 1813, Colonel George Anderson established a British Garrison at Dipper Harbour. He built a large two-storey house with a lookout tower on the roof. It was 30 feet by 40 feet, built of hewn timbers, with four rooms on each floor and each room with a fireplace. In the basement was the kitchen, a large bake oven and the dinning room. The last visual trace of this building disappeared in 1975 with the construction of a modern restaurant.


Wreck of HMS Plumper
Plumper head, Dipper Harbour

In 1812, HMS Plumber, a gun brig, under command of Lieutenant Josias Bray had successfully captured three small American privateers in the Bay of Fundy. However, in a raging snowstorm, at 0400 hours on the morning of 5 December 1812, en route to Saint John from Halifax, with about 75 crew and passengers aboard, Plumper hit a ledge of rock off Dipper Harbour, since named Plumper Head, and sank. Although Bray was among the survivors, forty-two others perished.. Of particular note was that Plumper carried at least 36,000 pounds sterling in gold and silver specie to pay the British garrison. Local accounts concerning the recovery of the gold are numerous and varied. Records do show that the British authorities recovered about half the money immediately after the sinking. The wreck is a protected provincial historic site.


Piskahegan Blockhouse
Piskahegan, near Pomeroy Bridge on Highway #770

In the 1790s, a road with strategic importance was built between Fredericton and St Andrews, passing through Tracey - Piskahegan - Pleasant Ridge - Rolling Dam. In the War of 1812, to protect this important line of communications, a military blockhouse was built at Piskahegan, 32 miles from St Andrews and 43 miles from Fredericton. The blockhouse was constructed at the end of the Pomeroy Bridge, on the east bank of the Magaguadavic River, south of the road, on a little hill with a commanding view of the surrounding area. It was completed on June 18th, 1812. There was a formal inspection of the site conducted on 21 November 21 1814. The properties of early settlers by the names of Daniel Lee, Charles Cox, Mary Ann Pomeroy and Alexander F. Milne bordered the Blockhouse. George Von Gereau lived across the river from it. Local history says that blacksmith David Stewart set up business in the area to service the needs of the blockhouse garrison. The blockhouse stood for several years after 1814.


Fort Vernon
St George
Fort Vernon was built by Loyalist Moses Vernon in response to the American threat in the War of 1812. It was constructed in June 1812 on the south side of the tidal basin of the Magaguadavic River, on the left or east bank, still within the town limits of St George. It fell into disrepair and the remains were dismantled in 1866 during the Fenian threat.

The fort stood on the far bank of the river.

Fort Hill
Near the water tower in St George

In 1866, during the Fenian threat, a new fortification called Fort Carleton was constructed on Fort Hill, the high ground near the water tower in St George. It consisted of a blockhouse and a two gun battery. This defensive work was built at the initiative of the Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Wetmore, the local militia commander, with donations of material and labour, and with some material and equipment obtained from the earlier fortification called Fort Vernon. No evidence of the fortifications at Fort Hill remains today.


Nineteenth Century Cannons
Royal Canadian Legion, St George Branch

On display in front of the St George Legion are two cannons emblazoned with what appears to be the monogram of King George III, indicating that they were manufactured sometime between 1760 and 1820. On the base ring at the back of the cannons are the figures 12-2-26, indicating the weight of the barrels as 1,416 lbs. The barrels without the knob measure six feet and the bore is three and a half inches, indicating that they are most likely four pounder cannons. Before being installed in the front of the Legion, the cannons had been abandoned in the field at the bottom of Fort Hill. Oral history suggests they were the cannons used in the defence of both Fort Vernon and Fort Carleton.


Graves of American Civil War Veterans
St Stephen Rural Cemetery, St Stephen

There are buried in the St. Stephen Rural Cemetery five veterans of the American Civil War. They are as follows:

1. Brigadier General John Curtis Caldwell served with the Union Forces in the Army of the Potomac. Originally from Vermont, he was principal of Washington Academy in East Machias, Maine, when the Civil War commenced. He promptly enlisted and was selected the colonel of the 11 th Maine Regiment. He saw action during the Peninsula Campaign, at Antietem, was wounded while commanding the First Brigade of the First Division of the Second Corps at Fredericksburg, and fought at Chancellorsville. He was promoted to command the First Division of the Second Corps shortly prior to the Battle of Gettysburg, where his command was heavily engaged in the struggle around the Wheatfield. Caldwell was one of eight generals honoured by being selected to accompany President Abraham Lincoln's body on its journey to Springfield, Illinois following his assassination. After the war Curtis became a lawyer, state senator, and diplomat. His daughter Harriet married into the Munchie family and lived in St. Stephen. The general's wife died in St. Stephen while visiting her daughter and was buried in the Murchie family plot in the St Stephen Rural Cemetery. The general died a year later in Machias and was buried next to his wife. An American veteran's marker stands beside his family grave stone.

2. With his Christian names reminiscent of a proud British naval heritage, Horatio Nelson Young served in the United States Navy during American Civil War. He won the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest military honour awarded by the United States. Young was born in St. Stephen in 1843. He was serving on board USS Lehigh in Charleston Harbour on November 16, 1863, when his ship ran aground and came under heavy rebel fire from Fort Moultrie. Although several previous attempts had failed, Young successfully carried a line in a small open boat under heavy fire from the Lehigh to USS Nahant. The Nahant then pulled the Lehigh free and to safety.

3. Private Robert Linton enlisted in Belfast, Maine, at the age of 21 with”G” Company of the 16 th Maine Regiment. He transferred to the 20 th Maine Regiment on June 5, 1865 and was honourably discharged later in the year.

4. Private James H. Smith was born in St. Stephen and was a 20 year old painter when he enlisted on November 16, 1861 in Calais with “K” Company of the 12 th Maine Regiment. He served for three years and was honourably discharged in Portland, Maine, on December 7, 1864. He died in 1910.

5. Private Lorenzo Stanhope was born in 1845 in Robbinston, Maine and enlisted there on October 10, 1862. He served with “E” Company of the 28th Maine Regiment. After the war he returned to work as a stone cutter in Calais. He died in Oak Bay, Charlotte County, in 1914. An iron Grand Army of the Republic marker stands by his grave.


Fortified School House
Indian Island, South-East of Deer Island

On 14 April and again on 20 April 1866, Fenians from Eastport, Maine, raided Indian Island, terrorizing the local inhabitants and burning buildings. In order to provided protection, a garrison of one officer and twenty men was established on the island. On their arrival, the Island’s school house was fortified and turned into a barrack for this military detachment.


Niger Reef
Harbour of St Andrews

The reef on the western side of St Andrews’ harbour is named for HMS Niger. This British warship was a 1,072 ton steam corvette with a crew of 160 and armed with thirteen guns. HMS Niger was part of the British North American and West Indies Squadron despatched in the spring of 1866 to the Passamaquoddy Bay in response to the Fenian crisis. With the departure of the Fenians from the Maine/New Brunswick border, on 15 June 1866, HMS Niger was sent to evacuate the militiamen stationed at the military outpost on Indian Island. On her return trip with the soldiers onboard, while entering St Andrews’ harbour, she ran aground on a reef. Although no damage was done and she floated free on the next tide, much to the embarrassment of the ship’s captain, the reef has been called the Niger Reef ever since. For more information on the Fenian Crisis of 1866 see “Turning Back the Fenians” by Robert L. Dallison.


Sinking of the Dornfontein in World War One
Between Chance Harbour and Grand Manan

On2 August 1918 the four-masted sailing ship Dornfontein was burnt and sank by German submarine U-156. The Dornfontein had been built in Saint John and had its maiden voyage only two days earlier. This enemy action caused considerable concern throughout the region.


Lance Corporal William Henry Metcalfe VC, MM
Bayside Cemetery, Eastport, Maine

Metcalfe was an American, born on 29 January 1894 in Waite, Maine. Against his mother’s wishes, he crossed the border to enlist in the Canadian Army in the First World War. He served with the 16th Battalion (The Canadian Scottish). At Arras on 2 September 1918, when the right flank of the battalion was held up, Metcalfe rushed forward under intense machine gun fire to a passing tank. With his signal flag he walked in front of the tank directing it along the trench under a hail of bullets and bombs. The German strong point was overcome and a critical situation restored. A witness to the action said “... we found seventeen German machine guns in the same place, and all of them had been well used. How Metcalfe escaped being shot to pieces has always been a wonder to me.” Previously Metcalfe had won the Military Medal. His VC is held in the Canadian Scottish Museum in Victoria, BC. After the war he returned to his native Maine and worked as an automobile mechanic. Metcalfe is buried in Eastport, Maine, overlooking Deer Island, New Brunswick. His grave is marked by a British Commonwealth grave marker emblazoned with the Victoria Cross.


Army Training Centre at Camp Utopia
Lake Utopia near St George

A few miles away from the Pennfield Ridge Air Station army construction crews arrived in July of 1942 to begin construction of Camp Utopia, the largest military facility in New Brunswick at the time. Ground assault troops began training there in 1943, preparing for the invasions of Italy and northwest Europe. There was a supply depot, commissary (including bake shop), two cook houses of 500 men capacity, drill hall, canteen, auxiliary service hut, barber shop, modern dental clinic, fire station, and a new modern hospital. In the outside training area: 2 rifle ranges, a model village (Ortona), a field firing range, a battle inoculation range, 2 Sten gun ranges (one for classification and one for woods fighting), PIAT ranges (both for inert and H.E. bombs), a modern grenade range equipped with Hobbe glass, a six pounder range, skeet range, 2 and 3 inch mortar ranges, a cross-country obstacle course, bayonet assault course, mine fields and mines and bobby trap hut with moascar stalks. Over 300 officers and 12,000 rank and file had passed through the unit by its official closing on April 30, 1946. After 1946 the camp was used mainly as a summer camp until 1957. For example: The 8th Hussars, accompanied by their mascot Prince Louise, conducted their annual summer camp at Camp Utopia in 1954.


RCAF Station Pennfield Ridge
Village of Pennfield

The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan developed a total of 151 training schools across Canada and RCAF Station Pennfield was one of three built in New Brunswick. In November 1940, a half million dollar contract was awarded to build a facility at Pennfield Ridge. From mid 1941 to May 1942 the station was home to No 2 Air Navigation School. This school conducted a four week intensive course on astro navigation, designed to qualify students for night navigation. From Pennfield Ridge this school was relocated to Rivers, Manitoba. After the fall of France, it was decided to move four operational training units (OTUs) from Great Britain to Canada. Once airmen had successfully learned their trade, they were sent to an OTU for operational training on a particular aircraft and for a particular task. No 34 Operational Training Unit was sent from Greenoch, Scotland to RCAF Station Pennfield Ridge in April 1942. This station was part of No 3 Training Command of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and both the RCAF and RAF shared the responsibility for running the base and school. It had Lockheed Venturas, a light bomber, for the training of four man-crews for Bomber Command. The course for pilots and wireless operators was 12 weeks long and for air observers it was 8 weeks. Each group trained separately at first and in the final stage trained as a crew. It was operational from May 1942 to June 1944. Occasional operational missions were flown from this airfield into the Atlantic Ocean. The station experienced a number of difficulties due to serviceability problems with Venturas, persistent fog, and a lack of operationally trained instructors. Pennfield Ridge grew from a community of 188 people in 1939 to approximately 5,000 in 1942, complete with hospital, theatre, dance hall, sport facilities, and restaurants. After the war, most of the station buildings were dismantled and sold.


Commonwealth War Graves
Municipal Cemetry, St George

A plot in the center of the St George Municipal Cemetery, marked by a set of flags, contains ten Commonwealth war graves, all the result of crashes of aircraft from RCAF Station Pennfield Ridge. There are four airmen from Britain, one Canadian, two New Zealanders and three Australians. The cost of maintenance of these graves is borne by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the flags are the responsibility of the St George Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.


Grave of Royal Air Force Sergeant Thomas Roland Hutchings
Rural Cemetery, St Andrews

Sergeant Thomas Hutchings, a native of Peterborough, England, was an armourer by trade and one of the skilled RAF personal sent to the RCAF Station Pennfield Ridge to train Commonwealth airmen. He was charged with murdering 19 year old Bernice Connors of Black’s Harbour following a dance in the local community centre. The 21 year old sergeant was found guilty and hanged in the yard of St. Andrews’ jail on 16 December 1942. He is buried in an unmarked grave in Plot #157 (B) to the right of the entrance of the Rural Cemetery in St Andrews.


Officer Cadet James Stanley Richardson
Rural Cemetery, St Stephen

James Richardson enlisted in the Carleton and York Regiment in Woodstock on 24 February 1940. He was transferred to the North Shore Regiment, promoted sergeant and embarked for Great Britain. He was selected for officer cadet training and was returned Canada. He died tragically in a training accident by drowning in the Rideau Canal in Ottawa on July 2nd, 1942. He was buried in his home town. For more details see Canadian Military History Volume #11, Winter 2002.


World War Two Liberty Ship Hada County
Little Brazil Shoal, Grand Manan Island

The Liberty Ship SS Hada County was built in 1921 in the USA and registered in Norway. It was crewed by Norwegians on route from Wales in Great Britain to Saint John with a load of coal, when it floundered on Little Brazil Shoal off Grand Manan on December 6th, 1941. The crew survived.

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