Charles Morris was a surveyor-general of Nova Scotia when
the Loyalist grants were laid out. Among his deputies engaged in the work were
his son: Chares Morris, Jr., and Capt. John Jones, of whom more is to be said in
another chapter. It seems to have been their custom to name their towns and
villages as they laid them down on maps and plans - a method equally in favor
among the promoters of 'paper towns' in the West in later days.
In an old map in the British museum, (a copy of which has been made for Mr. W.F. Ganong,) the town laid out for the Loyalist at Beaver Harbour is called Belle View. It lay on the west side of the harbour, with streets 60 feet in width, nine of them running parallel with each other, east and west, and six at right angles to them, north and south, dividing the towns into square blocks, each containing 20 lots; with a few additional blocks, less regular in shape and arrangement, lying northeast of the main town, along the northern side of the harbour. The whole number of lots was about 950; of which 149 were included in the original grant. Northward and eastward from the town plot were large tracts of land laid out in lots of a few acres each, intended, apparently, for small farms and suburban residences which would be needed when Belle View became an important town; and adjoining the town plot on the west was a similar tract, which is marked on an old plan1 as 'Annababtists ten acre lots unimproved.' The latter were probably reserved for a colony of Anabaptists who never came.
But this town of Beaver Harbour, (for the inhabitants did not accept the name of Belle View,) was not a town on paper only. It is said to have contained about 300 houses in 1786, only one of which (Elias Wright's) remained in 1832;2 and a contemporary writer, shortly after its foundation, estimates the number of its inhabitants at 800.
On the western side of the little peninsula in L'Etang Harbor, facing the island now known as Fry's Island, there was another Loyalist town, as regularly laid out, called by the name of St. George's . On the first day of November, 1784, there were 128 town lots 'in the Town Plot of St. George's; and 25 garden lots 'at St. George's Harbour-L'Etang,' granted to John McLeod and 152 others. In this town lived Capt. Bailey, Lieutenant Campbell3 , and probably most of those whose names were mentioned in last week's article, with others, perhaps 200 families in all, many of whom came from Castine at the time of the evacuation and chose to make their home at L'Etang, (or St. George's River), in undisputed British territory.
What hopes and fears, what joys and sorrows, fell upon the people of St. George's town, we shall never know. The records of Beaver Harbour tell us something of the current of events at that place in its early days; but those must be reserved for later use. A forest fire swept away both towns in 1790, and they were never rebuilt. Beaver Harbour is today a small village, but the site of St. George's town is an uninhabited waste.
1 Samuel Fairlamb's plan, in the Crown Land office at Fredericton.
2 Note on a plan; of Beaver Harbour made by Wm. Mahood, in that year.
3 The second and the third transfers of property recorded in St. Andrews were made at this town of St. George's, and the purchaser, in both cases, was Lieutenant Campbell.
SOURCE: "The Saint Croix Courier" (July 30, 1893) - written with permission.