1831 the members of the Maine Legislature became concerned over the
growing Maine/New Brunswick boundary question and took action by sending
John Deane and Edward Kavanagh to northern Maine to check on the
inhabitants and to assess the extent of trespass, of New Brunswick
loggers and others, from their point of view.
the future town of
Washburn is an area off the map to the left (west). Dean and
Kavanagh’s report describes how Nathaniel Churchill had been
homesteading first up river from Crouseville (in the area that would
later become the town of Washburn) and then down river from Crouseville
on Oakes Island:
“Saturday, Aug. 13th 1831. ... We now crossed into 13, 3rd range which belongs to Massachusetts.”
North bank, David Freeman, [originally from] New Brunswick has entered
on the lot and is building a house. ... Nathaniel Churchill, who now
lives below on an Island [down river of the Crouseville area on Oakes
Island], began on the place six or seven years ago but sold it to Samuel
Nevers, for an old horse. There is an island [Clayton Island] in front
of this place that contains forty acres. Next South Bank, William Dalton
and family living in a camp and is preparing to move to No.11 fifth
range [Ashland] which belongs to Massachusetts, near the bank of the
Great Machias. John Kendall began on this place five or six years ago,
and sold it to Abraham Hammond, who sold it to Story Hopper.”
Churchill, a man key to Crouseville’s future, will finally permanently
settle in Crouseville in 1839.
ahead to when John Deane and Edward Kavanagh first entered the
South Bank, John Hickey, Irish, who began on the place five years ago,
has a house, barn and thirty-two acres cleared. He is not married, James
Rand and family live in the house with him. Rand has a place below [down
river] and has cut down three acres.”
property can be located in the southeast corner of Section 3. His
property is on the south side of the Aroostook River and is marked
“Hickey”. John Hickey settled his Crouseville land in 1827.
Subsequently the Rand family apparently moved out of the Crouseville
[on south bank of Aroostook River], Joshua Christie, [originally from]
N.[New] Brunswick, lives on a lot of land purchased of William Dalton;
has a house and barn and thirty acres cleared. He has a clearing on the
North Bank of the river which is in corn, wheat and grass.”
Christie’s property on Map
can be located in the southwest corner of Section 5. His property is on
the south side of the Aroostook River and is marked “Christie”.
Ferdinand Armstrong’s 1827 deposition stated that Joshua Christie
obtained the William Dalton farm. The 1831 report to the Maine
Legislature revealed that this same farm was on the south bank of the
Aroostook River. Apparently Joshua Christie always lived on the south
bank of the Aroostook River. This goes against local folklore which
tells of Joshua moving from the north bank to the south bank in order to
find higher and drier land. The best explanation for this story is in
this 1831 report. Joshua did have a farm on the north bank of the river
where he grew “corn, wheat and grass”, but
he never lived there.
William Munford [Mumford], [originally from] Nova Scotia, lives on a
Island purchased of Joshua Christie two years ago: has a house and seven
or eight acres cleared. This Island was over-flowed, last Spring, in
consequence of the jambing of ice. The water rose to the eves of his
house, and the family were taken from the roof in the morning in canoes.
His barn was swept away and his cow with it. He now intends to build on
the south side of the River. There are twelve islands in the
Mumford purchased his island from Joshua Christie in 1829. Mr. Mumford
lost his barn and his cow in 1831 during a spring flood. For many years,
after Mr. Mumford had moved away, the island was known as Mumford
Island. Eventually it was renamed, after its new owners, Churchill
Island. Mumford (Churchill) Island can be located on Map
as the large river island in Section 6 labeled “Mumford”.
“Next South bank Peter Bull, [originally from] New Brunswick, began on
the lot nine years ago, and moved on with his family, has a house, barn
and fifteen acres cleared. This lot is next to the East
line of Township 12 Range 3 [Mapleton Township]. He also has 25 acres
cleared on the island in front, called Bulls Island, which the Township
Only the northern tip of Bulls Island is in Salmon Brook Township. It can be located on Map 1 as the northern tip of a large river island in Section 6, immediately down river (southeast) of Mumford Island. The Bull homestead is located in Mapleton Township.
The Early History of Crouseville, 1800-1875, is reprinted with permission, from the book Crouse Family History, 2nd Edition, copyright (c) 1995-2000, Rogue Publishing, Seattle, Washington.