charlotte sutherland

"View of Fredericton, 1823"
"View of Fredericton, 1823". 'M'. Oil on canvas. Credit: Beaverbrook Art Gallery/1959.27.

Charlotte Sutherland

From An Outline of the History of Bathurst Compiled by Gail MacMillan
Researched by Shirley Burns

Excerpt from Pages 31 to 33

“… About 1786, James Sutherland, an Englishman of Scotch descent, married a beautiful young woman from a respectable family and together they sailed for America to build a life in the new land … Determined to succeed in his home, James Sutherland undertook to ship timber to England.  In 1790, the year after his arrival at Nepisiguit (Bathurst), he built and equipped a vessel for this purpose.  In that same year he loaded her with timber and crossed to England in 16 days – a record not equaled by sailing vessels then or later.  Time passed.  Other white people came and settled around the Sutherlands.  Among newcomers were a Captain Allen and another man classified as a British Empire Loyalist named Hugh Munroe.  Hugh Munroe soon proved to be a ruthless man.  After settling near Sutherlands, Munroe turned his eyes on his neighbour Captain Allen’s property which contained many acres of rich marshland.  Shortly he managed to have the Allen grant invalidated by declaring that Allen had not cleared the stipulated acreage.

The feat accomplished, Munroe looked next at the prospering Sutherland estate.  It also contained valuable marshlands and its cleared acreage fell below the government requirements, Munroe, now a magistrate, had considerable influence with the government.  In mid winter 1818 the Sutherlands received the news Munroe was in Fredericton readying a case that would have their entire holdings confiscated by the crown … James and his wife must have passed their tenacious adventuresome spirit on to their children for one of their daughters, Charlotte, a girl of 20, quickly volunteered to snowshoe to Fredericton in an attempt to foil Munroe’s plot. Her family could not change her mind.  Taking her 16 year old brother Frederick as sole companion she set out on foot for Fredericton.  From the Sutherland homestead to Newcastle there was only an Indian trail largely obliterated with snow, and not a single house.  Between Newcastle and Fredericton they were fortunate.  There were occasional farmhouses and taverns where they were welcomed, housed and fed.  During the course of the journey however they spent one night under an upturned canoe which they found by a stream and another under a shelter which they built of spruce and hemlock boughs.  After an eight day journey they arrived safely in Fredericton.

Once in Fredericton Charlotte went immediately to Governor General Stacey Smyth.  She argued convincingly on her parents behalf by telling the Governor General of their early hardships in settling their land.  No one could help but be impressed by this young woman who had made the dangerous and arduous journey from St. Peter’s to Fredericton in winter and then argued as brilliantly as an attorney on her parent’s behalf.  Governor Smyth decided in her favour.  Her home would not be forfeited by Hugh Munroe’s schemes.”

From The Gleaner, as transcribed by Irene Doyle for Gloucester GenWeb Apr/1998.

At Somerset Vale, Bathurst, on Friday Sept 25, 1846 after a protracted illness, in the 82nd year of his age, Hugh Munroe, Esq.  Mr. Munro was a native of Rosshire, Scotland where he emigrated to one of the British North American colonies, now the United States.  At the Revolution of 1783, he accompanied his parents and many other Loyalists who found a home in Canada and New Brunswick.  He resided for upwards of forty years in the Province, and represented the County of Northumberland in the Provincial General Assembly for many years.  As a Magistrate and Judge of the Common Pleas, and every other Public capacity, his character was marked by strict integrity.  Church of Scotland.

From Daniel F. Johnson’s New Brunswick Newspaper Vital Statistics
Paper written by E.B. BIGGAR of Montreal, read before the N.B. Historical Society.

Volume 95 Number 242
Date May 18 1894
County Saint John
Place Saint John
Newspaper: The Daily Sun

. . . It was in midwinter, 1818, when the news came that Munro was at Fredericton, putting the machinery of government in motion to have their [Sutherland] lands escheated to the crown.  The fruits of all his [James SUTHERLAND’s] hard pioneer work and the patient labours of his wife, a delicately reared lady, who had now gone through nearly 30 years of the trials and provations of a backwood settler’s life, seemed about to drop from his grasp, when his daughter Charlotte SUTHERLAND, a girl of twenty said, ‘I shall go to Fredericton myself’/In spite of the dissuasions of the family, she took her younger brother, Frederick SUTHERLAND, then a lad of 16, prepared food for the journey and set out on foot for Fredericton, a distance of 149 miles.  The only road thither was by way of Miramichi and from their home to Newcastle, a distance of 45 miles, only an Indian trail existed.  The snow was so deep that even this might be obliterated and as there was no travel and not a house till the Miramichi could be reached, it required no small  determination to undertake such a pilgrimage.  But as the subsequent events of her life proved, hers was no common courage and setting out on snowshoes with her little brother she arrived in safety at Fredericton after an adventurous journey of eight days.  A few of the incidents of the trip are preserved in the memories of her descendants.  One night she and her brother slept under a canoe they found upturned on the banks of a stream.  Another night they built a lodging out of boughs of spruce or hemlock; other nights they must have spent in the shelter of fallen trees.   Between Newcastle and Fredericton they found occasional farmhouses or taverns where they were hospitably treated and refreshed with both food and sleep.  Arrived at Fredericton, Miss Sutherland, with diplomatic instinct, went straight to the governor, Major General Stracey Smith, who listened to her story, and who was evidently struck by the brave spirit of the girl who could face the dangers of such a journey in midwinter.  She recounted circumstances of her father’s hazardous voyage and settlement on the then untenated shore and she claimed the terms of the grant had been fulfilled.  For the first 10 or 12 years his was the only white settlement anywhere in N.B. west of the Miramichi.  He gave the place the name of Indian Point, a designation that it bore till 1828 when Sir Howard Davis gave it the name of Bathurst . . .

George C. SUTHERLAND , who related these facts, is the grandson of the founder of Bathurst and the son of Frederick Sutherland, who as a lad accompanied Miss Charlotte Sutherland to Fredericton.

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