Claire’s Birthplace: Fredericton and New Brunswick
Claire was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, in 1810. At the time, it was a sleepy village of less than 200 houses, farms and cottages surrounded by forest. The Mi’Kmaq, a First Nations people, lived in a village outside the colonial settlement.
Fredericton was the colonial capital city. The elite members of society’s lives revolved around the government, balls and sleighing parties.
“In 1786, the original Town Plat of streets and lots was surveyed and laid out in a typical grid pattern by Captain Dugald Campbell, a member of the British regiment stationed there at the time,” Fredericton Heritage Trust says, “thus giving credence to the claim that Fredericton is one of the oldest ‘planned’ cities in the commonwealth. The streets reflect the British and Loyalist influence in their names: Queen, King, Brunswick, George and Charlotte.”
The city is the location of the University of New Brunswick, the oldest English-language university in Canada and the first public university in North America.
Commercial districts in communities during the 1810s included shops, a blacksmith, a carriage works, a mill and at least one tavern.
New British North American Colony
The colony of New Brunswick was formed in 1784 from a division of Nova Scotia that was a result of the American Revolution. Four battles took place in what is now New Brunswick during the revolution, and after the war 14,000 Loyalists traveled north. The new colony was intended to be “a ‘Loyalist colony’ – an asylum that could become ‘the envy of the American states.’”
By 1810, a quarter of 1 percent of New Brunswick’s forests had been cleared. Communities were isolated and didn’t hear news for weeks or even months. Residents were several years to a decade behind fashion, and medical knowledge was poor. Doctors were sometimes paid with hay, fish or pork.
Travel was slow. A horse could travel five or six miles an hour because of the nearly impassable or nonexistent roads. Sleighing on frozen rivers, 60 miles per day was possible.
Crime rates were low, and neighbors helped each other when misfortunes occurred.
Colonists were considered American in habit because servants dined with their employers, and children formed attachments to their parents.
By 1824, the colony had a bit more than 74,170 people.
Where to Purchase Journey of Hope
This post is a companion piece to Melina Druga’s historical fiction novella, Journey of Hope.
Hardship defines Claire’s life. Her husband, Harold, dreams of greater opportunity. A treacherous journey lies ahead.