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Parishes of Charlotte County

Parishes of Charlotte County

Parishes

Charlotte County is divided into fifteen regions known as parishes. Researchers will find many of the records they are looking for are organized according to these historical divisions, and understanding these parish boundaries will help you know where to start your search. The fifteen (15) parishes are:

1. St. Stephen
2. St. David
3. St. Andrews
4. St. Patrick
5. St. George
6. Pennfield
7. West Isles
8. Campobello
9. Grand Manan
10. St. James
11. Dumbarton
12. Lepreau
13. Clarendon
14. Dufferin
15. St. Croix
Over the years these boundaries have seen some changes:
1803 – Campobello Parish was separated from West Isles
1816 – St. Stephen Parish yielded territory to form St. James Parish
1856 – Dumbarton Parish was created from St. Patrick
1859 – Lepreau Parish was formed from a portion of Pennfield. Clarendon Parish was created
1873 – Duggerin Parish was set off from St. Stephen Parish
1874 – St. Andrews Parish yielded territory to create St. Croix

Click through the map on the right to learn more about each parish.

Parishes
Saint George Saint David Saint Stephen Campobello Grand Manan Pennfield Saint Andrews Saint Stephen West Isles Lepreau Saint Croix Clarendon Dufferin Dumbarton Saint James Saint Patrick

Saint George

The parish of Saint George is one of the original parishes of Charlotte County, formed in 1785, and like most of the other original parishes it’s named after a Saint recognized by the Church of England. The current parish covers the area in between the parishes of St. Patrick and Pennfield, as well as Dumbarton and Clarendon. The Passamaquoddy were the first residents in this area, as they occupied the region between Passamaquoddy Bay and Point Lepreau. The first European settlements in the area were mainly concentrated around the Magaguadavic River. In 1691, a French settler named Jean Meusniev was granted land on the Lower Magaguadavic, while in 1783 English settlers began to arrive. One of these early groups were Loyalists led by Peter Clinch and Hugh McKay, who settled near the falls of the Magaguadavic, and formed the settlement that would become St. George. 

Saint David

The parish of Saint David is one of the original parishes of Charlotte County and was formed in 1785. It is located to the northwest of the current Saint Croix parish and south of Saint James. Like most of the original parishes in Charlotte County, it is named after a Saint recognized by the Church of England. The bulk of the land in this parish was made of a Block Grant to the Cape Ann Association. Out of all the original parishes in Charlotte County, its boundaries have changed the least. 

Saint Stephen

The parish of Saint Stephen is one of the original parishes of Charlotte County, formed in 1785, and like most of the other original parishes it’s named after a Saint recognized by the Church of England. Today this parish contains the land in the south-west of Charlotte County as well as the Town of St. Stephen, which is the largest municipality in Charlotte County. This area was originally home to the Passamaquoddy people who called the area “Schoodic” which means “fire place” or “where it burns”; it was used for fishing and as a burial ground. The first Europeans to arrive in the area were French explorers, such as Sieur de Monts and Samuel Champlain. It was later settled by Loyalists, starting around 1783 with the end of the American Revolution. The large community of St. Stephen was originally a shipbuilding and lumbering centre. Starting in the later 1800s the addition of railroads in the area facilitated St. Stephen becoming a major manufacturing area. 

Campobello

The parish of Campobello is comprised of the island of Campobello in the Passamaquoddy Bay. The island was originally settled by the Passamaquoddy Nation, who called it Ebaghuit, while the first Europeans to visit the island belonged to the expedition of Pierre Dugua de Monts and Samuel de Champlain, the founders of the St. Croix Settlement in 1604. Following the War of Spanish Succession, the island came under British Control and became part of the colony of Nova Scotia. Its name is partly a reference to Lord William Campbell, the Governor of Nova Scotia from 1766-1773. The island came under the jurisdiction of New Brunswick in 1784, following the creation of New Brunswick as a province. The island was originally part of the parish of West Isles, but became its own parish in 1803. There have been disputes between Canada and the U.S. concerning the sovereignty of the island due to its proximity to the border, but it passed to New Brunswick by convention in 1817. 

Grand Manan

The parish of Grand Manan includes the island of Grand Manan itself, the largest island in Charlotte County, as well as the islands to the south and east. The name may be derived from the Maliseet-Passamaquoddy-Penobscot name for the island “Man-an-ook” (the island) with the French prefix “Grand”. The island was first visited by the Eastern Algonquian tribes, but due to the lack of large animals to support a more permanent settlement the island was likely used as a summer camp for fishing, sealing, and collecting other marine resources. The first recorded visit of Europeans to the island was in 1604 by the expedition of Samuel de Champlain. The island was later granted to the British in 1713, but the U.S. maintained a claim to the island. Grand Manan received its first permanent settlers in 1774 in the form of 50 Empire Loyalists. In 1816 the parish of Grand Manan was formed, as up until that point it had been a part of the parish of West Isles. In 1817 the U.S. ceded the island to the British, and by the mid-1800s its population had grown considerably. 

Pennfield

Pennfield, one of the original parishes of Charlotte County, was formed in 1785 and is located south of Clarendon and east of St. George. The parish was named in honor of William Penn, an early Quaker leader and founder of Pennsylvania. The most notable early European settlers in the area were Quakers, who left Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York after the American Revolution to avoid persecution for not supporting the revolutionary movement. The original Pennfield settlement formed by these Quakers was located near modern-day Beaver Harbour, and it is notable for being perhaps one of the first settlements in British North America to forbid slavery. 

Saint Andrews

Saint Andrews is one of the original parishes of Charlotte County formed in 1785. The parish today includes the Town of St. Andrews, the largest community in the parish, and its surroundings. Like most of the other original parishes of Charlotte County, Saint Andrews was named after a Saint recognized by the Church of England. The Town of St. Andrews itself was settled in 1783 by Empire Loyalists from Castine, Maine. Originally a shire town, a garrison for British soldiers, and a merchant town, the town’s population declined once hostilities with the U.S. had ceased by the mid-nineteenth century. Toward the end of the century after the building of the railways, the Town began to thrive again as a summer resort for the wealthy. 

Saint Stephen

The parish of Saint Stephen is one of the original parishes of Charlotte County, formed in 1785, and like most of the other original parishes it’s named after a Saint recognized by the Church of England. Today this parish contains the land in the south-west of Charlotte County as well as the Town of St. Stephen, which is the largest municipality in Charlotte County. This area was originally home to the Passamaquoddy people who called the area “Schoodic” which means “fire place” or “where it burns”; it was used for fishing and as a burial ground. The first Europeans to arrive in the area were French explorers, such as Sieur de Monts and Samuel Champlain. It was later settled by Loyalists, starting around 1783 with the end of the American Revolution. The large community of St. Stephen was originally a shipbuilding and lumbering centre. Starting in the later 1800s the addition of railroads in the area facilitated St. Stephen becoming a major manufacturing area. 

West Isles

The parish of West Isles, one of the original parishes of Charlotte County, was formed in 1785. Its name is very straightforward, as it refers to the position of the islands in this parish relative to the rest of Charlotte County. Today the parish includes Deer Island and a few of the smaller islands nearby, with Deer Island being the only one that is currently inhabited. Originally this parish included all of the Fundy Isles, but in 1803 Campobello was assigned its own parish, with the same happening to Grand Manan in 1816. Moose, Dudley, and Frederick islands were also originally part of this parish, but they were transferred to the U.S. in 1817.

Lepreau

The parish of Lepreau was formed from the eastern section of Pennfield parish in 1859. Its name originates from the French term for the Point Lepreau area in 1686: Pte. Aux Napraux, which can be seen on a map by De Mealles from 1686. Over the years this name was anglicized into Lepreau. The Lepreau area was settled due to its quantities of natural resources including timber and fish, with the Lepreau River providing transportation and power for saw mills as well as clams. Despite this, it remains an under-developed part of Charlotte County. 

Saint Croix

The parish of Saint Croix was formed in 1874 from land that was originally part of the parish of Saint Andrews. Currently the parish includes land to the north of Saint Andrews and west of Saint Patrick parish. The parish gets its name from the nearby St. Croix River, which forms most of its western boundary. This river has been designated a Canadian Heritage River due to its storied history. The Passamaquoddy and other First Nations people have lived along this river for over 4,000 years. It was the site of the St. Croix Island settlement by Samuel Champlain in 1604, and it was an important component of Charlotte County’s lumber industry and the development of the railways. 

Clarendon

Clarendon parish, located in the northeastern part of Charlotte County, was formed in 1869 from unassigned land in the parishes of Pennfield and Lepreau. Clarendon parish is named after George William Frederick Villiers, the 4th Earl of Clarendon (1800-1870), England’s Foreign Secretary from 1853-1858 and 1868-1870. The names of the parishes formed during this time reflect the Loyalist tradition in the area and the devotion to Britain, as it was common to name areas after prominent Englishmen and friends of the Loyalists. 

Dufferin

Dufferin parish contains the land to the east of the parish of Saint Stephen. Originally the land in this parish was a part of Saint Stephen parish, but it was divided off it in 1873. This parish is named after Frederick Temple Blackwood, Marquess of Dufferin and Ava (1826-1902), who was the Governor General of Canada from 1872-1878. 

Dumbarton

The parish of Dumbarton is located to the north of the parish of Saint Patrick. Originally the land in this parish was part of Saint Patrick parish, until the parish of Dumbarton was created in 1856. This parish contains land that was granted to the St. Andrews Highland Society, meaning its name is likely derived from the Town of Dumbarton in Scotland. 

Saint James

The parish of Saint James was formed in 1823 from north sections of the parish of St. Stephen and unassigned land. It is located just to the east of the border with the U.S. The name Saint James was likely meant to complement the other parishes of Charlotte County, which were named after Saints recognized by the English Church. It might also have been named after St. James Palace in London. 

Saint Patrick

The parish of Saint Patrick was formed in 1785 and is located to the east of Saint Croix parish and south of Dumbarton parish. Prior to the establishment of the parish of Dumbarton, this parish stretched as far north as the Charlotte County line. The parish likely derives its name from a Saint recognized by the Church of England to complement other parishes, but its name may also be derived from St. Patrick’s Lake, which lies within the parish boundaries. 

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