Dow Settlement

Dow Settlement is a small rural community in western New Brunswick and is located between Meductic and Canterbury. Many people came to Canada in the 1760′s for an opportunity. These strict Puritans were overwhelmed when the Loyalists arrived in 1783. 

Here’s the story of how Dow Settlement was founded.  

Enoch Dow was born 7 Dec 1744, Methuen, Essex County, Massachusetts. His parents were David DOW and Mary BROWN. He moved from New Hampshire to Oromocto in 1753 with his parents and brothers. He married Ruth MORTON about 1770 probably in Majorfield (now Maugerville). Enoch died 23 Dec 1813, in Dow Settlement and is buried in Lower Meductic Cemetery. The Dows weren’t Torries who escaped after the Revolution, they were New England Planters. 

The Planters were the first major group of English-speaking immigrants in Canada who did not come directly from Great Britain. Most of the Planters were Protestant Congregationalists, in contrast to the largely Roman Catholic Acadians.

Eight thousand Planters (roughly 2000 families), largely farmers and fishermen, arrived from 1759 to 1768 to take up Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, Charles Lawrence‘s offer of land. The farmers settled mainly on the rich farmland of the Annapolis Valley on the south shore of the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. Most of the fishermen went to the South Shore of Nova Scotia, where they got the same amount of land as the farmers. Many fishermen especially wanted to move there because they were already fishing off the Nova Scotia coast.

Within twenty years, they were joined by Ulster and Yorkshire emigrants from Britain and United Empire Loyalists who left New York, New Jersey and the New England colonies after the American War of Independence in 1783. The latter influxes greatly diminished the Planters political influence in Nova Scotia. However the Planters laid the foundations of a large number of the present day communities of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and their political and religious traditions had important influences on the culture of the region.

The Majorfield (Maugerville) colony had a hard time. All the clearing and the homes were close to the River. The industry was in floating timber to tidewater and selling it. Three times the Spring freshets assumed great proportions and swept away all the homes in Majorfield. Thereupon the colonists became utterly discouraged. Nith Dow, William Dow and others returned across the border. Enoch Dows decided to remain and formulated a plan to move upstream to a safer shore and used for his purpose the Canterbury land grant.

Dow Settlement
Dow Settlement

A dozen or so families went with him. They built a large flat boat and poled it up the river. The forest was trackless and so remained many years. The migration was in 1803. About 100 miles north they stopped and chose the right bank for the new settlement. Some years later Dow’s Settlement was founded across the stream and about 4 miles higher up. 

Dow Settlement School built in 1887
Dow Settlement School built in 1887

Almost the first act of the settlers was to build a church and lay out the Dow cemetery, which is about a quarter mile below. With few exceptions everyone now buried in this large cemetery was a Dow by birth or marriage and in 1926 it was planned to double its size. Enoch Dow was a Baptist and every descendant was of that denomination with only three exceptions who turned Mormon and went to Utah. Enoch and sons did most of the building of the new church and Enoch Jr was its Lay Minister for years. Enoch was a lumberman both at Majorfield and Canterbury. That was the only wealth giving occupation of the region. 

Click on a thumbnail to see more photos. 

Sources:
Enoch Dow – Miner Descent  
Wikipedia

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