Monday: Map Day!

Diagram of Stanstead Township, c. 1800-1809

I’m still on the hunt for the elusive parents and kin of Jonathan M. Clark. Based on what we know so far, we are looking in the area of Derby, Orleans County, Vermont and its northern neighbor Stanstead Township, Lower Canada, circa 1800-1830 or so.

There are so many documents to read and sort through in order to get a grasp on the various Clark families that pioneered this area. Our Canadian friends had a land grant system that was quite different from our U.S. system, and this has taken time to get used to. Happily, most of the original paper files have been digitized and made available for free (thanks, Library and Archives Canada!), but the organization of the files remains confusing (why do there seem to be so many duplicate images in many of the files?), and the LAC’s user interface makes browsing slow and cumbersome. That said, we are making progress.

Here’s today’s map:

Diagram of the Township of Stanstead

Click to open larger image in new window.

That is an annotated copy of the surveyor’s original Diagram of the Township of Stanstead, as included in the original land grant file for Isaac Ogden, the “founder” of the southern half of Stanstead Township, located in the Lower Canada Land Papers, RG 1 L 3L Vol. 151.

Lands reserved for Crown and Clergy

Take a moment to compare today’s Diagram with the Stanstead portion of Bouchette’s 1815 large-scale Map of Lower Canada that we discussed previously. Today’s Diagram has a memo in the upper right corner, Note: The Lots Shaded Red are reserves of the Crown, those shaded Black are reserves for the Clergy. (Since our digitized image is in black and white, we can compare these shades of gray with the two distinct hatching patterns on Bouchette’s map to sort the red from the black shadings.)

Here is Stanstead Township as drawn on Bouchette’s big 1815 map of Lower Canada:

Bouchette, Joseph, Topographical map of the Province of Lower Canada, 1815 (detail, showing Stanstead township). Credit, David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries, non-commercial use permitted under Creative Commons license.

As a reminder, on Bouchette’s map (above):

  • Unshaded lots have not been settled yet, for example, lots 12, 13 and 14 of range 11.
  • Lots with shading made of small dots represent areas settled as of 1815, for example, lots 12 and 13 in range 13.
  • Lots with dark, essentially solid, shading “are reserved for the maintenance and support of the Protestant Clergy within the Province,” for example lot 12, range 13 and lot 11, range 11.
  • Lots with lighter shading (diagonal hatching) are “reserved for the future disposition of his Majesty,” for example, lot 14, range 12 or lot 11, range 14.

You may find that Bouchette’s hatchings are more readable and easier to use than sorting out “red” and “black” shadings on this grayscale copy of the Diagram.

First Stanstead settlers…or squatters?

The special feature of today’s Diagram is that it indicates the names of some of the first settlers in the township, although it omits some of the very first and most significant grantees, including Isaac Ogden and one Ebenezer Clark, as found in The List of Lands Granted by the Crown in the Province of Quebec from 1763 to 31st December 1890. Interestingly, and for reasons that are not yet clear to me, all of the “occupied” lots in today’s Diagram are on land supposedly reserved for use (and possible future sale) by the Crown or the Protestant Clergy. This kind of “squatting” by the settlers was not unusual in the Eastern Townships, and led to many further petitions and future complications for those that chose to settle on Crown or Clergy lands. I’ll have more on this in a future post (or maybe just a future footnote).

Locating settlers: ranges and lots

Also, take a moment to remind yourself of the Canadian system of ranges and lots. On today’s Diagram, the ranges—which run in north-south columns—are labeled along the bottom (southern) edge of the map, beginning with the 4th range in the southwest corner of the township and ending with the 14th range on the eastern border with Barnston township. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd ranges exist, but because of the curve of Lake Memphremagog, these ranges don’t begin until five or more lots north of the international border. To clarify, compare the Diagram with the more fully labeled range numbers on the detail from Bouchette’s map.

Both maps number the east-west rows of lots, beginning with lot 1 at the south edge of the township (that is, all lots along the international border are “lot 1” of their respective ranges). Today’s map has lot numbers ascending northward along both the eastern edge of the map, at the Barnston township line, and along the western edge of Stanstead, where it follows the shores of Lake Memphremagog.

What next?

In upcoming posts I’d like to spend some time with this Diagram, and see if we can map out the various Clark families that settled in Stanstead. This map already has one Clark on it, Wm. Clark, occupying lot 9, 10th range. Also of special interest are the families of Jas. Paul and [unnamed] Rix, as descendants of these two families married in Stanstead and made a well-documented move to Mequon in the 1840s.

Please bear with me as I figure out who lived where, when. I expect it will take quite a few posts spread out over the next several months to identify the Clark families of Stanstead and the neighboring townships. And then I hope to compare the Clarks on the map with other early Stanstead sources, including the 1825 Census of Lower Canada, our primary references, the books Forests and Clearings by B. F. Hubbard and Schooling in the Clearings, by Kathleen Brown, and another very cool, but somewhat later, annotated map of Stanstead.

Will we find Jonathan M. Clark’s kin? Stay tuned…

2 thoughts on “Monday: Map Day!

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