Parson Noble has been accused by some local historians of seducing the citizens of Maugerville into cooperation with the rebel element which was becoming increasingly apparent to the south in Massachusetts. While his devotion to the temporal as well as the spiritual well being of his flock may have influenced their thinking he was unlikely the sole guiding cause of their attachment to the rebellious colonists in Massachusetts. Many of the citizens of Maugerville were from Essex Co. (Mass.) already a not-bed of the rebel cause. The arguments which influenced the decisions and actions of their relatives and friends in Massachusetts undoubtedly appealed to their kinfolk in the settlements along the St. John River in Nova Scotia.
As early as 1775 the people of Maugerville were in contact with the Council of Massachusetts:
Maugerville Oct. 30 1775
To Mr. Daniel Jewett Collector
Be pleased to pay to David Burpee the sum of two Pounds ten shillings which sum he raid to Mr. Tho. Lancaster for Entertaining the Council and the s'd sum shall be reducted out of the sum you are to collect.
Asa Perley Assors.
Thomas Lancaster was a Selectman of Rowley Mass. at this time. A few month prior to the entertaining of the Council the first battle of the Revolution had been fought at Lexington. The Council of Massachusetts, the acting power in the State, was by then a Board of war. This document, found in the Pickard Papers suggests that the community had considered for some time the role it should play in the rebellion and that carefully planning had been carried out prior to the community meeting held seven months later in Lay 1776.
In May 1776 two American privateers entered the harbour at Saint John and stayed more than a week. Their boats went up the river to Maugerville and their crews informed the residents that the province would soon be invaded from the westward and that privateers thick along the coast, would stop all trade unless the settlers joined them. They also threatened that if the Americans were put to all the trouble and expense of sending an army to conquer the country, all who sided with Britain would lose their property and lands. Resolutions favourable to the Revolutionists were circulated.
On May 14 1776, a meeting of the inhabitants of the community was held at the Maugerville meeting house to discuss; some measures necessary to be taken for the safety of the inhabitants. A committee of 12 men was formed and they decided to make application to the Congress or Gen'll Assembly of the Massachusetts Bay for Relief under their present Distressed Circumstances. They also agreed to send Asa Perley and Asa Kimball to Boston as agents carrying resolutions of support and common cause, and seeking supplies such as guns, lead, flint and gunpowder.
The rebel movement at Maugerville formed only a part of a general movement which was taking place all over Nova Scotia. It was led by settlers from New England seeking to remove the province from the authority of the British Crown. In the latter part of 1776 Jonathan Eddy a native of Norton Mass., who had settled in Cumberland in 1763, made an attempt to capture Fort Cumberland then held by a weak garrison force under Col. Gorham.
Late in August 1776 Eddy and a small band of followers arrived in Maugerville from Massachusetts where he had been unsuccessful in gaining support for his venture from the authorities there. At Maugerville he found the inhabitants almost universally to be hearty in the cause, but he was able to enlist only twenty five settlers and sixteen Indians under the leadership of Capt. Jabez est and Lt. Daniel Jewett.
His army now numbering eighty men returned to the mouth of the St. John River where they were forced to wait until October for supplies from Boston. On October 29 Eddy's forces captured fourteen of Gorham's troops stationed at Shepody. The force then made its way northward up the Petitcodiac and Memramcook Rivers to the Acadian settlement at Memramcook. There he had little trouble in enlisting the aid of the Acadians. On Nov. 5 Eddy and his men marched eastward to their objective-Fort Cumberland.
Two attempts were made to capture the fort, one on Nov. 13 the other nine days later, both were failures. before a third assault could be organized British reinforcements arrived. On November 27 and 28 the British relieving force consisting of two companies of marines and one company of Royal Highlanders landed at Fort Cumberland. (On the twenty-eighth Gorham ordered Major Bratt, an officer who had accompanied the reinforcements, to lead an attack on Eddy's camp one mile north of the fort. At five thirty on the morning of the twenty-ninth Bratt left Fort Cumberland with 170 troops hoping to surprise the rebels. An alert young drummer boy sighted the advancing force and hastily beat the alarm. Eddy's followers rising from sleep fled into the cover of the nearby forest. In the ensuing skirmish seven rebels and four British soldiers were killed. Eddy ordered his men to retreat westward to the St. John River and there make a stand. Bratt refused to pursue the enemy instead he ordered his men to put to the torch every house and barn belonging to the Cumberland inhabitants who had openly supported Eddy.
After a dismal December journey and suffering from cold and hunger Eddy and his party found rest and shelter in Maugerville. There on December 16,1776, Daniel Jewett, having served 1 month 5 days left the rebel band and returned to his home. Most of the rebels were allowed to remain on their farms and had lands granted to them in due time. Others were not so fortunate; many of them were reduced from comparative affluence to dire poverty. Most of the Cumberland rebels did not return to Nova Scotia but were forced to settle on the barren uplands of Maine.