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Early Agriculture

There is scant material available on agriculture from this period although it is possible to speculate on the few references made. Maugerville apparently had a fairly large stock of cattle "which grew fat on the excellent grass" and some grain was shipped to the traders at Saint John.

A letter of Surveyor-General Charles Morris dated Jan. 25, 1768 quoted in the book "Early Agriculture in Atlantic Canada" by Howard Truman, 1907 gives a picture of agriculture of the period in the Maugerville settlement.

Opposite to Oromocto River, upon the northerly side of the River St. John, is the English settlement of disbanded soldiers, from New England, consisting of about eighty families who have made great improvements and are likely to make an established settlement there, and by some trials they have made of hemp upon the intervale it succeeded beyond their expectation.

I measured hemp myself that was nine feet high, that had not come to its full growth in the latter end of July. They generally have about 20 bushels of maize and about 20 bushels of wheat from an acre of land, that was only cleared of its woods and harrowed without even having a plow in it. When I was on the river last year, I saw myself, eighty bushels of Indian corn raised from one acre of land that had been ploughed and properly managed. I would observe that the corn raised on this river is not the same kind as the corn in New England; neither the climate or soil would be suitable to it.

They get their seed from Canada and they sow it in rows about three feet distant as we do peas in our gardens; it takes about a bushel to sow an acre. The ears grow close to the ground as thick as they can stick, one by another, pointing outwards like a chevaux de frise upon each side of the rows. The richness of the soil, the manner of sowing it and of its growing, many account very easily for its producing so much to the acre. Some of the old French inhabitants of the river have informed me that they have raised in a seasonable year, near one hundred bushels of Indian corn per acre.

Moses Coburn Estate
Portion of the estate inventory of Moses Coburn

Moses Coburn not only owned land in Sunbury County at Maugerville, but also held land across the river at Hampstead in queens County. In 1788 he sold a portion of the Hampstead property to Thomas Peters for Fifty-five bushels of good and merchantable wheat.

Moses Coburn died 20 April 1800 and was buried in the Sheffield churchyard. The inventory of his estate prepared June 23 1800 gives a total estate of 458 pounds 1 shilling 9 pence. Of this total 300 pounds is land. One large bible is valued at 15 shillings and other books on Divinity at 8 shillings 6 pence.


Inventory of his estate