from THE DAILY SUN, Saint John, New Brunswick, September 7, 1900:87
Reunion at Little River, Coverdale, Albert County, Sept. 6, 1900
All Descendants of Robert Colpitts of Newcastle-on-Tyne, Who Settled in New Brunswick Many Years Ago
The Historical Papers Read at the Gathering
In the spring of A.D. 1783, immediately after the close of the Revolutionary War, there came to Halifax from Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, a tall, stalwart Englishman, with his wife and family of seven children. The name of the man was Robert Colpitts, as far as we know the only one of the name to come out from the Mother Country, and progenitor of all on this side of the Atlantic who bear the name.
What his occupation or position in society was before his emigration we can only conjecture. Strange to say, there does not exist a scrap of writing which throws any light on these questions, and tradition is almost equally at fault. We cannot even say with certainty that any relatives are now living in England, though we have reason to believe that such is the fact. The most definite information we possess concerning this Robert Colpitts and his family is found in the old family Bible, when the date and place of birth of all the children are given, it is supposed in the fathers own handwriting. In two cases where the date happens to be placed too near the margin it is impossible now to be certain of the year. The registry down to the year of emigration is as follows:
Robert Colpitts and Margaret Wade, his wife.
John, their son, was born Apr. 17, 1768, at Norton, Crawford parish, Durham Co. Eng.
Robert, their son, was born Nov. 25, 1770, at Shellaby, parish and county aforesaid.
Elizabeth, their daughter, was born March 12, 1772, at "Burkee House," parish and county aforesaid.
Thomas, their son, was born Dec. 3, 1773, at "Burkee House," parish and county aforesaid.
William, their son, was born June 17, 1775, at "Burkee House," parish and county aforesaid.
Ralph, their son, was born Jan. 1, 1777, at Pethrow, Corkfield, parish and county aforesaid.
George, their son, was born Sept. 12, 1782, at Kenton; christened at Portland, Northumberland Co.
Then the first home of the family was in Norton, Durham Co., which Norton is in the southeast of the county, a few miles north of the River Tyne.
Then in the life Robert Colpitts was a captain of militia, and it is thought by many that he had some connection with the army before his emigration. Whatever his occupation was, he must have been possess of some means, as among the articles brought from England were things which there would be counted as luxuries rather than as necessities for a new settler - among the wilds of New Brunswick.. For instance, we might mention the three large clocks, one of which now in the home of Abram Colpitts of Dickie Mountain, being still a reliable timepiece. As much then or so little we know of Robert Colpitts, when he landed at Halifax in the year of our Lord, 1783.
Tradition says that his was not the first visit to Canada. Before the outbreak of the American Revolution he had been over, some think in connection with the survey of the Bay of Fundy. At any rate, it seems quite certain that he had been here and had made a small clearing on what is now the Char.Trites farm, above Moncton, putting up a small cabin on the place. He hoped then to bring out his family in a very short time. So, reaching home, he wound up his affairs and started north for Newcastle-on-Tyne. But, reaching there, he found that war had just broken out between England and her American colonies, and that he could not reach Canada until the trouble was settled, which settlement they thought would be effected in a few months. But, for seven years they were kept at or near Newcastle. It was during these weary years of waiting that the youngest son, George, was born, and it is carefully noted in the family Bible not only where he was born, but also where he was christened.
For part of these seven years the family had charge of a toll-bridge near Newcastle. The following incident is declared to have actually occurred while they were keeping the toll-bridge:
A large man riding a very diminutive donkey, one day came up to the bridge and asked the amount of the toll. The charge was more than he felt inclined to pay, so he asked what it would be for a man with a load. Finding that it was considerably less, he at once laid down the smaller sum, picked up the donkey in his arms and walked over the bridge.
But the long years of waiting were at last ended, and the emigrants were able to move onward from the old home to the new. We do not know how long they remained in Halifax. Not very long, certainly. So the last stage of the journey was begun. The father and the two eldest boys, John and Robert, made their way overland, while the rest came around in a vessel soon afterwards. At that time Mr. Colpitts would be between thirty-five and forty years of age, while the two boys would be fifteen and thirteen years old respectively. So these three set out from Halifax, and it is said walked the most of the way from there to Moncton.
Here another disappointment awaited him. He found that in his long absence other settlers had taken up all the land along the river as far as Hallsbury, and that the piece which he had improved had been pre-empted with the rest. So he had to push on further. He examined several places with a view to settlement, and even made a small clearing near where the village of Salisbury now is, but he considered the land poor and thought he would try the Little River. After ascending it for about five miles he came to a stretch of intervale covered with rock maple forest, and there he decided to settle. If, as it is likely, he was then ignorant of the value of the maple for production of sugar, we may suppose that he did not long remain so..
But we must hastily pass over many things that we would like to guess. That summer his family got settled in the new home. It is likely that no crop would be raised that year, and before their grain ripened in the summer of 1784 they got about to the end of their food supple. Salmon, we are told, was their staple food for several months, and though we may think that this could have been no great hardship, still it is said that the most of the family were never afterwards very hungry for salmon.
On October 11, 1784, a daughter was born in the new home, and was named for her mother, "Margaret." Two years later on Oct. 3, 1786, another daughter, Jane was born, so there was now a family of nine, six boys and three girls.
But the home did not long contain them all. A few years after this the oldest son, John, took to himself a wife and settled where his great grandson, Charles Colpitts, now lives at the corner of the Little River and Colpitts Settlement road. His wife was Miss Eleanor Foster of Amherst. Where he became acquainted with her we do not know. Perhaps it was on that memorable walking tour from Halifax to Moncton. But John not live long to enjoy his wedded life, dying in 1792, and leaving two small children, John and Margaret. To finish the account of John's children let me say that Margaret married Benjamin Wheaton of Dorchester, and John married Miss Goodwin of Baie Verte and raised a large family, the most of whom settled on Little River.
The mother did not long survive the death of her eldest son, dying in 1794, being than only forty-seven years of age. Robert Colpitts married again, but there were no issue. He died about the year 1810.
For the further history of the family time and space forbid more than a mere catalogue of names, and events.
Robert the second son, became a Free Baptist preacher. (We might say here that we do not know for
certain to what church the parents belonged, but the children seem to have been divided among the
Methodist, Baptist and Free Baptist). But let us return to Robert. He married Rachel Steeves of Hillsboro and finally settled on what is now called Dickie Mt., near Bloomfield station, on the farm where now his son, Abram Colpitts, lives were as follows: Wesley, Henry, Abram, Margaret, Eleanor, Jane, Rosannah, Elizabeth, Rachel, Jane and Mary.
Elizabeth, the third child married Lewis Smith, and their children (as far as we have their names) were:
Margaret, Mary, Annie, Jane, Elizabeth, and Robert. This Robert Smith afterwards settled on what is now the Jacob Steeves place on Pollett River, about a mile below Elgin.
Thomas, the next in age to Elizabeth, married Eunice Reynolds of Lubec, Me., and settled on Pollett River, the farm now being owned by his grandson, R. R. Colpitts. He also had a large family, that seemed to be the fashion in those days. His children were: Lydia, Robert, Elizabeth, John Newton, Sarah, Nathaniel, William, Margaret, Benjamin Reynolds, and Jonathan Thomas. Three of the sons, Robert, John Newton and Benjamin Reynolds, settled on Pollett River; and the youngest, Jonathan Thomas, had the history of the first family.
We find that William, the fourth son, married Elizabeth (Cummings) Stiles. Before his marriage, William had settled on what is now called the Miller place, just below Forest Glen. Afterwards, his wife's son took the place on Pollett River and he settled on the Miller place in Middle Coverdale. This place is now owned by his grandson, Robert Colpitts. The children resulting from this marriage were: Christian, Lazarus, Elizabeth, John, Mary, Lewis, Eleanor and Delilah.
Ralph, the fifth son, was noted as a great hunter. He married for his wife, Mariah Jones of Moncton, and settled on Pollett River, where his grandson, Havelock Colpitts lives. The children by this marriage were: Henry, Robert, Thomas, Ralph, Charles (still living), Margaret, Lydia, Mariah (still living), and Deborah. His second wife was Hannah Raymond of Havelock, N. B., and they had one child, Sarah Anne, who married Chas. Keith of Havelock. After the death of his second wife Ralph married Emma Mollins, but there were no children.
George, the sixth and youngest son, remained on the homestead, marrying Elizabeth Foster of Amherst, a sister to John's wife. The children born to them were: William, John, Eleanor, Mary, Margaret, Lucretia and George. The last two are still living. The homestead was again given to the youngest boy, and is still known as the George Colpitts place, though now owned by Bamford Colpitts. After the death of his first wife George married Grace Mollins, a sister of Ralph's last wife, and when she died he married another sister, Elizabeth Mollins. No children were born in either case. Margaret, who you remember was born after the family came out to New Brunswick, married Jacob Day of Wickham, Queens Co. Two of her sons, Jacob and George, are still living. Two other children, Robert and Eleanor, were born to Margaret.
The baby of the family, Jane married Christopher Horseman and settled on Pollett River. The same farm is now owned by a grandson, William Horseman. There were eight children born to Jane, the names of whom were: Robert, John, Benjamin, Margaret, Jane, Lucretia, Elizabeth and Sarah. The last name is still living.
This account must stop here. It would be interesting to trace the family further, but that must be for some future time. It is, we freely confess, the history of a race of humble farmers and such for the most part have been their descendants. No one of the names has yet occupied a prominent place in the public life of our country. But the name has always been an honorable one, and those who have borne it have been with few exceptions honest, God-fearing and God-honoring men and woman.
"Is there for honest poverty,
That hangs his head and a' that?
The coward slave, we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that.
For a' that, and a' that.
The rank is but the guinea stamp
The man's the grow for a' chat."’
from The Daily Sun, Saint John, New Brunswick, September 8, 1900:
Held at Little River, Coverdale, Albert County, Sept. 6th
Partial List of Those Members of the Family Who Were Present
Rain Somewhat Interfered With the Proceeding
(Special Cor. of the Sun)
By ten o'clock the carriages began to arrive and continued to come until the rain fall in the afternoon. The tables were spread on the ground about twelve o'clock, in true picnic style, and the many who partook of the bountiful refreshments provided seemed to lose for a time the fear that the rain would soon interfere with the pleasure of the gathering.
After dinner nearly all who were present arranged themselves on the side of the hill, and a picture of the gathering was taken by Thos. R. Colpitts, photographer, of Portland, Me.
By this time, the rain, which had been threatening, began to fall in real earnest, but in spite of this all gathered under the trees and listened to the account of the early history of the family, which had been prepared. (This address was given in yesterday's Sun)
A short address was also given by Rev. Banfield Colpitts of Woodstock, N.B. The constantly increasing rain made further speech making undesirable. As soon as the storm showed signs of lessening, a good many who had some distance to drive started for home, and others started for Moncton to attend the political meeting which was to be held there in the evening.
Though the rain interfered very much with the pleasure of the occasion, still there was a general feeling of satisfaction had been held, and many expressed the wish that a similar reunion might be held some time in the not-to-distant future.
An attempt was made to obtain a full registration of all who were there, but owning to the rain - this was only partially successful, and many left without giving their names. Consequently we can give only an incomplete list of those who attended. If any who were present find their name left out of this account, they will confer a favor by notifying R. J. Colpitts of Petitcodiac to that effort, and he will see that their names are placed in the book provided for that purpose.
A list of those who attended, as far as such a list could be obtained, is given below:
George H. Colpitts, Petitcodiac
Jacob Day, Wicham, Q. Co.
Abraham Colpitts, Dickie Mt., Kings Co.
R. Byron Colpitts, Pleasant Vale, A. Co.
Maude Colpitts, Pleasant Vale, A. Co.
R. A. Smith and wife, Elgin, A. Co.
A. Minnie Colpitts, Forest Glen, West. Co.
Thomas R. Colpitts, Portland, Me.
Thomas A. Colpitts and wife, Glenvale West. Co.
Thomas M. Colpitts and wife, Albert Co.
J. L. Fillmore and wife, Amherst, N.S.
Mrs. G. S. Weldon, Dorchester, N.B.
W. C. Fillmore and wife, Westmorland Pt.
Mrs. Addie S. Atkinson, Harcoart, Kent Co.
Josept C. Smith, Harcourt, Kent Co.
Mrs. Geo. O. Siddall, Westmorland Pt.
Nellie D. Keith, Havelock, N.B.
Fantie S. Colpitts, Moncton
Robert P Colpitts and wife, Pleasant Vale, A. Co.
Warren H. Colpitts, Mapleton, A. Co.
Ralph E. Colpitts and wife, Pleasant Vale, A. Co.
Clift F. Gross and wife, Moncton
J. Wetmore Colpitts, Moncton
Fenwick W. Colpitts, Moncton
Leonald W. Smith, Dorchester, Mass.
Mrs. Charles Colpitts, Pleasant Vale, A. C.
Cella M. Colpitts, Pleasant Vale, A. C.
Viletta M. Colpitts, Pleasant Vale, A. C.
Fred H. Colpitts, Pleasant Vale, A. C.
Harry H. Colpitts, Little River, Coverdale.
Lazarus J. Colpitts, Moncton
Jas. T. Colpitts and wife, Pleasant Vale, A. C.
Geo. W. McAnn and wife, Petitcodiac
Bliss H. Colpitts, Pleasant Vale, A. C.
Payson F. Colpitts, Pleasant Vale, A. C.
F. J. Steeves and wife, Hillsboro
Charles H. Colpitts, Pleasant Vale, A. C.
H. G. Colpitts, B.A., Petitcodiac
Maggie Blakney, Moncton
Mariner Blakney and wife, Moncton
Viva M. Colpitts, Pleasant Vale
Pinesus B. Colpitts, Pleasant Vale
Henry W. B. Colpitts and wife, Forest Glen
Emma R. Colpitts, Pleasant Vale
Muriel M. Colpitts, Forest Glen
Etta K. Colpitts, Forest Glen
M. Emma DeMille, Petitcodiac
Mrs. Ella C. Teare, South Maitlant, N.B.
Hattie Teare, South Maitland, N. S.
J. Weldon Colpitts and wife, Pleasant Vale
R. Snowball Colpitts and wife, Pleasant Vale
Arthur Colpitts, Little River, Coverdale
Clarence Colpitts, Little River, Coverdale
Lane Colpitts, Little River, Coverdale
Ezta P. Hore and wife, Moncton
Mrs. W.A. Warman, Moncton
Herbert W. Snow, Moncton
Chas. I.. Keith, Havelock
Mrs. W. C. Snow, Moncton
Montague Snow, Moncton
Henry Pierce, Hampton
Addie B. Colpitts, Little River, Coverdale
Chesley Colpitts and wife, Little River, Coverdale
Bessie P. Killam, Elgin
Mrs. Wm. Pollock, Hillside, A. C.
Burton W. Colpitts, Milltown, Me.
Melburn Colpitts, Little River, Coverdale
Victoria L. Colpitts, Little River, Coverdale
Ernest G. Colpitts, Little River, Coverdale
T. Whitfield Colpitts and wife, Forest Glen
Edwd. W. Colpitts and wife, Pleasant Vale
Willie Colpitts, Milltown, Me.
Johnson M. Colpitts, Milltown, Me.
Joseph R. Colpitts, Little River, Coverdale
Howard Colpitts, Little River, Coverdale
R. C. Colpitts and wife, Moncton
Daisy Colpitts, Moncton
J. Herrett Colpitts and wife, Albert A. Co.
Sherman Blakney, Moncton
Alice Blakney, Moncton
Myrtle Blakney, Moncton
J. A. M. Colpitts, Pleasant Vale
Rev. Bamford Colpitts, Woodstock
Sherman L. Colpitts, Petitcodiac
Leonard M. Colpitts, Mapleton
W. Titus Colpitts, Forest Glen
Lorie M. Colpitts, Hopewell Hill.
Garet F. Colpitts, Pleasant Vale
Stratford Colpitts and wife, Little River, Coverdale
Ralph Ernest Colpitts, Pleasant Vale
Sarah O. Colpitts, Pleasant Vale
John Watson Colpitts, Forest Glen
Lizzie Colpitts, Forest Glen
Annie Smith, Elgin
C. Andrew Blakney and wife, Moncton
Fletcher Colpitts and wife, Pleasant Vale
Abner Jonah and wife, Middlesex, A. Co.
Gilbert Stiles and wife, Middlesex, A. Co.
Will H. Horseman and wife, Kaye Settlement
R. R. Colpitts and wife, Forest Glen
W. Havelock Colpitts and wife, Forest Glen
Mrs. O. S. Jones, Harcourt
Wm. A. Colpitts, Mapleton
Robt. J. Colpitts, Petitcodiac
Chas. E. Colpitts, Forest Glen
Mrs. Mary Colpitts, Forest Glen
John I. Steeves and wife, Hillsboro
Mrs. Lilian Purdy, Jemseq
Cyril Purdy, Jemseq
Pearl H. Colpitts, Pleasant Vale
Chas. Colpitts, Little River, Coverdale
Hattie Colpitts Tabor, Woodstock
Ruth Inglewood Tabor, Woodstock
Besides these who are directly of the family, there were many visitors present, among whom were: Rev. H. H. Sanders, Elgin; Rev. I. N. Thorne, Prosser Brooks; Rev. G. W. Springer, Jemseg; Stephen W. Cain and wife, Pleasant Vale; Wilfred Beaman, Prosser Brooks; Soloman Smith and wife, Burton Kaye and wife, John Jones and wife, Kaye Settlement; Warren Jonah, Dawson Settlement; Josie Gaynor, Salisbury; Annie Eastman, Petitcodiac; Miss Boyd, Providence, R.I.; Whitfield Kaye, Forest Glen.
Copied from The Daily Sun, Saint John, New Brunswick by Don Colpitts , 129 Timson Street, Lynn, MA. 01902 USA, phone: 781-598-0333 (06/04/2001)87