The Crabb family leaves for Canada

This is the continuation of information from Cal Bivens.

The Evacuation from New York
The family next appears in July of 1783, John, Elizabeth, 2 sons and 3 daughters, boarded the ship Grand Duchess of Russia, Stephen Holman, Master, bound for Port Roseway, Nova Scotia. But Elizabeth and the children were very ill.

John promptly sent a petition to Sir Guy Carleton, the British Commander-in-chief dated July 13, 1783, saying that his wife and five children had been sick when they embarked and that their illness was growing worse, and that he was despairing of their recovery. He claimed that he was much persecuted by the rebels and obliged to abandon his estate in Duchess County about 4 years past (about 1779) to avoid further persecution.

John’s story was verified and the family left the Grand Duchess of Russia and went ashore andstayed there until they recovered.

They then secured transportation on another ship. On August 21, 1783 the family boarded the Cyrus. It was September 6th before they set sail. By September 14, 1783 they were at the mouth of the St. John River. Also aboard the Cyrus were Thomas Flewelling and William Secord. They belonged to Refugee Company 31 and John Crabb joined the same company. His name appears on victualing lists for this group—rosters of persons/heads of households who drew rations.

So they arrived in the fall of 1783 at St. John. John Crabb signed another petition in late 1783 or 1784 – the aim of which was to seek equal treatment in securing land as 55 persons who had asked for preferential treatment in land grants, that most of these people had obtained repeated favors of the Government that were not related to their sufferings or the importance of their services.

Obtaining land for a home
John filed for a grant at Parr Town, Sunbury County (later Saint John) on August 14, 1784. Upon the creation of New Brunswick from Nova Scotia his petition was transferred to the latter on January 2, 1785.

The John Crabb property on Belle Isle Bay was surveyed by Walter Dibble on November 25, 1784 and a plan of the lot was approved by G.A. Leonard and William Tying. By February he had not yet got a house built as the property was disputed.

Daniel Bostwick petitioned for the same lot of land and had taken possession and begun to make improvements. Bostwick offered for sale two points of land that had been part of the survey for John Crabb. On March 11, 1785 the grant to John Crabb was confirmed by Council. John was the primary grantee of 30 (?) acres on Belle Isle Bay in Kings County, the date of the grant was October 1, 1785.

One researcher asserts that John Crabb settled on the east side of the St. John River near St. John when Sam Sharp settled on the west side, but this seems not to be accurate, perhaps this was much later.

A February 1785 petition by Thomas Ketchum for the same lot disputed by John Crabb and Daniel Bostwick indicates the desired grant was at what is now Gorham’s Bluff. This bluff is at the end of a small peninsula on the east side of Bell Isle Bay south of Hog Island. An 1822 poem by Phillip Kehoe indicates that after passing Hog Island “Crabb Point is right ahead” it further states that the point was “Well known to all who on the river trade.” This says to me that Crabb Point was at or near Gorham’s Bluff. The name of Crabb Point remained in use for many years.

Another researcher says that John Crabb first settled at Oak Point, Greenwich Parish, Kings County, New Brunswick.

Thomas Flewelling, lived on the next lot. Thomas purchased John’s lot on July 11, 1797. It is possible, I suppose, that John first settled here but that does not fit with the Ketchum petition. That he sold a lot to Thomas Flewelling in 1797 is true. John Crabb may have left Gorham’s Bluff and settled near Oak Point at an as yet undocumented date.

In February 1799 he petitioned for another lot stating that he could not get possession of more than 100 acres of land in his grant without a law suit which if successful would cause his neighbor’s boundary to be moved. He had no desire to quarrel with his neighbor and therefore asked leave to relinquish his claim and take a lot elsewhere. He stated he had purchased Lot No. 29 on the northwest side of the Long Reach and asked for the grant of Lot No. 28 adjoining it, called Devil’s Back. This property lay between Oak Point and Hampstead.

1815
John Crabb of Fredericton, New Brunswick was granted a pension by the Crown. The grant of a pension here is linked to military service. Our John Crabb was about 74 years old at this time.

John’s children mainly settled in Greenwich Parish in Kings County, New Brunswick. They appear in records for that place, for Oak Point and for Browns Flat. Thes are all in a relatively small area. As is the Devil’s Back.

Stephen was an adult when the family arrived at St. John and was granted land at Oak Point. A note says that he “was there before the Loyalist” who actually was his father. If so that would tend to support John first settling somewhere other than Greenwich Parish.

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