Looking for a place to settle, Louis Mercure first requested land near the Madawaska River on Feb. 24, 1785 for himself, his brother Michel, and Pierre Duperre. The list included: Louis Mercure, Michel Mercure, Pierre Duperre, Jean Lizotte, Joseph Lizotte, Augustin Dube, Jean Martin, Joseph Daigle, Joseph Daigle, Jr., Daniel Gaudin, Simon Martin, Armand Martin, Paul Cyr, Francois Cyr, Joseph Cyr, Pierre Cyr, Baptiste Cyr, Firmin Cyr, Alexandre Ayotte, Robert Fournier, Louis Sansfacon, Joseph Cyr, and Francois Martin.
Jean Baptiste Cyr also requested land from the Surveyor General of Quebec for land along the lower St. John River about the same time. His petition also had the names of Alexandre Ayotte, Zacharie Ayotte, Joseph Daigle Jr., Joseph Daigle Sr., Louis Sansfacon, and Olivier Thibodeau. Acadians had been living in the St. John River area for a number of years but wanted something more permanent. Finally, a petition to Gov. Carleton (of New Brunswick) by these men was granted in the summer of 1785. There were to be granted the 9-mile stretch along the St. John River between Green Rivers and Madawaska.
The first Acadians traveled up the St. John River from the Fredericton area and arrived in the Madawaska area in the summer of 1785. They first camped on the south side of the river, two miles below the Native American village. It was on this spot that they erected a cross. The spread out, making their homes along the banks of the St. John, Green, and Madawaska Rivers.
Settlers along the south bank of the river included: Alexandre Ayotte, Antoine Cyr, Firmin Cyr, Francois Cyr, Jacques Cyr, Joseph Daigle, Joseph Daigle Jr., Pierre Duperry, Baptiste Fournier,Paul Potier, Baptiste Thibodeau and Louis Sansfacon. Louis & Michel Mercure (near the Native American village) and Olivier & Pierre Cyr (along the Iroquois River) were on the north bank. They were joined by others in the years to come.
In a note from Jonathon Odell to the Acadians, it lists the original settlers who received the license of occupation on July 9, 1787.
On the east bank of the St. John River
On the west bank of the St. John River
|Lot # 37
Lot # 34
Lot # 8
Lot # 7
Joseph Daigle, Jr.
|Lot # 5
Lot # 6
Lot # 15
Lot # 17
Lot # 24
Lot # 25
Lot # 26
Lot # 27
Lot # 28
Lot # 29
Lot # 34
Lot # 39
The population of the upper St. John River valley had reached 174 by 1790. By 1800, 32 of the 80 families were Acadians, while 28 more had one spouse that was Acadian.
Here is a map (from the Univ. of Main, Fort Kent) showing settlement in the area from 1794 to 1870.
The northern portion of Maine was claimed by both Canada and the U.S. for many years. In the Bouchette map of 1831, northern Maine (including Madawaska south of the river) was depicted as part of Canada. A map of the boundary dispute was published in The American Nation (1906).
Finally, in 1842, the Webster-Ashburton Treaty resolved the boundaries to be along the St. John and St. Francis rivers.