The column ended with some remarks about the advances in research and the fact that many of the details contained on that plaque can now be added to... and in some cases corrected. The blog ended with the note that we will be returning to the subject of MONCKTON today.. so here we are.
The plaque, Monckton and a Medal of Honor recipient all have a connection. This blog will hopefully sort it all out.
To begin, a year and 2 days ago I brought you one of me earliest blogs. It was on George G Wortman, a New Brunswicker who earned a medal for actions during the Indian Wars back in 1868 in Arizona. You can read about this event by having a second look at the blog at...
In addition to his years of service after the Civil War with the US 8th Cavalry, he also served with the US 4th Artillery and throughout the Civil War but I have yet to find out what his unit was or any information about this Civil War service. Nor the whereabouts of his actual Medal of Honor. Doing genealogical research brought me to MONCKTON, as did the plaque which lists Wortman's name and shows him being from MONCKTON.
I thought the spelling was wrong. But it was not... sort of!. That was the spelling when he joined up... but not when the place was founded over 100 years earlier and before Canada became the nation we know it as today.
Geographer Thomas Kitchin drew this period map covering what we now know as Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and the US eastern coastline covering the dates of about the 1750's to the 1770's. Please note that today's New Brunswick was then a part of the Colony of Nova Scotia and places like Moncton, Saint John's and Fredericton had yet to be so founded as such and so named.
So what's the connection between this map and our Medal of Honor man George Gilford Wortman. Well, I'll tell you!
When doing the search for relatives and his actual medal, I found that he had a father, as we all did. His father's name was Jacob Wortman. And Jacob's father was David. And David's father was another Jacob. And Jacob's father was yet another George.
And this George, may well have recognized this map. HIs G. G. grandson is our MOH man. The senior George was born in Germany in 1742, and like many others immigrated to the US, and Pennsylvania in particular, to escape persecution back home. He and the others etched out a living but eventually grew unhappy in the US.
With the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763, France gave up part of its North American possessions to the British. They in turn created a number of land grant company's like the one connected to a fellow you may have heard of and named Benjamin Franklin. This company sought out the cultivation of some 100,000 acres of riverfront land in what would today be known as New Brunswick.
Eight families would be selected to initially populate the area, clear the land and start to cultivate crops and set up a settlement. They would also be expected to protect it from any enemies encountered. The written agreement called for their developing the land and staying on it for a period of five years to pay off their travel expenses and for the purchase of the land. George would be one of these selected families.
Their 44 day sail on a single masted sloop captained by a fellow named Hall, would finally see them land on 3 June 1766 along a river front known then as Paraccadiee Creek, but soon renamed to Hall's Creek. Within weeks some of the land was cleared and all were housed in a few community shelters. Over 200 lbs of potatoes had already been planted and within a year buckwheat and corn and a scattering of farm animals were on site.
The area was first called the BEND after the nature bend in the river and the greater area was named after the earlier English Colonel MONCKTON who had captured a nearby French fort not long before.
In 1788 a survey was done of the county of MONCKTON and it showed a struggling community with a handful of the original families including the Wortman three men, Jacob, Martin and John, all sons of George who had just died a few months earlier. While George had sold off most of the original almost 1200 acres, the three sons were operating a farm of about 21 acres and had done so for at least the past 6 years at the time of the survey. On their land were 8 cows, 6 oxen, 5 young cattle and 3 sheep.
Monckton would remain so named until it got its first incorporation in the mid 1850's. And at that time claimed the distinction off still holding its original spelling. But a clerical error resulted in an erroneous name change to MONCTON, which has perpetuated ever since.
On the Main Street of Moncton today there is an area set aside to commemorate the first settlers, as shown here on ther map, and with the image to the right.
Bricks remind us of the eight families that came from the United States. Note the Wortman name at lower right on the bricks, and in same spot on the enlarged image of the center photo.
As you view these, you now know of yet more NB history. That of the descendant, a Medal of Honor recipient, who's Great Great Grandfather played such an important role in the history of Moncton/MONCKTON New Brunswick.
See you on Friday.