On January 27, 1766, Charles Jones and eight other interested settlers
found themselves sitting in the office of John Hughes, General Merchant,
Iron Master and Land Agent. The chill of the winter day was slowly being warmed in front
of a Ben Franklin fireplace. The men were there in response to an advertisement, run by "Franklin and Company"
land agents, offering to "any good Protestant family" lands in the British
province of Nova Scotia. Associates in the Company were John Hughes, possibly a brother-in-law to Charles Jones,
John Cox Jr., and Anthony Wayne. Wayne was introduced to the gentlemen by John Hughes as "my
agent in Nova Scotia." Wayne had been successful in acquiring a grant of one township on the Saint John River and one township
on the Petitcodiac River.
Wayne told the settlers, it had been ten years since the British redcoats had chased the French from the lands along the Bay of Fundy, Fort Beausejour was now Fort Cumberland, which was well manned by British Troops to protect the settlers. The French had lived on the lands they were about to receive, but all had disappeared now.
Charles' mind began to wander as Anthony Wayne went on to tell the history of this new land. The bits of information being offered by Wayne meant little to Charles, he was more interested in what the future held, than what had happened in the past. He was a little disappointed that Benjamin Franklin was not present. He had heard many great things about this gentleman from Philadelphia. Franklin's newspaper writings were widely read, he was a power in the governmental affairs of the colony, as Pennsylvania's Representative in London. He had also designed and created pieces of magnifying glass framed with metal, which enabled persons with failing eyesight to see more clearly. Only recently, Franklin wrote regarding a strange force he had discovered in lightening, by raising a metal wire into the air by means of a kite. These writings caused a great stir among the citizens of Philadelphia. This man Franklin, Jones thought, was a man well worth meeting, it was unfortunate he was in far off London, imploring the British government to repeal the controversial Stamp Act.
The document he was about to sign was known as "The Articles of Agreement". In this agreement, the settlers would buy the land from Hughes, but before the deed to the land would be bestowed, they had some work to do. The settlers would first be required to build a house with a brick or stone chimney. The lot was to be fenced, and two acres of Corn Land, one acre of meadow and fifty apple trees were to be planted. It was also understood, by the settlers, that John Hughes would furnish them with supplies to get started.
One must wonder what went through Charles' mind that day. What hardships were waiting for him, his wife Catherine and his children John, Henry and Margaret? Would they be able to survive the first winter? Would he finally realize his dreams of a thriving farm on land of his own, to do with as he wished?
Charles picked up the writing implement, and with a smile and a thank you to Mr. Hughes, he confidently made his "X" on the agreement.
A total of nine men made their decision that day, but later, four of these men changed their minds. The remaining five - Matthias Somers, Charles Jones,
Henrich Stief(Steeves), Michael Lutz and Jacob Trites would leave for their new home on the Petitcodiac River, in April, as soon as weather permitted.
Source: Samphire Greens - Dr. Esther Clark Wright