A number of my ancestors lived in the Castonia Settlement, including Amable Ouellette and his wife Esther Gardner (my g-g-g grandparents), whose daughter Christine married Nyzaire St.Jean (my g-g grandparents). Nyzaire and Christine also lived there.
In the various US censuses, the name "Castonia Settlement" was not used. In the 1850 census, it is not clear if this area was enumerated; if so, it was included in Township 17, Range 9. In 1860, this settlement, located in Township 16, Range 12, was misidentified as in Twp.12, R.16 (transposing the numbers). In 1870, it was referred to as "The Upper St.John above St.Francis."
Here is a description of that settlement, from my cousin Ralph St.John:
This place [Castonia Settlement] was inhabited from about 1845 to 1905, with a maximum population of about 75-100 (it was big enough to have its own schoolhouse). It's located on the upper St.John River, where Chimenticook Stream flows into the St.John, just above Schoolhouse Rapids. I guess in its hayday it was to the upper St.John and its logging operations a counterpart to what Michaud Farm was to the Allagash River.
Among the original(?) settlers were Pierre-Basile Castonguay and Marie-Louise Bois (married 28 Sept 1819 in La Pocatiere, PQ), and their son Louis (abt 1820 - 1869).
Other early settlers included Amable Ouellet (abt1810-1883) and Esther Gardner (1815-1893), married abt 1835 in Riviere du Loup, Que. Ouellet Farm (about a mile downriver) is named after Amable. Their daughter Marie-Desneiges (b.1836 Riv. du Loup, d.1910 Fort Kent) married Louis Castonguay in 1855, and they had seven children. Another of Amable and Esther's daughters, Christine (b.1840 Riv du Loup, d.1918) married Isaie (Nazaire) Anctil dit St.Jean (b.1840 Riv.Ouelle, d.1883 Castonia Settlement). Christine and Isaie were married in 1861 and had eight children, among them my grandfather T.A. St.John.
Other settlers may have included: Theodore Sirois and Angelique Caron (m 1856) and children; Joseph Dionne and Semire Theriault (m 1857) and children; The Aaron Jackson Family; there were also at various times Mullins, Haffords, Nadeaus, Cyrs, etc.
A merchant named Cunliffe ran a "supply depot" that serviced all the logging operations on the upper St.John River. Supplies were "toted in" on huge flatboats pulled by horses.
Sometime around 1899, there was a huge "ice-out" in the spring. The flooding and ice floes destroyed nearly everything. Most residents sold their property to the large lumber companies and the settlement "disappeared". Today it takes a four-wheeler over 60 minutes on private lumber road to get there. Where once lived over 75 people, now there's a picnic table, an outhouse, and a wooden sign "CASTONIA".
Below is a map of the region, a detail of the map "Delorme's Map & Guide, Allagash and St.John", 1984. Circled in blue are the "Castonia Farm," site of the Castonia Settlement, and the "Ouellette Farm," homestead of Amable Ouellette and his family. In the upper right hand corner of this detail is the confluence of the St.John and Allagash Rivers. The solid red lines are "major forest roads," the dotted red lines "minor forest roads."
Click for more visual detail.
(If you have any information on the Castonia Settlement, please contact me and Ralph. Thanks!)
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Last revised 28 Jan 2005