Old St. Andrews



How the Island Became the Minister's



A number of stories, legends and myths have grown up around the history of Minister's Island. All center on the unwillingness of the original settlers to leave, and the measures taken by Osborn and/or Andrews as a result.

In the story penned by R. B. Hanson for the Beacon, Rector Andrews, "like Ahab of old," had cast a covetous eye upon the cleared land of the Hanson homestead, and Captain Osborn appeared on the scene as his ally. Hanson was invited aboard his ship, champagne flowed freely, and Hanson was sent home unconscious, after having signed away all his property for the sum of 20 pounds. Enraged at this trickery, Hanson refused to leave, so Osborn trotted out his big guns and with incessant "target practice" made life so intolerable for him that he eventually packed up and left. Upon departure, with tears in his eyes, the unfortunate settler was heard to exclaim: "Deerfield Massacre, Ticonderoga, Crown Point and the bloody plains of Abraham are nothing to this. I thought I could trust my Parson."

This story is largely myth. The records show that Hanson had left the Island a few months after Osborn acquired it, and that neither he nor Young had in fact any legal title to it. As for Osborn and Andrews being in cahoots, this idea may spring from an ambiguity in the deed of 1791. The document contains a number of blanks, and though the date of the deed is clearly 1791, there is a reference to the 26th of August 1785. In all likelihood, this refers to the original purchase date of the document transferring Chamcook Island to Osborn, but in a superficial reading, and one totally ignoring the 1791 date conferring title to Andrews, it might be construed as being the date of Andrews' purchase.

The most likely part of the story concerns the employment by Osborn of his ship's cannons in the matter. Marshall Andrews recounted this already famous story in 1897 during his visit to the Beacon newspaper office. One day long ago, he remembered, as he was walking the Island with his father, he asked what had caused the devastation of so many trees along the shore. He was then told the story of how when Hanson refused to leave Chamcook Island, Osborn set up an informal target range along the shore somewhere between his ship and the Hanson homestead. Although obdurate at first, and willing to move his family to another part of the Island until target practice had ceased for the day, Hanson eventually got the message and vacated the property.

The Editor of the Beacon, R. E. Armstrong, corroborated this story by noting that numerous large cannonballs had in fact been discovered along the shores of Minister's Island. And yet Hanson was gone within six months of his first petition to Carleton. If this event took place it may have been between March and July of 1785, or perhaps, since Young showed himself even less willing to leave than Hanson, he may have been the recipient of Osborn's not-so-friendly fire.