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Vanceboro history traced from logs to trading post


  The Province of New Brunswick, Canada was born in 1784, and the western half of Nova Scotia was split off for this creation. To get settlers into this new province, and especially  into the lands along the uncertain boundary, the British government offered grants.
 A group of families, mostly Loyalist, but some fortune seekers, was formed in Gloucester, Mass. Known as the Cape Ann Association, they took ship for Charlotte County, N.B. where their land grants were located.
 One of the non-Loyalist was William Vance from Concord, N.H., who claimed that at age 16 he had been with Benedict Arnold at the siege of Quebec.
 When settled on his grant of land in St. David Parish, he took the oath of allegiance to the Crown and became a British subject. He was appointed  a justice of the peace for Charlotte County in 1786. About that time he moved to St.Stephen and later four miles up river to Upper Mills.
 After 10 years,  he moved across the river to Baring, where he had already established a lumber business and Vance's mill.
 Vance conveniently forgot his British citizenship, and in spite of his lack of formal education, he progressed from farmer to lumber baron, to lawyer and to self-serving politician -- the best money could buy, even in those old days.
 Vance was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1819, which  arranged the separation of Maine from the State of Massachusetts. As a Jefferson Democrat, he served several terms in the Maine State Legislature. The influential spoils donors in the Democratic Party, including Old Hickory himself, whom Vance visited in Washington, regarded him with suspicion because of his unsavory reputation and life style.
 For that reason, he failed in every attempt to get appointed as collector of customs for Passamaquoddy or other responsible political plum. Nevertheless, situated on the border as he was, he found a side line in the moonlight  import-export business most lucrative.
 One of Vance's properties was a township at the headwaters of the St.Croix. Logs for Vance's and other mills were sluiced out of Spednic Lake and sent on their way downstream. It was here that a group of log cabins, in the nature of a combination logging camp and trading post, was named Vanceboro after himself, The honorable Squire Vance.
 There is only one other Vanceboro, a farming community on U.S.Route 17,  10 miles north of New Bern, the colonial  and original state capital of North Carolina.
 William Vance lived a long and colorful life trying to emulate King Midas and the Sultan of Aphrodisiac. But shortly before he died, Vance moved away from Baring to Readfield in western Maine.