history

DESCRIPTION OF HISTORIC PLACE

Enclosure Park is a triangular shaped wooded parkland, over 49 hectares in area, located in the community of Derby at the confluence of the Northwest and Southwest Miramichi Rivers. There are in situ historical and archaeological resources relating to Aboriginal, Acadian and Scottish groups, including marked and unmarked graves. Enclosure Park includes Wislon’s Point Provincial Historic Site.

HERITAGE VALUE

Enclosure Park was designated a Provincial Historic Site in 1990 because of the settlements, conflicts, trade, industry and religion represented at this location, the sensitivity of resources and place, and the potential contributions of the site towards the understanding of the former peoples and cultures of the Province of New Brunswick.

This resource-rich and relatively safe location was also strategically situated as it was accessible to sea-going vessels and was a departure point to access the vast Miramichi interior. As a result, Aboriginal, Acadian, and Scottish groups were drawn to the location.

There is heritage value associated with pre-contact Aboriginal use of the site. Archaeological evidence indicates use by Aboriginal groups for more than 2000 years.

Heritage value of Enclosure Park is found in the sombre and documented events that relate to the struggle for possession of Acadia which occurred at, or were associated with, Charles Dechamps de Boishébert’s Camp d’Espérance, located here from 1756-1759. Meant to provide shelter to Acadian refugees, several hundred may have died and been buried here as a result of severe hunger and suffering.

There is heritage value related to the 1765 application to the British Crown for a grant of 100,000 acres by entrepreneurial Scots, William Davidson and his business partner, John Cort. The successful application subsequently resulted in the point being the centre of lucrative trading, fishing, lumbering and shipbuilding operations. It was the site of Saint James Presbyterian Church in 1791, the first Protestant Church to serve the Miramichi. The adjacent cemetery contains the remains of several founding and influential community members.

Source: Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport, Heritage Branch – Site File: 39

CHARACTER-DEFINING ELEMENTS

The character-defining elements that describe Enclosure Park include:
– setting in an estuary at the confluence of two major rivers;
– park like setting with mature trees, forest and open meadow areas;
– physical remains and cultural association of the location with the 1756 Acadian settlement of Camp d’Espérance and the Expulsion;
– potential of a mass Acadian burial;
– physical remains of the establishment of William Davidson and its cultural association with the site;
– fragmented foundations of the 1791 Saint James Presbyterian Church and cemetery with human remains and remaining grave markers;
– in situ historical and layered archaeological resources relating to First Nation, Acadian and Scottish groups;
– scientific and archaeological data and collections recovered from the site;
– potential for future research, data recovery and interpretation;
– stone gates at the park entrance and entrance to the cemetery;
– cultural sensitivity and heritage character of the site.

For more information about the Miramichi itself:

Miramichi, New Brunswick

or on Wilson’s Point:

Wilson’s Point