Kingston Creek Portage
The Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) were the First Nation which inhabited the St. John River watershed prior to European arrival. They called the river Wolastoq, meaning "beautiful river" and they were the people of the beautiful river. The Europeans, through a misunderstanding, called the Wolastoqiyik the Maliseet and this name is more often used today.
The Wolastoqiyik lived a semi nomadic life along the river, often wintering upriver, hunting and trapping in the towering forests, and travelling down to the mouth of the river for the summer to fish and hunt. The canoe was the main mode of transportation in the open water seasons. The Wolastoq (St. John River) waterways provided access to a vast area as well as connecting routes to neighbouring First Nation lands. The following highlighted routes on the W.F.Ganong (1899) map shows the major canoe routes used by the First Nations of the area.
The Wolastoqiyik had several palisaded villages including one at the mouth of the Nerepis River. The Kingston Peninsula is not known to have had a permanent settlement, but it did served as an important place to camp. Campsites required a source of good water, a good landing area and shelter from bad weather. Some of these locations included Gorhams Landing, Indian Beach, Shampers Bluff, Kingston Creek, Urquharts Point, Catons Island, Williams Wharf, Carters Point, Glendons Cove, Milkish Creek, Sea Dog Cove, Chapel Grove, Reeds Point and Wheatons Point. There is also evidence of at least three First Nations burial grounds on the Kingston Peninsula near Hardings Point, Gorhams Landing and the Willows. There was reputed to be three burial mounds in the vicinity of the Loyalist graveyard at Hardings Point. There are also several other locations of spiritual significance including a large rock on Gorhams Bluff where the Wolstosqiyik stopped to give offerings. There are two small islands between Kennebecasis Island and Millidgeville that are called the Brothers Indian Reserve 18 and are part of the current First Nation reservation system.
Catons Island, in the Long Reach section of the Wolastoq was the first permanent European (French) settlement in what is now New Brunswick. It was established around 1610 and was the first trading post and major contact for the Wolsatoqiyik.
A major portage connecting the Wolastoq and its tributary the Kennebecasis, cut across the Kingston Peninsula at Kingston Creek, once known as Portage Creek.
The route followed the Creek to the current foot of Kingston where there was a short portage to Bates Lake. The route continued the length of the lake and into the small creek at its eastern end.
A second longer portage then followed a trail to Olivers Point near Perry Point. This route shortened travel time, especially if going up the Kennebecasis. It also avoided the often rough Long Reach section of the river with its prevailing southwest winds and 20 miles of open run.
The following route and map was researched by Robert Doyle and reported by Will Jones during his 2009 YCW job term with Kingston Peninsula Heritage.
A reenactment of the route was done in August of 2009 with the trail around Mount Misery (on some private land with permission) very difficult to follow. After more ups and downs than the route originally intended the portage was completed.