German Traces in New Brunswick
The Settlers Landing Memorial
Did you know that the city of Moncton in New Brunswick has German roots? To learn more about German traces in the so-called “Hub City”, you just have to take a walk along the Petitcodiac River. There you can find the Settlers Landing memorial near downtown Moncton. This memorial explains the history of the German-speaking families involved in the city’s foundation.
Commissioned by Heritage Moncton and the Permanent Settlers Association, the monument consists of a commemorative stone cairn and stone tablets engraved with the last names of early settlers in the area. There is also a plaque with information on the long journey these families undertook to reach New Brunswick. They came to Moncton via Pennsylvania over 250 years ago in order to establish a settlement along the swampy banks of the Petitcodiac River and to utilize the property there for which they had received land grants.
Originally of German origin, these families finally arrived at their destination on June 3rd, 1766, almost two months after their departure from Pennsylvania. They travelled on a sloop captained by Jonathan Hall, and the memorial is located at the mouth of Hall’s Creek, exactly where Hall is said to have landed upon their arrival. The information plaque goes on to explain that the winter presented a real threat to these European families, as they weren’t used to the harsh winters in Acadia. As is characteristic of the multicultural heritage of the region, they owed their success in their new home to cooperation. They relied on valuable advice and assistance from the Acadians who had escaped deportation after British conquest and from the Mi’kmaq in the region. These groups taught the European settlers how to acclimatize to the swampy land and harsh climate. This exchange between different peoples not only meant the survival of the newcomers, but it also allowed the whole region to flourish.
Although some of their names have since been anglicised, the last names of the original eight German-speaking families can still be found in the Moncton area: Heinrich Stieff (Steeves), Charles Jones (né Schantz), John Koppel (Copple), Matthias Sommer (Somers), Michael Lutz (Lutes), Jakob Treitz (Trites), Georg Wortman (Wartman), and Jakob Ricker. The Settlers Landing memorial was erected to honour these eight German-speaking pioneers and their families. It has been declared a local historical site out of appreciation for the settlers and to commemorate those who left their footprints in the entire region.