The Aroostook Roads

  1. Location and Background
  2. Under the French and British Regimes
  3. The First Acadian and Canadian Immigrants
  4. The Development of Madawaska
  5. Borderland Tensions
  6. Military and Commercial Roads
  7. War Avoided
  8. New Immigrant Waves
  9. A Bi-Directional Route
  10. Sources

  1. War Avoided
The birth of the Aroostook Roads system coincided with a number of geopolitical and economic events in the Northeast Borderlands. By the late 1830s American and British animosity over exploitation of the stands of timber in the region had come to the brink of armed conflict - what is often called the "Aroostook War." To put a stop to what was viewed by the timber magnates of Bangor as "timber piracy" by the British, the governor of Maine dispatched three thousand militia to the frontier. New Brunswick's governor responded in kind, sending the provincial militia and British regulars into Madawaska and around Lake Temiscouata. To diffuse this volatile situation, President Van Buren sent General Winfield Scott to assess the situation, and he shortly afterwards returned to Washington with an agreement for a joint boundary commission. Between 1839 and 1842 there followed a series of negotiations between Daniel Webster and Lord Ashburton culminating in the Treaty of Washington which settled the boundary conflicts not only between Maine and New Brunswick, but along the entire northeastern frontier between the United States and British North America.

A century after its original colonisation, the Madawaska settlement had become a series of permanent Franco-American communities along the St. John River in Maine's Aroostook County.

Source: Acadian Archives, University of Maine at Fort Kent.