MARTIN, MATHIEU, weaver, seigneur of Cobequid (Truro, N.S.); b. 1636 or 1637, son of Pierre Martin and Catherine Vigneau; did not marry; d. some time before April 1724, probably on his seigneury.
At the same time as he plied his trade as a weaver, Martin concerned himself with the affairs of the dealers in pelts, both at Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal, N.S.), where he lived with his father, and in the Minas Basin. It is possible that his trips to the far end of the Baie Française (Bay of Fundy) had something to do with the land grant at Cobequid which was made to him in March 1689 and which he named Saint-Mathieu. He had to overcome certain difficulties created by Mathieu de Goutin, who was laying claim to Cobequid, as he wanted to set up there an outlet for spirits as an aid to the fur trade with the Indians. Martin, a man of foresight and determination, knew how to make his land grant prosper. Having first concerned himself with preparing the ground, he allowed three families to come in from Port-Royal around 1699. Four years later, in 1703, 19 families were to be found there and in 1714 there were 23.
Although the censuses do not mention him between 1693 (when he was at Port-Royal) and 1714 when he was at Cobequid, Martin must have chosen to reside on his seigneury from the time that his first tenant-farmers arrived. It was doubtless there that he died.
Several persons claimed to be his heirs, but the Nova Scotia Council declared that the seigneury should pass to the English crown. In 1732 the lieutenant-governor, Lawrence Armstrong, wishing to put an end to the claims, stipulated that Mathieu Martin’s will should be disregarded, because “during his lifetime he never would acknowledge this Government.” It is nevertheless true that he had taken the oath of allegiance at Port-Royal in 1695. Thus all the rights attached to this seigneury passed to England.
AN, Col., C11D, 2, f.126; Section Outre-Mer, G1, 466 (Recensements de l’Acadie, 1671, 1693, 1698, 1700, 1701, 1703, 1707, 1714). “Mass. Archives,” II, 540. N.S. Archives, II, 94; III, 53, 196, 199. PRO, CSP, Col., 1732. P.-G. Roy, Inv. concessions, IV, 38–39. Arsenault, Hist. et généal. des Acadiens, I, 46, 58, 78–79, 458. W. P. Bell, The “foreign protestants” and the settlement of Nova Scotia (Toronto, 1961), 73, 82–83. Murdoch, History of Nova-Scotia, I, 182, 416, 474, 475, 479. Rameau de Saint-Père, Une colonie féodale, I, 189–92; II, 318, 323, 328–29. Archange Godbout, “Les trois sœurs Esmard,” SGCF Mémoires, I (1944–45), 197–200.