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The Saunders Papers

Loyalist John Saunders was born in Virginia 1 June 1754. During the American Revolutionary War, he fought as an officer in the Queen’s Rangers. In 1783 he sailed for England where he studied law, and in 1787 he was called to the bar from the Middle Temple. Saunders married Arianna Margaretta Jekyll Chalmers in 1790, and they had three children — a son John Simcoe Saunders and two daughters Arianna Margaretta (1790-1868) and Eliza Chalmers (1794-1821)

In 1790 Saunders was appointed an assistant judge of the Supreme Court of New Brunswick, taking up residence in Fredericton the same year. He was made chief justice of the Supreme Court in 1822. John Saunders died in Fredericton on 24 May 1834.

John Simcoe Saunders, son of John and Arianna (Chalmers) Saunders, was born in Fredericton in 1793. Educated at Worcester College, Oxford, he graduated in 1815 with a bachelor of arts. In 1819 he was called to the bar of Nova Scotia and, a year later, to the bar of Lower Canada. He married Elizabeth Sophia, daughter of the Reverend George Storie of England. During his life, John Simcoe Saunders held a number of prominent posts. In 1834 he was appointed advocate general for New Brunswick, in 1840, surveyor general, and, in 1845, provincial secretary. He was made a member of the legislative council in 1833, becoming president in 1866. He occupied that position until his death at Fredericton on 27 July 1878.

This fonds documents the legal, political, and personal activities of two prominent members of the Saunders family: John Saunders and John Simcoe Saunders. It includes family correspondence, professional correspondence, accounts, deeds, commissions, appointments, and surveyor’s maps. The fonds also includes the journal of John Simcoe Saunders, dating from 1872 to 1877, and two legal commonplace books, one each probably belonging to John Saunders and John Simcoe Saunders.

The fonds is housed at the University of New Brunswick Archives and Special Collections under the name: Saunders Family fonds/Record group/Fonds MG H 11

Additionally, the papers are available on microfilm, also held at UNB’s Harriet Irving Library (MIC Loyalist FC LFR.S2J6P3).

See the UNB Archives’ catalogue.

Unfortunately, the original Saunders material was stolen from the Archives several years ago. Over the years, some manuscripts have been returned but the collection is still missing much of the early correspondence. This database is a record of all the archival material from the Saunders fond. Each record includes the manuscript’s title, date, the number of pages, an abstract taken from the reference card index, and images of the letters (taken from the images microfilmed in 1973). The record will also indicate if the material has been returned and by whom.

Below is a complete listing of the archival material stolen from the fonds. Those marked with an * have been partially or completely returned. To view each record, click on the date below, use the tabs above to navigate, or create a search using the search bar.

1780s 1790s 1800s 1810s 1820s 1830s 1840s 1850s Petitions
1780-10-31 1791-05-04* 1800-01-02* 1810-02-12* 1829-12-30 1836-02-01* 1849-07-31* 1856-11-04* 1808
1781-02-26 1791-05-31 1800-02-06* 1810-03-06*          
1781-03-03 1792-04-04* 1800-03-05 1810-06-01          
1781-03-07 1792-05-02* 1800-06-21 1810-08-12          
1781-03-20 1792-07-24 1800-07-24 1811-03-06          
1781-04-17 1792-10-04 1801-03-04* 1811-06-05*          
1781-04-19 1793-04-05* 1801-08-08* 1815-04-15          
1781-04-24 1793-09-04* 1801-10-07* 1815-06-06*          
1781-04-24 1795-04-20* 1802-03-05* 1815-10-23          
  1796-02-04 1802-05-06*            
  1796-05-05 1802-07-07*            
  1796-12-16* 1802-10-07            
  1798-05-31* 1802-12-02*            
  1798-11-07 1803-01-07            
  1799-05-01 1806-01-02*            
  1799-06-02* 1806-02-06            

The Letters

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