Two recently published books recount memories
of days ago in the Miramichi area
Mum liked to see the clock go back an hour as she said this gave her longer evenings. Cliff and I discussed this matter but neither of us could come up with a reasonable answer as to how this could happen. I also couldn't figure out why more friends dropped in to visit during the fall evenings than through the summer.
One of my favourite visitors was Everett. I really enjoyed hearing him tell about the way things were in the community years and years ago. He talked about the first School being between Bob's gate and the covered bridge. Dad told stories of lumbering camps and strong men who were great with the crosscut saw. Once again I heard about Big George who bored eight foot cedar posts with a hand auger to use as water pipes at my Grandfather's home. The stories of grist mills, tanneries, shoe shops and the men who worked in them made great listening. It seemed that Everett remembered events from the time he was just an infant and enjoyed sharing his memories with us.
Speaking of sharing memories, we are lucky that William C. Gaynor decided in 1913 to share some of his. He was born in Chatham in 1855 and spent his childhood and youthful years there and in Newcastle and Douglastown. He left home in the 1870s to study for the Catholic priesthood and was later curate of St. John the Baptist Church in Saint John and a colorful and controversial figure in the city. He was also a sportsman, amateur photographer, author, and newspaper editor. In 1913, he published his memories of the Miramichi anonymously in a series of thirteen articles in the newspaper the Chatham World, and eighty-seven years later an edition of these lively, often humorous recollections has been published as a book entitled "Memories of the Miramichi".
In one of Gaynor's articles, he recalls that the three 'best men' of the Miramichi in the 1860s were John Tierney, John Gaynor, and Aleck Carrigan.... "I witnessed the famous fight between Tierney and a gigantic English sailor on the flats at Newcastle," he wrote," and saw him send the Englishman to the ground three times hand-running, and take a chew of tobacco while the other was struggling to his feet."
Father Gaynor also voiced his opinion of public figures of his time. Here he is speaking of Peter Mitchell, one of the Miramichi's two Fathers of Confederation: "In his palmiest days, when Northern New Brunswick was at his feet, Mitchell would quit the presence of the Governor General to shake hands with a Miramichi Indian. He never forgot his own, and whatever was Miramichi was his, Protestant and Catholic alike....He had risen, but it was by his own exertions, and he pulled no man down in the effort.... No massive tombstone, no eloquent monument marks his resting place, naught but a plain marble slab that bears those still magic words: 'Peter Mitchell'."
"Memories of the Miramichi" is one of the latest publications of Miramichi Books of Saint John, which is owned by retired UNB professor Willis D. Hamilton. Another is "Ships of Miramichi" by Louise Manny.
Miss Manny was born in Oxford County, Maine and came to Newcastle at the age of three years when her father became manager of a new spoolwood plant there. She worked in this plant from 1916 to 1946.
In the 19th century, an apparently inexhaustible supply of timber made the Miramichi a shipbuilder's paradise, prompting Louise to write a history of the sailing ships built along the river entitled "Ships of Miramichi." First published in 1960, this important work on shipbuilding in New Brunswick has been out of print for many years. The new edition contains the same text as the original but has a redesigned cover bearing a color photograph of an 1839 painting of the ship Joseph Cunard under sail in the Mersey River in England, an editor's foreword, biographical data on builders and owners and a biographical sketch and photo of the author. A number of footnotes have also been introduced and an index of all names in the text.
Both of these books are primarily of historical interest, but because of their complete indexes of names, they are also of genealogical value.
Smith - Muirhead: I am seeking information on George Smith who married Minnie (Mary Ann) Muirhead. I believe that he was a sea captain and lived in the Saint John area. They had two blood children born in Saint John: George Henry Wilfred Smith born in1883 and Jane Smith born in 1879. They adopted Jessie Smith born in 1877 who was recovered from a boat at sea, having survived a sea vessel mishap, which took the lives of her parents. Any help concerning this inquiry appreciated. Many of the Smiths and Muirheads emigrated to Quincy, Massachusetts.
-Jim Smith, 135 Glen Street, Abington, MA 02351,U .S.A. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Walls - Stewart: I am currently researching the Walls surname and have found a narrative of Blackville, New Brunswick which stated there was a place called the Walls Historic House. Can anyone supply me with information? Robert Alexander Walls was born in New Brunswick in1883 to Mary Ann Stewart and George Walls. Robert's siblings were: Kenneth, Charles, John, Charlotte, Ann, Jane, and Margaret but I lack documentation as to their births. I am trying to find census data but have not had much luck with that either. Any information or suggestions would be appreciated.
-Jennifer Walls, 39545 Baker Lake Road, Concrete, WA., 98237, USA. E-mail to email@example.com.
Hartt - Kilburn: I am seeking information about the Kilburn family of Kingsclear. My great grandmother, Loretta Kilburn married Odbur M. Hartt who along with her brother John established Hartt Boot and Shoe Co. in Fredericton in 1898. Any information on either family would be appreciated.
-Diana Cowland, 60 Mary Ellen Drive, Hanwell, N.B., E3E 2G4. Telephone (506) 450-3313. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hennigar: I am looking for descendants of Adam Hennigar and his sons Christopher and Michael, who were loyalists during the American Revolution and exiled from New York City to New Brunswick ca. 1784. I would like to share information.
-John Hennigar, 45 Mill St. Apt.B, Westwood, NJ 07675-2926. E-mail to
Ruby is a genealogy buff. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at email@example.com. When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.