Information can be found in all kinds of places
Christmas day was fast approaching and Mum was ahead of the rush. She had baked pies, cookies and honey-bar squares plus lots more and placed them out in the back pantry, which served as her deep freeze. Gord had gone to the pasture and cut a Christmas tree. A board nailed on the bottom of the trunk served as a stand. He stood it in the corner of the living room, slowly turning, until Mum had picked the best side. A piece of string was used to anchor it securely to the nail in the window casing.
After the star was placed on the top, the task of trimming the tree was a family affair. My favorite ornaments were the little glass birds with the coloured tails that clamped to the branches. The finality came with the hanging of the hundreds of silver icicles, one by one.
Mum took lots of outdoor pictures with the old Brownie box camera but it was not equipped for taking indoor photos. This year was going to be different due to her having a new flash bulb camera. She was particularly anxious to have a perfectly trimmed tree as she wanted to send pictures to relatives in the States of her family gathered around the Christmas tree.
Now that I think about it, I wonder if she put the names and date on the back of the pictures, otherwise fifty years later the cousins from afar would probably have no idea who we were.
Way back in 1898, some sort of a gathering was held in Cambridge Narrows and somebody had the foresight to write the names and ages of the twelve men on the back of a photograph and even included their ages ranging from 77 to 91.
I emailed Richard and Sandra Thorne to inquire if they could give me any information on this1898 photo taken in Cambridge by Salmon of Orange Corner, North End, Saint John. I might add that as usual they came to my rescue.
Their return message to me stated: "Your inquiry reminded us of information found in the newsletter of the Queen's County Historical Society & Museum called the Queen's County "Heritage". The names of the men on the picture was first published in Volume 11 # 1 in 1991. In October 1991, the late Dorothy Hetherington and Dr. Ed Walter sent biographical information on the men in the photograph and to whom they were related in the community. There was also an indication that the photograph was quite widely distributed but this begged the question why were these patriarchs all together in the summer of 1898 and why was a photographer present from Saint John. The most probable answer to this question was found in "Heritage" Vol. 20, #5 October 2000 page 6 in an excerpt from the Telegraph-Journal, 24 August 1898 from McDonald's Point. "Mrs. Amy Blizzard of this place celebrated her 106th birthday on Tuesday. Before 2:00 o'clock the neighbours began to assemble and about 2:30 the "Star" brought those of her relatives from the city, who augmented the number to over 100. … Mr. J. Salmon of Orange Corner (corner of Portland and Main in Saint John) accompanied those from the city with his camera for the purpose of photographing the assembly…" An earlier copy of the newsletter (Vol. 4 # 5, November 1984) page 2 contained an obituary for Amy Blizzard who was born 16 Aug 1792 and died 7 April 1900 just a few months short of her 108th birthday. She was the daughter of the Loyalist, Oliver Akerley and the widow of Thomas Blizzard. She was to have been buried in Lower Cambridge with her husband but owing to ice conditions in the Washademoak Lake she was interred in the McDonald's Point Cemetery, Wickham. Given that from her 100th birthday in 1892 to her 107th birthday in 1899, Amy Blizzard's great age was the cause of a summer celebration for those who knew her near and far, it is reasonable to believe that men of great age in this community including her son Oliver Blizzard, gathered for this photograph by a Saint John photographer known to be present on that occasion in 1898. In all probability two-year-old Walter Ackerly who now resides in Cambridge was also at this party"
The newsletter of the Queen's County Historical Society & Museum is called the Queen's County Heritage and is published five time a year. Membership in the Society which includes the newsletter is open to anyone who tenders yearly dues of $5.00 to the Membership Secretary, 69 Front St., Gagetown, NB, E2M 1A4. This newsletter has been published continuously since 1980 and contains a wealth of genealogical and historical information on a rural English speaking New Brunswick county which has been settled by aboriginal, French, Planter, Loyalist and Irish ancestors.
Ruby is a genealogy buff. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.