All Our Born Days
Doris Calder has captured the Kingston Peninsula
with some stories of life in days gone by
By Ruby M. Cusack
Many hands make light work and the snow was soon cleared from the patch of ice. The blazing fire warmed our fingers and toes as we laced our skates.
Now if we had only lived on the Kingston Peninsula, probably the adults would have been joining us. Although people had been skating on the rivers since the early 1800s, it was only after James A. Whelpley invented the "Long Reach Speed Skate" and introduced it on the Long Reach about 1870, that skating became a passion for young and old alike.
The "Long Reachers" skates were strapped onto a person's boots. Each skate had a long steel blade fitted into a wooden top like a bob skate, and a pair of leather straps to fasten to the wearer's boots. The skate was unlikely to cramp the ankles and, therefore in those days, 100-mile journeys on skates were common.
Hugh McCormick practised skating on the wide stretches of the Kennebecasis and the Saint John River. On April 5, 1883, when Hugh was twenty-nine, he made his first visit to the Victoria Skating Rink in Saint John where one hundred costumed contestants were vying for money and fame. Hugh, dressed in a coon-skin hat, homespun trousers and white hand-knitted socks pulled up over his pantlegs, joined them at the starting line. He won the half-mile race and the next year went to New York and came out on top. This is only one of the many stories in "All Our Born Days" by Doris Calder.
Some of the Chapter titles are: THE LOYALIST GENERATION: Kingston Loyalists, The First Years, The Church & The Crown, The Black Loyalists, Early Schooldays, Getting Around, Early Industry, Crime & Punishment, The Mysterious Stranger. THE NEXT GENERATIONS: Changing Times, Thriving Industry, Irish Immigrants, The Pickett Tragedy, Sailors & Sea Stories, Country Doctors & Home Remedies, River Ice & Winter Fun, Steamboats & Hotels, Agriculture & Farm Life, Captain Pitt & The Ferries, The Three R's & More, The Mail & The Phones, Ghosts, Going Ons and Rainbow's End.
Some of the pictures included are: Zaidee Williams (1979); Rev. Wiliam Elias Scovil (1810-1876) - third rector of Trinity Church Kingston with his wife; Frances (Lee) Scovil (1822-1913); Bayswater School - Arbour Day - 1918 (Fenton Gibbons, Hazel Hall, Harold Baxter, Elsie Baxter, Arthur Linton, Edna Baxter and Vira Hall); Belles of Grey's Mills in 1909 (Agnes Johnston, Nellie Prince, Helen Johnston, Esther Pickett, Mildred MacDougall, Vara Lyon and Glady Seely); David W. Thompson (1967); Perkins Inn; Sam Foster's Store in early 1900s; Students from Macdonald Consolidated School on a trip to Saint John in 1925; Horse drawn school van; "Maggie Miller" in midstream; William Whelpley wearing "Long Reachers"; Eliza Bostwick (1899); Zetta Rodger's Model T Ford and the "Haymakers, Hog Island, Bellisle Bay, taken about 1912 with Shalor Cosman, Bill Cosman, Ike Humphries, Frank Cosman, Myrtle Shamper, Paul Whelpley, Emma Ferguson, Liddy Shamper, Hattie Puddington, Margaret Puddington, Grace Shamper. On top of hay stack - Nellie Prince, Mabel Sterrit, Olive Cosman and Ivory MacCleery. The back cover has a picture of the author with Dr. A. T. Leatherbarrow.
In preparation for writing this book, Doris Calder spent several years researching written material, interviewing older residents and visiting sites that were important to the early settlers. Her book is the story of the Kingston Peninsula - its hills, forests, fields and the waters that surround it, as well as the people who have lived on the Peninsula - Malecites, Acadians, early English-speaking settlers, Loyalists and their descendants, Irish immigrants and their offspring, and others who came to stay.<>Many interesting stories of life in the twenty mile peninsula that is tucked in between the Saint John and Kennebecasis Rivers can be found in "All Our Born Days" - A Lively History of New Brunswick's Kingston Peninsula - by Doris Calder. This 223 page book is available for viewing at several research institutions.
* * * *
Capson - McGorman: James Capson immigrated from Ireland about 1847 with at least one son, Archibald, born Jun 30, 1831 in Ireland. Archibald married Isabella McGorman in Saint John. They had the following children: William James (1866) married Louisa Cunningham; Catherine Matilda (1861); Louisa (1863) married George William Titus; Archibald (1869) married Mary Ann Titus; Samuel H. (1867) married Elizabeth Ferris; Lilly May (1870) married John Edward Cummings; George D. (1871) married Alice Maud Logan; Jennie (1874). I would appreciate any information on the family of James Capson and will share what I have gathered.
-Gayle Capson-Morgan, 2 Cresthill Dr., Lower Greenwich, N. B., E5K 4G6. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finnamore: I am searching for information regarding James Finnamore who was born in 1817 and died in 1896 and his wife's name was Theresa. James may have been born on the Tobique or in Maine. Does anyone have information as to his parents or siblings?
-Terry Finnamore, 1195 Fennell Avenue East, Apt 411, Hamilton, Ontario Canada L8T 1S9. E-mail to FINN2@SYMPATICO.CA.
McCormick - Galloway: I am looking for information on the descendants of Bernard McCormick who was born in Ireland and immigrated to New Brunswick in 1821. He married Bridget Galloway on November 25, 1825 at St. Malachy's Church, Saint John. Bernard and Bridgets children were: Charles, John, Bernard, Thomas, Ellen, Elizabeth, Peter, James, and Mary Ann. Bridget, James, John, and Mary Ann are enumerated in the 1870 U.S. Census is Red Wing Minnesota. Bernard, Bridget, James, John, and Mary Ann are buried in Red Wing Minnesota. Please contact me if you have any information regarding this family.
-Judy Freund, 22276 Parkwood St., Lake Forest, California 92630-2340,
USA. E-mail to email@example.com.
Cody's Coffee House: I am seeking information on Cody's Coffee House of Saint John, owned by William George Cody about 1800.
-Wally Whiteside, 4481 Keith Road, West Vancouver, B. C., V7W 2M4. Phone: (604) 922 0287. Fax: (604) 922- 6187. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.