A resilient people
The Irish arriving in Saint John managed to thrive
despite the hardships they endured
We had waited all week to be able to go coasting and skiing on Saturday but the weatherman ruined our plans as it was a day of freezing rain and high winds.
After breakfast Dad had to go to Fred's store to get a jug of molasses so Cliff and I tagged along. He saw an empty orange crate by the stove and purchased it for a quarter.
Once we returned home, Dad took the hammer, handsaw, nails and some very thin planed pine boards and set to work to make a cover for the orange crate. He asked Cliff to go to the horsebarn to fetch him an old piece of a leather strap that once had been part of the harness. With his jackknife, he cut off two eight inch pieces of leather and made hinges. A couple of other strips were attached to the ends of the crate for handles. I couldn't believe it, as now right before my eyes, was my very own trunk, that I had been wanting.
Cliff and I carried my trunk into the kitchen and placed it on top of last week's newspapers that Mum had spread on the floor. Dad followed with a can of green paint and a brush. Once the paint dried, Mum used black paint to stencil my name on the side. In the evening we wallpapered the interior.
On Sunday morning, I was placing my treasures in the most-beautiful-trunk in the whole wide world, when Gramp walked into the kitchen. He asked me, "Are you packing your foot locker for a sea voyage?"
I don't know why that man had to use phrases that I didn't understand.
Over the years I have figured out that he was referring to packing all your prized possessions in a trunk and then heading to another place to live.
In 1847 about 16,000 Irish emigrants arrived in Saint John. Some were destitute with only the clothes on their back. Others had passage money and brought their trunks filled with possessions and reminders of the homeland they had left behind.
The publication, "A Chronicle of Irish Emigration to Saint John, New Brunswick 1847" was compiled by J. Elizabeth Cushing, Teresa Casey and Monica Roberston using selected transcripts from the newspaper, ‘The New Brunswick Courier' from January 2 to December 25 of 1847. The transcripts include obituaries of persons born in Ireland, lists of many deaths and burials on Partridge Island as well as other interesting articles. Also included is an alphabetical list of the vessels carrying emigrants to the Port of Saint John in 1847 from information given in the ‘Courier's' Marine Journal and from "Papers Relative to Emigration to the British Provinces in North America - Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, December 20, 1847."
A few excerpts from the newspaper transcripts: Death of Mr. William Lahey, a native of Ballycotton, County Cork, aged 45 years . . . Information wanted of Patrick McQuade who is about 16 and a native of the Parish of Killskerry, County of Tyrone. . .The Charity Ball at the Temperance Hall had between six and seven hundred persons present. . . Married by the Rev. Robert Irvine, John, second son of John Hunter, Esq. M.D. formerly of Litterkenny (Ireland) to Louisa, eldest daughter of the late Lionel Anderson, Esq. of this City. . . Death at Ballibofey of Mrs. Elizabeth King, relict of Dr. King of Donegal at the advanced age of 70 years . . .Listing of the names and ages of one hundred or more passengers who died in hospital at Partridge Island during the month of July, 1847.
History documents the cold hard facts of the struggles, sufferings and
sacrifices made by many Irish settlers to New Brunswick yet they rose above
their afflictions. On March 17, their descendants will remember them.
"A Chronicle of Irish Emigration to Saint John, New Brunswick 1847" compiled by J. Elizabeth Cushing, Teresa Casey and Monica Roberston can be found on the shelves of libraries in New Brunswick.
* * *
Leake - Masonic Home: I am looking for information on a Masonic Home in Saint John in the early 1900s. The family story goes that John Wesley Leake died there around 1916. He would have been about age 60 when he died. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
-Kathy Upton, P.O. Box 122, Cherryfield, Maine, 04622, USA. E-mail Upton@midmaine.com.
Miller - Hartery - Sands - Monahan: I am looking for information regarding my great, great grandfather, John Miller who was born March of 1854 in Nelson or the Chatham area of Northumberland County, New Brunswick. He wed Mary Hartery, daughter of Edward Hartery and Margaret Sands, in Chatham in 1876 in the Roman Catholic Church. His first two children, Elizabeth and Margaret were born in 1877 and 1879, respectively in Chatham. By 1880, John, Mary and their two young daughters were living in Bangor, Maine. It is there they stayed and had four more children. John died in 1922 according to his tombstone in Bangor. I believe John had a brother, James Miller who wed Margaret Monahan in 1878 in Chatham. James is listed as a witness on John and Mary's marriage record and their daughter, Elizabeth's baptismal record. The 1900 Bangor, Penobscot County, Maine census lists John as born in Canada and his parents as born in Ireland. However, my family has always insisted that John Miller was 1/2 Mi'kmaq Indian. I have been unable to locate a birth or baptismal or death record for him to determine who his parents are and his true ethnicity. Any help is most appreciated.
-Krista Heatley, 240 Harvard Street, Portland, Maine, 04103, USA. E-mail MILLERinME@aol.com.
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.