A town forgotten
Richard Burke's book tells of a forgotten section
of the North End of Saint John
I waited all week for Saturday to arrive, as I was going to visit Aunt Bird and her niece Ada Mac at the corner of Adelaide and Newman Street in the North End of Saint John.
Their flat was on the third floor. I don't think any interior decorating changes had been made within the last thirty years. Heavy drapes hung over the doorways and were tied back by braided cords. The bathtub had high legs. The bedding smelled of camphor. The kitchen stove was fed coal that was kept in a back shed. The furniture was old and dainty. Ada's father had been a sea captain and it seemed every room held a reminder of his voyages to Boston and far away places.
Although Ada was no spring chicken, she was determined to show me a good time on my visit.
After supper we walked along Adelaide Street and down Main Street to
see where the river boats once tied up. She pointed out the house where Walter
Pidgeon lived. We took the stairs up to Holly Street and I saw the large
brick Alexandra School - little did I know then, that one day I would spend
a year teaching grade six in that building.
We sat in Victoria Square and watched the children play tag.
I felt sorry for a little dog who kept pulling on his leash held by an elderly lady. I thought that he would have loved to have lived in the country and have been able to run through the fields.
When we arrived back at the house, Ada introduced me to the MacLaren children who lived in the middle flat.
I went off to bed, but I was a long time going to sleep as I was thinking about the trip tomorrow on the streetcar and lunch at MRA's Tea Room. It seemed that I had just closed my eyes when I heard the clop! clop! of the rubber shoes of the horses pulling the milk wagon on its early morning delivery.
Reading from "Indiantown - a town forgotten" by Richard Burke brought memories rushing to me of my summer vacations at 116 Adelaide Street.
Richard states in his introduction, "There was a time when the name ‘Indiantown' conjured up images of a busy industrial area with a population of about 2500 colourful souls. But Indiantown, as it is still called by most people even now, in the 1980s, has had its better days. Time itself has eroded the vitality of this once-buzzing commercial centre."
The town had its beginning in the late 1770s when a trading post was built in the area of Bridge Street and after it was turned over to the Indians, it became known as "Indian House".
The book is introduced with a 1975 newspaper interview with Charlie Pitt - a barber of Indiantown who shared his knowledge of the area.
Charlie told about many things, such as:
*Henry Akerley's Hotel being given the nickname of "Poverty Hall".
*The Austins, who were commissioned merchants and dealers in flour, pork, fish, cordage, hardware, paints, oils and all kinds of groceries.
*Gorham and Tapley, importers and dealers in hats, caps, trunks, valises and ready-made clothing.
*Lewis Rivers, lumber merchants and manufacturers.
*Waring Brothers manufacturers of steam engines and boilers.
*McLellan & Holly which did towing around the harbour and through the falls.
*Snowflake Lime, which produced lime
*Stories of the river boats that docked here.
*The Fire that ravaged Indiantown in 1899 and claimed the life of eighty year old Ann Cunard who refused to leave her residence on Holly Street and
*One of the famous sons of Indiantown, the well known movie actor - Walter Pidgeon.
The author included ninety black and white photos of the area.
"Indiantown - a town forgotten" by Richard Burke provides details on the life of the north end of the City of Saint John in another era and can be viewed at several research institutions in Saint John.
Casey: I am looking for information on the family of Jeremiah and Catherine (nee Spillane) Casey, originally from Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland. They emigrated from Ireland circa 1850 and settled in Charlotte County, New Brunswick around 1860. They had nine children, Mary (1845-?) and Catherine (1848-?) born in Ireland. William (1852-?), Jeremiah (1854-1933) and Patrick (1857-1944) born in Maine. Margaret (1860-?), Timothy (1862-1931), Thomas (1864-?) and Mary (1866-?) born in New Brunswick. Timothy joined the priesthood, and became bishop of Saint John and later Archbishop of Vancouver. Any further information on this family would be greatly appreciated.
-William Casey, 20 Belvedere Lawn, Douglas, Cork, Ireland. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Morrison - Kilpatrick: I am trying to find the burial place of Charles Morrison. He was born about 1824 in Ireland and married Margaret Kilpatrick in Saint John in1847. Their children were, Charles A., Margaret, James A., William John and Robert B. Charles was listed in the 1871 census, but not the 1881 so he may have died during these years. He and his family lived on Manawagonish Road in Saint John. Any information will be greatly appreciated.
-Wendy S. (Morrison) Marshall. E-mail to email@example.com.
Cole - Keenan: I am searching for the names of the parents of my great grandfather, Japhet Talbert Cole. He was born August 26, 1876 in Moncton, New Brunswick. Family history indicates that his father was a mariner and mother Mik'maq. My great grandmother, Margaret Cole (formerly Keenan from Tyrone County, Ireland) would travel to Coles Island (Queens County) yearly with my grandfather (Ernest) and brother (Arthur) to visit relatives. Japhet Talbert Cole migrated to Maine around June 23, 1898 and settled in Lowell, Massachusetts until his death in 1939. Any assistance that can be provided would be a blessing.
-Shay Thurlow, 2540 Makua Avenue, West Atlantic Beach, Florida, 32233, USA. E-mail 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.