Life and Times of Kings County
Well-known author, Dorothy Dearborn tackles history of Kings County
Again tonight, Dad was lying on the kitchen couch reading the magazine that Gram had given him for Christmas. I noticed that whenever Mum had a spare moment she also read a few pages from this book. To add to the mystery there was a stack of them on the bottom shelf in the pantry.
I knew the first word in the title was “Farmer’s” but the other one was not one that I had taken in school. It was spelled “A-l-m-a-n-a-c” and I didn’t have clue how to pronounce it or what it meant. When Dad drifted off to sleep, I asked Mum if I could look at the Farmer’s book.
She smiled and said, “I have a better idea.” “We will look at it together.”
As we sat at the kitchen table, Mum explained that the “Farmer’s Almanac” had been read by her parents when she was a little girl and probably a copy was in almost every household in Kings County. In fact it had been published yearly for well over a hundred years and held not only weather forecasts but stories of interesting events. One story was about the artist Samuel F.B. Morse, who was an art professor in New York. On May 24, 1844, he sent the first telegraphic message of electronic dots and dashes.
Dorothy Dearborn of Hampton is sending out lots of messages filled with entertaining and interesting stories in her book, “An Anecdotal History of Kings County New Brunswick” and I might add that it, like the Farmer’s Almanac is being read in many homes in Kings County.
1867 marked the first time that strawberries were cultivated in New Brunswick as a business crop. Clifton on the Kingston Peninsula became renowned as a strawberry producing community.
The early inns had very few guest rooms, travellers brought their own blankets and lay as near to a large open fire as they could, roasting on one side and freezing on the other in the winter.
As early as 1765 sloops, owned by Simonds, Hazen and White of Saint John, were carrying supplies inland. Gondolas were used to carry lime for fertilizer and to bring back such barter items as furs, shingles, staves, spars and clapboards.
An Act passed in 1786 provided for the clearing of tow paths on the river shore beside rapids and at other places where it was necessary to use horses or oxen to tow freight boats and rafts.
The story of Catons Island begins with fishermen and traders from Rachelle and St. Malo in France who established themselves there in 1611.
General Coffin came with the Loyalists in 1783 and under unclear circumstances was able to get the necessary papers entitling him to land at Woodmans Point that had been granted to Beamsly Glasier.
As was the custom of wealthy families, the Loyalist George Leonard had a retinue of slaves which he brought to Sussex with him, as well as a staff of servants for his mansion, Rosemount in Sussex Vale.
The very ornate Sussex Exhibition Building was the site of the provincial exhibition in 1861. After the one-time use, it started to deteriorate. Col. Evanson had it torn down and used the lumber to make an addition to his barn.
In 1800, the tax rolls show that, in the Parish of Sussex Vale, 1,473 acres of land had been improved and there were 127 horses, 409 cattle and 725 sheep. 114 people paid taxes.
An economic survey of Kings County, done in 1803, indicated the area was principally agricultural and annually sent about 200 or 300 barrels of flour to market, formerly more, but the ravages of the Hessian fly had considerably reduced the exportation.
The fourteen square mile area known as Quispamsis was first settled by the Maliseets who were followed by the Acadians, some British pre-Loyalists and later the Loyalists. Possibly the oldest house is Stoneycroft, once known as the “11th mile” stagecoach stop.
Travel the rivers by boat, walk the early paths, ride the saddle horse, sit in the stagecoach as it makes its way along the muddy swampy trails, attend church, hop aboard the train, stop at the inns and taverns, to learn of the life and times of the early settlers as you read, “An Anecdotal History of Kings County New Brunswick” by Dorothy Dearborn.
This book was published in 2001 and is available in several local bookstores or contact the author at email@example.com.
Brig Australia - Tompkins: I have recently prepared a website about the vessel which brought my ancestor, Joel Tompkins, from Saint John. New Brunswick to Melbourne, Australia in 1852. The brig had been purchased specifically to bring a group of gold-seekers, mainly young New Brunswick men, to the diggings here. The website includes the known information about the background and ultimate fate of each of the 100-odd persons on board for that maiden voyage, whether passenger or crew member. I am anxious to find out more about those involved whose movements after arrival haven't yet been traced, particularly those who returned to New Brunswick. In fact, any additional material on any of the passengers or crew will be greatly appreciated. Visit my site at www.ozemail.com.au/~tompkins/brigaust.htm.
-Allan J. Tompkins, "Limberlost", 14 Murray Parade, Koondrook, Victoria 3580, Australia. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Fax +613 545 33 545.
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.