THE VILLAGE IN THE VALLEY
A History of Stanley and Vicinity by Velma Kelly
By Ruby M. Cusack
Cliff and I watched as Gramp and Dad accompanied a strange man into the sheep barn. After he left, they came into the kitchen and began to discuss the deal of purchasing sheep from him.
Gram put down her knitting needles and listened for several moments. Finally she spoke up. “Dave, I was reading in a magazine about the benefits of raising Leichester sheep.” “I think you should purchase some of that breed.”
Gramp retorted, “I didn’t know your name was Jane Taylor.”
Once again, I was baffled by Gramp’s words and didn’t have a clue what he was talking about.
If I had lived in Stanley in the mid 1800s, I would have known about the widow Jane Taylor bringing the first pure bred sheep, the Leichester from England and from this stock the Stanley sheep became quite noted. She also made a fine contribution to the field of education in this village by teaching the farmer’s children while they in turn rewarded her by aiding her on the farm. Her grain took prizes not only in New Brunswick but she won two medals at the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia. When Jane came to New Brunswick, she was accompanied by a son, four daughters and her father’s brother.
The New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Land Company was granted 589,000 acres in York County at a price of two shillings three pence per acres. The object of the Company was to encourage immigration from the overcrowded parts of the homeland in the British Isles. Although the Company had several terms of agreement, many of those who immigrated visualized great happiness in owning their own land.
At first, the only manner of travel to Stanley was by canoes towed by horses up the Nashwaak River. Some of these canoes were 36 feet long, 3 feet wide and hewn out of a single pine tree, and were sometimes called Durham boats.
The first order of business in a new settlement was the erecting of a sawmill as most of the buildings would be built of wood.
By 1836, the village of Stanley had an Inn of 14 rooms, a large two story house capable of dining 100 men with a sleeping room above, and other buildings. In June of that year sixty families arrived with eighteen of them being from the town of Wooler, Northumberland, on the banks of the Tweed, Northern England. These families, with names such as: Turnbull, Humble, Grey, Waugh, Pringle, Hossack, Douglas, Thomas, Allen, Jeffrey, Kerr, Dixons and others endured many hardships getting across the Atlantic and making their way to Stanley.
Many “ Blue Coat Boys” aged 10 - 14 years also arrived in 1836. The Hon. Richard Bellamy was one of them.
Stanley grew and became more than a village. From the cluster of the buildings in the hollow in the hills it became the hub of a wheel.
The publication, “The Village in the Valley - A History of Stanley and Vicinity” was researched and compiled by Velma Kelly in 1983. It is filled with pictures and information on settlers, business, churches, farming, and details of life there.
The author states, “This is a glimpse into Stanley’s past. The success which the Company hoped for did not materialize for various reasons including the high price paid for the land, the inability of Company officials and political warfare. Yet the village has continued through the years as a lumbering and agriculture centre.”
By the way, William Sansom’s pen of Barred Rock Hens led all contests in Canada in 1930-1931 with eggs and points. J. Henry Harvey came first in Green Mountain Potatoes in 1928 at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. Even William Reid’s moose was a special attraction at the Fredericton Exhibition.
Included in the book, is the list of Electors in District No. 1, Parish of Stanley for the year 1874 which is a real prize winner in the surname contest of the genealogy hunt.
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.
Published in the
Saint John Telegraph-Journal on Tuesdays