When the Horse Was King of the Road
New Brunswick Agricultural Museum in Sussex
By Ruby M. Cusack
Saturday should be a fun day for kids but that certainly wasn't the case for the children of farmers during the planting season. As soon as we got home from school on Friday afternoon, we started lugging pails of potatoes from the cellar. Once supper was eaten, we hurried to the barn-floor, where we sat on overturned nail kegs cutting the potatoes, being very careful to leave an eye in each piece.
Bright and early Saturday morning, we went to the garden. My task was to drop the potato into the drill and Cliff would cover it with soil.
Dad had hilled the turnip field with the horse hoe. Tiny black seeds were waiting to be placed in the center of the rows. The purchase of a turnip seeder with a front and back wheel, a small hopper and handles to push it with, would make this year’s planting a lot faster.
While walking through the New Brunswick Agricultural Museum in Sussex, I spotted a turnip seeder and memories came rushing to me.
In fact many memories were rushing through my head, as this was a walk back in time, to the days when the farmer toiled from sunrise to sunset with horse drawn implements or plain old shank's mare to accomplish the tasks that fed the family.
*The wooden water pipes, leaning against the wall had been bored with a four-foot auger.
*The dog tread brought forth thoughts of how hard the family dog worked to churn the butter.
*When looking at the display of cow bells, I could almost hear their tinkle in the moonlight mixed with the peeping of the frogs.
*The walls of the museum were lined with tools of every nature, while practically every inch of floor space was crowded with horse drawn equipment.
Upon going down a short hallway, I got the surprise of my life, when I stepped into a kitchen that reminded me of the ones I had seen in my youth. I could almost smell the aroma of home made bread coming from the star stove oven. I could see the dust rolling as I beat Gram’s rag mats with the carpet beater and I could feel the cold blocks of ice being carried to the ice chest.
A very ornate highchair that could be quickly converted to a stroller sat in the corner. The old Beatty wash tub and wash board reflected on the work the woman had to do to keep her family clean. A razor strap hung on the wall ready to be used to sharpen a straight razor for a Saturday night shave by the man of the house. Iron griddles made me crave for a batch of buckwheat pancakes.
The first thing that caught my eye when I stepped into the bedroom next door was a homemade crutch that had been created from a Y shaped branch of a small tree. A log cabin quilt with the centre square of red hung on the hall.
The parlour held more artifacts of the past, including a lounge, pump organ, accordion and a fur muff.
A schoolroom had been set up with double seated wooden desks from the Parleeville School. The initials R M H, 1931, A M H and M L M were carved on the top of one of the desks. If you have relatives from that area, you'll enjoy searching for their initials.
In 1986, Tom Anderson with a group of volunteers felt the need for a museum to display and thus preserve the way of life in the horse drawn era and in so doing created a learning environment. At this time there are more than one thousand artifacts in the Museum which will bring back memories to the folk of my generation as well as providing information to those who are too young to remember.
I suggest you pay a visit to this museum to take a walk down the lane of yesteryear, when the king of the road and field was the horse and a time when tasks were completed by the sweat of the brow.
The New Brunswick Agricultural Museum in Sussex is open from mid June
until Labour Day. The hours of operation are Monday to Saturday, 10:00 p.m.until
5:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 12:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Visit their website at http://www.agriculturalmuseumofnb.com/
O'Dea - Dea - Dundon - Enright: I am very interested in any information on the exact date and the ship that enabled my Irish O'Dea - Dea ancestors to arrive in Lower Canada. Michael O'Dea (born 1750) was married to Margaret Dundon, who lived in Bruff Parish, Limerick, Ireland. Three of their sons James, John & Denis came to Lower Canada - New Brunswick - Gaspe Coast, Quebec around 1816/1825. James is my 4th great-grandfather. He married Ann (Nancy) Enright in Ireland and had children born in both Ireland and the Gaspe coast.
- Brian Dea - O'Dea, 22 Eastview Ave., North Ryde, Sydney, Australia, 2113. E-mail email@example.com.
Worden - Anderson: I'm working on the grandchildren of Gabriel Worden and wife Sarah Anderson. The family names are, Sniffen, Carpenter, Flewelling, Northrup, Glazier, Smith, Emmic, Glazier, Vanhorn, Hammon, Merrit, Jenkins, Case, Orser, Garrity, Fowler, Barnes and Belyea.
- Debby Worden, 3417 West Drive, Port Huron, MI., USA, 48049. 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.