This Is New Brunswick
by Jessie I. Lawson and Jean MacCallum Sweet
published in 1951.
Ruby M. Cusack
I loved the rolled down maps that graced the walls and blackboard of our little one room school. I could sit and stare at them for hours. My favourite one was the Maritime Provinces with each county being coloured a very bright colour.
As I looked at New Brunswick, my dream was to drive all those roads in a red Chrysler Town and Country convertible, with plaid upholstery and wagon-style wood planking on the sides.
Jessie Lawson and Jean Sweet didn’t just dream about touring New Brunswick. They drove the roads, starting at the northwest corner of the province, noting the routes taken and what they saw and experienced on the trip in preparation for their book, “This Is New Brunswick”.
As you read their book, you too will see New Brunswick as it was in the 1950s.
Before leaving Grand Falls, a visit is made to Blue Bell Settlement. New Denmark was founded by people who came from Denmark in the 1870s, expecting to find cleared land and weatherproof buildings but found only virgin wilderness.
The story of Elizabeth Hopkins who spent her declining years in Carleton County is one of an adventurous life. She was a Loyalist, wounded twice, planned the escape of her husband and twenty-two deserting American soldiers, thrice married, the mother of 18 sons and 4 daughters, known in the 104th Regiment as Mammy Hopkins and was granted in 1816, a pension of 100 pounds a year.
Meductic is the site of the Indian village which Malabeam saved from the Mohawks as well as where John Gyles, a ten-year-old New England lad was brought as a prisoner in 1689. It was here in 1717, under the direction of a Jesuit priest, the maliseets built a church with a bell that pealed through the wilderness calling the Indians to prayer.
At the Legislative Library in Fredericton, the ladies viewed the priceless Audubon Bird Books, one of two such sets in existence. Each book is more than two feet wide and more than three feet long.
Susan Anne Gunhilda Wiggins, was the first woman to sit in the Senate. She was born at Lakeside House, Waterboro, on Grand Lake, April 6, 1846. She had a private tutor. At age 16 she married her cousin, E. Stone Wiggins.
A day spent in the St. Martins area, finds mention of Tynemouth Creak and Gardiner Creek where such shipbuilders as the Parkers and the MacLeods were once known to the ports of the world. Tynemouth Creek has also been made famous by its native son, Painless Parker, the multimillionaire owner of a chain of Dental Parlours.
Speaking of millionaires, on Rothesay Avenue on the east side of Saint John, there once was a Millionaire’s Club in a solid square-looking house. Once upon a time, a new owner paid in gold, which he brought to the door in a milk-can.
Near the village of Albert is a flat stone on which is chiseled a mysterious French inscription which translated reads: “1882. To the North 1505.” What does it mean? No one has ever been able to discover.
About seven miles from Hillsborough, among the high hills of Demoiselle Creek is the Underground Lake which can be found by climbing down a cave to see a body of water, clear as glass, on a floor of white gypsum. Over it is a roof of white gypsum from which drip crystal stalactites, which even in the dim light glitter like diamonds.
On the south shore of Cocagne Bay is a spot known as “le camp Boishebert,” because there in the winter of 1755-1756 this French officer established himself to protect fugitive Acadians.
Henry O’Leary started canning lobsters at Richibucto in 1855 and by 1877 had twenty-five factories.
Jessie Stuart MacFarlane was born in Saint John and went to Richibucto in the 1890s to keep house for her uncle, W. W. Short and look after his four motherless children. After Mr. Short’s death in 1898, Jessie operated and maintained the telephone system - installed new phones and made repairs for two years.
All of this information and much more can be found within the 200 pages of “This is New Brunswick” by Jessie I. Lawson and Jean MacCallum Sweet which was published in 1951. Not only did these ladies, who had such a wealth of knowledge provide a touring guide to the province but they gave us a legacy of historical information that enables us, fifty years later to learn more details about our New Brunswick.
This book can be found in most reseach institutions throughout
Ruby M. Cusack is a genealogy buff living in Saint John. Send your queries to her at: email@example.com. Include your name and mailing address for the benefit of those who do not have access to E-mail. Please put Family Surname followed by the word 'Query' in the subject line. That is Smith & Jones - Query.
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