Passing on the past
Hampton's Kings County Museum has plenty of stories to share:
like the one about the elusive Henry More Smith
Ruby M. Cusack

"Hurry up and get your lessons finished. We're going to Bloomfield after supper." This comment by Mum spurred us on to complete the tasks and get hands and faces washed in a rush.

A visit to Grampy's often meant an ice cream cone too. Dad usually stopped at Johnny Aiton's store, near the railway tracks at Bloomfield Station. Maple walnut ice cream was my favourite. I delighted in biting the end off my cone and usually had ice cream dripping off my chin.

As we crossed the two bridges, Mum always gave her lecture about being on our best behaviour and sitting quietly while the adults talked. Really, there wasn't any need for this warning. Grampy Provan may have been short in stature but he certainly could tell tall tales to hold our interest.

I can still hear him saying, "Well, he says to me and I says to him." We heard tales of the trips to Saint John with loads of hay. He told how he would climb up on top of the load of hay and sleep across the boom pole. This way, he would be awakened if a highway man tried to get to the top of the load to rob him.

Cold chills ran down my spine as he described a late evening walk home through the woods. He had answered the screech of an Indian Devil and the animal had followed him. Of course, when he came to the most interesting part, he stopped to fill his pipe. As we sat on the edge of our chairs, he went to the wood box and cut a sliver of kindling to use as a match. He took a few draws on the pipe and realized the stem needed cleaning. It seemed to take forever for him to get that pipe lit and then return to the couch to finish the tale.

My blood ran cold when he told of the dangerous men who had knocked on his door, looking for a handout or a day's work, and then slept in the barn all night.

I never tired of hearing the story of Henry More Smith - the mysterious stranger. No matter how hard the jail keeper - James Reid - in Kingston tried, he could not keep handcuffs on him. As the story unfolded, I could see the little dancing people that Henry made in his cell from the straw in his mattress. Henry escaped from the jail and outsmarted Sheriff Bates by nailing the shoes on backward on his horse.

At the Kings County Museum and Jail in Hampton, you can see the cell that housed Henry More Smith. (The jail at Hampton was moved from Kingston.) Also on display are the handcuffs that were used on Henry.

My grandfather, who was born in 1864, had all these wonderful stories, but he did not take the time to write them down for future generations. Fortunately, others did. Copies of many of them are in the Kings County Museum.

I really enjoyed and learned much from Tom Godsoe's 12 hand-written pages of his memories of the old Quaco Road and the Godsoe family. Reading his stories will take you back in time.

Another interesting one was written by Lawson McVey about the families of Passekeag.

On file at the Kings County Museum, there are indexes to: 645 genealogies on file; 170 cemetery lists; 110 place histories; 12 diary holdings; Kings County Historical and Archival Society newsletters 1962-1998; scrapbook holdings; church histories and more. They also have many reels of microfilm on Kings County matters.

Plan to drop into the museum as it is filled to the brim with artifacts that were used in the days of yesteryear. It is open during the summer months from Monday to Friday.  Visit their website at for more information.

Query 98-123
Abell - Gardiner:
  I wish to contact anyone who would like to share information on the family of Alfred H. Abell, my great-grandfather. In 1880, he married Alberta J. Gardiner and they had two sons, Edward James (1881-1929), and Claude (1884-?). I believe they lived in Prince Edward Island as well as Moncton and Saint John. I have been told by relatives that Alfred had a brother named William. Recently, I have found a William G. Abell, born in 1843. His wife Margaret died at her residence on Manawagonish Road, Saint John, on Nov. 8, 1914, at the age of 71 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery. I am interested also in information about Dr. Abell who was connected with the School for the Deaf in Saint John.
    -Beverley Floyd.  Email to

Queries have been grouped together to cover the year 1998 and can be viewed at Queries-1998

Ruby Cusack is a genealogy buff living in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to Ruby at 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.

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