Legacy of Plaster Rock
Teresa Madore and Emily Yeomans
The cold winds of winter had hit with a
real clout. Mum stuffed little pieces of cloth around the window sashes to
stop the draft. As she worked she told us of how long ago the spaces between
the logs in the cabins were corked to keep the heat from the fireplace in
and to keep the cold out.
It has been said that early settlers along a particular section of the Tobique
River gathered plaster found along the cliffs and red clay to cork their log
cabins for warmth. Due to the plaster and the river route a permanent settlement
was established and was named Plaster Rock
In 1984 Teresa Madore and Emily Yeomans were instrumental in gathering information
for the publication, “A Legacy of Plaster Rock”, which they describe
as a stroll down the Tobique as far as the Indian Reservation and a sail up
to the Little Tobique above Nictau. One general principle in the publication
was to include any contributor who had set foot or approached the banks of
the Tobique as they had influenced Tobique history and thus merited mentioning.
According to the Charles G. D. Roberts account of 1882, many settlers along
the river valley were already taking loads of plaster down the river.
In 1881, Hezekiah Day and his two brothers William and Ezra were the first
settlers in the Plaster Rock area. Hezekiah and his wife Amanda (Fairbanks)
with their three children, Carrie, Thomas and John decided to settle across
Henry and Eleanor (Scott) Ridgewell received a land grant in 1882.
They came from Newcastle to build their first log cabin on the site of the
present day Tobique High School. In four years they were able to construct
a beautiful frame house.
David and Margaret Roulston, his two brothers and two sisters came from
Ireland in the late 1800s and first settled in the St. Stephen area but within
a couple of years they came to Plaster Rock. The death of Margaret left David
with seven children to care for. Rumors of a gold rush in the Klondike lured
David’s brothers to head west.
“Pack Peddlers”, such as John Griffith, Seth Salmond, Paddy Green and Alex
Parnarsky were a welcome sight as they carried dry goods, linens, thread,
laces and messages from neighbours.
In 1897, Fred Hale and his brother Archie, decided to build a sawmill on
the same site the Fraser Mill is today. Quickly other buildings were
built to house and feed the crew.
The 236 pages in “A Legacy of Plaster Rock”, by Teresa Madore and
Emily Yeomans portray the happenings in a village and the people who lived
I suggest, you check with your nearest research institution to see if they
have a copy of the book on their shelf.
Reprints of the book may be ordered from Teresa Madore, 2430 Route 380,
Anderson Road, New Brunswick, Canada, E7G 4C6. Telephone 506-356-2393.
By the way, Teresa Madore has ten other publications that you might wish
to inquire about.