It Is This Our Heritage -
Mum had spent all last evening quizzing me on the
details of the stories for today’s Reading Test.
It certainly paid off as I knew the answer to every one of the twenty
When the teacher handed me my test, I expected 20/20. I couldn’t
believe my eyes - the mark was 19 ½ out of 20.
As I scanned down the page, I saw a big red circle around the answer
to, ‘Who was the author of The Ugly Duckling?’
I had written, Hans Christian Anderson.
Now if I had been one of the children attending the school in New
Denmark, I would have known that the last syllable in Andersen was ‘sen’
In 1872, the families of Anders Carlsen, Neils Christensen, Lars
Clausen, Sigurdt Johansen and Ferdinand Neilsen made the decision to
leave Denmark and move to New Brunswick.
In Canadian history these twenty-nine people are recorded as “the First
Canadian Danish Settlers”.
They left a Denmark starving from crop failure and ravaged by war.
The New Brunswick government promised each male over 18 years of age,
farm land with accessible roads, and that a shelter be available for
the families upon their arrival until their own could be built.
After arriving in Halifax, they transported their goods on a smaller
vessel to come to Saint John. A steamer took them to Fredericton.
By paddle-wheeler they continued their journey until reaching Whitehead
Flats on June 19,
The group found their land to be in a hilly desolate area of North
Western New Brunswick. To their astonishment those dreamed about farms
were still covered with virgin forests.
In August four more families arrived. The following year, an additional
seventy-five people came.
In 1889, seventeen years after the first group left Denmark, Peter
Neils Petersen came across the Atlantic Ocean on the ‘Scandinavian’
accompanied by three daughters, one son and son-in-law Christian
With the influx of immigrants, the settlement began to spread out,
forming the present day, six adjoining separate communities, Foley
Brook, Salmonhurst, Blue Bell, Lake Edward, Hilldale and New Denmark,
united in purpose, language and background.
The old New Denmark school house no longer calls the children to learn
their lessons, instead, as a museum, it beckons those from near and far
to come to learn of the days when the communities were growing. It
ancient implements and utensils brought from Denmark as well as some of
the primitive and innovative aids fashioned by the settlers themselves.
The walls are lined with photographs of the new people and the
lands of those early days.
In the publication, “It Is This Our Heritage”, Teresa Madore
tells about living together in New Denmark after a group of Danes
a Canadian call to come and help colonize this vast country. She
states,”There is a history here, not surrounded by bright city lights
or large shopping malls, but quiet farm homes, where we can trace the
footsteps of the early settlers; where we can sit on their front
doorsteps and where we can ponder the marvels of God.”
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, Founder’s Day in New Denmark will be held as usual on June
19 and the Museum will also be open.
Visit Allen Crabtree’s site at http://www.crabcoll.com/journal/sister.html
to learn about his grandmother, Lena Petersen who kept her connection
New Denmark a secret from her family for nearly fifty years.
Ruby M. Cusack is a genealogy buff
living in Saint John. Send your queries to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Include your name and mailing address for the benefit of the readers of
the newspaper who do not have access to E-mail but could have
information to share with you. Please put "Yesteryear" followed
by the surnames in your query. For more information on
submitting queries, visit http://www.rubycusack.com/Query-Instructions.html
contributes a "Family History" column to the Telegraph-Journal on