by David G. Keirstead
The empty pails rattled in the trunk as
we drove to Bloomfield to visit Grampy.
As soon as we reached his house, we hurried to the orchard to pick yellow
transparent apples before the darkness overtook us.
When the pails were filled and carried to the car, we went around to the
front of the house, where we found Grampy sitting on the steps. He was smoking
his pipe, and seemed to be lost in thought, while gazing at the full moon
as it appeared over the horizon.
When Mum sat down beside him, he said, “I have been thinking about Captain
Simon Baxter, who received a 5000 acre grant in 1782, making him the first
permanent settler in the this area. He built a log house and then later
one of stone. He and his wife Prudence are both buried in the Big
Rock Cemetery right over by the bridge.”
He gave a few puffs on his pipe and continued, “I wonder what Captain Baxter
thought about as he sat and looked at the full moon?”
Without waiting for Mum to give an answer, he started to talk about the
suspension toll bridge on the Kennebecasis River, just below the Ox Bow that
was built by Justus Wetmore and James Whitney in the 1830s and was washed
out in a freshet. Then he told about the building of the new Baptist Church
at the foot of the hill.
It seemed each time, Dad suggested that we should be leaving, Grampy started
another interesting story.
Speaking of interesting stories of Bloomfield, you will find many of them
in David G. Keirstead’s, “The Bloomfield Area Remembered” including
Warneford, Central Norton, Guthrie Road, Dickie Mountain, Bloomfield
Station, Bloomfield Ridge and Passekeag.
The material has been divided into 10 sections, commencing with “Early
Settlers and Early Times” in which one learns about Simon Baxter, James
Innis, John Cook Hayes, John Smith, Fortune Hodges, Martin Butler and others.
The evolution of the roads, bridges and the railway gives a look back at
the means of travel throughout the countryside.
Having a place to worship and a place to bury played an important role,
thus 56 pages are devoted to this topic.
The memories of residents and former residents provide an insight into
not only the activities of the community but the folk who made the community.
The 80 pages on Family Trees and People give a glimpse of the many families
of Bloomfield, with photos being an extra bonus.
A house is just a house until one learns the story behind it. For example
the Isaac Ketchum house was said to have been built in 1790 and was used
for church services before there were churches in Hampton, Lower Norton or
Bloomfield. In 1805, Mary Upham, the wife of Judge Joshua Upham purchased
it. About 1820, it came into the hands of the Fairweather family, where members
of the family lived for many years. In 1901, Grace Fairweather was married
there to F. Warren Titus.
The 1844 report of James Brown, the Inspector of Schools, stated the Floyd
Settlement School, later called Bloomfield Ridge School was 15 feet by 16
feet. Only 11 students were present on the day he visited. The teacher,
Francis Campbell, was a 66-year-old widower. The Inspector noted, “He teaches
one or two at a time from Books, with little oral explanation.”
On Saturday, August 21, 2004 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. David G. Keirstead
will be launching his book “The Bloomfield Area Remembered” at the
“Old Store” by the railway crossing in Bloomfield.
A limited number of copies have been printed. The special launching-day
price will be $20.00 and the book will be available on a first come first
This add-to-book of nearly 500 pages with 100 photos is unbound.
The pages are ready to be placed in a three-ring binder. The author hopes
that in this way readers will add material to their copy thus creating a
treasure of life and happenings in Bloomfield, as well as keeping the community’s
After launching day, it will be available from the Kings County Museum,
Hampton. Phone 832-6009 or e-mail email@example.com. Visit their website
Mr. Keirstead will be donating the proceeds from the sale of “The
Bloomfield Area Remembered” to the Kings County Museum.
Roberts - Goodridge: I'm looking for background information
on George Roberts who married Emily Goodridge. Their son George Goodridge
Roberts (25 Dec. 1832 - 11 Oct. 1905), born in Saint John, New Brunswick,
was Canon of Christ Church Cathedral in Fredericton.
365 Gibson Street
Greene - McGrifith: Hugh Greene, born August 1835, was the son
of Henry Greene and Jane McGrifith. I am unable to locate any information
on the McGrifith name. Can anyone help?
114 Joffre St.
Canada, B2Y 3C9
Cain: Seeking information on the Cain brothers who settled in
the Cain's River area of New Brunswick. They came from the Village of Fairfield
in Ireland after the Belfast Riot of 1847.
PO Box 608411
Merritt - Comstock: Laura Merritt was born 1743 in Canada and
was married 1763 in Canada to Samuel Cosmtock of Saybrook, Conneticut, USA.
I am interested in finding the names of Laura Merritt's siblings and parents.
Rev. GARY D. COSMTOCK
171 Church Street
Keating - Doherty: I am searching for information on John Keating,
who was born circa 1829 in either Ireland or Westfield, New Brunswick. He
married Elizabeth Doherty on 21 Mar. 1857, who was born 1840 in Westfield
and died in 1887. John and Elizabeth lived in Nerepis and both are buried
in the Keating Cemetery in Westfield. They had 7 Children, Charlotte Anne,
Andrew Michael, Mary, John, William, Sarah and Charles, all born in Nerepis.
In the 1881 census, John’s mother, Charlotte Anne, born circa 1801 in Ireland,
was living with him. I need help in finding the names of his father and his
siblings. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
415 Woolastook Drive