Edited by Graeme F. Somerville
For just one Saturday, I really wanted
to do nothing but enjoy myself. But that certainly wasn’t going to happen
this particular day as Dad was dead set on getting in all the vegetables
from the garden and putting them away for winter.
Cliff and I pulled and topped the carrots, beats and turnips and lugged
the baskets to the wagon. Once the team arrived at the house, we then had
to carry the baskets down the stone steps to the bins in the cellar. The pumpkins
and squash were next on the list. They had to be taken to the empty upstair
bedroom as they kept best in a dry environment. The onions which we had brought
in the previous week had been drying and they, too, needed to be taken upstairs.
After all this was completed, Mum wanted the beans gathered and flailed.
It was not the carefree day that I had wanted for myself.
My complaints at needing to gather all these vegetables fell on deaf ears
until Gramp arrived and then the lecture started. He informed us that the
only way that many early settlers were able to survive the winter was due
to their garden and the putting of vegetables in the root cellar. He rambled
on about a farm being able to provide the necessities of life and how fortunate
we were to have lots of fertile land for gardens.
In the 1840s, after spending the earlier part of his life on a farm James
Vaughan Tabor was living in Portland, St. John County (better known today
as the North End) and paying $12.00 a year for a room and bedroom for himself,
his wife and their two children. He was working in the office of a shipbuilder.
The next year he rented another house for $16.00 yearly rent on the Straight
Shore, now known as Chesley Drive. That house had one good large room and
a large bedroom that would accommodate two beds but most importantly it
had a small piece of ground attached that he found quite a benefit to the
family. I wonder what vegetables he harvested to help feed his family?
James Vaughan Tabor’s father, Jesse, was the first English child born on
the Hammond River in the Parish of Hampton and his mother was Mary Vaughan
of Quaco. James was their eldest son and was born in 1807 in St. Martins
Parish. He was brought up on a farm that was 30 miles from Saint John and
17 miles up river from the first grant that his grandfather Jesse Tabor had
received. The country was so little opened that a wagon could not approach
within 10 miles of the residence.
His one desire was to attend school, but it was not until he reached the
age of twenty-one that this became possible. He had not attended school
for long when a neighbour, John F. Sherwood, remarked that James must be
lazy or he would not be spending fine weather in a schoolhouse. This so
upset him that he quit school. For quite some time despondency plagued him.
By1833 he was attending school in St. Martins. He soon formed the
desire to teach school and in 1835 he commenced teaching in a school near
Deacon Ammon Fowler’s. His subsequent teaching career extended over thirty
years and several districts, most notably Upham and Wickham.
On November 30, 1837 he married sixteen year old Leah Seely Wilson, daughter
of James and Mary Wilson, who were natives of County Cork and had been married
in the City of Bandon in 1818. James and Leah became parents to nine children
and in the later years of their life moved to Woodstock to be near some
of their adult children. His death occurred there in 1869.
Most of the above information has been taken from the writings of John
Vaughan Tabor, which Graeme Somerville, of Saint John, located in Victoria,
British Columbia, 3,500 miles from their place of origin.
“The Tabor Papers” edited by Graeme Somerville give a clear insight
into the life and times of the first half of the nineteenth century in southern
New Brunswick as well as the life of a man whose interests were centered
around his family, farming, teaching and the Baptist Church. It is truly
interesting reading. In spite of limited formal education he mastered the
skill of putting his thoughts clearly on paper, both in the form of verse
and prose, as is well chronicled in The Tabour Papers.
The original manuscripts of Mr. Tabor were subsequently sent from Victoria,
British Columbia to the Archives & Research Library of the New Brunswick
Museum on Douglas Avenue in Saint John. Be sure to take a magnifying glass
if you wish to read them. However, the 57 page publication is much easier
to read and the footnotes and full index are a great addition.
“The Tabor Papers” is available from Graeme F. Somerville, 84 Beach
Crescent, Saint John, NB, Canada, E2K 2E4 at $16.00 plus postage and packaging.
By the way, a meeting of the Saint
John Branch of the New Brunswick Genealogical Society will be held on Wednesday,
September 29, 2004, at 7:30 in the Lion’s Den, Loch Lomond Villa. Bruce
Campbell will be speaking about the Genealogical Resources available at
the Family History Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
in West Saint John.
No Queries were published this week.