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Fredericton, New Brunswick
Isabel Louise Hill

Dad was working in the cellar, splitting cedar blocks into kindling, when Gramp came down the stone steps and stood and looked around.

I thought he was watching us rank the sticks into neat piles against the wall, until he spoke.

“You know the cellar can tell many things about a house.”

I wondered what he meant by this statement as all I could see were walls made of stones that had been lathed and plastered plus a dry mud floor that Mum was always sweeping. It seemed they couldn’t afford to purchase spikes when they were doing the building and used wooden pegs. The nails were square instead of round.

After going upstairs to the kitchen the talk on houses continued, Dad mentioned the ell that had been built on the house up the road. Mum said her home had a piazza. Gram talked about the beautiful gingerbread trim on a house near Cassidy Lake. Next they discussed the people who once lived in the houses and even went into details about buildings that were long gone.

All this talk of food and even an alphabet letter in connection with buildings as well as cellars holding clues had me really confused. 

Isabel Louise Hill of Fredericton, didn’t just talk about houses and the people who lived in them. In 1968, with the financial help of the York-Sunbury Historical Society, she shared her vast knowledge of the information she had collected on the houses of Fredericton and surrounding area and the folk who lived in them by compiling a 477-page publication, ‘Fredericton, New Brunswick, British North America’.

There is so much information of a genealogical nature in this book that I am only touching the tip of the iceberg when I mention that after John Murray Bliss was appointed Solicitor General in 1809, his income became such as to enable him to “live respectably” by enlarging his house on the front street. He made improvements on the homestead, ‘Bellemonte’, at Lincoln which he had inherited from his father, making it one of the finest for miles around. The walls were lined throughout with mud brick, making the house frost proof. The cellar had six rooms, two of them kitchens with wide hearths and ovens.

Number Ten Waterloo Row was built by Charles Bully in the early 1870's. The first occupant was the Hon. Andrew Rainsford Wetmore, judge of the Supreme Court, whose father, George Ludlow Wetmore, a barrister, challenged and fought a duel in 1821 which caused his death.

The middle or original part of what is called the ‘Bliss Carman house’ at 83 Shore Street is thought to have been built for Colonel Shore. The walls are of deal, pegged together. In 1851, it was part of the marriage settlement to his daughter, Mrs. Pennefather who sold it to Henry B. Robinson, Esquire, Barrister who was a grandson of Captain Anthony Allaire, a loyalist, whose diary is valuable to historians.  Mr. Robinson made improvements to the house, including plastering the attic rooms as well as the walls and ceilings in two rooms in the cellar.

When the Hon. John James Fraser was appointed Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick in 1893, he immediately bought “Camborne House” and renamed it “Farraline Place”.        

George Truslowe Taylor, whose parents lived on the corner of Charlotte and Northumberland Streets, was a pioneer in photography. He was making deguerrotypes in the 1850's and also made photographs on glass with what was called, “the wet process”. With Indian guides, he travelled along the St. John and Tobique rivers taking pictures.  Another credit was his being the inventor of blueprints as well as an artist.

One of the occupants of 725 George Street was James Hogg, who was born in Lietrim, Ireland in 1800 and came to New Brunswick in 1819 where he became a trader. In 1844, he founded the Fredericton newspaper, The Reporter and was for many years the publisher. His was the first book of poetry published in this province.

“Fredericton, New Brunswick, British North America” by Isabel Louise Hill gives glimpses into the houses and their occupants as well as the events in history that influenced lives.

The publication is in several research institutions. An Index was compiled in 1979 and is available at several New Brunswick Libraries.
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Ruby M. Cusack is a genealogy buff living in New Brunswick, Canada. Send your New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at:  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 "Query" followed by the surnames in your query. For more information on submitting queries, visit
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