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Voices, Vessels and Vellum
Saint John History Real and On-line

Dusting was not one of my favourite Saturday morning chores. As I moved the wooden log-cabin treasure box that sat on Mum’s bureau, I wondered what secrets it held.

Since she was in the hen house gathering the eggs, I considered the coast was clear. I lifted the cover to find a bunch of letters. Carefully I took one out of the envelope and tried to read it but the writing was terrible plus I still wasn’t very good at reading “writing”. I preferred ‘printing’.

A few of the words were legible and I was really concentrating hard on trying to decipher the contents. I didn’t hear Ken come into the room until he yelled, “I am going out right now to tell Mum, I caught you snooping!”

I still have difficulties in reading ‘hand writing’ but thanks to the Voices, Vessels and Vellum: Saint John History Real and On-line website at   digital images of one hundred 18th century documents and letters from the Saint John Free Public Library Primary Source Documents Collection have been posted and are accompanied by text transcriptions as detailed in the following examples:

Copy of a grant to Richard Walker & associates for 2400 acres at Red Head, September 3, 1784 Grant dated 3rd day of September 1784 Richard Walker and associates a tract of  Land situate lying and being in the County of Sunbury in His Majestys Province of  Nova Scotia , Beginning at a Spruce tree at Red Head on the Eastern side of the Harbor of Saint John , about 4 miles from Parr Town . . .containing together in the whole Two thousand and four hundred acres . .

25th April 1785 - Elizabeth Mullen by Abijah Willard against Thomas Mullen Defendant. . . And that your Oratrix is to her great grief, distress and disappointment inform'd that the said Thomas Mullen her said Husband was in the Month of October in the same year last before mentioned, unlawfully married to one Prudence Brown, with whom the said Thomas Mullen then did and still doth Cohabit and live . . . (By the way, Oratrix is a woman plaintiff, or complainant.)

Articles of agreement had made agreed upon and fully concluded By and Between John Coffin Esquire of Kings County in the Province of New Brunswick and Mark Mansfield William Austin and John McAlpin all of the city of Saint John in the Province aforesaid Laborers, This twenty fourth day of August in the Year of our Lord one thousand and seven hundred and eighty seven --  Follows that is to say, First the said Mansfield Austin & McAlpin do hereby convinant and agree to and with the said John Coffin on their Part to dig the said Race way from the Mill dam on Trout Creek to the Mill aforesaid situate on Nerepiss River of a sufficient Depth and Width to contain and convey to the said Mill an ample and sufficient quantity of Water to answer the several purposes required of the same Mill and carry the wheel of the same with out any Let or obstruction from want of water owing to any defect of the Race way so to be dry by them the said Mansfield Austin & McAlpin. . .

Deed for property sold to Charles Duffus by Charles and Catherine McPherson, May 23, 1793
KNOW all Men by these Presents, That I Charles Mcpherson of the City of Saint John and province of New Brunswick Inholder & Cathrine my wife for and in consideration of the Sum of Seven pounds ten Shillings lawful Money of the Province of New-Brunswick to us paid by Charles Duffus of the said City and -- in the County of Saint John -- and Province of New Brunswick the Receipt whereof we do hereby acknowledge, HAVE granted, bargained and sold, and by these presents, DO grant, bargain and sell, unto the said Charles Duffus his Heirs and Assigns : ALL that Certain Lot of ground or Town Lot Situate lying and being in Germain Street Corner of Duke Street in the City of Saint John and province of New Brunswick known and distinguisht in the Origanel Grant by Lot Seven hundred and ninety nine ( 799 ) Which Lot was Granted to Joseph Conie and Sold by him to George Handasyde , and sold by said George Handasyde to the aforsaid . . . .

Copy of minutes of vestry meetings of St. Johns Church commencing July 29, 1790 to May 1, 1792, transcribed by D.R. Jack, June 21, 1906.

Suit of John Denn against Richard Fen for ejection from property, April 23, 1796.

Brief to Supreme Court concerning Richard Fen and John Denn-land tract, April 23, 1796.

Voices, Vessels and Vellum a digital and text collection at is a joint project between the University of New Brunswick Libraries' Electronic Text Centre and the Saint John Free Public Library.

By the way, you will find the archival collection at the Saint John Free Public Library, Market Square, Saint John, is a treasure trove of information and history with a focus on scarce or rare New Brunswickana, Canadiana, local history and selected works related to the history of the Atlantic Seaboard.
Query 1280
Chestnut -  Jordon: Seeking information on the Jordon and Chestnut families of Kings County, New Brunswick. I am wanting the ancestry on John Chestnut, son of  Susannah Jordon and Robert Chestnut, born 28 Sep. 1869, died  21 Nov. 1940.  I believe Robert’s parents were Margaret and John Chestnut who came from Ireland.
301 Pritchard Rd.
Comox, BC
Canada, V9M 2N9

Query 1281
Straight - Sherwood: My great grandparents, William E. and Idella Straight of MacDonald’s Corner, Queens County were crossing the Washdemoak on 23 Dec. 1899, on their way to buy Christmas gifts at Thomas Todd's General Grocery Store for their 4 children, when they fell through the ice. Idella Straight,  the daughter of Gilford Sherwood, drowned and her husband William Straight was found unconscious. Any information on this tragedy would be appreciated.
2548 W. Monte Cristo Ave.
Phoenix, Arizona
85023, USA

Query 1282
Read: Eliphalet Read, the great grandson of John Read, who came to America with the Great Fleet in 1630, came to Sackville, New Brunswick circa 1760. He fought with General Wolfe at Quebec in 1759.  He had 9 children.  A daughter Rebecca, I believe was the wife of Icbod Lewis who built the Free Meeting House in Moncton and is buried there. His son Benjamin, born 1778  was my 3rd Great Grandfather and is buried in Bayside, Westmoreland, New Brunswick.
2235 Rte. 115
Irishtown, NB
Canada, E1H 2L2

Query 1283
Godsoe - Clark: Ralph Jackson Godsoe (born 1805-died 1880) married Catherine Ann Clark from Golden Grove, near Saint John, in 1828. They had 6 children including Daniel Oscar Godsoe born 1832. I am interested in Catherine's dates of birth/death and information on her siblings and parents.
1663 Place Des Ravins
Ottawa, ON
Canada, K1C 6H4

Query 1284
Dolan - Gillis: Michael Dolan (Doolin / Dooling) married Flora Gillis 27 July 1846 in Newcastle, Northumberland County, New Brunswick. Flora was born circa 1823 in Newcastle and Michael about 1820 in Ireland. The Dolans moved to Wisconsin and Minnesota in the mid 1860s. Michael and Flora are buried in Stillwater, Minnesota. Looking for information on parents and /or siblings.
2120 Piedmont Ave.
Duluth, MN 
55811, USA

New and Used Genealogical and Historical books of
New Brunswick for sale.

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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