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Backward Glances at Sunbury and Queens by F. A. McGrand

All afternoon, Cliff and I had been having a great time, racing our bikes in the barnyard and along the pasture wagon trails at Gramp’s. We chanted, “Last one through has to close the gate.”

Caution and cares were thrown to the wind as we did the final race, before going into the house for supper.

We were in the middle of eating Aunt Sadie’s baked beans, ham, and raisin brown bread, when Gramp came into the kitchen. In a stern voice, he commenced to lecture us by saying, “If you had lived along certain sections of the St. John River and had been caught leaving the gate open, you might have been put in jail. Furthermore, the cattle you let escape were down by the brook and that would have caused more trouble.”

According to “Backward Glances at Sunbury and Queens” by F. A. McGrand M. D., early in the first session of the New Brunswick Assembly, legislation was passed for the protection of the river banks. It prohibited cattle from grazing along the river bank “in front of the Parishes of Maugerville, Sheffield and Waterboro as far as the upper line of Ben Birdfall (Birdsill)”, between 10th day of March and the 10th day of October only. . . . two strong swinging gates erected across the road, one at the upper line of Maugerville and the other at the upper line of Benjamin Birdfall (Birdsill), with posts fixed in the ground. . . .Any person leaving a gate open or pulling a gate down was fined twice the cost of the damage done.  If he was unable to pay, he was to serve one month in jail without bail”.

When the Loyalists arrived in 1783, they found some of the “good” land for farming or rich in pine trees was already being used. Thus in the summer of 1783, Major Studholme appointed a Commission of Enquiry made up of, Ebenezer Foster, Fyler Dibblee, James White and Garvis Say, representing the old and new settlers, to investigate “titles, claims, character, principle and deserts” of the people who had settled in the townships of Conway, Amesbury, Gage and Burton and one above Fredericton with sixty French families. Major Studholme made his own observations on the report, with comments such as: John Spraig has left his improvements on the Kennebecasis Branch, John Crabtree is a good subject, Timothy Robertson - a very great rebel and of a general bad character, Edward Burpee - an active rebel and went against the Fort at Cumberland, and John Hendrick has a wife and five sons - a good subject - an old soldier and very deserving.

In 1788 and 1789, David Burpee taught school in Sheffield. The academy built there was a three-storey wooden building with other buildings on a four-acre lot. Dormitories were provided for boarders. In 1869-70, it had one hundred and two pupils enrolled. The academy closed in 1874.

The industries that put cash in the pocket of the residents as well as sometimes emptying the cash from a well-intentioned entrepreneur, have not been overlooked. Each community had its star to fame in one way or the other, whether it be the first cotton mill in New Brunswick being built on the Rockwell Stream in Geary or the ships that were built on Grand Lake.

Many interesting stories have been included, such as the connection between Jerome who was found with his legs frozen that necessitated their amputation to the legless man who was found on the shore in Weymouth, Nova Scotia in the 1850s.

Since politics played a major role in the lives of the folk in Sunbury and Queens County, Senator McGrand, has provided much detail on elections, politicians and decision making by government officials from the time of the arrival of the Loyalist until the 1960s.

Backward Glances at Sunbury and Queens” by F. A. McGrand M.D. is a comprehensive review of the settling of these two counties with a look at the many people who played a role, over the years, in their development. It can be viewed at several libraries and other research institutions throughout New Brunswick.

I suggest that anyone who is researching ancestors in the counties of Queens and Sunbury spend time giving this book a careful read.

Query 1325
Charlton - Golder - Brayman: Charles Augustus Charlton married Lenah Golder in 1820 at Kingston, Kings County, New Brunswick. Lenah’s sister Mary Rebecca Golder married Thomas H. Brayman in 1820 also at Kingston. Charles and Lenah lived near Mount Douglas, Petersville,on the Nerepis Road. Their children married into the families of Ogden, Reid, Keirstead and Burton. I would like to make contact with anyone connected to these families and anyone who is related to Audley Johnston who died in 1850 in New Brunswick.
42 Southam Drive
Taggerty, Victoria
3714 Australia.

Query 1326
Rae - Ray - Marr: Alexander Rae (Ray), born in Turriff, Scotland, 31 Aug.1823, married Margaret Marr and they lived at Jordan Mountain. Their two children were Mayvilla, born 1872, and  Elmer Allan born in 1874. Alexander died  while the children were very young. Margaret moved near to Milville. We are trying to locate the place of burial of Alexander Rae.
324 Cherry Ave.
Fredericton, N.B.
E3A 2A3

Query 1327
Fleet - Flett - Wark: William Fleet, born 1815 in Orkney Islands, Scotland, the son of Charles Fleet, married in Saint John in 1838 to Mary Ann Wark who was born 1819. He applied for and received a land grant in Sunbury County in 1860. His 8 children were: Charles 1842, William 1846, James 1847, Alexander 1849, Ellen (Elenor) 1853, married Morris Mullin, Aaron Robert 1855, John Joseph 1857, and Arthur David 1860. William Jr. married Mary Ann McCrink (born 1864) in 1884 and had one child named William, born March of 1887 and died in 1893 of scarlet fever. Any information on the Fleet line of New Brunswick would be much appreciated.

Query 1328
Cooper - Sweeney: James Edward Cooper, born in New Brunswick circa 1845, married Mary E. Sweeney. They were living in Digby County, Nova Scotia in 1871. By 1900 they had 10 children and had moved to Stratham, New Hampshire, USA, which is where they are buried. I am looking for information on James Edward Cooper's parents.
6 Carlile Road
Center Moriches, New York
11934, USA

Query 1329
Donahue - Sheehey: Cornelius and Nancy Donahue had a son Timothy, who according to the Civil War records, was born 31 Dec. (but no year given) in St John, New Brunswick. I believe Nancy died, as there is a record of Cornelius marrying a Catherine Sheehey, 14 Feb 1847, in the  Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Saint John. Need record of Timothy's birth and what happened to Nancy .  
4400 S Louise Ave #1,
Sioux Falls, SD
57106, USA

Query 1330
Gillen: Who was the wife of William Gillin, who was born circa 1836 in Ireland, and came to Canada about 1850.  He was listed as a widower in the 1881 Census of Ward 2, Portland, District 25, Sub D, pg 54.  His eldest known child, Margaret, was born in 1860, and the youngest in 1873.  HEATHER DUNN
15223 96 St
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada, T5E 6C3

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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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