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Tamped Clay and Saltmarsh Hay - Artifacts of New Brunswick

Cliff and I followed after Gramp and Dad, as they made their way up the stairs to the hay mow of the horse barn.

We listened to the discussion of the best way to fix the support for the carrying beam.

Dad suggested using 5 inch by 6 inch timbers to build a brace.

Gramp said, that was a poor idea. He was adamant they take the saw and axe and go to the woods behind the church, find a tamarack tree and cut a knee from the root, as it would be much stronger.

We knew there were “elbows” in piping but a “knee” in a tree was something new to us.

A construction knee cut from a tamarack tree is just one of the many illustrations in the 280 page "Tamped Clay and Saltmarsh Hay - Artifacts of New Brunswick" - by Robert Cunningham and John B. Price that was published in 1976 and deals particularly with the Chignecto area.

The axe of the early settler was his most useful and cherished tool. They came in all sizes and shapes, from the broad axe to the froe, each designed for a specific task.

The cost of a screw was several times more than a nail, so until about 1830, screws were used mainly for attaching hinges to cabinet work. Nails were often driven into hinges and bent. To prevent the nails from breaking off, little pieces of leather were used as a cushion against the hinge.

Soap was made by placing leftover grease and fat from the kitchen into a large iron pot and adding lye which was formed from soaking hardwood ashes in water. Sometimes grease was collected in a barrel that was kept at the backdoor, lye and a stick were added and passers-by on the way into the house donated their elbow grease.

Good tallow candles were made from one part beef and two parts mutton suet. For two hours a day it was boiled gently for two or three days with the adding of a little beeswax and weak lye. The bayberry was used in making festive candles.

In 1859, Dr. Abraham Gesner distilled kerosene from local oil bearing shales in Albert County and this brought a change to lighting with the improved lamps.

Tamped Clay and Saltmarsh Hay - Artifacts of New Brunswick - by Robert Cunningham and John B. Price presents a look at the way our ancestors coped with making the necessities of life, long before the days of supermarkets, malls and hardware stores, where anything the heart desires can be purchased.

I found the details given on tin, tinkers, silver, chairmaker’s guide, wood finishes, glass making, soap, candles, nails, hammermen, trees, knives, joinery, axe, and much more, very informative.

The hundred or so illustrations add to this publication, that can be borrowed from or viewed at several libraries in New Brunswick.

Query 1331
Brayall - Duplisea - Gamblin - Kelly - Estabrooks: I am looking for a copy of the death certificate and place of burial for my great-grandmother, Louise Anne (Annie) Brayall, born 1867 and died circa 1934. Her husbands were, Joseph Duplisea, Robert Gamblin and Edward Kelly. I also seek  the date of death and burial place of Joseph Duplisea who died circa 1914 in either New Brunswick or Maine. His first marriage was to Annie Ida Estabrooks.
1090 China Rd
Winslow, Maine
04901, USA

Query 1332
Anderson - Turner - Archibald - Byers: Georgia Lillian Anderson, born 13 Dec. 1887, the daughter of George Muirhead Anderson and Ann Turner, married in 1906 to Alfred Archibald of Springhill, Nova Scotia. Their daughter Margaret Archibald was living in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1948. The second husband of Ann Turner was Robert W. Byers of Truro, Nova Scotia. 
144 Montrose Ave.
Hamilton, Ontario
Canada,  L8K 4Y8

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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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