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We, the undersigned

Mum and Aunt Sadie did the measuring, cutting and wallpaper hanging while Gram sat at the table pasting with the wide brush.

This was a really great time for me to hear lots of woman-talk, especially when they forgot I was listening.

I really didn’t understand the conversation about women’s rights. Gram talked about April 15, 1919 being the day, women in New Brunswick were given the right to vote in provincial elections. Then she told a story that I had a hard time believing. Mabel French graduated from law school but the Barristers’ Society declared she was not a person and only persons could practice law. It took legislation in 1906 to allow her to become New Brunswick’s first female lawyer.

Gram continued, “Women certainly knew how to use the power of the pen as a way to get things changed.”

According to Elspeth Tulloch’s 1985 publication, “We, the undersigned - A History of N.B. Women 1784 -1984" there were many petitions filed in New Brunswick by women - in fact within months of the provinces’s creation, women were signing petitions. The Huggeford Petition of Grievance of December 24, 1784 had 345 signatures, four were women.

In 1808, Phebe McMonagle petitioned the Provincial House of Assembly for assistance after her husband, a member of the House was drowned while travelling to Fredericton, leaving her with four small girls and pregnant with another child.

The first female candidate in a provincial election in New Brunswick was Frances Fish, a Newcastle lawyer.

In 1886, Mary K. Tibbits was the first female student to be accepted at the University of New Brunswick.

The struggle to gain rights for women has been a long battle. “We, the undersigned”(1985) by Elspeth Tulloch documents some of the early issues in women’s history. The book is available at several research institutions and can be read online at

A Quiz with answers on New Brunswick Women’s History published by the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women in 2002 can be found on their website at

From the Quiz, I learned:

1) In 1875, Grace Annie Lockhart completed her Bachelor of Science and English Literature degree at Mount Allison College in Sackville, N.B., the first woman in the British Commonwealth to graduate from a university.

2) In 1948, Edna Steel became the first woman elected to a municipal office when she was elected to the Saint John City Council.

3) In 1923, Marguerite Michaud became the first francophone woman from New Brunswick to earn a B.A. when she graduated from Saint Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.

4) Dr. Elizabeth C. Secord was the first duly qualified and registered practicing female physician in New Brunswick, and among the first in Canada.

I wonder if Gram knew that back in the 1830s the widows of  “old soldiers of the Revolutionary War” who were in "distressed" conditions filed petitions for financial assistance?  These digitized documents can be viewed on the website of the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick at

The strides women have made and the obstacles they have overcome by using the power of their pens would certainly impress Gram’s generation.

Query 1451
Wiggins - Gallup: Seeking the parents of Lambert William Wiggins. He married Florence Alberta Gallup, who was born 2 Jan 1887, and lived in Centerville, Carleton County, New Brunswick.
5504 60th St. SE, Snohomish
WA, 98290, USA

Query 1452
Barrett - Desmond: Michael Barrett born circa 1834, occupation baker, married Mary Margaret Desmond. They had one daughter, Catherine who married  Hugh Montague. Interested in accurate birth and death dates, burial info, and any other information concerning Michael Barrett. He was living with his daughter in the 1911 census of Saint John.
3453 South 3650 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 
84109, USA

Query 1453
Turner - Brown: Dr Walter L. Turner was a country family doctor in Meductic, York County from the 1880's on. He married Theresa Brown on Southampton Parish. He died in 1942. One son Cecil Turner was a physician in Fredericton. Looking for descendants to fill in the family tree.
190 Vincent Rd.
Quispamsis, NB
Canada, E2E 1P5

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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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