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Over the Cobblestones

Cliff and I thought we were going fishing but the rain ruined our plans. But Gramp saw this wet day as an opportunity to work inside the barn doing maintenance on the sloven.
I felt really proud when he asked me to go to the carriage shed to fetch a can of axle grease.

I carried it ever so carefully but the cover slipped off. When I tried to get it back in place, my hands became covered with the sticky stuff.

By the time, I reached the barn floor, there were many grease stains on my blouse and skirt, not to mention the mess of my hands.

Gramp took one disgusted look at me and muttered, “You didn’t need to become a sloven to help me fix the sloven!”

As usual, I didn’t have a clue what he meant.

I wonder if Gramp knew that the sloven may have possibly been named in connection with Saint Johner, Thomas Sloven, who rescued several people from drowning?

No matter how the wagon received its name, it was certainly very popular in the Saint John area, whether it be for deliveries in the urban areas or daily tasks done by the farmer.

In his publication, “Over the Cobblestones”, L. K. Ingersoll tells us that slovens were not used in Ontario but some were found to be used in Maine.

This wagon with the four large wooden wheels was simple in design with a low slung loading platform or its body resting on straight axles, well below the center hub of the large wheels. Usually the sides were made of boards.

Since many commodities came in puncheons or barrels, the ability of easy loading, was most helpful. Actually one man could load or unload them with ease.

Many pictures exist of drivers with slovens waiting in line to be hired to make a delivery. Horses moved at a slow pace when pulling this truck-cart, whether it be empty or loaded. 

Over the Cobblestones” by L. K. Ingersoll, published in 1975, gives detailed information on the design of the sloven.

The need for horse drawn “vehicles” and keeping them repaired put the food on the family table for many a wheelwright and blacksmith.

By the way, if you are interested in seeing a sloven, one can be found in the Agricultural Museum of New Brunswick at Sussex along with an impressive collection of hundreds of artifacts from the rural way of life. The Museum opens for regular hours in mid June but will be open on May 20 and 21 (2006) during the Annual Antique Engine and Power Show which will feature antique tractors, old gas and steam engines and vintage farm equipment. A parade of antique tractors will be held at 10:00 a.m. on May 20, 2006.

Query 1477
Estabrooks: I am looking for all descendants, including female lines of Elijah Estabrooks (1728 -1796) who died at Jemseg, Queens County, New Brunswick, Canada. His children and their families spread to several counties in New Brunswick and to Aroostook County, Maine. I have written a genealogy of  his youngest son Hammond, but still have several "lost" lines and am now looking for info on the descendants of his siblings. Female lines I am searching for include: Ring, Hart, Marsh, Harper, Clark, Olts, Martin, Brown, and Dakin.
1728 Naudain St. 
Phila., Pa.
19146, USA

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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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