Petitcodiac - A Village History
old green pickup drove into the yard. The driver spotted Gramp standing
in the doorway of the horse barn and walked over to him. They shook
hands and the fellow told him of his ailing mare, who was not eating
and was losing weight.
Without hesitation, Gramp quickly made the diagnosis that she was
having trouble chewing her food and needed to have her teeth
After a bit of discussion and road directions the man left.
Gramp put his teeth sharpening kit into the trunk and was about to get
into the car, when he noticed the look of yearning-to-go-for a drive on
our faces. He suggested we accompany him.
Everything went fine until he turned off the main road and started up
the steep hill. This road hadn’t seen a grader in years. It was filled
with deep ruts and washouts which caused the car to lurch from side to
side and kept us jolting with every bump.
Gramp told us to sit in the middle of the back seat and to hold on
tight as the doors might fly open and we could fall out.
Probably the children who accompanied their parents on the
forty-five-hour stagecoach trip of years ago from Saint John to Halifax
were given the same advice. The coaches were springless and the roads
were so rough that passengers often secured themselves with heavy
In 1836, the Saint John Courier Stage Coach Company set up a weekly
stage coach route from Saint John to Amherst. The first night of the
journey was spent at Holstead’s Inn and Tavern in Petitcodiac, one of
the five major stops. Here good beds and every convenience were
Holstead’s was the first such establishment in Petitcodiac. It appears
to have been the initial incentive to get the community growing.
According to “Petitcodiac: A Village
History” written by John Burrows in the mid 1980s, David
Blakeney had a plantation in South Carolina when the Revolutionary War
broke out. His devotion to the King made him very unpopular with the
rebels. He came first to Nova Scotia in 1782 and then on to Saint John,
being accompanied by a wife and six children.
By 1786, he was a “resident of the River Petitcodiac” when he signed a
petition for road communication with the City of Saint John. The
petition also had a stipulation that no one be permitted to own land
that they did not occupy. David and his family are considered to be
Petitcodiac’s First Family.
It is interesting to note the official transcript of claims for
compensation, cites David’s residence as being Patty Coat Jack. It was
1802, before a grant of 793 acres was finally issued to him on the
Banks of the Petitcodiac River.
Many events took place over the years with the opening of businesses,
arrival of the railway and tragic fire losses. But the greatest
political and social event in the history of Petitcodiac was the picnic
held on 16 August 1878 in honour of Sir Albert J. Smith, shortly after
the Member from Westmorland County to the Dominion Parliament had been
knighted by Her Majesty, Queen Victoria. A large tent had been erected
on the picnic grounds. It was capable of holding one thousand people
and of seating four hundred persons at the table. Along with those who
walked or came by carriage, many arrived by train, including seven cars
packed with picnicers who accompanied the honoured guest.
“Petitcodiac: A Village History”
by John Burrows holds lots more interesting information. It is
available at several libraries within New Brunswick.
* * *
the way, there has been a change in the date for the May meeting of the
Saint John Branch of the New Brunswick Genealogical Society.
It will be held on Thursday, June 01, 2006 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lion's
Den, Loch Lomond Villa. The program will feature Wendy Anderson
of England speaking on, “Sources for
genealogical research in the UK".
The Telegraph Journal did not
publish any queries this week.