Pioneers in petticoats Charity Newton Smith foiled a French privateer. Elizabeth Russell rescued her son from target practice. Harriet Hunt taught astronomy to young girls . . .
Ruby M. Cusack
A great deal of eavesdropping took place in the one-room school. The students often pretended to be doing their work, but actually, they were listening to the lessons being taught to the other grades.
The teacher was introducing her social studies lesson by asking the students to name a famous woman who had played an important role in history. Ken quickly raised his hand and named Queen Victoria, who used to be the Queen. From my little wooden seat, I quite agreed as a picture of her hung in Gram's parlour. Thelma suggested Florence Nightingale, who helped the wounded soldiers. Reggie thought it should be Vera Lynn as she was a great singer. My little brother Cliffy, who was supposed to be doing his math sums, blurted out, "I know! I know! The most important woman in history was Laura Secord because she invented candy."
Charlotte Gourlay Robinson would have likely offered up a few different names. In the early 1940s, she wrote a series of articles that were broadcast by CBC radio. These stories were compiled into the book "Pioneer Profiles of New Brunswick Settlers."
Mrs. Robinson recounts stories of Mary Phillipse, who had to abandon her home in 1783 and worked desperately hard to build a new life elsewhere.
Charity Newton Smith foiled a French privateer captain by sewing into her petticoats a small fortune in coins.
Elizabeth Russell rescued her small son from Indian target practice.
Elizabeth Innes nursed the dying during Saint John's great cholera scourge of 1854.
Sara Frost, on her voyage to Saint John with the Loyalist Fleet, gathered hailstones "as big as ounce balls" off the deck for portable drinking water. She also kept a diary that has furnished vivid knowledge of what life was like in Loyalist times.
Ann Mott took over her husband's printing business on his death and continued publishing The Saint John Gazette and New Brunswick Advertiser.
Ann Mallard ran Saint John's first hotel, the Mallard House on King Street.
Harriet Hunt opened a most unusual "Training School for Young Ladies" at which she taught unheard-of-subjects like astronomy.
Margaret Jordan defended her home on Union Street from would-be burglars.
Minutes before the wedding ceremony was to begin, Betsy Quinton ditched her intended bridegroom and ran off with Hugh Quinton.
Hannah Darling outwitted an Indian brave who wished to be her husband.
Stories of Hannah Simonds, Betsy White, Elizabeth Regan, Ann Ludlow, Mehetible Caleff, Elizabeth McColl, Charlotte Haines, Martha Owen and Elizabeth Hazen Chipman are also included.
I might add, this is one of my favourite books. The stories of these 20 Loyalist petticoat pioneers give us a glimpse into the lifestyle of the generation of yesteryear as well the contributions made by these unsung heroines. We walk with them through the good and the difficult times.
A copy of Pioneer Profiles of New Brunswick Settlers can be purchased at http://www.rubycusack.com/Bookshelf.html contact Ruby
Queries have been grouped together to cover the year 1998 and can be viewed at Queries-1998
Ruby Cusack is a genealogy buff living in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to Ruby at email@example.com. When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.
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