of the Exmouth Street United Church
had just filled the stove with softwood to get the oven hot enough
to cook the biscuits she was making for supper, when Dad and Gramp came
rushing into the house.
Although they had been working at Gramp’s place, they spotted clouds of
smoke and some flames shooting from the chimney and knew immediately
the flu was burning out. Dad quickly climbed the roof ladder and dumped
a half pail of coarse salt down the chimney.
The fear was the long stove pipe that went through the upstairs would
melt as it was red hot. If this happened, the house could catch on fire.
Mum was really frightened. She hurried to the bedroom, reached under
the bed for the tin box that held important papers, and carried it out
to the car for safe keeping.
Back in 1965, on a cold winter’s night an overheated furnace pipe
started a fire which the Saint John Fire Department quickly
extinguished but not before the flames had destroyed much of the
congregation's records and burned off almost 800 Christian names of
persons who had been baptized at the Exmouth Street United Church. Over
100 years of irreplaceable records were lost, or so it seemed until
officials of the United Church gave Graeme Somerville permission to
publish the Baptismal records.
From out of the ashes of this church fire comes Graeme's new book.
By using other publicly available records Graeme has recovered 654 of
the burnt off names and the new book “The
Baptismal Registers of the
Exmouth Street United Church, Saint John, NB, Canada” will be
at a book launch and signing at the Genealogical Fair to be held at the
Millidgeville North School on Saturday, September 16th.
The publication contains almost 1500 lines of data, including both
parents’ names, dates of birth and baptism, and is fully indexed making
it a treasure trove of information for family researchers.
In his introduction to the book Graeme reminds us that the fire in the
Exmouth Street United Church, that cold winter’s night, should be “a
lesson to all who have old, or valuable, or irreplaceable records” to
store them in a secure, fireproof place and to deposit a copy in an
Anyone interested in the Exmouth Street United Church, or researching
that congregation's records will undoubtedly want a copy of this new
publication as the charred registers available at the Church’s
Sackville archives lack so many Christian names.
“The Baptismal Registers of the
Exmouth Street United Church, Saint
John, NB, Canada” can be purchased from the author at the book
or by writing him at 84 Beach Crescent, Saint John NB, E2K 2E4. He can
also be reached at 506-632-2020. The price is $20.00 plus postage and
Clark: Thomas Clark and
his wife Ephremia Mandeville Clark went to
Saint John in 1783. Their daughter Catherine Clark born 2 Apr 1783, in
New York died 13 Jul 1783, in Saint John. Three children were born in
Saint John: Elizabeth born 10 June 1785, John H. born 8 May 1787 and
Rachel B. born 15 Apr 1790. Thomas stayed until 1792 then came back to
New York. I am interested in finding anything about the family
while in Saint John, New Brunswick.