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Getting In The Wood

The teacher certainly looked sick this morning. About nine thirty she announced she had the flu and was going home and there would be no school for the rest of the day.

Cliff and I ran home as fast as we could to tell Mum the good news. She told us it wasn’t nice to be so happy about someone’s illness but this was one time we didn’t stop to listen to her.

All we could think about was getting permission to walk up Wilfred’s Road and go on up to the wood lot where Dad and Gramp and some hired hands were cutting next year’s hardwood.

To our surprise she agreed to let us go but with warnings to follow the tracks of the bobsleds until we came to the dinner camp and wait there until lunchtime. She even gave Cliff a box of matches to get the fire going and told us to put the pot of stew on the stove. There were extra tin plates and cups in an old trunk for us to use.

After the St. Martins Railway had closed, Dad had purchased the Salt Springs Siding Station House, including the stove, and had skidded it up there to serve as a spot to get warm and to eat lunch. He had taken up an old table and some old chairs. It was really quite a cosy spot for a dinner camp once the fire was a blazing that is if you could keep the table from wobbling as porcupines had invaded and chewed away at the legs.

Dad said he once left an axe there overnight and by morning the handle was chewed in two. The porcupines liked the taste of salt that was left from the sweat of hands.

Being in the deep woods by ourselves made us a little scared but we pretended some wooden sticks were muskets and we were defending our cabin from attackers but this play soon ended when we heard the jingle of the horse bells and knew the men were arriving to eat.

To keep the snow from going down their necks as the axe bit deep into the tree, the fellows had pieces of tarp tied around their shoulders which they removed. The wool jackets and heavy caps were hung on pegs at the back of the stove.

One of the fellows spent most of his break sharpening his axe with a pocket whetstone.

After lunch, we followed the crew into the grove of hardwood. As we watched them work, we figured out a few things such as a road had to be swamped in order to yard the trees, the “chopper” made the decision as to where it was best to fall the tree, then made a deep notch, two men worked the crosscut saw, the choppers then chopped off the limbs. The yarding horse was named “Dan” and he seemed to be able to work without much guidance from a teamster. The  “dogs” were attached to the trees and Dan twitched them out to the brow.

The afternoon went by very quickly and soon we were sitting on the load of birch and maple on the trip home. Gramp didn’t usually carry on much of a conversation with us but his love of working in the woods seemed to loosen his tongue. He explained that it was important to do selective cutting, in order to have hardwood for years to come. He also went on to tell us that preparing the wood to heat the houses for next year didn’t end today. Next came a day of wood cutting with a gasoline engine providing the power, then came the splitting of the wood, throwing the pieces to form a well-shaped woodpile to dry in the summer heat followed by wheeling the wood into the woodshed by wheelbarrow and finally carrying armfuls of wood to the woodbox every day.

Today had certainly been a learning experience of all the organization that went into getting the wood ready to provide heat and one I would remember each time I put a stick of wood into the stove.

The nearer we came to home, the hungrier I became. I mentioned I was hoping Mum would have a potato scallop and baked ham ready for supper.

With a twinkle in his eye, Gramp said, “Maybe Lady Ashburnham of Fredericton will have stopped by and left some pickles?”.

From David Anderson’s query, I learned that Lady Ashburnham, the maker of Ashburnham pickles was the great great granddaughter of John Anderson of Nashwaak, New Brunswick, a fur trader and commissioner to the Indians of the Saint John River around 1760  at the site of the old Villebon Fort at the mouth of the Nashwaak River. He was granted 1000 acres in 1767 in the Barkers Point area. He died circa 1783 and his son William was possibly the first Sheriff of New Brunswick (which was Sunbury County of Nova Scotia at that time). William's son Lionel was a Quartermaster and bookkeeper in Fort Howe, Saint John. Lionel married the daughter of Dr. Charles Earle, a Loyalist from New Jersey, who built the first permanent house on Grand Lake. Lionel's son James was nestor of the press for the Telegraph newspaper in Saint John in the late 1800s.
If you have any information to share on these families, please contact:

10 Windermere Ct.
Rothesay, NB
Canada, E2E 5Y4.
Query 1536

Query 1537
Wright - Bates: I seek information on the parents of George Wright,  born 1808, Victoria, New
Brunswick and Sarah Bates born 1812, Victoria, New Brunswick who according to notes made by Bernard T. Wright, moved from California Settlement, New Brunswick, Canada to Eaton Grant on the Aroostook River in March 1867 by sled and their black horse Jim Crow
151 Carriage Hill Road
North Kingstown, RI
02852, USA

Query 1538
Pennfield Ridge Air Station: Seeking information from former air force personnel stationed at Pennfield Ridge between 1941 and 1946. Also anyone that may have info on the civil airport operation, photographs and documents pertaining to Pennfield Ridge air station.
2 Maxwell Road, Canal
NB, Canada E5C 1K3
Query 1539
Brewster: I am researching a cover posted from Indigo, Victoria in pre-Federation Australia dated April 14 1860 to James Brewster Esq., Harvey, Albert County, New Brunswick, British North America with no letter enclosed.  James Brewster, Harvey, Albert County is listed on 10/08/1850 in the New Brunswick Government Records (RS686) but I have been unsuccessful in finding any information on him.  In particular I am interested if he is related to Harlan Carey Brewster, born at Harvey N.B. 10 Nov 1870 who became Premier of B.C. 1916-18 and /or related to Elizabeth Winifred Brewster poet/writer born Chipman N.B. 26 Aug 1922.  He is interesting to me, as I am a postal historian of particularly pre-Federation Australia, and the postmark routing on the reverse of the cover is informative. I hope that readers can help me with biographical data on this man.
Unit 902, 3000 Creekside Drive
Dundas, ON, Canada, L9H 7S8

New and Used Genealogical and Historical books of
New Brunswick for sale.

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
Ruby's column is published on the third Saturday of the month.
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