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The Great Trees of New Brunswick

Trees we've known and loved over the centuries

Dad had spent the day before mowing the field across the brook. Everything went wrong for him, from a rock that damaged the cutter bar to running over a hornet's nest and getting stung. The team were acting very nervous, as if they smelled a bear, so he had to keep a tight grip on the reins. Just as he was making the last trip around the field, the wooden drive shaft broke.

Fortunately, there was little dew this morning, so he made an early start on the raking. Gramp and his hired hands arrived to help with the bunching of the hay and the pitching on. Soon Cliff was driving the team as I tramped and Dad built the load.

Trip after trip was made to the barn, where Ken did the hauling off with the pitcher machine as the men mowed back the hay. They only stopped long enough to get a cup of oatmeal drink. Their motto seemed to be, "Make hay while the sun shines."

Everyone kept watching the black clouds that were rolling up and hoping the rain would hold off until the last load of hay was in the barn but that was not to be. Without warning the heavens opened and rain suddenly came down in buckets. Dad yelled to us to climb down the back of the hayrack and head to the tree for shelter while he galloped the horses across the field and through the brook to the barn.

When we reached the tree, Gramp and his helpers were already there. As the men looked admiringly at the huge tree that kept us dry, they discussed what this tree would tell them if it could talk as well as what the future might hold for it. Would it end up as boards for a church, a house, a barn or maybe the wind would blow it down in its old age?

In 1987, the Canadian Forestry Association of New Brunswick, with the help of several folk, published The Great Trees of New Brunswick. The publication details more than 50 trees and the roles they have played in people's lives.

For example, in 1784, Rulof Rulofson, a former officer in the Loyalist New Jersey Volunteers, married Mehitable Phinney and they set off for a new home. In Upham, near Hampton, the pair planted two willow twigs that they had cut for riding whips. When the Saxby Gale of 1869 uprooted one of them, its wood was used to make three pieces of furniture - a bed, wardrobe and table. Rulof became the first school superintendent in our province. His grandson became a pioneer daguerreotypist and in 1848 sailed to California to become a well-known photographer.

Amos Botsford is thought to have planted a Little-leaf Linden shortly after his arrival in Westcock, near Sackville, in 1790. Botsford was elected Speaker of the New Brunswick House of Assembly at its first session in 1786. The plantings around his old home are a reminder of his great interest in agriculture.

In October, 1883, the New Brunswick Historical Society organized a tree planting party in Queen Square in Saint John to mark the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Fall Fleet of the United Empire Loyalists. Thousands of people attended, including eight octogenarians and some older than that who planted trees in memory of their parents who had sailed with the group.

After the Great Miramichi Fire in 1825, surveyors began laying out a highway between Fredericton and Newcastle. Where the bridge was to cross the river at the present-day Doaktown, there stood an elm tree. Squire Robert Doak saved the white elm from the axe by giving the supervisor of the crew five pounds to curve the road around the tree. Nearly 100 years later, Squire Doak's elm was hit by lightning and it began to deteriorate. Some of the salvaged lumber was used to make communion tables for two local churches.

Over the years trees were often planted to commemorate an event in a family. If you look through the family albums, you will often find families gathered under a special tree for many occasions.

Some interesting information can be added to your family history by including the story of a tree.

Query 1554
Mitchell - Williams: Andrew Mitchell, born circa 1833 in Ireland, married in Saint John, New Brunswick, on Sept. 4, 1856, in the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception to Mary Jane Williams. I'm looking for parents, siblings of Andrew and ship name / manifest.
59 Orchard Dr.
Gaithersburg, Md.
20878, USA

Query 1555
Selfridge: Can anyone provide documentation as to the origin of John and his sister Mary Selfridge who came to New Jerusalem, New Brunswick and if they had connections to anyone in that area?

Query 1556
Coyle - McCauley: Thomas Coyle was born in 1812 in Ireland and died 10 Apr 1893. He was married at Assumption Parish in Saint John to Susan McCauley on 18 Aug 1838, who was born 1819 died 14 April 1893. My records are incomplete, could use help with his children and also his siblings.
1626 Venice Ave
Monrovia, CA, 91016, USA

Query 1557
Powers: Eliza Powers wife of John Powers died 5 May 1849 in River Philip, Nova Scotia. Her remains were brought to Saint John, New Brunswick for interment. Funeral was from the residence of her father-in-law Thomas Powers, Leinster St., Saint John. Who were the parents and siblings of Thomas Powers?
3438 Windsor St.
Quebec, PQ
Canada, G1X-2K9

Query 1558
Gray: I am looking for information about the Loyalist Gray family of New Brunswick. I have the name of Capt. William Gray. I am hoping to find information on his siblings, children and parents.
10185 Blake Blvd.
Galesburg, MI
49053, USA

Query 1559
McCoy - Mosher: I seek information on Jane McCoy, born 1790 to 1810, the third wife of Daniel Mosher who was born 1790 in Mosherville, Hants County, Nova Scotia and died 1863 Gaspé, Quebec. Jane McCoy died 09 Mar 1877 Gaspe, Quebec. Their marriage may have taken place in Miramichi, New Brunswick in 1825.

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
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