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"History of the Saint John General Hospital and School of Nursing"

I felt terrible. I had been awake all night due to blowing my nose and coughing nonstop.

To add to my list of ailments in the morning, I was freezing, had the chills and had pains in my chest.

Mum must have called and got Gram out of bed as she arrived early. She took one look at me and announced, "You need a mustard plaster to break up that cold and get you warm."

Shortly after they returned from the kitchen with Gram carrying a piece of an old flannel sheet wrapped around a poultice made of mustard, flour and water that she put on my chest with a warning to not leave it on for more than ten minutes. Mum was carrying two wool puffs that she had warmed on the oven door that she tucked around me.

In jig time, I was a sweating and burning up. These home-style nurses thought this was a very good sign.

I wonder if way back in June of 1865, when the General Public Hospital - later the Saint John General Hospital - opened its doors to patients, if the first nurse, John McCredic, knew how to make a mustard plaster?

His salary was $20 a month. Next came Mary Burne, who was paid $5 a month.

In April of 1865, the newspapers carried advertisements for the position of matron. Of the six applicants, Mrs. Mary Craig, age 81, was appointed. She began her duties in May but died in December.

Her successor was Mrs. Jane Higgins, who was also granted an assistant.

"Favourite legend had it that Mrs. Higgins made rounds of the wards in a black silk dress with a long train, upon which rode majestically a small pet dog."

Miss Julia Purdy studied nursing at the Boston City Hospital and returned home to Saint John to become the first trained nurse in a New Brunswick hospital when she took up her duties in 1888.

The first students to enroll in the School of Nursing were Miss Janet Bacon and Miss Isobel Stewart and soon after Misses Susan Paterson and Mary Miller; by the end of the year, six more students were in attendance.

Interesting to note, the personal lives of the soon-to-be nurses who lived in the hospital building were closely regulated: they were given a two-week holiday and got to go out just one afternoon a week and only one Sunday per month.

Due to the efforts of Lady Tilley, wife of the Lieutenant Governor, the first Nurses' Home was built.

The 1955 publication, "History of the Saint John General Hospital and School of Nursing" by Alberta V. Hanscome not only tells about many of the nurses, their duties, social activities and apparel, but gives a listing of all the graduates from 1890 to 1954, the Nursing Sisters in the First World War and the Second World War and R.C.A.M.C. To further add information for the family researchers, many facts are given on other medical institutions within the city, the doctors, matrons, details of planning, organizing and the workings of the hospital.

This publication is a treasure trove, filled with early history concerning the care of the sick and those who were trained or training to look after them in Saint John.

Query 1575: Raymond - Frost: Trying to find parents and siblings of Frank C. Raymond, born 31 March 1844, in New York or Maine from census records starting 1870 in Pennsylvania. Raymond family lore says they were Loyalists and their real name was Frost. Capt. William Frost and Silas Raymond, Loyalists, went to Saint John, New Brunswick in 1783. Any suggestions?
Diane Leflar

Query 1576: Leeman: I am a descendant of Ezra B. Leeman who lived on Deer Island, Charlotte County. I am interested in his date of birth, death, marriage date to Ann Eliza (not sure of her maiden name). In the 1871 census Ezra has two children - Murchie and Albert.
Diane Kuelske (nee Leeman)

Query 1577: Barry - Lane: Looking for genealogy of James and Hanorah Barry who came to New Brunswick circa 1828 and settled near Sackville. A son William married Catherine Lane.

Query 1578: Gray: Searching for the names and birth dates of the children of John William Dering Gray who served as a curate to his father from 1826 to 1840 in Saint John and as rector until his death in 1868. Did he have a son named John born circa 1817.
Jim Matthews

Query 1579: Graham - McRae: I am trying to determine the parentage of James Graham born circa 1816 in New Brunswick who married Catherine McRae circa 1824. They are in 1851 Census in Andover, Victoria County with three children: Margaret Graham (1846), James Graham (1848) and Elizabeth Clara Graham (1850). Another child John Arthur Graham was born circa 1852.
Jeannie Graham

Query 1580: Sims: William Thomas Sims was born circa 1833, in Saint John, New Brunswick, according to his son's 1863 birth certificate of NSW, Australia. At some time, he left Canada, and emigrated to England, and married. I live in Australia, and have searched the Internet, but have found no trace of him, either in Canada, or England. Can anyone provide answers?
Kay Slodecki

Query 1581: Kennedy - Law - Melvin: I am seeking information on William Kennedy and Ellen Law, the parents of Christina Kennedy who was born circa 1863 in the Miramichi. She married John Melvin, who may have been from Havelock, New Brunswick. Also who were the parents of John Melvin?

Query 1582: Nixon - Stuart: John L. Nixon married first to Georgiana Nixon on May 17, 1871 in Saint John and second to Rebecca Stuart on Aug. 14 1889 in Saint John. He died in 1915 and Rebecca in 1943. His children were Florence, Maria Sapho, Winnifred and Harold L. I would like to find information on any living descendants.

Query 1583: Young - Poucquet: Oliver Young married Adeline Poucquet circa 1830, possibly in Saint John. They had at least one son, Felix Oliver Young born 1832 or 1834 in New Brunswick who died Sept. 25 1908 in Oakland, California.

Query 1584: Donovan - Coughlan: Were Patrick Donovan, born 1810, and James Donovan of Petersville born in 1809 or 1811, brothers? Both married Nov. 26, 1840 at St. Dunstan's Parish, Fredericton. Patrick to Julia Coughlan. However, they weren't witnesses for each other. Did they have other family?
Gill Donovan

Query 1585: Carmichael - McIntosh: John Carmichael immigrated from Little Dunkeld, Perthshire, Scotland in 1817. Living in Waterborough, Queens County at time of marriage to Janet McIntosh in 1819. Received land grant in Springfield, Kings County. By 1851, living in Carleton County. Interested in others who may have immigrated with John and any children who did not move to Carleton County.
Sandra Bourque
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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