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History of Upper Woodstock

Compiled by Maud Henderson Miller in 1940

The men had been very busy for several weeks, first in the gardens, next getting the haying equipment in good working condition and now, in July, spending long hours in the hayfield. To add to the burden the young cattle had broken out of the mountain pasture so the fence, which ran through a long stretch of woods, had to be fixed after cedar fence posts were cut and sharpened.

It was just one problem after the other.

When Aunt Ethel arrived on Saturday afternoon, Gram announced she would like to get out of the house and go for a drive. Cliff and I were invited to go along.

It was a tight squeeze to fit us all in, but in those days there was no concern about seatbelts.

As we drove down the driveway, Gram remarked that in1904 her brother-in-law didn't have far to walk to go courting, as he married the girl who lived in the house across the brook.

When the Burnt Corner came into view, I asked why it was given that name. But before I received an answer, the talk turned to Alice giving piano lessons to the twins and next to the subject of the winter Gramp lumbered in that area and the members of the wood crew.

The car was travelling really fast down steep Moody's Hill when a doe followed by her twin fawns jumped from the bushes into our path. Aunt Ethel, who was not the best of drivers, slammed on the brakes. The car started to skid and swerve. She became rattled when she thought she had lost control and tried to straighten up.

Somehow her foot hit the gas pedal. What a merry ride we had, going from one side of the road to the other, into the bushes and out again.

Cliff and I thought it was great fun, better than being on a roller coaster, but Mum was as white as a ghost. 

She said the Kings County Record might have been publishing an article on an accident in Sherlock if we had overturned into the ditch.

When we turned up the Ridge Road, all Gram could talk about was where her mother was born and raised. Even where apple trees or rose bushes were the only reminders a house had ever stood there, she and Aunt Tillie could describe the families so well I could almost see the children playing and the wash hanging on the clothesline.

I felt their happiness, and tears came to my eyes when the sad stories were told.

Although I had been told many times that children were to be seen and not heard, I piped up with a suggestion. Why didn't Gram, along with Aunt Tillie, write a book about the roads in the neighbourhood and the people who lived on them?

In her school marm voice, Aunt Ethel squashed my idea. "Your grandmother is over 60 and much too old to even think of becoming an author."

Fortunately Maud Henderson Miller didn't agree. In 1940, past the age of 70, with the urging of Major F. A. Good, President of the York and Sunbury Historical Society, she compiled the 165-page book History of Upper Woodstock.

Mrs. Henderson introduces the reader to the area in 1826 when there were but two houses at the mouth of the Meduxnakeag Creek, each occupied by a Mr. Smith.

In the spring of 1832, Carleton County was carved from York County and embraced Victoria and part of Madawaska.

Col. Richard Ketchum was a member of Parliament for York County and had large business interests in Upper Woodstock. He gave the land for the court house and gaol. Upon completion of the buildings, Sir Archibald Campbell proclaimed Upper Woodstock as the Shire Town.

By 1836, the Woodstock and Fredericton coaches ran to the court house in Upper Woodstock.

In May 1862, the carriage of iron ore from Jacksonville to Upper Woodstock employed a large number of farmers. Much detail is given on the iron ore venture and the people from near and far who were involved.

Francis Peabody Sharp, born in Northampton in 1823, was the pioneer orchardist. Not only did he make great contributions to horticulture but grew the first barrel of native New Brunswick apples ever sold in a commercial market and had many successful experiments with growing plums.

The history of the Henderson Furniture Factory holds many names of the local area.

The chapters on the Main Road from Town Line to Corner, River Road from Corner North, Jacksonville Road plus several photos are genealogical gems, with much information on the folks who lived along the roads.

Although Maud Henderson Miller's aim in writing History of Upper Woodstock in 1940 was to give the present generation a glimpse into the inner lives of the last generation and see the vast gulf that lies between, she sums up her own religious belief with the quote, "An honest man's the noblest work of God" - "But who, but God, can tell us who they are?"

The book is available at several research institutions in New Brunswick.


Query 1739
Briggs-Hubble-Chase-Gard-McKenzie: Robert Richardson Briggs was born in Saint John New Brunswick circa1836 to James Briggs and Ann Dashwood Hubble. James and Ann were residents of Burton. They married at Burton, Sunbury County, on 12 June 1824. James being the son of Abiel Briggs and Elizabeth Chase. Ann was the daughter of Ammon Hubble and his wife Mary. James Briggs was a prominent shipbuilder in Saint John and built, among others, Brothers, the Ann Dashwood, the Edinburgh and the John Fielden, and was a respected member of St. Luke Church at Portland, one of the first vestrymen when it opened in 1841. Robert's siblings were: James born 1825 died 6 Sep 1847 was shot on his way home from a Temperance meeting. Henry Ammon born 1827 died1847 - may have died from wound received in the previous incident. William born 1831 died 11 July 1855 on board the barque Brothers off the coast of Africa. George born 1829 died 3 Sep 1848 while being the Sea Captain of Ann Dashwood accidentally fell into the ship's hold. Eleanor Briggs born 1840 married 1 Jan 1857 Thomas Gard. Ann E Briggs born 1841 married 6 August 1856 Kenneth McKenzie, both of Portland parish.

Robert Briggs arrived at the Port of Melbourne, Australia aboard the Canton on 26 August 1853 aged 20. Although the ship sailed from New York, the passengers appear to have come from the Maritime Provinces with at least 6 from New Brunswick.

We will be in Saint John for an evening in September, 2010 and would like to have as much information as possible before our arrival in New Brunswick.

Patricia from Australia
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Query 1740
Wilkinson-Dutcher: The parents of Margaret Wilkinson, born circa 1801, married John Dutcher and lived in Bay du Vin is a missing link in my family tree. Could this Wilkinson family be of the Yorkshire immigrants.
Diane Richarz

Query 1741
Shore-Saunders-Chalmers: I am interested in finding any information on Colonel George Shore (1787 in England or Ireland - 1851) who settled in Fredericton, New Brunswick - ancestry, background, details of his military career, et cetera. His wife was Arianna Margaretha Jekyll Saunders the eldest daughter of Chief Justice John Saunders and Arianna M. J. Chalmers. I understand that Shore's Island in the St. John River was named after him.
Ted Shore

Query 1742
Stokes-Ryan-Douglass: Charles Stokes first married Bregit Ryan at St. Martins Parish in Saint John County, New Brunswick in 1832 and his second marriage was in 1858 to Jane Douglass in Saint John. Need information on Charles Stokes and family.
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Query 1743
Craig-O'Dea: Thomas Crain (born 1806) and wife Margaret O'Dea (born 1815) came from Ireland circa 1859-1861 to Johnville, New Brunswick, from County Galway, Ireland with six children, youngest being Patrick who was born in 1856. I am searching for the town or villages that they came from.
Donna McLaughlin

Ruby M. Cusack is a genealogy buff living in New Brunswick, Canada. Send your New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at:  Please put "Query" followed by the surnames in your query as the subject. For more information on submitting queries, visit

Ruby contributes a "Family History" column to the Telegraph-Journal on the third Saturday of the month.

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