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Village Memories
by Ruby M. Cusack

My head was burning hot and it ached, also my throat was sore. I had pains in my tummy - actually I hurt all over.

Mum was to sing in the choir at a special Sunday evening church service in the hall - but I certainly did not feel up to going.

It was decided, I could go visit Gram’s house with the understanding, I would do my lessons there.

When I walked through the kitchen door, I saw she had her sister Tillie and cousin Irene visiting.

I felt better already as their conversations were very entertaining to me.

I sat down at the kitchen table and took out my Arithmetic book and scribbler - might as well get the homework done. The long division questions were fun to do.

I chewed my pencil as I looked through the History book for information on the composition assignment.

The ladies decided to take an interest in my school work and quizzed me on what I was writing. I explained I had to write three paragraphs on the Battle of Waterloo.

They discussed learning their three R’s and had lots of suggestions for changes that could be made to the present day school curriculum.

Aunt Tillie thought reading should be taught by having the children learn to spell the words first. She was not a believer in learning to read by sight words.

Gram was concerned that not enough mental arithmetic was being done. She felt children needed to know the “tables”.

Irene thought emphasis should be given to local history. I put down my pencil and stopped writing, as she told how her daughter had once done a school project about the community where they lived - in which she gave details on the previous owners of each house, and where there had been businesses such as a shoe shop, a funeral home, a cheese factory and the list went out.

This sounded like a great idea. If our teacher requested that kind of a project, I could tell about the remains of the dam in the brook where there was once a mill, the Temperance Hall, the Baptist Church formation in the1850s, and the location of the building that was used as a school before our school was built. My mind was in high gear as I thought of all things I could write.

Gramp, resting on the couch, got his two cents worth into the conversation with the comment, “As each generation passes, a little more knowledge about the community gets lost or distorted. Local knowledge that is stored in the heads of those who reside in a community or who have had ancestors living in the area for years, should be preserved and passed on in written form.” 

Fortunately many others had the same idea as Gramp and either compiled or organized the compiling of the history of many villages throughout New Brunswick.

Ethel Thompson’s “The Tides of Discipline, An Eye to the Future and the Sound of Many Waters” of the 1970's is a personal history of Chance Harbour, Dipper Harbour, Maces Bay,  Pocologan, New River, Lepreau, Little Lepreau and Musquash in which she takes one on a journey through the years, giving information on the industries that provided the means of putting food on the table and of the families who lived there.

Interesting stories of life in the twenty-mile peninsula that is tucked in between the Saint John and Kennebecasis Rivers can be found in "All Our Born Days" - A Lively History of New Brunswick's Kingston Peninsula - by Doris Calder.

Many hours of research and personal interviews were conducted by the members of the Kings County Retired Teachers' Association to obtain as much information as possible on the 180 schools for the publication “Early Schools of Kings County, New Brunswick”.

"Of Mines and Men" by Marjorie Taylor Morell depicts not only the world of coal mining in Minto but gives information on churches, schools, doctors, businesses and families up to the 1960s along with many pictures.

The Village in the Valley - A History of Stanley and Vicinity” was researched and compiled by Velma Kelly in 1983. It is filled with pictures and information on settlers, businesses, churches, farming, and details of life there.

Through her publication, “Long Island in the Kennebecasis Bay, Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada”, Barbara Swann Mouffe lets us look across the water to catch a glimpse of all those stouthearted pioneers, who left difficult situations in their homelands to come to a climate with harsh winters, and with rough land to be cleared, yet they were full of hope for the future and here on Long Island in Kennebecasis Bay a very close-knit community evolved.

This is New Brunswick” by Jessie I. Lawson and Jean MacCallum Sweet, published  in 1951, provides a touring guide to the villages, towns and cities, leaving a legacy of historical information that will enable future generations to tour the past.

The Bitter with the Sweet - New Brunswick 1604 - 1984", by Mary Peck includes the reminiscences that Hannah Ingraham related in her old age.

To catch a glimpse of men with horses and axes, browse through the 1983 publication “R. H. Nicholson  - Painter and Man of God” by Jean Elizabeth S. Irving and you too, will get the opportunity to view life in the outdoors.

A Legacy of Plaster Rock”, by Teresa Madore and Emily Yeomans portray the happenings in a village and the people who lived there.

There are several publications that will help recall the life in the villages before their land was expropriated for CFB Gagetown, such as ” Enniskillen - Golden Memories, “New Jerusalem - We Remember”, “Along Hibernia Roads”, and  “A Time There Was - Petersville and Other Abandoned Settlements”.

In 1972,  Evelyn Gordon and Harry Grant published, “The Vanished Village” - Jewett’s Mills, N.B. which portrays life in a village that was founded by Daniel Jewett in the early 1800's and disappeared in 1967 with the rising waters of the Mactaquac Hydro Development.

Old North Esk” by W. D. Hamilton is about past events, community connections, and the greener pastures to which large numbers of Miramichi people went a hundred years or more ago.

Although Maud Henderson Miller was in her 70's in 1940, her aim in writing “History of Upper Woodstock” was to give the present generation a glimpse into the inner lives of the last generation and see the vast gulf that lies between.

Ron Jack lives in British Columbia, having moved there from the Valley area of Saint John, yet he keeps alive the memories of North Enders with “The Lost Valley” project at

Time flies, houses, barns, mills and shops disappear, death takes its toll, families move on, communities lose their identity - yet the days of yesteryear will live forever, thanks to those who have done research, shared their memories and information by using the pen to record for future generations, the voices that were once a part of the village.


If you are seeking to purchase a history of a village in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, take a look at Ruby's Bookshelf - and if you don't see what you are looking for - contact Ruby by email

Ruby M. Cusack is a genealogy buff living in New Brunswick, Canada.

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