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Early Boiestown, a bustling lumbering town, preserved

Everyone seemed to be busy - Mum and Gram were in the living room sewing blocks for a quilt, while Gramp and Dad were in the barn tending to a sick cow. 

I decide that I could help out by getting supper ready.

I looked through the cupboard but there really wasn't much choice so I checked out the back pantry. I asked Cliff to fasten the meat grinder to the table and grind the roast that had been left over from dinner while I sliced the left over potatoes into the frying pan and added some butter. Although I detested peeling and cutting onions, I tackled the task and dumped them into the pan along with the ground roast. Our hash was now ready to cook on top of the stove.

Cliff suggested we make a corn scallop which was easy to do - just dump a can of cream corn into a baking dish, add cracker crumbs and some milk and bake in the oven.

We set the table, being careful to put the cutlery in the proper place.

I was a bit timid of the bread knife so Cliff sliced the bread Mum had freshly baked.

We knew every meal needed molasses. Therefore we put that on the table.

Mum was quite surprised when she opened the door and got a whiff of our supper.  Gram looked in the oven to check we were not burning the corn scallop as the wood stove was sometimes hard to regulate to keep the oven at the right temperature.

In a few minutes we heard the men coming in.  They seemed hungry and dug right into our supper.

Gramp said since we were such good cooks, we might get a job as a cookee.

This opened a big discussion on lumber camps. Gram told of leaving the children with Belle and going deep into the woods to cook for the entire winter in the camp Gramp had built for the crew. Experienced strong lumbermen were hard to find. They required good food to keep them on the job.

Mum brought out some logging pictures taken when Dad was about six and had gone to visit his parents on the day Mr. Blois, the travelling photographer had been there.

The men wore suspenders on their Humphrey pants, with wool socks pulled up to their knees, flannel shirts and vests and hats of every description. Gramp said although it was not talked about, every man would wear long underwear.

The camps were built of poles and covered with tar paper. The men slept in bunks with straw mattresses and army blankets for covering.

In the center of the bunk house was a stove that not only kept the men warm but dried their clothes.

Attached to the bunkhouse was a dingle where the men washed up. Then came the cook house where meals were prepared and served that had to stick to the backbone to keep a man working from daylight to dark.

The horses were kept in a building called a hovel.

Once a week the Boss of the camp arranged for groceries to be brought into the cook. Sure must have been some task for Gram to get all those meals ready even if she did have a cookee to peel potatoes, wash the tin dishes and carry water from the spring plus do a half dozen other jobs.

Grace MacMillan Spencer gathered information on the history of Boiestown which was one of the center areas of lumbering of New Brunswick. In 1986, she donated her manuscript to the Central New Brunswick Woodmen's Museum who published the book with the title, "A History of Early Boiestown" preserving the history while sharing the heritage and culture with others.

The Porter family petitioned for grants of land  in 1809. Thomas Boies arrived here in 1821from Bedford, New Hampshire. This fellow was a go-getter and established mills and built a school. The author states, It was through his influence and ingenuity that the place that bears his name became a viable community.  The mills provided an incentive for folk to settle and work in the area. It could be said that this village grew around its mills.

A description of Boiestown in 1829, tells of the settlers.

Then the coming of the railway increased the population and businesses.

The chapter on schools proved to be very interesting to me as it will probably be to others who may find a relative among the photos or on a school return list.

This book contains more than 200 pages jammed full of information on everyday life, that thanks to Grace Spencer, tells about the past for future generations.

By the way, in 1978 a group of eight people formed a committee to look into the possibility of building a Woodmen's Museum in Boiestown.

A visit to this  Central New Brunswick Woodmen's Museum is a journey back to earlier times, when Boiestown was a "bussling" lumbering town and the lumbermen carved a living from the forest. It is  located on Route # 8 half way between Fredericton and Miramichi City on the Miramichi River Route. It is open daily to guests from May 21, 2011 to October 15, 2011 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

A special feature in 2011 will be an Experiential Tour based on "A History of Early Boiestown".  Visitors will meet the Spirit of Emily Allain, Boiestown's Telephone Exchange Operator who knew everything about Boiestown's History.  She will take you back to the days of the party line when Boiestown was a booming Lumbering Town. She gives you an overview of Boiestown's history, some gossip from the party line, and takes you to the Cookhouse-Bunkhouse-Dingle where you will savor the smell of home made biscuits while sitting next to the wood fire.

This 15 acre exhibition site "boasts of those famous lumbering days" with, a restored trapper's cabin, cookhouse-bunkhouse-dingle, forestry hall, wheelwright shop, blacksmith shop, fire tower, watchman's camp, machine sheds, examples of forestry tools and equipment, a restored TBM Avenger Air Tanker (#14) and a replica of the "Whooper" passenger train.

The lumbermen of years ago used the axe to chop the trees and depended on the horse to twitch the logs to the brow to await being loaded on a bobsled to be hauled to the mill by a team of horses.

HISTORY OF EARLY BOIESTOWN  - copy available for sale

New and Used Genealogical and Historical books of  New Brunswick for sale from Ruby's personal collection..

Query 1787
Matthews: I am looking for information on my gggrandfather and his brother, James and John Mathews of Pointe Wolfe / Alma ( Salmon River Settlement )  New Brunswick.  These two men were born in 1802 and 1806.   I am asking for you to look in your closets and attics for maps, letters, photographs and old books or Bibles. A Bible existed at one time - about 1992 was the last "documented sighting ". I will reimburse for postage costs.
E-Mail: PMatth9878@AOL.Com
Phil Matthews
525 Sturtevant Hill Rd
Readfield, Maine  04355, USA

Query 1788
Wheaton - Wheten: Does anyone have information to share on the family of Ephraim Wheaton, a Loyalist descendant, a member of the West End (Saint John) Methodist Church, who died Nov 16, 1890 from an unfortunate accident at the age of 84. Funeral from his residence, King St., West End of St. John.

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

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