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Old New Brunswick  - A Victorian Portrait

Published Saturday October 15th, 2011 in the Telegraph Journal

Ruby M. Cusack

Mum came out the back door with her box camera in her hand and suggested we take some pictures as she had put a new film in the camera.

Instructions followed on how to hold the camera perfectly still - and a warning to be careful to not drop it.

We had to make our choices very carefully, as this picture taking chance didn't come very often.

First we took a picture of Dad and the team of horses. Then we walked to the top of the hill and took one of the valley. Next was a shot of the covered bridge and the remains of the old mill dam.

As we were trying to agree on the right angle for a picture of the school, Gramp came along and asked Cliff if he was trying to walk in the footsteps of Isaac Erb, who was born in Kars in 1846, or was he pretending to be George Thomas Taylor, who built his own camera and equipment. He went on to tell us there were Erb photographs of our relatives in the parlour, but Erb also photographed many factories, lumberyards and businesses.

These fellows, along with several other highly skilled photographers, left a rich heritage of thousands of photographs that have found their way into various archives.

In 1978, Richard Vroom selected a variety of photographs from the collections of several institutions covering the years 1860 to 1918 and compiled the book, "Old New Brunswick - A Victorian Portrait".

To give us more of the background, he gives details on the types of picture taking with an introduction to his book by Arthur Doyle, who describes the historical and social background of New Brunswick.

As I look at the hundreds of children and adults dressed in their best attire at the opening day of the Allison Grounds in Saint John in 1908, I can almost feel the excitement. The inquisitive nature of a family researcher makes me wonder who they were, and where did life lead them.

The men in the shipbuilding crew look tired and worried, making me wonder about their cares.

One of my favourites is Courtenay Bay in the East End of Saint John, showing several types of ships under construction, but most important to me are the buildings near Haymarket Square.

Lumbering on the Miramichi gives a glimpse of the time when horses provided the power to move the logs.

The class of 1886 in the Model School, which was behind the Normal School building on Queen Street in Fredericton, shows students who must have been warned not to smile.

In 1893, a small shy girl stands very close to a gentleman when the picture was taken of the carriage factory of Peter Elhatton in Bathurst.

Circa 1880, a boy is driving a team of horses hauling the stone picker of John N. Fisk at Moore Mills.

As you turn the pages of this book, you will step into the past, a time that would be easily forgotten if photographs had not been taken and preserved.

By the way, before you throw those old albums, pictures and negatives into the dumpster, I suggest you contact the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick as they might be interested in adding them to their collection, if the content is identified and shows places, activities, or events. Individual images sometimes show fashion or styles linked to a specific time or place. Time period is not the biggest factor in the archives interest in an image. Sometimes more recent events or images of places are less documented than 19th century locales.

Query 1815
Moran-Riley: Benjamin Moran was born in 1826 in New Brunswick and died in 1895 and is buried in Dorchester, NB. He married Frances M. Riley in Kent County in 1846. One son was William J. Moran, born in 1852 and is buried in Amherst, Nova Scotia.

Contact Geoff Gill by email

Query 1816
Waterbury: Who were the parents, grandparents and siblings of David Waterbury, Loyalist, born Jan 1758 in Stamford, CT, died. 28 Nov 1833, in Saint John, New Brunswick?

Contact Anne-Marie Waterbury by email

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

Vroom, Richard OLD NEW BRUNSWICK - A VICTORIAN PORTRAIT - more than one hundred black and white illustrations from photographs from the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick and several other institutions covering the years 1860 to 1918 - on glossy pages. Published in 1978. Beautiful and significant views of people, places, activities, and scenery in the province of New Brunswick, Canada between 1860 and 1918. Reproduced in duotone, they present a rich a rich and evocative panorama of everyday life before and after the turn of the century. * Saint John Harbour * King Street of Saint John (1885) * Saint John Reversing Falls Bridge (1898) * Ruins of Saint John after the 1877 Fire *New Fairville School, Lancaster (1900) * Royal Kennebecasis Yacht Club, Millidgeville, Saint John (1900) * Launching of Ludlow Ferry, Saint John (1905) * Opening of Allison Ground in Saint John (1908) * West Saint John (1900) * South Bay Mill near Saint John (1870s) * Building of four masted schooner - Dornfontein at West Saint John (1917)* Shipbuilders at Hilyard’s Yard, Saint John (1905) * Robert Wills and unnamed others at Holder’s Sail Loft, Saint John (1900) * Courtenay Bay near East Saint John showing buildings and several types of ships under construction (1860) * Three-masted Schooner “Alma” (1880s) * The “Ada O McIntyre” under full sail (1918) * Moving Logs in the Miramichi area (1890s) * Hutchinson’s crew breaking a log jam (1890) * Horse and Men at a Miramichi lumber camp (1898) * Loading white birch between Newcastle and Bartibog (1885) * Several lumber-yard horses and their drivers in Miramichi area (1890s) * Interior of Aberdeen Saw Mill in Fredericton (1900) * Square-rigged ships loading at Sinclair’s Mill near Newcastle (1890) * Boiestown (1870s) *Queen Street, Fredericton (1885) * Loads of hay in Phoenix Square, Fredericton (1875) * Residence of G. Clowes Brown, Fredericton (1886) * Fredericton Fire Department No. 1 Hose Company with firemen - Pollack, Smith, Segee, Hersey, Burden, McGinn, McLaughlin (1887) * The original home of Chestnut Canoe Company (1900) * Hoegg’s Canning Factory, Fredericton (1880s) * Salesman’s cart made by Edgecomb’s Carriage Factory for the St. Croix Soap Manufacturing Company - SURPRISE Soap advertisement (1888) * Interior of Waterbury & Rising Shoe Store, Saint John (1909) * A class in the Model School, Fredericton (1886) * D R Mills Confectionary, Moncton (1913) * R A Jacobson, Watchmaker, Miramichi area. Probably R A Jacobson with his family * Barker’s White Store, Chatham (1897) * Snowball’s general store, Chatham (1900) * H D Peter’s Drug Store, Newcastle (1900) * Peter Elhatton Carriage factory, Bathurst (1893) * Three-horse McCormick reaper near Napan (Chatham) (1890) * Stone picker of John N Fisk at Moores Mills (1880) * Fisherman pulling up Seine nets in St. Andrews area (1890) * Net-fishing through ice, Miramichi Bay. (1890s) * Branch fish plant of the Robin Collas Co., Dalhousei (Early 1900s) * Men gathering dried fish at the Robin Collas Company, Caraquet * Boss Gibson and Fred B Edgecombe standing beside the railway engine ‘Fredericton’ near Fredericton (1869-1877) * Fred Nason, Steve Alexander, Alex Mott and S Cormier on Fredericton Branch Railway hand-car near Fredericton (1887) * Shoreline Railway Station, St. George (1890) * Workers in the Intercolonial Railway car shop, Moncton (1912) * Belleview Hotel, Rothesay (1900)* Residence built by William A. Hickson in 1877, Newcastle (1900) * Sargent House, Chatham Head (1890s) * Roberts Family, Fredericton area (1891) * Tig of War, Miramichi area (1900) * Famous Paris Crew sculling (1870) * Lieutenant Governor Gordon and party on a canoe trip, Tobique River (1862-1866) * A group of business men stopping for lunch while on a snowshoe tramp, Garden’s Creek Valley (Fredericton) (1897) * Elwell Blue Nose Bicyle Tour in Fredericton * ‘Swampshum’ Calder boat house, Fredericton (1890s) * Afternoon fishing at Buckley’s Pond, Newcastle (1890s) * Sportsmen with game birds sitting on birch-bark canoe, Tabusintac area. 3 men - 2 named: J. Rogers Lawlor & Jack Sargeant (1890s) * Hunting and Recreational Camp, Charlotte County (1900) *Camp Comfort, Saint John River, above Fredericton (1887) *Gentlemen campers in Miramichi area - John T. McKeen, Geo. F. Smith, Will Vroom, Mike McCarty, Wellesly Peters, E. Ketchum, _ Arnold, John H. Parks (1880s) * Indians camping at the Blue Mountain bend of the Tobique River (1862) * Indian guides, Tobique River (1860s) * Side wheel steamer “Rustler’, Newcastle (1890) * Hand-poled Ferry, Edmundston (1900) * Steam boat ‘May Queen’ (1900) * Maliseet Indians on the Tobique (1862) * Photographer’s Indian guide (1862) * The Indian Church with group at Kingsclear (1887) * Maliseet Indians celebrating Corpus Christi Day on Saint John River, Kingsclear (1887) * Maliseet Indians of the Tobique Reserve (1905) * Six children near Fredericton, St. Mary’s Reserve (1890) * Typical Summer Dwelling of the Maliseet Indians (Appears to be a family picture) (1890) * Edward Paul is one of the men building a birch-bark canoe on St. Mary’s Reserve near Fredericton (!905) * Main Street Shediac (1902) * Business Block, Newcastle (1900) * Welcome sign to Sir John A. Macdonald at St. Andrews (1887) * The Berry Block, St. Andrews decorated for the visit of Prince Arthur of Connaught (1906) Water Street, St. Stephen showing Glascow House and sign “E. M. Ganong” (1900) * Original Surprise Soap factory complex, St. Stephen (1890) * Boss Gibson’s cotton mill and worker’s houses along the river bank, Marysville (1890s) * Penniac Bridge over Naswaak River (1890) *Grand Falls (1900) * Grand Falls Hotel (1890s) * New Denmark - The Danish Families coming to New Brunswick lived all together during their winter in 1872 in pictured house. (1872) *St. Basil (1900) * Campbellton (1900) * Campbellton - Fire refugees on Water street - named: Hugh Marquis, Frank Foley, Walter Jardine (1910) *McKenzie and Trueman’s general store with abbie Comeau in doorway, Campbellton (1910) * Dalhousie street scene *Cross-raising near Caraquet (1905) * Procession of horse drawn carriages on the main street of Caraquet with Eudist monastery in the background. (1905) * Carts pulled by oxen unloading fish at Caraquet (1905) * Digging Clams at Caraquet (1905) * John MacDonald’s

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