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Ruby M. Cusack
Facts and Folklore - Tracy and Little Lake Area
The men, including Cliff had gone to Gram’s old homestead to cut the field of oats and have them ready for the threshing crew.

Since it was a scorching hot August day, Mum not only sent along lots of sandwiches in a pail that could be hung down the well but three glass gallon jars of oatmeal drink to keep the men from becoming dehydrated.

Gram and Aunt Sadie came to help Mum cut green tomatoes for chow and to make pickled beets.

The stove had been moved to the outside kitchen for the summer and a good fire was burning as Mum had made several loaves of bread that needed to be baked.

Everything was going just fine, lots of laughing and reminiscing when suddenly the ladies turned pale as they heard the roar from the flu.

I rushed outside to see smoke and fire coming out the chimney, which I knew meant a flu fire.

Glen and Greta were driving down the Deacon’s Hill and spotted the problem and came to help.

Glen rushed to the barn and filled a pail with coarse salt, grabbed the ladder, climbed to the top of the house and dumped the salt into the roaring fire that was coming out of the flu.

There was a very long stovepipe to the kitchen stove and it was red hot - just about ready to melt. We started filling every container we could find with water and carried them upstairs in preparation if the pipe fell apart.

Glen carried pail after pail of water to the ridge board and let it run down to dampen the roof shingles as sparks were flying from the flu plus he kept dumping more salt down the flu.

Way back in 1825, Mary Dewitt Nason, mother of five and another on the way, smelled smoke and then heard the roar of the inferno as an out of control fire jumped from tree to tree headed for her home.  Since her husband John was away, it was up to her and sons aged eleven and nine to do battle, while seven-year-old Mary was left in charge of the two little ones.

Mary Nason felt the greatest danger was the wind carrying the burning sparks. She tethered the stock, started carrying water up the ladder to soak the roof and won the battle.

Mary Phillips Tracy had the presence of mind to put the silver and gold coins needed to pay the mill crew in a small trunk and have her young sons carry it to the water.

Others were not so fortunate in the fire that destroyed a three mile path of 80 acres through Hartt’s Mill until it reached the Oromocto River and left mothers, with their little ones, taking refuge in the water of the Mill Pond.

To go back in time, actually to the Battle of Hastings of 1066, there is a Tracey on the Roll of the Battle Abbey. Then in 1836 a Tracy emigrated to America, landing in Salem, Massachusetts.

In 1784-1785 Jeremiah Tracy came to settle in an area near Oromocto.

In 1985, Miriam L. Phillips compiled “Facts and Folklore” - Tracy and Little Lake Area filled with information on the families of the area and their way of life from taking sulphur and molasses in the Spring to wearing a bag of camphor around the neck, newspaper clippings, memories of the ice freshet of 1871, school days, American hunters, memories of Talmage Tracy, John Tracy, Lottie Tracy Nason, Roy A. Nason, and Louis Jeremy.

This book delves into the lives of the people who established Tracy and gives one a very true to life look through the window of yesteryear.

Speaking of delving into the lives of people of the past, John Wood has set up a blog at which will continue to grow. He has, at this time, made available to all, seventy articles, such as Robert Rankin in New Brunswick, Nashwaak River pictures with Stewart Family connections, an Indian Burial Ground at Oromocto, James Glenie in New Brunswick, Elizabeth (Smith) Secord - N.B.’s First Woman Registered Doctor, Letter of Mi’kmaq’ Chief Pemmeenauweet to Queen Victoria – 1841 plus many photos and even copies of signatures.

I was very interested in John’s research on Jeremiah Tracy, who according to him, was not a Loyalist, but fought for the American side against the British during the Revolutionary War. He was serving as a soldier at Machias, Maine when, in June of 1779, the British landed 700 to 800 soldiers at Majorbagaduce at the mouth of the Penobscot River to protect the northeastern colonies from revolutionary incursions and to use as a base to launch attacks. Nearly half of the whole American landing party – were killed.

This defeat soured Jeremiah on the war. In 1781, he took his wife and family and headed north to the Saint John River in the company of the John Morgan family, who later settled in Rusagonis.

Jeremiah Tracy was recorded in the Studholm report of 1783: “Jeremiah Tracey has a wife and six children, been on about 2 years, from Goldsbury, Mass., purchased the improvements of one Stephen Young and has a log house and about 2 or 3 acres of cleared land”.

Little did these folk know that their everyday positive and negative experiences in life would be researched and made available to those who are interested in the people who came before us.


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