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Ruby M. Cusack
Steeves and Colpitts Pioneers of the Upper Petitcodiac

Dad had some really weird ideas. The turnips had been pulled and topped but he wouldn’t put them into the barn until there was a heavy frost that would give the turnips a sweeter taste.

Jack Frost visited in good style last night and everything was white.

Since it was Saturday, Cliff and I had the pleasure of throwing the turnips into the sloven and then tossing them down the chute into the very large bin in the cow barn.

Ken had oiled and tinkered with the turnip pulper to have it ready for tonight’s pulping of the turnips. As soon as Ken started it, Cliff fed the turnips into the hopper, and I carried bushel baskets to the manger of the cattle, who waited anxiously. They reached as far as they could through the stanchions, hoping to be first.

I was so busy eating handfuls of the sweet tasting thin slices of turnips that I did not hear Gramp come into the barn, until he spoke.

His comment confused me, as usual.”If you were one of the Steeves children, you would have probably eaten turnip mush and been out early in the Spring, picking green goose tongues on the Marsh to have your mother boil them with salt pork.”

In 1988, William S. Hoar of Vancouver published the book ‘Steeves and Colpitts Pioneers of the Upper Petitcodiac’ which focuses on two pioneer families - the descendants of Heinrich and Rachel Stief who came with the Pennsylvania Dutch settlers of 1766 and the descendants of Robert Colpitts and Margaret Wade who were part of the Yorkshire immigration that took place in the last decade of the 18th century.

There is detailed information on the Fredrick Steeves, Thomas Colpitts and Ann Margaret Weldon families who were the grandchildren of two prominent Yorkshire immigrants.

The Steeves and Colpitts families first settled along the Petitcodiac River. A map in 1686 spelled it Petcoucoyek.

The Marsh played a major role in their life. Even the wall of the early homes were insulated with a mixture of clay and marsh grass and many a meal had marsh greens.

Captain Benjamin Stanton built the first ship, the Isabella, on Hall’s Creek circa 1826.

A letter from William Colpitts of England to his brother in 1800, tells of receiving power of attorney, threat of a famine, severe winter with concern the fodder will be gone by Lady Day, selling soup to the poor at a penny a quart, price of grain and the saddest war that England ever had.

Robert Colpitts was away from home when he took ill so he made his will in 1809. A copy is in Appendix A.   He wrote a letter to his wife. From the description of being in pain and not being able to make his water, one might assume he had prostrate problems. His death occurred in 1810.

In Appendix B is the last will of Ephraim Steeves of 1882. He mentions children and grandchildren.  Special mention is made of a son, Wesley to have a home, provided with sufficient food and clothing and his room at the homestead with bed and bedding and medical attendance if such be required.

I often wonder about the author of a book so I looked up William S. Hoar on the internet and found out he was born in Moncton and had been an eminent professor and head of the department of zoology at the University of British Columbia. He received an Order of Canada award. Many years ago he worked with Charles Best, co-discoverer of insulin. As a boy he suffered from poliomyelitis. Genealogy was one of his passions which clearly shows in the research he did in preparing ‘Steeves and Colpitts Pioneers of the Upper Petitcodiac’

By the way, this 1988 book can be viewed at some libraries in New Brunswick.

Query 1893
McCleery - Gorham: Hugh McCleery died 29 May 1863 and is buried in the Anglican Church yard at Oak Point, NB next to his wife Hannah Gorham. We do have some information about him and his descendants that has been handed down through family connections, but nothing about his ancestors.  It is believed that he arrived in NB from Ireland in 1824 and that he was born in Ulster about 1793. Any information would be greatly appreciated
Contact Patricia  by email

Query 1894
Ryder - Rider - Young: Where is Ann Bethia Young who was married to Ebeneezer Ryder buried on Long Island in Long Island City? Her husband is buried in Maugerville, NB, Canada - possibly died at Canaan (Queens Co. NB), 17th April, 1853 at age 82. When did Ebeneezer Ryder / Rider immigrate to NB? Any information on this couple and their descendants would be greatly appreciated.
Contact Linda by email

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