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Ruby M. Cusack


by M. A. MacDONALD
Usually Mum took us with her when she, Gram and Aunt Sadie went to a quilting session, which gave us an opportunity to visit with some other kids. But for some reason, she had decided we were not going today. Instead for the first time in our life, we were to stay with Gramp at his house, which we didn’t think would be much fun as all he did when in the house was rest on the couch and have a smoke. He was not one for playing games with us.

When we arrived there, he suggested we go up to the attic and look through several barrels and trunks that had not been unpacked since they moved into the house years ago when Dad was sixteen. He mentioned a footlocker trunk that was filled with games from years gone by. I was hoping to find chinese checkers.

We quickly followed his suggestion. The first trunk I opened had many lamps with beautiful flowered shades. I was certain the small finger lamp was one that was used to burn camphor to help breathing as Gram had used one like that when I had the Whooping Cough. A lantern that snapped over the dash board of the horse drawn carriage was wrapped in brown paper and appeared to have never been used.

Way back in the corner under the eaves was a tall barrel. I attempted to remove the cover but I wasn’t tall enough to reach it. Since necessity was the mother of invention, I pulled a five-gallon nail keg close to the barrel and climbed up on it, balancing on one foot but suddenly it tipped. I grabbed the top edge of the barrel and with a lot of noise the barrel toppled over on me, hitting the nail keg which went rolling across the floor. I think I saw stars.

Heavy footsteps came racing up the stairs. The next thing I knew Gramp was lifting me up. He pulled out his checkered handkerchief and wiped the blood from the cut on the back of my head that was oozing from a lump the size of a pullet’s egg.

When I saw all the broken dishes scattered over the floor, I knew I was going to be in trouble so tears started to trickle down my cheeks.

To my surprise Gramp said, “Better to have broken dishes than to have broken bones or a cracked skull.”

He picked up the pieces of a cream and sugar set and told us, they belonged to his grandmother and the family kept them to look at not to use. He seemed very pleased that a green vase did not break as it had been a wedding gift to his parents back in the mid 1870s.

I wonder if any of the children of the “New Comers”, the early English-speaking settlers who came to New Brunswick after the Acadian Expulsion and before the coming of the Loyalists broke any of the dishes?

In 1990, M. A. MacDonald compiled “Rebels & Royalists” - The Lives and Material Culture of New Brunswick’s Early English-Speaking Settlers 1758-1783 which gives insight into several families and their household furnishings, along with photos of the artifacts and much information which could be beneficial for the researcher of these families.

“Trader James White paddled alone to meet 90 canoe-loads of Indians on the warpath, persuading them to come to a peace conference instead.”

On a night in the summer of 1762, when the first party of permanent settlers arrived with the woman and children finding shelter at Fort Frederick - James Quinton was born - said to be St. John’s first recorded child of English-speaking parents.

The Halifax Gazette reported on September 30, 1764 about noon, a severe earthquake was felt in St. John,

“David Burpee taught school at Maugerville for at least one winter - 1778 - 1779.”

“During the twelve years before the outbreak of the American Revolution, between 1764 and 1775, the Simonds, Hazen and White account books show the prospering firm shipped out $100,000 worth of local goods such as furs, oak staves, lime and fish, 40,000 beaver skins worth $42,000 and over 20,500 other pelts valued at $20,000.”

Pictures of clocks include one owned by Charles Dixon who brought the works of the  clock to the Chignecto region with the Yorkshiremen in 1772, with the pine case being made locally. Christopher Harper brought his in 1774. A plaque states William Chapman of Missaguash bought his after arriving in America. It is possible Peter Etter of Fort Beausejour may have worked on this clock.

William Wells had a table with high claw and bell feet made of Santo Domingo mahogany.

William and Ann Trueman had a corner armchair.

An oil on canvas portrait shows Francis Peabody (1760-1841), the founder of Chatham as a tall elderly man. His father was Captain Francis Peabody who established a colony at Maugerville.

The 1830s  portrait of James White, Jr, son of James and Elizabeth Peabody White really captured his expression. He held the position of High Sheriff of St. John County.

Mary Elizabeth White De Veber’s portrait of circa 1820's to 1830's almost shows a slight smile on her face.

Elizabeth Hazen Chipman, eldest daughter of Hazen White and Sarah LeBaron married Ward Chipman. Her painting was done when she was 51 by the famous artist Gilbert Stuart while she was  visiting Boston with her husband. It seems her husband also had his portrait painted. The original invoice at the New Brunswick Museum lets us know it cost $263 for the two portraits, framing and packing.

**** See note at end of column for corrections and additional information concerning Elizabeth Chipman.

It is interesting to read of Privateers invading the St. John harbour, up the river and other areas of New Brunswick. Jonathan Eddy had his own reasons to raise an army.

Poor Mary Allan, wife of John Allan and her five small children suffered hardships in many ways.

In Rebels & Royalists” - The Lives and Material Culture of New Brunswick’s Early English-Speaking Settlers 1758-1783 M. A. MacDonald pulled back the curtain of time to let us see life in the English-speaking communities during 1758-1783 prior to the arrival of the Loyalists. In so doing an almost forgotten time period has surfaced - not only in words but with photographs of their artifacts.

I have been requested by a member of the Hazen family, who are in the process of updating their family history, to give readers the following information on Elizabeth Hazen.  “Elizabeth Hazen was the eldest daughter of the Hon. William and Sarah (LeBaron) Hazen. She married Ward Chipman on October 24, 1782. Elizabeth was born on June 2, 1766, at Newburyport, Massachusetts, and entered into final rest on May 18, 1852, in Saint John, NB. She rests beside her husband, Ward Chipman, in Fernhill Cemetery.

Elizabeth, and her husband did go to Boston to have their portraits painted by Gilbert Stuart. The copper plated handwritten invoice dated 1817 does show the cost at $236., which included the frames.

Query 1898
Porter - Unk - Fuchs - Fox - Stilwell: John Porter was born in 1759 in England. He and Thomas Porter were on an immigration list from England 1772 arriving in PA 1773.  The two of them joined the Queen's American Rangers. In Oct 1783 John was in New Brunswick poling up the St. John River when he slipped off and drowned. With him was his pregnant wife Mary Unk and the Hessian Johann Christian Fuchs who later married Mary Porter and changed his name to John C. Fox. John and Mary Porter’s son John Jr. was born in spring of 1784. Need parentage and place of birth of John Porter Sr. Also another mystery Richard Stilwell married Mehitable last name unknown who was born about 1790 supposedly in Queens Co., NB  but I can't find her or her parents anywhere including Richard Stilwell.
Contact Dorothy J. Smith, 743 Rt 114, Bradford, NH 03221 or by email

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

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