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Ruby M. Cusack

A History of Riverview, Bridgedale, Gunningsville, Riverview Heights 
Bicentennial Project of 1984

Traffic Tie-up on the Gunningsville Bridge of Dec, 1963
PANB Moncton Times - Transcript fonds: P115-5960
Dec 27,1963 traffic tie-up Gunningsville Bridge

When the aroma of bacon and pancakes drifted upstairs, I knew it was time to leave the comfort of the feather tick. But before I made my way to the kitchen,  I needed to remove the barricade Gram had at the bedroom door as she feared I would sleepwalk and fall down the stairs.

I think Aunt Sadie heard me getting up. When I entered the kitchen she took my plate that was piled sky high with my favourite foods from the warming closet of her Fawcett wood stove and quickly toasted a couple of pieces of homemade bread on the wire rack that she placed in the firebox and then sent me on my way to the dining room.

I noticed a large boiler of hot water on the stove which was no surprise as this was Monday which meant it was “wash day”.

No one noticed me as I sat down at the table and reached for the molasses dish and the bottle of strawberry jam. Gram was telling Gramp, the first job on his agenda today was to put up a new clothes line as she was doing the bedding and didn’t want a broken line of clothes falling on the ground.

He didn’t seem too pleased at this request as he made it clear, he wanted to finish cleaning out the old potatoes from the cellar and get everything ready down there for the fall crops to be brought in. I had watched in previous years as he even swept the mud floor that was as hard as cement from all the walking that had been done on it since the house was built in the 1880s. He grumbled, he even had to build a couple of new shelves for the pickles to be placed on, as well as replace some rotten boards on the sides of the bins that held the root vegetables.

He thought for a moment before advising the ladies not to do the wash today as the sky looked a bit dark. Also when he brought the cows in this morning the sky was a reddish colour, which was a sign of rain.

Gram quickly replied that she had checked to see if there was enough bright blue sky peaking through the clouds to make a Dutchman a pair of breeches and most important of all were the fairy-wash webs on the wet grass which was a sure sign that it was safe to fill the wringer washer and do the laundry.

Probably Elizabeth Wade Collier, looked at the weather signs before she filled the wash tub and took out the washboard to do the laundry for her eight children. In her day, the water was usually carried by the pail full from a spring or a stream. Many a man laboured for days digging a well and lining it with rocks leaving the missus of the house to tie a rope to the handle of the pail and pull it up. Some husbands often rigged up a pole with a weight on one end to make the job easier. Every home had a rain barrel.

By the way, Elizabeth Wade was born in 1785 in what is now Albert County. She married John Collier in 1813, who was born in England in 1788, and joined the Navy when he was about sixteen. When the ship dropped anchor near Alma about 1810, he made the decision to stay in New Brunswick.

Matthew Ryan, who was born in 1821, was a British Soldier who served under the Duke of Wellington during the Napoleonic Wars. He won a mention for bravery during the Battle of Waterloo and came to Coverdale when the war ended. When only seventeen, his son James Ryan married Elizabeth Trites, a daughter of Jacob Trites, one of the original settlers. He attended Normal School in Saint John to become a teacher. He lead a diversified life including roles in politics.

One of the earliest and very religious residents was the Rev. James Wallace who was born in Hopewell in 1797. One of the interesting events that his son wrote about was his crossing of the Petitcodiac River and getting into quicksand.

Hazen Gunning was cleaning the bridge when Mr. Sanford S. Ryan, County Councillor and a member of the New Brunswick Legislature was crossing the bridge and stopped to talk. He told him, he intended to submit the name Gunningsville for the official name of the area as the Gunnings had been the first settlers on an English land grant. The name was kept from circa 1910 to 1973.

Byron Dobson saw the need for housing in what became Riverview. He bought the 90-foot scow, Sherman B. in order to haul sand and gravel from Martin Head to mix with cement for the foundations in many of the houses he built.

The oldest known gravestone in the cemetery adjacent to the Coverdale United Church is that of John Weldon who drowned on June 8, 1819 in his 33rd year.

A tragic reminder of the Saxby Gale of October 4, 1869 is in the Wesleyan Union Cemetery on the Coverdale Rd. where a little stone marks the graves of four O’Brien children who slipped from a raft while crossing the river. Two children were saved.

The first ferry service on the Petitcodiac River was in 1841 with fare for a passenger being 1 s. 3 d,: for every ox, cow, etc. 3 s.: for every horse 4 s. Simon Outhouse was the Ferryman.

Dr. J. Arthur Dobson contributed a very interesting chapter on the Fundy (Dobson) Hiking Trail.

Circa 1670, the Micmac Indians called the Petitcodiac River - “Petgotgoiag” and in 1781 Henry Alline’s Journal refers to it as - “Petitojack”.

A History of Riverview, Bridgedale, Gunningsville, Riverview Heights was a Bicentennial Project of 1984 and provides much information for those who are researching this area and wish to gain details on the three villages that formed the Town of Riverview and the folk who lived there.

This book covers such topics as the Riverview Businesses - Past and Present up to 1984 and includes locations, owners and dates. The results of the Municipal Elections of 1967, 1969, and 1971, of the Villages gives a peak into those involved in local politics. Details are given on Churches, Clubs, Lodges, Societies, and Schools.

It is unbelievable as to the amount of information that was packed into this two-hundred page book by those who contributed their time and knowledge.

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New Brunswick for sale.

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