Ruby M. Cusack
Portrait in Fairfield of the Patterson Girls with their
A Short History of
Fairfield, Tynemouth Creek and Gardner’s Creek
by Harold McCullagh published
Spring had arrived and with it came the time to go
fishing. But much to our dismay the very high water in the
brook brought a warning from Mum which didn’t make us very happy.
If we wanted to cut the poles from
saplings, tie on a piece of string for a line, fasten on a
hook and dig a can of worms that was fine. But we were to
do our fishing in the little stream that was comparable to
As Gram would say, “A half a loaf was
better than none.” So off we went.
Cliff dropped in his line and within
minutes he had a bite. I got down on my knees and
looked into the wooden culvert, where I spotted several
good sized trout. In my excitement, I leaned too far and
lost my balance and went headfirst toward the ditch but
was saved from an ice cold dip by grabbing an alder bush.
I dumped out the water from my rubber boots
and continued fishing. The fish were hungry and we caught
We hurried to the house to show Mum, who
said “Bigger is not always better.”
Quite often this applies to the size of a
book when you are doing research.
For example, the book, A Short History
of Fairfield, Tynemouth Creek and Gardner’s Creek by
Harold McCullagh published in 1971 has only twenty-six
pages but is packed with information on many topics. It is
a real find for those interested in the history of that
area of New Brunswick.
The author acknowledges the help of Mrs.
May Fowler of Bloomfield who remembered much about her
ancestors and the stories they told. She was a great
granddaughter of one of the Floyd brothers who arrived in
1822 from Ireland with their families
The Browns and Howards also arrived about
that time period.
I was intrigued with the story of John
Howard who was born in 1743 and
married four times. His third wife, with eight children,
were killed in the American War of Independence. He then
fell in love with, Patience, a lady of Royal blood.
Captain David Vaughan, was one of the first
ship builders at Quaco when he built the schooner
”Rachel”, named after his first wife.
Alfie Riggs was well known to the folk in
Fairfield for his carving skills and innovative ideas. His
home made penny farthing bike was the talk of the village.
In about 1886 the Baptist Seminary came to
St. Martins. The Fairfield farmers sold them food supplies
and in turn the Seminary sold the kitchen waste to the
farmers for food for the hogs.
Children were often paid to help with the
farming. Many a child spent hours picking potato
bugs from the plants to receive one cent for a
Saint John lost one of its postal service
workers circa 1880 when John Withers decided to become a
farmer. Upon his death in 1894, his nephew, Charles,
took over the farm.
Being on the coast with lots of beaches,
smuggling prohibited liquor often took place.
The heavily wooded area provided lots of
timber to be shipped.
Tynemouth Creek and Gardner’s Creek were
sites of shipbuilding industry. Robert Ellis came from
Tynemouth, England and established the Tynemouth shipyard.
Two young apprentices, John Stewart from Ireland and
Richard Lovett from Nova Scotia fell in love with the two
pretty daughters of Robert Ellis and later took over the
Painless Parker had a great interest in
improving dentistry and became famous for his technique in
George Dunscombe Collins was born in 1811
in the Tower of London and began coasting and fishing from
St. Martins about the year 1847.
William Wallace came from Derry, in
Northern Ireland when he was about forty years old. Along
with his brothers, he built twenty-nine brigantines and
Treasure hunting was in the blood of many
who sailed the seas as well as those who lived on the
land. Ghosts seemed to hang out with them and certainly
made for interesting stories, whether it be about Captain
Kidd or the finding of chains or ring bolts. The
Isle of Hault held its secret.
Reading this book makes one feel as if a
group of neighbours was sitting around the table
discussing the people who lived in the community.
By the way, "A Short History of Fairfield,
and Gardner’s Creek"
by Harold McCullagh published in
1971 is available at the Saint John Public Library and
other Research Institutions.