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Ruby M. Cusack
A Family Portrait in Fairfield of the Patterson Girls with their Brother

A Short History of Fairfield, Tynemouth Creek and Gardner’s Creek
by Harold McCullagh published in 1971
Finally 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 a ditch.

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 several trout.

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 hundred bugs.

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 business.

Painless Parker had a great interest in improving dentistry and became famous for his technique in removing teeth.

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 four barks.

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, Tynemouth Creek and Gardner’s Creek"
by Harold McCullagh published in 1971 is available at the Saint John Public Library and other Research Institutions.

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