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Ruby M. Cusack

Fredericton Flashback by Ted Jones



Group at the original Camp Comfort, first sporting camp built in the Fredericton area, early autumn of 1886. The site was a small island just below the water now known as Hartt’s Island and Pool, on the St. John River, about seven miles above the city. The figures (left to right) are Ernest L. Crewdson, then a bookkeeper for John J. Weddall; Gus Tweedale, known as the friendly hardware salesman, grandfather of the later magistrate of Sunbury County; Arthur Porter, in shirt sleeves; Harry Chestnut, in light suit; man seated in doorway is not known; next, seated, is Jack Kelly, whose father was then superintendent of the New Brunswick Foundry & Machine Shop (later the Smith Foundry); Allie Machum, standing with gun; and extreme right, William Crewdson, City Clerk, father of Ernest Crewdson
   Picture: Provincial Archives of New Brunswick    P5-178  Fonds/Collection - Taylor. George: Photographs

For days during the hot summer, the adults complained about the heat. The tune changed and the conversation dwells now on winter coming and getting the Fall work completed.

Cliff and I planned on going for a long bike ride on Saturday but Dad had a different idea for us.

The remaining vegetables needed to be brought in before a heavy frost hit or hurricane weather brought rain for days, so off we headed to the garden with the wheelbarrow and pails.

Since I had poor judgement in using the hack to get the potatoes out of the ground, I was excused from that task. Just too many potatoes had holes in then which led to rot.

All the green tomatoes would be used for chow, while the cucumbers were turned into sweet pickle, mustard pickles and Lady Ashburnham's relish.

I warned Cliff to be careful using such a sharp knife to top the carrots as he needed all ten fingers to play the organ. The older generation often commented that he had the musical genes from Mum’s family both in singing and playing the organ.

We loaded up the wheelbarrow with several pails and set out at top speed on our first trip to the woodshed but more hurry less speed caused a problem. As Gramp came walking toward us, the wheelbarrow tipped and all the vegetables were spilled on the ground.

He didn’t pay any attention to our dilemma of vegetable rolling over the ground and the words he spoke were very confusing. “Forget the job you are doing and go wash your hands as your grandmother has her knickers in a twist and needs your help.”  “Her relatives from afar, that I am not too fond of, are arriving a fortnight earlier than planned.”

According to Gram you were judged not only on having a spotless house with no dust, lots of homemade cooking, large dinner plates filled with fresh garden vegetables, home made pies, and an up to date scrapbook of all the obituaries, engagement announcements, marriages, births and local happenings published in the Kings County Record and the Telegraph Journal since the relatives had made their last visit. This created evening discussions. Lots of the conversation was on the NEWS that had been submitted by community reporters which sometimes was on the verge of being classified as party line gossip. Many a hint was thrown out by the yearly visitors to make certain their coming to visit NB made the Kings County Record.

Gram had been busy with many projects. Instead of cutting out the items of interest, she just piled up the newspapers in the spare bedroom.

When we arrived we found her sitting in the upstairs hall with a red wax crayon, circling the events that would be suitable for her scrapbook.

We picked up the scissors and started cutting. Aunt Sadie came up the stairs with a dish of wallpaper paste and a small brush and took on the job of pasting.

Some things don’t change as my habit of not keeping a scrap book in order still remains with me.

In 2000, The Daily Gleaner started publishing “Fredericton Flashback” researched stories by Ted Jones. Readers cut out these articles and probably stored them in a shirt box or maybe the organized person glued them in a scrapbook.

In 2003 fifty of them were published as a book. Certainly a lot better than hunting through a box of clippings.

From “Fredericton Flashback” - Stories and Photographs from the Past, I learned many interesting historical facts, such as a visit was made in 1794, when the Duke of Kent, fourth son of King George III and the father of Queen Victoria inspected the troops of the 104th Regiment of Foot. In 1845, the Officers’ Square became the first outdoor smoking area in Fredericton. Sad to say the cat-o’-nine-tails was used to flog those whose actions didn’t please. Deserters were branded with the “D”. It is interesting to trace the going ons until 1956 when the Officers’ Square officially became a park.

In 1887, Sir John A. MacDonald and his second wife, Agnes, visited Fredericton where she laid the cornerstone of Fredericton’s first railway bridge. She became the care taker of the key to a tin box of memorabilia that she mortared into the stone’s cavity.

King Edward VII, the son of Queen Victoria became ill on the night before his coronation planned for June 26, 1902 and needed an appendectomy.

In 1897, John Risteen put Fredericton on the map to attract tourists, plus he received eighty dollars and a trip to Boston with his essay on Fredericton and the St. John River.  His nom de plume “Papineau” meant “low bush cranberry”.

Going to the movies in the Wonderland theater in 1907 cost ten cents.

The chapter on the Twenty-fifth Governor General, Romeo LeBlanc, brought memories to me of the life at Teachers’ College, training to be a teacher in the 1950's and our instructors - Thelma Kierstead, William Biden, Katherine MacLaggan and others.

In 1951, Queen Elizabeth II made her first visit to Canada. She wore the large diamond maple-leaf  brooch that was a gift to her mother during her 1939 tour.

Hours will pass quickly as you sit in your favourite chair or in a Library immersed in the 290 page book of history titled, “Fredericton Flashback” by Ted Jones, published in 2003, that is filled with so many historical facts.




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