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Ruby M. Cusack


Provincial Archives of New Brunswick website 
Legislative Assembly Sessional Records (RS24)


Mum was sitting at the table with fountain pen in hand, writing notes to put in the Christmas cards. She shared lots of information on the events of the year.   

I think every letter included the news she had a new wringer washer which made wash day much easier. She also described the double clothes line that Dad had put up. Of importance to her was the clothes rack made of broom handles that he also made to place over the floor furnace to dry not only the washed clothes on a rainy day but was great for getting coats and mittens dried during the winter months or on rainy days.

A car came into the yard and into the house came an older couple who each used a cane.
           
Once they started to talk, I thought of them as being grumpy and complainers. It seemed everything was better in the old days, but they certainly had lots of stories to share.

I enjoyed hearing about the “government” of New Brunswick changing the rule to right hand driving at the stroke of midnight on Dec. 1, 1922. It seemed this was difficult for the car driver to get accustomed to but much more difficult for the horses to change and caused a lot of confusion.

I almost burst out laughing as an argument arose over the date women were allowed to vote in New Brunswick.

If you are interested in the requests and rulings for change in New Brunswick, I suggest you spend some time on the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick website reading the Legislative Assembly Sessional Records (RS24) where the 11,293 document descriptions, historical background, archival context, and explanatory notes can be searched. The writing is faint and one may need a magnifying glass to read.

Finding information takes time and your eyes will get tired but it is well worth the effort.

For example on August 18, 1784, two months after the new province of New Brunswick was established, Governor Thomas Carleton was instructed by Royal Commission from King George III to summon and call a General Assembly. The steps taken by Governor Carleton in calling this assembly are detailed in his letter of October 25, 1785, to Lord Stanley in the Colonial Office at London - can be read online.

On Tuesday, January 3, 1786, His Majesty's request was fulfilled and New Brunswick’s first House of Assembly met at Saint John. By the time it adjourned on March 15 of that year, no less than sixty-one acts had been passed.

S31-P37- Petition of Rachel Martin of Fredericton praying that the provincial allowance may be granted her for teaching school in the Parishes of Norton and Hampton, Kings County. 25 Feb. 1823, p.34.

S32-P11 - Petition of James Dunn, a schoolmaster in Hampton Parish, Kings County, praying that the Provincial allowance for teaching be granted him. 28 Jan. 1824, p.15.

S34-P75  -Petition of sundry inhabitants of the Parishes of St. Martins and Hampton, Kings County, praying aid to build a bridge over Hammond River. 14 Feb. 1826, p.55.

S36-P17 - Petition of William Greenslade and others of Hampton and Springfield Parishes, Kings County, praying that an act might pass to grant a bounty for the destruction of bears in the Province. 16 Feb. 1828, p.15.

S36-P126- Petition of sundry inhabitants of Hampton Parish, Kings County, praying that an examination of the Hammond River be carried out to determine where the new bridge should be built. 6 Mar. 1828, p.64.

S34-P44- Petition of sundry inhabitants of Northumberland County praying that the shiretown of that county be established at Chatham instead of Newcastle. 9 Feb. 1826, p.41.   

S37-B23 - Bill to lay a tax on dogs in certain parts of the Parishes of Newcastle, Chatham and Nelson in Northumberland County. 18 Dec. 1828, p.18.           

S15-P8 - Petition of Young Sherman, Ring Sherman and other inhabitants of Petitcodiac and Sackville praying that the marriage act be amended to allow ministers of any denomination to perform marriages. 10 Feb. 1802, p.668.

S21-B17 - Bill to restrain persons from marriage until their former wives or husbands be dead. 13 Feb. 1812, p.14.

1231 records were found when I searched the name “Saint John”

S1-B84 - Bill to enable the corporation of the City of Saint John to lay a duty of tonnage upon all vessels of thirty tons and upwards, for the purpose of erecting a lighthouse and supporting the same. 2 Mar. 1786, p.61.

S6-B29
Bill for preserving the bank of the River Saint John in front of Maugerville, Sheffield and Waterborough. 1 Mar. 1792, p.26

S2-B19 - An act to enable the Justices of the Peace in the several counties in this province, wherein no gaols are erected, to send persons charged with grand larceny, and other offences of a higher nature, to the gaol of the City and County of Saint John. 3 Mar. 1787, p.94

S2-P3 - Petition of William Ryan, Saint John County, dated July 24, 1787 requesting the House to pass an act which will enable him to be released from prison to pay his debts.

S9-P7 - Petition of the Methodist Society of the City of Saint John requesting a law allowing Methodist ministers to perform marriages. 13 Feb. 1795, p.404.

S43-R20.93 - Account of James Brickley, Commissioner of the Bye Road between the Old Quaco Road and Milligan Settlement, Saint John County.


IMAGES - Artists provided us with pictures before cameras were around. The images in the RS24 gallery represent how artists and lithographers, people like William Henry Bartlett and Saint John born Lady Mary (Heaviside) Love, depicted the rapidly changing face of the province. These images also reflect many of the issues and conditions legislators faced in guiding the province through its first 50 years and some of those key individuals are also represented in the gallery.