"The Waddells" - Reeds Point and Beyond.

Sitting at my little wooden desk with its cast-iron supports, I listened carefully to the instructions of our teacher. This was a project I would really enjoy!

We were to collect coloured autumn leaves and label them. Some kids would press theirs in a book but Mum had a better way. She placed the leaf inside a piece of wax paper and covered it with an old towel. Next she took the iron that had been heating on the kitchen stove and rubbed it over the towel. Our leaves did not curl up on the edges as they were now covered with a thin layer of wax.

After school, Cliff and I started our hunt to collect leaves. First we went across the road and through Gramp's field toward the Brook. We knew this was the only spot where the Balm of Gilead trees grew. While being this handy to the Giant's Grave, we decided to look for the remains of the dam that once was in the brook. The flume which we called a ditch was also still visible. It carried the water down to the water wheel at the grist mill in the Hollow.

Gramp had told us about this mill and how men brought their buckwheat here to be ground into flour. By the time he bought the Brookside Farm in 1920, the mill had ceased operation. The millstones were very heavy to move so he buried them in the ground.

Over at Reeds Point on the Kennebecasis River in the 1820s, James Waddell brought the water to turn his large 30-foot water wheel from Waddell Lake more than a mile away. The water wheel provided power to drive the gang saws in the sawmill.

Now you may be asking, "Who was James Waddell?" Well, he was born in Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1789, the seventh child of John Waddell and his wife, Jean Thomson. He came across the Atlantic Ocean aboard a schooner that was assigned the task of finding masts for the King's Navy.

He had a dream of finding a new life and opportunities in North America. Upon reaching Saint John in 1819, he hired an Indian guide and went scouting in a birch bark canoe on the St. John and Kennebecasis Rivers. He was looking for timber stands suitable for shipbuilding. James recognized that lumber was a prosperous and growing industry therefore he purchased a large parcel of land at Reeds Point on the Kennebecasis River. James returned to Scotland for his wife, Margaret Brodie and they began to create a new life in a foreign land.

In 1821, he built his first mill at Reeds Point. The following year, he moved the saw mill to a spot beside the river so ships might have easier access to the lumber. A few years later he constructed a grist mill nearby.

The descendants of James Waddell and Margaret Brodie married into the Sterritt, Gallagher, Walton, Gilliland, Stewart, Hall, Brawn, Cathline, Archibald, White and other families.

A new revised 195 page Waddell Book with 2613 names, 956 marriages and 179 pictures has been compiled. For more information contact  Ann Waddell at Waddell@brunnet.net

At the Saint John Free Public Library, Market Square, there is a copy of the book, "The Waddells" - Reeds Point and Beyond.

Ruby Cusack is a genealogy buff living in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to Ruby at rmcusack@nbnet.nb.ca. When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.

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