This blog will continue to grow, but following is a table of contents so far from the top:
- Weather and the Seasons in Micmac Mythology – Jan. 11, 2017
- New Brunswick’s Roads in 1832: ‘Many paths are misnamed roads’. Jan. 7, 2017
- Nova Scotia and New England During the Revolution – Dec. 28, 2016
- A Holiday Special: Christmas as it Was in Saint John in 1808 – Dec. 23, 2016
- Expressions from Cuffer Down plus Signs and Omens – Dec. 21, 2016
- From Passamaquoddy to the Petitcodiac: What it Was Like in 1832 – Dec. 14, 2016
- Raymond Writes About the Lives and Customs of the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet People – Dec. 7, 2016
- The Governor’s House was an Outrage to Good Taste – Fredericton in 1832 – Nov. 30, 2016
- An Unparalleled and Abominable Deception – Nov. 23, 2016
- Not a Metropolis, but the Largest Town in the Province – Saint John in 1832 – Nov. 16, 2016
- Lumber Camp Life, and Game-Wardens Poaching Moose – Nov. 9, 2016
- Louisbourg: It Didn’t Have to Happen. It Just Didn’t Have to Happen – Nov. 2, 2016
- Let Us Consider the Lowly Seagull – Oct. 26, 2016
- 5 – David Kennedy Completes His Travels of 1876 in Halifax – Oct. 19, 2016
- 4 – David Kennedy’s Tour of Nova Scotia in 1876 – Oct. 12, 2016
- 3 – David Kennedy’s Tour of Newcastle, Chatham and Bathurst in 1876 – Oct. 5, 2016
- 2 – David Kennedy’s Visit to Saint John, New Brunswick in 1876 – Sept. 28, 2016
- 1 – David Kennedy’s Travels from Quebec City to New Brunswick in 1876 – Sept. 21, 2016 (This blog posting was lost on Sept. 28th. I decided not to re-post, since it would clutter my subscribers’ screens.)
- A Short History of Early English Nova Scotia – Sept. 14, 2016
- Fish Wardens Described as Useless Political Appointments – Sept. 7, 2016
- With Indian Guides in the Wilds of New Brunswick, 1862 – Aug. 31, 2016
- Blog past #300: Port Royal from 1604 to 1613. Of Heritage Value to all North Americans – Aug. 24, 2016
- Hunting Down the Last of the Old Growth Pine – Aug. 17, 2016
- Dr. James Robb – Aug. 10, 2016
- Peace Negotiations With Pierre Tomah on the Saint John River – Aug. 3, 2016
- Business Opportunities on Campobello Island – July 27, 2016
- A Pompous Captain on the Evils of Logging – July 20, 2016
- The Too-Easy Life of Nova Scotians Disproved – July 13, 2016
- Why Not to Marry a Nova Scotia Woman, and How to Make Maple Sugar – July 6, 2016
- The Bloody Assault on Fort Louisbourg in 1758 – June 29, 2016
- The Medical Men of Saint John in its First Half Century – June 22, 2016
- Henry Ketchum and the Chignecto Marine Transport Railway – June 15, 2016
- A War Journal from Majabidwaduce on the Penobscot – June 8, 2016
- Mi’kmaq Magic and Medicine – June 1, 2016
- Thomas Wood, and His Visit to the Saint John River in 1769 – May 25, 2016
- The Northern Colonies: Languishing in Mediocrity – ca 1804 – May 18, 2016
- Fredericton’s Victoria Cottage Hospital – May 11, 2016
- The Passamaquoddy Wampum Records – May 4, 2016
- Slog on, or Die – Apr. 27, 2016
- Changes Nova Scotia Underwent from Discovery to 1758 When the First General Assembly Met in Halifax – Apr. 20, 2016
- The Disastrous Winter on St. Croix Island, 1604-05, and Other Adventures – Apr. 13, 2016
- Missions to the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet in the Early 1800’s – Apr. 6, 2016
- It Sounded Like a Residential School Philosophy – Mar. 30, 2016
- The Acadian Fugitives – Mar. 23, 2016
- Giddy, Eccentric, and Discontented Characters, or Misguided Souls, or Turncoats? – Mar. 16, 2016
- Indian Routes of Travel in New Brunswick – Mar. 9, 2016
- Historic Sites from the English Period on the Saint John River – Mar. 2, 2016
- How to Hunt a Moose, a Goose, and a Caribou in New Brunswick in 1791 – Feb. 24, 2016
- William Hubbard Complains to Edward Winslow about the Congregationalists in Sheffield – Feb. 17, 2016
- Good Fences Make Good Neighbours – Feb. 10, 2016
- WE NEED THE ACADIANS TO REMAIN: Lieut Governor, 1715 – Feb. 2, 2015
- Guy Carleton on the Fur Trade in Canada, 1767 – Jan. 27, 2016
- A Letter on Irish Immigrants – Jan. 20, 2016
- The Wreck of the ‘Lord Ashburton’ – Jan. 13, 2016
- A Ghost at Noonday – Jan. 6, 2016
- Silas Rand on the Mi’kmaq People – Part 3: Will Not the Bright Sun and the Blue Heavens Testify Against Us? – Dec. 30, 2015
- Silas Rand on the Mi’kmaq People – Part 2: To Every Thing There is a Season – Dec. 23, 2015
- Silas Rand on the Mi’kmaq People – Part 1: All Men From One Blood – Dec. 16, 2015
- Limits to the Royal Bounty – Dec. 9, 2015
- Nova Scotia, a Receptacle for Superfluous People? – Dec. 1, 2015
- From New Ireland to New Brunswick – Nov. 25, 2015
- The Most Gentlemanlike Government on Earth – Nov. 18, 2015
- I Love You for Your Plainness – Nov. 11, 2015
- Ward Chipman Remembers the Final Evacuation of New York – Nov. 4, 2015
- A Reply to “Men of Honor and Probity Run Amok” – Oct. 28, 2015
- A Century of Educational Progress in New Brunswick from 1800 to 1900 – Oct. 21, 2015
- Notes About the Earliest Public Markets in Saint John, New Brunswick – Oct. 14, 2015
- The Provincial Dairy School at Sussex, New Brunswick, 1900 – Oct. 7, 2015
- An Account of Nova Scotia in 1743 – Sept. 30, 2015
- The Petition of the Infamous 55 – Sept. 23, 2015
- Francis Sharpe’s Woodstock Apples – Sept. 16, 2015
- The Expulsion of the Acadians, a Military Surgeon’s Diary – Sept. 9, 2015
- The New Brunswick Election of 1785 – Sept. 2, 2015
- The Many Fires in Saint John, 1784-1877 – Aug. 26, 2015
- A Proposal for an Attack on N0va Scotia – Aug. 19, 2015
- Fredericton’s Great Flood of 1936 – Aug. 12, 2015
- A Letter about the Acadians and the Expulsion – Aug. 5, 2015
- Saint John in 1834, Before it was Forever Changed by the Great Fire – July 29, 2015
- New Brunswick, No Country for a Mere Gentleman, 1834 – July 22, 2015
- Woodstock, the Only Village Between the Green River and Fredericton in 1834 – July 15, 2015
- On the Tamiscouta Prtage from Lake Tamiscouta to just above Grand Falls, 1834 – July 10, 2015
- Men of Honor and Probity Run Amok – July 1, 2015
- By Steamer to the So-Called City of Fredericton – June 24, 2014
- A Quiet and Business-Like Little City – June 17, 2015
- Rambles Among the Bluenoses in 1862 – June 10, 2015
- Edward John Russell, a New Brunswick Artist – June 3, 2015
- Provincial Lunatic Asylum, Report of the Medical Superintendent, 1875 – May 27, 2015
- The Saint John River and Port Royal in the Early 1600’s – May 20, 2015
- What Should We Think of Benedict Arnold? – May 13, 2015
- Diphtheria in New Brunswick in the Year 1889 – May 6, 2015
- The Official Account of the Destruction of Burnt Church – Apr. 29, 2015
- The Exchange Coffee House and Saint John’s First Club – Apr. 22, 2015
- The Wigwams and Dwellings of the Gaspesians – Apr. 15, 2015
- The Story of Brook Watson – Apr. 8, 2015
- Where Stood Fort LaTour? – Apr. 1, 2015
- Things This Morning Really Wear the Aspect of War – Mar. 25, 2015
- At Portland Point – Mar. 18, 2015
- Electrical Power From the Reversing Falls – Mar. 10, 2015
- Father Rale’s War – 1722-25; How it Ended – Mar. 4, 2015
- What Was the Big Deal About the Marco Polo? – Feb. 25, 2015
- Grand Manan to Petitcodiac, in 1786 – Feb. 18, 2015
- A Trip From St. John to Fredericton in 1870 – Feb. 11, 2015
- A Tour of St. John, N.B., in 1870 – Feb. 4, 2015
- Destruction by Fire of the First Cathedral in Chatham – Jan. 28, 2015
- Burgan the Burglar – Jan. 21, 2015
- Facts and Reasons Against Confederating With Canada – Jan. 14, 2015
- Discontent in Early Halifax in 1756 – Jan. 7, 2015
- A Trip on the ICR From Bathurst to Miramichi – Dec. 31, 2014
- Early Attempts to Introduce the Cultivation of Hemp in Eastern British America – Dec. 24, 2014
- Touring Campbellton and Dalhousie, Despite the Mosquitoes, 1876 – Dec. 19, 2014
- The Fire of 1837 in Saint John – Dec. 10, 2014
- The Cruise of the Rechab – Dec. 3, 2014
- A Night in the Deep – Nov. 26, 2014
- Robert Foulis (A Misplaced Genius) – Nov. 19, 2014
- The City Mills – Nov. 15, 2014
- The Brothers d’Amours – Nov. 5, 2014
- John Allan’s Revolutionary Mission to the Saint John River – Oct. 29, 2014
- Relics of the Acadian Period – Oct. 22, 2014
- Some Odd Old Advertisements – Oct. 15, 2014
- The Miramichi Fire – Relief of the Sufferers – Oct. 8, 2014
- Jonathan Eddy’s Account of the Attack on Fort Cumberland, November, 1776 – Oct. 1, 2014
- Which of These Two is the Wisest and Happiest? – Sept. 24, 2014
- Fredericton Bridge, a Prophetic Writing – Sept. 17, 2014
- A Speech to Distinguished Persons of Stake and Consideration – Sept. 10, 2014
- Building an Education System From Almost Nothing – Sept. 3, 2014
- Cape Tormentine to the Baye des Chaleurs in the 1600’s – Aug. 27, 2014
- The Customs of the Mi’kmaq in the 1600’s and Before – Aug. 20, 2014
- Two Documents Relating to the Fenians in New Brunswick – Aug. 13, 2014
- The Lazaretto for Lepers in Tracadie, 1862 – Aug. 6, 2014
- Thoughts About the Augustine Mound at Metepenegiag Mi’kmaq Nation – July 30, 2014
- What am I Bid for This Pauper? – July 23, 2014
- Trouble at Madawaska, 1831 – July 16, 2014
- The Great Fire at Saint John, June 20, 1877 – July 9, 2014
- The Poor Fellows Shook as if They Would Fall to Pieces! – July 2, 2014
- How to Build a Logging Camp in Around 1850 – June 25, 2014
- Risen from the Ashes, Phoenix Square in Fredericton – June 18, 2014
- Rocks and Water, Magnificence and Squalor; St. John in 1876 – June 11, 2014
- Moncton as Seen by a Journalist in 1876 – June 4, 2014
- Events Leading to the Caraquet Riots of 1875 – May 28, 2014
- A Dramatic Account of the Miramichi Fire – May 21, 2014
- Saint John in the Early 1840’s – May 18, 2014
- A Note to Subscribers, and a Memorandum for me – May 14, 2014
- The Myth that Kerosene was Invented in New Brunswick – May 7, 2014
- A Church with Military Boots and Fixed Bayonets – Apr. 30, 2014
- An Opening Salvo in an Ongoing Argument – Apr. 23, 2014
- May living worms his corpse devour – Apr. 16, 2014
- He don’t look any better than some of our own boys – Apr. 9, 2014
- The Disputed Territory Between New Brunswick and Maine – Apr. 2, 2014
- Navigation on the Saint John River – Mar. 26, 2014
- Shepody as a Hot Investment Opportunity, 1868 – Mar. 19, 2014
- To Her Majesty, RE: Reciprocity, 1853 – Mar. 12, 2014
- Diary on the Tobique, 1851 – Mar. 5, 2014
- Growing up in Fredericton in the 1820s and 1830s – Feb. 26, 2014
- Travels From Eastport, Maine, to Fredericton, 1851 – Feb. 19, 2014
- The Saint John General Public Hospital, 19th Century, Part 2 of 2 – Feb. 12, 2014
- The Saint John General Public Hospital, 19th Century, Part 1 of 2 – Feb. 5, 2014
- The Story of the Great Brothers – Jan. 29, 2014
- A Trek up the Tobique, and Onward to Bathurst – Jan. 22, 2014
- Summer Tourists. A Manual for New Brunswick Farmers – Jan. 19, 2014
- A Trek from Grand Falls to Campbellton, 1862 – Jan. 15, 2014
- A Trek From Taymouth to Boisetown, 1862 – Jan. 12, 2014
- Capt. William Owen’s Journal, Campobello, 1770-71 – Jan. 8, 2014
- The Founding of Campobello Island – Jan. 5, 2014
- New Brunswick Roads and Railways, 1855 – Jan. 1, 2014
- Grand Manan – Dec. 29, 2013
- The Shipyard Fire in Saint John, in 1841 – Dec. 26, 2013
- Christmas as it Was in Saint John, in 1808 – Dec. 22, 2013
- The Saint John Grammar School – Dec. 18, 2013
- William Wishart Blasts the New Brunswick Education System, 1845 – Dec. 15, 2013
- The Diary of Sarah Frost – Dec. 11, 2013
- Pŭlěs, Pŭlowěch′, and Beechkwěch (Pigeon, Partridge, and Nighthawk) – Dec. 10, 2014
- The Government of New Brunswick, 1837 – Dec. 4, 2013
- The Whales and the Robbers – Dec. 1, 2013
- The Ashburton Treaty – Nov. 27, 2013
- Glooscap and His Four Visitors – Nov. 24, 2013
- The Pioneers of Saint Stephen – Nov. 20, 2013
- The Adventures of Kâktoogwâsees; a Tale of Ancient Times – Nov. 17, 2013
- The Asylum at Saint John – Nov. 13, 2013
- The Liver-Colored Giants and Magicians – Nov. 10, 2013
- Smuggling Between Calais and St. Stephen – Nov. 6, 2013
- The Two Weasels – Nov. 3, 2013
- A note to subscribers – Oct. 30, 2013
- The European and North American Railway, 1862 – Oct. 30, 2013
- The Origin of the War Between the Mi’kmaq and the Kwěděches – Oct. 23, 2013
- Trouble on the Line: The Early Telegraph in New Brunswick – Oct. 16, 2013
- The Invisible Boy; Team′ and Oochigeaskw – Oct. 9, 2013
- Transportation to and from Fredericton, 1841 – Oct. 2, 2013
- The Boy That Was Transformed Into a Horse – Sept. 25, 2013
- McAdam: Notes From the Early Days – Sept. 18, 2013
- The Magical Food, Belt and Flute – Sept. 11, 2013
- European & North American Rly. Staff, 1861 – Sept. 4, 2013
- Glooscap and the Megumoowesoo: A Marriage Adventure – Aug. 28, 2013
- The Loss of the Royal Tar – Aug. 21, 2013
- Robbery and Murder Revenged, Plus a Grand Falls Story – Aug. 14, 2013
- The St. John River From Below Fredericton to the Reversing Falls – Aug. 7, 2013
- A Proposal for a Wooden Railway – July 31, 2013
- ‘On the Early History of New Brunswick’ – July 24, 2013
- The Maugerville Settlement, 1763-1824 – July 17, 2013
- 1930 Circus Train Wreck Near Moncton, N.B. – July 10, 2013
- Horses or Oxen? Pick one – July 3, 2013
- The St. John River; Andover to Fredericton – June 26, 2013
- Origins of Some Place Names on N.B.’s Eastern Shore – June 19, 2013
- The St. John River; Grand Falls to the Tobique – June 12, 2013
- Gabriel Acquin – June 5, 2013
- The Seigniories of New Brunsiwck – May 29, 2013
- An 1841 Trek up the Oromocto River – May 22, 2013
- Fredericton’s Exhibition Palace, and Bears in N.B. – May 15, 2013
- Murder on Diamond Square Road – May 8, 2013
- Acadian Historic Sites in New Brunswick – May 1, 2013
- John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 5 of 5 – Apr. 24, 2013
- John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 4 of 5 – Apr. 17, 2013
- John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 3 of 5 – Apr. 10, 2013
- John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 2 of 5 – Apr. 3, 2013
- John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 1 of 5 – Mar. 27, 2013
- A Retrospective Look at Saint John – Mar. 20, 2013
- The Wreck of the England – Mar. 13, 2013
- The First Decade of the 1800’s in St. John, N.B. – Mar. 6, 2013
- St. John’s Poorhouse and Workhouse – Feb. 27, 2013, Rev. Sept. 9, 2015
- New Brunswick Scenes From an Old Book – Feb. 20, 2013
- Nice Pictures From Another Old Book – Feb. 13, 2013
- Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick, Part 2/2 – Feb. 6, 2013
- Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick, 1845 – Jan. 30, 2013
- The Works of W.O. Raymond – Jan. 23, 2013
- The Year of the Fever – Jan. 16, 2013
- Hanged for the Theft of 25 Cents – Jan. 9, 2013
- Reversing Falls – Pictures – Jan. 2, 2013
- Christmas as it was in 1808 – Dec. 25, 2012
- Nice Pictures From an Old Book – Dec. 19, 2012
- The Saint John Bridge Collapse of 1837 – Dec. 12, 2012
- The First Road Bridge Across the Reversing Falls – Dec. 5, 2012
- The Mystery of the First Lizzie Morrow – Nov. 28, 2012
- The First Murder Trial on the River St. John – Nov. 21, 2012
- The March of the 104th Regiment in 1812 – Nov. 14, 2012
- Partridge Island – Nov. 7, 2012
- Fredericton’s First Bridge Across the Saint John River – Oct. 31, 2012
- 1816, The Year Without a Summer – Oct. 31, 2012
- Winslow to Wentworth, 1781 – Oct. 31, 2012
- Oops! An explanation – Oct. 31, 2012
- The Saxby Gale of 1869 – Oct. 31, 2012
- New Brunswick’s Third Town in 1838: Saint Andrews – Oct. 31, 2012
- Fredericton and York County in 1838 – Oct. 31, 2012
- The City and County of Saint John in 1838 – Sept. 26, 2012
- The St. Andrews and Quebec Railroad – Sept. 19, 2012
- The Studholm Report of Saint John River Pre-Loyalists in 1783 – Sept. 12, 2012
- Caleb Jones. Further RE: Ann, otherwise known as Nancy – Sept. 5, 2012
- The Wreck of the Martha – Aug. 29, 2012
- The Early Settlement of Maugerville and the Sheffield Parsonage Dispute – Aug. 22, 2012
- Lieutenant Governors of New Brunswick to Confederation, Part 2 of 2 – Aug. 15, 2012
- Lieutenant Governors of New Brunswick to Confederation, Part 1 of 2 – Aug. 8, 2012
- The Morrow House at French Lake, N.B. – New Information – Aug. 1, 2012
- Sound by Glen Glenn, Revision 1 – July 25, 2012
- Ann, otherwise known as Nancy – July 18, 2012
- The Fire of October 7, 1825 – Beyond the Miramichi – July 11, 2012
- Lemuel Allan Wilmot – July 4, 2012
- The Great Fire at Miramichi, October 7, 1825 – June 27, 2012
- Robert Rankin in New Brunswick – June 20, 2012
- Who Owned the Mill at Tracy, New Brunswick? – June 13, 2012
- Signatures of Sunbury County Ancestors – June 6, 2012
- Daniel Wood’s Log Cabin, and Little Field Barn at French Lake, New Brunswick – May 30, 2012
- Rusagonis and George Garraty – May 23, 2012
- Epitaph Transcriptions from a Collection – May 16, 2012
- Central New Brunswick Gravestones from a Genealogy – May 9, 2012
- Nashwaak River Pictures with Stewart Family Connections – May 2, 2012
- More Sunbury County Photographs from a Collection – Apr. 25, 2012
- An Indian Burial Ground at Oromocto; and Coal Mining on the Oromocto River – Apr. 22, 2012
- “Days of Old” by Katherine DeWitt and Norma Alexander – Apr. 18, 2012
- The Wood Cemetery at French Lake, New Brunswick – Apr. 11, 2012
- James Glenie in New Brunswick – Apr. 4, 2012
- Four Generations of the Stewart Family on the Nashwaak River – Mar. 28, 2012
- Three Generations of the Mersereau Family in New Brunswick – Mar. 21, 2012
- Three Generations of the Smith Family of Sunbury County, New Brunswick – Mar. 14, 2012
- Three Generations of the Wood Family of French Lake, New Brunswick – Mar. 7, 2012
- New Brunswick Education in 1883 – Feb. 29, 2012
- Riots and Demonstrations in Saint John – Feb. 20, 2012
- Making Better Butter – Feb. 18, 2012
- York County Place Names, 1896/1905 – Feb. 8, 2012
- Sunbury County Place Names, 1896/1905 – Feb. 1, 2012
- Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 3 of 3 – Jan. 25, 2012
- Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 2 of 3 – Jan. 18, 2012
- Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 1 of 3 – Jan. 11, 2012
- The Hon. Thomas Baillie: Gone, but not soon forgotten! – Jan. 5, 2012
- The Fort at Oromocto, 1780 – 1783 – Dec. 29, 2011
- The Great Fire in Fredericton, 1850 – Early Accounts – Dec. 15, 2011
- The Morrow House at French Lake, and More – Dec. 8, 2011
- The Old Woman House at French Lake, New Brunswick – Dec. 1, 2011
- Smith Family Photographs from a Collection, Sunbury County, N.B. – Nov. 25, 2011
- French Lake from Before we Remember – Nov. 20, 2011
- How Geary became known as Geary – Nov. 9, 2011
- Elizabeth (Smith) Secord; N.B.’s First Woman Registered Doctor – Nov. 4, 2011
- Phillips Family Photographs from a Collection, Rusagonis, N.B. – Nov. 2, 2011
- Mersereau Family Photographs from a Collection, Sunbury County, N.B. – Oct. 30, 2011
- Wood Family Photographs from a Collection, French Lake, N.B. – Oct. 25, 2011
- Jeremiah Tracy: Pioneer of the Village of Tracy, New Brunswick – Oct. 20, 2011
- Two Old Railroad-Inspired Songs – Oct. 16, 2011
- Ode to the Oromocto River – Oct. 10, 2011
- John Mersereau, Loyalist 2 – Oct. 4, 2011
- The Earliest American Railroads and Locomotives – Sept. 14, 2011
- The Mersereau Manufacturing Company of Brooklyn, New York, Notes – Sept. 3, 2011
- George Morrow of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1801-1868 – Aug. 26, 2011
- The Wood Family of French Lake, New Brunswick – Legends – Aug. 9, 2011
- The Baptist Church on the Oromocto River in New Brunswick – Aug. 7, 2011
- John Wood of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1788-1868 – Aug. 2, 2011
- Daniel Wood of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1764-1847 – Aug. 1, 2011
- Three Stewarts on the Nashwaak – July 24, 2011
- Bunker Genealogy – Five Bunkers – July 20, 2011
- Statistics From the 1851 and 1871 Sunbury County New Brunswick Census Reports – July 19, 2011
- Historical Development of the Beam Bending Equation M=fS – July 18, 2011
- Seth Noble, Maugerville and the American Revolution – July 16, 2011
- Columns, the Long and the Short of it – 1729-1900 – July 15, 2011
- The Great Saint John Steel Cantilever Bridge – July 13, 2011
- The Upper Oromocto River in 1847 – July 11, 2011
- Early Glimpses of the Rusagonis Baptist Church in New Brunswick – July 11, 2011
- Abraham Gesner’s 1847 Observations of Sport Hunting in New Brunswick – July 11, 2011
- It Sounds a bit Too Easy – July 10, 2011
- James Buncker – July 10, 2011
- Inconsistent Petitions; Changed Self-Interests – July 10, 2011
- Abner Mersereau and a Letter – July 9, 2011
- Early Glimpses of the Patterson Settlement Baptist Church in New Brunswick – July 9, 2011
- The Textile Mill at Geary, New Brunswick – July 8, 2011
- Letter of Mi’kmaq’ Chief Pemmeenauweet to Queen Victoria – 1841 – July 7, 2011
- New Brunswick in the 1840s – July 7, 2011
From the blog at http://JohnWood1946.wordpress.com
Weather and the Seasons in Micmac Mythology
Following is an article written by Stansbury Hagar, and published in the Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 10, in April, 1897. I have retained his use of the name Micmac as that is, of course, how it appeared in his 1897 writing.
Hagar was an ethnologist and was able to compare Indian legends across various native cultures. It is clear that some legends, though similar, were likely developed independently at different times and places. Other legends, however, were shared over great distances and thereafter modified to suit local circumstances. This observation is also clear in Hagar’s paper Mi’kmaq Magic and Medicine, posted in this blog on June 1, 2016 at https://johnwood1946.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/mikmaq-magic-and-medicine/
Hagar also refers to several legends recorded by Silas Rand, one of which is The Invisible Boy; Team′ and Oochigeaskw. This story was also posted in this blog on October 9, 2013 at https://johnwood1946.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/the-invisible-boy-team%E2%80%B2-and-oochigeaskw/
The Old Man Told Us, by Ruth Holmes Whitehead
One of the books in my collection
Weather and the Seasons in Micmac Mythology
The Micmacs relate that their hero, Glooscap, issued from a cave near Cape Dauphin, at the eastern extremity of Cape Breton. He instructed the people, travelled westward, and finally disappeared. But he is to return some day, issuing again from his eastern cave; so, at least, the Cape Breton Micmacs still believe. Such was his strength that he left his footprints imbedded in the solid rock at Blomidon. And the Passamaquoddies add that he was accompanied by two dogs, one black, one white. Before his coming, the world was in darkness; he brought the light.
Surely it is evident that this is but one version of the world-wide story of the solar hero who comes forth from the cave of night, and returns to the shadows of the west to reappear at tomorrow’s dawn, always accompanied by his two dogs day and night. But climate interferes to modify the story. In these northern latitudes the strength of the frost giants is seen to be quite as great as that of the solar warmth. Instead of constructing a distinctly dual system upon this basis of heat and cold, however, the Micmacs seem to have preferred to retain their hero’s strength intact, or to sacrifice consistency to simplicity by giving him command over frost as well as sunshine. And so Glooscap is made to fight frost with frost, always conquering his adversaries at their own game; while, in another myth, with complete inconsistency, he releases the waters that have been imprisoned by the power of the winter. But the special Micmac ruler of the seasons is Coolpujot. It is said that Glooscap, when he departed, first went west, then turned southward, and kept travelling on and on until finally, far to the south, he came to the home of Coolpujot, an old man who dwells in solitude broken only by occasional visitors. His name, as Dr. Rand has shown, is translated “rolled over with handspikes.” He is without bones, and his corpulence is so great that he lies upon the ground in one position, unable to move. Twice a year, in spring and autumn, he is turned over by visitors armed with handspikes, hence his name. And tradition has it that to whomsoever performs this kindly office he gratefully grants any request, however difficult of attainment. When he lies facing the north, his warm breath produces those balmy southern zephyrs which bring with them the song of birds, the perfume of flowers, and the wealth of summer vegetation. When he is turned towards the south, the birds and flowers follow, and the icy northern winds resume their sway.
Two men and a boy journeyed far to visit him. At length they found him lying in his wigwam with his back towards them. He asked them to turn him over, so that he could see them. After a bounteous meal he inquired for what purpose they had come. The first man replied: “I am ill. I have come to ask you to cure me.” “Turn me,” said Coolpujot, “so that I can touch you where you feel ill.” The man did so, and Coolpujot cured him instantly. “As long as you remember me,” said he to his visitor, “you’ll be well, but as soon as you forget me your illness will return.” He then asked of the other man the object of his visit. “I seek success in hunting,” answered the second man. “Replace all your old traps with new ones,” said Coolpujot; “then you will have success.” The man afterwards did so, and found, like his companion, that his request had been granted. Now came the boy’s turn. Said he to Coolpujot: “I would like to live with you always, to bring your water and tend your fire for you.” “Then you shall be my boy, and stay with me forever,” responded the magician, who thereupon directed the boy to place himself inside the hollow trunk of a cedar-tree which stood directly in front of the door of the wigwam. The boy, having done this, instantly became part of the tree. Every spring, as soon as he is turned to face the tree, Coolpujot looks at it and raises his hand. Immediately the fresh green foliage springs forth into full bloom. When autumn comes, before he turns his back upon the tree, he looks at it again and lowers his hand. Again the tree obeys his will, and its foliage withers and falls off nor is renewed until with returning spring the lord of the seasons again commands it to bud forth.
There are several points which may be thought worthy of notice about the legends thus far related. The cave birth of Glooscap will be recognized as a worldwide attribute of the solar gods and heroes, as might naturally be expected. The Micmacs believe there were three heroes in existence before Glooscap created man. These three were Glooscap, Coolpujot, and Keuhkw, ruler of earthquakes. But Glooscap, in various myths, invades the prerogative of both of his associates to such an extent that we are at least justified in suspecting that the three were once regarded as one being named in three differing aspects. Indeed, several Micmacs have assured me, in respect to Coolpujot, that he lived before anyone else; that he himself became Glooscap, and returned to his former position when his mission in the world had been accomplished. The three visitors in Dr. Rand’s version are made to seek Glooscap instead of Coolpujot, thus showing an interchange of incidents between the two heroes. Again in these versions of the same collection the granting of requests is apparently Glooscap’s exclusive prerogative.
But it is to the incident of the cedar tree and the renewal of its verdure by the ruler of the seasons that I especially desire to call attention. This concept may possibly be held to be vaguely suggestive of the famous “flower-pot trick,” of the knowledge of which there is evidence amongst the medicine-men of the Zuñi [a Native American Pueblo people] and other tribes. But, passing over this, we find a very natural source for the connection between trees and the seasons in Indian mythology, not only in their changing foliage, but also in the shadows which they cast, and by means of which many of the Micmacs are still able to tell the time of day in the forest with marked accuracy. This recalls the manner in which the Micmacs divide a tree from which medicinal slips are to be taken into four quarters, according as they face the morning or afternoon sun, or the portions remaining in shadow. Again, in a Micmac myth collected by Dr. Rand, the two weasel girls, who visit the star world, afterwards descend upon the top of a pine tree, and while they remain upon it four animals pass by. Each announces his proper mating season. First the moose names autumn, then the bear names spring. Next the marten names early spring, but I understand that late winter would be quite as appropriate. Last of all comes the badger, who names no season, but the girls promise to become his wives in what is then evidently the summer season, for they are described as sleeping under the starry sky after digging ground nuts. They then descend from the tree. In the version of this legend which I have obtained, the two weasel girls pass four more animals while being paddled downstream in a canoe by the loon and the wood-duck. These animals are named as the caribou, bear, beaver, and muskrat, varieties whose habits bear the same relation to the seasons, if I am correctly informed, and are named in the same order, as the four animals in Dr. Rand’s version. Curiously enough, these animals are called the four dogs of the loon, and the loon is the special messenger of Glooscap. This suggests the annual Seneca [a tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy, formerly inhabiting western New York] festival at which four dogs were sacrificed, each being suspended from an arm of a cross. When we recall that the cross is throughout America the symbol of the cardinal points and seasons, as Dr. Brinton and others have shown, we may well suspect that the association of the four dogs or animals with the seasons in the Micmac myth is not a chance affair. But, not to wander farther, I may add that in another curious Micmac myth in my collection the hero is said to drive two wizards out of a pine tree, and a contest follows. One wizard is half red, half black; the other is half blue, half yellow. Are these the colors of the cardinal points and seasons among the Micmacs? An Ojibwa myth related by Mr. H.I. Smith contains the dragon in a tree, and he is slain by another animal, which is revived by the sacrifice of six dogs. Schoolcraft’s Algonkin [sic] legend should also be mentioned, in which Osseo, son of the evening star, while enclosed in a log, overcomes the power of an evil star, and regains his youth. Moreover, an Ottawa myth given by the same author, although corrupted by evidently modern interpolations, describes the journey of five men and a boy to the home of the sun. On the way they meet the mighty hero, Manabozho. Two ask for eternal life, and one is transformed to a cedar tree. Immediately after, the sun is described as dividing day and night into the same four portions marked upon the Micmac medicinal tree. It seems, therefore, that the tree is used in Indian mythology as the symbol of time or the seasons.
Pierrot Clemeau, a famous Micmac story-teller, asserts that his tribe has always been able to control its weather supply by the appropriate use of certain legends. His directions are as follows: To bring rain or warm weather, talk of whales, or relate a legend describing the migration of the birds and the alternations of the seasons. Such is the curious confusion of cause and effect. Several other legends will produce a like result, and in general any discussion of old times has a tendency to cause wet weather. To bring cold or dry weather, amongst several legends that of Umtil, or Fair Weather, is especially efficacious. This personage was a strong and handsome chief who dwelt with his two sisters. He was a great hunter, and often remained away from his wigwam for days at a time. Sometimes, when he returned, his sisters used to hang up his moccasins just outside the camp, and whenever they did so a frost was certain to occur. As long as he remained at home the weather would be calm and beautiful whatever the season, but as soon as he left the storms would return. This legend was first related to me by Newell Glode, who said that he had heard it, when a child, from the lips of a very old squaw. It suggests another, in which the rainbow is called Glooscap’s carrying strap. When he is at home he hangs it upon the sky, that men may know that all is well. This is especially interesting because it identifies Glooscap with the Invisible Boy of Dr. Rand’s legends, who, in turn, represents the moose or sky god. The same idea appears in the Zuñi representation of the rainbow as the handle of a prayer meal bowl. As to the Fair Weather legend, a hero upon the Pacific coast is said to bring fair weather or storms by putting on or removing a magical hat.
When we turn to Micmac thunder legends, we meet with some more familiar features. The thunders are seven flying rattlesnakes who dwell in the west under a mountain seven miles high. They cause the thunder by crying to each other, and rattling their tails as they fly across the sky. For every now and then they mount to the top of the mountain in the west, put on a magic cloak called minoos, and start out through the air hunting serpents, which with frogs form their only food. Their sight is so strong that they can perceive the serpents hiding in the ground under trees. Then they leap upon their victims, cutting them into pieces, and we see the flash of the lightning. Having quickly collected their prey, they return to their homes on the third or seventh day. In the latter period they pass over the entire world.
Thus we find amongst the Micmacs the same cloud serpent which is so conspicuous in the mythology of the southern tribes, but here it plays a subordinate ro1e. This myth seems to have been generally known amongst the Algonkin tribes. Analogous concepts are also reported by Dr. Brinton amongst the Iroquois and Shawnees.
As for Micmac weather proverbs, I have learned but three: If the stars appear closer together than usual, there will be a storm. If partridge feathers grow long, there will be a severe winter. When fireflies first appear, birch bark will peel well.
From the blog at http://JohnWood1946.wordpress.com
Following is a short description of the condition of New Brunswick’s roads in the very early days—1832. It is taken from Sketches of British America by John Macgregor, London, 1832.
Elm Tree, and the Royal Road, N.B., 1836
From the New Brunswick Museum, via the McCord Museum
New Brunswick’s Roads in 1832: “Many Paths, are misnamed Roads”
Along the principal roads of this province settlements are gradually forming; accordingly, while travelling along, we pass by farms and houses in all the various gradations of improvement, from the miserable rude hut, and the first few trees felled in the forest, to the handsome clap-boarded, shingled, and painted house, and large barn, amidst several acres of land cleared of the stumps, and under grass, grain, and potatoes.
The roads in New Brunswick were, with scarcely ten miles in one place of an exception, worse than the generality of those I have travelled over in any of the other colonies, always leaving Newfoundland, which can only boast of one short road, out of the question.
The road from Fort Cumberland, through Westmoreland, and along the River Petit Coudiac [sic], and thence through Sussex Vale, and across Hammond River to St. John’s, is the best I know of, and the bridges it crosses are tolerable.
The road from St. John’s to St. Andrew’s is truly bad and dangerous. The road opened from Carleton, opposite St. John’s, by the way of the River Nerepis, to Fredericton, is particularly bad from the Nerepis to Oromocto; and from Fredericton to the Canada line there is only about 65 miles on which we can attempt to drive any sort of carriage. The distance from St. John’s by this route, which follows the river to the falls of Madawaska, and from thence across the high lands to the St. Lawrence below Kamouraska, is 347 miles, from which, by an excellent road along the banks of the St. Lawrence, the distance to Quebec is 107 miles.
The road from opposite Fredericton, along the Nashwaak, and thence to Miramichi, is also very bad; as is also the road from Fredericton to St. Andrews. There is a pretty good road from the Petit Coudiac to Shediac, on the gulf coast, by which hay is frequently hauled to the latter place. The road from Shediac to Miramichi is, particularly from Richibucto to the last place, abominable. Several paths, which are misnamed roads, have also been opened between the various settlements.
The Legislative Assembly have certainly at different times appropriated large sums in aid of the statute labour, for the purpose of opening and improving the roads of the province. But, somehow or other, road making was, until lately, either not understood, or the labour and money must have been misapplied, as good leading roads were, at least three years ago, an essential desideratum in New Brunswick. The expense of making a good road through a forest will be about £100 per mile.
An object of paramount importance and convenience to the lower and upper colonies, would be to open a good carriage road from Nova Scotia to Fredericton, and thence to the River St. Lawrence. It should be made at the joint expense of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, as all would derive equal advantage from accomplishing an undertaking that would open a direct line through all the British colonies.
Another line of road, and certainly a most desirable one, was pointed out by Governor Sir Howard Douglas, as a great military road from Halifax to Quebec. This line would be a continuation of the road from Halifax to the bend of the River Petit Coudiac, thence to the gulf coast, to the River Miramichi, and thence, by the way of the River Restigouche, to the St. Lawrence at Metis, about 200 miles below Quebec.
The benefits of such roads would be great. The colonies would be connected so much closer in their interests by greater facility of communication; the military forces could easily and speedily move wherever required; the crown lands would be disposed of at a much better price; and, by throwing open the rich lands of the interior, they would be settled upon rapidly.
Several small settlements along the roads in New Brunswick appear to be in a flourishing condition. Disbanded soldiers, however, do not generally make good settlers, unless placed under proper officers or superintendents. On the woodlands, along the road from the Nashwaak to Miramichi, I observed several untenanted huts, which were occupied by disbanded soldiers, who had the lands granted them, but who deserted their habitations as soon as they expended the rations they received from government.
While travelling over this province we cannot help being amused at the names given to many places in the colonies by the whim of the first settlers. It is natural for people to cherish associations connected with their birthplace, and we are not surprised, on arriving at a fine thriving settlement, inhabited by Welshmen, who planted themselves amidst the forest about fifteen miles from Fredericton, that it is named Cardigan; nor that an equally thriving settlement of industrious Irish, on the shores of the Bay Chaleur, is called New Bandon; but we can hardly repress a smile on hearing places through or by which we pass, called Canaan, Mount Pisgah, &c. [Try to restrain yourself. Ed.]
From the blog at http://JohnWood1946.wordpress.com
Following is an essay by Emily P. Weaver, entitled Nova Scotia and New England During the Revolution, from the American Historical Review, 1904. I have abridged the essay, gently I hope, to make it shorter but to retain the flavour of the writing and the facts that it presents.
This was an exciting time in the infant colony of Nova Scotia, and the best book that I have seen on the subject is The Neutral Yankees of Nova Scotia by John Bartlet Brebner, New York, 1937. I recommend it for anyone who wants a fuller examination of the subject. It was reprinted in 1969 by McClelland and Stewart.
A View of Halifax, ca. 1750
Map by Thomas Jefferys, from Wikipedia
Nova Scotia and New England During the Revolution
At the beginning of the American Revolution it was not a foregone conclusion that Nova Scotia would continue loyal to the crown of England and that the other British colonies on the continent would all become independent. Yet writers dealing with the period frequently assume that Nova Scotia was from the first in a class altogether distinct from that of the revolting colonies, and therefore do not think her exceptional course of action worthy of remark. For instance, it has been said that all the colonies “adopted the cause of Massachusetts; and all their Legislatures, save that of Georgia, sent delegates to a Congress which assembled on the 4th of September at Philadelphia.” In this, Nova Scotia is altogether ignored. But, had this province made a fourteenth state in the Union, there is little doubt that the difficulty of England’s holding Canada, especially during the season when the St. Lawrence was frozen, would have been enormously increased; and it is probable that England, like her rival France, would have been driven out of America. The attitude of Nova Scotia during the contest has therefore more than a local interest.
At first sight it is difficult to understand why Nova Scotia did not follow the lead of New England. The character of the population did not promise any high degree of loyalty. It was composed largely of emigrants from New England, who had only recently, at the time of the Stamp Act agitation, left their old homes. The Acadians were another element of danger who, in 1761, were reported to be 1,540 in number and were fitting out armed vessels to prey on trading ships. The Indians also had about six hundred fighting men to add to the forces of the Acadians.
It had been part of Governor Lawrence’s plan to settle some of the New England troops upon the lands from which they had been employed to drive the Acadians, but these troops had not chosen to remain, and it was not till the reduction of Louisburg in 1758 that the resettlement of the vacated French lands really began. Within three months after the fall of the fortress, Lawrence issued a proclamation inviting applications for the “lands vacated by the French as every other part of this valuable Province.” He described extensive forests, rich farms already cleared, and navigable rivers—all ready and prepared for their occupation. In another proclamation, he promised liberty of conscience to all Protestant dissenters, assured them that they would not be required to give support to the Church of England, and explained that the government and system of justice in Nova Scotia resembled that of Massachusetts.
The people of New England showed themselves very ready to go in and possess the lands of the unfortunate Acadians. Before the close of 1759, one hundred seven Massachusetts men had received grants in the township of Annapolis; nearly three hundred others had signed for lands in the townships of East Passage, Shoreham (on Mahone Bay), and Liverpool; and the township of Yarmouth had been allotted to a number of applicants, of whom nine or ten came from Philadelphia and over a hundred from different parts of New England. This by no means exhausts the list of immigrants. In September of this year, Lawrence stated that the total number of families to be settled before the close of 1762 was 2,550, or about 12,250 souls. It appears that, in a number of cases, the grantees never actually took possession of their lands, but, if we accept Chief-Justice Belcher’s estimate of 3,000 as the number of English inhabitants in Nova Scotia in 1755, the increase was nonetheless considerable. Both Lawrence and Belcher reported that the settlements at Horton, Cornwallis, and Falmouth were prospering, but by the end of 1761 Belcher complained of the exorbitant price demanded by the New-Englanders for their labor. He said that, while the Irish were willing to work “in common labour” for two shillings per day, the New-Englanders would not work for less than four.
The glimpses we obtain of the New England settlers give the impression of an energetic, self-reliant people, jealous, like their compatriots, of any encroachment on their liberty. Of all the new settlers, the people of Liverpool seem to have been most imbued with the spirit of their Boston brethren. In the minutes of the council of Nova Scotia, under date of July 24, 1762, is a remarkable document drawn up by the inhabitants of this little seacoast town, which could then count scarcely more than two years from the day of its first settlement, insisting in no measured terms on their right to local self-government:
“We, your memorialists, proprietors of the township of Liverpool, look upon ourselves to be freemen, and under the same constitution as the rest of His Majesty King George’s other subjects, not only by His Majesty’s Proclamation, but because we were born in a country of Liberty, in a land that belongs to the Crown of England, therefore we conceive we have right and authority invested in ourselves (or at least we pray we may) to nominate and appoint men among us to be our Committee and to do other offices that the Town may want. His present Excellency . . . and the Council of Halifax have thought proper to disrobe and deprive us of the above privilege, which we first enjoyed. This we imagine is encroaching on our Freedom and liberty and depriving us of a privilege that belongs to no body of people but ourselves, and whether the alteration and choice of the Men you have chosen to be our Committee is for the best or not we can’t think so, and it has made great uneasiness among the people insomuch that some families have left the place and hindered others from coming, and we know some of the Committee is not hearty for the settlement of this place.”
The memorial continued with a demand that they be allowed to choose their own Committee and other officers, a right which “we must insist on as it belongs to us alone to rule ourselves as we think ourselves capable.”
Liverpool was the only place in Nova Scotia to show “public marks of discontent” on the imposition of the stamp-duty. Again, a little later, this town was the scene of a riotous resistance to the law, as represented in the persons of the sheriff and deputy-sheriff of the County of Lunenburg who came to Liverpool in pursuit of a schooner that had been seized at New Dublin. The following night, a mob of fifty men, armed with sticks and cutlasses, threatened the sheriff’s life and forced him to sign a bond for £300 “not to pursue the schooner any further.”
Such manifestations of sympathy with persons engaged in illicit trade were a marked feature of the times in all the American colonies. With regard to restrictions on trade, Nova Scotia was of course in much the same position as New England. For instance, in the royal commission to Governor Wilmot there is a clause forbidding him to assent to any bill by which the inhabitants of Nova Scotia would be put, in her own trade, on a more advantageous footing than those of England. Neither might he assent to bills laying duties on British shipping, products, or manufactures. They went so far as to forbid the laying of import or export duties on Negroes, which might tend to discourage British trade with Africa; nor might the province lay any duty on the importation of felons from Great Britain. The governor was forbidden, on pain of the king’s highest displeasure, to “assent to any bill for setting up manufactures or carrying on trades,” which might prove “hurtful and prejudicial” to England.
In Nova Scotia there was, however, comparatively little reason for popular discontent with the navigation laws. There was practically no manufacturing in the province. Two distillers of rum, a sugar baker, and two hatters constituted the list of manufacturers. A little linen was sold by the Irish settlers, but there was good ground for hoping that such an objectionable practice would disappear when the people were more fully employed in the agricultural pursuits which became them. Beyond the simple articles with which in a certain stage of social development every family supplies itself, there was little demand for manufactured goods. As late as 1774 Governor Legge was able to report, “there is no other kind of business carried on in this colony than fishing and farming.”
When the stamp-duties were under discussion, there was not a town in the province deserving of the name. In 1762 even Halifax had a population of only 2,500, and country people are proverbially slower to rouse than the dwellers in towns. The disaffected of Nova Scotia also seem to have had no great leader. In Cumberland County and on the St. John river there were men who had considerable local influence on the side of the revolted colonies, but at Halifax, though from time to time persons were arrested on suspicion of holding correspondence with the rebels, no one was charged with any serious attempt to organize resistance to government.
The interests of Halifax itself were indeed all on the side of the established order of things. Then as now it was the chief seaport, the seat of government for the province, and a British naval and military station, and in those days its prosperity, its importance, its very existence, depended on these conditions.
On the other hand, Halifax depended upon New England for its supplies of all fresh provisions except fish, and so, in the earlier years of the Revolution, was in constant communication with Boston, the chief center of disaffection. In Governor Lawrence’s time even hay was brought from New England, and in 1762 there was not in the town or its neighborhood one family that gained a living by husbandry. From the first therefore the citizens were fully informed of all that went on in the colonies, to the south.
To Nova Scotia, as to the other colonies, came the notice of the intended imposition of stamp-duties “towards defraying the necessary expenses of defending, protecting, and securing the British colonies and plantations in America.” The familiar story of the way in which this proposal was received does not need retelling. Nova Scotia alone, of all the colonies on the seaboard, submitted without “opposition or objection” to the laying on of the stamp-duties. In her settlements there were no riots, no non-importation agreements, and apparently, except from Liverpool, no murmurs. However, on hearing of the disturbances in Boston and other places, Wilmot was instructed “if this evil should spread to the government of Nova Scotia,” to use leniency and persuasion at first, but in the case of “acts of outrage and violence,” to apply for assistance to the naval and military commanders. Wilmot reported that “the sentiments of a decent and dutiful acquiescence prevailed very powerfully” in Nova Scotia, and in due time there came by express command of the King a letter signifying “his highest approbation of the dutiful, loyal and discreet conduct, observed in Nova Scotia.”
The Stamp Act was soon repealed, but the mischief it had done did not quickly pass away. It had provoked both the friends and the foes of America to investigate the status of the colonies in relation to the mother-country. Trade restrictions soon began to be regarded as worse than arbitrary taxation, “the more slavish thing of the two.”
But the ministers were by no means prepared to give up the contest. At the moment of repealing the Stamp Act they took care to assert their rights over the colonies by “an Act for Securing the just Dependency of the Colonies on the Mother Country;” and the very announcement of the repeal of the measure was couched in irritating condescension. One blunder followed another. Relief to the trade interests of America was promised, but little was given. The year 1767 saw another attempt of the British ministers to raise in America a revenue for military purposes by the imposition of taxes on tea and certain other articles. In February, 1768, the legislature of Massachusetts passed resolutions protesting against the new taxes, and adopted a circular letter to send to the other assemblies of North America.
This letter was an attempt to bring about concerted action on the part of the colonies, a matter which former experience had shown to be difficult. The representatives of Massachusetts evidently dreaded giving offense to the assemblies of the sister colonies, and eagerly disclaimed any ambition of dictating to them or taking the lead. But they assumed throughout that these other assemblies were at one with them on the main points in dispute and they did not doubt apparently that even Nova Scotia would join in their protest. On the other hand, the rulers of that province, from Hillsborough, secretary of state, to Francklin, the lieutenant-governor, expressed much confidence in the loyalty of Nova Scotia.
Their faith in the “most noble and submissive obedience” of Nova Scotia did not altogether allay their anxieties concerning the possible effect of the Massachusetts circular letter, even on that exemplary province; and Francklin was directed to prorogue or dissolve the assembly if it betrayed any inclination to giving countenance to “this seditious paper.” When the assembly of Nova Scotia met in the following June, however, Francklin was able to report that “The people of this province, have the highest reverence and respect for all acts of the British legislature.”
After the appearance of the circular letter, two regiments and four ships of war were ordered from Halifax to Boston. Campbell wrote to Hillsborough, urging that the troops might be sent back to Nova Scotia as quickly as possible, on account of the poverty of the people, whose chief dependence was the circulating cash spent by the troops.” The removal of the fifty-ninth regiment from Louisburg, he declares, will cause “a total desertion” of the inhabitants; and the coal-mines, “peculiarly recommended from home not to be touched, may uninterruptedly be worked by any people who think proper to go there.” So long as the troops were there the civil power could be enforced, but now there was reason to fear “total anarchy.” The defense of Halifax, where a royal dockyard had lately been established, added to his anxieties. In case of war it would certainly be one of “the first objects of destruction.”
Considering that he regarded the situation in Nova Scotia as so perilous, it is somewhat remarkable that Campbell permitted the publication of the inflammatory matter that appeared in the earlier numbers of The Nova Scotia Chronicle and Weekly Advertiser. Its first number appeared in January, 1769, and it kept its readers supplied with the “freshest advices” concerning the progress of events in the colonies to the south. The question of war and of the separation of the colonies from Great Britain were freely discussed six years before the first shot was fired at Lexington, and the people were informed that great numbers of Englishmen looked “on America as in rebellion.”
Nova Scotia still restrained from joining in the loud protests of the New England colonies against taxation by the British Parliament but even in that province were faint stirrings of the desire for larger liberty, and some of the townships ventured to call meetings for debating questions relating to the laws and government. This alarmed the governor, and the attorney-general was instructed to threaten the offenders with prosecution. Campbell reported, however, that he “did not discover in them any of that licentious principle with which the neighboring colonies are so highly infected.”
In October, 1773, Lieutenant-colonel Legge became governor of Nova Scotia. He was at Halifax for about two years and a half, and he made himself so unpopular that his councilors complained of him to the authorities at home; the principal inhabitants of Nova Scotia petitioned for his recall; and Francklin described him as utterly unsuitable for the position of governor. Legge represented the inhabitants of Nova Scotia, including even the government officials, as disloyal, but Francklin asserted that the accusations were untrue. Legge’s opinion that there was a considerable amount of disaffection in the province receives some corroboration from other sources. The provost marshal, Fenton, complained that many of the members of the assembly were “emigrants from New England, who have brought the same principles as exist there.
To the resolutions of the Congress at Philadelphia, declaring for non-intercourse with colonies that did not accept its measures, Nova Scotia paid no attention. But as a matter of fact the trade of Halifax was by this time seriously affected, and communication even with England was rendered difficult. In the winter of 1774-1775, when the harbor of Boston was closed by the Port Bill, only one small vessel which was accustomed to make two voyages in the year came from Great Britain to trade at Halifax.
At the beginning of the war there appears to have been some danger of Nova Scotia’s being lost to England. The Americans made more than one attempt at invasion, though these were feeble. Open invasion, however, was not their most dangerous mode of attack. They labored to stir up the Indians and persuade the settlers from New England to revolt, and they let loose a swarm of privateers to harry the coasts and destroy the fishing boats and trading vessels of the province. To supplement his meager force, Legge set himself to raise a thousand men in Nova Scotia. With this number under his command, he said, he could answer for the preservation of the province. Nova Scotians were not as eager as he expected to enlist however, and Legge soon decided that the militia were not to be depended upon in the event of an attack. There were, moreover, other evidences of disaffection. A quantity of hay purchased in Boston for the horses was burned, and a fire was discovered in the navy yard. The two men who were thought to be guilty of the act were declared by a resolution of the assembly to be “dutiful and loyal subjects of King George.”
Suspected disloyalty and the lack of troops were not the only circumstances of which Legge had to take account in defending Halifax. The fortifications were in a dilapidated state and the town was “open to the country on every side.” Provisions were scarce and it was also difficult to obtain fuel and fish, owing in a measure at least to many providers having been pressed for the navy. In addition to his other duties he was now called on to care for the New England refugees, provide them with land, and food. Gage believed that some of these refugees were tainted with disloyalty.
To meet this danger, all persons, “not settled inhabitants” who came into town were required to give notice to the magistrate and all innkeepers were to give notice of the arrival of strangers. It was also decided that persons coming from the rebellious colonies, besides taking the ordinary oath of allegiance, must declare their detestation of the rebels. The magistrates were required “to apprehend all disloyal persons stirring up or making disturbances,” and there was some harshness in the performance of this duty. For instance, in June, the magistrates of Annapolis County “apprehended Mr. Howard, the dissenting teacher, [though] he had not been guilty of any misdemeanour.” He was nevertheless informed that “information had been given against him, from New England that he had held forth seditious discourses.” The governor thought it necessary that he should be warned against such behavior, and he was allowed to depart.
During the latter part of this year, the governor and his councilors were in a condition of constant excitement and alarm. But in spite of their anxiety they found time for quarrels among themselves and with the assembly. The governor wished to make certain changes in the constitution of that body. The assembly resented his proposals, telling him with their usual freedom of language that “dictatorial powers may be necessary to quell insurrections, or to rule a disaffected people, but where no such principles exist, the exertions of such powers will create them.” The councilors in their turn declared that the assertions of the assembly were “illiberal, groundless.” In due time came a message from the king that he was displeased with “the dissensions of the Provincial Governments over trivial matters.”
During these early years of the war, Halifax feared attack. There were rumors of expeditions against it that were disquieting, for the place was quite without proper defenses. Men did not readily volunteer, and measures adopted to fill the ranks were not successful. There was moreover opposition to the taxes imposed for the support of the troops. The people were poor, and here, as in the other colonies, taxes were an unwelcome reminder of authority. A petition from Cumberland County called for the Governor “to suspend putting the said Militia and tax Bill into execution, till a further deliberation . . . and to dissolve the present house of Assembly and issue precepts for a new choice.”
Meanwhile there were other indications that the New England settlers in the province were far from being satisfied and that an effort to gather the militia might precipitate a conflict. It is difficult to say how much reliance is to be placed on the testimony to this effect, but it seems to have determined the governor not to summon the militia, and he was evidently unwilling to attempt disarming the disaffected. The attempt could not have precipitated a very bloody struggle, since the disaffected were without ammunition and the loyalists almost as destitute. Besides this, there were some who were half-hearted in their support of the governor’s authority, and desired to “remain neuter” in case of an attack on the province.
In the meantime the royal army had been forced to evacuate Boston, and had arrived at Halifax. This was of course a heavy blow to the king’s cause, but the coming of the troops, and of the large number of loyalists who accompanied them, increased the strength of Nova Scotia relatively to that of the disaffected colonies. This, however, was not the beginning of the influx of refugees. During the previous year many loyalists had removed to Nova Scotia, and their coming had been encouraged by grants of land and, in some cases, of provisions. The authorities appear to have been actuated by something like a settled policy of making Nova Scotia a stronghold of loyalty. Upon receiving Dartmouth’s dispatch respecting the treatment of refugees, Legge found it difficult to supply the promised rations. He entreated that flour and pork and butter should be sent from the British Isles. In the meantime he proposed to make the loyalists an allowance in cash, so that they might supply themselves as best they could at the markets, where, however, the price of all food was doubled. In the spring of 1776, Legge reported that the rebels were trying to prevent the loyalists from leaving New England for Nova Scotia, although two hundred families, many of them poor, would soon arrive at Halifax. In less than a month there came fifty transports crowded with people from Boston who had remained faithful to their old allegiance. Their coming strained to the utmost the resources of the little town, though the governor and council did their utmost to prevent distress, issuing numerous regulations and proclamations. They fixed prices for food and rent, but, in spite of all regulations, the price of beef and butter speedily rose, while people had to cook in the streets in cabooses from the ships. Frightened at the cold and the high price of provisions, many people left Halifax, while many others remained. Legge wrote constantly of disaffection and danger, which his own lack of judgment tended to increase. For his fears there appear to have been some reasons; for, though his successor, Lieutenant-governor Arbuthnot, announced that all were “in perfect good humour” in the colony, he also described the New-Englanders and Acadians as “bitter bad subjects.” On the other hand, early in 1776 as many as five hundred men, including some from the free-spoken people of Cumberland County, were enrolled in the militia, and the assembly that met in June voted a loyal address consecrating their lives and fortunes to the service of the king.
Massachusetts was interested in an invasion of Nova Scotia, but they were altogether unsuccessful. Throughout the war the authorities at Halifax were suspicious of the intentions of the New Englanders on their borders, and, in the summer of 1779, a counter attack was made. An expedition swooped down from Halifax on Penobscot and took possession of the peninsula where Castine now is.
Perhaps the Indians were the chief source of danger to the province, for effort was made by the agents both of New England and of Nova Scotia to gain or retain the friendship of the Micmacs and the St. John River Indians.
John Allan of Cumberland County, appointed in 1777 Indian agent for Massachusetts, sought to win the friendship of the Indians for the cause of the revolting colonies, but he met with little success. Governor Francklin succeeded in persuading the St. John Indians to give up to him a treaty that they had made with Massachusetts, and to hold no communication with Machias. It was always Francklin’s great object to keep the Indians quiet, for he feared that, once thoroughly roused, they would cause the utmost confusion and distress.
But if upon the whole the interests of the province were safe on land, the little commerce it possessed was far from safe at sea. As early as November 30, 1775, it was reported that two New England schooners had captured twenty-two ships, and six months later the judges of the Supreme Court actually represented that it would be unsafe to hold the regular courts in Cumberland, Annapolis, and King’s Counties because of the danger from “pirates” in the Bay of Fundy. This was later rescinded, but nothing afloat seemed to be secure. “Rebel pirates,” wrote the governor, “have entered our defenseless harbours indiscriminately from Cape Sable to very near this port, landed to the great terror of the well-affected people; cut out several vessels, and done much mischief. At a later time it was reported by Hughes, the successor of Arbuthnot, that the “pirates” had stations to the east and west of Halifax. Privateers were also fitted out in Nova Scotia to prey upon such of the commerce of the enemy as might be found.
This kind of warfare provoked much bitter feeling; and other causes were at work to diminish the sympathy that at first existed between Nova Scotia and New England. Chief among these was a kind of natural selection, which at once impelled the warmest advocates of colonial rights to leave a province where they were in the minority, and inclined the loyalists to seek a refuge where their political principles were still held in respect. When at last Great Britain gave up the contest, it was to Nova Scotia that thousands of the vanquished party turned in the hope of building up a new country under the flag and traditions of their forefathers. General Sir Guy Carleton was besieged with memorials and petitions from the loyalists, to which he seems to have attended with patience and kindness.
From the blog at https://johnwood1946.wordpress.com
This reflection on Christmases past in Saint John was written by Clarence Ward, and appeared in The New Brunswick Magazine, Volume 1, 1898. It first appeared in this blog in 2012, and is repeated this year for its seasonal interest.
This description is interesting and revealing, though overly air brushed and varnished. My only objection to it is the remark that “all the people were fairly well to do”, which was definitely not the case. Only the people of that class and of that neighbourhood were as well to do as described. I cannot object to all of the references to servants, even though many of them were slaves, because that is just the way that it was in 1808. It would have been better if the air brushing and varnishing had not been so thick on that matter.
Christmas Treat for Soldiers’ Children, Soldiers’ Wives League,
Centenary Church, St. John, N.B., December 1915. New Brunswick Museum
A Holiday Special: Christmas as it Was in Saint John in 1808
The year 1808, time about three o’clock in the afternoon, of a fine winter day in the middle of December. A portly gentleman, considerably past middle age, is standing on the stoop of his residence on the corner of King and Germain streets, and a young lad is on the sidewalk, looking inquiringly at him. “Run Charles, there countryman coming down the street to ‘Kent’s.’ See what he has got in his saddle bags, before Col. Billop gets hold of him.” The boy starts off and brings the countryman to the old Major, and submits his load for examination. He has two geese, a fine turkey and several pairs of chickens and partridges, which are quickly bargained for and carried into the house. Christmas is at hand and it is necessary to have the larder well supplied.
At that period the country was but sparsely settled, roads were few and did not extend far in any direction from the city, except the main road to Sussex, in which direction the country was being rapidly cleared and opened up for farming. There was no market in St. John; farmers came to town, some in wagons in summer and sleds in winter, and others from remote clearings on horseback. The only market they had was the public highway on King Street.
About this time of the year there was great rivalry amongst the householders to get first chance from any countryman coming into town with poultry or game, hence the words of the Major to his son.
The summer business was over. The West Indian fleet had sailed, the fishermen and coast settlers had loaded their “Chebacco” boats with tea, sugar tobacco and with clothing, not forgetting a “cag” (so pronounced) of Jamaica “spirits” and other necessary articles for winter supplies, and had gone to their several destinations. The town was very small and all were acquainted, and the long winters were devoted to comfort and enjoyment. The houses were solidly built to resist cold, with low ceilings and fire places wide and open; the best of hardwood was plentiful and cheap, and all the people were fairly well to do.
The Christmas holiday at that period was long looked forward to by old and young as a time of great enjoyment, and every preparation was made to give it due honor. The housewife, for many days before, was in the kitchen with her maids and the cook, who was always a colored woman. In most cases she had come with the master from the old home by the banks of the Hudson, or some other pleasant place in the land of their birth. The old Loyalists were fond of good living, and in their reunions would boast to one another of the capabilities and wonderful resources of their old black cooks, somewhat in the manner that the nabobs of the old world would talk of their “chefs”.
The old fashioned kitchen had an open fire place, in or before which all cooking was done. The poultry and meat were roasted before the open fire on a spit, which being slowly turned, greatly “did” the meat all through and preserved all the natural juices and flavor. In these degenerate days we bake our meats, and very few now living, I suppose, ever ate a roasted turkey.
In the kitchen, the cook was paramount and despotic. Even the mistress was somewhat in awe of her on these occasions, and would never venture to give an order, but meekly suggest what she thought might be done.
All supplies were laid in, early in the winter: beef by the quarter, a pig, poultry of all kinds, and maybe some moose meat and caribou. All the meats, not salted or pickled by the mistress, were kept frozen in a place prepared in the barn. The cellar was well supplied with potatoes, turnips and other vegetables, and in one corner, carefully railed off, was a space especially under the care of the master of the house, and his deputy, the old family servant, who generally spent his life in the household, and considered his master a greater man than the governor of the province. In the corner was stored a cask of Madeira, another of port, and one of sherry, and chief among them, the main stay of the supply, a cask of Jamaica rum, very old, and very fragrant. Brandy and whiskey and other fiery liquids were not then in general use. There might be a bottle of brandy in the house, but only to be used as a corrective of internal disturbance arising from too generous an indulgence in the good things of the season.
Every preparation was made for a befitting celebration of the important day. Those who had been remiss or improvident, scoured the adjacent country to see if any unfortunate fowl or bird had escaped the promiscuous slaughter. The girls and their mother were unremitting in their work in furnishing a bountiful supply of pies of all kinds, and cakes and doughnuts. In that day the doughnut was king of the feast, fat, juicy and crisp, well cooked and wholesome. In these degenerate times his glory has departed. We are half ashamed of him, and though still considered a requisite of the Christmas holidays we eat him in a furtive manner, and many loudly declaim that they never eat doughnuts, call them bilious, and apply other heretical calumnies to what in old times was considered indispensable to the festival. Most old fellows carried doughnuts about in their pockets, and ate them at all sorts of unseasonable hours, and I have heard of some of the old families who made them by the barrel!
But the principal party was old Dinah, the cook. She was in her glory. Fat, and at ordinary times the soul of good nature, on this occasion, under the weight of the responsibilities put upon her, and to uphold the reputation of her master’s house for gastronomic superiority, she became a very tyrant in her domain; none dare dispute her orders, or suggest changes or improvements in her dishes. They simply became humble assistants in the great work of preparation for the Christmas dinner. And this dependence was well repaid when the festal day arrived and the products of her culinary art were proudly placed on the table, and elicited delighted encomiums from all who partook of them, but her greatest reward was when the old master turned to her and said, “Well done, Dinah!”
Early on Christmas morning, the young men assembled in some open field and tried their skill as marksmen by shooting at live turkeys buried to the neck in the snow, leaving the head only visible. Their guns were old flint muskets, which formerly had done service in the war of the Revolution across the border. The range for shooting was about 30 or 40 yards, so the unfortunate turkeys had a poor show for their lives, but as the killing of them was the main object of the gathering it is to be hoped the aim was generally good. Sixpence or a shilling was the price usually paid for a shot, and some of the crack ones generally brought home two or three birds as a result of their skill. These sports came down to modern times, they were quite in vogue forty or more years ago, and may still be practised in some country districts.
The older people, before church time, visited each other and talked over the business of the year, and the prospect of the West India trade, and told old time stories of their adventures in the war, and of perils and hair breadth escapes from pirates and privateers on their West India voyages. In those days, the French privateer and picaroons of all nations, were accustomed to lie in wait in the out of the way harbors and lagoons of the island of Cuba; and pounce from thence on our unfortunate merchantmen as they proceeded on their voyages to and from the islands.
It is scarcely necessary to relate that these discourses were punctuated, as it were, by frequent adjournments to the sideboard, where decanters of wine and other cordials, flanked by jorums of good old Jamacia, were set out for the refreshment of all who desired. In that day the sideboard was never empty, and an invitation to partake was not considered necessary. It was presumed that each one knew what his requirement was; there were no pressing to drink, but it was there for each one to help himself.
There must have been something really preservative in Jamaica rum; all drank freely of it, and it has been remarked, that seldom or never in a representative body of men, have so many reached extreme old age, as was the case with the majority of the men who came here in 1783. This may be verified by any one looking over files of papers published sixty years ago, and noting the extraordinary number of deaths of old men ranging from 75 to 95, in which it is stated in the obituary notice that he came here a Loyalist in 1783.
It was not the crude rum of commerce, doctored and adulterated, such as is the vile stuff too commonly sold at the present time. The preparing and mollifying of Jamaica such as was used by the old merchants of St. John was almost an art, and great care and attention was given to the process. In the first place they imported from the island the pure unadulterated juice of the cane. That for their own consumption was kept a year or two in cask; then, when duly seasoned, it was hoisted to the top story of the store or warehouse, and stood at the edge of the hatch. On the floor below of the three or four story building was a large butt. A spigot was driven into the cask above, and a very slight stream of liquor, almost drop by drop, was allowed to fall into the butt below. As it became full it was carefully ladled out and bottled, and then put away sometimes for a year longer. This process was supposed to eliminate all the fiery spirit of the rum and in four or five years it became so mild and palatable that it could be drunk without the addition of any water.
As an instance of filial affection, and also of the high regard in which a seasoned cask of rum was held, it is related that during one of the disastrous fires which periodically devastated St. John many years ago, one of the members of a firm came to his store on the wharf when all the buildings around were fiercely burning. His younger brother was busily engaged with a gang of men rolling out the goods, to save as much as possible from the flames. The elder earnestly inquired of his brother, “Have you got out your father’s puncheon of rum?” The younger man made some impatient answer, and went on with the work of salvage, but the senior insisted on all work being stopped, and taking the men into the store, he brought out the puncheon of rum, and had it conveyed to a place of safety, and then allowed the work of saving ordinary merchandise to go on.
The hour appointed for church service found the old people with their wives and families assembled at Trinity church. The Rector, the Rev. Mather Byles, was rector of Christ church, Boston, at the time of the Revolution; he was a devout Churchman, and most exemplary Christian, but somewhat eccentric. It is said that he was opposed to having stoves or any manner of heating in the church, and that he kept himself warm by wearing a fur coat under his surplice, and gloves with the tips of the fingers cut off on his hands, to facilitate the turning of the leaves of his book. His unfortunate congregation did not fare so well, especially the womankind, and it was part of the duty of the small boy of the household to carry a pan of live charcoal to the family pew sometime before service commenced, to keep warm the feet of the female members of the family. One of the old settlers has told me that, when a boy, he often carried the warming pan to the church for this purpose. The pews were built very high, not much more than the head and shoulders of a man appearing above the top of the enclosure, and running around the four sides were brass rods on which were hung red or green baize curtains. These curtains were drawn back during service, but on the commencement of the sermon they were closed, and no person was visible in the church, but the minister in his high pulpit, and it was quite startling, on the conclusion of the sermon, to hear the curtains sharply drawn back, and see the people emerging from their seclusion to join in the closing services. Church being over, they wended their way homeward, the elders gravely discoursing about the sermon, or maybe criticizing the discordant notes of some over zealous member, who more enthusiastic than skilful, raised his voice in the psalms and hymns appointed for the occasion, for in those days all the congregation (who could sing) were expected to join in the choral part of the service.
The great event of the day was still before them the Christmas dinner preparation for which had long been going on in the household. Hospitality was one of the great virtues of the time, and at the table of the head of the family were gathered all the descendants, including those who had married and gone out of the household, and their children of befitting age, and also two or three old friends and comrades who had remained single and had not homes or families of their own to make merry with all were assembled on that one day in the year in affectionate re-union at the old homestead.
At the head of the table sat the white haired grandfather, still hale and hearty, though many years had gone over his head since he first drew his sword in what he considered his duty to his king and country; behind his chair stood his old servant Richard, who had faithfully served his old master for many years.
The usual hour for dinner was 4 o’clock. All being assembled at the table, thanks were given for many mercies and for the bountiful repast before them, and the Christmas feast began. The viands were all the product of the country. Turkey, beef, poultry, game, venison, all the best of their kind; good humor, mirth and jollity were the order of the day. After the solids were removed, came on dessert, pies, puddings, custards, nuts, apples and other good things, with port, sherry and Madeira. It was the day of toasts and drinking wine with each other, the latter being a very particular ceremony. One would request of his neighbor “the pleasure of a glass of wine with you,” which being responded to, each would fill his glass, then, bowing to each other as gravely as Chinese mandarins, they drank the wine and silently replaced the glasses on the table. This ceremony went around the table from neighbor to neighbor and was often repeated, and always with due gravity and decorum, any flippancy on the part of the younger members being severely frowned at as a thing not to be tolerated. Meanwhile, the younger folk had gathered in an adjoining room with the matrons, and made merry with games, and minuets and country dances.
The elders generally sat long over their wine. Over indulgence was not encouraged, and an intemperate person was as much avoided as at the present time, but if an old fellow got a little more than he could carry it was not thought to be much out of the way. So as the evening went on some one of them would quietly drop off into a doze in his chair, the warmth of the room, good cheer and generous wine having produced a feeling of comfort and repletion. Presently the host would make a suggestion that, all having had sufficient, enough of the evening was left for a game of whist, or if any of them felt inclined, for a round dance with the young folk in the adjoining room. Accordingly they would adjourn to where the young people were enjoying themselves; perhaps some septuagenarian, recalling the agility of his younger days, would lead one of the elder ladies to the dance. They made a picturesque couple, he in his blue tail coat, high collar behind nearly reaching to the crown of his head, bright metal buttons those behind in the middle of his back with knee breeches, silk stockings and pumps, and she in her old fashioned short waisted black silk gown, with lace collar and cuffs, and mittens, (without fingers) of knitted silk on her hands.
The old gentleman brightens up at the music, remembrances of his old time skill at the dance at balls and assemblies in old New York come to his mind, and he astonishes his old comrades by his pirouettes, and the sprightness with which he “cuts a pigeon wing,” as he glides through the figures of the lively dance, and finally it comes to an end, and somewhat breathless and wheezy, but with old time courtly grace, he makes his bow and conducts his partner to a seat. His old friends congratulate him on his grace and agility, which they say might equal that of a much younger man, at which the old fellow is pleased, and straightens up his back, and tries not to feel the twinge of lumbago which the extra exertion has brought on.
Midnight comes and the party begins to break up. Those who have to go home wrap themselves up in shawls and furs, the sleighs come to the door, and with much handshaking, blessings and good wishes, the holiday comes to an end.
Those of the household who remain behind, gather around the fire, and indulge in reminiscences of by gone times. The old folk recall the days of their youth by the fireside at the old homestead on the Hudson. When they look around and see the sturdy young men and handsome girls who have grown up around them, they give thanks in their hearts for all the blessings vouchsafed them, and for the happy termination of what, for many years, was a life of anxiety and struggles and disappointments, and for the pleasant home they have made in the wilderness far removed from the land of their birth.
From the blog at http://JohnWood1946.wordpress.com
There are two parts to this blog posting. The first part is selections from Cuffer Down, Expressions from the Nashwaak and Over North by Murray Stewart, Fredericton, 1999. Murray collected these expressions as an affectionate remembrance of his youth at Taymouth, N.B. Normally, I would not quote from such a recent work, but Murray was my father-in-law, and the family will probably forgive me. As a further excuse, I will call this selection an ‘advertisement’ for Cuffer Down, which may still be available from online sources. ‘Cuffer down’ is one of many square-dance calls.
The second part of the blog posting is from Signs and Omens from Nova Scotia, by C.V. Jamison, from the Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 6, 1893.
Together, the two parts are a glimpse into the past.
Murray Stewart, author of Cuffer Down
Expressions from Cuffer Down plus Signs and Omens
- She’s beef to the heels – She’s real heavy close to the ground
- She’s straight as an H – Her posture is perfect
- He’s a big sterk – He’s a big lug
- She’s sure big feelin’ – She certainly thinks a lot of herself
- All they’re lookin’ for is fat pork and sundown – They’re thinking of nothing but eating and sleeping.
- He looks like a hog goin’ to war – He’s ridiculously aggressive
- He struts around as big as Old Cuff – He acts as if he were Lord of All
- He’s out of his tree – He’s way off base. He’s mentally deficient or incompetent
- Where’s my clean linder? – Where’s my clean undershirt?
- It all depends on whose bull’s getting’ gored – It all depends on whose interests are at stake
- That would give the cat’s ass the heartburn – That’s pretty awful
- A moolie cow – A dehorned cow
- Don’t be a dog in a manger – Don’t begrudge someone something you have no use for
- They stayed till the last dog was hung or until the last gun was fired – They were the very last to leave
- He’s off his eggs into the straw – He’s way off base
- He’s got the brains that God gave geese – He’s awful stupid
- It’s a shame to ring a hog that has to root for a livin’ – It’s foolish to dress him up to do dirty work
- She can’t sing for sour owl’s dung – Her singing is just awful
- Now save your breath to cool your porridge – You’re wasting your time arguing with him
- She just turned into a teapot – She was very embarrassed
- Gosh all fish-hooks – When really surprised
- That fella is a real gorby – That fellow is a glutton. Gorby: greedy Canada jay
- Jeet yet? Yu et yet? – Have you eaten yet?
- We’re just havin’ potatoes and point today (or puddin’ and point) – Typical Depression menu
- I have to be head and tail to everything round here – I have to plan and do everything around here
- There’s a jam in the bogin – There’s a log-jam in the backwater
- She’s just spun her dumplin – She’s done all she can
- Don’t strain your runnit lifting that – Rennit: an animal’s stomach lining
- Let’s set a spell and have a little say – Let’s sit down a while and have a talk
- Purty soon, her and me, we took to talkin’ – Pretty soon she and I started talking
- Pretnigh – Pretty nearly
- He needs his ass kicked up between his shoulders – Severe punishment
- The old speedie jumped the rails – Speedie: a three-wheeled one-man-powered velocipede
- He’s the main John of the outfit (or the main Seugler) – He’s the top boss
- I won’t vote until I’m greased – I won’t vote until my palm is greased with money
- She should kiss her mad spot and get pleased again – She should get over her anger and smile again
From the blog at http://JohnWood1946.wordpress.com
This is a description of New Brunswick’s southern shore from Passamaquoddy to the Petitcodiac with emphasis on the Passamaquoddy area. It is taken from Sketches of British America by John Macgregor, London, 1832. Saint John is omitted from the description since it is the subject of a separate blog posting.
The Lighthouse at Saint Andrews
From the University of North Carolina
From Passamaquoddy to the Petitcodiac: What it Was Like in 1832
The Bay of Passamaquoddy separates the seacoast of New Brunswick from that of the state of Maine. This magnificent and beautiful inlet is studded with numerous islands, some of which are richly wooded, and afford soil of fair quality, and most of them have convenient advantages for fishing.
Grand Manan, which lies at the entrance of the Bay of Fundy, is about thirty-five miles from Brier Island, on the coast of Nova Scotia, and from eight to nine miles from the shores of Maine. Its length is about fourteen miles, and its breadth six or seven. It is chiefly covered with trees, growing on a soil of tolerable fertility, 4000 to 5000 acres of which are under fair cultivation. The population is about 700 or 800, and consists principally of families, whose parents or themselves removed from the United States, and whose habits and manners resemble very much those of the inhabitants of the neighbouring state of Maine.
They have often been considered as particularly au fait at scheming and overreaching; but I think the reputation of the multitude has been too severely charged with all the villainy of some daring adventurers. The situation of the island certainly offers all that could be desired, either for a school or a rendezvous for smugglers; and the late American tariff offers temptations to evade revenue laws, and to despise the vigilance of revenue cruisers, of which they take the full benefit. It forms a parish, and has an Episcopal church.
Ship-building, fishing, and agriculture, as well as interchanging commodities, either by open or illicit means, are each followed by the inhabitants, in their turn. The dangerous ledges and rocks that abound round Grand Manan, particularly on the south and south-east; its perpendicular rocky cliffs, in some places 600 feet high; its position, at the entrance of the Bay of Fundy, with the violence of the tides, and the fogs which prevail, when the winds blow from the Atlantic, render this island at all seasons the dread of mariners. A lighthouse, as projected by the late Mr Lockwood, surveyor-general of the province, on Gannet Rock, and an efficient light on Brier Island, in place of the beggarly one now on it, are objects that should seriously engage the consideration of the respective legislatures of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. On Quoddy-head, the Americans have a good lighthouse, which renders the passage between it and Grand Manan comparatively safe.
Campobello Island, which is about ten miles long, lies within the Bay of Passamaquoddy; and a narrow deep channel separates it from Maine, in the United States. Its harbour is safe, and conveniently situated, and by many considered far superior to St. Andrew’s for a free port, more particularly for transshipping gypsum, or plaster of paris, from British to American vessels. No place can possibly be better calculated for smuggling; and many of the inhabitants here, and on the opposite coast, may be considered sufficiently vigilant and daring in carrying on a successful illicit trade, to rival even the far-famed “Dirk Hatteraick.”
There are many other islands within this bay, of which Deer Island is the largest.
In no part of America, north of New York, can vessels, during the severity of winter, proceed without being obstructed by ice, so far from the ocean, as up Passamaquoddy Bay and the River St. Croix. This is important, particularly to vessels which load with timber during winter for the West Indies.
On a point of low land at the mouth of the St. Croix, and in front of a hilly ridge, stands the town of St. Andrew. Its houses are respectable in size and appearance; and it has two principal streets, which are crossed by several others; a population of about three thousand; an Episcopal church; and a handsome Scotch Kirk, built at the expense of a resident merchant, Mr. Scott, and gratuitously presented by him to the members of the Church of Scotland. It has also its government school, court house, jail, printing establishment, weekly newspaper, commercial bank, savings’ bank, emigrant and agricultural society, Bible society, &c.
The site of the town is pretty, and the prospect from it, embracing the spacious Bay of Passamaquoddy, and a distant view of the islands, the coast of Maine, and the lands to the eastward, is truly grand and picturesque; yet, in more than one respect, objections to its situation are very apparent. The harbour is by no means a good one for large vessels, which can only enter it at full tide, while they have to lie aground within it, nearly twelve hours out of the twenty-four, and a bar and ledge render its entrance dangerous to strangers. The principal article of export, lumber, has also to be rafted at great expense to it down from the Rivers St. Croix and Schoodic, and from Magaquadavic. It is, however, a thriving place, and carries forward a brisk trade in exporting square timber, deals, and staves. Ship-building has also been a source of adventurous rather than profitable enterprise, in which the inhabitants of St. Andrew’s and its neighbourhood, have for some time been extensively engaged.
Proceeding twelve miles further up the St. Croix, near that part of the river called the ledge, its navigation for large vessels is interrupted; but here they can load near St. Stephen’s in safety, and this is, in many respects, the very place where the principal town on the river should be built.
A few miles above St. Stephen’s, the St. Croix divides into two main branches; that leading to the westward, called the River Schoodic, penetrates the state of Maine, and receives the waters of an extensive chain of lakes. The other, or the St. Croix, stretching far to the north and north-west, receives also the waters of several streams and lakes; and flows through a fertile country covered with lofty forests, but its navigation is often interrupted by rapids and cataracts. There are numerous saw-mills on these rivers, and the annual average quantity of lumber sawed by the whole is estimated at twenty-two millions of feet. On the Digdaquash, a few miles east of St. Andrew’s, there are several saw-mills.
The river Magaquadavic, or, as it is usually pronounced, Macadavick, falls into the bay about ten miles east of St. Andrew’s, and carries down the waters it receives from numerous streams and lakes, along a course of more than sixty miles through the province. Its resources are great, having extensive fertile lands, and excellent timber on its banks. Its navigation is, however, interrupted near its mouth by high falls; and numerous cataracts and rapids occur in its course, but still a vast quantity of timber is rafted down to the harbour.
From St. John’s Harbour, along the coast, up the Bay of Fundy, a distance of about eighty miles, to Shepody Bay, small settlements are scattered. The principal of these is Quaco.
The lands near the sea-coast, along this extensive distance, are remarkably stubborn, and difficult to cultivate, but not unfruitful in producing barley, oats, potatoes, &c. The ripening of wheat crops cannot be depended on. The shores of Shepody Bay, which receive the Rivers Petit Coudiac and Memramcook, are thickly settled. The Petit Coudiac is a rapid river; and, following its winding course, is about seventy miles long, and up which the tide flows forty miles. It has excellent marshes, and remarkably fine lands, well wooded along its banks, which are in many places, particularly at the beautiful settlement of Dorchester, thickly inhabited. Ships occasionally proceed as far up as Dorchester for timber; but the impetuous tides of the Bay of Fundy render the navigation difficult. The river Memramcook has fine extensive diked marshes, and is settled by Acadian French. Large clearings abound along the river, and many farmers, living a great way up, follow agriculture alone; but most of the inhabitants have devoted their time occasionally to the timber business.
In that part of the province comprehended within the county of Charlotte, the spirit of agriculture appears lately to have acquired fresh animation; and the cultivation of the soil is followed with greater attention than before the eventful commercial crisis of the year 1826.
There are several other settlements along the coasts between Passamaquoddy and St. John’s, among which L’Etang, Beaver Harbour, Le Preau, and Musquash are the principal, and at each of which ship building, hewing timber, fishing, and a little agriculture, have alternately been followed by the inhabitants.
The country bordering on Shepody Bay, Cumberland Basin, and the rivers which fall into them, and which are included in the county of Westmoreland, is equal in respect to population, soil, and cultivation, to any part of the province. It was formerly comprehended in the county of Cumberland, as belonging to Nova Scotia, which it adjoins. The inhabitants are principally farmers and graziers; among whom are several settlements of industrious Acadian French. The most thriving settlers, however, are Englishmen from Yorkshire, or their descendants, who rear large herds of cattle, and raise luxuriant crops of grain and hay on their fine diked marshes. They export their over-plus butter and cheese, and drive their fat cattle to the markets of Halifax, St. John, and Miramichi. Great quantities of grindstones are sent from the county of Westmoreland, most of which find their way to the United States.