New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

Table of Contents, Rev. May 27, 2015

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This blog will continue to grow, but following is a table of contents so far – from the top:

  1. Provincial Lunatic Asylum, Report of the Medical Superintendent, 1875 – May 27, 2015
  2. The Saint John River and Port Royal in the Early 1600’s – May 20, 2015
  3. What Should We Think of Benedict Arnold? – May 13, 2015
  4. Diphtheria in New Brunswick in the Year 1889 – May 6, 2015
  5. The Official Account of the Destruction of Burnt Church – Apr. 29, 2015
  6. The Exchange Coffee House and Saint John’s First Club – Apr. 22, 2015
  7. The Wigwams and Dwellings of the Gaspesians – Apr. 15, 2015
  8. The Story of Brook Watson – Apr. 8, 2015
  9. Where Stood Fort LaTour? – Apr. 1, 2015
  10. Things This Morning Really Wear the Aspect of War – Mar. 25, 2015
  11. At Portland Point – Mar. 18, 2015
  12. Electrical Power From the Reversing Falls – Mar. 10, 2015
  13. Father Rale’s War – 1722-25; How it Ended – Mar. 4, 2015
  14. What Was the Big Deal About the Marco Polo? – Feb. 25, 2015
  15. Grand Manan to Petitcodiac, in 1786 – Feb. 18, 2015
  16. A Trip From St. John to Fredericton in 1870 – Feb. 11, 2015
  17. A Tour of St. John, N.B., in 1870 – Feb. 4, 2015
  18. Destruction by Fire of the First Cathedral in Chatham – Jan. 28, 2015
  19. Burgan the Burglar – Jan. 21, 2015
  20. Facts and Reasons Against Confederating With Canada – Jan. 14, 2015
  21. Discontent in Early Halifax in 1756 – Jan. 7, 2015
  22. A Trip on the ICR From Bathurst to Miramichi – Dec. 31, 2014
  23. Early Attempts to Introduce the Cultivation of Hemp in Eastern British America – Dec. 24, 2014
  24. Touring Campbellton and Dalhousie, Despite the Mosquitoes, 1876 – Dec. 19, 2014
  25. The Fire of 1837 in Saint John – Dec. 10, 2014
  26. The Cruise of the Rechab – Dec. 3, 2014
  27. A Night in the Deep – Nov. 26, 2014
  28. Robert Foulis (A Misplaced Genius) – Nov. 19, 2014
  29. The City Mills – Nov. 15, 2014
  30. The Brothers d’Amours – Nov. 5, 2014
  31. John Allan’s Revolutionary Mission to the Saint John River – Oct. 29, 2014
  32. Relics of the Acadian Period – Oct. 22, 2014
  33. Some Odd Old Advertisements – Oct. 15, 2014
  34. The Miramichi Fire – Relief of the Sufferers – Oct. 8, 2014
  35. Jonathan Eddy’s Account of the Attack on Fort Cumberland, November, 1776 – Oct. 1, 2014
  36. Which of These Two is the Wisest and Happiest? – Sept. 24, 2014
  37. Fredericton Bridge, a Prophetic Writing – Sept. 17, 2014
  38. A Speech to Distinguished Persons of Stake and Consideration – Sept. 10, 2014
  39. Building an Education System From Almost Nothing – Sept. 3, 2014
  40. Cape Tormentine to the Baye des Chaleurs in the 1600’s – Aug. 27, 2014
  41. The Customs of the Mi’kmaq in the 1600’s and Before – Aug. 20, 2014
  42. Two Documents Relating to the Fenians in New Brunswick – Aug. 13, 2014
  43. The Lazaretto for Lepers in Tracadie, 1862 – Aug. 6, 2014
  44. Thoughts About the Augustine Mound at Metepenegiag Mi’kmaq Nation – July 30, 2014
  45. What am I Bid for This Pauper? – July 23, 2014
  46. Trouble at Madawaska, 1831 – July 16, 2014
  47. The Great Fire at Saint John, June 20, 1877 – July 9, 2014
  48. The Poor Fellows Shook as if They Would Fall to Pieces! – July 2, 2014
  49. How to Build a Logging Camp in Around 1850 – June 25, 2014
  50. Risen from the Ashes, Phoenix Square in Fredericton – June 18, 2014
  51. Rocks and Water, Magnificence and Squalor; St. John in 1876 – June 11, 2014
  52. Moncton as Seen by a Journalist in 1876 – June 4, 2014
  53. Events Leading to the Caraquet Riots of 1875 – May 28, 2014
  54. A Dramatic Account of the Miramichi Fire – May 21, 2014
  55. Saint John in the Early 1840’s – May 18, 2014
  56. A Note to Subscribers, and a Memorandum for me – May 14, 2014
  57. The Myth that Kerosene was Invented in New Brunswick – May 7, 2014
  58. A Church with Military Boots and Fixed Bayonets – Apr. 30, 2014
  59. An Opening Salvo in an Ongoing Argument – Apr. 23, 2014
  60. May living worms his corpse devour – Apr. 16, 2014
  61. He don’t look any better than some of our own boys – Apr. 9, 2014
  62. The Disputed Territory Between New Brunswick and Maine – Apr. 2, 2014
  63. Navigation on the Saint John River – Mar. 26, 2014
  64. Shepody as a Hot Investment Opportunity, 1868 – Mar. 19, 2014
  65. To Her Majesty, RE: Reciprocity, 1853 – Mar. 12, 2014
  66. Diary on the Tobique, 1851 – Mar. 5, 2014
  67. Growing up in Fredericton in the 1820s and 1830s – Feb. 26, 2014
  68. Travels From Eastport, Maine, to Fredericton, 1851 – Feb. 19, 2014
  69. The Saint John General Public Hospital, 19th Century, Part 2 of 2 – Feb. 12, 2014
  70. The Saint John General Public Hospital, 19th Century, Part 1 of 2 – Feb. 5, 2014
  71. The Story of the Great Brothers – Jan. 29, 2014
  72. A Trek up the Tobique, and Onward to Bathurst – Jan. 22, 2014
  73. Summer Tourists. A Manual for New Brunswick Farmers – Jan. 19, 2014
  74. A Trek from Grand Falls to Campbellton, 1862 – Jan. 15, 2014
  75. A Trek From Taymouth to Boisetown, 1862 – Jan. 12, 2014
  76. Capt. William Owen’s Journal, Campobello, 1770-71 – Jan. 8, 2014
  77. The Founding of Campobello Island – Jan. 5, 2014
  78. New Brunswick Roads and Railways, 1855 – Jan. 1, 2014
  79. Grand Manan – Dec. 29, 2013
  80. The Shipyard Fire in Saint John, in 1841 – Dec. 26, 2013
  81. Christmas as it Was in Saint John, in 1808 – Dec. 22, 2013
  82. The Saint John Grammar School – Dec. 18, 2013
  83. William Wishart Blasts the New Brunswick Education System, 1845 – Dec. 15, 2013
  84. The Diary of Sarah Frost – Dec. 11, 2013
  85. Pŭlěs, Pŭlowěch′, and Beechkwěch (Pigeon, Partridge, and Nighthawk) – Dec. 10, 2014
  86. The Government of New Brunswick, 1837 – Dec. 4, 2013
  87. The Whales and the Robbers – Dec. 1, 2013
  88. The Ashburton Treaty – Nov. 27, 2013
  89. Glooscap and His Four Visitors – Nov. 24, 2013
  90. The Pioneers of Saint Stephen – Nov. 20, 2013
  91. The Adventures of Kâktoogwâsees; a Tale of Ancient Times – Nov. 17, 2013
  92. The Asylum at Saint John – Nov. 13, 2013
  93. The Liver-Colored Giants and Magicians – Nov. 10, 2013
  94. Smuggling Between Calais and St. Stephen – Nov. 6, 2013
  95. The Two Weasels – Nov. 3, 2013
  96. A note to subscribers – Oct. 30, 2013
  97. The European and North American Railway, 1862 – Oct. 30, 2013
  98. The Origin of the War Between the Mi’kmaq and the Kwěděches – Oct. 23, 2013
  99. Trouble on the Line: The Early Telegraph in New Brunswick – Oct. 16, 2013
  100. The Invisible Boy; Team′ and Oochigeaskw – Oct. 9, 2013
  101. Transportation to and from Fredericton, 1841 – Oct. 2, 2013
  102. The Boy That Was Transformed Into a Horse – Sept. 25, 2013
  103. McAdam: Notes From the Early Days – Sept. 18, 2013
  104. The Magical Food, Belt and Flute – Sept. 11, 2013
  105. European & North American Rly. Staff, 1861 – Sept. 4, 2013
  106. Glooscap and the Megumoowesoo: A Marriage Adventure – Aug. 28, 2013
  107. The Loss of the Royal Tar – Aug. 21, 2013
  108. Robbery and Murder Revenged, Plus a Grand Falls Story – Aug. 14, 2013
  109. The St. John River From Below Fredericton to the Reversing Falls – Aug. 7, 2013
  110. A Proposal for a Wooden Railway – July 31, 2013
  111. ‘On the Early History of New Brunswick’ – July 24, 2013
  112. The Maugerville Settlement, 1763-1824 – July 17, 2013
  113. 1930 Circus Train Wreck Near Moncton, N.B. – July 10, 2013
  114. Horses or Oxen? Pick one – July 3, 2013
  115. The St. John River; Andover to Fredericton – June 26, 2013
  116. Origins of Some Place Names on N.B.’s Eastern Shore – June 19, 2013
  117. The St. John River; Grand Falls to the Tobique – June 12, 2013
  118. Gabriel Acquin – June 5, 2013
  119. The Seigniories of New Brunsiwck – May 29, 2013
  120. An 1841 Trek up the Oromocto River – May 22, 2013
  121. Fredericton’s Exhibition Palace, and Bears in N.B. – May 15, 2013
  122. Murder on Diamond Square Road – May 8, 2013
  123. Acadian Historic Sites in New Brunswick – May 1, 2013
  124. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 5 of 5 – Apr. 24, 2013
  125. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 4 of 5 – Apr. 17, 2013
  126. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 3 of 5 – Apr. 10, 2013
  127. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 2 of 5 – Apr. 3, 2013
  128. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 1 of 5 – Mar. 27, 2013
  129. A Retrospective Look at Saint John – Mar. 20, 2013
  130. The Wreck of the England – Mar. 13, 2013
  131. The First Decade of the 1800’s in St. John, N.B. – Mar. 6, 2013
  132. St. John’s Poorhouse and Workhouse – Feb. 27, 2013
  133. New Brunswick Scenes From an Old Book – Feb. 20, 2013
  134. Nice Pictures From Another Old Book – Feb. 13, 2013
  135. Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick, Part 2/2 – Feb. 6, 2013
  136. Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick, 1845 – Jan. 30, 2013
  137. The Works of W.O. Raymond – Jan. 23, 2013
  138. The Year of the Fever – Jan. 16, 2013
  139. Hanged for the Theft of 25 Cents – Jan. 9, 2013
  140. Reversing Falls – Pictures – Jan. 2, 2013
  141. Christmas as it was in 1808 – Dec. 25, 2012
  142. Nice Pictures From an Old Book – Dec. 19, 2012
  143. The Saint John Bridge Collapse of 1837 – Dec. 12, 2012
  144. The First Road Bridge Across the Reversing Falls – Dec. 5, 2012
  145. The Mystery of the First Lizzie Morrow – Nov. 28, 2012
  146. The First Murder Trial on the River St. John – Nov. 21, 2012
  147. The March of the 104th Regiment in 1812 – Nov. 14, 2012
  148. Partridge Island – Nov. 7, 2012
  149. Fredericton’s First Bridge Across the Saint John River – Oct. 31, 2012
  150. 1816, The Year Without a Summer – Oct. 31, 2012
  151. Winslow to Wentworth, 1781 – Oct. 31, 2012
  152. Oops! An explanation – Oct. 31, 2012
  153. The Saxby Gale of 1869 – Oct. 31, 2012
  154. New Brunswick’s Third Town in 1838: Saint Andrews – Oct. 31, 2012
  155. Fredericton and York County in 1838 – Oct. 31, 2012
  156. The City and County of Saint John in 1838 – Sept. 26, 2012
  157. The St. Andrews and Quebec Railroad – Sept. 19, 2012
  158. The Studholm Report of Saint John River Pre-Loyalists in 1783 – Sept. 12, 2012
  159. Caleb Jones. Further RE: Ann, otherwise known as Nancy – Sept. 5, 2012
  160. The Wreck of the Martha – Aug. 29, 2012
  161. The Early Settlement of Maugerville and the Sheffield Parsonage Dispute – Aug. 22, 2012
  162. Lieutenant Governors of New Brunswick to Confederation, Part 2 of 2 – Aug. 15, 2012
  163. Lieutenant Governors of New Brunswick to Confederation, Part 1 of 2 – Aug. 8, 2012
  164. The Morrow House at French Lake, N.B. – New Information – Aug. 1, 2012
  165. Sound by Glen Glenn, Revision 1 – July 25, 2012
  166. Ann, otherwise known as Nancy – July 18, 2012
  167. The Fire of October 7, 1825 – Beyond the Miramichi – July 11, 2012
  168. Lemuel Allan Wilmot – July 4, 2012
  169. The Great Fire at Miramichi, October 7, 1825 – June 27, 2012
  170. Robert Rankin in New Brunswick – June 20, 2012
  171. Who Owned the Mill at Tracy, New Brunswick? – June 13, 2012
  172. Signatures of Sunbury County Ancestors – June 6, 2012
  173. Daniel Wood’s Log Cabin, and Little Field Barn at French Lake, New Brunswick – May 30, 2012
  174. Rusagonis and George Garraty – May 23, 2012
  175. Epitaph Transcriptions from a Collection – May 16, 2012
  176. Central New Brunswick Gravestones from a Genealogy – May 9, 2012
  177. Nashwaak River Pictures with Stewart Family Connections – May 2, 2012
  178. More Sunbury County Photographs from a Collection – Apr. 25, 2012
  179. An Indian Burial Ground at Oromocto; and Coal Mining on the Oromocto River – Apr. 22, 2012
  180. “Days of Old” by Katherine DeWitt and Norma Alexander – Apr. 18, 2012
  181. The Wood Cemetery at French Lake, New Brunswick – Apr. 11, 2012
  182. James Glenie in New Brunswick – Apr. 4, 2012
  183. Four Generations of the Stewart Family on the Nashwaak River – Mar. 28, 2012
  184. Three Generations of the Mersereau Family in New Brunswick – Mar. 21, 2012
  185. Three Generations of the Smith Family of Sunbury County, New Brunswick – Mar. 14, 2012
  186. Three Generations of the Wood Family of French Lake, New Brunswick – Mar. 7, 2012
  187. New Brunswick Education in 1883 – Feb. 29, 2012
  188. Riots and Demonstrations in Saint John – Feb. 20, 2012
  189. Making Better Butter – Feb. 18, 2012
  190. York County Place Names, 1896/1905 – Feb. 8, 2012
  191. Sunbury County Place Names, 1896/1905 – Feb. 1, 2012
  192. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 3 of 3 – Jan. 25, 2012
  193. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 2 of 3 – Jan. 18, 2012
  194. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 1 of 3 – Jan. 11, 2012
  195. The Hon. Thomas Baillie: Gone, but not soon forgotten! – Jan. 5, 2012
  196. The Fort at Oromocto, 1780 – 1783 – Dec. 29, 2011
  197. The Great Fire in Fredericton, 1850 – Early Accounts – Dec. 15, 2011
  198. The Morrow House at French Lake, and More – Dec. 8, 2011
  199. The Old Woman House at French Lake, New Brunswick – Dec. 1, 2011
  200. Smith Family Photographs from a Collection, Sunbury County, N.B. – Nov. 25, 2011
  201. French Lake from Before we Remember – Nov. 20, 2011
  202. How Geary became known as Geary – Nov. 9, 2011
  203. Elizabeth (Smith) Secord; N.B.’s First Woman Registered Doctor – Nov. 4, 2011
  204. Phillips Family Photographs from a Collection, Rusagonis, N.B. – Nov. 2, 2011
  205. Mersereau Family Photographs from a Collection, Sunbury County, N.B. – Oct. 30, 2011
  206. Wood Family Photographs from a Collection, French Lake, N.B. – Oct. 25, 2011
  207. Jeremiah Tracy: Pioneer of the Village of Tracy, New Brunswick – Oct. 20, 2011
  208. Two Old Railroad-Inspired Songs – Oct. 16, 2011
  209. Ode to the Oromocto River – Oct. 10, 2011
  210. John Mersereau, Loyalist 2 – Oct. 4, 2011
  211. The Earliest American Railroads and Locomotives – Sept. 14, 2011
  212. The Mersereau Manufacturing Company of Brooklyn, New York, Notes – Sept. 3, 2011
  213. George Morrow of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1801-1868 – Aug. 26, 2011
  214. The Wood Family of French Lake, New Brunswick – Legends – Aug. 9, 2011
  215. The Baptist Church on the Oromocto River in New Brunswick – Aug. 7, 2011
  216. John Wood of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1788-1868 – Aug. 2, 2011
  217. Daniel Wood of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1764-1847 – Aug. 1, 2011
  218. Three Stewarts on the Nashwaak – July 24, 2011
  219. Bunker Genealogy – Five Bunkers – July 20, 2011
  220. Statistics From the 1851 and 1871 Sunbury County New Brunswick Census Reports – July 19, 2011
  221. Historical Development of the Beam Bending Equation M=fS – July 18, 2011
  222. Seth Noble, Maugerville and the American Revolution – July 16, 2011
  223. Columns, the Long and the Short of it – 1729-1900 – July 15, 2011
  224. The Great Saint John Steel Cantilever Bridge – July 13, 2011
  225. The Upper Oromocto River in 1847 – July 11, 2011
  226. Early Glimpses of the Rusagonis Baptist Church in New Brunswick – July 11, 2011
  227. Abraham Gesner’s 1847 Observations of Sport Hunting in New Brunswick – July 11, 2011
  228. It Sounds a bit Too Easy – July 10, 2011
  229. James Buncker – July 10, 2011
  230. Inconsistent Petitions; Changed Self-Interests – July 10, 2011
  231. Abner Mersereau and a Letter – July 9, 2011
  232. Early Glimpses of the Patterson Settlement Baptist Church in New Brunswick – July 9, 2011
  233. The Textile Mill at Geary, New Brunswick – July 8, 2011
  234. Letter of Mi’kmaq’ Chief Pemmeenauweet to Queen Victoria – 1841 – July 7, 2011
  235. New Brunswick in the 1840s – July 7, 2011


John Wood

Written by johnwood1946

May 27, 2015 at 8:38 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Provincial Lunatic Asylum, Report of the Medical Superintendent, 1875

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From the blog at

This blog post is from the 1876 report of the Medical Superintendent of the Provincial ‘Lunatic Asylum’ in Saint John, excluding tables of accounts. It begins with statistics of the numbers of patients, etc., but continues with more interesting topics. These include the use of alcohol as a stimulant for patients and the need for building repairs. The growing numbers of permanent residents for whom a cure was deemed unlikely and the resulting overcrowding are also discussed. There are remarks regarding how important it was that patients be well and comfortably accommodated but, with a nod to the budget people, phrases such as ‘without resorting to extravagance’ are inserted. The Superintendent, John Waddell, advocated to treat patients with dignity beyond what was typical at that time.

For more information about this institution, refer to the blog posting of February 27, 2013, entitled “St. John Poor House and Workhouse.”

Insane Asylum

The ‘Lunatic Asylum’ at St. John

From the New Brunswick Museum

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Provincial Lunatic Asylum, Report of the Medical Superintendent, 1875

On the 31st October, 1874, the date of the last Report, there were two hundred and forty two Patients on the Record, one hundred and thirty five males and one hundred and seven females. During the year there have been admitted one hundred and ten—fifty five males and fifty five females. The total number under treatment, three hundred and fifty two—one hundred and ninety males, and one hundred and sixty two females.

The result of treatment is, one male and one female remain recovered, forty two have been discharged recovered—twenty one males, and twenty one females; one female much improved; twelve improved—five males, and seven females; forty have died—twenty four males, and sixteen females; and there remain in the Institution two hundred and fifty seven—one hundred and forty males, and one hundred and seventeen females.

The cause of death in thirteen was exhaustion from various forms of chronic insanity; in consumption, six; in epilepsy, four; in pneumonia, diarrhoea, softening of the brain, old age, and erysipelas, two each; in cancer, dropsy, bone sores, tumour of the neck, paralysis, disease of the brain, and “Visitation of God,” one each.

Seventeen of those who died were buried by their friends, fourteen by the Rev. Dr. Scovil, seven by the Rev. Mr. Dunphy, and one each by the Rev. Mr. Boyd and Rev. Mr. Teed.

Of the two hundred and fifty seven remaining on the Record, one male and one female are recovered, forty nine are improved—twenty five males, and twenty four females; and two hundred and six unimproved—one hundred and fourteen males, and ninety two females.

Of the whole number under treatment during the year, there were one hundred and forty seven from Saint John; York, forty; Charlotte, thirty one; Northumberland, twenty six; King’s, twenty three; Westmorland, sixteen; Queen’s, fourteen; Gloucester, thirteen; Carleton and Albert, each ten; Kent, nine; Restigouche, four; Sunbury, three; Victoria, two; and Nova Scotia, four.

The monthly average during the year has been two hundred and fifty five. The greatest number at any one time, 16th August, two hundred and seventy two; and the smallest number at any one time, 30th November, two hundred and forty seven.

Eighty patients have been admitted during the year under the Act of Assembly 33rd Victoria, Chap. 25, for seventy nine of whom either a Warrant on the County Treasurer, or cash, have been received; and one from Saint John County half cash, and Warrant for half, also received; and for one admitted from King’s County, the Magistrates have failed to forward a Warrant.

Sixty Warrants on County Treasurers, twenty dollars each—say twelve hundred dollars, and one for ten dollars, making in all twelve hundred and ten dollars—have been put into the hands of R.W. Crookshank, Esquire, for collection. The money for eighteen at twenty dollars—say three hundred and sixty dollars, and for one ten dollars, making in all three hundred and seventy dollars—will be paid to the credit of the Provincial Receiver General at the Bank of New Brunswick.

The amount received from this source for five years from 1870 to 1874 inclusive, (see last year’s Report), is five thousand nine hundred and sixty dollars. The receipts for this year from Orders on County Treasurers is twelve hundred and ten dollars, and cash to the credit of the Receiver General three hundred and seventy dollars, making a total for six years of seven thousand five hundred and forty dollars.

In treating the insane, brandy, wine, and ale, and all stimulants that they represent, should be given on the same general principles that govern the general physician in prescribing them, and brandy with milk for food in some cases is indispensable. Ordinary drugs should be used also in treating the physical diseases of the insane, as they are prescribed in common practice among the sane. Many cases of insanity depend on physical disease, and when the cause is removed, the mental difficulty disappears. Every case, however, ought to be treated on its own condition and symptoms, irrespective of preconceived opinions; for example, one physician may entertain such decided views in regard to non-restraint as to try to abandon it altogether; but if a case occur where restraint would afford greater safety to the patient, and in case of violence less danger to those in attendance, and where it would prevent serious destruction of property, it ought certainly to be applied; and if another case requires stimulants, they should not be denied because the practitioner entertains strong views on the teetotal question; nor, on the other hand should brandy, wine, &c. be too freely given, as if they were in some measure to take the place of food.

In hospitals for the insane, it is very desirable to obtain the largest measure of home comforts that can be commanded without resorting to extravagance. An abundant supply of good, wholesome, well-cooked food, also, the best arrangements possible to provide for the patients that are able and willing to work, the means to do so in a manner the most agreeable to them; also, the means to relieve those who do engage in work, by alternating with books, amusements and recreations.

Overcrowding is a subject on which I have frequently written in my former Reports, but faithfulness to all the interests involved demands this further reference to the subject.

On examining the “Brief Statements” at the end of this Report, it will be found under the head of “Patients remaining and in what condition,” that only forty nine are returned as improved. From these, and from those who may be admitted in the course of the year, will the recoveries for the year 1876 principally come. There will also be found in the same Table two hundred and six returned unimproved. From among these but few may be expected to recover, and to this incurable class there is being made every year some additions, and the evil is steadily growing worse and worse. The building was originally designed to accommodate only two hundred. It will be observed that the crowding amounts to one in addition to every four, and the worst feature of the case is, that the house is filled to its original limit with incurables, or, with those from among whom but few may be reasonably expected to recover, and the only alternative to meet the difficulty is to increase the capacity of the Institution or to limit the number of patients to be admitted.

In last year’s Report I referred to some improvements and repairs that were then required which have not yet been made, but I deem it unnecessary to make further reference to the subject, feeling assured that they will be attended to at your earliest convenience. On the whole, the house is in as good a condition as it can well be put under the circumstances.

The Farm and Garden have been cultivated with our usual care and attention, and have produced an unusually large crop. This department has always had a fascination for the writer, and he has always taken an interest in it, but in no year of his superintendence has he been more gratified with the results than the past one.

At the commencement of the farming and gardening operations it required the years of 1850 and 1851 to reduce the rough land to make the necessary preparations for a crop. In 1852 we secured our first return, the proceeds from that date to 1874 inclusive, say twenty three years, was twenty six thousand three hundred and seven dollars eighty eight cents, as is stated in last year’s Report. This year the amount received was one thousand one hundred, and eighty six dollars ninety nine cents, making a total for twenty four years, twenty seven thousand four hundred and ninety four dollars eighty seven cents.

Newspapers, &c, have been continued gratuitously by their generous proprietors, and I desire, on the part of our household, to thank them most sincerely for their thoughtfulness and liberality. There is no kind of literature that insane persons peruse with greater gratification than the newspaper, especially when it contains the news of the locality whence they come.

The following are the Papers, &c. received:— “The Patriot” and “Argus,” Charlottetown, P.E. Island; “Religious Intelligencer” and “Christian Visitor,” St. John, N.B.; “Saint Croix Courier,” Saint Stephen; “Union Advocate,” Newcastle; “The Times,” Moncton; and also “The Christian Work,” London, England; besides these, the Rev. G.M. Armstrong contributed for the use of the patients a large package, unbound, of the illustrated paper, “The Graphic.” To that benevolent Rev. Gentleman our thanks are hereby cordially tendered.

I had the privilege of attending the annual meeting of the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane, held in Auburn, New York, last May. The meeting was well attended, and able and valuable papers were read on subjects connected with the care and treatment of the insane; and the discussions which followed, elicited the views of members generally on all practical questions, each contributing to the general fund of knowledge the result of his observation and experience. The meeting was in every way interesting and instructive from a professional point of view, while from social consideration, it was extremely gratifying to renew old friendships and form new ones among Gentlemen engaged in the same interesting and benevolent work.

Last year I gave a brief account of the origin and progress in developing this Institution, and thought at the time I had mentioned the name of every one who had been engaged in the work. On looking over afterwards, however, I regretted to find that I had altogether omitted the name of the Hon. Mr. Anglin. As Commissioner, that Gentleman was always active in the discharge of his official duties in relation to the Institution generally, and on one occasion, especially at a time and under circumstances when just such assistance as was in his power to give he most cheerfully rendered, and in doing so, laid me under personal obligations which I still remember with gratitude.

The Rev. Canon Scovil, Ph.D., returned from England the 1st June last, and resumed his duties of Chaplain, and as usual, has continued them since. During his absence for about six months, the Rev. Stanley Boyd officiated for him. Mr. Boyd performed the duties with regularity, and his services were highly appreciated by all to whom he ministered.

In 1852 the Chaplain was appointed. From that time to this he has attended personally to his duties, or, when absent, provided another to take his place. During all these years his attention to his Sabbath services, and to the sick and the dying, have been regular and unremitting; and his sympathy for any of the inmates in distress of any kind, has exhibited itself in many acts of substantial kindness.

I avail myself of this opportunity to acknowledge the valuable and self-denying services of Mr. Graham and Miss Archibald. They have both held their respective appointments upwards of twenty years, and faithfully and well have they performed their several duties. I most cordially yield to them full share of any success that has been attributed to my management.

I desire at the same time to accord to the staff of attendants and servants engaged in domestic and other duties, a full acknowledgment of their services, some of whom have been here ten, fifteen and over twenty years, Before concluding, I beg to express my sincere thanks to the Commissioners, and to their Secretary, for all the kindness they have shewn me, and for all the assistance they have afforded me in my work.

On retiring from my official relation to this Institution, I have more than a little to gratify me, but the chief source whence my satisfaction arises is the result of my professional labour—in knowing that many families throughout this Province, and elsewhere, have been made happy by the return to them of patients who have been treated here and recovered, and have gone back to be a comfort to their friends and to be good members of society.

And now, commending the Institution in all its interests for the future to the care and protection of Him—whose blessing is essential to success in any undertaking—and praying that He may ever watch over it and make it instrumental for good to the inmates, to their friends, and to the Province at large—I respectfully submit the twenty eighth Annual Report.


P.L. Asylum, St. John, N. B., 31st Oct., 1875.

Written by johnwood1946

May 27, 2015 at 8:37 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

The Saint John River and Port Royal in the Early 1600’s

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Following is a physical description of the Saint John River and of the Port Royal area. It is special because it was written by Nicolas Denys, and describes New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as wildernesses in the early to mid-1600’s. Denys’ writing was difficult to decipher, but William F. Ganong was a capable translator and produced this English version in 1908, which he entitled “Description and Natural History of the Coasts of North America (Acadia).”

William F Ganong2

William F. Ganong in 1895

From the web site of the Smith College Libraries

The Saint John River and Port Royal, in the Early 1600’s

The entrance of the River Saint Jean is dangerous of approach [to one] coasting the land along either shore. The best entrance is on the starboard or right hand side without approaching too near the shore. This entrance is narrow  because of a little island which is to larboard, or on the left side, which being passed, the river is markedly larger. On the same side as the island there are large marshes or meadows which are covered at high tide. The shore is of muddy sand and forms a point. This being passed, there is a cove which makes into the said marshes, and has a narrow entrance. Here the late Monsieur de la Tour had a weir built in which were caught a great number of those Gaspereaux which were salted down for winter. Sometimes there was caught so great a quantity that he was obliged to break the weir and throw them into the sea, as otherwise they would have befouled the weir which would thus have been ruined. Sometimes there were also found Salmon, Shad and Bass, which [latter] is the maigre of La Rochelle, and serves every Spring as a grand manna for the people of that country.

A little farther on, beyond the said weir, there is a little knoll, on which D’Aunay had his fort built, which I have not found well placed according to my idea, because it is commanded by an island which is very near and more elevated; and behind it all vessels are able to lie under shelter from the Fort, in which the only water is from pits, and not very good, no better than that outside the fort. It would have been, according to my idea, better placed behind the island where vessels anchor, and where it would have been more elevated, and hence not commanded by other neighbouring places, and would have had good water, as in the one which the late Sieur de la Tour had built, [and] which was destroyed by D’Aunay after he had quite wrongfully made himself master of it, as he had no right to do. This he would have had great trouble in accomplishing had he not been informed of the absence of the said Sieur de la Tour who had taken with him a part of his garrison, and had left only his wife and the remainder of his people as a guard to the fort. She, after having sustained for three days and three nights all the attacks of D’Aunay, and after having compelled him to withdraw beyond range of her cannon, was in the end obliged to surrender on the fourth day, which was Easter Day, having been betrayed by a Swiss who was then on guard, whilst she was making her men rest, hoping for some respite. The Swiss yielded to bribery by the men of D’Aunay, and allowed them to mount to the assault, which was again resisted for some time by the Lady Commandant at the head of her men. She only yielded at the last extremity, and under the condition that the said D’Aunay should give quarter to all. This he did not do, for, having become master of the place, he threw them all into prison, including the Lady Commandant, and later, by advice of his council, hung them with the exception of a single one who had his life spared on condition that he would perform the execution; and the Lady Commandant accompanied them at the gallows, with a cord around her neck as though she had been the greatest villain. Such is the title which Le Borgne has made use of to claim, as a creditor of the said Sieur d’Aunay, the proprietorship of the River Saint Jean.

The island of which I have spoken being passed, below which vessels anchor in order to be better sheltered, it is only a good cannon shot to the falls, where there is no passing except by boats and small craft, and that at high tide only. But before entering farther into the river, there is one thing surprising enough. In the pitch of the fall is a great hollow, of about three or four hundred feet around; this is made by the rush of the water as it passes between two rocks which form a narrow place in the river, an arrangement rendering it more swift at this spot. In this hollow is a great upright tree which floats, but no matter how the water runs it never gets out; it only makes its appearance from time to time, and sometimes is not seen for eight, ten or fifteen days. The end which appears above the water is a little larger around than a hogshead, and when it appears it is sometimes on one side and sometimes on the other. All of the Indians who passed by there in former times, and they are in great number in these parts, rendered it homage, but they give it little at present, having been undeceived. They called this tree the Manitou, that is to say the Devil. The homage which they formerly rendered it consisted of one or two beaver skins, or other peltry, which they attached to the top of the tree with an arrow head made of a moose bone sharpened with stones. When they passed this spot and their Manitou did not appear, they took it for a bad omen, saying that he was angry with them. Since the French have come to these parts, and they have been given arrowheads of iron, they no longer use any others, and the poor Manitou has his head so covered with them that scarcely could one stick a pin therein. I have seen it, and some of the men of Monsieur de la Tour, who lived formerly with him and afterwards with me, have assured me that he once had ropes attached to the head of this tree, and that boats with ten oarsmen, rowing with all their strength and aided by the current, were never able to pull it out of the hollow.

The falls being passed, the river enlarges, much more in one place than another because of certain islands. There are three of these which are large, and in which there are very fine meadows, as there are also along both shores of the river. These are inundated every year by the melting of the snows, which occurs as a rule in spring. It extends very far inland, to such a degree that the Indians by means of this river, and crossing some land, pass into other rivers, of which some empty into that of Saint Laurent, others fall into the Bay of Saint Laurent and at Nepiziguit in the Baye des Chaleurs. There are along each route two or three canoe portages through the woods, where are found the paths which run from one river to the other, and these they call Louniguins. The other portages are at places along the rivers where the navigation is impeded by waterfalls or rapids caused by the rocks which hold the [waters] back and narrow their passage. This renders the current so swift, and makes the water fall from such a height, that it is necessary to carry the canoes upon the shoulders or upon the head as far as the place where the course of the river is smooth. Most frequently these portages are of five to six leagues, sometimes as much as ten, which, however, is rare. It is these which the Indians call Louniguins, and of which they willingly undertake the traverse on account of the ease with which they carry their canoes; these are very light, as will be easily understood from the description which I shall give of them in the proper place. Boats cannot go up this river higher than eighteen to twenty leagues because of falls and of rocks which are scattered there, thus compelling a resort to canoes.

Besides all the woods I have already named to you, there are also here a great number of very beautiful Oaks, which would be fine for building ships, and which ought to be better than those of the northern coast of which the wood is too soft. There are also Beeches in plenty, very tall and with branches high up. Abundance of wild Walnuts also occur, of which the nuts are triangular and hard to open; though when placed by the fire they open easily, and that which is inside has the taste of walnuts. There is found here also a great quantity of Wild Grapes, on wild vines which bear grapes, the fruit of which is large and of very good taste; but its skin is thick and hard. It comes to maturity, and if it were cultivated and transplanted I do not doubt that it would produce very good wine. This is a sign that the cold there is not so severe, nor the snows so abundant as everyone says. I believe that there are actually districts in France which are not worth so much as this place, so far as climate is concerned, and where many people live in less comfort than they would have in these parts, distant though they are.

From the entrance of the River Saint Jean to that of Port Royal there are a dozen leagues to cross, over that which we call the Baye Francoise [Bay of Fundy], and which extends ten or a dozen leagues farther into the land. In leaving the River Saint Jean there is, upon the left hand, a point which advances into the sea, and this being rounded, one enters a large bay which extends about a league into the land. At its bottom there are two islands. Continuing along the coast, about three or four leagues, one finds two little bays distant a league from one another, where there are said to be mines of iron. Continuing this route one sees a great point extending into the sea, behind which is a little river. Going still farther, one sees a cape which is named the Cap des Deux Bayes. Their entrances are narrow and they advance fifteen or sixteen leagues into the land. There are plenty of rocks in these bays and they are dangerous, because the tide rises eight or ten fathoms and covers them. This I have heard said by those who go there in longboats to trade, as also that they are obliged to cast anchor in fifteen to sixteen fathoms in order to be safe. There are several rivers falling into these bays, by means of which the Indians pass into that of Saint Jean; by others they proceed into lakes which empty towards Campseaux and Cape Saint Louis, which is in the Great Bay of Saint Laurens. There are some lands to traverse in going from one place to the other. The Indians of those parts carry their peltry to the English at the River Saint Jean. The Sieur d’Aunay traded there in his time even to the extent of three thousand Moose [skins] a year, not counting Beaver and Otter, and this was the reason why he dispossessed the Sieur de la Tour of it. These bays are called des Mines because here occur some of those flint stones such as were used formerly in wheel-arquebusses; and all who have been there say there are also mines of copper in several places.

In these bays are plenty of mountains back in the country, some of them really high. There are also flat lands, and a great number of Pines, Firs, and Spruces, mixed with other good woods. But there is little of them on the margin of the sea all round the two bays for about a league or a league and a half. Farther inland there are beautiful woods, which are much more open. From the report of all the Indians there should be found an abundance of mast materials and plankings, as well of Oak as of other kinds.

Leaving these Bayes des Mines, and continuing the way towards Port Royal there occurs an island of great height, and of one and a quarter leagues of circumference or thereabouts. It is flat on top, and despite its height a spring of water occurs there, [and] it is said, also a mine of copper. Thence coasting along the land six to seven leagues, through which extent are only rocks, one comes to the entrance of Port Royal. This is rather narrow, which causes a great tidal current, and if one wishes to take a vessel in or out with the tide, it is necessary that this shall be done stern first, and even so it is needful to take great care for oneself.

Port Royal is a very beautiful place [including] a very fine basin with more than a league of breadth and about two of length. At the entrance there are eighteen to twenty fathoms of water; there are not less than four to six fathoms between the land and the island, called Isle aux Chevres, which lies about in the middle of the basin. There it is possible to anchor large vessels, and in as great security as in a box. The bottom is everywhere good. In the extremity of the basin there is a kind of point of land where Monsieur d’Aunay had a fine and good fort built. This point is between two rivers, one on the right and the other on the left, which do not extend far inland. One is broad at its mouth; the other is not so broad but much deeper, and the tide runs up eight to ten leagues. There are numbers of meadows on both shores, and two islands which possess meadows, [and] which are three or four leagues from the fort in ascending. There is a great extent of meadows which the sea used to cover, and which the Sieur d’Aunay had drained. It bears now fine and good wheat, and since the English have been masters of the country, the residents who were lodged near the fort have for the most part abandoned their houses and have gone to settle on the upper part of the river. They have made their clearings below and above this great meadow, which belongs at present to Madame de la Tour. There they have again drained other lands which bear wheat in much greater abundance than those which they cultivated round the fort, good though those were. All the inhabitants there are the ones whom Monsieur le Commandeur de Razilly had brought from France to La Haive; since that time they have multiplied much at Port Royal, where they have a great number of cattle and swine. Aside from the two rivers of which I have just been speaking, another discharges into the basin, and it is very full of fish, as are the two others. Here is caught a great quantity of fish, such as Gaspereau, Salmon, Trout, Esguilles [sand-eels], and other kinds.

On the upper parts of these three rivers, there is a quantity of Oaks, and upon the banks are Pines, Firs of three sorts, Birches, Black Birches, Beeches, Aspens, Maples, Ashes and Oaks. This country is not very mountainous. The Grape vine and the Butternut are also present. There is very little snow in this country, and very little winter. The hunting is good throughout the year for Hares, for Partridges, for Pigeons, and other game of the woods. As to water game, there is a great abundance of it. Summer and winter the country is very pleasing.

Leaving Port Royal and going towards Isle Longue, after two or three leagues one finds a big cove where vessels can anchor. It has a good bottom, but the shelter there is not from all sides, and it is properly only a roadstead. Continuing along the coast six or seven leagues, one finds coves and rocks covered with trees as far as Isle Longue, which is about six or seven leagues in length. It forms a passage for leaving the Baye Françoise and for going to reach the land of Acadie. There are between Isle Longue and the mainland of Port Royal, rocks which make the Grand and the Petit Passage. The currents there are very rough, among other places at the Petit Passage which is only for longboats. I once wished to pass through there, but the wind not being favourable for stemming the tide, or to carry us to the Grand Passage, I wished to have the anchor cast, even though there were only two and a half fathoms of water in the entrance. The current was so strong that the anchor could not take hold, and we lost it along with our cable which ran out to the end. We had to bear away for the River Saint Jean, where I was given an anchor and another cable. From there I returned and went through the Grand Passage of Isle Longue.

Written by johnwood1946

May 20, 2015 at 9:09 AM

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What Should We Think of Benedict Arnold?

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What Should We Think of Benedict Arnold?

Benedict Arnold 2

Benedict Arnold was convinced that Canadians would flock to the Revolution

Benedict Arnold was a problem. He was a notorious traitor as far as Americans are concerned, of course, which is problem enough. Like Vidkun Quisling, his name is synonymous with treachery and deceit. However, he was also not popular among the Loyalists, and is not kindly remembered. He was arrogant and self-centered, and his single-mindedness never translated into success, or not in any lasting way.

He was born in Connecticut in 1741 or 1742 to a privileged family with a father whose alcoholism ruined them financially. He ran away from home and joined the army at the age of 16 or 17, but was released and brought back at the urging of his mother. He then joined the army again in 1760, and served for a while in New York. After that, he engaged in trading along the coast and in the West Indies.

His success as a military man began with the American Revolution. By that time, he was Captain of a militia unit and, in 1775, he marched them off to join the fight against the British. His early successes were outstanding, but his weaknesses of personality were already becoming apparent. He was never willing to be second to anyone, and arguments ensued. He was a rising star, but unpopular with his commanders.

Arnold then recommended an invasion of Quebec City, and two military units were put together to accomplish this. Arnold was in charge of one of the units and struggled with his men through swamps and rivers in Maine as he moved toward Quebec. The campaign was supposed to end with a quick victory, but the battles wore on and the Americans suffered heavy losses while British losses were few. The men were reduced to wearing rags and ammunition ran low. Nonetheless, Arnold was always popular with his men. He could lead them to victory or through swamps to defeat, but his strength as a leader never faltered. He was second only to George Washington for this ability. The Quebec City campaign was a failure, but it still won Benedict Arnold the rank of Brigadier-General. Operations then moved to the Montreal area, but these also did not go well. The plan of extending the revolution northward and defeating the British in their heartland was at an end.

Arnold then led unsuccessful battles against the British on Lake Champlain, by disobeying orders that he should remain in a defensive posture. He later had more luck on the Hudson River and elsewhere in the 13 colonies, where there were victories.

Arnold’s enemies in the command structure were piling up. He had to defend against numerous complaints of misconduct and, in Philadelphia, he was accused of profiteering from his position. Fellow officers were being promoted to Major-General, while he was not, and he was not getting the respect that he was sure that he deserved.

Dissatisfied with this perceived lack of appreciation, he began in 1779 to inform to the British on American military matters and to negotiate terms to switch sides. These activities were discovered, and he escaped to British-held New York. He then issued a statement saying that he had never supported independence but had only been trying to address American complaints with the details of British administration. None on the American side, and likely few on the Loyalist side, could believe this. He was given a cash reward in addition to a Brigadier General’s salary and a pension in return for switching sides. He raised a Loyalist company but his service to the British was undistinguished.

The American Revolution was over with the Peace of 1783, and Arnold moved with his family to England which, for him, was an unfamiliar country. By 1786 he was in Saint John, New Brunswick, where he established a trading company that was successful in dealings with the West Indies. He was as unpopular as ever, and for the usual reasons in addition to the fact that he was a former rebel who had caused damage to other locals and was now profiting for his flight to the Loyalist side. It didn’t help that he was litigious, suing everyone in sight over any perceived misdeed. He was abandoned by his business partner and, within about two years his stores in Saint John went up in flames. His former partner charged that he had set the fire himself in order to collect on the insurance, and Arnold, of course, sued him. Arnold was found innocent, but not before he was burned in effigy at the corner of King and Canterbury Streets. He was so unpopular that his suit against his former partner only gave him a nominal reward.

Arnold and family returned to England, and he never returned. He tried to get grants of land in Ontario, but this was difficult because he was asking for too much and he was an absentee-applicant. The authorities also seemed to be embarrassed that he was asking for more and more compensation for his treason against the American side in the Revolution.

Arnold’s life in England was not marked with financial success, and his estate consisted of little more than debts.

So, what should we think of Benedict Arnold? Should he be considered more respectfully by Canadians despite the opposite view in America? No. He was a man whose flaws outweighed his talents as a commander and led to, what he might call, the ‘disrespect’ for which he is mostly known.

Written by johnwood1946

May 13, 2015 at 9:02 AM

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Diphtheria in New Brunswick in the Year 1889

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Diphtheria in New Brunswick in the Year 1889

Diphtheria is rare today due to immunization, but was common in New Brunswick in earlier days. Most people would have been exposed to the bacterium sometime during their youth, without developing symptoms. This would have caused them to become self-immunized, which is why it was generally thought of as a childhood disease. It was not restricted to children, however, and young adults, or adults of any age, could still contract it.

Diphtheria seemed to come and go at intervals in a community, because of the process of self-immunization. Thus, epidemics would occur and many, mostly younger, people would be stricken. The disease would then subside until, in a few years, it would strike again infecting those who had not been around during the previous outbreak. This phenomenon seemed particularly cruel, almost demonic.

Diphtheria was usually accompanied by a sore throat, fever, swelling of glands and mucus membranes, and weakness. In advanced cases, the swollen membranes in the throat could interfere with breathing and the patient would appear to be suffocating.

The death rate from diphtheria has been reduced to less than three percent these days, due to more effective treatment. The appended report indicates that the death rate in New Brunswick in 1889 was closer to ten percent.

It was also stated in the report that 181 cases of diphtheria had been reported in New Brunswick in 1889, resulting in 18 deaths. The authors thought, however, that there might have been more cases than that since reporting was apparently not what it should have been. This doubt as to the actual number of cases appears to be well founded since in the very next year, in 1890, there were eleven deaths from diphtheria just in the tiny community surrounding Peltoma Lake in the Tracy Station area. These included five of the children of William Neary, who died one per day, over the course of five days. There is some indication that proper quarantines were not adhered to, and that the school had been left open during the outbreak.

Neary Cemetery

A memorial, erected at the Neary Cemetery near Peltoma Lake

Following, then, is the Annual Report of the Board of Health for the year 1889. Sections of the report dealing with diseases other than diphtheria have mostly been excluded.


Infectious Diseases

During the early part of the present year our ordinary infectious diseases were quite prevalent throughout the whole Province. However, the rate of mortality from these diseases has not been high. Of 181 cases of diphtheria reported to the Provincial Board, but 18, or 1 in 10 were fatal; of 474 of Scarletina but 28, or 1 in 17, were fatal; and of 99 cases of Measles reported none were fatal. Although these numbers may not fairly represent the whole number of cases of these diseases which have occurred during the year, probably the rate of mortality from the sources is more correct.


Diphtheria has occurred at Grand Falls, Three Brooks, Geary, French Lake, Fredericton Junction, Portland, St. John, Moncton, Woodstock, Spring Hill, Kingston, Fredericton, Rothesay, Springfield, Lancaster, McAdam Junction, Hartin Settlement, Canterbury Station, Victoria Settlement, Perth, North Head, St. Stephen, Stanley, Jacquet River.

The greatest number of cases has occurred in Sunbury Co., at Geary, French Lake, and at or near Fredericton Junction. At these places, in almost every instance, it has been possible to trace the cause of the disease to infection. Its spread has been largely due to misrepresenting or misunderstanding the nature of the disease or to gross carelessness. In villages and county districts it is in some respects more difficult for local Boards of Health to restrict the speed of infectious disease than in cities. An early knowledge of the existence of the disease is not so rapidly obtained and it is also more difficult to see that the proper precautions are observed.

Diphtheria at Fredericton Junction:

At various times during the year diphtheria has appeared at Fredericton Junction, or in the immediate vicinity of that place. In most cases, however, it has been possible to trace its connection with disease existing at some other place, or to a previous outbreak at the same place.

The following instances aptly illustrate the persistency with which the disease clings to certain places, and to household effects, etc.

In January, 1889, a child of 4 years of age, in the family of S___m was attacked with diphtheria. The remaining children were sent from home at once, and none of them contracted the disease. After the recovery of the child the family moved to Fredericton Junction, a distance of eleven miles. The other children did not return home for one month afterward. In the meantime thorough cleaning and fumigation had been carried out by the family but without any special instructions in reference to it. Within the first ten days after the return of the other children, two of them were attacked with diphtheria. After they recovered the house was thoroughly cleaned, fumigated, whitewashed and papered. In November of the same year a child 12 years of age was attacked with the same disease. Just before being attacked some winter clothing, which had been in use during the attack of the previous winter, was put in the child’s bed. This was undoubtedly the source of the disease in this instance. The nature of the disease was not recognized for some time, it being mistaken for quinsy. Thus, the whole family, consisting of the father, mother, four children and nurse, were infected. The child first attacked died of the disease. The nurse and one child were attacked 5 days after the first illness, the mother one week later, the father and another child five days later.

The bedding from which the first child evidently contracted the disease had been washed after being in use during the first attack of the disease and had been stored away for about nine months. From this family the disease spread to two other families in one of which five persons had the disease. The medium of the infection was a man who visited the house for the purpose of supplying the family with groceries and necessities. Some of the members of his own family were first attacked and from them the second family contracted the disease. Cases such as this illustrate what is of too frequent occurrence in different parts of the Province and shows the necessity of immediately and completely quarantining every house in which a case of Diphtheria exists.

Diphtheria at McAdam Junction:

During the month of April, Diphtheria spread from Fredericton Junction to McAdam Junction. A Music Teacher at the former place, who boarded at the house where the children had been attacked with Diphtheria, had a sore throat. It was of very slight nature and little importance was attached to it. In a few days she resumed her ordinary work. A daughter of Mr. B. at McAdam Junction went to take her usual music lesson at Fredericton Junction. About a week after her return she was attacked with Diphtheria. Unfortunately, her father kept a Private Boarding House in which there were about 20 Boarders, who were employed about the Railway works at McAdam Junction. There being no local Board of Health at the time for York County, the Secretary of the Provincial Board, was notified, but not until the Boarders had left the house. The house was at once quarantined, other precautions were taken to prevent the spread of the disease, and no one excepting the members of this family became infected. About three weeks after the recovery of the last of those who had been ill at his time another case occurred in the same house.

Since then another case has occurred in the village but it was thought to have been imported. At the time of the first outbreak at McAdam Junction, this village was in a very undesirable condition from a sanitary point of view. The water closets were of the poorest description, the wells were badly situated, there was very little attempt at drainage of any description and the inhabitants themselves were very careless as to the accumulation of refuse about their premises. Although considerable improvement has been affected in these respects the village is still far from being in satisfactory condition. Now that a Board of Health in York County has been appointed it is hoped that these evils will be remedied to a much greater extent.

[Tables were then presented showing the monthly numbers of cases of four infectious diseases. The following totals have been extracted:]

Disease Cases Recovered Died Outcome unclear
Diphtheria 208 194 14
Scarlet fever 539 497 42
Typhoid fever 282 258 19 5
Measles 114 93 1 20
Total 1143 1042 76 25

[These totals, generated from the monthly statistics do not agree with the opening paragraph of the report.]

Written by johnwood1946

May 6, 2015 at 9:16 AM

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The Official Account of the Destruction of Burnt Church

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This is the authentic story of the destruction of Burnt Church, New Brunswick, by a military force led by Colonel Murray in 1758. It can be found in the Collections of the New Brunswick Historical Society, Number 9, 1914, edited by W.F. Ganong.

I have read the incorrect story of the destruction of Burnt Church, wherein six sailors were looking for a supply of fresh water when they were attacked by Indians. It is therefore good to have this corrected version of events.

Burnt Church

Burnt Church First Nation, c. 1900

From the New Brunswick Museum

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The Official Account of the Destruction of Burnt Church

On the north side of the Inner Bay of Miramichi stand the modern twin English and Indian villages of Burnt Church, known to have taken their name from the burning of a French Church there by the British about the time of the Fall of Quebec. The local account of the matter is, however, incorrect in details, because derived from Cooney’s well known History, which, misled by erroneous tradition, gives a wrong setting to this incident. I have long sought the original official account of the burning of the church, and at length have found it in the document which follows. It is contained in the Public Record Office in London, where it is classified officially as C.O.5, Vol. 53, (formerly A.&W.I. Vol. 79). The copy has been made for me with care by an expert direct from the original, and is here printed exactly to a letter.

The facts are, that in 1758, as a part of the campaign against the French in Canada, an effort was made by the British to destroy all the French settlements around the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. In pursuance of this plan General Wolfe sent Colonel Murray to destroy the settlements at Miramichi, and it is Colonel Murray’s report of his operations which is here presented. Those interested in these matters will recall that Colonel Monckton was at this very time preparing for an expedition of similar object against the French on the Saint John, his report forming an earlier number (No. 1) of this series.

Louisbourg 24th September 1758.


I have the Honor to acquaint you that all the Fleet, (except the small sloop which parted from Us at Sea and did not join Us till we were on our return to Louisbourg) made Miramichi Bay the 15th instant, and came to an Anchor in an open Road, seven Leagues from the Settlement and three from the Barr, exposed 16 Points of the Compass; Capt. Vaughan expressed much Uneasiness at the Situation of the Ships, but as the Weather was moderate and promised to continue so for sonic time, he eagerly embraced the Opportunity and agreed with me, that we should immediately with the Artillery Sloop and the Boats of the Fleet proceed up the River and attack the Settlement, representing to me the necessity of returning quickly, as the Ships in the Situation they were in, without Boats or Men, could not possibly escape being lost, should the Gales of Wind blow, which are naturally to be expected at this Season of the Year; As we had this morning chased a Privatier into the River which in Company with a Sloop we saw fire several Guns, I mounted the two Six Pounders in our Sloop and contrived to embark Three Hundred Men in her and the Boats, there is but Six Feet Water on the Barr at low Water; We were therefore obliged to wait a little this side of it till the Tide rose by which means it was dark before we could get over it, we struck upon it but got safe within Muskett Shott of the Settlement about 12 at Night, Joseph the Indian being our Pilot, we landed and found all the Inhabitants, (except the King’s Surgeon and Family) had desert’d it, this man told me, that the Inhabitants consist of the neutral French who fled from Nova Scotia, that they expected no Quarter from Us and had therefore run away, that le Pere Bonavanture was with them, their Number about Forty, that there are several Habitations dispersed all over the Bay, for many Leagues both above and below where we were, That many Indians inhabit this Bay, but chiefly about where we were and below, That they lived sometimes in one place sometimes in another, having no fixed residence till the Winter, That on the other side the Bay there was a Settlement of about Thirty Family’s Three Leagues from Us, to destroy which I immediately detached a Party, that Ten Leagues up the River there was another Settlement very considerable of Neutrals and some Family’s who had fled from the Island of St. John’s since the taking of Louisbourg, that the whole were in a starving Condition, had sent away most part of their Effects to Canada, and were all to follow immediately as they every Hour expected the English, and besides could not subsist, since they could not now be supported by Sea as they formerly were before Louisbourg was taken, that the Inducement for settling in that River was the Furr Trade, which is very considerable, no less than Six Vessels having been loaded there with that Commodity this Summer, That Monsr. Boisbert commands the whole as well as the Settlement on St. John’s River, That he is at present with his Company at Fort George, against which he is to act in Conjunction with a Detachment from Montcalm’s Army and is no more to return to Miramichi, which is abandoned for the reasons already given, That the two Vessels we had seen, were, one a Privatier mounting Six Carriage Guns, the other a Sloop which had an Officer and Twenty Five Men on board for Canada, they had escaped from Cape Britain, but being chased by one of our Frigates off Gaspee, I suppose the Kennington, were now to make the best of their way inland to Canada, there being a Communication from the head of Miramichi River to Quebeck by Rivers and Lakes a few Portages excepted, He added that the Passage up the River to the Settlement Ten Leagues up, was very narrow but water enough for the Sloop; As the Weather was still fair and promising, I immediately, upon this Consideration, wrote to Capt. Vaughan for some Guns to mount upon the Sloop (as I found our Six Pound field Pieces would not work in her) and some more Provisions, that I might proceed up the River to destroy every thing in it, but he sent me the enclosed Letters one after the other, I likewise took care to have Capt. Bickerton consulted about the Situation of the Fleet, who declared he could not Sleep while it continued where it was; I therefore in the Evening of the 17th in Obedience to your Instructions embarked the Troops, having two Days hunted all around Us for the Indians and Acadians to no purpose, we however destroyed their Provisions, Wigwams and Houses, the Church which was a very handsome one built with Stone, did not escape. We took Numbers of Cattle, Hogs and Sheep, and Three Hogsheads of Beaver Skins, and I am persuaded there is not now a French Man in the River Miramichi, and it will be our fault if they are ever allowed to settle there again, as it will always be in the Power of two or three Armed Vessels capable of going over the Barr, to render them miserable should they attempt it. I thought it was a pity that the two Vessels I have mentioned should escape Us, and therefore proposed to the Sea Commanders to go up with the Sloop manned with Soldiers to attack her and desired some Six Pounders, but they declared she was not in a Condition to carry any, and was otherwise very improper for such an Enterprize; If this could have been done the Fleet might have proceeded to Sea, out of the Danger it was exposed to, by lying in the open Road. We are now returned to Louisbourg in the same Situation we left you at Gaspee; I am etc.

Ja. Murray

To Brigadier Genl. Wolfe.

a true Copy, Jam: Wolfe.

endorsed: Copy of Colonel Murray’s Report.

in Brig. Genl. Wolfes of Nov. 1st 1758.

It is thus proven that Burnt Church was destroyed by Colonel Murray in 1758, acting under orders from General Wolfe, as part of a plan of military operations. The account by Cooney, contained in his History of Northern New Brunswick and the District of Gaspe, 1832, and widely accepted locally, is erroneous in almost every particular. Cooney says (page 35), that after the conquest of Quebec a vessel containing the remains of General Wolfe and carrying despatches, was driven by stress of weather or other adverse circumstances into Miramichi, where the captain resolved to replenish his stock of water, and despatched six men for the purpose. They proceeded to Hendersons Cove, and having loaded their boat were rambling about when they were surprised and murdered, with refined tortures, by the Indians, supposed to be assisted by the French. In retaliation the Captain proceeded up the river, destroyed all the French settlements there, and on his way out to sea burnt the Chapel at Neguac, thus originating the name Burnt Church. A form of this erroneous tradition is given by Father Gaynor on page 56 of this volume of these Collections.

It is perhaps not worthwhile to discuss Cooney’s account, which evidently rests upon distorted traditions. But we may point out the utter improbability of a vessel bound from Quebec to England on an important mission putting into Miramichi, a place far out of her course, and supposed at that time to be highly dangerous for navigation, as our document incidentally shows. Moreover, (as recorded in Wright’s Life of Major General James Wolfe, London, 1864, page 594), it is known that General Wolfe’s remains were taken to England on a man of war, the Royal William, obviously a vessel quite unadapted to the navigation of the Miramichi. We may note, as well, the improbability of so great an ascent of the river for a water supply. In one other minor feature Cooney’s account must also be wrong, viz., the Acadian Indians did not torture prisoners.

Traditions, however, while highly untrustworthy in details, are rarely manufactured altogether, but have generally some nucleus of fact. In this case I believe that Cooney has recorded a tradition which had really linked together two separate events. Thus the matter of the six British sailors seems to find a support in a Riviére des Six Bretons (qy. Britons — English?), applied to a stream on the north side of the Miramichi, apparently at about the position of the present Bartibog, on the early French maps. The earliest on which I find the name is that of Sieur l’Hermitte of 1724, putting the event, if the connection is genuine, before that date, though I set no great store by this matter. More important is this fact;— we know that in the year 1690, two English privateers from New York pillaged the French settlements at Port Royal and elsewhere in Acadia, and destroyed utterly the French establishment at Gaspe, as fully discussed in the Champlain Society’s Edition of Father le Clerq’s New Relation of Gaspesia, 68; and there is every probability, sustained by some little clues of evidence, given in that work, that they also pillaged and destroyed the establishment which Richard Denys de Fronsac had previous to that time, maintained near Beaubears Island (see also papers in No. 4 of this series). Taking everything together it would seem probable that a half dozen men from one of these privateers were ambushed and killed by Indians and French at some stream on the Miramichi, perhaps the Bartibog, while the vessels were working their way up the river; and that later these privateers kept on to the settlement of Denys de Fronsac, north of Beaubears Island, where they burnt his establishment, including the chapel which he would certainly have had at his fort. Then in time tradition confused this event with Colonel Murray’s expedition, finally uniting them into one incident in the way recorded in Cooney. All of the data and conditions of the case are harmonized by this supposition.

Written by johnwood1946

April 29, 2015 at 9:02 AM

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The Exchange Coffee House and St. John’s First Club

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From the blog at http://JohnWood1946.wordpress,com

This is the story of the Exchange Coffee House in Saint John, and of the Club that later met there. The Exchange was first mentioned in a newspaper in August in 1784, and it and the Club became a social hub. The story is by John Russell Armstrong and was published in the Collections of the New Brunswick Historical Society, Volume 7, 1907.

The Exchange Coffee House and St. John’s First Club

Coffee House 1840

The Coffee House in 1840

Facing up King Street at Prince William, the Coffee House is on the Right

The first social Club in St. John, of which any record has been preserved, was established in 1803, just twenty years after the landing of the Loyalists, in a building on the lot where now stands the splendid edifice occupied by the Royal Bank of Montreal.

This lot, number 402, fronting fifty feet on the east side of Prince William ‘Street, and eighty on the south side of King Street, was drawn in 1783 by Charles McPherson, a Loyalist, who held a commission in General Oliver deLancy’s Brigade during the American Revolution. It is said that McPherson shortly after drawing the lot offered it for sale at £15, but the price was thought so unreasonable that a purchaser could not be found.

The Exchange Coffee House, an illustration of which appears with this article, was a low two story building and basement with shingle roof. It was probably one of the first considerable structures erected in Parr Town, and was completed within fifteen months after the landing of the Loyalists. It was designed and built for a place of refreshment, for the “Coffee House” is mentioned in a newspaper as early as August 5th, 1784, Charles McPherson being the proprietor and owner. The drawing, of which the illustration is a copy, was made in 1840 by Mr. George N. Smith, a local artist, and is said by those who recollect the building to be a faithful representation of the Coffee House. One of its rooms was known as the Assembly Room; it was 50×25 feet, and was on the second floor. One of the first entertainments on an elaborate scale given in this room is thus described by Benjamin Marston in his diary, under date Tuesday, 18th January, 1785: “Queen’s birthnight, Governor Carleton gave a ball and supper at the Assembly Room. Between 30 and 40 ladies were present, and near 100 gentlemen. The ladies were of the best families only, but the gentlemen were of all sorts. The business was as well conducted as such an entertainment could be where so large a company were to be entertained in so small a room.” Later, in the election for that year, the poll was held for the first two days at “McPherson’s Coffee House.” That the property was then considered of considerable value is shown by the fact that in the next year, 1786, McPherson gave a mortgage of the Coffee House to William Thomson and Alexander Reid for £1,200. In 1789 the following appeared in the St. John Gazette and Weekly Advertiser:

“Sale of the Exchange Coffee House.

“Fronting the Publick Market Place 50 feet on Prince William Street, 80 feet on King Street. On the First Floor is one room, 25 feet square, compleatly fitted up for a Coffee-room; one parlour, 24 x 15 feet, to which joins a complete bar-room; one ditto, 26 by 15 feet, which has been ever since the settlement of the City employed as a store, and is allowed to be equal to the best stand in the Province. On the Second Floor is an elegant Assembly Room, 50 by 25 feet, one large Parlour, and a Bedroom. On the Third Floor is eight well finished Bedrooms. Under the First Floor is a well frequented Store, fronting the street, at the back of which is a large convenient Kitchen; also a very fine cellar, 36 by 24 feet, built with stone. For further particulars apply to the proprietor,

Chas. McPherson, St. John, May 1, 1789”

The above gives us an idea of the internal arrangement of the house. It is possible that the eight well finished bedrooms on the third floor were in the adjoining building. Mr. McPherson apparently did not succeed in finding a purchaser for his property, for in the meantime he leased it to one William Rogers, and again advertised the property for sale, as we find in the following advertisement which gives the exterior dimensions of the building:


For Sale.

“That large and commodious House, and eligible stand for business, situate at the corner of King and Prince William Streets, now in the occupation of Mr. Wm. Rogers.

“The house is two and half stories high, in good repair, and replete with accommodations and conveniences for business, as well as for family purposes. It fronts on Market Square 50 feet, and on King Street 36 feet, exclusive of additional rooms annexed to it on the same street, and a complete Cellar under the whole House. It has rented for the last 7 years at £100 per annum, and the proprietor is offered £150 for the ensuing year. The situation of the premises and the advantages attached to it are so well known as to render any encomiums or further description unnecessary. The Lot is 50 by 80 feet, and having the benefit of both fronts makes it an object to those inclined to purchase. For further particulars apply to the proprietor.

Chas. McPherson. St. John, 5th January, 1798.”

Mr. Rogers, desiring to sub-let a portion of the premises, inserted the following advertisement in the “Gazette” in the same year. Even at this early period in the history of the City yearly tenancies began from the first day of May:


“Par One Year from the first day of May next, the corner Store of the Exchange Coffee House, now occupied by the subscriber; as also the Store underneath the said House, at present in the tenure of Alderman Reid. These two stores may, with great propriety, be called the First stands for business in this City. For terms enquire of

William Rogers. St. John, February 2, 1798.”

Two years later the occupant of the Coffee House was White Raymond, of whom we have a record as early as 1784. In that year on the 17th of June at the Sessions of the Peace for the old County of Sunbury, in the Province of Nova Scotia, held at Maugerville, in what is now New Brunswick, White Raymond (formerly of Darien, Connecticut), of the Township of Parr, petitioned for leave to keep a house of Public Entertainment in Parr Town, and for a license to retail spirituous liquors, by the small measure. His application was endorsed as follows by the Secretary of the Board of Directors for the laying out and settlement of Parr Town:

“This may certify that the within mentioned White Raymond is an honest, good man, and is in a situation to accommodate the Public.

(Signed) Oliver Arnold

White Raymond was a .brother of Stent Raymond, the ancestor of Wm. E. Raymond of the Royal Hotel. His lot near the corner of Sydney and Brittain Streets was a very central one for the “Lower Cove” district, where the disbanded soldiers of the Loyalist regiments were principally settled. This district at that time was a strong rival of the “Upper Cove.” However, White Raymond decided after a while to try his fortunes at the Upper Cove, as we learn from the following advertisement in the columns of “The Royal Gazette and New Brunswick Advertiser,” of the 3rd of June, 1800:

“Exchange Coffee House

“The Subscriber will open the Coffee-Room in the Exchange Coffee House for the reception of the Gentlemen Merchants and others, and will engage to furnish, by every Packet, the London Newspapers, as also the New York and Boston Papers by every opportunity, for their perusal, as soon as a sufficient number of subscribers shall appear to defray the expense of the room, fire, and, candle light, &c.

White Raymond. June 3rd, 1800.”

Mr. Raymond remained the tenant until ‘the property passed into Mr. Cody’s hands, and there can be little doubt that it was he who, some nine months later, inserted in the columns of the same paper the following admonition:

“A Hint.

“The Occupier of the Exchange Coffee House is under the disagreeable necessity of reminding those Gentlemen who are in the habit of taking away News-Papers belonging to the Subscription Room, that they must desist from the like practices in future, as they are intended for the benefit of all the Gentlemen Subscribers, and such intrusions will not be allowed.

St. John, March 17th, 1801.”

In 1803 William George Cody—originally spelled “Cowdy”—leased the Coffee House. He was born in 1771 at St. George’s, Grenada, W.I, a son of Oliver Cody, born at Drumanore, County Down, Ireland, in 1744. He married, in 1798 at Halifax, N.S., Susannah, born 1779 in London, England, daughter of Osmond Button of Devonshire. After a Year’ residence in Halifax, where their eldest child, Susannah Jane was born, the married couple moved to Annapolis Royal, where their first son, William Oliver, was born in 1800, and a second son, James Osmond, in January, 1803. Shortly afterwards they moved to St. John, where eight more were added to their children. Jane, a sister of William George Cody, not a daughter, as stated in Lawrence’s usually accurate “Foot Prints,” born in London, 1779, married 21st October, 1803, Richard Whiteside, and a second sister married Michael Hennigar, names well known in this city.

Under date May 11th, 1803, William George Cody advertises that having taken the Exchange Coffee House he is prepared to furnish entertainment, liquors, good board and good stabling for horses.

Soon after opening his place of entertainment, Mr. Cody laid his plans to add to the already well merited popularity of the Coffee House by establishing a Club, which he designated “Subscription Room.” The original Subscription List is in the possession of the writer. Accompanying this sketch is a. reduced facsimile, with the signatures, and appended is a brief description of each of the subscribers, of whom there were forty-four, mostly Loyalists, and comprising many of the leading citizens of the time. This paper, which may be designated the Constitution and By-Laws, sets forth the terms and conditions of membership in brief form. None but subscribers, with their non-resident friends, were to be admitted. The subscription was twenty shillings a year, and for this fee the room was to be furnished with Lloyds’s List, a tri-weekly London paper, a New York daily and Boston daily, and a Halifax weekly and St. John weekly paper. The proprietor was to provide fewill (sic), candle light. a blank book for insertion of news, and pen, ink and paper. No fateful ballot was employed to keep out the undesirable applicant for admission, at least there seems to have been no provision for such, and Mr. Cody probably remained the sole arbiter of the fitness of the candidate.

The prestige given to the Coffee House by the influential membership of the Subscription Room added greatly to its popularity. Here the leading professional and business men of the place held not only their informal but their pre-arranged meetings and here they met to initiate and complete transactions of greater or less importance. It was a rendezvous for seekers after entertainment, primarily of a material and secondarily, of an intellectual nature. Its liquid refreshments, judging by its name, were not confined to the Jamaica Rum then so freely used. A direct trade, large for this port at that time, was carried on with the West Indie. The duty on this spirit was six pence per gallon, while the cost to the consumer, two and six pence per gallon, brought the favourite beverage within the reach of all desiring this class of stimulant. Here subscription papers, petitions and other documents to which signatures were desired were usually left. It was a little “hub of creation.” The Court House, City Hall and Market were close at hand on the Market Square, and for some years the Post Office was only a little further south on Prince William ‘Street, while a printing office (Henry Chubb’s) was just alongside. It was the meeting place of the citizens for a great variety of purposes, social, political and otherwise. Here were held many of the annual anniversaries of the national societies of Saint George and Saint Andrew. Civic, political and military dinners were given under its roof. Even balls were held at Cody’s, notably that in honour of Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar. This was the regular meeting place of St. John’s Masonic Lodge from May, 1803, to March, 1813. It was in the Old Coffee House, on the 20th. of May, 1819, that the St. John Auxiliary of the British and Foreign Bible Society was founded, and many other gatherings for the promotion of the moral well-being of the community were held. Here on l2th June, 1820 was held the first meeting of the stockholders of the Bank of New Brunswick, at which Directors were elected and subsequently its officers appointed. Here in 1822 they considered the practicability of building a canal from the head of the Bay of Fundy to Bay Verte, which proposal was a live topic for half a century and more. At this meeting Ward Chipman, Sr., Judge of the Supreme Court, afterwards Chief Justice, was in the chair, and such well-known citizens as Hugh Johnston, Thomas Millidge, Charles Simonds and Lauchlan Donaldson were appointed a Committee to raise the sum of £250 for the purpose of having a survey made. Surely it may well be said that the Coffee House was a useful as well as popular institution of its times.

In October, 1817, Mr. Cody purchased the property from Mr. MePherson for the sum of £1,500, it being described in the deed as “the premises being generally known and distinguished by the appellation of the Coffee House.” In 1824, Mr. Cody moved to Loch Lomond, where he established the “Ben Lomond House.” In August, 1836, he advertised his old premises for sale, as follows:


“That very valuable freehold property known by the name of the Exchange Coffee House, owned by the subscriber, in the Market Square of this city, being 50 feet on said square, and extending upwards of 80 feel on King Street, together with the buildings thereon. The whole is offered for the sum of £7,000 currency of which £3,000 is required to be paid when a sufficient deed is furnished, and possession given, the remaining £4,000 may continue unpaid for seven years, provided the interest at six per cent, is duly settled up once every year. The property now rents for upwards of £400 per annum, and properly improved may be made to yield upwards of £1,000. If not sold prior to Monday, 31st October, ensuing the same will be put up at auction on that day.

William G. Cody. Aug. 13, 1836”

But apparently he found no purchaser. On 25th August, 1840, Mr. Cody died at his home at Loch Lomond, aged seventy years. On 1st August, 1850, the Coffee House was sold at auction in the office of the Master of Chancery under an order for sale in that Court, and was bought by the late Mr. John Gillis for the large sum of £5,650. In the deed it is described as being “heretofore occupied by William George Cody, and known and distinguished by the name of the Exchange Coffee House.”

Some extracts relating to the Coffee House from writers of local history may be quoted—

Sabine in his “Loyalists of the American Revolution,” 2nd Vol. p. 76, refers to Cody as “the Prince of caterers and the most obliging of landlords,” and adds, “the Coffee House was a famous place of meeting for a long time. Within it the Loyalists gathered year after year to discuss their affairs both public and private, to tell of their losses, sufferings and expulsion from their native land, to hold high revelry, to read the news, to transact business, and to devise means to develop the resources of the Colony.”

Stewart in “The Story of the Great Fire in St. John, N.B. thus refers to the Coffee House. “Here of an evening for years and years, the old men of the place used to sit and gossip and smoke, and sip their toddy; here in 1815 they met to learn the news of the war between France and England, and read the story of Waterloo four or five months after it was fought and won. In this sort of Shakespeare tavern, the leading merchants of the day met and chatted over large sales, and compared notes. Here, a verbal commercial agency was established, and here delightful old gossips met and told each other all about everybody else’s affairs. There were Ben Jonsons in those days who wrote dramatic pieces and showed them to their friends over a cup of hot spiced rum. Poets, too, full of the tender passion, sighed out hexameters of love in that old Coffee House.”

Bunting, in his “Freemasonry in New Brunswick,” page 395, writes: “It was a noted place of resort to the early citizens of St. John, and was better known to them than any other place in the city under its several designations of MacPhersons Coffee House, Cody’s Coffee House, Exchange Coffee House, and above all as “The Coffee House.” The public room in the upper story, the scene of the many gay and festive gatherings, often resounded with the light-hearted laugh, the mirthful joke, the pleasant song, interspersed with toasts and sentiments. Wit, wisdom, gaiety and humour were there. The health of the king, attachment to the throne of Great Britain, and devotion to the fair sisterhood found hearty and outspoken expression around its festive board. The merchant, the lawyer, the politician, the scholar—all classes and professions—mingled here and talked of merchandise, briefs, public matters, Shakespeare, and the latest news from Europe.”

The Coffee House building had several narrow escapes from destruction by fire, which swept Prince William Street and Market Square, but it remained in continuous use until shortly after its purchase in 1850, when it was torn down to make room for the “Imperial Building” erected by Mr. Gillis, which was considered a wonderful advance in the style of business buildings hitherto erected in St. John. The “Imperial Building” was consumed in the great fire in 1877, after which the present handsome structure now owned by the Bank of Montreal was erected.

We have no record of the period during which the Subscription Room Club remained in existence. How different are the times now in everything relating to social and club life. The candle lit Subscription Room has given way to the brilliantly electric lighted modern Club building furnished with five St. John dailies in place of a single weekly paper, beautifully illustrated London papers instead of the small tri-weekly journal which was then issued, while huge New York and Boston papers have supplanted the single sheets of those days. Telegraphy has been perfected and telephones have come into common use. Modern hot water heating has taken the place of the old-fashioned wood burning open fire place, and instead of a single subscription club room, there are now in St. John the Union Club, with its membership of some three hundred, the Royal Kennebecasis Yacht Club, with its more than four hundred members, the Natural History ‘Society, the Young Men’s Christian Association, the Neptune Rowing Club, the Free Public Library, the Masonic and similar societies, and many other clubs and organizations, religious, intellectual and social, each with their separate rooms, some with their own well-appointed buildings and all in a prosperous and growing condition.

[The author then presents a membership list for the club, with biographical notes. Not reproduced here.]

John Russell Armstrong

Written by johnwood1946

April 22, 2015 at 10:11 AM

Posted in Uncategorized


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