johnwood1946

New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

The Morrow House at French Lake, and More

with 4 comments

By JohnWood1946@hotmail.com

The Morrow house on Morrow Road in French Lake, New Brunswick was the home of George Morrow and his wife Elizabeth Wood and children, David, George Daniel, and Elizabeth Ann Morrow.

It was on this property that George ran a farming operation which was advanced by the standards of the day; kept a store which provisioned not only the local population but also logging camps; ran a dairy operation; planned the acquisition of nearly 10,000 acres of land to support his logging operations; and, generally, cut deals and made money. He was the most powerful person around and was, effectively, the local squire.

For all that, we have only this one picture of the house, and very few legends and stories. Furthermore, the picture seems to have been taken around mid-20th century: the dairy and other buildings are missing and the house is …, well, a little out of repair. The house is now entirely gone, and the land is occupied by several new homes. There is a renewal happening, and the area is becoming quite attractive again.

If you have other pictures or legends then please let me know. The more people share such information, the better the chance that it will survive for others to see in the future.

The Morrow House at French Lake

–  –  –  –  –  –  –  – M – O – R – E –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –

George Morrow died in 1868, and all of the things that he did, are now beyond what normally survives in legend. We know a lot about his logging operations because they generated paperwork which still exists. There are only scraps of information about his other businesses is in French Lake, however.

It has been said that George Morrow lived first in a log cabin. The cabin burned and later (in 1847) he built what we know as the Morrow House. This may be correct, but does not seem to be the whole story. Daniel Wood and his family also lived on Lot 20, and are said to have lived in the same cabin. So, if there was only the log house before the Woods died in 1847, then we must imagine that between seven and thirteen people (two prosperous families) were living in a house which was only around twenty feet square. Furthermore, the General Assembly passed an appropriation bill in 1840 to build Morrow Road from his house in French Lake to the South Branch Road. There was no mention of Daniel as co-resident.

It therefore seems that there was at least one other house on the property, which predated the ‘Morrow house’ and which has since receded out of the collective memory.

George kept a store, also described as a trading post, in French Lake. It was no ordinary general store and one writer described it as the first shopping centre in Sunbury County. He had at least two schooners engaged in trade with the West Indies. One of these was called the Lizzie Morrow and brought back molasses, sugar, leaf tobacco and cotton. The ‘store’ was more of an import/export business. George’s son George Daniel Morrow later owned a half-share of a 584 ton barque also called the Lizzie Morrow. Both craft were named after George’s wife Elizabeth Wood.

George was provisioning logging crews as early as 1829 when he was in his 20s. We know this, because he sued Jeremiah Tracy for hundreds of pounds in unpaid bills on total purchases of £1228.

The house had fifteen rooms with a creamery across the road; a three-story hennery; and a cotton weaving operation. The creamery included cheese making. There was a wooden aqueduct to bring water down from a spring to the north. The aqueduct was made of wooden pipe fashioned from tamarack logs bored out in sections and joined together. Wooden pipe made in this way was common in those days. Water from the aqueduct was used to cool the milk room and to keep a granite tub in the milk room full. There were also two large barrels that were kept full of water for domestic use and a sign warned against watering horses from them.

For more details of George’s life, see the post entitled “George Morrow of French Lake” in this blog.

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Written by johnwood1946

December 8, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. I have been inside the Morrow house and there were definite details placing it of 18C style construction , or early 19 C . A certain portion of some of the interior was ” upgraded ” in the 19c ( trim ) .
    I believe the house was added onto as the first portion used forged nails . The second portion used ” cut ” square nails . Some of the hardware used in the older section was made by a blacksmith , such as “butterfly ” hinges on the old built – in kitchen cupboard , again suggesting a very early date > this house had some of the nicest chair rails I have ever seen , & I have actually used some of the actual Morrow trim in my old house .

    Ray Alexander

    March 15, 2012 at 6:14 AM

    • Ray, Thank you. When I was there it was almost entirely demolished and Mack Smith was using the last of it for fire wood. My observations were only 1. that it was of timber-frame construction with dowels, etc.; 2. that it was cladded-in using timber slabs, which seemed out of keeping with the higher quality frame construction; 3. that there were traces of a concrete floor on the main level which I figured was added at some time; and 4. that there was some evidence of fire damage long long ago. I will certainly preserve your observations in my records. Are you possibly Raymond George Alexander, son of Sterling and Marjorie? WordPress has protected the privacy of your e-mail address.

      johnwood1946

      March 15, 2012 at 3:56 PM

      • Yes , I am Ray Alexander . My father was Edwin . I see no evidence of the first part of the house being built anytime even close to any dates given in any article written about the house . I believe the house pre dates the Morrow familiy , having been purchased from someone else by mr Morrow . I think the second part of the house in all likely hood was added on to in the 1840’s as claimed .
        The fireplace mantles were of definite 18 C design ( 1700 ‘s), although that does not necessarily mean they were constructed in that time period , however .
        However all in all , my gut feeling is that the house was built in the 1760 – 1800 range based on style , and other features .

        Ray Alexander

        March 15, 2012 at 4:16 PM

      • Ray, I have been busy lately, but wanted to get back to you about the Morrow house. Your observations are significant and, I think, unique. I believe that they should go online as a resource for other people in the future, and I therefore have a suggestion. I do not want to copy your material without permission – I try not to do that. However, if you were to write up your observations then I would be pleased to put them on my blog under your name. Alternately, you might prefer that the blog post be anonymous (I could add ‘from a correspondent’ at the top, for example). Or I could write up what you sent to me indicating that it is ‘with permission’. On the other hand you might not want to do any of these things; it’s up to you. I’m only making a suggestion. What do you think? John Wood

        johnwood1946

        March 24, 2012 at 12:37 PM


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