It doesn’t seem long since I last spoke with you at the white fence but so many interesting stories have come my way over this short period of time that I must pass on a few of these to you before the new year appears at our doorstep!
Since our last gathering at the white fence, I met with historic news editor Phyllis Stopps who gave me letters and newspaper clippings from this region dating from Thursday, September 4, 1879 (The Chignecto Post) to January 18, 1932 (The Sackville Tribune Post). And the draft of one clipping entitled “from The Busy East,July, 1928” was typed on stationary with:
279 Church Street
on top of each page (any information about this anyone? It is a draft with corrections on it and I don’t know if it was ever published – ed.). Either Mr. Estabrooks himself (or a member of the family with access to Mr. Estabrooks’ stationary) was writing about himself and his own business; there is no authorship assigned to the article!
The clipping for 1879 was especially useful for me since clarified (finally!) the location of “Anderson Settlement” which I had been told (by an Anderson a couple of decades ago) had been located on Coles Island between Sackville and Amherst (where the CBC Towers are today). Andersons may have lived and farmed on Cole’s Island many years ago but the “official” Anderson’s Settlement is really located between Centre Village and Shemogue! And I never knew that Sackville, my home town, had been in the potato exporting business!! And then there is Joanne Goodrich’s house on Charles Street which was once a hospital (for a while anyways)! Read on… you see, history can still inform, as well as clarify and correct misconceptions for many of us to this day! And then Rhianna Edwards kindly transcribed for me a most interesting letter written on June 27, 1851, from Sarah Pride to Lois and Submit Ayer, to tell them of her family’s move from Sackville to Escuminac, N.B., not really as easy a task then as it would be today!
And also, dear friends, I could not have compiled this newsletter for you without the assistance of Phyllis Stopps (news clippings) and Donna Beal who wrote about the Rogers House. I met Abner Rogers at the Campbell Carriage Factory a few years ago and he showed me where his father had worked in the factory. In a brief moment, he made it live again for me.
And, as usual, Dan Busby helped me get the computer to do what I want it to do!! Thank you all.
And so without further ado, I present you with some of the voices of the past; their own words in the form of letters and a number of press reports.
Rhianna Edwards and Paul Bogaard met recently with Barb Campbell (who very kindly donated the Campbell Carriage Factory to the Trust) to look through the Campbell family photo albums. They were trying to find photos of members of the Campbell family who had been involved with the Campbell Carriage Factory. But in the course of looking for the photos, they came upon a small box of old family letters. It contained letters (written between 1851 and 1895) which had all been received by Lois (née Estabrooks) Campbell and which had been sent to her by various family members and friends.
The letter below is one written to Lois and Submit Ayer (family friend?) in 1851. At that time, Lois was a young unmarried 16-year old, one of 15 children born to William (Foxy Bill) Estabrooks (1788–1842) and Mary Ann Grace (1793–1874). The letter was written by Sarah Pride who appears to have been a good friend of Lois and who, it seems, had moved to Escuminac, N.B., with her extended family. As Rhianna noted, the “letter is delightfully frivolous and gives a wonderful glimpse into the mind and motivations of a young girl in the mid-nineteenth century, as well as some quite detailed information about travel conditions.”
If any of you, our readers, have any information about the Pride Family or of any others mentioned in the letter, please contact Rhianna at 364-0011. As she indicated in her note to me: “I’d love to fill in the blanks in the story — especially about poor old Deborah Price!” And so dear friends, read on about what Sarah had to tell her friends about her travels in New Brunswick, nearly 150 years ago!
Dalhousie June 27th, 1851
My dear Lois and Submit Ayer,
I now sit down to write a few lines to you to inform you of our safe arrival and enquire how old Deborah Price stood the shock we prepared for her. It makes me laugh yet when I think of it, poor old soul. I can picture to myself the rage she would be in but I suppose must tell you about our travels and leave Deb to her own destruction.
After leaving your house, we drove to Lawrence’s and fed the horses then to Weldon’s and got dinner. Just as we were getting ready to leave there, it began to rain and rained hard till we got to Buctouche. There we stopped to Uncle Bigg’s. It rained all the next day so we did not travel- but just [spent the] night [at] Adebade Biggs. And I went to a French house where they had made maple sugar and the old woman gave us five or six pounds so we had quite a feast. The next day, we had the pleasure of seeing Thomas Carret but nothing material happened. Indeed, I believe we did not meet with one single adventure worth mentioning except when crossing the Mirimachi (sic: obviously intended to read as Miramichi —ed.) ferry. We [hole in paper] the horses and carriages in the scow which they did not [hole in paper] well as they showed by staggering around as if they were seasick. But the fun of it was the man who carried Father ashore so that he might not get his feet wet. And then one of them [went] back for Mother. I warned him that he could not carry her alone but he thought he knew best so he got her up and began to slip down so Father plunged in and got nice and wet. But if he had not, she would have gone down in three feet of black mud. I would not trust myself to the fellow so Father and he managed to get me ashore in [hole in paper] between them.
Bathurst is a lovely place and we stopped there for dinner, then came here to Dalhousie which is quite as pretty as Bathurst. We like it very much so far — all but Aunt Rebecca and she cannot see anyone she knows in the town which makes her homesick. Aunt Sarah and I have [hole in paper] across to Escuminac our future home — not hers but mine. She does not like the place but I think it will be a lovely place. There is the loveliest river you ever saw runs down from the mountain. It is the one, or rather a branch of it, that the mills stand on and they say it is not half as cold in the winter season as it is in Dalhousie. I wish you would move here. I am sure you would like it better than Sackville. I think everyone would move if they could only see the place.
We got here Saturday and the vessel did not get here until the next Thursday. We went to a public house but it was so very public that we did not stop long. But Mother and Father and the young ones [?] to Mr. Perrington’s and boarded and I went to Mr. Winsors with Charlotte. Mrs. Winsor sent here for me. I have been presented to a few but I have been here too short a time to get acquainted with many. The next time I write I shall know them better and then I will tell you about them. I thought I would write some more but the vessel is going. Good bye. They are all in bed and I must go. I am sure you can’t read this but I have not time to [?].
I like everything but the bedbugs and lobsters. Write as soon as you get this for I shall be at the office until it comes.
News Clippings and Articles from The Busy East, July, 1928
As an instance of what can be accomplished by courage and enterprise, the following account of how two New Brunswick men developed an Export Potato Shipping Trade with the British West Indies and south America should be an inspiration to other Maritimers to “go and do likewise” — not necessarily to handle “spuds”, but to seek for expansion of their own business and development of new markets, both at home and abroad, for the respective products in which they may be interested, or for which they may find there is a demand.
But to come to the “spud” story! Back in 1912, two brothers, Messrs. F.L. Estabrooks and R.E. Estabrooks, of Middle Sackville, New Brunswick, started together in a small wholesale grocery business, shipping a little hay and an occasional car of potatoes. One brother, Mr. F.L. Estabrooks, had been running a grocery store for two or three years on his own account; while his brother, Mr. R.E. Estabrooks, had previously been engaged in the teaching profession. Under the firm name of F.L. Estabrooks & Co., the brothers progressed steadily in their business, until in 1918 they sold out to the United Farmers, who were strongly organized in the district at the time and were anxious to run a store in that vicinity for the especial benefit of the farmers, – a business in which many of the latter became stockholders.
The Estabrooks brothers then started to go after the Export Potato Shipping trade in real earnest, and that they have made a success of their venture is evidenced by the fact that from an initial shipment of 200 barrels of potatoes to the West Indies in 1918, their export trade for the current year amounted to 20,000 barrels and 12,000 sacks, – an increase of more than a hundredfold within ten years. This also means that this year they have paid out something like $100,000 to potato growers in the Maritime Provinces.
In 1918, Mr. R.E. Estabrooks made a trip to the West Indies, in an endeavour to open up and export potato trade. That year a couple of carloads of potatoes were shipped. In 1928, the shipments to that part amounted to 8,0000 barrels and 2,000 sacks. Quite an expansion of trade in ten years.
Last year, Mr. F.L. Estabrooks visited Santiago, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and indirectly got in touch with Columbia, South America. He reports that his business trip was very pleasant and successful. Today, Messrs. F.L. Estabrooks & Co., have an office in New York and also have agents in Barbados, Trinidad, Demerara, Havana, Santiago, Nassart Bar-anquilla (Columbia) as well as Newfoundland. They have large warehouses at Middle Sackville and Midgic, and also own a farm at Centervillage, Westmorland County, N.B.
For the current year their potato shipments have included the following: Santiago, 8,400 barrels; Havana, 2,250 barrels and 4,100 sacks; Jamaica, 1000 barrels; Nassau, 200 barrels; Columbia, 1000 barrels (getting weekly orders) Newfoundland, 2,400 sacks, and the United States, 1,400 sacks. (These shipments included 20,000 bushels of seed potatoes).
But this achievement has meant much work and continual vigilance in order to keep the ship afloat. It has also meant ingenuity and overcoming the handicap of lack of adequate shipping facilities from Maritime ports. These enterprising Potato shippers have been forced to ship their potatoes via New York for Santiago, and the rate being 30 cents per barrel higher than from Halifax, has caused a loss to the company this year of $2,500.
In an interview with a Busy East representative, Messrs. Estabrooks stated that although Pickford and Black Steamship Company has forthnightly sailings from Halifax to the West Indies, they will not accept goods consigned to Santiago, giving as their reason that the “space for Santiago is sold out.” They will, however, accept goods for Jamaica by the same steamer.
The only solution seems to be, for the Canadian National Steamships to put a direct boat on the route between the Maritimes and Santiago. Messrs. Estabrooks expressed themselves strongly of the opinion that trade between these southern ports and Canada could be advantageously developed.
Unless something along this line could be worked out, Messrs. Estabrooks intimidated that they would have to transfer all their business to the New York office.
It is of interest to note that the Estabrooks brothers are sons of the late Davis Estabrooks and his wife, Janet Main, of Middle Sackville, New Brunswick. Mrs. Janet Estabrooks is still living (being in her 88th year) and resides with her son, Mr. R.E. Estabrooks, on the old homestead. Both brothers attended Mount Allison University and afterwards Acadia University.
As previously intimated Mr. R.E. Estabrooks was a school teacher for some years before joining his brother in a business enterprise. He taught school at Middle Sackville, Woodstock, McAdam, Harcourt, and Trail, B.C.
In 1819, Mr. R.E. Estabrooks joined the Klondike rush, but proceeded no farther than the Pacific Coast. He remained in British Columbia for about five years, most of the time in the mining regions of West Kootney. Upon his return to New Brunswick, he resumed his former occupation of School Teacher and interested himself in organizing the School Teachers of the Province into an association. He was president of the first County Association. He was organizer of the N.B. Teachers Association, and this organization had much to do with the improvement of the salaries of our School Teachers, and is directly responsible for the provisions for Teachers’ Pensions.
After graduating from Acadia University, Mr. F.L. Estabrooks went to Boston, where he was engaged in the mercantile business for three years. He returned to his native town in 1902, and for several years travelled for A.E,. Wry Company Ltd., and also for Charles Fawcett Ltd. In 1909, he started in business on his own account.
In 1902, Mr. F.L. Estabrooks was elected to the N.B. Provincial Legislature, where he ably represented his constituency of Westmorland Co., for five years.
The many friends of these two enterprising brothers will be glad to learn of their success in exporting a Maritime farm product.
The Chignecto Post, Thursday, September 4, 1879
Anderson Settlement — for the Chignecto Post
The history of this place is quite interesting. About forty years ago, Mr. Alex Anderson, the pioneer of this settlement, entered its primeval forest, and having cut down and cleared away the trees on a small path of ground, erected a small cabin for his dwelling. Being several miles distant from the nearest settler, and labouring under many disadvantages, Mr. Anderson did not prosper for the first few years. A path through the woods, inhabited by bears and other wild animals, was the only road over which he could carry his provisions. He became discouraged, quit his forest home, and removed to Shemogue, where he remained two years. In the year 1850, Mr. Arch. Simpson, being then a young man, determined to try his fortune in this new region, and having married “a bonny Scotch lassie,” he found no difficulty in effecting a settlement on a rich and promising soil. Mr. Anderson, now finding that he would have a friend and neighbor in his new settlement, again returned and commenced afresh on his farm. With the help of Government, and by the energy and perseverance of Messrs. Anderson and Simpson, a passable road was soon got to their dwellings. Interchanges of work and feelings were indulged in by these two men and their families, the one helping and encouraging the other, and, at length, they obtained comfortable circumstances. The next settler was Mr. Robert Faraday, who was soon followed by Mr. Geo. G. Crossman, the former belonging to Newfoundland, the latter to P.E. Island. Active operations now commenced. The road, which was only a blazed line, when Mr. Anderson settled here, was soon made passable to Sackville, and Mr. Simpson drove the first wheels over it. Today, Anderson District numbers fourteen settlers, the most of whom occupy well-cultivated little farms, and thee is ample room for more. The land is very good and affords a very promising prospect to the new settler, and a young man of energy willing to chop down trees and make himself a forest home, can here find unoccupied land. This place, too, has many privileges. A Methodist Minister, in connection with the Tantramar Mission, visits and preaches here every four weeks, and occasionally, we have the pleasure of listening to a sermon from a Presbyterian preacher. There is a school, which is taught by a trained teacher, who diligently trains the youth- ful minds. We have a Post Office and a weekly mail, and we are delighted when Friday comes, that we may see the Post and the Times, and read the news from abroad. There are members of four different churches here, the Methodist, the Presbyterian, Baptist and Roman Catholic, and they often all attend the one service, no matter to what denomination the preacher belongs. Altogether, then, we may say that this is a slightly favored community. Here, as in many other parts of our Province, can be seen the fruits of toil and perseverance, which should encourage our young men, with scanty means, to imitate the examples of these pioneers, and show the world a like example.
Sackville Tribune-Post, 1930
NEW PRIVATE HOSPITAL ON CHARLES STREET OPENING OCTOBER 1ST
Public Invited to Inspect This Private Hospital — Fully-equipped Operating Room
The citizens of Sackville and vicinity are cordially invited to inspect the Private Hospital opening Wednesday, October 1st, by Mrs. Robert Strain and staff. This hospital will be open to all cases with the exception of contagious or incurable diseases. Mrs. Strain asks the co-operation of all those interested ion this much needed institution. There will be a fully-equipped operating room with Miss L.M.D. Hart, R.N., in charge. Pleasant sunny private and semi-private rooms. Come and see for yourselves on Wednesday, October 1st, from 6–8 pm.
Sackville Tribune-Post, October 2, 1930
SUNNY VIEW HOSPITAL OPEN YESTERDAY FOR PUBLIC INSPECTION
Those having the pleasure of visiting Sunny View Hospital yesterday afternoon were impressed with the suitability of this property for the purpose, with its attractive exterior, and the pleasant cheery rooms.
The first floor contains an operating room (which will soon be fully equipped) two bedrooms, two sun porches, kitchen and dining room. The second floor contains three bedrooms, sun porch on south side, large bathroom, and accommodations for nurse and matron.
The tastefully furnished, homelike rooms with walls, window hangings, and floor coverings in harmonious hues are inviting, and the beds look so comfortable. One might almost be persuaded to feign an illness. How pleasant during convalescence to sit in one of the sun-porches and enjoy a view of the grassy lawn and shade trees, or the neighboring grounds, or from the upper south side, the near view of Dixon’s miniature Lake, or the far reaches of the Tantramar marshes, and last and most important of all one must surely receive the best of care from such efficient and kindly ladies as Miss Hart and Mrs. Strain.
A large number of citizens, over 150, took this opportunity of inspecting the new hospital. Tea was served to the guests. Mrs. L.O. Calkins and Mrs. E.M. Copp poured, Mrs. C. L. Gass replenished, and the Misses Vivienne and Dorothy Fowler served.
Anyone interested in inspecting the hospital is invited to call anytime.
Sackville Tribune-Post, March 31, 1931
SUNNY VIEW HOSPITAL TO CLOSE MARCH 31
Expenses of Running Private Hospital Found to be Too Great
The closing of the Sunny View Hospital on March 31st will be learned with much regret by a large number of citizens, who have felt the need for a small hospital in Sackville. This hospital was opened in October, 1930, by Mrs. R. Strain as a private enterprise and was equipped at considerable expense. It may be of interest to note that in the six months it has been in operation thirty-six patients have been treated, including twenty-eight surgical cases, two maternity and six medical; of these, thirteen were emergencies. Five deaths occurred from the following causes: one Cardiac and kidney complication; one cerebral hemorage; one obstruction; one pneumonia; one ruptured appendix.
Only graduate and registered nurses have been employed, with Miss L.M.D. Hart as superintendent. In order to keep up this high standard of efficiency the overhead expenses have been very heavy. All classes have had the benefit of these services. Unfortunately, the non-pay and charge accounts have been far too numerous to make expenses. It is understood that if all accounts had been paid promptly, expenses would have been covered and that the hospital would have been continued, but without financial assistance the present owner cannot continue.
There has been considerable agitation at times for the establishment of a small hospital in Sackville, but the project has been postponed on account of the cost.
Sackville Tribune-Post, March 23, 1931
SUNNY VIEW INN
On Sunday, April 2nd, “Sunny View Inn” Charles Street, will be opened to the public. A limited number of boarders can be accommodated, and a tea room, where meals will be served and lunches obtained at all hours.
Sackville Tribune-Post, January 18, 1932
OLD BLACKSMITH SHOP BURNED SUNDAY MORNING AT MIDDLE SACKVILLE
An old blacksmith shop at Amos Ogden Hill, Middle Sackville, owned by Mr. Truman Babcock, was destroyed by fire about 4 o’clock on Sunday morning. The building was empty, and just how the fire started is not known. Quite a crowd of neighbors was attracted by the blaze. Fortunately, the wind blew the flames away from the house. The old shop was formerly the carriage factory of the late silas Black, and afterwards his two sons, Hibbert and Clifford Black carried on the business. The property was sold to Mr. Babcock by the late Humphrey Pickard.
Below is a copy of a poster (date unknown), passed on to me by Vince Reinsborough (via Helen Leger), which calls for one and all to attend “The Great Catholic Picnic Along the Shore of Maurice Lake (Silver Lake) — with Delicious Meals, Regatta on the Lake and Varied Amusements — and a Concert by the Sackville Band and also: Fireworks in the Evening Great Labour Day Celebration and
Service d’auto de la gare au terrein de Pique Nique — Help! “Monday, 5 September”; see original message below and if anyone has information about this major celebtration in Sackville, please let me know:
As we, your friendly editor and the executive of the Tantramar Heritage Trust await your response, on behalf of all of us, I would like to wish you all A Very Happy & Healthy Holiday Season!