Well, another winter is at our doorstep and now is the time to start thinking once again of that cozy spot in our favorite chair with a good story to read (preferably by a hot fire!). And we have those stories for you here at the ole’ White Fence as we continue prospecting that rich Tantramar mine for those golden history nuggets.
But, a few weeks ago, we lost one of our favorite miners; my neighbor and good buddy Ralph Estabrooks, a source of encyclopedic knowledge, passed away at age 93. Ralph’s career with J.L. Black and Sons was the main story at the White Fence in 1997 (No. 4, December, 1997). And in the last newsletter (No. 19) we included an article from the Telegraph Journal dated 5 July, 1939, about the fire which occurred the day before (4 July, 1939) and which destroyed the business of J.L. Black. This business had celebrated its centennial in 1947 and which we described in an earlier newsletter (see The White Fence No. 9, summer, 1999). In preparing this article, I had asked Ralph about what he remembered about this fire. And once I did he never hesitated and said: “It was on a Sunday, about 3:00 am…” He had crossed nearly 60 years of history without blinking an eyelash! And then went on to say how, the day after the fire, Mr. Black bought the business of A.E. Wry Standard Ltd on 332 Main Street and was back in business the day after! My eyes lit up and Ralph knew at the time that he had hit a nerve! I miss those conversations Ralph!
But in time I got to know Ralph well and he would not want me to waste a second on him; I can hear him now: “don’t waste any time, keep digging; there’s lots of work to be done!” And so we will keep on working Ralph! Charge on fellow miners!
Deep in the tunnels of our mine, prospector Marcie Fullerton found some beautiful diamonds which I am anxious for all of you to see. But I can only show you just one of her jewels for this issue; I’ll keep the others for the Christmas issue Marcie! You will also note a relatively long announcement about a number of events dealing about artist John Hammond. But Meredith Fisher’s announcement and the detailed biographical notes compiled by Dodie Perkin and Meredith deserve treatment as a full article. So read on and enjoy!
And also for this year’s first issue, miners Barb Fisher and Colin MacKinnon sent me a couple of gems which did not need any polishing; I just put them here for you as I received them (but I found them so shiny that my eyes are starting to hurt…).
And these next two letters just go to show what an inquiring mind (Barb’s) along with sharp eyes (Colin’s) can uncover within the dark recesses of history. And, since you are reading this newsletter, I can only assume that you are all interested and inquisitive about the history of the Tantramar region. Consequently, I am quite certain that, over time, many of you have asked yourselves questions about certain aspects of this region’s history without ever getting any answers. But I am quite certain that for many of us who have asked such questions have either unknowingly walked right by the people who could have answered our inquiries or passed by (or walked over or even stepped on!) the very clues which could tell us many stories about the history we wish to learn about!
Just see below how Barb Fisher learned the answers she sought about Fort Beausejour (and how – and where – Samuel Wethered was shot by Gorham’s men) by simply asking the right chap, and how Colin can help us experience a part of our history by picking up and looking closely at a flake of stone… I am impressed and, on behalf of all Trust members, I thank Barb, Colin and Marcie for their fascinating discoveries and stories as we all continue to prospect so diligently into our rich Tantramar mine.
So read on and enjoy!
You may be interested in the following for The White Fence. I am sending along something that was sent to me when I inquired about the six-pounders that were used at Fort Beauséjour in 1776. I have long been curious about the location of Samuel Wethered’s Inn. You will recall the story of how Gorham had his men fire their guns one night from the fort on a given signal, expecting to kill most if not all of the rebel raiders who frequented the tavern every night. The shot passed through the tavern between Jonathan Eddy’s men, hitting Wethered in the buttocks, from which wound he eventually died.
Since no one has been able to identify exactly where the tavern stood, it seemed to me that if a circle were drawn with the radius of the range of a six-pounder, it might be possible to research/surmise where it might have been. I told the story to a military friend and he sent me the following information, which I send to you in case any members of the Tantramar Heritage Trust are interested enough to do some sleuthing…
From my friend:
I’ve done a little research on the six-pounder cannon which is not definitive, but merely a general review from which you can come to some rough conclusions. It appears that the 6P was originally a French artillery gun but was quickly adopted by the English Royal Horse Artillery. It was a smooth-bore cannon and was cast in both iron and bronze. A number of 6Ps were used by the British artillery in Waterloo… the French artillery is not mentioned in my documents…
The only reference I have as yet (re: effective range) is from Halifax in the 1850s when one of the batteries there practiced firing at an EFFECTIVE range of 1500 yards. This means that the possible range COULD be as far as 2,000 yards (although this has not been verified).
With a potential range of 1500–2000 yards, you should be able to determine a straight-line trajectory on even a common road map from Fort Beauséjour to the rumored site of the tavern where the rebels were alleged to have been accommodated that night. In other words, if the supposed tavern site is less than 2,000 yards, the yarn may possibly be true. Of course, I’m presuming that the 6Ps of the 1750–1780 era were capable of the 1500–2000 yard distance possible in the 1850s.”
The Jolicure Long Lake Site
by Colin MacKinnon
W.C. Milner (Records of Chignecto, Nova Scotia Historical Society, V. XV., p. 34) made the following statement about one of the many little known events in Tantramar’s history: “In June of 1759, Thomas Dixson was sent out with a scouting party of twenty men and an Acadian guide to dislodge a French camp on Barnum’s Toungue. He reached the camp which had been deserted hurriedly, destroyed it and then turned back, arriving at the Aulac River where it joins a small stream called la Coupe. Finding the tide had risen to high water, they started to retrace their steps to cross at the aboiteau further up. A yell from the Indians showed that they were ambushed. Except Dixson, they were all tomahawked and scalped. Dixson with a bullet hole in his shoulder was saved for a ransom and was marched to Quebec.”
Howard Trueman (in The Chignecto Isthmus, p. 237) describes the same event as follows: “Shortly before the capture of Quebec, Major Dixson was sent out from Fort Cumberland to disperse a band of Acadians who had been reported by one of their number as camping near the Jolicure Lakes with the object of raiding the settlers.”
This story has always intrigued me and comes to mind whenever I drive the High Marsh Road in the area where the La Coupe meets the Aulac River. Also, I have always wondered where the campsite at Barnum’s Toungue was on the Jolicure Lakes. I spend a lot of time in the Jolicure area as the lakes are part of the Tintamarre National Wildlife Area. This past fall I spent a few days in the deer woods northeast of the old stone bridge on Long Lake. With last summer’s drought, the water level in the lake was low, leaving a wide beach that made walking easy. I was looking at fresh tracks along a trail, through the high grass along the edge of the lake, when something caught my eye. There, partly obscured by sandstone beach pebbles and shattered pieces of Fresh Water Mussel was a fingertip-size piece of jagged white quartz.
Further searching revealed a half dozen small quartz fragments. Some of the fragments were the remains of the manufacturing process, often referred to as “chips” while three were small stone tools made by our first inhabitants centuries ago.
These pieces of “worked stone” would easily be missed by the untrained eye and I too nearly made that mistake! Thankfully, I decide to take a second look before throwing the first piece I picked up into the lake. The first piece was about the size of the tip of your thumb, and covered in green algae. Only by washing it off did the telltale secondary flaking become evident where little flecks of stone (the size of fish scales) had been chipped off to sharpen the tool.
A handfull of stone chips are very hard to date; however, some possibilities can be offered. We know that the present Tantramar Marsh has changed dramatically over the past 4,000 years and no doubt the lakes have also been influenced by this change. Also, older aboriginal sites in the border region are generally lacking in quartz artifacts. Overall, it appears that only more recent sites, say from 1,000 years bp (before present) to the time of European contact (around 300 – 400 bp) have an abundance of quartz. I would suggest that the site dates generally to this 1000–4000 years bp period.
Getting back to Major Dixson and his search of the Jolicure Lakes. Good camping sites tend to be traditional and what made a site good for camping in the past often exists today. The landing was on a slightly exposed point (providing a good breeze to keep the mosquitoes off), a gentle sloped beach for landing canoes, fresh water springs along the bank and the all important southern exposure. Thus, the Jolicure Long Lake aboriginal site is a likely candidate for later use; more specifically to this story, as a remote Acadian camp. The site sticks out into Long Lake and may justify the name “Barnum’s Tongue” as referred to by Milner. However, extensive interviews by area residents fail to identify the name to any location.
Until further research reveals another site on the Jolicure Lakes, I would like to think this scattering of quartz chips marks the site of Dixson’s furtive search for the “enemy camp”. This of course then led to his ambush at La Coupe, taken prisoner and being marched off to Quebec; but that is another story for another day!
—Colin MacKinnon, 30 July 2002
A Community Celebration: John Hammond and his Cultural Gifts, Wednesday, November 20th, 2002
Local historian William Hamilton will publish a special “Tantramar FlashBack” article on turn-of-the-century artist, John Hammond R.C.A. (1843–1939). This will appear in the Sackville Tribune Post and may also be seen on-line at www.tantramar.com/columns.
Sunday, November 24th, 2002, 12:45–1:45 pm
“John Hammond; The Artist, The Builder.” A short walking tour to York Street and Salem Street properties, given by Dr. Paul Bogaard, beginning at 82 York Street, Sackville. Two historic plaques will be unveiled as part of this celebration of cultural contribution. Mount Allison University will sponsor the plaque for the Hammond Studio property on the Mount Allison campus (82 York St.). The plaque for the Dixon home at 23 Salem Street will be sponsored by Tantramar Historic Sites Committee of Renaissance Sackville. John Hammond came to Mount Allison from Saint John in 1893 with the establishment of The Owens Museum of Fine Arts and lived in Sackville until he died in 1939. A 1910 media report states that this well-respected artist built at least 6 residences combining novelty, utility and beauty.
Hammond won honours at the Paris Salon and painted with Whistler. He was a veteran of the Fenian Raids, and a New Zealand Gold Rush adventurer. In 1870, he was a pioneer of the survey party for a transcontinental railway through the Yellowhead Pass…. all before his arrival in Sackville in 1893 at the age of 50! Patron, student and friend, Sir William Van Horne, often commissioned this artist to travel to different parts of the world. (Please see the following story “John Hammond R.C.A.” for further information.)
This walking tour is organized by volunteers of the Tantramar Historic Sites Committee of Renaissance Sackville, Town of Sackville.
As part of this community celebration, there will be a joint opening of the John Hammond Exhibition and the Sackville Art Association Member’ Exhibition on Sunday, November 24th, 2002 at 2:00 p.m. at the Owens Art Gallery (co-sponsored by the Owens Art Gallery, Friends of the Owens, Mount Allison University Archives, Sackville Art Association and the Tantramar Historic Sites Committee). There will also be a slide presentation and talk illustrating Hammond’s colourful life and career on Friday, November 29th, 2002 at 7:30 p.m. at the Owens Art Gallery.
All events are free of charge and everyone is welcome to attend. For information, please contact Meredith Fisher at (506) 364-4950, email:
John Hammond, R.C.A. (1843–1939)
An article written just after John Hammond’s death in 1939 quotes a leading art critic and collector of the day as saying “If one were to name the four greatest painters in America, one could not name them without including the name of John Hammond, R.C.A.” For many residents of Sackville, N.B., Hammond’s name immediately brings to mind a painted image that has somehow become one of their family possessions. Many people don’t realize that the old dark painting which has always hung in the hall was painted by a significant figure of the turn-of-the-century art world. The Owens Art Gallery presently owns close to 100 Hammond paintings, many of which have been donated by community members throughout the years.
Sackville enjoys a very rich cultural heritage in which John Hammond has played an important role, not only as an artist and a teacher, but also as a designer of houses. Now celebrating 100 years of incorporation, we have developed as a small town where the arts and culture thrive and add considerably to our quality of life.
One of the great surprises of learning about Hammond is that no one has yet written his comprehensive biography. He was known as an important art-educator and artist, but he was also a man of adventure. Born April 11, 1843 in Montreal he went to work in his father’s marble mill at the age of 9. In 1866, he joined the “Ladies’ Pets” Regiment, and was sent to quell a Fenian Raid which never materialized. Subsequently, he and his younger brother sailed for London and then for New Zealand. Their voyage took four months, and when they finally arrived at Christchurch, they walked 120 miles overland to the Gold Coast. Hammond spent 3 years panning for gold during which time he had a conversion experience after meeting a Rev. Mr. Pole (Hammond later became a Plymouth Brother).
Back in Canada, he joined Notman photographer Benjamin Baltzly as part of the 1871 Geological Survey of Canada expedition to determine the route for extension of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The expedition lasted from June to December, and Hammond’s party was the only one of three which reached their objective: Yellowhead Pass. They arrived back in Kamloops “half-frozen, half starving, half-naked, with bleeding feet wrapped in gunny sacks.” For the next several years, he was employed with Notman Photographers in Montreal and Saint John, travelling extensively and sketching and painting.
In 1884, Hammond’s association with the Owens Art Institution in Saint John began. His primary responsibility was to acquire works of art for the school and gallery. To this end, he continued to travel, along the way studying in Paris, and painting with Millet (fils) and allegedly with Whistler in Europe. His paintings were exhibited at the Paris Salon, the Royal Academy in London and the National Academy of Design in New York. Eventually he was named Principal of the Institution.
The life of John Hammond was interwoven with the life and growth of Mount Allison University and the fine arts in Canada. 1893 was the beginning of a new age for Mount Allison and Sackville as that was the year that the Regents of the University acquired the Owens Collection and the services of John Hammond. This move, more than anything else, was to assure Mount Allison’s importance as an art center. Hammond taught at the Ladies’ College, became Director of the School of Art at Mount Allison, and was the honorary president of the Sackville Art Association from its beginning in 1935 until he died in 1939. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art, and was one of the first members of the Ontario Society of Artists. John Hammond was awarded an LL.D. by Mount Allison University in 1930.
Hammond’s adventures didn’t end once he came to Sackville; he met his most important patron and friend, Sir William Van Horne, who was the president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, in the late 1880s. Hammond was commissioned by Van Horne to paint the scenery of western Canada and the story of the opening of the west by the Canadian Pacific Railway; these paintings remain important historical and artistic evidence of Canadian history. His commissions took him to the United States, Japan and China; he barely escaped with his life during the Boxer Uprising in Canton, being chased by a “rabble of Chinamen” through the streets and only just making it back to his ship.
Hammond is known in the art world primarily for his paintings of the coastal scenery of the Bay of Fundy, particularly the foggy seascapes of the Saint John harbour, and his paintings of the west. But the town of Sackville is heir to another of HammondÌs passions: the design of houses. There are at least 6 buildings in Sackville that were erected under Hammond’s guidance. Some of them are part of the town’s most interesting and charming streetscapes. Hammond designed his own studios, and Edmund Burke, the Toronto architect engaged to design the Owens Art Gallery, designed 2 of HammondÌs residences. Hammond also was a passionate gardener, and is believed to have designed a garden still in existence at one of his former residences. The original Swan Pond, which has become the beloved focal point of Mount Allison campus and the Town of Sackville, is rumoured to have developed from a sketch by John Hammond, and he designed the fountain that continues to grace the Swan Pond. The Mount Allison University Archives has several interesting artifacts and photos related to Hammond. The influence of John Hammond continues to be felt in our town of Sackville.
—Compiled by Dodie Perkin and Meredith Fisher, 30 October 2002
And now… let us look at Marcie’s treasures
First of all, a little story of our shipping past: Marcie uncovered Capt. A.P. Ward’s official log-book for his schooner Carrie C. Ware (Jonesport, Maine) which was in the possession of Charles P. Ward (relation unknown), Upper Rockport. Captain Amos Pickering Ward 1849–1918 was known as “Captain Pick” and the title “Master” appears below his name on the cover of the log-book. After some digging by Colin MacKinnon, we found that “Capt. Pick” was born in Maine and had married Lauretta Tower, probably from Rockport. The captain’s mate whose signature is also on the log-book, was James A. Bulmer (1864–1940) who was buried in Rockport. Hence, Captain A. P. Ward had close connections with Rockport although his schooner appears to have been based in Jonesport, Maine, but we are not certain of this. The log-book unfortunately has only two entries (June 20, 1912 and March 15th, 1913) on page 5 because pages 7 to 16 were ripped out and the remaining Pages 17 to 42 are blank! But the two entries by Captain A. P. Ward on page 5 are interesting as they relate to the bad conduct of two seamen. And they read as follows:
June 20, 1912 — Seaman Billy Hanyen for bad conduct and for ketching hold of master making bad threats what he would do was caused to be loged and wages reduced $5.00 per month.
June 27th, 1912 — For bad conduct and cursing the master refusing to do as he was told was caused to be loged and wages reduced $5.00 per month.
Auguncan Cuys Café Vird (I cannot make out this name any better than this —ed.) joined the schooner Carrie C. Ware as cook at Boston. March 13th (1913) on March 20th for bad conduct and not being able to fulfill his duties was caused to be loged and wages reduced $5.00 per month.
On March 29th for willful threats and templing (attempting? —ed.) to strike Master with knife was loged on second offence wages reduced $10.00 per month.
A.P. Ward Master
Jas A. Bulmer Mate
And then on the following page was written:
St. John, November 21 — John Forristall diserted Schr. Carrie C. Ware at St. John between the hour of six and twelve o’clock. —Cap. A.P. Ward
Obviously, order had to be maintained during those long voyages of the Carrie C. Ware! I will shed many tears over those ten pages torn out of this document! Perhaps one of the punished seamen did not want any records kept of their bad behavior! And so it will remain!