This newsletter will take you into Sackville’s past in the present tense! Let me explain. The first draft that I received was a handwritten copy of the Town of Sackville’s past business history (appropriately written in the past tense!) and entitled: “Reminiscences of a Busy Sackville — circa 1810 to 1920” by Mrs. Margaret Henderson, who has been part of Sackville’s recent business history (re: Henderson’s Drug Store). And as we exchanged drafts, I constantly badgered Margaret for more names and dates which required confirmation and so on…
Then, out of the blue, my historical gold mine, known as Al Smith, approached me with a 60-page photocopied undated document he had received from Meredith Fisher simply entitled:
It was authored by the Sackville Board of Trade and contained a major section entitled Our Industries. Could Margaret and I have asked for anything better on a silver plate? Although the document was not dated, it contained in the back section, two Letters from Satisfied Settlers dated March 21 and 27, 1912. But the booklet probably appeared on store shelves in 1913 since on page 21 it states (regarding the Sackville Paper Box Company) that “the output for the year 1912 was about $12,000”. So, on that basis, it’s probably safe to assume that it was published in 1913.
Unfortunately, as I devoured it with my eyes, I quickly noted that 27 pages were missing! But on the front page, I had noticed the signature of “Norma Campbel”. So I contacted Barb Campbell who informed me that the booklet had belonged to her late mother-in-law and that she remembered seeing it fairly recently when she put away her late husband’s (former mayor Will Campbell’s) book collection. Soon thereafter, I received a welcome call from Barb to tell me that she had found the original! And below, you will find the first fascinating 30 pages and (lo-and-behold!) much of it was about the same businesses that Margaret had written about but with all the names and precise dates (with pictures!) in great detail.
At the time it was written, it was clearly for a very special audience. Obviously, over the first decade of the new century, many folks of British origins were arriving on the east coast and obviously going for the golden promise of the new west opening up in Canada (see the “Foreword” below). And Sackville clearly wanted more of their British brothers and sisters who landed along this coast to stay around. So, to keep them here, what better thing to do than brag about the great prosperity and business opportunities in Sackville, New Brunswick! Note how the text talks about the situation “now” (i.e. 1912–1913) and assumes significant growth ahead. Upon reading it, you will note some slight “exaggerations” which are especially notable. For example, it’s cold in winter in Sackville in 1912 but there are never any blizzards! Figure that one out…
But note, as you read, how it is written and where emphasis is placed. First of all, women were obviously not considered particularly important in the business community of those times as the anonymous writer(s) constantly addresses men or “men and boys”. The only workplace where the other gender is noted is reference to the “girls” who are hired at the Sackville Paper Box Company and the two papers in the town which employ 22 “people” and other businesses which have so-many “hands” in their employ. It was a different time.
This is a very telling document at many levels. I am certain that many of you may read it slightly differently and note other innuendoes that I missed. To make sure you get all of the original document, I even left in the spelling errors and all capital letters are as I found them in the original text (I know that “wagon” doesn’t have two g’s!). It’s all there! It is a document worthy of reading many times over. Because of its length, I could not have all of it printed in this newsletter. So, for the first time, expect to find a summer White Fence in your mailbox with Part 2! After all, I can’t leave you all hanging for another year before finishing the story!
Thank you Barb for making this wonderful document available (via The White Fence) to all of us. Your willingness to take the time to search and uncover this document is much appreciated by all of us at the Tantramar Heritage Trust.
But before I end, it is my pleasure to dedicate this issue of The White Fence to Mrs. Margaret Henderson. Thank you Margaret, I believe that the story you wanted to tell us is all here!
I have just been informed that we lost one of our favourite Trust members this morning, Mr. Bud White. Thanks for your confidence in us Bud; rest well dear friend. You will be missed by many.
Sackville, NB, Street Names — Tantramar Historical Society Meeting: Thursday, May 27 at 7 pm, St. Paul’s Anglican Church. Al Smith will be introducing his new Trust publication regarding the history of Sackville street names.
Antiques Road Show — During next February’s Heritage Day ANTIQUES ROAD SHOW, we would like to feature special items from Sackville’s past. These will be singled out for special attention from our appraisers. If you have a special item pertaining to ships, ship-building or ship’s cargo, or any antique piece which you think would be of special interest to the audience, please send a picture to, or contact, Ray Dixon at 12 Morgan Lane, Sackville NB E4L 4E3 or phone 536-0848.
The Geographical, Educational and Industrial Center of the Maritime Provinces of Canada — Part 1
This booklet is addressed by the Citizens of Sackville to those in Great Britain who intend seeking homes in Canada, and is compiled under the authority of the Sackville Board of Trade, a guarantee that the information is accurate and thoroughly reliable.
A truthful statement of great resources and opportunities offered to those seeking desirable homes under the British flag. Correspondence is cordially invited, and any further information in regard to Sackville town and parish will be gladly supplied.
Address: — The Secretary, Sackville Board of Trade Sackville, N.B., Canada
A foreword — to readers in Great Britain:
THIS BOOKLET is not designed to serve any private interests, or for pecuniary gain. It is published by the citizens of SACKVILLE, New Brunswick, and offered by them to intending settlers from Great Britain, as a truthful description of one of the finest sections of Canada.
SACKVILLE PARISH, like many other parts of the province of New Brunswick, has unoccupied farms, which comprise fertile lands with good dwellings, commodious barns and outbuildings which, in all respects, are well adapted to profitable agriculture, whether it be Dairying, the Rearing of Cattle, Sheep, Swine or Poultry, Fruit Culture or General Mixed Farming.
Every Spring great numbers of Emigrants from England arrive at our nearby Seaport Cities of Halifax and Saint John. But, after leaving the steamers, they proceed at once upon a railway journey of four or five days and are transported thousands of miles inland to become settlers on the lonely prairies of the West, where success is attained only through the stern hardships of pioneer life. In this hurried journey these British Home-seekers are rushed by train through the many beautiful counties of this Eastern Province, which offer opportunities unsurpassed the world over.
In the past few years, however, some British Settlers, more leisurely and shrewd in their selection, after a personal examination of the much advertised West, have settled by choice in New Brunswick. Here they have attained prosperity; while they also share those advantages and refinements, which are enjoyed only in established and long settled communities.
We value highly the industry and citizenship of these newcomers among us, and we are moved to advertise our resources by the regret that more people in the United Kingdom are not aware of the great opportunities this section of Canada has to offer them.
WE have the COUNTRY, the SOIL, the CLIMATE, and the OPPORTUNITIES. YOU have the PEOPLE and the INDUSTRY and you are SEEKING HOMES UNDER THE BRITISH FLAG.
YOU ARE WELCOME
SACKVILLE, the geographical, educational and industrial centre of the Maritime Provinces of Canada, is situated in Westmorland County, New Brunswick, on the Isthmus of Chignecto, a few miles northeast of the boundary line separating the Provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It is on the line of the Intercolonial Railway, about midway between the cities of St. John and Halifax, and is the junction point of the Intercolonial with the New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island Railway, which commands the shortest route between Prince Edward Island and the mainland.
Sackville has unsurpassed water and sewerage systems, splendid common schools, the Mount Alison Institutions, and a number of important manufacturing industries, including two large stove foundries, which send their products all over Canada; three harness factories, two boot and shoe factories, important stone quarries, a paper box factory, two woodworking factories, shook, grist and carding mills, two carriage factories, a machine shop, a factory that manufactures concrete building blocks, fence posts, etc. These industries are making excellent progress and employ a large number of men. Several new industries are in contemplation, our people are becoming imbued with the spirit of optimism, and the outlook for the town is bright.
The Town of Sackville was incorporated in the year 1902 and contains about 2500 people. Middle Sackville is an important village with about a thousand inhabitants, situated about two miles from Sackville, while Upper Sackville, an exceedingly prosperous agricultural community is about four miles remote from the town. West Sackville, Wood Point, Rockport, Midgic, Centrevillage, Cookville, Anderson Mount View and Fairview are some of the most important hamlets in Sackville Parish.
Sackville lies about a mile from the mouth of the famous Tantramar, a river navigable for ships of a thousand tons capacity. A fine new wharf, costing about $30,000, is now nearing completion. Stretching out to the east and south are the far-famed Tantramar marshes, a vast area of very fertile lands.
The Town of Sackville has four churches, eleven fraternal societies, wholesale and retail grocery firms, grain and seed stores, departmental stores, a hardware store, a photograph studio, three barber shops, four tailor shops, four hotels, two banks, two semi-weekly newspapers, two meat markets, three bakeries, two plumbing shops, three restaurants, several variety stores, monument works, two telegraph offices, two express offices, two drug stores, several furniture stores, a skating rink, real estate offices, etc.
Sackville and Middle Sackville are lighted by electricity, a local company giving an all day and all night service, as well as supplying power for local industries, including the Sackville Freestone Co., Ltd., A.E. Wry Limited, etc.
Sackville has an excellent mail, telephone and train service. Ten Intercolonial express passenger trains, besides numerous freights and specials, stop at Sackville station every day in the week except Sunday. Mails are brought to town by eight of these expresses, while mail carriers cover well the outlying parts of the parish. A passenger and mail train makes a round trip each week day between Sackville and Cape Tourmentine, the eastern terminus of the N.B. and P.E.I. railway. Practically the whole of the parish is covered by telephone lines, and telephones can be obtained at reasonable rental.
Sackville has neither workhouse nor poorhouse, and poverty is almost unknown. Nearly all are in comfortable circumstances and for the most part are contented and happy.
The growth of Sackville, while not rapid, has been steady. When other towns complain of “hard times,” Sackville is unaffected, and pursues the even tenor of its way, each year seeing progress and development.
SACKVILLE has many important industries, of which a much larger town could well be proud. Their progress has been steady and in some cases rapid. Sackville manufactured goods have gained an enviable reputation, notably our stoves, ranges and furnaces, boots, shoes and moccasins, our grindstone and building stones. Many of our stoves, ranges and furnaces and leather goods are sent as far as Vancouver, British Columbia, our grindstones are largely sent to the United States, our freestones to various points in the Maritime Provinces, to Quebec, Ontario and the West. Sackville is a splendid location for new industries, because of its central location, as will be seen by reference to the map, which appears at the beginning of this booklet, its excellent shipping facilities both by rail and water. These advantages have done much to assist the growth of our present industries and will prove of inestimable value to industries, to be established in the future. Every year additional men are required for these industries.
The business of the CHARLES FAWCETT, LIMITED, was established something over half a century ago by the late Charles Fawcett. From small beginnings this industry has grown until it is now the largest stove foundry in eastern Canada. From one hundred and twenty-five to one hundred and fifty men are employed and the company now have important branches in Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver. They manufacture high grade stoves, ranges and furnaces. Employees of stove foundries receive good wages and many boys and young men become apprentices and learn the trade.
The STANDARD MANUFACTURING COMPANY, LIMITED, is one of the largest and most important industrial concerns in Westmorland County, and indeed of a wider section. The company carries on a tanning business and manufacture harness, boots and shoes and oil-tanned moccasins. The company’s plant includes five factories, three warehouses and a general store. About one hundred men are employed, the pay roll is over $55,000, while the total output is nearly $300,000 annually. Workers in leather are well paid and the company are on the look out for good men and offer excellent openings to apprentices.
THE ENTERPRISE FOUNDRY COMPANY, LIMITED have one of the best equipped stove foundries in Canada. Their buildings are of brick, built in 1909 to replace wooden structures destroyed by fire in July, 1908. They employ one hundred men and their annual pay roll is $55,000. From eight to ten thousand ranges of different kinds are manufactured every year besides furnaces and open fireplace goods. The industry, which is an important one, is steadily growing and adding to the number of its employees.
A practically inexhaustible supply of freestone of a superior quality and an equipment of machinery admirably suited for quarrying advantageously and economically — it is this that makes the plant of the SACKVILLE FREESTONE COMPANY, LIMITED, a particularly valuable one and gives the company a place as one of the foremost industrial concerns in Sackville. Fifty to sixty men are employed and the pay-roll is a very considerable sum indeed. Last year a railway siding to the quarries was built and the company expect to double its output during the present year, necessitating the employment of a larger number of men. The product of the company is one of the best building stones in Canada and has been used in many of the public buildings in Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax, St. John and other Canadians towns and cities.
The A.E. WRY LIMITED, organized in the fall of 1909, manufacture harness, men’s, women’s and children’s boots and shoes. This concern has made splendid progress and bids fair to become a very important industry indeed. Fifty hands are presently employed; the annual wages amount to $16,000 and the output for the past year was $125,000. Within a few years no doubt fully a hundred men will be given employment by this company, whose goods are fast winning their way into popular favor.
Harnesses of various kinds are manufactured by EDGAR AYER, who employs about five or six men, pays out upwards of $3,000 in wages and has an output of about $16,000 a year.
The SACKVILLE PAPER BOX COMPANY, LIMITED, organized in 1907, manufacture all kinds of paper boxes, which find a market in the Maritime Provinces. About a dozen hands are employed and the output for the year 1912 was about $12,000. The majority of the employes are girls, who have steady work, good wages, at a clean, healthy trade.
SACKVILLE WOODWORKERS, LIMITED, manufacture all kinds of building materials, interior finish, office and store fittings and cabinet work. They make a specialty of hardwood flooring, which finds a ready market. About twenty-five men are employed, the annual pay-roll amounts to about $15,000 and the output about $40,000. There are good openings in this business for men and boys.
B.C. RAWORTH manufactures carriages, truck waggons, sleighs, etc, and runs a machine shop, where considerable work is done. During the year 1911 Mr. Raworth employed twelve men and paid out in wages over five thousand dollars.
Sackville possesses a well-equipped laundry, which attends satisfactorily to the needs in this line of the people of Eastern Westmorland County. Mr. Leslie C. Carey, who is a member of Sackville Town Council, is the owner of this industry, which is known as the SACKVILLE LAUNDRY. About seven hands are employed.
Sackville has two eight-page semi-weekly newspapers, the TRIBUNE and the POST, which cover well the eastern parishes of Westmorland County. The two papers employ about twenty-two people and are on the watch for more hands to look after increasing business.
GEORGE CAMPBELL AND SONS, LIMITED, of Middle Sackville, founded over half a century ago by the late George Campbell, manufacture carriages, waggons, sleighs, etc. They employ about nine men and pay out a considerable sum in wages. They are always on the lookout for the right sort of apprentices.
MORICE BROS., of Middle Sackville, conduct a shook, grist and carding mill, and employ about six or seven men. They own a gasoline launch, sail boats and row boats, which are utilized by picnic parties on the beautiful sheet of water known as Morice’s or Silver Lake.
At West Sackville MR. SETH BULMER conducts a grist mill and a saw mill, both of which are run by water power. Mr. Bulmer owns a large pond, which has been well stocked with beautiful trout from a hatchery situated near the mills.
The READ STONE COMPANY, LIMITED, have extensive stone quarries at Rockport and Wood Point. About thirty-six men are employed seven months of the year and the annual output of grindstones and building stones is about $15,000.
Every village and hamlet in this large Parish has its district school, which is managed by the people who live in the district. Once a year the ratepayers meet in the school meeting, choose from their number those who shall act as trustees and decide how much money they will tax themselves to support the school. The balance of the money required is granted by the government of the province.
The district school is not under the control of any religious body, nor is the teaching of any denominational principles permitted. Loyalty to Canada and to the British Empire and reverence for the British flag are instilled into the minds of the young. In many schools the flag floats over the school building each school day. No charge is made to any parent for sending his children to school in his own district. The schools are free.
In Sackville and Middle Sackville there are High Schools, which are founded on the same non-sectarian principles. Besides being well supplied with public schools, Sackville may well claim to be the educational centre of the Maritime Provinces, for here are situated the Mount Allison Institutions, consisting of the University of Mount Allison, Theological College, McClelan School of Applied Science, Mount Allison Ladies’ College (including colleges of Literature, Science and Fine Arts, a Conservatory of Music, and Massey-Treble School of Household Science), Mount Allison Academy and Mount Allison Commercial College. Mount Allison possesses magnificent buildings, splendid libraries, unexcelled equipment, and a professoriate that ranks with the very best to be found in Canada to-day. Students from the Maritime Provinces, from Ontario, from Quebec, and from various other parts of the world, attend Mount Allison and receive a liberal education. Mount Allison students who attend other colleges, stand very high, and included in her alumni are men occupying some of the most prominent positions in Canada and the United States. About six hundred students attend Mount Allison.
In these days everyone is willing to admit the great value of an education. Parents want to give their boys and girls a better education than they themselves have. If you settle in Sackville Town or Parish you will be able to educate your children for a nominal sum. The tuition fees are small. At the University students take courses in Arts, theology and electrical and civil engineering; at the Ladies’ College, courses in Literature and Science, violin and piano, oratory, household science, and fine arts; at the Academy, courses leading to matriculation into the colleges of medicine, dentistry, law, engineering, etc., courses in business, shorthand and typewriting.
One of the chief reasons for the popularity of Mount Allison lies in the fact of its splendid residential accommodations for students of both sexes. The spacious University Residence for young men, the commodious dormitories of Hart hall and annexed buildings for young ladies, and the large and roomy Academy building for the boys, afford comfortable and very pleasant homes for the students, who attend these institutions.
The engineering school, established a few years ago, is undoubtedly the best in the Maritime Provinces. Students, who having taken the two years engineering course at Mount Allison, go to McGill College, Montreal, make splendid records, a credit to themselves and their Alma Mater.
The climate of Sackville
We enjoy a temperate climate without extremes of heat or cold. Cyclones, blizzards, droughts or hailstorms are never experienced in New Brunswick. Our Summers are marked by bright sunshine, relieved by gentle breezes with frequent rains of a day or night’s duration. The parching effects and discomforts of extreme heat are unknown to us, and work is never suspended by reason of great heat even in the open fields. The evenings are long, cool and delightful, free from frost and very invigorating. A man would be very difficult to suit indeed if he were not greatly charmed with our beautiful summer evenings. Hay fever and malaria are unknown here.
Autumn or Fall commences in September and extends through October and November. By many it is considered the most beautiful of our seasons. Then the days are distinguished by a peculiar warmth and purple glow, succeeded at night by the chill of occasional light frosts, which lend a bracing exhilaration to the atmosphere.
Winter sets in during the first week of December and extends into March, when it gives way to Spring, which becomes well advanced before April. The average winter in this section brings enough snow for steady sleighing and sledding traffic, to the great advantage of the Farmer and Lumberman.
While the weather is sufficiently cold to maintain the snow during these months; yet we do not suffer the extremes falls of temperature and intense cold, which distinguish the winters of Northern Canada and the Prairie Provinces, and which too often are imputed by the uninformed to other Provinces of Canada.
In conclusion let it be said that, although the winters in this part of New Brunswick are undoubtedly more severe than those in England, and the snowfall for the season is far more heavy; yet, the Summers are much warmer and more genial. Even in winter what is called zero weather often does not set in till the end of December. And it is not unusual for the farmers to be ploughing up to Christmas. The excellence of our Summer Climate is well shown in the fact that cucumbers and tomatoes are commonly grown in profusion in the open air. The former begin to ripen their fruit early in August and their season is not over, as a rule, till the third week in September and frequently runs into the month of October.
All in all the climate of Sackville has a great deal in its favor and very little against it. There are certain times, of course, when the weather is not all we could wish for but taking the good with the bad, the bitter with the sweet, our climate is all right, and will stand the test of comparison with many places which have much more written and said about them than have the town and parish of Sackville, about which we are giving a few facts in this booklet.
At the Crossroads: A History of Sackville, New Brunswick by Bill Hamilton
This much-anticipated publication will be available in the Fall for $31.95. Use this order form to pre-order your copy and SAVE $1.95!
Please return this form and a cheque for $30 to Tantramar Heritage Trust, Box 3554, Sackville, NB E4L 4G4