The White Fence, issue #26

October 2004


Dear friends,

I had originally promised you this issue of your newsletter by June 2004… but you may have noticed that we are now in October! I had not intended to be so late… the sandpipers made me do it! So, without any further delay, Part 2 of Mrs. Norma Campbell’s copy of the history of Sackville (1913; see White Fence no. 25) is presented for you below (with the original spelling mistakes included!) along with some special announcements of coming events. Remember, this is 1912; I never knew that our forefathers lived in such a paradise in New Brunswick!


—Peter Hicklin

Tantramar Historical Society Meetings

  • Thursday, October 21, 8 pm — St. Paul’s Anglican Church Hall, Speaker Dr. Paul Bogaard on “The History and People of Cape Jourimain”
  • Wednesday, Nov. 17, 8 pm — St. Paul’s Anglican Church Hall, speaker Dr. Bill Hamilton on “At the Crossroads – A History of Sackville, New Brunswick” — some anecdotal material. Copies of the book will be available for sale ($32.00) and the author will be happy to autograph them (think of Christmas presents here folks! – ed.).
  • 3rd Annual Fall Dinner — “A Taste of History” Join us on Saturday, Nov. 13, 6 pm, at Live Bait Theatre for our fall banquet, entertainment and silent auction. The theme this year is “The Age of Sail” so come and relive the glorious days of the tall ships when Sackville was a bustling seaport and a significant ship-building center. Tickets are $40/person (with $20 tax receipt). For information on tickets call Vanessa Bass 536-2015.

Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada

Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada

The geographical, Educational and Industrial Center of the Maritime Provinces of Canada — Part 2

The Geographical, Educational, and Industrial Centre of the Maritime Provinces of Canada – Part 2

Recreation and Sports

In a country so well favoured by climate the conditions are unsurpassed for outdoor recreation, sports, and various pastimes, which are thoroughly enjoyed.

Golf, Tennis, Baseball and Football are the principal athletic games of Summer and Autumn. While Skating, Hockey and Curling provide sport for the winter months, being carried on indoors under large rinks in the evening as well as the day, and arouse a great deal of interest.

Our Golf, Curling and tennis Clubs possess well equipped properties and Club buildings, and our horsemen have one of the very finest race-courses in the whole of Eastern Canada. Sackville being a University town our citizens are spectators of many famous contests for athletic honours between intercollegiate teams.

A magnificent stretch of seashore with ocean bathing is found at Cape Tormentine, the terminus of the local branch railway, about thirty miles from Sackville. During the summer, Excursion and Picnic trains under the auspices of church or fraternal organizations, are frequently run from Sackville to this beautiful seaside resort thus providing delightful and inexpensive outings within the reach of all.

Sackville and Middle Sackville each possess a large and superior organized band. During the summer open air concerts free to all are given weekly by these bands.


The Parish of Sackville extends from the head waters of the Bay of Fundy thirty-five miles inland and comprises one of the finest agricultural tracts in the world. Its surface is gently undulating, no part rising to a great height. The soil is a light loam, well watered and generally free from stone.

Few countries afford the diversity of scenery, which unfolds itself in a day’s drive through this Parish. Verdure-clad hills, parks of stately timber, rippling streams and sparkling lakes yield in quick succession to the smiling meadows and cultivated fields of the abutting farms, whose beautiful dwellings, great barns, orchards and herds give ample testimony to the solid comfort, quiet independence and prosperity, which here reward the industrial tiller of soil. This is a parish of peace and plenty.

In addition to the varied gifts, Nature has endowed Sackville Parish above all other agricultural districts. Along the Eastern boundary stretch her farfamed marsh lands. These comprise thousands upon thousands of valuable hay bearing acres, which, dotted with countless barns and stacks, follow by dyked ramparts the tortuous courses of the Tantramar, a tidal river, whose waters rich in alluvial deposits supply to these marshlands a natural and inexhaustible fertility.

The Tantramar marshes, made famous in song and story by the writings of the great Canadian poet, Charles G. D. Roberts, are a heritage of which to be proud. The native of Sackville, exiled from home, sees in imagination the wind swept plains of Tantramar.

Agricultural Conditions and Possibilities

To men in Great Britain, who desire to settle where they can their homes as freeholders, Sackville Parish has much to offer. Large and small farms and properties of intermediate size are for sale in different parts of the Parish. These properties run from 25 acres of the value of say £120 to the farm of 150 to 200 acres worth £1200 to £1500. In most cases these farms large and small include the dwellings, barns and outbuildings necessary for the man, who wants to farm.

There is no landlord or rent system in this country. Practically every farmer owns his farm. Purchases can be made upon convenient terms, and any balance of purchase price unpaid remains by way of mortgage security on the property, at simple interest of six to seven per cent.

What kind of farming would you like to follow? Mixed Farming is the most common in New Brunswick. Our farmers raise hay, grain, potatoes and roots in large quantities and raise cattle, horses, sheep, swine and poultry. Some make specialty of raising hay and send to market what is not fed on their farms. Many specialize on beef raising or dairy products; while poultry, hogs, potatoes, garden truck or small fruits receive the special attention of others. Our soil is capable of producing in great abundance any roots, grasses, grains, fruits, berries, trees or shrubs that can be grown in a temperate climate.

Potatoes can always be depended on for a good crop, four hundred bushels from an acre being not an unusual yield in this Parish. Few products present greater possibilities for profit. As a result of the increasing attention now given by our farmers to potatoe raising, a number of storage warehouses have been erected in Sackville to accommodate the export business in this commodity.

Turnips give enormous yields in this soil, One Thousand Bushels to the acre being frequently produced. They are profitably used to fatten cattle for market during the winter months, and to feed milking cows.

MANGOLD WURTZELS also are raised for Stock Feeding purposes. The soil seems specially adapted to such roots, and in it they attain a size unequalled in other parts of Canada.

BEETS, CARROTS and PARSNIPS also produce excellent crop returns and command a steady and satisfactory price the year round. CABBAGE, CAULIFLOWER, CELERY, CUCUMBERS, LETTUCE, SQUASH and TOMATOES all grow readily and in great profusion and bring good, steady profits.

Market Gardening

Market gardening offers unlimited possibilities in every part of the Parish. The early varieties of Rhubarb, Peas and Beans, Beets, Carrots, Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Celery, etc., are in great demand in the Town Markets of Sackville during the summer months. But notwithstanding the inducement of high cash returns this market remains unsupplied year after year, for the reasons that our farmers, lacking the necessary help, attend only to the seeding and cultivation of their staple crops and harvest vegetables.

GRAINS — Grains of all kinds yield abundantly. The kernel is plump, hard and well matured. Wheat, Oats, Barley and Buckwheat are the varieties most commonly grown, while Rye, Flax and Corn are also produced successfully. There are a number of verified records of wheat yielding 36 to 40 bushels per acre. Barley gives a large return, while Oats and Buckwheat yield still more heavily, and all are harvested with splendid profit.

HAYS — Hay gives more than ordinary returns, yielding three tons to the acre on well tilled lands. Timothy and Clover are the standard varieties, but in this Parish the farmers who own marsh, or dyked lands also have the advantage of a number of native grasses, which grow readily and are of good feeding value and commercial profit. Some of our farmers make hay the staple crop. One farmer here, who also deals in hay, sold last year to one firm in Sydney, Nova Scotia, sixteen hundred tons of Timothy, Clover and Couch hay grown on the marsh or dyked lands of Sackville. The soil of these Marshes or dyked lands, consists of a deposit from the tidal waters of the Bay of Fundy. The old high marshes will grow wheat and oats, timothy, clover and couch. In most case to renew these marshlands they are ploughed and seeded again, generally with timothy and clover, and occasionally with oats and grass seed. After this it will continue to produce good crops of grass for half a dozen years or more. Timothy and Clover grown on these marshlands are equal in all respects to the product of the upland farms. Upon the lower and newer marshes good crops of coarser grass, locally known as Broadleaf are grown with a yield of as high as four tons to the acre. This hay is a valuable fodder for cattle, milking cows doing well upon it, especially when fed a little, mashed grain or roots.

APPLES — Apples, notably the winter varieties, can be grown to great advantage in the Parish of Sackville, where the soil, sub-soil and elevation all contribute the best conditions necessary for successful production. Great opportunities await man with proper knowledge of this branch of horticulture. All the leading varieties of choice stock are obtainable at low prices, delivered on the premises by reliable nursery firms. Few countries in the worlds possess conditions equal to those of New Brunswick for extensive apple raising. The Provincial Government is now actively engaged in developing and stimulating this industry through the aid of horticultural experts, whose counsel and assistance are available to the people free of charge.

PLUMS AND CHERRIES — The growing of plums and cherries is equally easy of success in this section. Many varieties of plums, green gages, purple and reds, are raised on our farms with little attention and effort and without any extra cost other than setting out the original shoots. This fruit alone will yield any farmer handsome returns from a small outlay and reasonable attention. Cherries are ready to pick about the first of august; plums, the middle and latter part of September.

SMALL FRUITS — Sackville Strawberries have a high reputation throughout these Provinces, and are in great demand in the Town and City Markets. Only a few years ago one or two of our farmers in Upper Sackville tried the raising of strawberries as a commercial venture. So much success attended their experiment that now a large number of farmers are engaged in this business. Each succeeding year the areas under cultivation have been increased, until from beginning so small and recent this industry, still in its infancy, has reached proportions sufficient to advertise Sackville and its strawberry products throughout the Provinces. The market for strawberries seems to be unlimited and the price as a rule is very satisfactory indeed.

Raspberries and gooseberries are also cultivated with profitable results.

Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries and other fruits, grow wild in abundance in Sackville Parish and cost nothing except the effort required to gather them. They are all very delicious and form a welcome addition to the table of both rich and poor. Blueberries are especially abundant and many children, during the school vacation, gather these berries for home use or to sell. In some parts of the province large quantities of blueberries are canned for winter use.

FARM STOCK — The favorite breeds of horned cattle in Sackville Parish are Durham and Ayrshire, many of these being pure bred. Men who keep only one or two cows to supply milk for the family usually keep Jerseys or Guernseys. The government makes frequent importations of choice cattle for breeders and these are sold at public auction so the farmer has an opportunity to always breed good stock, which commands a much better price than the poorer kind.

HORSES — Clydesdale and Percheron horses are raised in large numbers while driving horses and racers are bred to a lesser extent. Horses bring good prices and can be raised with good profit.

HOGS — There is a good opportunity in this parish for raising hogs, which usually command satisfactory prices. In producing pork the farmer turns his skimmed milk, unmarketable vegetables, grain and other by-products into money. Nearly every farmer here raises two or more hogs.

SHEEP — Some parts of the parish are particularly favorable for raising sheep and the sheep farmer has a sure profit when his lambs are ready for market for the price is always good. Sheep experts state that sheep farming, if properly conducted, is the most profitable branch of farming operations in the Maritime Provinces. Little capital and labor are required, the climate is remarkably well suited for the growth of mutton of the best flavor and the production of the best grade of wool. The market too is unequalled by any other country in the world.

POULTRY — There are excellent profits in raising poultry. Geese, ducks, turkeys, chickens and eggs always command good prices in the local market. Moreover it takes but little capital to engage in poultry raising. A few acres of land suitable for the purpose can be purchased for a small amount of money and a man with a knowledge of the business will undoubtedly be able to realize excellent returns for his labor. At present Sackville Parish does not supply enough eggs to meet the local demand. In 1911 one Sackville man imported 2500 dozen eggs. If a poultry raiser gets the right breeds of hens he can sell many eggs for hatching.

GAME — If you wish to have an occasional day’s hunting in the autumn you find conditions here very different from those in the old country. Here the poor man has an equal chance with the rich. There is no gun license to pay, but for the larger game a small license fee is charged which costs less than a gun license in England. In our woods are found the large game animals, moose and deer. Having a license, which costs two dollars (about eight shillings) you can kill one moose and two deer. The moose is a large animal that frequently yields five hundred ponds of choice meat. Of small game there are partridges and rabbits, the latter very abundant. Around our lakes in the fall and spring, wild geese, ducks, bran, etc., are shot. Altogether this Parish ranks well among the other portions of the province of New Brunswick, which is one of the greatest moose and game countries in the world.

FISH — In nearly all of our brooks and ponds trout and other fish are found in more or less abundance, and as a rule can be fished without let or hindrance. In the spring a kind of herring, known as Gaspereaux, are caught in the Tantramar river, while shad, a fish weighing from one and a half to seven pounds, mackerel, cod and other fish are caught in the Bay of Fundy. Lobsters are caught in Northumberland Strait, about thirty-five miles from Sackville, and can usually be obtained in Sackville market for fifteen to thirty cents.

BEES — It is well for a man who understands them to have a few hives of bees for the clover and buckwheat fields and the numerous wild flowers furnish plenty of honey for those busy workers.

Our Forest Trees

For lack of space no adequate description of our magnificent trees and forests can be here given. We have a great variety of trees and shrubs among which are many useful and ornamental ones. The coniferous trees are the pine, spruce, fir, cedar, hemlock and tamarack, all of which are evergreens except the tamarack. Among the deciduous trees may be mentioned the maple, oak, elm, birch, ash, beech and poplar. Of maple, birch and ash there are several varieties. The maple, cedar, oak and elm are much used for shade and ornamental trees. The pine, spruce, fir, beech, birch, maple, oak and hemlock are all used for lumber and many other purposes.

To those who love nature our forests are exceedingly beautiful. Nothing can be prettier than a side hill covered with evergreen trees viewed from a distance. New Brunswick, of which Sackville parish forms a part, is one of the most amply wooded countries of the world, although much is now cleared, yet the forests are still of immense extent and supply nearly three fourths of the exports of the province. The trees in our forests grow very rapidly and even if the timber is cut or destroyed by fire it will reforest itself without any planting within a comparatively few years. There is no tree that will stand cutting and fire and re-forest itself so rapidly as the spruce. Unfortunately our forests have suffered much from the axe and fire in recent years, but with proper care in cutting and prevention of fires we have still a splendid domain and a source of immense wealth for all time.


Next to Agriculture, Lumbering is perhaps the greatest industry of Sackville parish, and under the conservation methods now being adopted, the great forest areas on the outskirts of the Parish, will not be exhausted. Lumbering operations are conducted principally in the winter, the snow being the lever furnished by nature whereby great timbers are removed with ease from the forest depths. During the early winter months, large crews of men are sent into these timbered districts, where they are housed in comfort during the season’s work. The chopping and felling of timber is prosecuted by these men with great vigour. The trees when reduced to logs by the choppers and trimmers, are hauled out by logging teams to some nearby forest stream or lake and piled alongside the banks in great piles or “brows” containing thousands of logs. Soon a portable steam engine and saw mill outfit is moved alongside and set up. The logs, large and small, are then quickly sawed and manufactured into deals, boards, laths or shingles, which in turn are sledded or carted out to the N.B. & P.E.I. Railway, whence they are freighted to the Sackville wharves or to Cape Tourmentine. Here again they furnish work in loading vessels for the United Sates or Great Britain. As will readily appear, these successive operations involve the employment of a small army of men. The choppers, sawyers and some teamsters are necessarily expert men. But the work of piling in the woods, at the mills and stations and wharves does not call for particular skill, and in many other parts of the work, willing, able bodied men can find steady remunerative employment.

Perhaps, the particular value of this industry is that it gives employment during the winter months, when work on our farms, other than the care of livestock, is practically suspended. The men who work in these crews are housed in comfort and well fed as part of the hire. The opportunity for accumulating a substantial sum in wages by the end of a Season proves so attractive, that many young farmers of means follow this agreeable and healthy work during the months of each winter.

As there are a number of these portable steam mill outfits owned in Sackville, which operate in other parts of the province during both winter and summer, there is an opportunity of employment in this line the greater part of the year. Another opening afforded by Sackville Parish for winter work is found with the Portable Hay Presses. The immense quantities of hay, which are harvested in our marsh barns during the Autumn months, are pressed by these portable machines into bales, during the winter, and sledded out to the railway stations of Sackville, for shipment. This is clean, healthy work, which to willing and steady men, gives employment at good wages, during the winter months.

Work and Employment

The prudent immigrant naturally desires to be assured that employment of some kind is open to him if he does not enter at once into farming. To such persons we say that Sackville is not dependent upon the fortunes of any one large industry. The great stove foundries and large leather industries here, give employment in many forms to unskilled labor which is willing and honest intentioned. These manufacturing plants are open to take on skilled moulders, harness makers, shoe and leather workers. Frequently they are obliged to advertise for help in the newspapers of other Provinces. Quite often they have openings for reliable night watchmen and firemen for stationary steam engines. Each summer there is great scarcity of unskilled labour in this town, despite the offer of high wages. An abundance of work is open on all sides in water and sewer and street work, or concrete construction, and in the large freestone quarries. A few men who are experienced gardeners, with some ability as landscape gardeners, would find very remunerative work on private lawns and gardens and in our cemeteries. The opportunities for winter work are set out herein under the title of “Lumbering”. Skilled and Rough Carpenters, Bricklayers, Masons and Painters will find steady work here during the building months of the year and there is work in plenty the year around, for paper-hangers and decorators.

The man from the Old Country, who has a family and is ambitious to give his boys and girls a start, will find no place offering better chances than Sackville to give them clean, respectable trades of to educate them for a business calling. Our stove and leather industries have openings for deserving apprentices at self-supporting wages. Our woodworking, carriage factories, masonry, plumbing and concrete works also give excellent opportunities for acquiring good trades with wages from the start.

The field of Employment for Women is very large. Our printing offices, telephone exchanges, shoe factories, paper box factory, restaurants, bakeries, stores and millinery and dress making establishments all offer steady employment at good wages and chances to learn a valuable art or self-supporting trade. Stenographers are in constant demand in our business houses and the Mount Allison Commercial College, being situated here, people of very small means have an unexcelled opportunity to fit a boy or girl for profitable business employment as an accountant or stenographer.

Farm Labour and Domestic Help

There is always a great demand for farm labour in Sackville Parish. However, we feel obliged to add that the labourer who is not steady and willing and who cannot reasonably adapt himself to our methods of agriculture, will not succeed in farm service here. But men who are willing and can adapt themselves so as to be of value to their employers will find steady work, good wages, liberal encouragement and opportunities for advancement and in time such men should be able to achieve independence as farmers of their own freeholds.

There is a constant call, the year around in both the town and parish of Sackville for industrious and tidy domestics. There seems to be no limit to the demand for this branch of help. Wages are good and the conditions accorded domestic help are of the highest character. If a girl is willing to work, faithful in the discharge of her duties and tries to please her employers, she will soon command very satisfactory wages.

The Cost of Living

To give the current prices of various articles of food, clothing and fuel which are necessary for a family, would not likely be the best way to give an idea of the cost of living. It would perhaps be better to show what the unskilled laboring man enjoys from his earnings. The standard of living her is not by any means a low one. Barring luxuries, the laboring man has on his table about the same articles of food and pretty near the same quality of food as his wealthy neighbor. Bread, butter, meat or fish, potatoes and other vegetables, eggs, milk, sugar, tea and fruit are regarded as necessities, and are enjoyed by all. Clothing affords room for a greater difference. Little or much may be spent on that, but it is frequently remarked how well dressed the laborer, with only his wages at his command, keeps himself and his family. Fuel is abundant and fairly reasonable in price. There are several coal mines within fifty miles, some with half that distance, so that a coal famine is unknown. Wood, too, is a common article of fuel. Refuse from the lumber mills is often available, while other kinds of wood can be obtained from the owner of forest lands or from the wood and coal dealer.

Taxes both in the Town and Parish are low, the people having little to complain of along this line. Rents are as a rule pretty moderate, and a comfortable home is within the reach of every man who is able and willing to work.

Letters from Satisfied Settlers

During the past few years a number of men from England have come to New Brunswick and settled in Sackville and vicinity. The opinions of these persons, who have been some time in the country should prove of interest to those who are looking to Canada as the land of promise. A goodly number of letters from satisfied settlers could easily be obtained, but space forbids us giving more than a few, which tell the story briefly, yet forcibly. Several letters follow:

Secretary of Sackville Board of Trade

Dear sir: I am writing you to let you know what I think of New Brunswick, after a year in the province, and the districts. As you know I have seen a fairly good part of this globe of ours, Africa and Egypt and the Soudan amongst other parts, but I never saw one that can surpass this province and I should think it would be hard to beat this district of Sackville anywhere as I must say that from the time of my arrival I have been treated with the utmost courtesy and everyone was pleased to give a helping hand. I think that this district with its many opportunities should be more fully known and hope that it will be.

I remain, Yours truly, William Beal, Fairfield, Sackville Parish, March 21, 1912.

Secretary of Sackville Board of Trade

Dear sir: Having been asked to write a few lines for this book, I should not have consented to do so if it were not for the fact that I am well acquainted with those who are responsible for this work and I know that it has been their aim to stick to plain and true facts, which I fear is not always the case with literature that is sent over to the Old Country from Canada. Before I left England everyone told me that November was the wrong time of year to come to Canada, but as I had something in view, I decided not to remain in England during the winter and so be spending my capital. I arrived here with the ground covered with snow on November 22nd, 1911, and we have had some sharp snaps since then, the thermometer going down to ten degrees below zero, but even under such conditions I can honestly say that in my opinion the Canadian winter is delightful. The Canadian people cannot be beaten in any part of the world that one chooses to set his foot, for they are kindness itself and extend a hearty welcome to us Englishmen. I have never been West, but I strongly urge those who contemplate going there to look before they leap, for I am certain in the great rush West that the opportunities in the East are passed over. The longer I am here the more I feel that immigration should be encouraged more than ever to this country. Here we need population and in England you are suffering from over population and thousands are working for a mere pittance and dare not ask for more, well knowing that if one position becomes vacant there are twenty-five or more after it. Here it is the reverse; the employer of labour cannot complain, for fear of being left without help. I am well aware that Canada has a great drawback in the eyes of some, namely those who come out here and expect to make a fortune without working for it, but let me tell you now that the Canadians will not tolerate such men. As a rule these are the men that return to the Old Country and upon whose words the opportunities of Canada are gauged. In conclusion I would strongly advise the man with a trade in his hands, especially the man with an all round knowledge of that trade, who is prepared to work and not play at it, and who is unable to obtain a good living in England, to come to this country.

Yours faithfully, Edgar P. Smith, Sackville, N.B., March 27, 1912.

Secretary of Sackville Board of Trade

Dear sir: In response to your invitation to write a letter telling of my impressions, etc., of this locality, I may state briefly that I am very much pleased with this part of the Province. I have been here about two years and hope to be here a good many more. There is a good opening for a goodly number, especially agriculturalists, beside mechanics and artisans. Of course conditions are somewhat different from the other side, but patience and perseverance to adapt oneself to them soon surmounts them. My advice to intending farm settlers, is, if possible, before purchasing a farm, to work for a farmer. Living is about the same as it is in England, some things cheaper and others higher. There is a good market for everything produced locally — eggs, butter, milk, cream, poultry, etc., and I do not think a man with the intention of emigrating, could do better than give Sackville and vicinity a fair trial. There is less class distinction than in England and the people are very friendly.

Yours faithfully, Alexander T. Abbott Sackville, N.B., March, 1912.

New publications

Looking for a unique Christmas gift? In addition to our previous publications these new ones are available from the Trust.

At the Crossroads — A History of Sackville, New Brunswick [cover]

At the Crossroads — A History of Sackville, New Brunswick

At the Crossroads: A History of Sackville New Brunswick by Bill Hamilton. The Tantramar Heritage Trust was the sponsoring agency for this magnificent new book on Sackville’s proud history. The Trust has purchased 150 copies from the publisher (Gaspereau Press) and will have them for sale to our membership (and the public) at our fall and winter meetings and at the Carriage Factory Museum next summer. Purchase a copy from the Trust and have the author autograph it at the Historical Society meeting on November 17th.

Aboushagan to Zwicker: An Historical Guide to Sackville NB Street Nomenclature [cover]

Aboushagan to Zwicker: An Historical Guide to Sackville NB Street Nomenclature

Aboushagan to Zwicker: An Historical Guide to Sackville NB Street Nomenclature Researched and Written by Al Smith. This new Trust publication includes a significant amount of historical information and early maps of the Town as it explores the origins of Sackville’s 131 street names.