The White Fence, issue #27

January 2005


Dear friends,

The more time I spend painting and re-painting this fence, the more I realize how alive our Tantramar history is. This past October, I received a lovely note from Mr. John Bayfield along with a lengthy article about Admiral H.W. Bayfield which had been originally published by the Fisheries and Marine Service in 1976. It goes into great detail about the significant survey and mapping work Admiral Bayfield had undertaken in Canada during the early to mid-1800s but further explained why the small community in New Brunswick, near Cape Tourmentine, was named after him.

I could not publish the entire article here. Admiral Bayfield probably considered the mapping of the Great Lakes as his most significant contribution; consequently, I extracted the most relevant snippets of his work which I thought would be of most interest to you. But I also included the summary on Bayfield obtained from Dr. Bill Hamilton’s Place Names of Atlantic Canada as it focuses primarily on the admirals contributions here in the Maritime Provinces. And I do so to ensure that every picket on this fence gets a full coat of paint!

But I must end this editorial on a sad note. Our dear friend and most loyal supporter, Mr. Lloyd (Bud) White, passed away since the last newsletter was written. He will not have the opportunity to read the note written below that he had passed on to me to include in The White Fence. But I know that his spirit is with me today as he prods me to get on with it because he always made sure that I knew that he always waited very impatiently for the next issue of The White Fence to appear in his mailbox. I do miss you Bud and will make sure that there are not any errors in your note as I know how strict you always were about such things! And you were always so proud of Sackville and its folks! I write your note below just the same way as you sent it to me dear friend:

The Mt A Record Winter 2004 on page 23, there are listed names of Rhodes Scholars. Five of them are Sackville boys. They are:

  • Edmund Tucker 1946
  • Kenneth Lund 1951
  • Murray Mundle 1954
  • Angus Cameron 1961
  • David Cuthberton 1962

We should brag about that, right? —Bud

On Bud’s behalf, we will brag as much as we can and start first of all by dedicating this issue of The White Fence to Lloyd G. (Bud) White who always gave us a lot to brag about… one of them being the outstanding support of our membership of which Bud White is number one on the list! Thanks Bud…although I don’t agree with graffiti, one picket of this White Fence will always have your name on it!

I thank Al Smith for the interesting Did-You-Knows, Shirley Ann Brooks for passing on Bud’s note to me, Sean LeMoine’s information about his great grandmothers deed of sale and John T. Bayfield for his note and article on Admiral Bayfield. Thank you all. Best wishes to all you for 2005!


—Peter Hicklin

Celebrating Heritage Week 2005

Saturday, February 19 — Tantramar Regional High School

  • 7:30 to 11 am — Annual Heritage Day Breakfast in the TRHS Cafeteria featuring eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, toast, tea & coffee. Adults $5; Children to 10 yrs. $3
  • 10 to noon — Antiques Road Show Antiques Appraisals in the TRHS foyer ($5.00 fee/item) with 4 antique appraisers:
    East Coast Antiques (Scott & Carl Robinson) — watches, bottles, coins and and signs
    Angel Mist Treasures (Denise Ward, Jackie Steeves) — jewellery, dishes, furniture
  • 1:30 to 3:30 pm — Sackville Remembers Two of Her Greatest Canadians:
    • John Fisher — Mr. Canada: Canada’s Greatest Storyteller — Presentation by George Fisher
    • George Stanley — A Prairie Boy and A Maple Leaf: The Story of George Stanley’s Part in Shaping Canadian Identity — Presentation by Dr. Della Stanley

Did you know…?

  • Did you know that by 1767 the Province of Nova Scotia had been subdivided into 30 Townships and that the township of Sackville had a population of 349 persons, 343 of them from New England? That same year, Sackville was given the right to elect a member of the Legislature in Halifax and Mr. A. Foster was selected as the first representative?
  • Did you know that Sackville began developing as a merchant community in the 1840s? In order to expand their export and import capabilities the merchants began construction of the first Public Wharf in 1840–41 and the N.B. Legislature granted £25 towards its completion?
  • Did you know that in the early days of Sackville, profanity was considered an offence? On August 25,1775, William Wood was summoned to appear before judge Charles Dixon and was fined £2 for swearing one or more profane oaths?
  • Did you know that 1113 gallons of rum were imported into Sackville during the period 1 April, 1787, to 1 April, 1788?
  • Did you know that the Purdy shipyard launched a Brigantine in 1861 and named it George G. Roberts after Charles G.D. Robert’s father who was the rector at St. Ann’s Anglican Church? It seems that the Reverend discovered a fire in the shipyard and raised the alarm just prior to the time that the vessel was to be launched. The fire was extinguished with little damage and the Purdy Yard honoured the parson by giving the ship his name?
  • Did you know that the first paved sidewalks in Sackville were installed to replace the old plank ones on portions of York and Main Streets? During the war years (1914–1918), the issue of sidewalks was a common item of discussion as well as a controversial one. The completion of the Main Street sidewalk was divisive as was the York Street sidewalk. Council was split over the issue of the Main Street sidewalk and the taxation, contract, cost and grading issues associated with its construction. It was so divisive that some aldermen suggested a referendum which was quickly moved out of order by council?
  • Did you know that the first street light in Sackville was erected on Bridge Street near the railroad crossing of the N.B. and P.E.I. Railway? It was kept up by private subscription with each person in the neighborhood contributing a small sum towards it?
  • Did you know that Lorne Street was completely underwater during the infamous flood of early April, 1962? Lorne Street was totally flooded from the CN Station to Lounsbury’s (now Dooleys). There was over 4 feet of water over the street near Black’s Hardware Store?
  • Did you know that Sean LeMoine has the 1942 deed of sale for a 7 acre property that his great grandmother sold to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for placement of the radio towers along the highway between Sackville and Amherst? The deed of sale specifies “…that certain lot of marsh situate, lying and being at West Coles Island.” The property was sold for $30.00/acre?

Bayfield (Westmorland)

Admiral H.W. Bayfield, R.N.

Ruth McKenzie, Fisheries and Marine Service, Ottawa, 1976.

Admiral Henry Wolsey Bayfield pioneered hydrography in Canada. From 1816 to 1856, he surveyed the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River and Gulf (islands, inlets and bays) and the coasts of the Maritime Provinces. Admiral Bayfield provided navigation charts, detailed maps of shorelines, and the first Sailing directions for the Gulf and River of St. Lawrence. This is the biography of the man who surveyed practically the entire shoreline from Lake Superior to the Atlantic Ocean, and who retired 11 years before Confederation.

“I freely own that I am ambitious to complete the great labor which you have mentioned, extending from the head of Lake Superior to the western shores of Newfoundland”, Commander Henry Wolsey Bayfield wrote in May 1832 to Captain Francis Beaufort, Hydrographer of the British Admiralty. When Bayfield retired from the surveying service 24 years later, he had achieved his ambition. He had surveyed lakes Superior, Huron, and Erie, had assisted in the survey of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River as far east as the Galops Rapids, and had completed the survey of the river from Montreal to the Gulf. Finally, he had surveyed the coastlines, bays, and harbor inlets of the provinces and islands washed by the Strait of Belle Isle, Chaleur Bay, the Northumberland Strait, and the broad waters of the Gulf of the St. Lawrence.

This magnificent achievement was the result of 40 years’ hard work by a skillful, dedicated, and imaginative nautical surveyor whose career had begun in the Royal Navy at the age of 11.

Henry Wolsey Bayfield was born January 21,1795, in Hull, England, an important harbor on the North Sea. Little is known of his parents except their names — John Wolsey Bayfield and his wife, Eliza Petit. Henry had one sister to whom he was devoted, and who became the wife of Sir G. O. Turner. Henrys education was apparently by private tutor. His childhood was spent under the cloud of threatened invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte, whose army defeated the combined forces of Austria and Russia at Austerlitz in 1805, and the army of Prussia in Jena in 1806. But the British fleet was strong, and Admiral Lord Nelson’s victories, culminating in the Battle of Trafalgar on 1805, inspired in every British schoolboy the desire to join the Navy. Henry Bayfield was accepted as a “young gentleman” volunteer (supernumerary) on HMS Pompey two weeks before his 11th birthday. In the next nine months, Henry served also on the Queen and the Duchess of Bedford, and was slightly wounded when the Duchess beat off two Spanish gun boats in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Summer of 1816 found Acting Lieutenant Henry Bayfield on HM Sloop Star assisting in the survey of lake Ontario, and sounding the channels in the St. Lawrence River among the Thousand Islands as far east as the Gallops Rapids, 10 miles beyond Prescott. This was Bayfields training period as a naval surveyor. Captain Owen (Captain W. F. W. Owen, Senior Officer Commanding on the Lakes and Naval Surveyor- ed.) was greatly pleased with the progress of his apprentice surveyor.

Unexpected advancement came in June 1817 when Captain Owen was abruptly recalled to England. Twenty-two-year-old Henry Bayfield was placed in charge of the surveys of lakes Erie and Huron but with a greatly reduced establishment. He was left with an inexperienced assistant, Midshipman Philip E. Collins, and two boats, the Troughton and the Ramsdan.

On Lake Huron, and later Lake Superior, the surveyors had to take provisions for six weeks at a time, as there were no settlers living on the shores of those lakes. “Two Boats, not larger than ships cutters, carried our whole stock of conveniences, of which we had fewer than the native Indians”, Bayfield wrote years later. “I had not room even for a mattress, but slept, in all weathers, in the Boat, or on the shore upon a Buffalo robe under the Boats mainsail thrown over a few branches placed on the ground. Many a night have I slept out, in this way, when the Thermometer was down to Zero, and sometimes even below it. Yet even this was not so wearing as trying to sleep, in vain, in the warm nights of summer…in the smoke of a Fire to keep off the clouds of Moschettoes which literally darkened the air”. Sometimes the surveyors and crew suffered from ague, sometimes from scurvy, and they had no medical aid.

When Lieutenant Bayfield returned to his winter quarters at Penetanguishene in late October 1822, he reported that he had completed “…the Survey of Lake Huron up to the rapids of the Neepish, at the entrance of Lake George”.

In the three summers of 1823 to 1825, Bayfield and Collins circumnavigated Lake Superior in their small survey boats, examining all the bays and islands. Hitherto, this lake had been almost unknown except to Indians and fur traders. At the end of the 1825 season, the two surveyors returned to England.

In recognition of their services, the two Great Lakes surveyors received promotions — Bayfield to commander in 1826, Collins to Lieutenant in 1827. By this time, Bayfield, aged 32, had developed great skill in surveying. He was highly disciplined, his moral fiber toughened by years of enforced self-reliance and the constant battle with the elements. He saw a challenge in the prospect of connecting his survey of the Great Lakes with a survey of the St. Lawrence River and Gulf.

Bayfield spent 14 years, from 1827 to 1840 inclusive, with headquarters in the city of Quebec, conducting the St. Lawrence survey. It covered the entire north shore of the St. Lawrence River, Lake St. Peter, Montreal and Quebec harbors, the Saguenay River as far as navigable, the northern coast of GaspÈ, the Strait of Belle Isle, the coast of Labrador from Belle Isle to Cape St. Lewis, part of the west coast of Newfoundland, Anticosti, the Magdalen and other St. Lawrence islands, Chaleur Bay, the New Brunswick coast of Northumberland Strait, and the rivers Miramichi, Restigouche, and Richibucto with their main harbors.

In his years as a surveyor on the Great lakes, Bayfield’s life was almost devoid of female society. He was shy and reserved. Nevertheless, after moving to Quebec, he mingled “…in the pleasures of the festive season”, as the Quebec Mercury put it, and at the age of 43, in April 1838, he married Fanny, only daughter of Captain (later General) Charles Wright of the Royal Engineers. Mrs. Bayfield assisted her husband in the early years of their marriage by copying his official letters (all handwritten, often several pages long, and in duplicate), and the manuscript for some chapters of his book on sailing directions. Captain and Mrs. Bayfield became the parents of four sons and two daughters. Bayfield was a devoted husband and father.

West of Cape Tourmentine The name marks the career of Henry Wolsey Bayfield (1795–1885), who was responsible for surveying much of the coastline of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia during the 1840s and 1850s. The name is fitting since, during the summers of 1842 and 1843, Bayfield charted this coastline and adjacent waters. It is possible that members of the survey crew landed near the community which bears his name; certainly he sailed within sight of the location on several occasions.

William Hamilton

In May 1841, Captain Bayfield transferred his headquarters from Quebec to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, a harbor that had a longer navigation season than Quebec and was more central to the projected surveying activities. Before Bayfield’s departure from Quebec, the Master of Trinity House (the body that regulated St. Lawrence shipping and the conduct of river pilots) presented him with a testimonial expressing appreciation of his “talents and scientific acquirements” and thanking him for “the advice and assistance he has on different occasions rendered to this corporation”. The surveyors concentrated their efforts on the coasts of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia for the next 15 years.

Bayfield was anxious to obtain the exact measurements of distances between the meridians of St. John’s, Charlottetown, Halifax, and Quebec, and he repeated his observations several times to ensure accuracy. Similarly, when his former commander, Captain W. F.W. Owen, was surveying the Bay of Fundy, Bayfield went to Baie Verte twice (in July 1843 and July 1844) to assist Owen in measuring with rockets the meridian distance across the Nova Scotia isthmus from Baie Verte to Cumberland Basin. Bayfield also established the meridian distance between Boston and Halifax, with the cooperation of Captain Owen and the Cambridge Observatory in Boston.

By 1848, Bayfield and his assistants had surveyed the entire coastline of Prince Edward Island with its bays and deep harbor inlets, the Northumberland Strait coast of Nova Scotia, and the northeastern extremity of the Gaspé coast (it had been incompletely surveyed before). In the fall of 1847, they began work on Cape Breton Island, a major task which, including the Strait of Canso, Île Madame, the coast and harbors of Cape Breton, and the Bras d’Or Lakes required five years to complete. The traffic in the Strait of Canso impressed Bayfield. He wrote in October, 1847, “The importance of an accurate survey, on a large scale of this Strait will appear evident, when I state, that no less than 7,000 vessels were recorded on the books of the Light-House Keeper to have passed through it last year.”

Bayfield’s career as a surveyor was now drawing to a close. His vigor was declining and he suffered from rheumatism. His last major undertaking was the survey of Halifax, 1852–53. This work included the entire harbor of Halifax with the adjacent headlands and bays — Bedford Basin, Sambro harbor and ledges, and Dartmouth harbor. Later, the survey was extended along the southern coast of Nova Scotia from Halifax to Cape Canso.

Henry Bayfield retired from the surveying service in 1856 when he became a rear admiral. He was promoted to vice-admiral in 1863 and to admiral in 1867. Admiral Bayfield continued to live quietly in Charlottetown until his death, February 10, 1885, at the age of 90. This exceptional man provided the foundation for hydrography in Canada, and his successors have built on his pioneering work.

The Canadian Hydrographic Service traditionally names one of its ships in Bayfields honor. His service to Canada has been commemorated by plaques in Charlottetown and Penetanguishene, and by the adoption of his name for a river and village in Ontario, villages in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, and for Bayfield Sound off Manitoulin Island.

A special note of thanks

On 13 November, the Tantramar Heritage Trust held its 3rd Annual Fall Dinner (and auction) — “A Taste of History” (theme: “The Age of Sail”) hosted by David Fullerton and Ray Dixon. I attended as an ordinary member (I had nothing to do with the organization, auction or food preparation/presentation). But we were deeply impressed and can only say that the attendees at our table, my wife and I certainly felt we got our money’s worth! It was a wonderful evening and delicious dinner. On behalf of the Tantramar Heritage Trust board of directors, I thank all who attended for their enthusiastic bidding throughout both the open and silent auctions. Marilyn Prescott kindly put the silent auction together which comprised a beautiful collection of items. Thanks so much, Marilyn. And on the membership’s behalf, I extend the most heartfelt thanks to auctioneers David Fullerton and Ray Dixon who outdid themselves and motivated participants to bid without hesitation. But then Mike and Vanessa Bass’s centerpieces, named after historic Tantramar ships, were difficult for the bidders to resist! Furthermore, the H.M.S. Raymond Dixon provided a backdrop that made us feel seated next to the historic Sackville Warf and ready to sail by the time desert arrived! Thanks for mooring the ship so securely to the wharf Ray! And Charlie Rhindress and David McLelland entertained as no others can, which, I do believe, put us all into a hearty bidding mood. The Tantramar Heritage Trust earned over $4,000.00 that evening to put towards its many programs! Thank you Joanne Goodrich for ensuring that a great meal and evening were enjoyed by all and Gloria Estabrooks, we could not have attended if you had not paid special attention to ensure that we got our tickets. Mary Bogaard and Wendy Burnett brought beauty and peace to the eventful evening with songs that we bundled up warmly with and took home with us. Thank you all dear friends for memorable tastes and sounds of history which make life on the Tantramar the very special experience that it is.

Your fellow member, editor (and occasional fence painter) —Peter Hicklin