The White Fence, issue #59

February 2013


More love letters and a special move

Only in Canada

Dear friends,

I am in the midst of an editor’s dilemma! I have too much information to pass along to you and, therefore, suffer the accompanying fear of running out of space! So this editorial, by necessity, will be short. We continue this issue of our newsletter with another of Stephen Millidge’s 18th century (1795) letters to Sally Botsford. Due to a lack of clarity owing to the age of the letters, please read carefully Eugene Goodrich’s descriptions and interpretations of these ancient letters which will allow you to better understand their contents as much of the original writing was illegible (i.e. see footnotes). This is followed by the seafaring adventures of Titus Anderson on the Sackville-built schooner Temperance. Titus was the father of Captain George Anderson, the builder of Sackville’s own octagonal house, also featured in this issue.

Author Al Smith has long made sure that Sackville does not forget its seafaring past. Hence, Anderson father and son are both highlighted in this issue. And then see what Colin MacKinnon found along the muddy shores of the Bay of Fundy’s tidal creeks… always interesting surprises!

At this time, we should all commend the Town of Sackville for saving the historical eight-sided octagonal home of Captain George Anderson. Beyond the Town’s important contribution, funding was also received from many local donors, New Brunswick Tourism, Heritage and Culture Canada and Canadian Heritage’s Building Communities through Arts and Heritage program. All made this “move” and upgrading of the octagonal house possible. On behalf of the board of directors and all the members of the Tantramar Heritage Trust, we extend our most sincere gratitude to these kind benefactors for seeing the value of preserving our past at this especially meaningful time: Sackville’s 250th anniversary. Furthermore, the Tantramar Heritage Trust’s member and former President, Dr. Paul Bogaard, was the facilitator who made it all possible. Thank you Paul!

So, make yourselves comfortable and read another of Stephen Millidge’s love letters to Sally as well as two very special stories connected with father and son of the Anderson family. Both stories encompass over two centuries of Tantramar history. Only in Canada!

And, as usual (I hope),


—Peter Hicklin

Letters to Sally — An Early Sackville Love Story

Continued from The White Fence #58

By W. Eugene Goodrich

4. Fragmentary but dated; May 24th 1795

There are too many pieces missing to attempt much of a textual reconstruction, although I was able to guess at a few words. However, with the help of some background information and a little imagination, we can discern the general outlines of the letter, although not without a good deal of uncertainty. This time, it is Sally who is away on an extended visit, while Stephen is at home with the children. I think she went to Granville, N.S. where, as we will see in the Epilogue, the Millidges had friends. Besides the ‘Gr…’ in the first line, the word ‘Granville’ occurs later in the letter where Stephen seems to be hoping that it will arrive there before she does, bringing one more proof of his love and devotion. She appears to have Ann with her, as Stephen only talks about Mary and Jane.

In any case it is clear that Stephen misses Sally and wants her to come back as soon as possible. In the meantime, he reports on things at home. Mary, who must have been about two at the time, is an affectionate child who also misses Sally, but, like any two-year old, she can be recalcitrant. One of her favourite words is ‘no’ (this can hardly refer to Jane who is just cutting her first teeth), which someone — not her mother — taught her. She was briefly disconsolate after Sally’s departure but soon bonded with Mrs. Cornforth who seems to have come to the Millidge home to help out with the children. This may have been Mary Cornforth, the mother-in-law of Jonathan Burnham who, according to Milner, was close to the Millidges. Stephen seems a bit worried that both Mary and Jane could become too attached to Mrs. C. at the expense of their mother. Again, he seems to allude to Sally’s sorrows and tribulations, and there is even a hint — although this is a bold speculation — that she was away for more than a visit. Was she going through some kind of a crisis? Was their marriage? It certainly appears that Stephen is trying to convince her that he is always thinking of her, and that she is a little skeptical. On the other hand, her return seems certain, as he wants to know what route she will be taking on the way home. The letter closes with some more detail on the domestic routine in Sally’s absence. Jane is in bed with her ‘governess’, probably Mrs. Cornforth, while Stephen has been busy in the kitchen, the “steward having also retired”. I think these lines were meant humourously, given the Millidges’ economic circumstances at the time. Mary will take her mother’s place in his bed, but he would prefer the original proprietor. Finally, there is an interesting reference to a shortage of paper that limits what he can write. It had to be imported and was, I imagine, periodically in short supply.

1. May 24, 1795

Mary says “Ma is gone to Gr[anville …] to see Ann, you go along with me next Sum[mer…]. She adds “She loves Ma 3 Bushels and every bo[dy… ] a great many.” Jane has got so attached [to Mrs.] Cornforth, that’s when I desire her to come to [you. Mary] seems perfectly to recollect her former short An[swer…] “No”, which you no doubt recollect your […] first taught her. For two days after yo[ur…] departure, she appeared to have no friend he[re] but, some way or other, Mrs. Cornforth has been [a very] successful rival, and you must be sensible […] great sorrow ingross all her affections — She […] is more obedient to my word of command, tha[n…] under your Protection — and only to ther[…] …since you let[……] side of the paper, my dear Sally, […]the domestic business, at least, with regards […]children, which has yet occurred — and I flatter [myself … th]at, notwithstanding the variety of sad […]passed over, and the multiplicity of […]you have seen — you will not receive […]st this invitation to return to your old… [……] to your old Friend — it may perhaps […] Granville before yourself — in which case […] have one more proof that at 10 o’clock on […[n]ights, you are not out of my mind — and […] I cannot personally convince you so — […] (so situated) all opportunity of doing […] mode or other — believe me I want […] We know not the value of a Gem […] delivered of its … It is really the apprehension of not meeting again […] reason, I wish your stay as short as […] moreover I beg to be informed, with regard […] rout[e] you purpose to take on your return[…] expect to have finished this token of affection and […] Jane is cutting more teeth — (perhaps a sign that … to be prepared to eat her own victuals) and [crossed out] I h[…] her to Bed with her Governnant, and am […] kitchen, the s[t]eward having also retired — […] and I can write on the scarcity of Paper […] me to add little more — Mary until the […] has been your s[…] constant companion […] attached to her — I begin to think after her […] and William’s1, which is expected to take place […] I shall give your little daughter your […] my bed — with this declaration however, that […] original proprietor would fill it with more […] but it … necessary that we […]

  1. Probably Sally’s brother. One might be tempted to interpret this as a reference to an upcoming wedding, except that William did not get married until 1802.


Temperance — the schooner that launched the amazing sea faring adventures of the local Anderson family

By Al Smith

Edward Anderson’s (1822–1887) diary1 states: “I here note that the Schooner Temperance was built in my father’s cow pasture in the year of our Lord 1831, launched June 8th. Authority for the above is the widow of Titus Anderson. I pen this while here in affliction” — Sackville, NB August 1886, Edw. Anderson”. The cow pasture mentioned above was located on the farm of Thomas Anderson (1775–1852) on Cole’s Island (where the CBC Towers between Sackville and Amherst are located — ed.) so the vessel would have been launched into the Tantramar River. That schooner was possibly the first entry into marine interests of the Anderson family.

Shipwright Christopher Boultenhouse (c.1802–1876) built the 87-ton schooner Temperance which was launched June 8, 1831 (dimensions: 38′-6″ × 18′-7″ × 8′-1.5″ and registered in Saint John July 18, 1831 as #292). The vessel was owned by Titus Anderson (32 shares) and Thomas & James Anderson (32 shares). Temperance was the fifth vessel constructed by Christopher Boultenhouse. Most of his first sixteen vessels were constructed at his Woodpoint shipyard but at least three, including Temperance, were constructed elsewhere.

Capt. Titus Anderson (1805–1870) was the schooner’s master and Temperance may have been Titus’ first command (he was 26 years of age and could well have had his master’s certificate by 1831). The other owners of the Temperance were Titus’ father and brother, both farmers with adjoining properties at Cole’s Island. The schooner was used as a trading vessel mainly between ports in the upper bay and the city of Saint John. It is interesting that George McAllister traveled3 on the Temperance4 on Dec. 1 & 2, 1831, from Saint John to Wood Point with sails, rigging and supplies for his new brig Woodbine which he was purchasing from shipbuilder Christopher Boultenhouse. The Temperance was lost April, 25, 1837, at Mount Desert Island, Maine.

Capt. Titus Anderson ran a coastal trade and was the master of several vessels. He owned at least one other vessel built by Christopher Boultenhouse: the 50-ton schooner Jane launched April 27, 1853, and named after Titus’ wife Jane (Bulmer) Anderson. The Jane was lost in ice near Sackville on January 2, 1859, and the family immediately contracted the Boultenhouse shipyard to build the schooner Bella. The 46-ton schooner was built by Amos and William Boultenhouse (sons of Christopher) and launched April 30, 1859. Titus died when the Bella was wrecked off Cape Spencer, NB, at 2 am, July 8, 1870.

Capt. Titus and his wife raised five sons, four of whom became master mariners: George (1830–1873), Charles Marshall (1838–1895), Thomas Reese (1840–1918) and Gaius (1842–1903). After lengthy careers at sea, Charles Marshall settled in New Zealand, Gaius in Fiji and George and Thomas R. are both buried in Sackville.

Three sons of Capt. George Anderson and Arabella Ayer (builders and original owners of the Octagonal House) also became master mariners: Rupert Titus (1858–1922), Ernest Laurence (1861–1912) and Jesse Edwin (1863–1936). Rupert eventually settled in New York, Ernest stayed in Sackville and Jesse ended up in Ketchikan, Alaska.5 Three generations of the Anderson family gave rise to 8 master mariners who roamed the oceans of the world. Their exploits added greatly to the cultural fabric of Sackville.

  1. Mount Allison Archives, Albert Anderson Fonds, 8317/3/2 — Edward Anderson (1822–1887) was Capt. Titus Anderson’s youngest brother.
  2. Shipbuilding in Westmorland County – Charles A. Armour and Allan D. Smith
  3. The Journal of Captain George C. McAllister Jan. 1, 1831 to July 27, 1833
  4. The Anderson Family by Florence (Anderson) Wheaton
  5. The original family; Thomas and his wife Mary emigrated from Yorkshire, England to Sackville Township in 1772.

The Captain George Anderson Octagonal House — The Second Time Around

By Paul Bogaard

The Anderson Octagonal House really gets around. It has actually traveled down Bridge Street twice: in 1987, it was moved up Bridge Street and 25 years later — as part of Sackville’s 250th anniversary — it was moved back down Bridge Street.

Original configuration

George Anderson originally built this unusual house on Bulmer Lane, Sackville, back in 1855. As a shipbuilder and sea captain (from a family of sea captains) George somehow picked up on a new fad for building houses with eight sides. Hundreds were built across North America around 1850-70 but only a scatter of these extraordinary houses remain. There are only two or three others in the Maritimes and none remains as close to its original condition as George Anderson’s.

In 1987, the Town of Sackville took ownership of the Anderson Octagonal House, moved it onto the site that had been cleared of the Fawcett Foundry on the corner of King and Main Streets (now a Mt. A. parking lot) and converted it into the town tourist bureau (Tourist Info above main door) and Craft Gallery. Twenty-five years later, with a new facility for tourist information built at the bottom of Mallard Drive, easily visible from the Trans-Canada highway, the Town was looking for someone to take the now-unused octagonal house off its hands. The Tantramar Heritage Trust offered to re-purpose it once more, but only if it could be moved yet again, back to its old neighbourhood next to the home of another 19th century shipbuilder, Christopher Boultenhouse.

After 130 years of sheltering many different families and boarders, the Anderson House still retained three chimneys and a back extension that we assume was the kitchen. But before the Town could move the building to its new location, the chimneys and rear portion had to be taken down…and the roof lifted off and removed in order to allow the building to fit beneath power lines once the house was fitted onto a set of wheels (see photos). The house survived, kept its rather jaunty octagonal character, and became both Tourist Bureau and Craft Gallery at the back portion of the parking lots on the corner of King and Main Streets.

Raising the roof 1987

1987 move

Fast-forward another twenty-five years. As in the earlier move, if the Trust were going to move the octagon a second time around, it too would have to deal with the roof. The difference was that this time the roof would need to be completely dismantled in order to permit for the construction of a fully modern roof structure with some surprising new features. (For that transformation, you’ll need to wait till our second article on this subject.)

At that point, the old Octagon began running a remarkable obstacle course! First it had to stop for a crosswalk (don’t we all!) where the sign had to be lifted out of the way and the building banked sharply around the stoplights (turning on a red light?) only to pause again for NB Power to lift the power lines. You can tell from the photos that it was really raining!

I don’t think the RCMP would let any of us take a corner quite like that but a big tractor with an 8-sided house takes whatever space it needs! Next, it was up the hill towards Marshview Middle School where the building had a narrow miss with a telephone pole! Finally, the moving crew struggled up the driveway at the Boultenhouse Heritage Centre (29 Queens Road) and brushed closely by Boultenhouse which was soon to be the Octagon’s new neighbor. At that point Joe MacDonald and his movers, wet and weary, left Anderson House near its future location and headed home to get dry. When they returned next day, it was bright and sunny and the Octagon was clearly pleased to be nestled into its new location!

Raised up on cribbing, the house was carefully located, leveled and stabilized so the excavators could dig directly beneath the elevated building and prepare for a full basement to be poured.

When she was nestled back down on her solid new foundation, the carpenters moved back in and began erecting a brand new roof. But that’s the beginning of our next installment: the renovation of the Anderson Octagon that can reclaim some of its original dignity and at the same time begin a new life serving quite different purposes than ever before.

As tourist bureau

Dismantling the roof 2012

Onto the mover’s rig

Easing onto Main Street

Heading down Bridge Street

Raising the cross walk

Taking the corner on red

Raising more wires

Another close call

Trying to get up the driveway

Brushed by Boultenhouse

At its new home

Getting a brand new roof

Discovery of an Ox Yoke at Cumberland Creek

By Colin MacKinnon

In 1995, I visited the site of Cumberland Creek, situated below Fort Beauséjour, traditionally known as the landing place of some of the area’s Yorkshire settlers in the early 1770s (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Location of the “brush mat” and portion of the “fort road”, outside of the dyke, along Cumberland Creek below Fort Beausejour (Crown Grant Map).

At that time, the remains of a “brush mat” was exposed along the edge of the saltmarsh, outside of the dyke. This feature may have been associated with a very old aboiteau that was situated here or, possibly, as part of a marsh road built to access a place where smaller ships were unloaded. This brush mat was buried nearly one meter under the marsh and as the upper bay has a silt deposit rate of approximately 30 cm/year, the mat could easily be well over 200 years old (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Cumberland Creek, Ban of Fundy. The Ox Yoke was discovered just to the right of the “brush mat” (just outside of the photo). This mat is buried nearly one metre below the top of the saltmarsh. (Colin MacKinnon photo)

While exploring the protruding fragments of this “mat”, I noticed, sticking out of the mud, a rounded piece of wood with two mud-filled eyes staring back at me! The artifact was “in situ”, thus of contemporary age with the mat and on closer examination turned out to be a fragment from a likely 18th century English Ox Yoke (Figures 3 and 4).

Figure 3. Side view of the Yoke, approximately two feet long, cleaned with mud washed off. (Colin MacKinnon photo)

Figure 4. Top view of Yoke, cleaned with mud washed off. (Colin MacKinnon photo)

I refer to it as an English Yoke because of the way the oxen were attached. In a French Yoke, the horns of the oxen were strapped to the yoke while in the English type, the heads of the oxen protruded through wooden hoops which were connected through the two holes in the main beam of the yoke (see figures 4 and 5).

Figure 5. Yoke sketch and fragment (shaded) found along Cumberland Creek.

The ox yoke fragment is a tangible link to many past events witnessed below the ramparts of Beausejour. Ancestors of many of Chignecto’s early families first stepped foot in the New World at Cumberland Creek and one can easily imagine a heavily laden ox-cart, filled with a settler’s carefully chosen supplies and cherished possessions, plodding along the track that connected the creek to Fort Cumberland. This scene must have been replayed many times and this fragment of wood reminds us of those struggles. The Cumberland Creek ox yoke has been deposited with the Tantramar Heritage Trust.

A Note On Andrew Kinnear

By Peter Hicklin

In our last newsletter (No. 58,December, 2012), reference was made of “Mr. Kinnear” in Stephen Millidge’s letter to Sally dated either January 20, 1792, or January 18, 1793 (see Eugene Goodrich’s notes about this letter on page 7 of The White Fence no. 58, but also see below). Soon after the newsletter was distributed, I received a call from Mrs. Mary Day, a young and vivacious 91-year-old from Midgic, who informed me that that this reference to “Mr. Kinnear” in the newsletter was a reference to Mr. Andrew Kinnear, a distant relative of Mrs. Day’s via her maternal grandmother. She informed me that she had much information on Andrew Kinnear about whom she had intended to write a book. Would I be interested in seeing the information that she had accumulated? It certainly did not take long for me to reach Mrs. Day’s back door! In fact she passed on a large folder to me filled with
information about the Kinnears. The present note merely brushes the surface of the meaty collection of
information she passed on to me. Mrs. Day possessed sufficient information about the Kinnears to easily write a series of books about this most interesting family with fascinating characters of past years in our region. From this large collection of information, I extracted a few interesting bits about Mr. Kinnear which are described below:

Andrew Kinnear was a native of Ireland, born in 1750. He was an officer of the British forces in Canada for most of his adult life and served at Fort Cumberland in 1777. He served as Barrack-master and Commissary at that post for seventeen years (Letter from Thomas Carleton to the Rt. Hon. Lord Dorchester, dated 1794) Kinnear settled in Westmorland Co., New Brunswick, and was a member of the House of Assembly in 1786 and 1792. In 1792, Kinnear wrote a “Memorial” with respect ot the purchase of marshland where he made reference to Stephen Millidge:

Respectfully sheweth,
That your memorialist having in consequence of a resignation in his favor on the part of B. S. Williams of a lot of land in the Township of Westmoreland in Letter C. Division on No. 7, made application for the home marsh of said lots together with the marsh of the adjoining Lot No. 8 applied for by Spilller Fillmore but purchased of Fillmore by your memorialist which with the home lot No. 9 and 10, your memorialist has got a vote of cancel for. Your memorialist finding that said B.S. Williams not withstanding his resignatiom in favor of your memorialist, has in your memorialist’s absence when in Europe, disposed of said lot for the sum of 5 pounds and the above mentioned Spiller Fillmore refuses to accept this, as the surveyor Mr. Milledge, who is now in town, can testify – Your memorialist therefore respectfully prays for a grant of the said upland lot as they are contiguous to your memorialists marsh and your memorialist will if thought necessary consent to the indemnifying the purchase from Williams to the amount of 5 pounds and your memorialist as in duty bound will pray.
Andrew Kinnear
24th February, 1792

In 1792, Andrew Kinnear sat as a representative in the Assembly of the newly-formed Province of New
Brunswick along with Amos Botsford (Speaker), Charles Dixon and Samuel Grey.

In 1803, he lived in Westmorland with his wife and two children over the age of ten and two children under the age of ten. He died at the age of 67 in Westmorland Co. in 1818; his wife Letitia Boyd, born in Litterkenny Co. in Donegal, Ireland, died in Saint John.

I am most grateful to Mrs. Day to allow me to peruse the large collection of information that she had lovingly accumulated over many years of thoughtful research.—P.H.

Another Note on William Allen Esq.

Also in the December issue (see page 8, footnote no. 6), Eugene Goodrich wrote a clarification about William Allen in relation to a reference to “Allen” made by Stephen Millidge in his letter to Sally on 20 January, 1793. In his footnote, Dr. Goodrich indicated that William Allen “was the father of John Allen, one of the original fomenters of the Eddy Rebellion”. However, Mr. Charles Thompson wrote to us indicating that “William Allen is brother to John Allen the Rebel and not father”. Mr. Thompson seems to have important historical connections on this subject. He wrote: “The piece of land our farm now sits on here in Oxford, Nova Scotia, was purchased from William Allen in 1791 by Richard Thompson (of Jolicure) and registered in 1799.” However, looking at the genealogical history of the Allens (I thank Colin MacKinnon here for his assistance), we find that there were two William Allens over the years when Stephen Millidge wrote to Sally Botsford. William Allen Sr. died in 1785 and his son Judge
William Allen Jr. died in 1806. Hence, neither Eugene Goodrich nor Mr. Charles Thompson was wrong: there were two William Allens: William Allen Sr. was the father of William Allen Jr. who was the brother of John Allen. What was missing in Stephen’s original letter were the qualifiers “Sr.” and “Jr.”

My! My!….how details matter! Readers, please correct me if I am wrong. I will provide an update in
the next newsletter. I thank Mr. Thompson for giving attention to this important detail! It is nice to know
that our newsletters are read so critically and seriously by readers such as Mrs. Day and Mr. Thompson. Your commentary, phone calls and emails are very much appreciated!

Marion T. Wells Collection Donated to the Resource Centre

By Donna Sullivan

A large collection, compiled by Marion T. Wells (1917-2010) of Sackville, rich in historical and genealogical material, has been donated to the Resource Centre at the Boultenhouse Heritage Centre. The donation that began with Marion in 2009, was continued by her sons following her death. Although Marion Wells was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and grew up in Moncton, New Brunswick, she became an avid historian of the communities of Point de Bute, Jolicure and Aulac. Following graduation from Aberdeen High School in Moncton, and the Provincial Normal School in Fredericton, she taught school in Taylor Village, Moncton, and Point de Bute where she met Harold C. Wells, a descendant of the Etter family, who later became her husband. While living on a farm in Point de Bute where they raised three sons, Chesley, Roger and Keith, Marion involved herself in community activities such as the Point de Bute Women’s Institute.It was at such events that she became familiar with the people of the community. She had a passionate interest in the history of the families of the area, their homes, schools, land holdings, and occupations. Marion took great care in collecting, recording and compiling information about her husband’s ancestors, the Etters, and her adopted home. Harold, Marion and sons lived in Point de Bute for 17 years before moving to Sackville where Marion was bookkeeper for the Sackville Medical Centre for over 20 years. She continued to be involved with various organizations such as the United Church Women, the Fort Beausejour IODE, Tantramar Heritage Trust, St. Mark’s Anglican Church Women, Westmorland Historical Society and the Sackville Business and Professional Women’s Club.

A 25-page finding aid has been compiled listing and describing all the records related to the Etter/Wells and related families, and the community of Point de Bute containing family trees, historical sketches, photographs, letters, deeds, baptism records, marsh records, estate inventories, maps, programmes and clippings. Anyone wanting to view the records is advised to call the Boultenhouse Heritage Centre at (506) 536-4521, or email for an appointment. Artifacts related to the family have also been donated to the Boultenhouse Heritage Centre Museum.


Contributed by the “Then & Now” Committee of the Town of Sackville Heritage Board

1895 THEN – Berton Allison astride a horse next to his pond on his Main Street, Sackville, property. His house Brookside is barely visible in the trees on the left side of the photo. Note the wooden sidewalks and unpaved street. Photograph courtesy of Mount Allison University Archives, R.C. Archibald fonds, 5501/9/2/1/70

2012 NOW – Current photo taken from the same angle as the ca. 1895 photograph. Jean Coutu now occupies the site where Allison’s home (later the Ford Hotel) stood. Note that the pond no longer exists and Save Easy now occupies the sport where the pond once was. Photograph courtesy of Donna Sullivan.

The body of water in the 1895 Then photo was situated where the Save Easy grocery store is now located in Sackville (at extreme right of 2012 Now photo, with parking lot). In its early days, it was known as Allison Pond or Willow Pond. Henry Allison’s house Brookside was built in 1854 where the Jean Coutu pharmacy is now located (extreme left of 2012 Now photo); his property extended from Bridge Street to the Miller Block (beyond Save Easy). Allison constructed a dam in the brook which flowed through his property thus creating an artificial pond as clearly shown in the 1895 photo. The dam was destroyed by the Saxby Gale in 1869 and, after Allison died, his son H. Berton Allison replaced it in 1893. As Main Street grew with new business centres, the dam was removed and the brook was piped underground (see Donna L. Sullivan, Skating on Steel-Shod Feet, pages 13-14 (2011). It was a much “greener” site in 1895!