The White Fence, issue #59

February, 2013 · ISSN 1913-4134


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


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.

George Anderson originally built this unusual house on Bulmer Lane