The White Fence, issue #74



Dear friends,

This is a special treat! History is best told by those who were there and lived it. This is one of those noteworthy occasions. The following are personal reminiscences of Sackville in the form of original typescripts discovered by Rhianna Edwards. Two women wrote of their memories of Sackville spanning the years 1844, when Charlotte Dixon Hart was 4 years old, and 1936, when Mary L. “Minnie” Cogswell wrote her “essay” at age 79, a spread of 92 years. Charlotte wrote her narrative in 1931, two weeks before her 91st birthday, while Minnie wrote of her clear memories of Sackville before 1905, the year she left to live in Boston. There is little more for me to say except to encourage you to read Rhianna’s commentaries about these documents and those two ladies’ first-hand memories of their lives in Sackville through the latter half of the 19th century. If you read closely, you will note that their stories span times, people and events presented and described in earlier newsletters. So, just sit, relax and…


Peter Hicklin

Save the Dates!

A Taste of History Fundraising Dinner
Saturday, November 5, 6 pm
Speaker: Charles Burke, Parks Canada Archaeologist, on the recent work done at
Fort Lawrence.

Annual Holiday Open House and Volunteer Appreciation Night
Friday, December 2, 6 pm
At Boultenhouse Heritage Centre. Join us for music, food and great conversation.

Charlotte Dixon Hart Remembers

by Rhianna Edwards

Charlotte Dixon Hart, ca 1925 (Mount Allison Archives, Peter Penner fonds, 9014/1/6/2b)

Charlotte (née Dixon) Hart began writing the following reminiscence of her life in June 1930 and left off in May 1931, just before her 91st birthday. She died in November 1931 without completing it. The document I worked from is a typescript that may have been transcribed and typed by Charlotte’s daughter Lillian Hart from an original draft. As Charlotte noted in the text below, this is the second sketch or ‘letter’ she wrote; in 1920 she wrote a more complete biography of her parents.[1]

According to James D. Dixon, Charlotte Jane Dixon was born in Sackville, New Brunswick, on 9 June 1840, one of the eleven children[2] of Charles Dixon (1803-1864) and his wife Sarah Boultenhouse (1810-1884). She was a member of the first class at the Female Branch of the Wesleyan Academy (later the Mount Allison Ladies’ College) in 1854.3 On 24 August 1864, Charlotte married Methodist minister Rev. Thomas Davies Hart (b. 31 May, 1837, at Guysboro (Charlotte’s spelling), Nova Scotia) whom she had met when he attended the Mount Allison Wesleyan Academy. They had eleven children: C. Elizabeth (b. 1865), J. Arthur (b. 1866), Sarah L. (b. 1868), Louisa H. (b. 1870), Mary L. E. (b. 1871), Edward R. K. (b. 1874), Alice M. (b. 1875), Frederick W. (b. 1877), Lillian M. D. (b. 1879), C. May (b. 1882) and Emmeline who died in infancy.

Charlotte became known as the “mother of missionaries”4 because five of her six surviving daughters worked in Methodist mission fields in Japan, India and British Columbia. Rev. Hart served many Maritime towns and villages throughout his career but upon his retirement he and Charlotte returned to Sackville, NB, to live. He died on 12 July, 1923, at age 86 years and she died on 6 November, 1931, at 91 years of age. They are buried in the York Street Cemetery, Sackville, N B.

I have left the punctuation and spelling exactly as Charlotte wrote it. Where I felt it necessary, I added annotations; some were placed in [square] brackets within the text but most were put in footnotes. Although Charlotte did not complete the story, there is much good information about her family life, early Sackville, and the times in which she lived.

Second Letter

(begun June 29, 1930, Sackville, N.B.)

“A wonderful morning, a blue sky, a gentle breeze moving the leaves of the richly foliaged trees. The various shades of green in vegetable life. The soft green grass under one’s feet & the flowers: the wonderful flowers, can anything match the glory of nature in June? On a morning like this on the ninth of this delectable month in the year 1840 I entered the happy circle of Charles and Sarah Dixon’s family so full of precious memory.

In my 81st year I wrote a short sketch of my father and mother and shorter ones of each member of my own family all of which I suspect was rather imperfect, as I was just recovering from a serious illness, so now as I have entered my 91st year I will begin to write a brief account of my own life just because there is so little else that I can do.

My home: First I must begin this narrative with my home, it contained all that was desirable in the persons of my dear parents who with physical, mental, and spiritual qualities above the average conducted their home with a wholesome cheerful decorum. My brothers and sisters eleven in all of whom I even I only am left to tell the tale were about as nice a crowd as one would meet in a day’s journey, as the saying goes and those who grew to maturity filled the places they occupied in life with honor and integrity. My oldest brother died before my birth [Charles Dixon] but when my youngest brother was born [Frederic Allison Dixon] there were ten of us in our home but when baby Fred was nine months old my second oldest brother [John E. Dixon] thought he would like to see some of the world and uncle David Lyons[5] was in port here and going right back to England what better chance could offer itself to a boy of sixteen just out of school where he had done excellent work under the guidance of Dr. Pickard and his Staff of teachers [at Mount Allison Wesleyan Academy] in 1848 & 1849 and a few past years. So to England he went and falling in with a group of men going to California to seek gold he joined them and on arriving there finding himself about bankrupt he offered his services to a Boss who was loading a ship at the same wharf at which he had landed and he was set to work at five dollars an hour and in a very short time he had funds to proceed and we saw no more of brother John for twenty-one years from the day he left Sackville at which time I had entered my ninth year. 1849.

Up to this date or during these eight years I had been taught to sew, knit, read, spell and write and probably a number of other things and probably spent much of my time playing with and entertaining my baby brother. My schools days began when I was about four years old. I went with my brother to a one room schoolhouse near the corner of Bridge and Lorne Streets. It had a small porch taken off from the room in which to hang our wraps. On the East side a desk was attached to the wall, in front of which a high bench stood on which the pupils sat facing the wall when writing or using slates, and facing the Teacher the rest of the time with feet dangling in mid-air. A large stove occupied the center of the room, on two sides of which a low bench was placed where we could sit and warm ourselves in the cold weather. In front of the west window the Teacher’s desk and chair stood. My attendance must have been short as I have no remembrance of what I learned there. I probably learned my letters and how to make them and a few figures also. That schoolhouse has long since departed and lost sight of.

My next experience along educational lines was attending a Girl’s School in a private house between Fawcett’s Foundry[6] and the Fowler house. Miss Watts[7] was our teacher. My third attempt was at a mixed school on Main St. near Boultenhouse Corner, my fourth at what is now called the Ladies College Mt. Allison (Female Academy). My fifth was in the wide wide world where I am still at work studying at the age of ninety and one-half years old at this date ten days hence, this being November 29 1930 and tonight we are having a young couple Cecil and Isabel Hart[8] in for supper, bride and groom starting on their journey of life together. May their life be prosperous in the highest sense of the word.

Months have passed since the above was written. It is somewhat difficult to get time to think up and write down things that happened so long ago. One of the incidents of my thirteenth year was seeing a whale which had drifted up the river and grounded on its way back at the end of Dixon’s wharf. The monster stretching many feet beyond each side of it attracted much attention. I remember standing between its jaws and thinking there was plenty of room for Jonah and one or two more men in its immense body. I was nearly four and a half feet high and I did not touch the upper jaw while standing on the lower one.

I think it was during that year [1853] that I had my first overwhelming sense of the mighty power of God. I was reading an account of the size of the Sun in a book prepared for young people and the writer said it would take five hundred planets the size of this earth to reach across the sun, and in a moment I saw myself as a toy speck of dust to get out of sight through the floor, while the Word, “What is man that Thou art mindful of him?” passed through my mind, but I soon learned that after all man was the direct object of the Creator’s love and the crowning act of creation. Shortly after this I became a member of the Methodist Church with several of my girl companions, and not very long after that I began to teach in the Sunday School which was quite a simple act in those days. The S.S. pupils studied the catechism and after that lesson was heard we read a chapter in the Bible then with singing and prayer the time was gone and we all went into the Church for our morning Service which began at half-past ten summer and winter.

My father and mother had been leaders of the singing in the Methodist Church for a number of years. My father and his youngest brother [James Dixon, b. 1819] had played the bass viol[9], but when I was sixteen or there about they retired and a cabinet organ was installed which was played by my sister Sarah, so she with Uncle James became the leaders and I was one of the singers, my sister Mary was the chief alto. When I was seventeen I went to assist my sister Mary who was the wife of Professor Thomas Pickard and who was very ill and also her baby Humphrey, while there I took some music lessons both instrumental and vocal. I also met the man who was to be my husband seven years later. He was a student at the Boy’s Academy. We seldom met and never corresponded till about three months before our marriage. I remained with my sister two years, then after that my brother Arthur and I lived at home with our parents. My life was spent quietly with but few incidents of a special note occurring.

The two girl cousins I was most intimate with were Sarah Boultenhouse[10] and Mary Ann Lyons[11] and we had many a good time together, besides these two cousins I had three lovely girlfriends, Susan Allison[12], Janie Allison[13] and Minnie Crane[14]. Minnie’s father the Honorable William Crane died [31 March 1853] while she was quite young and her mother being an English lady returned to England, so after a time I lost sight of her. But Susan and Janie remained in Sackville until they married. Their homes here (they were cousins) are now owned by Horace Fawcett (later son-in-law CMP Fisher)[15] and Mt. Allison now Allison Lodge[16] (later torn down). Minnie’s home now Mrs. J. Wood (later son Herbert)[17] and my home was on the site of Mr. Blenkhorn’s house[18] we were very near together nearer than my two cousins. Sarah Boultenhouse home is now occupied by the family of Capt. F. Atkinson (later owned by town for School and rented to school teachers 2 apts.)[19] I don’t know who occupies Cousin Mary Lyon’s home but it is in good condition near the railway crossing toward West Sackville.[20] Mary Ann was the most literary one among us and became an excellent school teacher and her picture is or was hanging in one of the rooms of the High School building. The rest of us married and ran along in the ordinary line of life.

Thomas D. Hart and Charlotte Dixon Hart, ca 1860s. (Mount Allison Archives, Pickard, Dixon, Godfrey Family fonds, 2000.01/24/3)

Sarah B[oultenhouse] and I were married on the same day, she in the morning and I in the evening, Wednesday August 24, 1864. Sarah settled in Sackville and I went to Souris P.E.I. with my husband and I only saw my cousin Sarah once more for after a few years they moved away. The other three I did see occasionally. They all died in rather early life and I am the last of any of these families and except Minnie’s of which I know nothing. I am also the last one living both in my husband’s and my own family, and in two weeks time I will have reached my ninety-first birthday, this being the 28th of May 1931 and my birthday is June 6 [sic], (1840) 1931.

Charlotte Hart and four of her children, l-r: Lillian, Alice, Edward, and Elizabeth, ca 1920s. (Mount Allison Archives, Peter Penner fonds, 9014/1/6/2)

Mr. Hart and I only remained one year in Souris as it was a single man’s circuit, then we went to Nova Scotia[21] and served three years in North East Harbor. Two years in Shelburne, three years in Guysboro, not as a Pastor but recuperating from an illness. Then three years in Boylston, three in Pugwash, three in Selmah, three in Burlington, three in Berwick, one in Lockport, and three in Arcadia, then another period of rest in Sackville where supply work was done first in the Tantramar Mission, then a few months in Five Islands and perhaps a year at Louisburg, and a year at Ingonish. Four years of regular work at Sambro. One year visiting [son] Arthur and family at Port Mouton. Since that time we have lived in our own house in Sackville.[22]

Our first coming to Sackville in the summer of 1892 we lived in a rented house on Main St. a year and a half then we bought a house on York St.[23] now owned by our son Edward a Dentist. Then after coming back from Port Mouton we bought the house we are now living in from Mr. Charles Cahill.[24] To this has been added Electric lights, bath-room, a double sun-porch and a flower garden occupies the places of the gardenhouse and ice house, as neither of which was of much use to us.

Having made as it were a hop, skip, and jump over the years of my life in the foregoing pages I think I will begin and tell some of the many incidents that occurred during some of those years.

My first home was sold to a widow who opened it up as a private boarding house for ladies in 1851 or there about. It was built in 1833 or perhaps 1832 and was burned in 1866. This was a grief to my mother because of the sacred memories connected with that house which her husband had built and it was complete in every part from garret to cellar and in it all her children except her two eldest had been born [Charles and Sarah] and in which the first death had occurred and he was their firstborn [Charles]. Then the first break in the ordinary way by the second oldest boy [John E.] whom we saw no more for twenty-one years. Of the general life in that home I have recorded before. The year my father built the Cottage[25] opposite Walter Dixon’s residence, we occupied what was called the Crane house and while we were there Mrs. Crane and two of her children came back from England to make a final disposal of the property here.[26]


1 The 1920 and the 1930 sketches/letters both can be found in the Mount Allison R. P. Bell Libraries and Archives at CS90.D5 1900z Bell.

2 Her siblings were: Charles (b. 1838) died at age 11 years, Sarah (b. 1830), the second wife of Edward Cogswell, Mary E. (b. 1832) married Thomas Pickard, John E. (b. 1834) left Sackville at age 16 years and lived in California, William B. (b. 1836) married Maria Hallet and was involved in the local Dominion Foundry (later Enterprise Foundry), Christopher E. (b. 1838) a shipmaster and then shipbroker who eventually settled in London, UK, Charlotte, (b. 1840), Robert Y. (b. 1842) a shipmaster, Charles (b. 1845) lost at sea in 1867 at age 23 years, Henry A. (b. 1847) died of cholera at age 19 years and buried at sea and Frederic A. (b. 1849) died in childhood. See James D. Dixon, The History of Charles Dixon: one of the early English settlers of Sackville, NB (Sackville, 1891), 172.

3 Ibid. 173f.

4 A.D. Smith, “Sackville News” in the Saint John Globe, 29 August 1904.

5 Charlotte’s Aunt Jane (sister of her father Charles Dixon) married David Lyons, a master mariner.

6 This foundry was located at the corner of Main and King Streets, Sackville, NB.

7 Probably Catherine Watts who started teaching in Sackville in 1850. (Journal of the House of Assembly 1851, appendix xci “Schedule of Warrants drawn in favour of Trustees of Parish Schools, in 1850”.)

8 Charlotte is referring to her grandson, Cecil Dixon Hart, born 8 May 1904 to Dr. Edward Hart and his wife Beatrice Trueman. Cecil married Alice Isabelle Soy at Amherst, NS on 14 June 1930 (Marriage license found at accessed 11 September 2015).

9 This bass viol is now part of the holdings of the Keillor House Museum, Dorchester, NB. See Ray Dixon, Sackville Built, Australia Bound (Sackville: Tantramar Heritage Trust, 2011).

10 Sarah Boultenhouse (b ca 1837) was the third daughter of Charlotte’s uncle, Christopher Boultenhouse, and his first wife Rebecca Harris. She married Robert Hallett on 24 August, 1864, in Sackville, NB. (New Brunswick Courier, 3 September 1864). Sarah died of consumption at age 47 years on 18 January, 1884, in Moncton, NB. (Saint John Daily Telegraph, 22 January 1884).

11 Mary Ann Lyons was the daughter of David Lyons and his wife Jane Dixon (see footnote 3). She was a teacher who never married and she died 2 March 1887 in Sackville, NB at age 47 years. (Chignecto Post, 3 March 1887).

12 Probably Susan Alice Allison (b. 22 October 1840) daughter of Joseph Francis Allison and Mary A. Cogswell. Susan married Dr. William Johnston in 1863 and, secondly, Herbert Crosskill. She died at age 49 years, on 7 September 1889. Her father was a brother of Charles Frederick Allison of Mount Allison fame. (Leonard Allison Morrison, The History of the Alison or Allison Family in Europe and America, A.D. 1135 to 1893 (Boston: Damrell & Upham, 1893)), 195.

13 Probably Jane Clark Allison, b. 10 June 1840, daughter of Henry Burbidge Allison and Sarah Abrams. Jane married Seward S. Paddings of Bermuda. She died at age 48 on 13 June 1888, without issue. Her father was also a brother of Charles Frederick Allison. (Morrison, 195).

14 William Crane had four daughters and one son by his second wife Eliza Wood. “Minnie” was the nickname for the eldest daughter Mary Susan (b. 1840). See W.C. Milner, History of Sackville, New Brunswick (Sackville: Tribune Press, 1934), 139.

15 Currently 131 Main Street, Sackville, NB.

16 Now the location of Jean Coutu and the Great Canadian Dollar Store at 97 and 93 Main Street, respectively, Sackville, NB.

17 Currently known as Cranewood on Main, 113 Main Street, Sackville, NB.

18 Currently 43 Bridge Street, Sackville, NB.

19 Currently 29 Queens Road, Sackville, NB.

20 The location of this home has not been determined.

21 There is some discrepancy between Charlotte’s list and other sources regarding the circuits Hart served. According to various copies of the Cyclopedia of Methodism in Canada and of Walkington’s Directory, the Harts were called to serve in the following churches: 1864 Souris, PEI; 1865-68 North East Harbour, NS; 1868-69 Shelburne, NS; 1870-73 Guysboro, NS; 1873-76 Manchester, NS; 1876-79 Pugwash, NS; 1879-81 Maitland, NS; 1882-84 Burlington, NS; 1885-87 Berwick, NS; 1888 Lockport, NS; 1889-91 Arcadia, NS; 1892-99 Amherst, NS; 1900 Chester, NS; 1901-04 Sambro, NS; 1905-1923 Sackville, NB, superannuated (i.e., on pension).

22 A.D. Smith, in his Sackville News articles published in the Saint John Globe, stated that after a year in Sackville (1905-1906), Rev. Hart was called to Ingonish, NS to take a charge, leaving Sackville in July 1906. By 1907, T.D. and Charlotte had left Ingonish and were staying with their son Arthur in Port Mouton, NS. They returned to Sackville in 1908. (Saint John Globe, 23 July 1906; 30 September 1907; and 24 August 1908.)

23 Currently 28 York Street. They bought it in June 1893. (NB Land Registry Office, Book B-6, p. 532.)

24 Currently 29 Weldon Street (NB Land Registry Office, Book L-6, p. 225.) The Harts bought it in July 1908.

25 Charlotte’s first letter of reminiscence states that in 1920 it was: ‘occupied by Alfred Scott’. Possibly current address 58 Charles St., Sackville, NB.

26 Cranewood on Main, 113 Main St. Eliza returned to sell the house in the autumn of 1866. (Mount Allison Archives, G. J. Trueman fonds, 8332/2). The house was purchased by Josiah Wood in 1867.

Minnie Cogswell Remembers Her Home and Family

by Rhianna Edwards

Minnie Cogswell. (Mount Allison Archives, Crane Family fonds, 7947/3/6)

Mary Gordon “Minnie” Cogswell lived in the house currently known as the Marshlands Inn (55 Bridge St., Sackville, NB) from her birth on 15 October 1857 until the property was sold in 1896. In the following essay, Minnie reminisces about her childhood home and her parents. She was the youngest child of Edward Cogswell (9 December 1825-24 June 1895)[1] and his first wife Ruth Crane (7 December 1813-11 November 1874). Her siblings were William Crane (4 May 1851-1938), Arthur Edward (15 September 1853- 7 March 1937), and Susan Eliza (21 September 1855-28 October 1941). On 25 January 1877, two years after the death of Ruth, Edward married Sarah Dixon (5 May 1830 February 1912); they had no children.

When Ruth’s father, William Crane, died in March 1853, she inherited £1,500 and a 40 acre marsh lot.[2] On 29 May 1854, Edward sold the house he and Ruth were living in[3] and bought the land upon which they built the Cogswell House (later named Marshlands), no doubt using Ruth’s inheritance. The Cogswell family lived there until circumstances forced the sale of their home. Edward disappeared on 24 June 1895, and his body was not discovered for several weeks.[4] There was speculation that a depressed Edward committed suicide due to his financial problems.

Flyer circulated during the time Edward Cogswell was missing and presumed dead. (Mount Allison Archives, R.C. Archibald fonds, 5501/6/1/4, p. 164)

After his death, Minnie was appointed administrator of the estate. With the approval of her stepmother and siblings, she sold the family home (on 24 acres) to Henry C. Read.[5] The sale of the home property, as well as all other real estate he owned, was necessary in order to cover Edward’s many debts.[6]

In December 1896,[7] Read sold Minnie and her sister Susan a lot carved from the home property; they had a house built the next year (currently 61 Bridge St.). Minnie never married and after her sister wed[8] and moved to New Hampshire Minnie remained in Sackville, but only until 1905.[9] She then moved to Boston, MA, where she spent the rest of her life. Brother Arthur E. moved first to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and later to Kingston, Ontario.[10] William emigrated to the US in 1884. He was living in Michigan in 1896 and thereafter in Wisconsin, always listed in the censuses as ‘single’ and a boarder.[11] Thus, with the departure of Minnie, the Cogswell name died out in Sackville. In fact, this branch of the Cogswell family died out completely as neither Arthur nor Susan had children. Minnie died in Boston in 1951. She is buried in the York Street Cemetery, Sackville, along with her father Edward, mother Ruth, brother William C., and stepmother Sarah.

On the 1901 (Canada) and 1910 (US) censuses, Minnie listed her occupation as ‘journalist’ and there are several examples of her writings in the Mount Allison Archives.[12] This essay was discovered at the Nova Scotia Archives[13]; Minnie wrote it in 1936 at age 79 years.

In transcribing the manuscript, I left the punctuation and spelling exactly as Minnie wrote it. Where I felt it helpful, I added annotations; some are placed in [square] brackets within the text but most are in footnotes.

Marshlands Inn, Sackville, N.B.

Minnie G. Cogswell

This undated photograph of the Cogswell House may have been taken during the Cogswell’s tenure; however, if not, its appearance is likely a close representation of how the house appeared when the family lived there. (Photographic image courtesy of Barry Dane.)

Marshlands was built in the early 50’s on land that belonged to the late William Crane[14], and inherited[15] by his daughter Ruth Crane, the only child by his first wife.

The lot extended from the Cape Tormentine railroad track to Charles Street on west and east, and on the south to the C.N.R. track. The name was not acquired until some time in the 80’s[16] but was eminently suitable as a large portion of Mr. Crane’s property was marsh land, and several acres of marsh stretched to the south of the house.

The story best known of Mr. Crane was closely allied to a marsh. Like his father Col. Jonathan Crane of Grand Pré, he had a ready wit and once was driving across the marsh to Amherst with a Mr. Fuller. The latter spied a marsh hen, which is by no means a handsome bird, and thinking to have fun at his companion’s cost asked, “Can you tell me the difference between a Crane and a marsh hen?” “Certainly”, replied Mr. Crane, “a marsh hen is fuller in the head, fuller in the chest, and, in fact, is fuller altogether.” This quip went far and wide, it appears in “Harper’s Monthly”, and an English officer told of coming across it even in India.

Life was primitive in the girlhood of Ruth Crane, travel even by the well-todo was chiefly on horseback. This did not prevent frequent gayeties between the Cranes of Sackville, the Botsfords[17] of Westcock, and the Chandlers18 at Dorchester. It is recorded that Mrs. Phoebe Chandler, wife of the late Governor Chandler, once rode on a pillion behind her husband ten miles to attend a party. She not only carried an infant in her arms, but the mud was so deep Mr. Chandler had to probe with a long pole for safe footing.

In 1851[19] Miss [Ruth] Crane married her second cousin, Edward Cogswell who was with the firm of Crane and Allison. They began life in the good old fashioned way in a small cottage that stood near the present George Ford house.[20] Here their first child [William C.] was born, and a little later they moved into what is now the residence of Hon. A. W. Bennett.[21] This was built for his daughter by Mr. Crane, and in it the second son [Arthur E.] was born. As this house faced north it never suited Mrs. Cogswell who craved sunshine, and a little later ‘Marshlands’ was built where the two daughters [Susan E. and Minnie G.] first saw the light. Mrs. Cogswell’s bedroom was the large one with windows facing north and east. At the left on entering was the door into Mr. Cogswell’s dressing room, at the right the door into Mrs. Cogswell’s dressing room with the double window over the porch. The walls of the bedroom were adorned with silhouettes in black frames of Mrs. Cogswell’s half sisters,[22] daughters of Mr. Crane by his second wife Eliza Wood, an Englishwoman.

Ruth Crane Cogswell, 1872. (Mount Allison Archives, Crane Family fonds, 7947/3/5)

Cogswell children, ca 1859. Top, l-r: William and Arthur; Bottom, l-r: Susan and Minnie. (Mount Allison Archives, Crane Family fonds, 7947/3/12)

Down stairs the room to the left (now an office) was first the nursery, then a school room, lastly, the library. The room to the right was for some years used as both parlor and dining room. Later the back room with the bay window was used for meals, and the larger one dignified with the name of drawing room. Some time in the 80’s the pipe organ was removed from this large room and a niche built for it in the south wall of the library. Changes were also made in the kitchen, notably that of removing the old fashioned brick oven.

The house was first heated by a large wood box stove, and grates in all the down stairs rooms. Later the stove for wood in the front hall was replaced by a coal self-feeder, and in 1875 a coal furnace was installed.

Water for domestic purposes was furnished by a pump and cistern in the back kitchen, and drinking water by a well some distance from the house. Later another well much nearer was dug.

Marshlands has more than once been threatened by fire. At the time that candles were the only lights used in bedrooms, Mrs. Cogswell’s uncle, Silas Crane, when he came to visit, had a bad habit of reading in bed, though warned not to do so. The inevitable happened, Mr. Cogswell, hearing cries for help rushed in and poured the water from the water pitcher over the blaze. Mr. Crane escaped injury but alas! for the bedding. The next morning Mrs. Cogswell took her uncle sternly to task, saying, “You must never read in bed here again.” “No, Ruth, no I won’t”, he answered, “it’s bad for my eyes.” “It has been bad for my best counterpane”, tartly responded his niece.[23]

The next fire was more serious. In the late 60’s Mr. Vickery, of the drygoods firm of Lindsay & Vickery, rented the large two-story house to the west of Marshlands, which was the property of the Cogswells. Mr. Vickery built a hay press next to the stable, and in the latter part of May, 1870, the place caught on fire. With no fire department save willing neighbors to help and with Ruth Crane Cogswell, 1872. (Mount Allison Archives. Crane Family fonds, 7947/3/5) Cogswell children, ca 1859. Top, l-r: William and Arthur; Bottom, l-r: Susan and Minnie. (Mount Allison Archives. Crane Family fonds, 7947/3/12) but one well, which soon ran dry, the whole establishment was doomed. There was little wind, and that away from Marshlands; otherwise the holocaust would have been widespread. As the insurance on the house had been allowed to lapse the loss to the Cogswells[24] was heavy, but it was a crushing blow to poor Mr. Vickery who died in about a year[25] after the disaster.

Some time in the 80’s[26] during an evening party, the guest room (that facing west and north) took fire from candles used for ornamental purposes on the dressing table. The guests and family were startled by Arthur Dixon bursting in the front door shouting, “Your house is on fire.” It was a cold winter night and Mr. Dixon had valiantly run at top speed from Crane’s corner,[27] so it was several minutes before he could explain where the flames were. One of the ladies jumped to the conclusion it was her house that was on fire and promptly fainted. There was an immediate stampede of all the men upstairs, the rear guard being the family cat. Water and brooms were hastily brought, and the blaze soon beaten out, but new paper, curtains and carpet were required, and the colour scheme chosen was blue, the keynote being the bedroom china with its Grecian pattern in blue.

The third fire, date uncertain, occurred before breakfast when Mr. Cogswell saw puffs of smoke coming up through the parlor carpet. The floor had caught fire from the top of the furnace which came too close to the woodwork. This was soon extinguished with small damage, and proper fire cautions taken for the future.

In the picture of Sackville taken in the 60’s[28] is seen in the foreground a small building with a lean-to. This was first a sweet shop kept by a Mrs. Webster, then rented to several workmen in succession, and finally was converted into Mr. Cogswell’s office. To the left of the picture is the northern gable of the Vickery house, in the middle distance what had been the store of Crane & Allison, the old Methodist Chapel, as it was called, and the back of the Crane house. Higher up is dimly seen the “Female Academy” with the old gymnasium, Lingley Hall of beloved memory, the original college building, and the first boys’ academy.

This is the photograph to which Minnie refers, above. It was taken in July 1862. (Mount Allison Archives, Picture Collection, 2007.07/105)

In 1871 when Mrs. Cogswell and the elder daughter [Susan] spent a year in England,[29] the house was thoroughly renovated, much papering and painting being done. Various other alterations were made in the following years, but the greatest improvements were realized when Mr. Henry Read bought the place in 1896, and brought it to its present state of utility and harmonious beauty.[30]

Ruth Crane Cogswell was a semi-invalid for a number of years before her sudden death in 1874. In spite of ill health, she still exerted much good influence on the community, having a kind heart, a ready wit, keen intellect and deeply religious spirit. What she was to her family can best be expressed in the exquisite lines of Rose Darrough:

“I have known beauty
In gold spilled by a
sudden autumn sun,
In hush of twilight
when the day was done,
In trees that sway by
hidden mountain streams,
In youthful eyes
envisioning long dreams,
But beauty’s self
I’ve watched as your soul trod
The brave white way that
you have walked with God.”

She was essentially one whose passing left the remembrance of many a good deed, and one “whose yesterdays look backward with a smile.”


1 Edward Cogswell came to Sackville from Cornwallis Township, NS in 1842. He was the son of Oliver Cogswell and Sarah Alice Allison. By 1851 he was with the firm Crane and Allison and after the death of his father-in-law and until ca 1858, he was a merchant in the firm of Allison & Cogswell, with partner Charles F. Allison. In September 1866, widow Eliza Crane appointed him the agent for her husband William’s estate. In 1872 Edward was one of the founders and a major stockholder of the Dominion Foundry, Sackville, making stoves and tin ware. This company sold out to a syndicate in 1875 and changed its name to E. Cogswell & Co. This firm in turn sold out to the Enterprise Foundry Co. in May 1888, with Edward as a major shareholder. He sold all his stock in 1892 (Chignecto Post, Extra Number, “Enterprise Foundry”, September 1895).

2 Mount Allison Archives. Crane Family fonds, 7947/2/7

3 Currently 67 Bridge St. This house had been built for them by Ruth’s father, William Crane.

4 Chignecto Post, 24 and 27 June; and 4 andv 18 July 1895; Saint John Daily Telegraph, 2 July 1895.

5 New Brunswick Land Registry Office, Book M-6, p. 377ff and Book L-6, p. 225f.

6 New Brunswick Land Registry Office, ibid.

7 New Brunswick Land Registry Office, Book O-6, p. 114f.

8 On 23 July 1901, Susan was married in Lunenburg, NS to William W. Flint (1850-1945), a teacher from Concord, New Hampshire. Susan died in Concord on 28 October, 1941, and W.W. died there on 6 January, 1945.

9 While Minnie was in Boston, the house at 61 Bridge St. was rented to various persons for several years but on 24 July, 1911, it was sold to H. C. Read. (New Brunswick Land Registry Office, Book M-8, p. 62.)

10 According to the 1891 and 1901 censuses, Arthur was a bank clerk for the Halifax Banking Co., married to Kate Crookshank. By 1911 they had moved to Kingston, Ontario, where Arthur was a church organist. Arthur died in Kingston on 7 March, 1937, and Kate died on 9 March, 1955.

11 Even in 1930, when he was 78 years old, he was still working. On each census he was an ‘Abstractor’.

12 Mount Allison Archives. R. C. Archibald fonds, 5501/6/1/2 p. 25; 5501/6/1/3, p. 11; 5501/6/1/4 p.12; 5501/6/1/5 p.133; and George J. Trueman fonds, 8332/2/2/4.

13 Nova Scotia Archives. MG100, Vol. 216, #42b. The manuscript consists of 5 ½ typewritten pages.

14 William Crane was a merchant, justice of the peace, judge, and politician. He married first in 1813 to Susannah Roach of Amherst, Nova Scotia and they had one daughter, Ruth. William Crane died on 31 March, 1853, in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

15 As seen above, this statement is slightly incorrect.

16 Local lore states that upon purchasing the home in 1896, Henry C. Read gave it the name Marshlands.

17 William Botsford (1773-1864), lawyer, judge of the Supreme Court, and politician. He married Sarah Lowell Murray, née Hazen in 1802.

18 Edward Barron Chandler (1800-1880), lawyer, judge, politician and Lieutenant- Governor of New Brunswick between 1878 and 1880. He married Phoebe Millidge in 1822.

19 According to the 2 February, 1850, edition of the New Brunswick Courier, they were married on 24 January, 1850, not 1851.

20 Near current 68 Bridge St., Sackville, NB.

21 Currently 67 Bridge St., Sackville, NB.

22 William Crane married Eliza on 25 Oct. 1838; they had six children: Mary G. “Minnie” (b. 1840); William (b. 1842 but d. 1843); Laura (b. 1843); Eliza E. (b. 1845); Miriam (b. 1851); and William (b. 1853). Note that Ruth’s first two children were born in the same years as her father’s last two children.

23 Silas Hibbert Crane (b. 1787) was the brother of Ruth’s father. He died in 1872 and thus this fire must have occurred prior to that year.

24 Cogswell’s loss was $2,000 due to the complete destruction of the house and barn (Chignecto Post, 7 June, 1870).

25 Thomas D. Vickery, merchant, age 36, died on 30 July, 1871 (Chignecto Post, 3 August 1871). His personal loss was $500 and the loss to Lindsay & Vickery was $1,000 (Chignecto Post, 7 June, 1870).

26 By this time, Ruth had died and Edward had remarried Sarah Dixon on 25 January, 1877.

27 The corner of Main and Bridge Streets, Sackville, in the early years was popularly known as Crane’s Corner because the firm of Crane and Allison was located on the northwest corner. Also, around 1836 William Crane built a stone house nearly opposite his firm (113 Main St. and still standing).

28 See photograph below.

29 Among other things, they attended the second marriage of Eliza Crane. She married Dr. Richard Payne Cotton on 7 March, 1872, at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. (Chignecto Post 18 April, 1872, and Mount Allison Archives, George J. Trueman fonds, 8332/2/3/1). She died at London, UK on 13 June, 1894.

30 The Read family carried out extensive renovations between 1905 and 1908 including the addition of a third level and a front porch. The home was converted to an inn in 1935 by son Herbert W. Read who renamed it Marshlands Inn. Under various owners, it has continued as an inn to the present.