Today, as I write, it is the 30th of September. Tomorrow will be a centenary celebration. As Colin MacKinnon reminds us in this issue, tomorrow will be Sackville’s centenary celebration of the dedication ceremony of a memorial to the young boys who died in World War I. The text is short but it’s worth spending time on the two special photographs (postcards) attached to this historic newspaper article, bringing to us a former time back to life, one hundred years later. We also owe special thanks to Catherine George and Phyllis Stopps who provided Colin with the two postcards (Catherine) and historic details as well as a newspaper excerpt (Phyllis) which carry us back to that precise time. The exact centennial moment will have passed by the time you read this but I hope that you will all be touched, as I was, to “witness” the town’s citizens honouring those young men who died for us one hundred years ago.
But this is not Colin’s only contribution to this newsletter. You will note Colin’s assistance in the article by Paul Bogaard regarding a parcel of land on King Street. It’s a very interesting story. Forty-six years prior to the centenary celebration noted above, six acres of land on King Street owned by Humphrey Pickard were sold to Captain William Pringle, a parcel of land on which an interesting estate sale occurred in 1918. I say “interesting” especially because of all the names associated with those few acres over the succeeding years. As you will note, Paul’s research on this piece of land and the house built upon it is quite thorough!
of Sackville’s War Memorial
by Colin M. MacKinnon
Recently, Catherine George showed me two important photographs (postcards, at right) of what appeared to be a ceremony at the Sackville Memorial Park. I assumed the images were of the cenotaph dedication that occurred shortly after World War 1 but I did not have an exact date. The pictures were worth sharing so I dug a little deeper. First, I sent copies to Bill Snowdon and Percy Best inquiring if they could tell me the approximate age of the vehicles present (not an easy task as most of the identifiable features of the cars are missing from the photographs). They suggested early 1920s as a date for the automobiles. This was followed up with an email to Phyllis Stopps whom I rely on not just for her research abilities but also a filing system that far exceeds mine. She quickly dropped off a file folder containing the history of the park as well as a short excerpt from the day of the dedication ceremony that occurred on the 1st October 1922; 100 years ago, this year!
An article from the Sackville Tribune provided the salient details of the event:
“The weather Sunday afternoon (1 Oct., 1922) was ideal for the unveiling of the monument erected (by Sackville’s Local Council of Women) in the Memorial Park in memory of the thirty-five Sackville boys.” [who died in World War 1].
“About a couple hours before the ceremony commenced thousands of people of all ages gathered in the vicinity of the park, all the main thoroughfare being lined with automobiles. The School children and cadet corps assembled in the Main Street Park and led by the Sackville Citizens’ Band paraded to the Memorial Park. It was truly an inspiring and touching sight.”
What’s in a Name?
Fawcett Avenue was named after Hugh Gallagher Fawcett (1844-1927) at the request of his daughter Annie who, with her husband William Knapp Best, lived on that street for many years. Most of the land along Main Street from the present Mount Allison University to the Trans-Canada Highway was once Fawcett land having been purchased by John Fawcett in the late 1770s. John was part of the Yorkshire Immigration to Chignecto. He and two brothers, Robert, William and families, emigrated from Hovingham, Yorkshire, in 1774 on board the brigantine Two Friends.
Hugh Gallagher Fawcett was descended from John, being the 3rd generation born in North America. He was the son of Robert and Jane (Trueman) Fawcett, thus descending from Yorkshire stock on both sides. He was a well-respected farmer and resided all his life in Sackville. Fawcett was a lifelong Liberal, a staunch Methodist, and attended the Mount Allison Academy when Dr. Humphrey Pickard was President (1862-1869).
Source: Smith, Allan D., Aboushagan to Zwicker – An Historical Guide to Sackville NB Street Nomenclature. Publication of the Tantramar Heritage Trust (2004).
Captain Pringle’s Victorian House
by Paul Bogaard
This story began simply as a search into the background of an older house on King Street in Sackville. As so often happens, it also led to a number of interesting revelations, all intertwined, about Sackville’s 19th century past.
The Tantramar Heritage Trust was approached early this year by the new owners of #52 King Street inquiring about the age and any other information about their newly acquired house.1 It seemed to them, just from the way it sits on the rise of the hill, like it might be the original farmhouse in that area.
Since I had just given a talk on early houses in Sackville,2 the inquiry was passed along to me and, as soon as I took a look, I recalled many years ago buying a used piano from that very house. While part of this memory is coloured by the delight of our older daughter to have her own piano (if used), what I so vividly recall is the struggle to extract a heavy “upright,” hoping to leave the house intact and getting it home without injury to helpful friends! When I reached out to Colin MacKinnon who grew up on King Street, he recalled this house being known as the “Carson place.” It turns out that was the same period during which we hauled away the Carson’s heavy piano.
That was confirmed by a search of the Westmorland County Registry office records3 of deed transfers which capture not only the Carson family living there in the 1970s but at least twelve other owners in the past 100 years. This remarkable train of ownership began with an estate sale in 1918. But, before we pick up on that unexpected episode, I want to pause and consider the house itself.
Beginning at Main Street, King Street rises up for a half kilometer or so until it reaches a plateau created for this house. Throughout Sackville, the earliest house on a street was often placed at the top of a rise. The next thing that drew my attention was that this is a house constructed with a “central gable” – you can see it facing left on Fig. 1 – a key feature on many of Sackville’s “Victorian” houses. A word of explanation may help here.
Queen Victoria reigned over the British Empire from 1837 till 1901 and historians have called the architectural styles that arose during this period “Victorian.” This term is used for the styles of private homes as well as for fancier buildings, typically subdivided into a series of styles. These are first seen in Sackville about twenty years after Victoria began her reign with houses that feature more pointed windows and steeper roofs. With bay windows, gables, towers and brackets being added, builders increasingly arranged these elements into less symmetrical patterns, mixing a wider range of clapboard, shingles and stone. Names for this evolution of styles reflect influences such as Italianate (look for squared towers), Second Empire (look for Mansard roofs) and Queen Anne Revival (check out the house of Mount Allison’s President at #82 York Street). Whereas earlier more “classical” styles were used over many decades, each of these Victorian styles remained fashionable for only a decade or so, making it easier to assign them a rough date, at a glance.4
As these various Victorian styles can be readily noted from afar, my wife and I have driven up and down the streets of Sackville and counted. Of just over 2,600 houses in Sackville used as family residences5 at least 200 are Victorian in style – and that means, built in the second half of the 1800s.
We have also counted how many feature central gables and it turns that out over half of them do! In other words, there are as many Victorian-era houses in Sackville featuring central gables as all other Victorian styles added together.
As the drawings above make clear, central gables are combined with entrances and often bay windows in various ways. They also differ as to how wide the gable is as it reaches down to the eave of the roof. As I pointed out to the new owners of #52 King Street, one can compare the gable on their house with that of the Colville house, easily seen from curbside at #76 York Street. The roofline of the Colville house is steeper and its central gable “sharper.” (Its central gable faces the street while its main entrance is on the end of the house, facing to the left, which is just the opposite of #52 King). Now look at the house at #77 York, directly opposite the Colville house. It has a central gable as well, with its main entrance centered underneath but facing to the right when viewed from York. This central gable is much wider at its base and the slope of that gable and all the rooflines of that house are less steep.
The house with the wider central gable is known to have been built in 1864 and the Colville house in 1880. The general trend was for rooflines and associated gables to get steeper as the decades rolled on. The gable and rooflines on the house at #52 King Street is in between these two examples and was, I suggested, likely built at a time in between (i.e. the 1870s).
With this hypothesis in mind, I set to searching the Registry records more carefully and was duly rewarded.6 One challenge was to bear in mind that street names have changed over the years. For example, the Registry records of property being sold bordering on King Street had in earlier deed transfers been described as bounded by “Foundry Road” – same street but with an earlier name – and even earlier transfers referred to this same boundary as “the road leading to Fairfield.” So, to pick up our story from above, it was a larger 6-acre property that was sold in 1918 and described as located inside the corner of Foundry Street and Kirk Street, earlier named Bowser Avenue for Richard Bowser whose farm had been located there (see Fig. 5). In the decades thereafter, lots were sold off until the original house that sat on 6 acres now remained standing on the smaller residential lot at 52 King Street.
This same 6 acres had been purchased in 1876 by Capt. William Pringle. That was a bit of surprise because Pringle Street was supposed to have been named after Capt. Pringle but that street actually takes off from King Street just across the way. Capt. Pringle had been thought to live in a house at the top of the rise of Pringle Street7 but I soon discovered that Capt. Pringle had also purchased a 25 acre parcel on the north side of King Street directly across from the 6 acres just described. In fact, I learned from Colin MacKinnon that the Pringle farm on which William Pringle was born and raised was a few kilometers further out King Street, on what had been called the “road to Fairfield” (see Fig. 5). William grew up to become a Master Mariner and evidently, as soon as he had the means, he invested in properties along the road he had known all his life. But where had he lived?
It turns out the deed in 1918 that indicates the transfer of his 6-acre property was from his estate – he had passed away in 1915 – and it clearly states that this was “the homestead premises of the late Capt. Wm Pringle.” Not every deed states so clearly whose house stands on the property being transferred but this time I was lucky. It remains the case that Pringle Street was named after Capt. William and we have located several deeds transferring individual lots up and down that street from him; but it is also the case that his own “homestead” was just across the road at what is today #52 King Street.
It also proved interesting that when Capt. William bought his property in 1876, he purchased it from Humphrey Pickard. That name was a familiar one because Humphrey Pickard came to Sackville almost 40 years earlier to become the first President of Mount Allison – at that stage, still the Wesleyan Men’s Academy. What’s more, Pickard had purchased this 6-acre parcel from Crane & Allison in 1847 and this was the same Charles F. Allison who provided the land and finances that enabled the Methodists to launch their academy in Sackville and bring in Pickard to run it. Capt. Pringle’s 6 acres had been a portion of the much larger holding granted to Amasa Killam in the 1760s then sold to his son-in-law William Atkinson who, by 1831, had sold the portion that became Mount Allison to Crane & Allison.
Allison, it seems, had advised his friend and colleague, Humphrey Pickard, to invest in some land in this area. But we know that Allison himself lived where Convocation Hall now stands on York Street and further up the street Pickard had his home.8 These are all good reasons to assume that neither Allison nor Pickard had ever lived on this 6-acre parcel.
By the time William Pringle purchased this parcel in 1876, he is named in the deed as a “Master Mariner” and it was described as located south of the road to “Fair Field” and east of the private road leading down to Richard Bowser’s farm. The Walling map of 1862 that has proven so valuable in helping to locate early properties (each owner was named!) is too early to have named Capt. Pringle on his new place, but R. Bowser is clearly named as is the Pringle farm where Capt. William grew up, on the road out to “Fair Field.”
We also know that Capt. William was married in the early 1870s, that he purchased the land in 1876 and that the style of the house he built was from the 1870s (or so I had supposed). And sure enough, the deed that sells this same property 40 years later states that it was “the homestead premises of the late Capt. Pringle” – about as solid a case as a historian can build.
In summary, this has been one of those delightful occasions when one discovery leads to another: the same evidence that revealed when and by whom the house at #52 King Street was built also shed light on the story of how Pringle Street got its name. It gave a nice example of how street names evolve over time, linking this property back into the early grants of land within what was still Sackville Township and all while exploring a fine example of the most common of Victorian style houses in our town. So, when next out on the streets of Sackville, you should be able to spot the houses that were built with central gables, roughly 150 years ago, and consider how each example fits into the trend toward increasingly steeper roof lines.
1 My thanks to the Boxleitners for contacting the Tantramar Heritage Trust and for being content for me to feature their house in this article. My thanks also to Colin MacKinnon and Al Smith for information and encouragement.
2 This talk, “What happened to Sackville’s early houses?” was recorded and can be viewed here. Use the access code: C#6fDioU.
3 These can now be accessed online (by subscription) through Service New Brunswick’s “PLANET Access” or through Ancestry.com.
4 For a guide to architectural styles, I recommend Allen Penney’s Houses of Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, his date-ranges and the styles he emphasizes do not quite fit Sackville but it is filled with useful information. A broader background is provided by Ennals & Holdsworth’s Homeplace: The Making of the Canadian Dwelling over Three Centuries. (Peter Ennals taught for many years at Mount Allison.) For a local sampling, with photos and dates, see the Tantramar Heritage Trust’s website (search for “Historic Sites”). What one cannot see readily from the outside is that the shift from more classical styles to Victorian styles was made possible by technological advances in sawmills, factory made nails, and new construction techniques. The joining of timber frames that kept earlier styles simpler and rectangular in shape gave way to the taller and more irregular shapes and combinations nailed together from dimensioned lumber into distinctive Victorian styles.
5 See “Population and dwelling counts: Canada, provinces and territories, census divisions and census subdivisions (municipalities), New Brunswick”. Statistics Canada.
6 Key entries in the Westmorland Land Registry include: 1918 Book E9/p. 665 records sale of 6 acres from the Estate of Capt. Pringle, his “homestead premises.”
1876 Q3/114 records sale from H. Pickard to Capt. Pringle of same 6 acres.
1856 Deed #17643 records William Pringle Jr.’s purchase of 25 acres north of Foundry Rd.
1847 Y/539 records C.F. Allison’s sale of 6 acres to H. Pickard.
7 See Al Smith’s Aboushagan to Zwicker, Tantramar Heritage Trust, 2004, p. 57.
8 Pickard’s house was located right next to the handsome Queen Anne Revival house we mentioned earlier that now houses Mount Allison’s President.
THT Releases New Book:
Foundries of Sackville NB – The Places, Products, Processes, and People
by Susan Amos
The Tantramar Heritage Trust is pleased to announce the launch of its 38th publication, Foundries of Sackville NB – The Places, Products, Processes, and People by Susan Amos. The book was launched on Saturday, September 17th at 2 p.m. at Sackville Town Hall to a large and appreciative crowd. Foundries of Sackville NB tells the story of a major industrial presence in the community of Sackville, New Brunswick, for over 150 years. This 200-page book is the only one ever written on one of Sackville’s major industries. The establishment of the foundries in the latter part of the 19th century marked a shift in the town from an agricultural and mercantile economy to one more industrialized in nature. Thousands of employees over eight generations made products such as wood stoves, furnaces and room heaters sold not only across Canada but also throughout the world. In the book’s pages, you will learn about the highlights of Sackville’s three foundries: Fawcett’s, Enterprise, and Enterprise Fawcett. What were their major milestones? What did the foundries make and how did they make them? What about the stories of the people who worked there? How did the foundries influence the community in which they built their success? And how can Sackville honour and celebrate this part of its heritage? At last the story of Sackville’s foundries is brought together in one place. With photos on almost every page and a simple writing style, the book is accessible to all.
Copies of the book cost $25 and are available at the Boultenhouse Heritage Centre and Tidewater Books in Sackville. It can also be ordered online through our website here.
Thank you to the Council of Archives New Brunswick
The Tantramar Heritage Trust wishes to thank the Council of Archives New Brunswick (CANB) for their support and generosity in once again awarding us funding through their annual grant programs. In May, we received a grant of $897.41 that allowed the Trust to purchase specialty archival supplies to properly re-house, care for, and handle the many archival papers, records, and photographs that have been donated to us by members of the community. This ensures their preservation for the Tantramar region’s historical record and, combined with our description, allows us to make these archival fonds accessible to the public. We couldn’t achieve this important part of our mission without the CANB’s assistance. We are extremely lucky to have such an important resource that also offers archival workshops, outreach, and assistance to New Brunswick historical repositories.
“A Taste of History” Fundraising Dinner Returns!
Like many organizations, we were forced to cancel events during the pandemic, including our annual fundraising dinner. But this year, it’s back! We’re pleased to let you know that our “Taste of History” Fall Fundraising Dinner will be held on Saturday, November 5, 2022, at St. Ann’s Church Hall in Westcock. The theme is Sackville’s Foundries. This year marks the 170th anniversary of the founding of the Fawcett Foundry and the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Enterprise Foundry.
The evening will include Al Smith’s very popular trivia contest (Enterprise vs. Fawcett, perhaps?) and scenes from an upcoming play about the foundries being presented by Live Bait Theatre in November and written by THT board member Susan Amos, author of the recently released book (see above) which has been selling rapidly. Copies will be available for purchase at the dinner. Catering will be provided by Laurie Ann Wesselby