I was born in the country near Blue Belle, New Brunswick. Dad
came from Prince Edward Island and Mom came from Adamsville, Fredericton,
New Brunswick. Mom and Dad had thirteen children - nine boys and
four girls. I am the eldest daughter in the family.
At the age of 18 I was married in Blue Belle and my husband and
I bought 100 acres of land at Crombie Settlement. As was the case
in those days, we hauled water or melted snow until water could
be piped to the house. I made bread every two days. We cooked
on a wood stove in the kitchen and we also had a wood heater in
We had a large garden every summer and the produce from the garden
was stored in the root cellar for use during the winter months.
We picked a lot of berries- gooseberries, blueberries, raspberries,
cranberries and strawberries. I made a lot of jam, and also canned
a lot of food into jars in preparation for the winter months.
We raised seven healthy children - two girls and five boys. I
sewed clothes for the children - diapers, dresses, etc. I also
used men's black and brown long coats to make coats for the children.
I made collars in red plaid and also put red plaid trim on the
pockets to make the coats pretty. I knitted socks and mitts. I
am now 83 years old and I am still knitting for my growing family.
Hard work never hurts anyone.
The children remember picking lots of hazel nuts and putting
them in a burlap bag. They would then go down and soak them for
awhile in the brook, until it was easier to remove the tusk. Then
they would sell the nuts - a big pail for a quarter.
My children would also set up pails for the collection of maple
syrup which I boiled down for pancake syrup. We had an apple orchard
and again we were able to put away apples in the root cellar.
Every fall the deer would eat apples in the orchard and it was
very pretty to watch them when the moon was out. My husband hunted
for meat and shot two deer. I canned the deer meat and also some
I made honey from clover, pink roses and sugar. We had a lot
of pink roses in front of the house. There were also lots of bees
as well as lots of bears! We had two cows, a calf, two horses
and chickens. I made lots of chicken stew for my children.
I remember one time when a storm was approaching and I told my
daughter to run out to the baby chicks. I wanted her to gather
them together and put them underneath two overturned, square laundry
tubs to protect them from the storm. My daughter forgot to prop
a stick under the edge of the washtub to allow oxygen in for the
chicks. After the storm was over, we checked on the chicks and
found that they had all suffocated. We lost about 50 chicks which
would have been a major contribution to our food supply at the
One year our sow lost her piglets so she became a family pet.
The children would get on her back and ride her around the yard
like a pony. This sow was always breaking down the fence to get
out to search for her piglets. Each day she would meet the children
as they arrived home from school. One evening she got into the
shed and knocked down a barrel. She then ate too many oats and
we had to have her butchered. The children all cried and even
though they were hungry, wouldn't eat their pet pig.
During the summer my husband was on Fire Watch and he walked
up the mountain to the tower where he watched for fires. Another
job he had was pushing the logs up to the mill. They dumped the
logs into the water so the bark would come off easier, I think.
My husband would run on the logs while they were in the water.
It was scary for me.
After the children were grown and left home, my husband and I
moved to the city of Fredericton, New Brunswick. My husband was
employed with a mobile home company where he worked in constructing
these homes. During this time, we purchased a mobile home and
moved it to a trailer park where we lived for six years. Due to
illness, my husband was laid off from his job. He died of heart
failure at age 66. These years were very difficult ones. I was
fortunate to find work babysitting. I took care of two children
for one of the local school teachers. At the time I began this
work, the eldest child was just three months of age. I looked
after these children for ten years.
My seven children have given me eighteen grandchildren and eighteen
great-grandchildren, as well as one great-great-grandchild.
In October, 2003, I moved to Whitecourt in order to be closer
to my eldest daughter, Germaine Samson. I lived with Gordon and
Germaine until May, 2004 when I accepted the opportunity to become
a resident of Spruce View Lodge. With only twenty residents and
a small staff, we are like a large family. These folks soon became
a close part of my extended family. There is always a lot to do
at the Lodge and I have been made to feel very much at home.
This past summer, my daughter and her husband took me to New
Brunswick to visit my family and friends. I enjoyed my visit very
much. I was also very happy to return to my new home and friends
in Whitecourt. I feel blessed to have found such lovely people.
May God bless us all.