- DAYS OF YESTERYEAR IN MONCTON AND ALBERT COUNTY RECALLED
Editor, Moncton Daily Times
Dear Sir--A visit to the modern City of Moncton a few weeks ago brought to mind the
Moncton, termed by the down-river people "The Bend" of the late seventies and early eighties when a young man I served as
apprenticeship with C. E. Northrup, then the only photographer in the town. I was pleased to find him still hale and active.
The columns of The Times were permeated with the keen wit of Thaddeus Stevens
and a thorn in the side of the administration at Ottawa. After a head-on collision on the I. C. R., The Times headlines announced----"Another Unsuccessful
Attempt to Cross Two Trains on a Single Track---There's Millions in it if they only succeed".
Most of the town lay below the Main Street railway crossing which was at grade and
protected by flagmen. Practically all sidewalks were of plank. The river bridge was a rambling wooden structure. The present
fine Brunswick Hotel has replaced a small wooden building and the same is true of many business blocks on Main Street.
Your splendid Post Office and Customs House would do credit to a much larger
city. As I viewed the handsome new High School building, I was impressed with the city's growth. The factory building near
the new school, was, I think, built in an open field for the Peters Combination Lock Company. The only criticism of your fine
new school is the crowded location.
Certainly Moncton has spread out. My interest was strengthened upon learning that the red stone trim of the building
was donated as a memorial to Dr. James Lynds, an intimate schoolmate of mine at Hopewell Cape. I recall an incident in our boyhood---"Bub", as his father called him, and I had attached our selves
to a party of larger boys on a berrying, and incidentally swimming expedition to "Cape Rocks". While the party explored the mysteries of "The Devil's Cave" the fast rising tide very nearly cut
off our escape---Bub and I rode to safety on the shoulders of bigger boys. At that time two prosperous farmers, Dickson’s
and Ransoms, occupied the Cape but on my visit this summer I failed to find a trace of either; both are grown to woodland.
I was interested to learn that my friend Bill Chapman, of Salisbury, is advocating this unique rock formation be included in a National Park. This should prove a
strong attraction to tourists.
A few years later than the period I refer to at Hopewell Cape, an active youngster, likely to be on hand if
anything exciting turned up, was known as "Dickie" Bennett----known to the world now as R. B. Bennett, Ex-Premier.
I wonder how many of your readers recall the first steamboat to ply between
and Saint John.
The "Albert" was built at Hopewell Cape by Captain Henry Bennett, father of R. B. As I remember the boat she registered around 100 tons, had accommodations
for a few passengers but was intended principally for freight business. After launching she was to Saint John where engines and propellers
were installed and I well recall her first trip. As she chugged proudly but slowly up the bay, everybody at the Cape turned out to wave hats and handkerchiefs in salutations.
The heavy engine weighted the stern low in the water; she had little power and was not a success, mechanically or financially.
While Moncton and the suburban territory shows normal growth and prosperity. I was sorry to note the forlorn decay
so evident in Shepody, especially at the village of Albert, formerly Hopewell Corner. When I, a young man of twenty, started my first small business enterprise
there Albert boasted of ten or a dozen stores, mostly of the general type, a harness shop, tin shop, tailor shop and other
such utilities, also three hotels. Legal and medical fraternities were well represented and last but by no means least, "The
Weekly Maple Leaf" published by Lovett M. Wood and boasting an exchange list reaching to the Pacific Coast. "Love" might be credited as the original
natural gas producer of Albert County. He will doubtlessly be remembered by the older newspaper men.
Schooners were loading lumber throughout the season at both Albert and Riverside, supplied by a gang-saw mill employing
a large crew of workmen. The village was an active trading centre at that time, but now, alas, dry rot and serious fires have
left a typical "Deserted Village". The prosperous farms and profitable dyke marshes have sadly deteriorated. There is an appearance of "hand to mouth"
My reminiscence has imposed up on your generosity. I cannot discuss cause ands
cures, but it is surely a matter for regret that a territory with such natural resources should fall into such decline for
lack of a broader market---or is it for lack of enterprise and effort?
October 27, 1936
Submitted by: Lawrence (Larry) Hughes June 23, 2009
Transcribed by: Jim Oswald Thank you