-Married December 20, 1855-
From the union of these two people has grown the "Clan MacAleese" and their associates through marriage. Although the descendants have settled in other areas of Canada and the U.S.A., it all began in the house that is known by the civic number of 92 MacAleese Lane, in what is now the City of Moncton, County of Westmorland, New Brunswick, Canada.
Original Document by Jack MacAleese, 1990. Digitized ed. by Tim MacAleese, 2005,2007.
Prior to the turn of the century, the keeping of records, was a loosely pursued venture and often gaps will appear in the ledgers of the past.
This is true of cemetery records, church records, lodges of fellowship or any other form of happening that should have facts preserved for posterity.
Whether the gaps appear because of carelessness in preservation and are lost forever to time, or no attempt was ever made, is of no consequence. The fact is, there are many areas in all our past that will remain very grey or totally unknown because of this.
In families, often there is no record of past happenings for various reasons. Illiteracy in many cases was a major factor. No records in family bibles. No logs or diaries kept. We are often deprived of the knowledge of house and other building construction, as there was no compulsory building codes, no permits issued, thus no record of dates. For this reason we often see the word CIRCA accompanying the dates on historical properties, or appearing with the dates of events of the past. Some things we will never be quite sure of.
This is most true of James and Mary Jane from 1855 up until 1900; there are many grey areas and some areas that are very dark.
In reading the pages that follow, you will become more aware that the focus is on James and Mary Jane (O'Neal) MacAleese and their children.
When the names Margaret, Daniel, John, and Annie Jane and William are used we are referring to the children of James and Mary Jane.
Prior to 1855, Moncton was known as "THE BEND". It was incorporated as a town in that year and given the name change. Thus when the words "THE BEND” appear it relates to any period leading up to 1855.
The word "homeplace" will appear on numerous occasions. This is done so as to differentiate between properties.
The purpose of this publication is not intended as a detailed family history, but rather a record of births, deaths, marriages, place of burial, early properties, etc. Other bits of information have been injected however, so latter generations and those who will follow, might gain some insight as to their origin and thus become aware of those who preceded them.
Most information contained in these pages, has been acquired through research. The remainder I have garnered from talking to the elders, most who are not with us anymore. Much I remember from listening to their conversations as a boy.
James Anderson MacAleese was born in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, in the year of 1829. This we know as fact. What we don't know is the date of the month or the month of the year of his birth.
He was of Scottish extraction and practiced the protestant faith of Presbyterianism. He lived to the age of seventy-one years, having died on March the first in the year of 1900, and buried March third at two o'clock in the afternoon at Elmwood Cemetery.
It had been common belief among his immediate grandchildren that he died at age seventy; however his obituary (Microfilm, Moncton/Times) shows him to be seventy-one.
James immigrated to Canada in the year of 1848, at the age of 19 years. He came in the company of a brother, landing at Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, a coastal town of some consequence at the time, on the Bay of Fundy.
There he remained and worked for a period of three years. He later moved to "The Bend" in 1851. His brother remained and homesteaded in Parrsboro. It is interesting to note, that as is the case of Moncton, there is a MacAleese occupying the homestead property there still. This of course, is the Nova Scotia clan.
I state that James came to Canada with a brother, this we know is fact. There was however, the talk of another brother, to whom I can attach no name, who as the elders told it, went on to California and was killed while working on a sailing vessel.
Although there is no way of substantiating this and it is one of the grey areas I speak of, we must affix a degree of credence to the account, for the elders were most adamant in the telling of it.
I remember my father telling it to me as his father told it to him. I have also heard it from other elder members of the family.
There were however, some who insisted that the individual was not a brother, but rather an associate from Ireland, who came to Canada with the brothers MacAleese.
When James came to "The Bend" in 1851, he went into the employ of one Mr. J.A. Humphrey for whom he worked nine years.
James first appears to us in the census of 1851, the year he came to "The Bend". At this time we find him a lodger in the home of the said J.A. Humphrey. He is classed as a labourer and Irish having arrived in Canada in 1848. During that period it was quite common for employers to lodge their employees in their homes. This was especially true of those who were immigrants and had no family in the immediate area.
It should be noted, that at the time of the 1851 census there was a John Jr. and a John Sr. Humphrey, of the same residence. The former was a mill operator and the latter a farmer. This would raise the question as to whether James worked for the mill owner or the farmer ... perhaps both.
There also appeared with James, as a lodger in the Humphrey household at the time, a number of others, of whom one was a Mr. Jacob Seaman, who was classed as English, a labourer and 15 years of age. I mention this fact as it will serve as reference in a future paragraph.
The mill that was established by this Humphrey family was erected on the north branch of Halls Creek at the site of the present Scotia Textiles. The mill became known as J.A. Humphrey & Son and was commonly referred to as the woollen mill.
The mill was the reason for the naming of the Parish "Humphrey Mill", as it was called prior to amalgamation with Moncton and of course is so to be credited with the naming of the street "Mill Road".
The farm that this Humphrey family operated was rather extensive. A portion of this land is engulfed today by the campus of the University of Moncton.
As we first found James in the 1851 census of Westmorland County, we found Mary Jane O'Neal as well. She was born August 2, 1830, at Dover, in the parish, of Dorchester, county of Westmorland, in the province of New Brunswick. These dates are lifted from the O'Neal family bible and are indubitable.
She was the daughter of James (1803) and Margaret (1804) O'Neal. She was the second eldest of seven children of whom five were sisters with one brother. They were named as follows: Sarah (1829), Mary Jane (1830), Ester (1837), Ann (1840), Nancy (1842), Martha (1844) and William (1846).
The above mentioned dates are birth dates only, for I have no knowledge of any happenings in the future of her brother or sisters.
In the years following the marriage, five children were born to James and Mary Jane.
Their first child was born in 1857, a daughter whom they chose to call Margaret, obviously after the grandmother Margaret O'Neal. On July 27th 1859, the son Daniel was born, followed by a second son on July 23 1863, whom they named John.
In November of 1864, a second daughter was born to the couple to be named Annie Jane, and on Friday, May 15, 1868, the third son and final child William.
It is obvious where the influence lies in the naming of the girls. The naming of the boys Daniel and John could be of biblical persuasion, or perhaps John was named after Mary Jane's uncle John O'Neal. William was perhaps the namesake of her only brother.
The naming of Daniel seems to offer no reference to anyone in the O'Neal family. It may well be, that being the first born son, he was named after James' father, whom he had left behind in Ireland.
Incidentally, James was never to see his parents again following his immigration to Canada. As well, it is sincerely believed, that there was never, ever, any form of correspondence with those left behind in County Antrim.
There are a number of reasons for this adamant belief. The intimate reason being of course is that James and his brother were totally illiterate; neither could read nor write.
The other reason that strengthens this belief is, no one living today, or those preceding us, (James' children or grandchildren), can ever remember their parents making any reference to mail from the old country.
We do not know a great deal about Mary Jane and James, with the exception that they were extremely dedicated to the task they had set for themselves.
Of the one hundred and nine acres (more or less), they cleared in excess of thirty-five, built a very large house and created what was to be a farm property of some consequence.
The large house, part of which stands today and is known by the civic number of 92 MacAleese Lane, in the City of Moncton, was the second house that they built. The first and much smaller house was located at what is known today by the civic number 50 MacAleese Lane.
With the completion of the large house; the smaller and first house was moved from its original location and became one of the out- buildings adjacent to the main barn, standing for many years being used for grain storage and other needs.
The large house which stood on a hill (referred to by some as the fortress), afforded the occupants a wonderful and commanding view of the surrounding area. Indeed, in some directions for miles. Even today in spite of severe land changes, new streets, buildings, etc., there is a feeling of elevation and one can still look to the south for a fair unobstructed distance.
That they were ambitious and masters of the tasks they set for themselves could truly be seen in the land, the buildings and the equipment of the day.
The house, very large with six bedrooms, was the only house in the area to boast a summer kitchen and above that summer sleeping quarters. It certainly must have been, when completed, the realization of a dream, for the landscaping in itself indicated a large degree of planning.
Again we come to a grey area. When were the houses built? We do not know exactly. We do feel, however, that the big house was completed at least in its constructed stages by the year 1868.
This reasoning is based on the fact that over the years it has been common knowledge that the Maple trees, lining the west side of the big house, some of which remain today, were planted the year that William (1868-1924) was born. Common deduction would tell us that the house would have been constructed and the landscaping completed before the planting of the trees as they are very close to the house.
The first and much smaller house we can only assume was built sometime shortly following the marriage. Again I reiterate by saying this is a very grey area. We in all probability will never know for sure.
It should be noted that with the exception of the summer kitchen and summer sleeping area, the big house was plastered and finished throughout. The first house had no plaster or finish whatsoever. This might indicate that it was built as a temporary measure while the plans for the big house were being formulated and executed.
The second census for Westmorland was conducted in 1861. It is however, regrettable that the records for the Moncton parish of Humphrey Mill are missing from the Moncton library.
In the rural area of the county, the census went into much detail that year and it is assumed that this would have applied to the Humphrey Mill area as well.
As an example to the above, we find Mary Jane's parents are still in Dover. They have 35 acres of cleared and improved land, 11 acres unimproved, 2 working oxen, 1 cow for milk, 11 sheep, 351 lbs. of wool, 6 tons of hay, 5 bushels of barley, 100 bushels of oats, 50 bushels of buckwheat and 200 baskets of potatoes.
The tragedy of the missing census is that it may have told us things that would help us establish the activity of the couple in more detail at the time. We do know that James is a farmer proprietor and that tells us he was definitely on the homeplace in 1861.
We know that the mother-in-law Margaret O'Neal, along with a daughter Nancy and the brother William are visiting James and Mary Jane at the time of recording but that is the extent of our knowledge.
So it is, from 1855 through 1871, we know little of the activities of the couple. We know that they are on the homeplace and that James, by year 1860, has left the employ of the Humphrey family and has become a full-time farmer. However, we don't find them again until the year 1871, so there is a period of 15 years that are somewhat grey to us with the exception we do know when the children were born.
We also know that James was the recipient of a grant of land (104 acres) in 1869. This land was situated on the Caledonia Road and is not to be confused with the homeplace, which was not a grant, but rather a purchase and was established in the Humphrey Mill area.
This Caledonia Road runs parallel to the Irish town Road, beginning in the Humphrey Mill area, terminating at the Cape Breton Road. The property on this Caledonia Road for those of you, who might know the area, was located on the southeast corner of the old Moncton reservoir.
In those early years there was a great deal of lumber coming out of the Scotch Settlement, Cape Breton and other places in that area. This road was a direct, almost in a straight line, route to the mill.
We don't know what intentions James had for this land when he acquired the grant other than harvesting the wood and lumber it would have offered.
There were we know farms created along this road well before the turn of the century. These farms have been abandoned for a great many years. Perhaps James had plans for this land that didn't materialize. At this moment I am not aware of what happened to this piece of property.
By 1871, Mary Jane and James were well entrenched in married life. Margaret who is now 13, Daniel 11 and John 8, are shown by the census of that year to be attending school. Annie Jane is five and William four. They are not as yet of school age. James has now entered the forty-fourth year of his life and Mary Jane is in her forty-first; they are registered as farmers.
I think it quite safe to assume that they are living in the big house by this time and busy clearing land and building a farm.
It is interesting to note, that in this same year, Jacob Seaman, who I referred to earlier and who was a lodger in the Humphrey home with James in 1851, is now married with five children and classified as a farmer.
All information indicates that this family is one and the same whose property fronted on the Mill Road, the west by the Irish town Road and on the north by the MacAleese property. The buildings for this farm would stand at what is now known by the civic number 201 Mill Road (Bandag).
Sometime about 1900, this property was divided by two and another house and outbuildings were erected on the site of the present day commercial property, with the civic number of 251 Mill Road. This family and the MacAleese family were very good friends over the years.
There are no members of the Seaman family living on this property today. There is however, a Seaman Street running south to north, between Mill Road and MacAleese Lane. This street is so named for that family.
In 1881, we find the children are still at home, with the one exception. Annie Jane, the second daughter and fourth born had died three years previous. The sad event occurred on Saturday, April 13th, 1878. Thus the first MacAleese plot was established at Elmwood Cemetery on that sorrowful weekend.
Annie Jane would eventually be joined in this plot by her parents, two of her Brother John's children and as well, John and his wife Mable. As further deaths occurred, new plots were established by other members of the family.
It is now thirty years since we first located James and Mary Jane in 1851. They both have crossed the half century mark. He is 53 and she is 51 years of age and have been married for 26 years.
Margaret, the first born is 23, shown to be a farmer's daughter living at home and is classified as a Scotswoman.
Daniel is now working away from the homeplace as a house painter. John, 18 and William 14 are both at home, recorded as farmer’s sons and Scotsmen.
James is shown to be from Ireland but a Scotsman of origin and Mary Jane an Irish woman, having been born in New Brunswick.
By 1891 we see some very definite changes in the family structure. Two of the children have married.
Margaret who has turned 34 is married to a Mr. Charles Lloyd. They were united in marriage on Wednesday, December 28th, 1881. Charles is 45 years of age, having been born in England. We have no knowledge of his arrival date. He is a house painter and a plasterer by profession, always working in his own employ.
At this time it is rather confusing as to where Margaret and Charles were living. The census sheet of 1891 shows James and Mary Jane to be family number 430 and Margaret and Charles to be family number 431 (properties were given a number and families another, in numerical order.)
It has now been ten years since Margaret and Charles were married and it is without doubt, safe to assume that they have established for themselves their own place.
There certainly was not a great distance separating the Lloyd property and the homeplace. There were very definitely other properties in between the two. How to account for the numerical order of property number 430 and 431,l can't. It is another grey area.
The property that Margaret and Charles settled, ran on both the east and west side of the Irish town Road. The house they built is known by the civic number of 546 Elmwood Drive and is still standing today. There was a fair amount of acreage in this property as a future paragraph will indicate.
Daniel has been married some four years by now, to a Susan Carney. They were married on Wednesday, September 7th, 1887. The couple have two children, Harold (1888) and James (1890), who is of age 18 months. Susan is 23 years of age and Daniel is 34.
The census of that year shows him to be a carpenter by trade, whereas he worked as a house painter 10 years earlier.
At this time the couple are living at what is known today by the civic number of 54 Elmwood Drive (Irishtown Road). I would perhaps serve you better by telling you that the last family to dwell in this house was named Cameron and that they operated a small store next to the street known as "Chappy's". This house and store have since been demolished and is now a commercial property.
We know that they later moved to Ringwood Street off the Mill Road. Here they lived for some time while they proceeded to build a very fine large house (circa 1904) on the corner of Ringwood and Mill Road, which is known today by the civic number of 31 Mill Road.
Margaret and Charles gave James and Mary Jane no grandchildren. However, Susan and Daniel would provide them with three more before the turn of the century and their deaths. (Lloyd was born in 1893. Ross was born in 1896. Robert was born in 1898). Three more children would follow after the grandparent’s death (Verna 1901, Cecil 1904, and Arthur 1906.)
Daniel we know worked most of his married life as a millwright in the employ of the Drury Lockhart Mill and Lumberyards. This establishment was situated at the head of what is now Toombs Street off the Mill Road and created the upper pond, the lower pond being backed up by the dam at the woollen mill on the Mill Road.
Following the death of the senior Lockhart, the business was operated by the son Humphrey, who was known to all by the affectionate name of "Spot".
The mill was a seasonal source of employment for a number of families in the area. It could be said that all male members of the MacAleese family worked at the mill at one time or another. This was especially true of my father Charles (1901-1951) who was their chief sawyer for many years.
The mill was destroyed by fire circa 1950, thus an old landmark would disappear, the dam would eventually go out and the pond which was a considerable body of water would disappear as well.
The pond served a number of functions other than what it was intended: Swimming in summer, skating in winter and of course a great production of ice. The ice was cut and stored in the large ice house next to the mill, where the sawdust used in the preservation of ice in the warm months was readily available. This ice would eventually find its way into the iceboxes of the residents of Moncton and area.
And so it would be that on Thursday, March 1st. 1900, James, at the age of 71 years, would succumb and on Saturday, March 3rd 1900, at 2:30 in the afternoon, go to join his wife and daughter at Elmwood.
It has been a half century since we first found James and Mary Jane. A great many changes have taken place in those intermittent years, both in the family structure and community at large.
Moncton has been incorporated at a city for some 10 years now (1890). The city has become a major railroad centre and is the headquarters for the Inter Colonial Railroad Atlantic Region. It has seen great growth since the shipbuilding collapse of the late 1860's.
In the eighteen forties and for the greater portion of the fifties, The Bend was a busy, boisterous, rowdy community of labourers and craftsmen, all engaged in the enterprise of shipbuilding. For it surely was a shipbuilding community of great reputation, attracting offshore newcomers and the native born, as well as some Americans.
They came by the hundreds, lured by the availability of work and the notability of this raw place called The Bend.
I would think there is little doubt as to what motivated James to move to The Bend as a young man, following his working in the Parrsboro area for the three years from 1848 through 1851.
There is however, no indication that he ever worked at the shipbuilding trade. All evidence points to the fact of his going into the employ of J.A. Humphrey in early 1851 upon arrival.
When James arrived, the population of The Bend, because of the large labour force, was steadily increasing. The community was bustling with the coming and going of ships, arriving with supplies and news of the outside world, going with lumber bound for Liverpool and other ports abroad.
By 1855, the year of James and Mary Jane's wedding, The Bend was incorporated as a town boasting a population of nearly 2,000 people.
The town on incorporation was given the new name of "Monckton", so named for Colonel Monckton. For reasons I am not fully aware of, the "K" was dropped from the spelling at some point in time and has been misspelled "Moncton" for in excess of one hundred years now.
The good fortune that was enjoyed by the town for so long was not to last. By the latter part of the eighteen fifties decade, the town and its shipbuilding was beginning to fall away. In the very early sixties, it had suffered the destruction of a full cycle "boom and bust" period.
By 1870 the population of the town had dropped so drastically, that it was forced to relinquish its incorporation and status as a town.
By this time, James and Mary Jane were well established on the land. This was good and much to their advantage, for there was surely to be a period of hard and trying times for some.
Following the collapse, many of the towns people moved away. This was especially true of the hundreds of single men who had been attracted here by the boom of the once busy shipbuilding yards.
Some went to the Shediac area to work on the European and North American Railroad that had began construction in 1853 and would eventually run between Point du Cheneand, Saint John. Others went to the United States to work in the industrialized centres and some went to the wilderness and began to create farms.
This was especially true of the Scots and the Irish. They settled places such as Irishtown, Scotch Settlement, MacDougall's and Cape Breton, opening up the lrishtown Road to these settlements.
Some of the Acadian workers went to places that would be named Notre Dame, Painsec, Scouduc, etc., and all the area was wilderness settlements.
Some English, as opposed to the Scots and Irish, had been established in the town, the Lewisville area, Humphrey etc., and so would remain. As for the German stock, they came and established themselves as farmers and remained as farmers (Lutz, Steeves, Stultz, Trites, etc.)
Once again I reiterate by pointing out how wise James had proven himself to be, for he had established the homeplace virtually on the threshold of the town boundaries.
This surely would have been of a great benefit, as it was less than an hour to the trading area of the town (East main). The mills, blacksmith shops and other establishments so vital to the farming populace of the day were readily at hand to him.
The boundary on the north and east of the town was established by Hall's 'Creek. This creek separated Sunny Brae and Lewisville from Moncton before amalgamation. Indeed Hall's Creek is the boundary line today dividing Moncton and Dieppe on the east of the city.
It is not hard to imagine that Mary Jane would perhaps in the company of the young Margaret, walk into town on many an occasion, as the journey could be completed in a leisurely hour.
Saturday of course would be the primary day in which most of the outlying farming community would descend on the town for a varied degree of reasons in those early years. It would be the day for market, the shoeing of horses, the purchasing or bartering for supplies, the barber shop, or whatever else was dictated by the needs of the day. High on that list of needs, would be news from around the County, indeed the world.
Remembering if you will that there was no newspaper in the town in those early times, the bulk of the news from abroad came by the schooners that plied the river. There was a telegraph line running from Point du Chene to Saint John. News of any great happenings would be relayed to the town and distributed by word of mouth.
The news from around the county would be brought in by the homesteaders of the outer settlements and this would, in most instances, happen on Saturday.
Mary Jane would receive news from her family in Dover in one form or another, either direct or indirect.
I point this out, for it should be understood that the people of Dover would in those years make Dorchester their Saturday destination as it was the Shiretown, a bustling community and more importantly, a shorter journey.
It is much to be doubted that James and Mary Jane ever journeyed far from the homeplace. This would be true for a number of reasons, particularly in the early days of their marriage.
For one reason, they would be burdened with the care of livestock which needed daily attention. Another reason would be a very young family, but more importantly, travelling any distance from 1855 through 1878 was limited to water.
There was a coach line running from Point du Chene to The Bend and one running from the port of Saint John to The Bend and then on to Halifax. This was a very slow and cumbersome mode of transportation, due in the most part to the condition of the roads, which in fact were not roads, but merely wagon trails winding through miles upon miles of wilderness.
Although it has no reference to the history of our family, I would like to extend to you some idea of the difficulty of travel over land in those early years.
I am injecting under separate cover, an excerpt from the book "English Women in America", by Isabella Lucy Bird, in which she gives a brief account of her journey in New Brunswick, on her way to the U.S.A., via Point du Chene, The Bend and the port of Saint John in the year 1854, prior to James and Mary Jane's marriage.
By 1890, with the exception of Annie Jane's death in 1878, there seems to have been a much uninterrupted period of productive years.
The land has been cleared, and is most arable. The buildings are completed and the orchard planted and bearing. The orchard (some of the trees are still standing), consisted of Russett, Pumpkin Sweet, and a variety of winter apples that I am sure were hard rubber in disguise, for they were inedible until well into the winter, having been stored for a goodly number of weeks in the dark cellar.
As well as the aforementioned, there was a variety of crab apples which were a delight. One variety was a yellow flowering and the other a red flowering. Even today, after so many years these crab trees still flower in profusion at springtime.
In 1853, the rail line for the European and North American Railway, as I mentioned in an earlier paragraph, was begun at Point du Chene and would link that seaport with The Bend and eventually the port of Saint John.
This rail line, a single track, ran through the homeplace property in an easterly and westerly direction and was always referred to as the old railroad; I have walked the old bed many times. Proof of its past presence is still very much in evidence today.
When the “European and North American Railway” was taken over by the intercolonial Railway (1878), a new line was established from Halifax to Moncton.
This line ran, still does, in a more sweeping easterly to southerly direction. The railroad along with the pond cut the homeplace in two, thus creating to some degree, a hardship for James and descendants, for the woodland was all to the east of this obstacle, the land to the west being cleared, cultivated with some pastureland.
The problem was, the pond had to be frozen enough to support the teams and handlers before any logs or wood could be transported. This meant that it might be on occasion January before they were able to get teams into the woods, although I seem to remember winters coming earlier in by-gone days.
The problem created by the rail line was the elevation. This of course was caused by the physical features of the land.
At about the south line of the homeplace, the land begins to slope dramatically, and continues for several thousands of yards to the east along the path of the rail line until it reaches what is known as the white bridge. This is where the rail line crosses the brook that fed the pond. This brook was always referred to as just that, "the brook", and had its origins in the Harrisville area, perhaps beyond, where the land levels out again.
Because of the decline, a great deal of ballast was used in building up the rail bed along this distance. Much of this ballast was taken from the homeplace, thus the area referred to as the ballast pit.
Due to this build up, the rail bed is some fifteen to twenty feet high above the land. A ramp had to be built on either side of the line to allow movement over the tracks, from east to west and vice-versa.
The ramps, (which were short, somewhat steep and with a full load), taxed the teams to their fullest. These ramps are still in place today.
In those early years, indeed up to my time, there were no wooden crossings built into the rails, with the exception of the areas where the rail line crossed public roads.
The reason for this, I have always understood, was the problem this would create because of the part on the front of the engine called the "cow catcher".
I suppose it is easy to understand why the railroad company would not install these wooden crossings. When considering the countless properties it ran through, with its hundreds of miles of track, we could readily imagine the problems to be generated by such a move.
Now the problem for James and those who followed and worked the land: Because of the absence of the wooden crossings, four hardwood poles of a selected size and length were kept at the ramp. When the crossing either way was to be made, these poles were placed up against the rails so the nose of the sleds would hit them and ride up over the rails, dip down and ride up over the next, remembering these were double tracks.
It was always a precarious situation. There was the constant anxiety of a pole being knocked out of position, the nose of the sled fetching up on a rail (particularly a tow sled), a tow chain snapping, causing the rear sled to go askew, and fostering a major problem and the dreaded fear of an oncoming train from the east.
The trains moving to the east out of Moncton would not be a problem, because at the point of crossing this train could be seen for a fair distance and the movement over the tracks would not take place until the train had passed. However, the coming of a train from the east was somewhat of a different matter.
A short distance from the point of crossing, to the east, there is a bend in the rail line and the tracks very quickly disappear from the viewer. This created another problem. Before the crossing was to be made, the handler of the team, if he was alone, would walk up to the ramp to the tracks and listen intently, for he had to rely on his hearing almost exclusively to determine if a train was approaching.
On some days if the wind was in the favourable direction, a train could be detected from a fair distance. If however, the wind was in the wrong direction, then it could be at, or practically around the bend, bearing down very quickly, before detection.
I don't remember hearing of any devastating accidents ever occurring, but I can certainly relay to you incidents of very close calls being experienced and related by those people of the past.
As a boy in my early teens, I went through that exercise many times as did my brothers as well, for in those early years there was no oil fired furnace or electric thermostat to turn on. The heat for the house and the energy for cooking lay to the east of the obstacle we have been discussing in the preceding paragraphs.
As well, another rail line was established through the home property, a spur line that would run to the town of Bouctouche. This line was to divide the pasture area from the fields and created along with the main line, a pie shaped piece of land that would become known as the back pasture.
This rail line would cut through other properties as well, but it caused no great problem as it was a level crossing. As a matter of fact, William could move freely over the tracks in summer as well as winter. On the homeplace movement over the tracks was limited to winter.
I mentioned the land at the area of the main rail line sloping to a large degree and it does; however, the land from the Bouctouche line west to the lrishtown Road was a series of flat, well-kept lawns bearing a harvest in great abundance of whatever was planted.
That James was a farming man of great respect was of no doubt. That he taught his sons well could be seen in their activities in later years following their father's death.
They were excellent ploughmen, considered the best in the area. Many a person travelling the lrishtown Road would stop to view their fields of freshly ploughed furrows, each lying in precision as straight as an arrow. They took great pride in their ploughing; they considered it a work of art.
As well as their farming knowledge, they were well skilled in the area of lumbering. My grandfather John although he farmed, derived much of his income from lumber, whereas his brother William depended more on market gardening, beef, etc., and some lumbering I suppose.
They were quality horsemen always in possession of fine teams. I have been told by my father that James would never allow a horse whip to be carried and this tradition was handed down through the succeeding generations.
The summer of 1900 was to witness more and I suppose the final changes in the family structure at the homeplace.
James and Mary Jane are both gone. The sister Annie Jane has been deceased in excess of twenty-two years. Margaret has been married for 19 years and she and her husband Charles Lloyd have established themselves on their own homestead.
Daniel and Susan have been wed some 15 years and are living we think on Ringwood Street, in Lewisville. They have four children living, Ross their fourth-born having died in 1898 at two years.
John and William are both at home on the place still. There is however, changes in the making that will see both sons establish themselves with what one could term their own identities.
On the evening of Wednesday, August 8th, 1900, at Wesley Memorial United Church (corner of St. George and Cameron), John would marry Mable Mollor (1880-1944). This union would eventually result in them becoming my grandparents.
Mable was the daughter of Eleanor and August Mollor. She was the third born of eight children as follows: August Jr., Maude, Mable, Frederick, Gertrude, Nell, Clifford and Emma.
The father August Sr., was from Germany and spent a good deal of his working years as a sea captain before settling in Moncton. Eleanor was the daughter of a Halifax doctor, their name was MacKnight.
The brother August Jr., left home in the early part of this century and was never to be seen again by his family. The last word to be received from him was a letter to his mother mailed from Hawaii, saying that he was on his way to the "holy lands". He closed this letter by saying he would write again soon; this was never to be.
I remember my grandmother Mable telling me that each time her mother sat at the piano to play, she would never fail to render the song: "Where is My Wandering Boy Tonight" ... she died never knowing, as indeed did the rest of the family, for it still remains a mystery as to what happened to him.
William is now the only unwed, but this will change. There is absolutely no doubt that well in advance of John's wedding day, he is making plans for his immediate future. He has been deeded 10 acres of prime land on the front end of the homeplace fronting on the lrishtown Road.
It has been and still remains a mystery to me as to why my grandfather John inherited the major portion of the homeplace: (100 acres more or less). It is most evident that both sons remained at home and worked the place through all the years preceding. This I would think gives both men equal status in terms of shares.
Perhaps along with the 10 acres William received a purse of money. It would have been foolhardy to divide the property evenly between the two, as this would have resulted in both parties owning a half a farm that would be totally non- supporting. It would have been physically impossible to do so.
It can be truly said that the agreement reached between the parties involved was one that was favourable to all. The brothers remained very close over the years. This is a fact that is established by their cooperative efforts in the purchasing of the modern equipment of the day. The reaper, the threshing machine, the woodcutting equipment, the manure spreader and other items that were appearing on the market helping to make farms more productive.
It is easy to understand why Daniel did not figure into the inheritance. He had left to work away from the place some twenty years earlier and in so doing had forfeited claim to any property shares.
I mentioned earlier that William was making plans and looking to the future, preparing to leave the homeplace and establish his own. This we know is true and is confirmed by the following paragraph:
In July of 1900, prior to John and Mabel's wedding, William purchased from Charles and Margaret Lloyd, one hundred acres of land on the east side of the lrishtown Road. This we know was a portion of the land that Charles and Margaret had settled on some years earlier and ran on both sides of the road.
On Wednesday, June 26, 1901, William married Maude Mollor, my grandmother's sister (1877-1956).
There is little doubt that this had been a lengthy engagement. I feel strongly that Maude was a part of his plans in the summer of 1900 when he purchased the 100 acres of additional land, adding to his 10 acres from the homeplace.
My grandmother Mabel had related to me that she had met my grandfather John while skating on the pond. They would walk over from the city, as indeed did many others, skate in the evening and walk home again. This they did on many occasions as it was a most popular winter pastime of the day.
It leaves very little to the imagination as to when and how William met Maude. I am sure she would have been a constant companion to my grandmother and friends on these particular adventures.
William and Maude built their house almost directly across the road from the Lloyd's who had established theirs on the west side.
Although Charles and Margaret sold the bulk of their land on the east side of the road to William, they did retain a strip on the south side that ran the full distance of the purchased property.
We have no knowledge of how much of the 100 acres William purchased was cleared, if any. We do know that the strip retained by Charles was wooded.
I have talked to my cousin Jean (1913-1990) on occasion and she remembered her mother talking about the acres of stumps. I somehow believe that William and Maude, at the time of their marriage, were faced with a major task of land clearing before it became the fine farm I first remember.
They were of course, blessed with the 10 acres of arable land from the homeplace, which would have been a tremendous asset to them in terms of raising crops in the early years of their marriage.
In June 1901, my father Charles was born to John and Mable. In 1904, a daughter Annie Jane was to bless the couple, but died in that same year. In 1905, the second daughter Kathleen, was born and in 1907, another daughter was to arrive whom they named Bertha. Three more daughters would become part of the family: Nell in 1909, twin sisters Fern and Lorne in July of 1912. However, Lorne was to pass away in September of 1912 and be buried with her grandparents and her sister at Elmwood.
In 1904, William and Maude would receive their first child and daughter, Althea, who came to them on Friday, July 22nd. Their second child, Margaret, was born on Tuesday, November 8th, 1910 and the final child, Jean on Tuesday, December 9th, 1913.
By the summer month of July, 1907, William and Maude had been on their own land for some six years. Their daughter Althea is three and they are busy building their life. There seems to have been no interruptions in the progress. All things would indicate that the farm is taking shape nicely and is becoming a properly of good reputation.
My grandparents John and Mable are as well, building their own life. My father Charles has just turned six years and my aunt Kit (Kathleen 1905) is one. With the exception of the death of their second born, they too are enjoying good and productive years.
Daniel and Susan are now living in the large and very fine house they have built for themselves on the Mill Road (circa 1904). Arthur the last of the children to be born is 18 months. Harold the first born is nineteen. James is seventeen and Lloyd is in the early stages of his teen years. Robert and Verna are of school age, Cecil is three years. Daniel is working as a millwright for the Drury Lockhart Lumber Co. All appears to be well for the couple.
The years leading up to 1907 seem to have been a good period for the sister Margaret. All findings would indicate a large degree of well being and a marriage most suitable. This however, would come to an abrupt close, for Charles would fall ill that summer and on Tuesday, July 9th pass away.
I think for reasons that I can't really explain, this would have been a devastating day for Margaret. I think that something would have gone out of her life that summer. For this was not a woman who would have been exposed to the world of romance, but rather I think was somewhat limited in her associations with the opposite gender.
I have always entertained the belief that Charles was her first and only romance. Her chosen lifestyle following his death would certainly do much to encourage this opinion.
Charles Lloyd was an active person in the church, being a director of Humphrey Memorial (Sunny Brae). He was a dedicated lodge member as his obituary indicates.
The funeral service was conducted in part by the Masonic Lodge. Pallbearers were three each of Masons and I.O.O.F. members, with a contingent of ten Foresters. He was buried from home at 2:30 on Tuesday, July 11th, interment at Elmwood.
As a matter of fact, all the MacAleese men leading up to my generation were lodge members, supporting the I.O.O.F.
Christmas of 1909 was a sad occasion for Daniel, Susan and family. Harold (1898-1909), (or Harry, as he was so nicknamed) was killed in an accident while working in one of the Canadian Western provinces. The body was brought back to Moncton by the brother James.
The tragedy occurred on Friday, December 17th of that year. This was the second child the couple would bury at Elmwood. The remainder of the children lived well beyond the deaths of the parents. As a matter of fact, Verna (1901) is enjoying her 89th year and living with her daughter Shirley in Florida, U.S.A. at the time of this publication.
As John and Daniel had suffered the loss of children, this fate would so befall William as well. Margaret the second born child, would contract jaundice and die in 1920 at the age of ten years. This was the first major interruption in the couple's nineteen years of marriage. William established the third MacAleese plot at Elmwood that year.
In the fall of 1921, my father Charles (1901-1951) went west on the harvest excursion. This was his second venture to the prairie grain fields, having done so in the previous year of 1920.
A few nights later following my father's return that year, he and my grandfather John walked into town to attend lodge. This would be the last time my grandfather would move off the homeplace. He became ill and died shortly after, on Sunday, December 11th. He was buried from home on Tuesday, December 13th, 2:30 in the afternoon at Elmwood in the plot with his two infant daughters, his sister, mother and father.
My Aunt Kit (1905) related to me, it was as if he knew he was dying and waited for my father to come home. My grandfather John was the first of the boys to go.
In 1922, Daniel would follow his brother John. I don't know very much of the circumstances other than his death occurred in that year and he was buried at Elmwood, joining his two sons Ross and Harold, whom he had buried some years earlier.
William was the next to leave and would do so on Saturday, January 5th, 1924. He died of what was believed to be a form of cancer. He had injured himself while doing some work on his wood lot at the back end of his place and it has always been felt that the injury was the fault.
He was buried from his home on Monday, January 7th and interned at Elmwood with his daughter Margaret. He was the last of the sons, leaving his sister Margaret as the sole remaining of the five original children.
Following my grandfather's death, the homeplace went to my grandmother Mable, who would marry for the second time. She married a Mr. Melburn Erb who owned and operated the Sunny Brae Bus Co. This bus line serviced the residents of Sunny Brae before the town amalgamated with the City of Moncton.
The inbound route for this bus line was from the main gates at Elmwood Cemetery, along Donald and Church to Main Street, west on Main to Foundry terminating at the T. Eaton Co. The return route (outbound) traced the route back to the cemetery gates.
This bus company is not in existence now and has not been for some number of years; however, the building that served as a garage and office is still standing,
Original Document by Jack MacAleese, 1990. Digitized ed. by Tim MacAleese, 2005. 22
known by the civic number 59 Elmwood Drive. For a time it housed lzetta Motors in later years and now supports a sign reading Jensen's Sales and Service.
My grandmother Mable, for the years she was married to Melburn Erb, did not live on the homeplace. They resided at what is known by the civic number 454 Elmwood Drive. This property was owned by Mr. Erb.
Following his death, my grandmother was willed possession of this house for a period of five years. At the end of this period, the property became the permanent possession of one Mr. Ken Erb, who was Melburn's son by a previous marriage. My grandmother then moved back to the homeplace where she would live out her remaining years.
In the meantime, the homeplace had been deeded to my father Charles with a building lot given to his sister Nell and Kathleen. Both these lots front on MacAleese Lane.
Nell married Jack Trites in 1933, and then proceeded to build a fine house on their lot(90 MacAleese) in 1938. My Aunt Kit never utilized hers as a building lot but still retains it and considers it a precious part of her heritage.
My father Charles spent the major part of his working years in the employ of the Lockhart Lumber Co, of Humphrey, not to be confused with Lockhart Woodworkers of Moncton. When he received title to the homeplace, it didn't get the attention as a farm that it had from those who preceded him.
The woodland had been harvested for some seventy-five winters by now and was becoming exhausted. There was little timber left and not an overabundance of hardwood for fuel, although there was adequate for the needs of the day.
I would be remiss if I were to say that he didn't farm at all, for he did, but not to any great extent. As time elapsed he did so to a lesser degree with each passing summer.
On Wednesday, September 17th, 1924, William's oldest daughter Althea married Arnold Coneen and from this union the Coneen branch of James and Mary Jane's family tree would emerge.
In September of 1925, two years following William's death, Maude was to marry a Mr. Albert Coneen, who was the father of Arnold Coneen and a widower. Maude then deeded the place that she and William had built over to their daughter Althea and she and her husband Arnold continued to work the place throughout their years, raising a family of seven children. Althea would spend her entire life on the farm, dying in the same room in which she was born.
The land deeded to Althea was the 100 acres that her father William had purchased from the Lloyds in 1900. The ten acres that William inherited from the homeplace went to the daughter Jean (1913-1990).
Jean is at the time twelve years old. She went with her mother to live at the farm of Albert Coneen, Maude's second husband. This farm was situated on the Shediac Road. Incidentally, Maude would outlive both husbands; Albert Coneen died on Sunday, May 27th, 1939.
In the very late twenties, five acres of the original ten acres that now belongs to Jean was sold to a Mr. Sebert Steeves, who worked for the CN Railways and raised chickens as a side profession. These five acres bordered on MacAleese Lane.
The chicken hatchery that Mr. Steeves built on the five acres is no longer visible. The house however is still there and is now the Annex of Elmwood Motel. In addition to the five acres, two more acres were sold to a Mr. Ellis Larracy on which he built a house.
The remaining acreage was retained so that Jean would have land to build on once grown and married. This would happen in 1933, for on September 22nd of that year, Jean would marry Warman Hopper and they proceeded to build their house in 1933. This house stood where the Elmwood mini mall is today.
In the meantime Daniel and Susan's family have all reached young adulthood. Lloyd had married a Miss Annie Jean Bouvard. They have one son James (1917) and this would be the only grandchild that Daniel would ever see, the remainder being born following his death. Susan we know lived to see all of them.
Verna, the only daughter, married Houlton Blakeny, January 28th, 1922. James followed, marrying Mary Horseman on May 16th. 1923.
In 1925, January 25th, Robert married Bertha MacLeod at Dorchester, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Bertha was from Sunny Brae; whether they went to the states together or met there is unclear. They did return home and Robert would go to into the postal service (circa 1934).
Cecile and Arthur both moved to the states to work, to get married and remained there, Cecil in 1925, Arthur in 1926. Arthur married my mother's sister, Cora Mitton on the 4th of January, 1932. She had moved to Boston along with her mother and brother in 1927. Cecil had settled in Milford, Massachusetts and there met and later married Jeanne Benard on the 11th of November, 1933.
Daniel's boys all had a great knowledge and love for the game of baseball. In 1912, James was a member of the Lewisville Neptunes, the team that won the New Brunswick Senior Championship. They were excellent players all. In the book "The Town That Was" (a history of Sunny Brae), they are mentioned for their skill of the game.
I am not really sure that Arthur (1906) played that much baseball. I think that he leaned to music. It is an established fact that he was the accomplished musician of that family. In 1926 he moved to Boston and for years played with his own group and later as an organ soloist, entertaining on the club circuit of that city and area. It should be noted that his brother Robert, indeed as was my father, fiddlers of some reputation in the community.
In the early years of this century, through until the war years, house dances were very popular and indeed most prevalent in the rural areas. Many a square dance was held at the homeplace, with music for these functions being provided by my father Charles and Robert.
These dances were held each taking turns, in various homes throughout the Humphrey, Irishtown, Scotch settlement, Cape Breton areas and points along the lrishtown Road.
I remember being in conversation with Robert on a number of occasions discussing past happenings and the many dances he and my father played for in the aforementioned communities.
On many an evening, well past midnight following several hours of playing and dancing, they would start for home by horse and buggy with six or seven miles to go, fall asleep enroute, wake up to find the horse standing patiently at the stable door, waiting to be unhitched, un-harnessed and put away for the remainder of the night.
One would be hard pressed to find a house dance today of the nature we have been discussing. But they were indeed numerous in the days before the advent of the home entertainment packages so readily available now.
If Daniel was to see only one of his grandchildren, he might be considered fortunate, for John and William did not live to see any of theirs. My father and his sisters all married after their father’s death, as did William's children. Lloyd was the only child to marry before Daniel's death.
My father's sister, Bertha, was the first to marry in August of 1924, when she wed Charles Harmer. This gentleman worked for H.F. Tennant a major fruit and vegetable wholesaler. He eventually purchased the firm and it became known as the Charles E. Harmer Ltd. This was a well known firm of good reputation in the City of Moncton.
Kathleen was next, marrying Fred (Blondie) Wilson in 1924. Blondie as he was affectionately known worked for the Department of Highways all the years that I can remember him.
My father married my mother Bernice Mitton in 1925 and his sister Nell would follow in 1933, marrying Jack Trites who at the time was employed by the T. Eaton Co. He later joined the Metropolitan Insurance Company and remained with that organization until retirement.
The sister Fern (1912-1969) would be the last to marry. She married a Mr. Louis Capen of Holyoke, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
In 1937, Margaret (1857-1941) has moved into the twilight of her autumn years, she has turned eighty. For some time now she has been spending the winters with Daniel's boy James and his wife Mary, moving back to her own place in summer.
This arrangement has worked well, but the time has come that she is unable to be alone. That year (1937) James, Mary and their two children would go to live with Margaret and look after her for the remainder of her life. Margaret deeded the Lloyd property to James and rightly so. She died on Wednesday, May 28th, at 84 years, considered to be ripe old age in those days.
And so with the passing of Margaret, the first to be born and the last of the original children to die, we come to the end of a chapter in the history of our family.
She had seen it all: The woodlands being converted to become fine productive fields, the building of the big house, and the construction of the railroad across the homeplace. She watched a town that had almost dwindled away, make a comeback and grow to become a railroad city of some consequence.
She helped bury a sister and three brothers, plus her parents. She buried a husband. She helped in the establishment of the Lloyd homestead. She watched as young men went off to fight in four wars: The Crimean, the Boar, World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945).
She lived through the devastating flu epidemic of 1917 that had claimed so very many lives, she had witnessed it all ... she was the first MacAleese to be born in New Brunswick.
On Wednesday, April 3rd 1944, my grandmother Mable would collapse and die, while waiting for a bus (corner Elmwood and Mill Road) to go into town. In those days Humphrey Mill had not as yet become absorbed by the City of Moncton and going to town was always referred to as just that, "going overtown". Even today this reference is still made by people who lived in the Humphrey area before amalgamation.
In the spring of 1954, Daniel's wife Susan would pass away, to be followed by William's wife Maude, Saturday, January 15th, 1956. Thus all the children of James and Mary Jane, plus their spouses have now ceased to physically be.
As I pointed out to you in an earlier paragraph, this is not intended as a detailed family history. What I have attempted to give you is a thumbnail sketch of the past from 1855 through until this present day.