MEMORIAL SUNDAY 2016
by Garth Farquhar
Part of our tradition at these Memorial services is to take the flowers up to the graveyard and have the benediction there. When we go up to the graveyard today, the first thing you will notice is how well the grass is mown, that whipper snipping has been done around the tombstones and the limbs on the trees have been trimmed. We have Rick and Eliane Sullivan to thank for all of this hard work. The next thing you may notice is how the graveyard is terraced, so that even though they are on a slope, the individual graves have been leveled. This work was done in 1929 by G.F. Hiscoe from Lower Perth. Mr. Hiscoe had come to Canada from England where he was a trained as a gardener or possibly a landscape architect. His best known work was the floral clock at the Beechwood Hydro Dam. Mr. Hiscoe was paid $99.00 for the terracing job, in September of 1929.This was one month before the stock market crashed, triggering the great depression.
When standing in the graveyard facing the road, you can look over to your right and see where the first school in Upper Kintore was. The 16×20 log cabin that was built on that lot by government contractors, was unoccupied and was used as a school. The school across the road was not built until 1877. Rebecca Barclay Phillips was the teacher in the log cabin school. The graveyard is a nice vantage point to view this church, that was dedicated in 1893. The school, church and the view up the Tobique valley, make for a very nice picture. Looking directly across the road you will see one of the three oldest houses in the colony. It is my understanding that the Barclay house, the house where Kathleen Morton lives and the house where the Dentist Jeremy Fournier lives, were all built in 1879. Most of the family names that you see on the tombstones lived on properties that can be either seen from the cemetery or just beyond. This would include the Marr’s, Martin’s, Cummings, Farquhars, Pattersons, Murrays, Christies, Barclays, Phillips, Gordons, Milnes, Tatlocks, Andersons, Watsons, Findlays, Gendalls and DeMerchants. When you look to your left you will see a healthy looking crop of soy beans. This originally was the John Connon property. John Connon is buried in lot 27 of this cemetery, but there is no tombstone marking his grave. When I was a child there was an old potato house in the middle of this field, but it has been gone for a long time. Oddly enough an old water pump was left where the house and potato house had been. It was kind of a peculiar site standing alone in the middle of the field, silhouetted against the sky. A lone reminder that John Connon had lived there. It must have been a nuisance to the operators of the big farm equipment, because it is now gone as well. We do know that John Connon was a stone cutter by trade. Undoubtedly he was the one who shaped the granite blocks, with his hammer and chisel, that are in the foundation at the front of this church. If you look directly across the road you will see a field of oats behind the white and red barns. This is where my grandfather Leslie Barclay, was killed in a tractor accident in 1957.
The first tombstone you encounter as you enter the grave yard is Jimmy Anderson (1901-1996) and his wife Annie Sullivan (1903-1991). When Annie died in 1991, Jimmy asked us, if Annie could be buried in the very front, where there were no other graves. We soon found out why there were no other graves in the front. Under a thin layer of top soil, is loose ledge that is almost impossible to shovel. The best way to excavate it was to pick it by hand into a bucket. The most prominent tombstone you will see is the one in the center of the front row. It reads James Arthur Gordon, killed in action at Monchy France, September 2, 1918, aged 24 years. In less than three months the war would have been over and Mr. Gordon could have returned to the peaceful hills of Upper Kintore. The Gordon family were given two grants of land, near the end of the cross road. The little lake with the sphagnum bog is called Gordon Lake. Some of this family also lived on the farm next door where Rick and Eliane live. The hill below their house was called the Gordon Hill. The Farquhar family has a connection to the Gordon family that was documented in the Duncan McPhail book, New Kincardineshire. My Great grandfather James Farquhar had built himself a cart with four wheels made from logs, the whole thing being held together with wooden pegs. The cart had shafts and was pulled by a person like a rickshaw. He called it a hurley. The cart was often borrowed by the neighbours, but it was getting old and fragile and often came back in need of repairs. He decided he couldn’t lend it out anymore, or it would be ruined. One day Mrs. Gordon stopped by and asked to borrow the Hurley to go to the J.B. Adam store in Bonacord. A very embarrassed Mr. Farquhar hemmed and hawed for a little while, but stuck to his resolution. Finally he said “I canna gae ye the Hurley Mrs. Gordon”. This didn’t go over very well. Mrs. Gordon shook her finger in his face and basically told him where he could shove the Hurley. Her plans changed, she stomped out of the yard and went down the road to Watson’s store instead. When she got to the store, she told how she had handled the refusal of the Hurley. “Just imagine”, she chuckled, “how droll Farquhar would look going around with a pair of shafts sticking out of his arse”!
On the right side of the first row of graves you will see the memorials to the family of Ernest DeMerchant. DeMerchant of course is not a Scottish name. All of the DeMerchants from New Brunswick can be traced back to one man by the name of John Cuffman. John Cuffman was Pennsylvania Dutch and came to New Brunswick with the Loyalists around 1783. In the German language Cuffman or Kaufman means merchant. So his name got changed to DeMerchant. Ernest’s Grandfather Nimrod built a house at Tobique Narrows. Judy MacIntosh lives there now. Nimrod’s son Dick ventured up the tracks to Curry Siding and married a Coutts. The Coutts came from Scotland in 1874 and were granted the first lot coming up from the Tobique River. Daniel Hirschi now lives in The Dick DeMerchant house. In the DeMerchant plot you will see a memorial to Earle DeMerchant who died from Polio in 1942 at the age of just 19 years old.
Behind the DeMerchant plot you see the Innis family. They lived where Archie DeMerchant lives now. Donald Innis came from Scotland with a family of eight and had a long career as the court crier in Andover. He was a very dignified and respected man and when he was getting up in age, no one corrected him when he would call out Oyez, Oyez, Oyez, God Save the Queen, even though Victoria had been dead for years.
In the middle of the cemetery, you will find a stone for James William Watson and Daniel Fiske Watson. William died at the young age of fifteen years old and Daniel was only ten. They both died in 1891. A real tragedy for the family, I am sure. They were sons of Robert Watson the first settler in Upper Kintore. Robert came over from Scotland in 1873, and got a job building the road through Upper Kintore, in preparation for the settlers, who would be coming the next year. He noticed the nice piece of land down the road with the flat terrain, the little pond surrounded by Elm trees and chose it for his lot. We still call it the Watson flat.
The information I have on the Cemetery comes from these pages. They have a story of their own. Melvin always kept them in his safe. However his safe got stolen and the door was pried open with a crowbar. When the thieves never found any money, they got disgusted and threw the safe in the Saint John River. The safe was later retrieved and photocopies of the original water stained document were made. In this document is a list of people who donated money for the work done on the cemetery in 1929, by Mr. Hiscoe. Three names stand out because of the large amount they gave and where they came from. Brown, Milne, and Gordon were listed as being from Webb and Gull Lake Saskatchewan. A clue as to how they ended up out there was given to me by Laura DeMerchant. Many young men from the colony went out west, on what were called Harvest Excursions. In 1890 the CPR offered transport out west for only $30 for men to work on the harvest. They could make $300 on a good harvest. Many of these young colony men stayed in the west, and in fact, were never heard from again. Laura said this happened to so many of the young men, that the expression “gone West” began to be used in a sardonic manner when people died. Instead of saying they passed away, it would be said that they had “gone west”. However we know through this document, that Mr. Brown, Milne and Gordon were able to send money home to support their community.
Near the middle of the cemetery, you will see stones for the Murray and Christie families. From the cemetery you can see the Murray lot, which is just south of the Barclay farm. Mr. and Mrs. Murray died very soon after arriving in Upper Kintore. Their daughter was married to William Christie who had the grant across the road. The Christie family lived on the Murray farm until about 1894 when their frame house was ready for them across the road. We don’t know the exact date, but know that Frank Christie was old enough to drag a chicken. He was born in 1891.This is the house where Laura DeMerchant lives now. William Christie Jr. went out Saskatchewan as well, but returned to the Colony later in life.
When you get to the top of the cemetery, look to your left and you will see a beautiful red granite stone erected by the Cumming Family. Thomas Cumming lived on the lot where I live now. He built a sawmill powered by a waterwheel, similar to the mill at Kings Landing. Many of these early settlers suffered unbelievable hardship and tragedy. Mr. Cumming lost his house and mill in a fire and his wife Mary Jack died only a year after they came here. If you look at the names on the stone you will see a daughter Mary died at the age of 24, Helen at 17 and Elizabeth at 25. The family doesn’t know how these women all died so young, but for the mother to die at childbirth was all too common back then. The son of Thomas Cumming is buried in Easton Maine and the family has told me his grave is marked by a stone imported from Peterhead Scotland. I am going to find out if it is similar to this one. Speaking of Peterhead Scotland, The Peter Anderson family came from Peterhead Scotland. They were given the land grant were Joe Bealieu lives now. When I was growing up the lot across from where Norman Smith lives was called the Anderson place, but that would have been Peter’s son George. Plot number 48 in the Cemetery is listed as Mrs. Anderson and was the first burial in the cemetery. There is no stone, but it is on the right hand side of the cemetery, next to the Gallups. Behind the Gallups you will see the stone of Gordon Pringle Anderson. Gordon was obviously named after Mr. Pringle, an indication of how highly their minister was regarded by the people of the Colony. Also you will see a stone for Gordon’s son Peter. Peter was a civil engineer who died at the age of 37 from Lou Gerhigs disease.
In the new part of the cemetery you will see the stone of Ervin Milton Patterson, born in 1896. Ervin was my fathers cousin. Dad’s aunt Mary, married John Patterson and they moved to Massachusetts. Ervin returned to Canada to enlist to fight in the first world war. After the war he returned to the States. About 1999 Melvin was contacted by Ervin’s daughter to see if he could be buried in the Upper Kintore Cemetery. Some paper work had to be done to facilitate this, and Melvin wrote back to his daughter asking the date Ervin had passed away. In her letter back to Melvin, she said he had died in 1970, almost thirty years previously. Melvin wrote back asking if she had made a mistake on the date. Actually she hadn’t. His ashes had been on a shelf and they wanted to have him buried where he had started, out in Upper Kintore.
Thank you for all who come here today, to honour friends and relatives who have come before us. I have tried to pass on as many memories as possible, knowing that too many have been lost forever. I know there are many that I haven’t been able to mention here today, but rest assured they are remembered and honoured. We will never really know what hardships these people suffered clearing these hilly farms, with such limited resources. When you go through the graveyard, you will see that almost every family has lost a very young child. Many graves are unmarked, and but for these slim records we have, their lives and efforts would be forgotten. So let us remember them today and celebrate their lives.