June 11, 1941

Brother Of Berwick Man Now Living In U.S. Was Born In 1803

To the Editor of The Register:

Through the years as I have read the Register, I have been impressed by the very considerable number of references to those who in Kings and Annapolis Counties have attained ages well up in the 80’s and the 90’s and occasionally have reached 100 or beyond. Not long ago The Register recorded the deaths of Mr. Miles Rainforth and Mrs. Collins each of whom was above 95, as I recall it.

I think of two former residents of Berwick or vicinity, now living, each of whom has passed the 90 mark. They are Mrs. Anthony, now in Vancouver, where her three sons, Malby, Hazen and Dr. Tom are residing, and my uncle, Mr. Holmes S. Chipman living on Long Island.

Is it the climate, the soil, the simpler life, the stock from which they sprung or a combination of these or other factors that make for length of days in the people of the Valley? Perhaps Observer might spare a bit of time from his labors at the Turkey Farm in Rockland and his efforts to find a gadget with which to extract the bones of Gaspereau and other fish to look into this question and see what light he might throw on the subject. The Man About Town, Old Timer, Pete Lawson as well as Olio of Truro and others invited by Observer to join the log rolling expedition might also have worth while data concerning this matter.

My Uncle Holmes was born in Pleasant Valley, December 22, 1850, at the family homestead located at the Lathern Morse Corner. His father, Rev. William Chipman, was twice married there being twenty-one children in that family – twelve by the first marriage and nine by the second. My Uncle Holmes was the twenty-first child, my grandfather being over 70 when my uncle was born. The first child, a boy, in that large family was born in 1803.

It thus happens that my uncle, now living, can say that his oldest brother was born in 1803. It seems incredible, and very strange, but it is a fact. Truly facts at times are stranger than fiction. Witness the Rudolf Hess episode!

If that great teacher of my boyhood days, Mr. L. D. Robinson, were alive and in his schoolroom what use he would make of that span from 1803 to 1941 to impress on the minds of his pupils what had taken place during that period in science, in history, in the economic world and make those things live in their memory. Perhaps some present-day teacher might apply this fact in this way.

I wonder if there is any other individual in Canada or in any other land today who can say, "My oldest brother was born in 1803!"

A. Leroy Chipman.

New York, N. Y.

June 2, 1941.


June 11, 1941

Large Orphanage Was Established Near Aylesford 50 Years Ago

This Enterprise Was Established By Miss Emma Stirling, Founder Of The Edinburgh And Leith Children’s Aid And Refuge Society.

Fifty years ago there was a large children’s orphanage known as Hillfoot Farm, located at Dempsey’s Corner. A large number of children were brought out from Scotland and cared for here by Miss Emma M. Stirling, a Scotch philanthropist. These young people were educated and given a splendid training, the girls in housekeeping and the boys in farming, lumbering and milling. When possible foster homes or positions were found for them. Many of those who went out from this orphanage are located in various parts of Nova Scotia and the United States.

Mr. John Hodge, who makes his home when in Nova Scotia, with Mr. and Mrs. G. D. Cox, Weston, was brought out from Scotland in 1886, and after leaving the home became a telegrapher with the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railway. He is now enjoying a pension after thirty-six years service.

Mr. Hodge has supplied us with some interesting information about this orphanage, which was a model of industry. The farm, including the woodlot, was about six hundred and fifty acres in extent, and all kinds of crops were grown on it. Apple orchards were set out as well as a number of pear, peach, plum and cherry trees. Besides a quantity of small fruits were planted.

The farm buildings were in advance of their times in conveniences. Besides the large barn there were a piggery, sheep house and poultry house, all of which were kept scrupulously clean. There was a herd of fifty head of registered Ayrshire cattle as well as forty hogs (Berkshires), two hundred sheep, twelve horses and a pair of oxen. Beef, pork and lamb were sold on the market.

The living quarters were extensive, including the "Big House," the boys’ house and several other buildings, which contained school and play rooms, work and mending rooms, washing and drying rooms, dairy, pantries, kitchen. In the main building was a large room used for worship and social meetings.

A sawmill, shingle mill and a grist mill were operated on the farm and these were patronised by farmers throughout the countryside. The toll of grain went a long way towards feeding the farm stock.

This enterprise of half a century ago was the work of Miss Emma M. Stirling, founder of the Edinburgh and Leith Children’s Aid and Refuge Society. For a number of years before coming to Nova Scotia, Miss Stirling conducted children’s homes, day nurseries and coffee houses in Scotland. In 1885 the work had increased to such an extent that she brought a party to Canada to find an opportunity to place her wards in good homes.

In her book "Our children in Scotland and Nova Scotia" Miss Stirling gives a vivid description of her arrival at Halifax and the assistance rendered her by dr. George Lawson, Secretary of Agriculture in Nova Scotia, in locating a desirable property two miles north of Aylesford. There were twenty-five children as well as several helpers in the party. A second party of thirty-six children arrived three months later.

In connection with this arrival Miss Stirling states: "When we arrived at Aylesford the whole neighborhood assembled at the railway station to bid us welcome and brought their teams and waggons to help us to carry the party and their baggage." It was not long before a great many of the children and entered foster homes and then more were brought out from Scotland.

Probably some of the older citizens will remember many interesting details in connection with this enterprise. The orphanage was the centre of many community functions, including a religious service every Sunday evening. At one of the Christmas "At Homes" over eight hundred people attended. When a new barn was to be raised twenty-five neighbors were invited to assist. Actually fifty offered their services. Strawberry boxes, oxyokes, Dutch racks were made in the workshops. Articles of furniture were also made there.

Miss Stirling was evidently a very capable woman, for besides managing the orphanage and overseeing many details, she had the oversight of the farm. The plans for all the new buildings were drafted by her and when the new barn was to be built, she figured out the size and number of pieces to frame the building and during the preceding winter had these sawed out to the right dimensions at the sawmill.

Some of the buildings are still standing, but the property has been made into smaller farms.


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