MARCH 16, 1927
MEN AND EVENTS OF 50 YEARS AGO
BERWICK AT CONFEDERATION AND AFTER
We left H. E. Jefferson at the sign of the "golden boot," on Main Street with a large shop and no business. However, those Empire builders of fifty years ago were not easily daunted. The railroad was open for traffic and business was tending toward the centre at the station. Soon Jeffersons shop was moving south up Commercial Street. There were no telephone or electric wires to interfere; the road was clear. Forty pairs of oxen, commandeered from ten miles round, was the propelling power. The building soon landed about fifteen feet south of where the George Whitman shop now stands. Very similar to the latter in size and appearance it was soon occupied by S. J. Nichols as a general store. In the meantime, in partnership with J. M. Parker and F. A. Clarke, Mr. Jefferson established the Berwick Steam Mills and carried on an extensive lumbering business. Picking the best residential site on Commercial Street he built and occupied the house where Dr. Balcom now hangs his shingle, incidentally building the Whitman shop and some small houses in the young town. Retiring from active business, Mr. Jefferson served as Stipendiary Magistrate and honorary mayor of the district, devoting his surplus energy to the upbuilding of the Methodist Church, promoting the Camp Meeting, and engaging in every good word and work for the benefit of the community which he loved as his home and pride.
Lest some belated inquirer is curious as to what became of the old shop, its independent history was closed when it was made an integral part of the Kirkpatrick Hotel, which stood on the corner of Commercial and Mill Streets, a few feet south of the Whitman Shop. In the conflagration in which the hotel was burned, the improvised fire brigade (which in its heyday would not take any back seat with Fire Chief Dakin), installing J. M. Patterson, then fresh from running with the hose reel in Brockton, Mass., as Captain, put up a strenuous fight that saved the Whitman building and incidentally covered themselves with glory and their clothes with smoke and water.
On Main Street, where Howard Eaton now makes his home, Andrew F. Chipman lived for many years. Born in Pleasant Valley, where the crumbling ruins of his birthplace may still be seen, son of Father William Chipman, the founder and first pastor of the 2nd Cornwallis Baptist Church, (now Berwick United Baptist Church) he early came to Main Street and though carrying on a large general merchandise business, yet through a long and busy life he worked and lived seemingly for the improvement and upbuilding of the community where he made his home. Inheriting a love of education from his reverend father, Mr. Chipman was for many years Secretary to Trustees of Berwick School Section. The present school-house was erected under his supervision more than fifty years ago, and Berwick school, then as now was widely known as one of the best in the province. A staunch Baptist, always true to his principles and active in church work, he served for a long time as Superintendent of the Sabbath School and Church Treasurer. The cemetery, down yonder, a credit to any rural community, owes more than the present generation know tot he intelligent supervision, good judgment, and hard work of A. F. Chipman who served as Secretary-Manager for many years. Verily, among the salt of the earth were Andrew Chipman and his faithful wife. Four sons and two daughters were born and spent their early lives in that christian home, and went from there to fill honoured places in the world: Will and Roy in successful business life in New York City; Rev. Owen N. Chipman, late of Port Williams, now pastor of a Yarmouth church; Kenneth, of the Dominion Topographical Survey, with headquarters at Ottawa. All maintain their interest in and look for The Register as a weekly bulletin from the old homeland.
For some years before Confederation the ports along the Bay of Fundy, Harborville, Ogilvies, Black Rock and all the rest had been particularly busy. The American War had just closed; for five years the United States had been engaged in a desperate internecine strife. The American nation was under arms fighting for its existence; manufacturing was at a standstill, agriculture was neglected. Nova Scotia at this time was prosperous as never before or since; her men were cutting timber and wood for the Americans; her shipwrights were building wooden ships in every harbor on the coast. Nova Scotia ships, manned with her stalwart sons, were sailing the seven seas carrying a goodly portion of the worlds trade. Potatoes were bringing a dollar a bushel at the shore. "The Canadian dollar was worth one and one-half of the American. Trade at the shore ports was particularly good. Reciprocity with the United States and cheap freight made everything boom. Merchants were making money very fast.
Coincident with Confederation, the bubble burst; the boom was over. The United States cancelled the Reciprocity Treaty and put up a tariff wall. Railway communication was opened from Halifax to Annapolis; steam and iron ships were already driving sailing vessels from the sea. Business men on the shore were first to feel the pinch of changed conditions; trade was falling off and hard times were on. The prosperous merchants on the coast were quick to take advantage of changing conditions. The Ilsleys had already come from Halls Harbor to Berwick. C. O. Cook later came from Harborville to Waterville; Thomas Anthony moved his headquarters from Ogilvies Wharf and opened a store on Main Street. The business prospered from the first. M. B. Anthony, son of Thomas, entered the business as a partner, and Anthonys shop became a fixture and part of Berwick. Too soon to see the fruition of his life work, the Grim Reaper took home Thomas Anthony, and M. B., with the Main Street store greatly enlarged, carried on alone. Soon came the periodical fire, the bane of Berwick, and Anthonys store went up in smoke. The lure of the West was then beckoning, and without a business here, M. B. Anthony went to Vancouver where he still resides, actively engaged in business.
Meanwhile, under the fostering care of a godly mother, five other sons had gone out from the kindly Main Street home to fill honored places in distant lands: Avit, in business in the American West; Dr. Lusby, a prominent physician in Spokane, Wash., and whose Berwick wife makes a double tie to the old homeland; Hazen, in Vancouver; Rev. John, an honored minister of the Methodist Church (deceased some year since); Dr. T. B., having a splendid medical practice in Vancouver, and Minard, well known to many Register readers, who were saddened at his early demise, reported in a late issue; while the honored mother still lives, rejoicing in the progress of her brilliant sons.
S. C. PARKER
(To be continued)