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MARCH 23, 1927




When this series of reminiscences was begun one thought two or three issues would tell all about Berwick at Confederation. However, old memories come crowding in upon one; one incident calls up a second and the second a third. The Man About Town and Harborville-By-the Sea are throwing boquets at one; I. C. R. in the Halifax Herald is making comment. The man on the street and woman too, is offering suggestions. So at the risk of wearying The Register, the end is not yet.

Solomon Bowlby, whose home is on the mountain north of Berwick, took us to task for not imparting the information that he was the contractor who moved the Ells’ shop to Berwick Station. Now we are blessed with a good memory and remember perfectly well Mr. B. and his old black mare moving the shop in two sections to its present site, spending some three months on the job. Now Mr. Bowlby is a nonagenarian, and even yet is a hardy specimen of the genus homo, and has moved many buildings in Berwick and vicinity since Confederation. Only a few years ago while engaged on a moving job, he fell from a second floor, breaking a collar bone, two or three ribs, and sundry other injuries. Every one thought this was the end of Solomon Bowlby’s activities. About three months in bed and six months on crutches and Mr. Bowlby was on deck at the old job, and the writer from experience can recommend him as fully competent. Again as the architect in charge, Brother Bowlby is inclined to discount those forty pairs of oxen that hauled the Jefferson shop up the hill. As a boy of eight or ten, when we saw that shop on its way, from the flourishing of whips and shouting of men, it seems to us there was something less than a hundred pairs. However, we are reminded of the old Scotch parson who, when his Beadle called him to task for exaggeration in his sermons, said, "Now Sandy, you sit in the front pew and when I draw the long bow you whistle." The following Sabbath the parson preached, using the illustration of Sampson and the foxes, how he tied their tails together with a torch attached, sending them out to burn the wheat of the Philistines. Said the preacher to his flock, "Now brethren, you may think it strange how this could be done but commentators tell us that the foxes in those early days had tails ten yards long." A low whistle from Sandy. "But brethren, " said the preacher, "later travellers into that country have found that these ancient foxes tails were only eight yards long." Another low whistle from Sandy. "Again my beloved hearers," the speaker said, "other and later investigators, in looking over the country, have decided that in the land of Judah the foxes tails were only five yards long." Sandy whistles again. Becoming impatient the Dominie fixes his eye on Sandy and exclaims, "Sandy MacPherson, you may whistle till you’re blind, I will not take another inch off those foxes tails if I am churched for it." Now in deference to an older man, we are willing to out those oxen in two, but if no other witnesses are called we will consider the incident closed.

When we ventured into newspaper history last week we thought we were careful in our statements, as we well knew John E. Woodworth, under whose care The Register grew and prospered for many years, would call us to account for any breaks in chronology. If we had stuck to our text and been true to Berwick we would have been safe, but the assertion that the "Star" was the first newspaper published in Kings County was taking in too much territory. The ink on The Register was scarcely dry when Mr. Woodworth comes back with the information that The Kings County Gazette was published in Canning by H. A. Borden in 1864 and continued to appear until the great fire in Canning in 1866, about which time the publication of the Star began in Berwick.

Now anyone who has read The Register weekly since its first inception, would readily accept Mr. Woodworth’s authority without question. But if for any reason one were inclined to doubt, we now have corroborative evidence and henceforth will speak by the book. This evidence is placed on the table in the shape of a copy of the Star dated Berwick, N. S., Thursday, Aug. 16, 1866, Vol. 1, No. 7, which completely confirms Mr. Woodworth’s statement. This evidence was produced and handed to the writer by H. A. Dodge of Berwick West. Mr. Dodge is evidently somewhat of an antiquarian and values this relic highly, so much so that we had to come under bonds for its safe keeping ere he would entrust it to our care. If The Register wishes to publish a facsimile to celebrate the Jubilee of Confederation we have no doubt this copy could be obtained for the purpose. When we are discussing the high cost of living of the present day we would point out to The Register that the yearly subscription of the Star was fifty cents per annum. Advertising rates, forty cents per inch for the first insertion and ten cents for each subsequent insertion, or eighty cents per square and twenty cents for each continuance.

This pre-Confederation copy of the Berwick Star carries on its title page the names of Halliday and Jefferson as publishers. So we must add newspaper publisher to the list of the late H. E. Jefferson’s activities. Having taken up our column in clearing up these little misunderstandings we will endeavour in our next to make a forward movement.


(to be continued)