River De Chute
Photos & information thanks to Bill Gregory Terlecki

A mention to readers- I have purchased an office sized Canon photo grade copier machine to enable me to complete the third edition of the book- The Lost World of River de Chute N.B. It just keeps getting bigger, and it will be ready early summer in hard cover text book format  with over 140 pages of photos. Wintertime will see more work done on the next- The River de Chute Digital Photo Cookbook...readers from that area or close by are invited to submit their old family recipies to the author here, for publication. Contact Bill Gregory Terlecki

 

Downtown " River de Chute during the Great Depression - photo

From my book " The Lost World of River de Chute". This photo was taken by C.R. Brittain, who came to RdeC to rebuild the burned grist mill and rebuild again, the famous sawmill of the Chute. Those mills were in the unseen gorge, below and to the left of where you see the long glare of the covered bridge of 1923 to 1963. Mist below it seen is from the dam that powered the mills, and gave the Chute it's first electricity. The mill pond seen here, remains in it's natural state, unchanged on all sides except the mouth. The St John River sits at left of this photo. North is at bottom of this photo, west to the Easton Maine border, is a few miles to the right.
R de C is a rarity in that it is a Canada USA border crossing, it sits in two counties, Carleton to the south and Victoria to the north (where the photographer was standing, the line being, and still is the half way out into the water), is in Wicklow and Andover Parishes, is the dividing line for NB real estate zoning boundries on MLS listings, has the mighty St John River as it's eastern boundry, has a namesake on the other river bank- River de Chute Siding, is a recognized marked waterways nameplace of Canada, has another River de Chute stream marked on some maps of the area north east of Perth, it was also known that people in Maine lived on their side of the border, but that their area was called River de Chute Maine. The R de C stream, has it's origins in NB, but meanders several miles into Maine, then dates back into the Chute at the Canada Customs, where one can follow it wading on a hot dummers day barefoot, or by car on the road paralleling it to the end at the St John. Coming out of the covered bridge, is the Dan Baird store 1891 to Jan. 1950, and post office (to 1947), the latter which was behind the ground floor window seen. The carriage house is hidden here by trees. The pot belly stoves chimney is seen rising through the middle of roof...that was the cause of a winter fire that destroyed the historic building and commerce forever. From there, the road curved up the dead mans turn up the steep ledge (hidden by the big shiny tree here), past where the burned out Porter mill family house stood, and it's magnificent stand of eastern white pines that stood until the late 1980's. Field on right was Sam Bishop field and bank barn, torn down by Roy Bishop after the war. Atop that seen is the only remaining structure still in the area today, the Sam Bishop Sr. general store of 1898..note the white outcropping of the "outdoor facilities" before plumbing came) bottom right.  The highway, which took one south to the rest of the maritimes right through River de Chute, ran between this store and the white building on it's left- the grainary and later, the first of three Gaunce stores. It burned near the end of WW2. Right beside but set back, is the R de C United Baptist Church. It was burned at the same time as the grainery/Gaunce store. The year of construction was unknown, but the land was granted by Sam Sr. for one dollar a year, for it to be built sometime around 1910 or so. It stood where now is the road and edge of parking lot on the south side of the County Line Restaurant. Leaving town further, is seen another Bishop barn, to it's left, is the Emma Bishop house- Sam's wife...he had built several farms and homes, but she wanted to live in town where the action was, so he had this one brought from Clearview. It was set too far back, so he had it moved closer, and turned around to face the road so she could greet all the school children from the porch on their way up the hill to the one room schoolhouse. That house exists today. It was moved by tractor during the massive tearing out of R de C in 1967 for the Trans Canada Highway. It sits today across from the R de C Pentecostal church/cemetary on the road outback. The top of the hill, unseen here, held another farm built by other Bishop brothers, and later the Browning farm. Further along were the George Mavor house and R de C school house..then more farms, houses to the Clearview line.

River de Chute color photo -

Seen in colored photo, further description--- sharp curve of highway (that old highway is still there and can be followed today on a walking tour from the smaller concrete pier on Carleton County side of stream to that curve) the blacksmith shop of Free Fitzherbert, built 1928, torn down 1968. The single window faced the pond. It was here Freeman had a windmill generator for operating blacksmith equipment, and also had the areas first radio- an Atwater Kent. To right of that is the house built by Sam Bishop Sr. in 1890's when he came down to live from Bairdsville. He built many farms, houses and barns, and the Bishop General Store- which still stands. His son, my  grandfather Samuel Marcus Bishop (1896-1966) let him live there free of charge as long as he lived. After Sam's death, his son Cameron honored that promise, when it was torn down soon after Free's death in 1973..such were the honorable ways of the slow and older days. Up the winter-awful grade past the Porter pines (on left) was one of his hay and machinery barns, torn down by Roy Bishop after the war. Not seen to right of that field, was the cabin of John Good, also on the Bishop field (like the song- a little house among the evergreens!), which was also inhabited by Polly Spooner and her husband Ed , the custodian of the one room school. When they left, Percy and Vera Fitzherbert moved in. One night about midnight in January of 1950, upon returning from a movie in Andover Vera witnessed the burning of the Baird store, seen centre.

Baird's Store - black and white photo  -

The River de Chute covered bridge built after the flood of spring freshet 1923 washed out the earlier open bridge. Built by contractors Boone and Barclay, only the piers remain, as the deteriorated structure was not sturdy enough for the coming Trans Canada Highway traffic. The bridge cost $ 9,290.00 to build. Seen, is the famous NB signs of the fine  sign over
opening warning for driving too fast: To left if Dan Baird store in it's prime with it's hitching post, and apt. above of his wife, the one room school teacher, Ina Baird. A small fence seen in shadows to left of bridge is that of the walkway that crossed the dam and waterfalls, taking you over the other side of the River de Chute stream to River de Chute north, in Victoria County. On that other side, is seen the big Fraser built mill house, torn down in 1955. Looking through the covered bridge, you see the slope of the hill leading up to that house...this is the sharp curve that the main highway curved around, taking you through the bridge towards the St John, but then sharply north towards Bairdsville, the next community. This old road ran parallel, and along many river homes that dotted the St John before being torn out for the TCH. The R de C sawmill and gristmills sat below and to right of this bridge, accessed by the road seen as the snowy slope on the other side of bridge opening, going to the right (south). You can see a DC current pole near bridge piers but below, on this side that carries electricity when water flow was enough from the sluice turbine of C. R. Brittain. These are the Porter planted pines on right that stood from the 1880's to the late 1980's as sentinels seen from the highway across the St John.

River De Chute School - black and white photo -

The R de C one room school house. This photo taken by Bill Terlecki Sr. when he moved from Toronto to live in the Chute with new wife Bea Bishop Terlecki in 1947. Bill carried a 35mm camera with him wherever he went going back to the early 30's, and including his 3 years in Italy during WW2. Seeing the great opportunities to capture the Chute in it's prime, was a great foresight, as very little remains to see today. Here, the school shows a previous round sign that was just replaced by one that was ordered and paid for by school house teacher and friend of this author, Mary Mavor Rasmussen. She paid about $5 to have Don Miller make the wood shaped lettered sign in his Andover shop. This school held many well known students past, and was in service until the 1965- 66 school year. After that, tenders were called to buy and remove the school. It was sold and moved in 1967, and hauled outback a ways where it sat for about 8 years empty and was severely trashed by vandals. Soon after that, it was turned into a home, as it remains today. When the school closed, the sign was removed and given to the above teacher. She kept it in her Clearview house basement until myself and father asked to see it. She brought it out into the sun for a last photo, ringing the old school bell for the last time, amidst many tears of sadness, that all was gone.  Tragically, the sign was thrown out by brother Doug, when the house was sold. That photo will be added here.

The R de C one room school house. This photo taken by Bill Terlecki Sr. when he moved from Toronto to live in the Chute with new wife Bea Bishop Terlecki in 1947. Bill carried a 35mm camera with him wherever he went going back to the early 30's, and including his 3 years in Italy during WW2. Seeing the great opportunities to capture the Chute in it's prime, was a great foresight, as very little remains to see today. Here, the school shows a previous round sign that was just replaced by one that was ordered and paid for by school house teacher and friend of this author, Mary Mavor Rasmussen. She paid about $5 to have Don Miller make the wood shaped lettered sign in his Andover shop. This school held many well known students past, and was in service until the 1965- 66 school year. After that, tenders were called to buy and remove the school. It was sold and moved in 1967, and hauled outback a ways where it sat for about 8 years empty and was severely trashed by vandals. Soon after that, it was turned into a home, as it remains today. When the school closed, the sign was removed and given to the above teacher. She kept it in her Clearview house basement until myself and father asked to see it. She brought it out into the sun for a last photo, ringing the old school bell for the last time, amidst many tears of sadness, that all was gone.  Tragically, the sign was thrown out by brother Doug, when the house was sold. That photo will be added here.

Wedding party of Ruthena Brittain picture -

The wedding party of sawmill owners daughter, the late Ruthena Brittain. The millhouse built by Fraser, was always the site of big get togethers and parties. This photo was of her  April 1948 marriage to an American just over across, with the car being stuck in the mud. All  roads were unpaved. More so than today, men and women were attired in suit and ties, gloves and hats...one would think that rural River de Chute had no fashion sense, but not so! In the 1930's to 1940's, E.R. Marrich would bring in fine dresses and millinery to the Baird store to sell. From left are seen- white flat roffed building; Underwood Garage of Bill Terlecki, just to it's right; Stacey/Donald Bishop cabin- above it's roof, is seen the Texaco star gas sign. Next; the covered bridge, below it on the Victoria County side bank; the mill office of C.R. Brittain with woodstove pipe. To it's right, a garage and sawmill scrap lumber, always strewn everywhere. Behind the garage at top right, is the old Dan Baird store with chimney and smoke, located on Carleton County side of the dam. It burned down 20 months later. Today, this view is totally unrecognizable, but to stand on this spot, one would have to be on the paved roadway approach to the concrete bridge on the north side of the River de Chute stream, and even at that, the ground is raised over the original site. Only the sharp rock ridge to the right, unseen here, remains untouched at the millpond edge. Even the high ridge at the top of photo, was torn out in 1967, used as highway gravel.

The River De Chute Mill Pond Dam & Sluice produced the first electric power in the area. Photos of Bill Terlecki Sr. taken on leftover WW2 Kodak film. The post-war era saw electricity expand from it's origins down at the water turbine, and this was the last of the sluice, shown here in operation, before spring floods washed it out, along with the buying out of local power by Bristol and Florenceville Power. This sluice was a deadly thing to play in, and was the forbidden area that local children were always warned to stay away from. Walking across tthe dam walkway was for adults only. With it's rickity guardrail, show-off boys would sometimes walk the rail to impress the local girls as they screamed in terror. The long drop down to the slate ledges, was the site of more than one mortal car accident, one being that of a Lockhart in the late 1920's that missed the covered bridge at the deadmans curve downhill. Standing on this spot today, the water is still and shallow, the background bank being only two feet above the waterline. A log bridge was built across this point in 1963, for all Trans Canada Highway traffic heading north and south. At that time, the covered bridge was being dismantled, and the concrete bridge being built along side. Some of those logs still hold in the bank.

A sawmill worker taking a lunch break at the sawmill in 1900. The River de Chute Ferry seen crossing the St. John river. A spring flood later took out the mill. Nexfor Fraser Papers Inc. based in Stamford CT., acknowledges River de Chute on their main web page in their bio of company founder Donald Fraser. It is an honor that this small place is recognized as being the starting area and business that eventually grew to what it is today. Nexfor Fraser Papers Inc. is one of North America's largest producers of specialized paper products, having 16 paper machines in four mills in Maine, Ohio, Wisconsin and New Brunswick. They manage two million acres of forest.
The mills at River de Chute were in operation as far back as 1823-1825, that of Hil. Kearney. Mr. Fraser took over operations in 1877 from Joseph Porter. By 1887, the Carleton Sentinal had an article expounding the exceptional operations there- August 1887- "The River de Chute mill was soon made into a saw milling operation that surpassed others in the province in the quality in both it's technical and administrative management." Siding and clapboard were much sought, and clients in Boston imported River de Chute lumber, known for it's quality. Mill workers, numbering 14 in those days, tied and hauled it onto the local ferry next to the mill, and crossed it to  River de Chute Siding, the  railway stop across the St John River. In winter, it was hauled out and across by horses.
William Paul
, Stonehaven blacksmith and master mechanic, was brought in by Donald Fraser, and set up shop in the Chute. There, he made on the spot mill machinery- shafting, pulleys, and conveyors, needed to run the mill. The mill was run by a large waterwheel and powered by a wooden box-like sluice set-up that ran the mill pond water aside the dam, under the bridge, into a flume and penstock. In 1887, an August fire destroyed the mill, but Fraser rebuilt it immediately. He built the huge Fraser millhouse, which housed all the workers at the back. This was a well known home and mill gathering place, right up until it was torn down in 1955 due to the closing of the mill operations. Son Donald was born in 1868 and went on to manage the Plaster Rock operations. Brother Archie born 1870, ran the Fredericton business. Donald Fraser Sr. opened up new mills, including Cabano Quebec, but retained R de C mill ownership until 1909, whence he sold it to the Miller brothers; William, Wallace, and later, Medley. When Mr. Fraser died in 1916, it was written: " He purchased a sawmill in River de Chute ,Victoria County and operated it for some time with great success. It was here he laid the foundation of what is now believed to be the largest lumbering and milling business in eastern Canada."

The earliest known photo of the Fraser Sawmill , 1890's

A Walking Tour Map of River de Chute Through the CenturyShown are the homes, businesses and features of the old River de Chute before 1963, when the Trans Canada Highway project took out the covered bridge, river homes, school house, farms, hills, and bulldozed and changed the terrain and watercourses. Not shown is a WW2 prisoner of war holding area, as recounted by the Shaw family, formerly of River de Chute Maine (Easton) . Their account placed it somewhere in the "outback" which would have been around the Browning Road location. There were more families that lived in the Chute, who came and went as farm help and mill workers. Although only a few square miles in size, R de C has had an amazing number of interesting people and history, since being named - Segadeeopskawaik, by the Indians, and River de Chute by the French explorers in 1604. Next year is the Chutes 400 years landmark as a nameplace. Map drawn by Bill Gregory Terlecki.

Adolph Hitler Postage Stamp newspaper article in reference to Rive de Chute.

Back of Postage card sent to Phyllis M. Lister

Cancelled letter sent from River de Chute - The way offices are documented as having started in 1852, that of Henry Baird. By 1856, his R de C way office handled 312 bags of mail there. The first post office was that of Isaac Wortman in 1868, who until 1872, also ran the mills. Next was Frederick DeWolfe, also in business with both mills. Joseph Porter, of the Andover Porters, bought the mill in 1873, and ran the P.O. also, which he ran from 1874 until 1895. These P.o.'s were in R de C Victoria, after 1895, they moved forever to Carleton County. Dan Baird carried it on in his store from 1897 until his death in 1943, when his wife Ina Semple Baird took over until 1947, although she did it from her apt. upstairs. When failing health forced her to move with son Ronald in Edmundston, the P.O. was taken over by Archie Bishop up the hill at his newly run old Sam Bishop Sr. general store in 47 until that building closed in 1967. Across the highway to a newly built store for Expo year tourists on the almost finished TCH summer season, it ran a short time until Canada Post closed operations in May 1970. That store mysteriously burned several years later. These remnants of the forgotten River de Chute pride in having it's own postmark, show that the place was once more than a swoop of pavement on the way to somewhere.

Freeman Fitzherbert's blacksmith shop at River de Chute - submitted by Dwayne Killcollins