Looking back to the early 1960s, there were a number of homes in Beaver Harbour that were built in the 1800s. Unfortunately, these homes were torn down and a large part of our history went with them. It’s sad to say, but I helped tear down some of these old homesteads.
In one of the homes there were old letters being kicked around by the workmen, so I picked them up and brought them home. Some of the information which I am writing came from such papers. A certain businessman in Beaver Harbour owned a grocery store, dry goods store, ran the post office, owned a wharf, and was a fish buyer for A&J McLean of L’Etete who were wholesalers in fresh smoked fish, fish oil, and Pumice. They also sold groceries, dry goods, and fishing gear, which was sent to Beaver Harbour on the Sch. Sara. Goods coming from Saint John to Beaver Harbour were sent on the Sch. Birch.
While tearing down one of these homes, I discovered next to the chimney a small closet which was boarded in and papered over. After opening the door, I found a musket with it’s balls on a shelf. This musket has the crown stamp of England on the barrel. I still have the musket.
In another house, I was rummaging around the attic and found an old store ledger dating from 1870-1875. There were entries of different people selling fish, mittens and socks to the store. Also, there were a number of names of people who did business at the store: David Eldridge, George Dickson, Andrew Holmes, E.J. Barry, William Ash, Mrs. Doon, John Doon, George Wright, Nelson Holmes, John Best, Seward Cross, Charles Brown, Milton Eldridge, Henry Noddin, W. Cross, G.E. Cross, William Douglas Wright, E. Pool, John Wadlin, E. Wadlin, Albert Cross, Mrs. L. Holmes, Mrs. McLean, Joshua Prescott.
This ledger also lists the prices for goods bought in 1872.
There also were a number of fishing vessels out of Beaver Harbour. Here are names of a few which were called "Pinks". They weighed around 10 to 15 tons, carrying a crew of five.
These boats netted large herring in the winter months and took their catch ashore and froze them in the fields. Boats from the American side would come and pick them up for market. The smoked herring industry was booming with their product being sold to the West Indies. They were also selling fish oil, hake sounds, cod liver oil, fresh and salt fish and Pumice.
Freight was also being delivered to Beaver Harbour from L’Etang, L’Etete, and Saint George by horse and wagon; also freight was delivered by the Shore Line Railway to Pennfield Station and hauled to Beaver Harbour by horse and wagon.
The King Edward Hotel in Beaver Harbour provided accommodations to travelers, and also rented horse and wagon, or horse and saddle.
The Sch. Sara landed $422.82 of dry goods to Beaver Harbour, freight being $3. July 12, 1883, Ganong Bros., manufacturing confectioners, was shipping goods to Beaver Harbour by vessel. They were dealing in teas, spices, tobaccos, cigars, fine fruits, nuts, canned goods, sardines, corn cakes, paper and paper bags.
Times did not seem to be that hard in our community of Beaver Harbour. There was a community hall where dances, pie suppers, were held. Also to raise money for their sewing circle, they would have an auction on a quilt.
The Valley Calvinist Baptist Church which was built around 1851 was holding services. Also the Free Will Baptist Church, built in 1862, on the Meeting house hill was open. There were new homes being built and the road from Beaver Harbour to Pennfield required repair work. Men would be required to work on the road so many days out of each year. This was the law.
A sawmill at Woodland’s stream was supplying lumber. Lumber was also being brought to Beaver Harbour from Saint John on the Sch. Birch.
Fishing equipment was being brought in from Eastport on the Sch. Sara. Many boats from Nova Scotia were fishing out of Beaver Harbour with fish being abundant at this time.
Pulpwood was being shipped from Beaver Harbour to Maine on four-masted vessels.
On Feb. 25, 1875, tenders were to be received by Ottawa to build a lighthouse at Drews Head, Beaver Harbour. Plans for the lighthouse were to be sent to Joshua Prescott, Pennfield.
In the late 1800s, our two-room school house was built where the Post Office sits today. The day they finished building the school, someone burned it down the same night. One man spent nine days in the St. Andrews goal, but there was on proof and he was released. The granite stones for the basement were brought from the quarries in Saint George by vessel.
This is just a small insight of the History of Beaver Harbour which was settled in 1783. These people landed in September on the ship Camel, and spent the winter in tents issued by the English army. They covered their tents in spruce bows and kept fires burning day and night.
I feel they were very noble, patriotic people who flew the Union Jack.
SOURCE: "The Saint Croix Courier" (November 9, 1999) - written by permission.