Old St. Andrews



Excursion to Barber Dam



St. Andrews and Quebec Railway—Excursion to Barber Dam


Oct 7/1857
New Brunswick and Canada Railway
Opening Excursion to the Barber Dam
The morning of the first day of a October was happily ushered in with the full brilliancy of a glorious sunshine, and a cloudless sky, and could not fail to impart to all those who most desired it, the assurance of a fine day, which with the exception of a passing shower at noon was fully verified.
            At an early house in the morning, comparatively early with the hour appointee for the starting of the excursion train from St. Andrews, the own was all astir, the streets became, we must admit, with pleasure, unusually thronged with people eager for the enjoyment of on such an auspicious occasion—and ? an eventful one to many, if not to all; the great mass of people increased as the time drew night for departure of the train; the scene at the Railway Station was such as was never before witnessed in the town of St. Andrews, and this we can say with truth, the grounds in connection with the station, which have been so tastefully dissected in approach roads and walks, and were the theme of passing commendation, were besieged with hundreds of people anxiously awaiting the opening of the Station doors through which admittance was given to the Platform, and thence into the cars; at last the long wished for moment arrived—the doors were opened with a hearty welcome to one and all—tickets were presented, and the platform became peopled. Upon a signal having been given by the Manager of the company, the train came puffing forth from the depot yard that was to carry the happy multitude through a portion of the forests of New Brunswick, and nearly forty miles in the direction of Woodstock, in fat to many an unknown. the train consisted of the new Engines lately imported from the Portland Locomotive works, and bore the appropriate names of the “Earl Fitzwilliam” and the “Manners-Sutton”; they were handsomely decorated with flowers, and this with the tiny hands of some of our “fair ones,” whom as a matter of course, we shall not here mention, no more than we should think of publishing a lady’s age—The Engines were also decorated with flags flying from, we were going to say, “the mast head” but at all events something very like it, then followed a train of cars, comprising a brake van, passenger car, twenty two large trucks fitted up with seats to accommodate 34 people each, and lastly another brake van, both of these vans having also been fitted up with seats. the cars were filled in a very short time, with eager occupants, and all were ready for the start, the New Brunswick, St. Leger of the day, when the whistle of the Steamer Queen was heart, as most people though in our harbor; and contrary to punctual observance the train was delayed, the Company’s officers being delirious of extending the time in order to permit those who might have come by the Steamer, to join the excursion; and we may here state for fact that the Hon. Capt. Robinson repaired with all haste to the Steamboat landing for the purpose of conducting the passengers back to the station, but when he arrived, no boat was in sight, consequently he returned, and upon his return the signal was given, and the train started with its living freight of upwards of 600 people amidst tumultuous cheers for its destination, the temporary terminus at the barber Dam.
            Every precaution had been taken for the promotion of due order, Special Constables having been sworn in to preserve the peace; each one was stationed at his post with a bade and baton of office, with a like number stationed in the environs of the opposite terminus, and we are happy to state, that no obtrusions took place throughout the day to mar the harmony of the whole proceedings. “along the line the signal ran,” for on every mile of the Line was stationed a “signalman” with the usual insignia of “all clear,” and after an excellent run of twenty miles, the train drew up as we learned for the purpose of “feeding the engine,” or in other words to get a fresh supply of water; this having been done, away again they went, with refreshed vigor, until the train arrived at the new Fredericton Road Station,--when a halt was made for the purpose of taking in the Hon. the provincial Secretary and the Hon. the Surveyor General, who had arrived from Fredericton to join in the festivities of the day; another start was made, and then a final stoppage at the Barber Dam station.
            At this point the scene was indeed rural and picturesque; a large plot of ground had been levelled in front of the station, to serve the double purpose of a Y turnout for the Engines to face again down the line, the space between each set of rails being occupied with an evergreen enclosure, and decorated in a most appropriate manner of the occasion, within which was laid table to accommodate 400 people, and under the proprietorship of Mr. E. Pheasant. This formed a most remarkably pleasing feature, hemmed in as it was by the vast woods on either side of the line, though we doubt not that, the scene within at dinner time was still more remarkably pleasing. The Officer of the Company had also provided a luncheon for their relatives and friends, the tables being laid for about 70 guests; the Hon. Capt. Robinson presided; here good digestion waited upon appetite, and health on both. After a full discussion of the various viands and choice fruits so amply provided, the Chairman rose and proposed—
            “The Queen, with 3 times 3,”
            The health of His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, of the Provinces,”
which was responded to by the Honorable, the Provincial Secretary, who assured the company that he was well aware of the intense interest which his Excellency took in the proceedings of the day, and his regret at his not being able to participate in them. The chairman next proposed, “Mrs. Manners-Sutton, and the fair Daughters of New Brunswick.” Dr. Arnold of St. John, returned thanks on behalf of the ladies, in a very happy strain. The chairman then gave “The Guests who have honored us this day with the presence, particularly the two Members of the executive Council.”
            The Honorable the Surveyor General, as one of the eldest guests, and one who had been named by the Hon. Chairman, had great pleasure in rising to return thanks. He landed in St. Andrews in 1810; it was then a flourishing town, and a place of very considerable trade. On the day when the news of the declaration arrived in 1912, there were 35 square rigged vessels I the harbor. The loss of the West India trade of which for a time it had a kind of monopoly, and the local advantages of St. Stephen, Digdeguash, and Magaguadavic gradually reduced the commerce of St. Andrews to a very low ebb, and in casting about them for a remedy, the principal inhabitants proposed the bold scheme of uniting the Town to the valley of the St. Lawrence by a Railway. No sooner said than done—a subscription was got up, and an exploratory line run through the wilderness. Sir Archibald Campbell, then Governor of the Province, ordered 10,000 pounds from the casual revenue, to pay for a survey which was afterwards made. Unfortunately for the undertaking, the negotiation on the Boundary question put a stop to the proceedings, and ultimately threw a large part of the line as surveyed into the state of Maine. Hindered but not discourage, the parties with unexampled perseverance urged their scheme upon the Legislature with such effect, that they at length obtained a promise of all the ungranted land for five miles on each side of the line, on completing it to Woodstock, also a guarantee of six percent interest for a term of years on a certain sum of money expended, the province at the same time becoming a Stockholder to the amount of 50,000 pounds, all of which has been paid. Under those circumstances the progress which they now saw had been made, and forty miles of the line would be forthwith opened for traffic. the resources of the forest were ample, and would of course comprise the only business of the Road until it should reach Woodstock, which it would now unquestionably do, and that very shortly. It would then afford a cheaper and safer and quicker inlet, and outlet to the great and increasing trade of the upper valley of the St. John than that at present carried on by the river. The city of St. John from its obvious advantages must continue to increase in trade and population, but whoever would look on the map, must see that St. Andrews with this Railroad, has also very great advantages. From the ocean it is nearer and more accessible even than St. John. Its harbour has the same important peculiarity of remaining open all the year round, and in fact the whole inner bay of Passamaquoddy was one continued harbour, completely landlocked, where all the fleets in the world could ride at anchor in perfect safety.
            He (hon. Mr. Brown) considered this as one of the most remarkable days of his life. In the heart of this dense forest where as a lumberman, he had wandered many a weary foot in days of “auld lang syne,” was there a splendid railway train and a vast number of ladies and gentlemen assembled to compose and to enjoy the interesting spectacle. It was however, melancholy to reflect, that the original projectors of this great work which now gave such promise of complete success, had one after another all passed away. How gratifying to them, had they been permitted to live and take a part in this day’s proceedings! he (hon. Mr. Brown) remembered, and was sure that the gentleman on his right (Mr. Street) would also remember, the singular but most appropriate toast of their friend Mr. Walton, who was still alive—“fire and Water,” man’s two best friends, and two worst enemies!—that they may speedily unite in propelling machinery from this towards Quebec!” here was the old gentleman’s desire, this day, at least partially accomplished. He (Mr. Brown) did not wish to be tedious, he would only remark that of all our wants in this province, we wanted more people to labour and develop its abundant resources. He had been in all parts of the Province, and travelled through al the Northern and Eastern States and was quite certain that taken on an average, our Agricultural capabilities in particular, as well as the resources of our forest, were far before theirs. He had ever recommended early marriages as the best means of increasing our population, and himself set the example, and raised a very large family; and now that the had an opportunity he would just say to the unmarried gentlemen and ladies there assembled “Go ye and do likewise.”
            The next toast from the chair was, “the Pioneers of the Railway,” all of whom were now no more. Drank in solemn silence.
            Dr. Arnold proposed the health of the gentleman in whose charge they had all been committed for the day, and to whom they all had every reason to feel greatly obliged for their pleasant excursion. He proposed the health of Mr. Thompson, the Manager of the Railway, which was drank with all the honors.
            Mr. Thompson rose to return thanks for the compliments that had been paid him-he felt proud and grateful for the appreciation that was felt for any exertions he had used to carry on the works, and which was manifested by the reception the toast had received—but he disclaimed being entitled to so full a share of honor, for, if any success had attended his efforts, he felt that he was greatly indebted for it to the able support he had received from Mr. Buck and the other officers of the Company. Mr. T. Alluded to the great benefits which would accrue to the whole province from the opening up of its wilderness lands and referred to the experiences of other countries to prove that the greater the means of intercommunication the more rapid was the advancement in wealth or prosperity. he pointed to the lands in the neighborhood of great rivers as always being the first settled and brought under subjection to man, in consequence of the transit which the river afforded, and that the railway through the forest in the middle of which they then stood might be considered as an artificial river, but would operate like a real one. Mr. T. spoke at some considerable length on the prospects of the road as a paying investment, and concluded by again cordially thanking them for drinking his health, expressing a prayer that he might carry them all as safe back to St. Andrews as he had brought them up thus far.
            Hon. Provincial Secretary next arose, and alluded to the difficulties generally encountered in making railway, and the large capital required for construction, and stated that not all the wealth of the Indies could build our Railroads, without the assistance of Engineers and Contractors, the therefore proposed the health of the Engineers and Contractors of the New Brunswick and Canada Railway.
            Mr. Buck, Engineer in chief, returned his grateful acknowledgements for he compliments that had been paid to the profession, particularly as in this instance it came from the Hon. Provincial Secretary; he, however, disclaimed against taking more than his share of the compliment which had been paid to the state of the works on this present Company was but of recent date, and much had been accomplished under his predecessors in office; and concluded by expressing a hope that within a twelvemonth from the present time, they would all again have the opportunity of meeting together under similar favorable auspices, and on the occasion of the opening of the 65th mile from St. Andrews.
            Mr. Marsh returned thanks on behalf of the Contractors; as one of whom, he felt greatly obliged for the compliment paid in drinking their health. Mr. Julius Thompson gave “the press of New Brunswick,” stating, that the press was acknowledged a powerful Engine for good or for evil, and without its aid no great undertaking had ever succeeded, and he hoped it would extend its impartial influence to the work which was now in hand, and which they had an opportunity of witnessing this day. \
            the Editor of this paper briefly acknowledged the compliment, and said hat as an humble member of the press of New Brunswick, he had always been a warm advocate for this Railway, and would ever continue to be such.
            Mr. J. W. Street proposed the health of the chairman. Drank with 3 times 3. The hon. Capt. Robinson responded in a happy and appropriate manner, and was cheered throughout.
            At this stage of the proceedings, the signal was given for the return home, and all parties again took their seats in the cars; the train left amide the cheers of the concourse who had flocked in to witness ‘the gay, the festive, scene” and after making frequent stoppages to accommodate he country residents, arrived in St. Andrews at 6 o’clock. The run up and back was accomplished each way, under two hours, including stoppages on some portions of the line averaging a speed of 35 miles an hour. The excursionists previous to separating gave three hearty cheers for the success of the Railway; and so the joyous event of the day terminated to the entire satisfaction of every one.