St. Andrews and Quebec Railway—Opening of Line to Woodstock
July 16, 1862
Opening of the Line to the Woodstock Road—Volunteer Review—Regatta, Dinner, Etc.
The morning of the 1oth was ushered in with a glorious sunshine, giving fir promise of a fine day and genial temperature, and dispelling all doubts and fears as to the probably state of the weather on such an occasion, and those who had expressed themselves in a prophetic and not very encouraging manner with regard to any coming train on account of the wind being in a certain quarter, were most satisfactorily silence. We could not help being reminded of the chorus in a celebrated glee:
Up route ye now ye merry, merry men
For it is now our opening day.
as the townspeople were all astir and unusually fidgety at an early hour making hasty preparations in the external decorations of the principal stores and buildings, and in suspending line of flags from house tops across the main street; the vessels in the harbour also came out in their true colors, the most noticeable being the American Vessel “Eastern Star” Captain Ackley, which flaunted a beautiful streamer, of almost indefinite length, and a host of signal flags; we can assure the captain that this compliment and his own courtesy is fully appreciated by the community. Before the arrival of any new comers the town presented a lively and stimulating appearance, and the savage breast was soothed by the melodious strains of a barrel organ under the conductorship of an itinerant Italian or some other kind of foreign Irishman, who was accompanied by a precocious young monkey properly trained in the art and practice of professional begging.
The Country people came rolling in from all quarters, and with them a goodly supply of quarters of lambs for sale in a short time all the available stables near were besieged with horses and wagons, and our streets were fast thronging with pedestrians. About 10 o’clock a whistle from the steamer Queen gave notice of her approach, and a general rush was made to the wharves to see the Calais and St. Stephen Visitors come ashore. the St. Andrews Volunteers now mustered, formed Company and marched to the Steamboat landing with Lieut. Col. Boyd who was mounted during the day, to receive the St. Stephen and Milltown Companies who were attended by their banks; the Queen having come to at the wharf, disgorged herself of the crowd of passengers that swarmed her decks. The Volunteers were the last to disembark, and having formed in line the companies presented arms, the bands playing the national anthem; they next marched off in fours to a lively air, through some of the principal streets to the great delight and amusement of the old and the young.
The excursionists from Magaguadavic were now eagerly looked for; they were seen crossing the bay in a schooner in tow of the Bradbury steam tug. The captain of the Queen very kindly steamed his boat out to meet them and by way of hastening their arrival, instead of throwing them a line, went alongside and took them on deck and returned to the wharf. We take this opportunity of according to Captain McAllister our hearty recognition of his services as a Volunteer on this occasion; Captain Wetmore and his company were received in the usual manner with military honors; the bands again struck up and all went off in marching order. The next expected arrivals were the visitors from Woodstock and Houlton by Railway. The Superintendent Mr. Owen Jones had taken the first down train through with Tobin’s express in the previous evening in four hours running, and as the bills set forth that the excursion train would leave the upper terminal seven o’clock the time of its arrival could be closely ascertained; during the interim and the anxious waiting moments, the Regatta Committee of Management were making active preparations for the forthcoming rowing matches; a boats crew had arrived from Campobello, the Indian squaws, their governor and chief, had also arrived from Pleasant Point, with their canoes, and the pilot boat Tormentor, Capt. Cline, with her gig and crew had come up from Little river, while on the previous Monday a Saint John boat had been forwarded by steamer to enter for the race. The committee issued programmes of the various matches and the prizes to be awarded, and all gave promise of a good day’s sport.
At 11: 13 the whistle of the Engine informed us of the arrival of the excursion train, and the vast concourse of people then in the streets trod their way to the Station; the cars were filled, and we presume that a great number of the visitors on this occasion had made their appearance at our seaboard for the first time, amongst the arrivals we noticed the provincial Secretary, the Chief Commissioner of the Board of Works and Mr. Lindsay M. P. P. ex-attorney general Fisher was also in town from another direction and was also Mr. Grimmer M. P. P. one of the county members. We observed that the Houlton people did not muster as strong as we expected, and more particularly also, the somewhat questionable absence of the Editors of the Woodstock press, we cannot account for this but peradventure they will. Our “little devil,” on hearing the fact, says “they oughter,” nor were we favored with the august presence of the recipient of the latest telegrams to Calais, the Proprietor of the St. Croix Herald, but we can better bear with this when we recollect that he once disappointed (at least it was so said) a Lieut. Governor at the dinner table. During the reception of the Woodstock Company military and civil, or perhaps to be more civil, read vice versa, the Regatta commenced with a three mile rowing match between the Campobello boat “Bluenose” pulled by the Parker crew, and the Saint John boat “Atalanta” manned by Cline’s crew; opinion, and we think the betting was in favor of the former, as she was five feet longer and of a better build; to the astonishment however of nearly everybody, the pilots, after a well contested race of twelve minutes duration came off the victors by a few lengths. Excitement caused by this match was intense.
The next match on the list was a canoe race, and as soon as the Volunteers and the accompanying crowd had reached the wharves, where every available place was soon occupied, such a? of widenwake people standing upon a pile of sleepers, and other people up to their elbows among hackmatac knees, not to mention anything about the contact of hoops and futtocks, oh dear! the start was given and away they paddled against a strong headwind over a two mile course; they indeed paddled with a vengeance, and the run home was of the most vigorous and excitable character the race being won by half a length only
The visiting Volunteers were now invited to luncheon, and marched off to recruit the inner man; the next race fame off soon after between the Wetmore “Magaguadavic boat and the Tormentor’s gig, the former winning the race in good style. At this state of the proceedings the Town bell rang out the 1 o’clock dinner hour; that touch of nature which makes the whole world “kin” a touch that not only reaches the heart occasionally but likewise the stomach, moved the vast assemblage of people to one purpose and to one occupation. We can only express our hope that they found sufficient accommodation and were provided with a good dinner, at all events with a hearty meal; we are aware of our deficiency in public accommodation to meet occasions of this kind, but do not feel bound by any other admissions to criminate ourselves in this respect. Our Railroad was not built in a day, and sufficient for the day will be the Hotel thereof.
the Public dinner was announced to take place at two o’clock but it was fully half an hour later before the guests were seated; it was given in the large centre store of Mr. Charles Gove, who very kindly offered the use of it to the company officers-the decoration was most tastefully carried out by the St. Andrews Volunteers, with ever green festoons and flags; there were in all eight tables capable of accommodating over three hundred people the dinner was of a sumptuous character and was provided by our townsman Mr. John Bradford upon whom it reflects much credit.
[list of toasts here and speeches here[
After the dinner, which occupied but a very short time for a public one, the Volunteers formed into Companies and marched to the review ground where they marched past Lieut. Col. Boyd in show and quick time, then came to a front and presented arms. Lieut. Col. Boyd addressed them previous to dismissal, but we were not within hearing distance. We cannot take leave of the review, without a passing mark of congratulation to our friend the Lieut. Col. it is a long time back since the good old days when he was in command of the Militia and wore his uniform and we will venture to say that all his friends who were present at the volunteer review felt gratified to see their old and faithful county member one more on the saddle, not it is true, in the full vigor of life at the age of seventy but in the fullness of his heart of the cause of our Volunteers.
It was now approaching the hour for the departure of the train from Sa, and our Woodstock and Houlton friends pressed forward to the Station—the cars were soon filled—the St. Stephens band played “auld lang syne” and as the train moved off at 5:15 pm three lusty cheers were given by the hundred who had assembled to give them a parting honor, we afterwards learned that they arrived at Woodstock at 9:30 pm—surely this is good travelling.
A 6 o’clock the Calais and St. Stephen party took their departure in the Queen amidst a great ovation, and at a later hour the Magaguadavic Schooner and tug got under weigh on their return; as many be readily imagined our town had now the appearance of being strained of a large quantity of the milk of human kindness; and we may further add of the cream of fashion; however, a great number of the excursionists remained behind with the intention of prolonging the visit. As the shades of evening were closing upon us the sports of the day were resumed and we witnessed three excellent foot races by Indian and a wheelbarrow race, the men being blindfolded; this was a side-splitting affair and had not the street in which the race took place, been well fenced in, it is almost impossible to say where the blind with their barrows would have turned up—as it was they turned over several times at which everybody was cruel enough to laugh their loudest.
Unfortunately for the better effect of our illuminations which followed at a later hour the moon could not be influenced to “keep dark.” Still, the effect was very pretty, especially the store of Mr. J. S. Magee which was decorated with variegated oil lamps, and Chinese lanterns of rich devices—rockets, serpents, blue balls, etc. were flying about in all directions and so the spirit of the day was upheld until at last “tired nature” wearied; but yet rejoicing lay down and slept.
it is our pleasure to record the general feeling of very great satisfaction and even astonishment that pervaded the whole assemblage throughout the day our very ears tingled with the frequent and reiterated expressions of unmingled delight—not only with the days’ celebration, the speed made on the railroad,, but with the position of our town and the town itself. We heard many good wishes for its prosperity, and we hope that our merchants will now be enabled to open a good trade with our friends in the interior.