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The Saxby Gale

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The Saxby Gale, 1869

 

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Oct 6/1869
Great Storm and Destruction of Property
Almost 6 o’clock on Monday evening last, rain commenced falling, quickly followed by a strong south-easterly gale which increased in volume until 7 o’clock, when it became a hurricane, ripping shingles from the roofs of the houses, and bricks from the chimneys, leveling fences, etc. The night was unusually dark, and the howling of the storm with occasional crashes of falling buildings made it appalling. The spray from the harbor was carried as far up as the barrack hill, and the fruit on the trees had a salt taste on the outside. The tide rose higher than was ever before known, and such a storm was never witnessed here, by our oldest inhabitants, one of whom, now upwards of 90 years old, recollects distinctly as far back at 75 years, and can read without the use of spectacles. We must hasten however to give a brief summary of the results of the storm.
            Marine Disasters
            Considerable damage was done to the vessels in the harbor; we endeavored to obtain a correct list of the disasters, which we give. Schooner Julia Clinch, H. Maloney, for Philadelphia with a cargo of iron, broke from the steam boat wharf, was dismasted and otherwise damaged.
            Utica, A. Maloney, from New York for St. John, cargo of flour, run in here for a harbor, ashore, will be discharged.
            Calvie Clark from Saint John for Philadelphia, put in here for shelter, was driven ashore. Cargo will be discharged.
            Eliza Frances, Hunt, for Portland, cargo of sleepers, drove ashore, will be discharged.     
            Legonia, Grierson, from St. George for Boston, put in here, considerably damaged.
            Mary Budd, Johnston, received slight damage.
            Elizabeth Bowlby, Gatcomb, driven ashore, little injured.
            Matilda Stinson, was driven up on wharf, and much damaged.
            Athlete, Jackson, rode out the gale. The Capt. was the only person on board his vessel.
            Mary Ellen, J. Bratt, loaded for New York, rode out the gale.
            Franklin, Coats, loaded, bow stove in.
             A small vessel loaded with fish from Latete, was much damaged, cargo discharged.
            A Jonesport, Maine, Schooner, spile laden drifted into the inner Bay from outside, bottom up.
            Between Robbinston and Eastport ten vessels are ashore, seven at Eastport, and twenty three at West Quoddy.
            Several boats were broken up, and all the wharves with stores on them, from the upper end of the town to Mr. Whitlock’s wharf, are carried away, and the beach is covered with logs, boards and scantling.
            Loss of the Bark “Genii” with all the Crew
Letters received this morning confirm the melancholy tidings, that the new bqe. Genii, Capt. Bailey, launched here only last month, loading at New River, was driven on the reefs and went to pieces, and we are sorry to learn all the crew met a watery grave. The bodies of the master Mr. John Stratton a native of Fredericton, two McVicars, from Mascareen, and two others were picked up. James McGill a native of this place was also on board; he leaves a young wife to mourn her loss.
            Damage in town and country
            The injury to property in the town and country was extensive; houses and barns are blown down, cattle killed, several large shade trees torn up from the roots and lying across the streets, and almost every fence prostrated.
            Beginning at the head of the town—Mr. Edw. Stinson’s house was blown over, the family having barely escaped, furniture destroyed. Thomas Bailey’s barn down and horse killed. Mrs. Kearney’s and Mr. Whitlock’s barns at Chapel, down. J. W. Street’s barn unroofed. Joseph Alexander’s house unroofed. Leonard Chase’s barn down, and a cow killed. G. D. Street’s considerably damaged. A small shed attached to Crozjet house knocked down by the bricks from a large chimney. Jas. H. Whitlock’s chimney down barn unroofed. J. S. Magee’s shop windows smashed, and others on Water Street; the old steam mill part of the roof blown off. Miss Swift’s barn roof off. Mr. Greathead’s barn and green house injured. Mrs. McStay’s new barn down. E. Stentiford’s blacksmith shop and shed blown down.
            At the railway station, the freight house, car shops, and wood shed, were levelled to the ground, part of the roof of the locomotive house was blown off, and the chimney of the Machine shop carried away. The Manager’s residence was slightly damaged, one of the chimneys blown down. Two cars loaded with bark lying on the track were driven up the extension, ran off and received some damage.
            H. O’Neill’s and E. DeWolfe’s barns, were blown down. Mr. Stevenson’s barn at his residence a short distance from town, with five tons of hay and five of grain was lifted bodily a distance of ten feet without injury. George Stewart who lives about half a mile from the town, had his barn blown down, killing three horses and a cow. From the country districts we learn many barns were blown down, cattle killed, and other destruction of property. Part of the bridge across the Waweig River is gone, carrying away a horse and wagon, within it which was by the bridge at the time. The horse was found drowned next morning. It is impossible at present to estimate the amount damage done, which must be very large. We notice by St. John papers that the storm was severe in that vicinity, but it does not appear to have done the amount of damage that it did in this vicinity.

 

St. Croix Courier
Jan 2/1941
“Home Guard” of the 1860’s”
By the Author of “Shiretown Items”
The above picture of the St. Andrews Volunteer Rifle Company was taken in 1862 at the corner of King and Queen streets. The large building just behind the group is the residence, and office, (attached) of Charles R. Hatheway, J. P., and at the present time owned and occupied by Herbert Snell. The church at the left is Greenock Church (the Kirk), and the house in the distant centre is the residence (brick) of George D. Street, corner of Parr and Edward Streets.
            The entire company was not present when the picture was taken, and is has been impossible at this late date to get the names of all in the group. At the extreme left is Corporal George Eggleton (late of H.M. 76 Regiment). Next is James Henry Whitlock, Capt. The tall bewhiskered gentleman at about the centre is Doctor John F. Stevenson, Assistant Surgeon. The last three in the line, reading from left to right, are Harry Whittaker, Sergeant, Benjamin r. Stevenson, 1st Lieutenant, M. Creary (of H.M. Regiment ?), Drill Instructor and Color Sergeant. Others in the group are John Burton, Robert Saunders, Gregory Byrne, Thomas Harrison, Guthrie Treadwell, Alexander Berry, Harry Whittaker, in the front rank; and Robert Alexander, Corp. Levi Handy, Donald (Dan) McStay, Edward Stinson, Eber Polleys, Leonard Chase and James Lambert in the rear rank.
            It is interesting to not the evolution in dress and firearms in the past 80 years, and also to remark the various styles of tonsorial treatment in vogue at the time when this group of men were the young huskies of the town. No doubt many of these old muskets, are still kept about town as souvenirs, of those stirring days of our forefathers. The dress looks odd to us now and the weapons crude. But who is there to say that improved weapons have made an improved type of war?
            Along King street at the present tie, is a row of elms, perhaps 100 feet high, which were planted some time by R. D. Rigby (now the property of F. A. Grimmer) stands on the corner directly behind the left end of the group.
            This volunteer Rifle company had been organized to assist in the protection of the town in case of a Fenian Raid from across the border, talk of which at that time kept the town in a continual state of excitement. A British Company was stationed here for a while, billeted in the large Gove warehouse near the depot. Later a company from Saint John was located here. A short time after the arrival of the British Company, they caused an alarm to be sounded one night about midnight to test the extent of cooperation they might expect from the local squad. The possibility of a false alarm had never occurred to the members of the latter company, and there was a wild scramble for uniforms and guns. Most of the men arrived at the place of meeting only partly dressed, but all had their guns and ammunition.
            The woman and children who were left alone were in a state of terror. One woman, the wife of a corporal in the volunteers, having had no instructions as to what to do in such an emergency, took her smaller children out and hid them in the garden behind the house. She posted her oldest boy, a lad of about fifteen, at the corner of the house with a shotgun, telling him to shoot on sight any person entering heir dooryard. Fortunately the father did not return till after daylight as otherwise he would no doubt have been riddled with buckshot by his own son. Here were other false alarms from time to time to keep the squad in practice but the actual and much dreaded raid never came. (The late Joseph Handy, father of Joe Handy of St. Stephen) was one of the children who hid in the garden.)