From The Scrapbook By Rev. Bill Randall

FROM THE SCRAP BOOK by Dr. Bill Randall Aug. 1995

Looking through my Scrapbooks is sort of like looking into Gramma’s attic. Do you remember what fun it was?, all those funny looking bonnets, high top button shoes, and sometimes an old album of tin-type pictures! The problem was no one had ever stopped to write the names on the pictures and now there’s no one who can remember.

I found some material about the history of Brockway. The Community of Brockway owes its name to Reuben Brockway. Reuben was born in Washington, New Hampshire in 1774. At the time of the Revolutionary War he came to Second Falls, New Brunswick. His wife’s name was Anna, also born in New Hampshire and they had ten children, Abigail, Charles, Reuben, Rhoda, Alvia, Artemus, Anne, Daniel, Jeremiah and Margaret. Anne, Jeremiah and Margaret were born in Brockway.

When Reuben and his brother Rufus first came to New Brunswick in 1806 they settled their families in St. George, but the men travelled up the Magaguadavic River searching for long, pine trees. Thirty-five miles upriver they found a sheltered valley surrounded by low lying hills. Here they cleared some land and built homes of the timbers. They purchased six hundred acres of land, Rufus having three hundred on the east side of the river and Reuben three hundred acres on the west side. Of course, they named the place Brockway. Rufus had a mill on Brook Styx. Later he moved to Maine and Reuben bought the land, Reuben’s wife, Anna, died and was buried in Brockway in 1841. Her’s is the first and oldest grave in the little cemetery. Late in life, Reuben Brockway went to live with relatives at Second Falls and died and was buried there, his stone returned to Brockway and rests near his wife’. One of Reuben and Anna’s sons, Alvia, born in Newport, New Hampshire in 1805, married Mary Stewart of Second Falls. They had a large family all born in Brockway. Alvia and his brother Artemus went to California in 1849 in search of gold.

While in Brockway, Alvia operated a sawmill for long lumber, made cedar shingles by hand,made clapboards, operated a grist mill, and a match factory. He also had a brick kiln on what later became the Irving Little place.

The women of Brockway wove and knitted cloth and yarn, doing their own washing, carding and spinning of wool to clothe their families. Amusements were house and barn raisings, quilting and hooking parties and the old Highland Scottiche square and step dances. Music when they had no instruments was singing.

FIRST SCHOOL

The first school was held in the upstairs of the old Brockway homestead, with a hired teacher, then Anne Brockway taught school. A schoolhouse was built but burned in 1870. School was then held in a store on the property of Irving Little. In 1875 a new schoolhouse was erected on the present site by William Gass and son of Dumbarton, and a temperance lodge was held upstairs therein. The schoolroom was reserved for religious services until the Union Church was built in 1889.

Mail was scarce in those days. The first mail came by a man on foot from Fredericton to St. Andrews. Later it came by horseback and still later a Post Office was opened at the home of Solomon Vail, Sr., who also kept a barracks for soldiers.

The Community Hall was built by the young men of the community assisted by the residents, by holding a picnic. The land was purchased from Daniel MacLeod.

MOVE TO COLORADO

Alvia Brockway had ten children, Jeremiah, James, David, John, William, Jane, Anne, Matlida, Margaret and Amy, who was drowned in infancy. In 1871 Alvia and family and daughter Matlida, who married Jacob Vail of Brockway, and their family, went to Greely, Colorado. John Goudy lived for eight years on the old homestead, and then went to Pennsylvania. Then Alvia’s son, John A. Brockway, and his sons, Charles and Everett, purchased their father’s land, paying the mortgage thereon. John A’s brother, William 1844-1921, took over the land on the east side of the river.

John A. Brockway married Melissa Anne Nutter, of St. George, and they had five children: Carrie, Mrs. Ernest Smith, and Dollie, Mrs. Fulton Sinclair, Charles, Everett and John S. Brockway. The only son to marry was John. John A. was born 1840, died 1914, wife Melissa born 1843 died 1922.

Another pioneer family was Vail, Thomas and Hannah Allen, and their son Solomon who married first Sarah Turner and after her death Asenath Nutter. Thomas and Hannah’s daughter, Sarah, married Samuel Treadwell.

Other families contributing to the Community were Thomas and Margaret Cloney; James and Susanna Young; Thomas and Caroline Davis; Robert Diffin and wife Caroline; Mrs. Jessie MacLeod; William Little and wife Jennie from Harvey; and the scrapbook item continues “and many, many more names, such as Turner, Ruddock, Downes, Goudy, Prey, Jordan, Langley, etc., some of whom have come and gone long”. That’s the end of the item!

I suspect the other page would have had the word “ago” on it, but like many of the things in Grandma’s attic there’s a part missing.

Much of this material was originally prepared for the St. Croix Courier by Mrs. Carrie Smith, copied by her niece Joan MacLeod and exerpts are used herewith by her permission.

Source: Rev. Bill Randall’s “From The Scrapbook Vol. One.”

Recommended Reading

Interested in learning more about the rich history and heritage of the Harvey region? Here are a few blog posts that might pique your interest:

From The Scrapbook

FROM THE SCRAPBOOK  July 1994 By Dr. Bill Randall Cottages on Harvey Lake I made a count of the cottages on the east side of

Read More »