From The Scrapbook By Rev. Bill Randall


January 1995

By Dr. Bill Randall

The New Start

I’m going to do something different this month.

In order to emphasize the early struggles of our Harvey ancestors, I want to present a comparative picture of the struggles of a young New Brunswick family in 1995. To do this I am going to tell you the stories of two couples. The names will be fictitious but the circumstances will be historically plausible.

Chapter I of the story “The New Start”

Harry, his real name was Henry, was born at Embleton Beach, England in 1807. His mother died when he was two years old and he went to live with his Grandparents. His Father worked for the Telford Bridge Company, his Grandfather was a crafter and taught Harry the trade.

Hepsy (her real name was Hepzibah) was born 1809 at Nesbit; her father was a crafter and her mother was a knitter.

Harry and Hepsy met at a sheep shearing contest where the neighboring crafters (shepherds) brought their sheep.

They fell in love, were married and soon had a little boy.

Then a strange situation occurred.

A new breed of sheep called the Cheviots were introduced into Northumberland and became immensely popular, because of their size, their hardiness and the quality of their wool. So valuable were they that landowners began to erect fences – and the crafters skills were not needed.

What would Harry and Hepsy do?

They needed a new start, especially with number two child on the way, but where would they go and what would they do?

Chapter II

Lennie, his real name was Leonard was born at Tay Creek, N.B. in 1967. His father worked for Dexter Construction Co. building roads.

Lennie’s mother died when he was two years old and he went to live with his Grandparents at Williamsburg. Lennie was a half-hearted scholar at Stanley and when he was 18 years old left for Edmonton, Alberta to hire on as a laborer with an Oil Rig crew.

Leeann (her real name was Lillian) was born in 1969 at Deer Lake, Alberta. Her family soon moved to Edmonton, but her Father’s lack of ambition and surly disposition, made their home a place of stress and tension.

Leann met Lennie at a Rodeo dance and it was Leann’s chance to escape. She married Lennie. Soon they had a little boy. About that time Leann’s father deserted the family, so Lennie and Leann moved in with her mother, both Leann and her mother were working part time jobs.

The oil boom was fading and soon Lennie was looking for part time jobs. Leann’s mother brought home a new boyfriend, who resented Lennie and Leann especially since Leann was due to have another baby.

They had to make a change, they had to do something different, go somewhere, and start anew but where?

Chapter III

It may sound cruel, but Harry’s father’s death in an industrial accident offered some solution to his problem.

Mr. Telford settled a compensatory bond on Harry – and then came the advertisements! from the Stanley Land Company of Canada.

Many of their neighbors were excited about going to Canada. Land could be had for three shillings an acre and one hundred acres would be available to a married man in Harvey Settlement.

He would have to pay for the survey, deposit twenty five percent down and agree to a ten year mortgage at the rate of six percent interest.

That should be no problem for Harry and Hepsy, he had the down payment and he had the ambition. Both he and Hepsy had the courage.

They joined their neighbors on the ship Cornelius and left Berwick-on-the-Tweed and left for a new start.

 Chapter IV

Lennie was at the pub when Leann brought him a telegram.

It was from Val Dexter, informing him that his Father had been killed in a rock-crusher and compensatory insurance at a minimum of ten thousand dollars, would be made available to Lennie.

Lennie’s Aunt was a widow, living in Harvey and she wanted Lennie and Leann and the two children to come and live with her until they got a new start.

There was a house that could be bought just down the road.

Lennie and Leann packed their meager possessions in the back of their five year old half ton and started for Harvey.

Chapter V

Harry and Hepsy signed the necessary papers with Thomas Baillie, Surveyor General and John Wilmot and came to their lot in Harvey.

An earlier claimant had given up and left New Brunswick for Montana, leaving behind a small shack and about five hundred square yards of cleared land.

The forest was mostly worthless cedar; the ground was swampy and undrained. Money for hired help could not be spared. Harry and Hepsy had to do it by themselves. From daylight till dark with only a handful of oatmeal for his lunch Harry chopped down the trees while Hepsy tried to maintain a fire to burn away the earlier choppings.

Backbreaking labor for Harry, soot blackened countenance for Hepsy – and for all of them the dreadful scourge of mosquitoes.

Could they endure it?

Chapter VI

Lennie and Leann were eager to buy a house of their own. Lennie got a job driving a pulp truck. Leann and her husband’s Aunt were not compatible so Lennie and Leann went to the bank.

Cedric had said “the place they wanted was worth the fifty thousand asking price.” Lennie has the twenty-five percent deposit needed; now it depended on the banker to determine if they could get the necessary mortgage.

Quickly the banker fed into the computer the essential elements of their financial background. They were already paying one hundred and twenty five dollars a month on their old truck and their credit card bills were one hundred dollars a month.

To buy the house they would pay two hundred and thirty-five dollars application fee, five hundred dollars legal fee and three hundred dollars survey fee. There would be a seven hundred dollar C.M.H.C. fee for underwriting the mortgage. Gross debt service including heating and taxes would be eight thousand one hundred and ninety nine dollars and seventy two cents.

What Lennie and Leann were facing was – they must have an absolute minimum gross of twenty seven thousand five hundred per year.

It would be tight – unless Leann could have an income.

She has no skills; their young daughter had an allergy problem.

Leann had a good excuse for not wanting to work — but wait a minute. Hepsy had a good excuse too. So how does the story end?

Well this is fiction. But one of the Gillespie boys made an interesting comment when I was asking him for points of view about investments and I quote “If that Lennie and Leann were willing to buckle down, make sacrifices and work hard they could do what Harry and Hepsy did, make a secure future out of a bleak wilderness.”

P.S. Don’t wait for the Lionews to print the next chapter -. just read up a little on the History of the Harvey Settlement.

Author’s Note: An item from the 1939 Daily Gleaner was brought to me by Myrtle Little describing the Settlement of the Harvey District, copied from an article in Ruth Robison’s Scrapbook challenged me to write this material. My own knowledge of the history of the early settlers and the cheerful co-operation of the Manager of the Royal Bank in Harvey helped me to put this all together.

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: