From The Scrapbook By Rev. Bill Randall

FROM THE SCRAPBOOK by Dr. Bill Randall

May 1995 Petition for Land Grants

We are familiar with the expression; We took it for granted that ___.” This seems to have been the concept of the early Harvey settlers that the portion of land where they laid their loved ones in the grave had indeed been granted to the community for a graveyard. Some twenty-five years later they were made aware that indeed the land had never really been granted.

They understood that the. Crown Land Department had sent out Andrew Inches to lay off twenty acres of land for the purpose of a burial ground. The land had been held in reserve since the survey for that purpose. Part of the land was cleared, fenced and used for a burial ground, also settlers turned out and cleared more of the land and allowed the Rev, Alexander Smith the privilege of cropping the same while he remained in Harvey. Rev. Smith was the Presbyterian minister in the place, living at that time in the manse which, prior to its destruction in 1989, had been the home of the late Douglas and Lorraine Speedy. It was situated almost opposite to James Coburn’s driveway. After Rev. Smith left, possibly 1863, the land was known simply as The Commons.

In 1874 Phillip 0. Law, believed to be from Moncton, planted a crop on the land and claimed to have made improvements on the land. Mr. Law had married in 1868, Elizabeth, the daughter of William Coburn. At about the same time W. 0. Hatch who lived in this area also claimed to have made improvements on the land. Mr. Law sold his claim of $30.00 to Mr. Hatch and Mr. Hatch then made his claim to the Surveyor General for improvements in the amount of 560.00.

These irritating circumstances motivated the residents of the community, led by John Rutherford, Justice of the Peace, to petition the Honourable S. L. Tilley, Governor of the Province, to grant their request to issue out a grant for the land. Following are the names of the petitioners. (Spelling of names as they appear in the document)

Alexander Hay

John Rutherford, J.P.

George Grieve

Walter Piercy

John Mowitt

Ralph Coburn

Matthew Piercy

Henry Swan

Thomas Piercy

Alex Swan

Wm Hay

William White

George Embleton

John Cowe

John Piercy

Thomas Piercy, Junior

Henry Swan

William Dorcus

John Hay

Wm McFarland

Robert Cessford 

 William Patterson Alexr Wilson Marshall Robison Marshall Robison Jr. Thomas Robison David Glendenning John Cessford Andrew Ross, J.P. William Embleton John Craig

Andrew Atchison William Atchison James Swan

David Little

George Herbert Thomas Nesbit Wm Elkington W. W. E. Smith James Rutherford John Swan, Sen. William Patterson, Sen.

 Andrew Mowitt James Mowitt John H. Grieve Andrew Moffitt John Moffitt

Wm McCulloch Stephen Robison Thomas Wilson, Jr. William Robison, Jr. George A. Grieve Thomas Willson George Elkington Robert Burrell George Burrell John Hay

Thomas Cockburn George Cockburn, Sen. John Cockburn James Cockburn George H. Cockburn Thomas Mowitt

Richard James John Pollock     John C. Pass

Edward James Robert Pollock     Stephan Robison

Robert Wilson George Pollock     A. W. Coburn

James Thompson Joseph Pollock     James Wilson

John Thompson William Pass     John Goarham

John Whiteman William V. Pass     Harry Goarham

They engaged a banister, E. Byron Winslow to present their case.  Forthwith the parcel of land was put up for auction and sold for $1.00 to Winslow. He then transferred the property to the Harvey resident petitioners to be used forever as the Harvey Settlement Burying Ground. Trustees were appointed, Alexander Swan, Walter Piercy, William White, Ralph Coburn and Alexander Hay, representing the eighty-one petitioners.

Jocelean Hall is accumulating information on the history of the Harvey Settlement Cemetery, with help from Elwood McGee, secretary of the cemetery, and Helen Craig, and it is as a result of my assistance in this research that I have borrowed some of the material to use in this Scrapbook item. You see, one of my ambitions in preparing this monthly item is to encourage people who have collected and preserved History to share these memories, that we fall might have a better understanding of our Heritage. So, if you have stories from the past relative to the Harvey Settlement Burying Ground, please share these with Jo.

For example, it is for us a mystery as to what became of the hearse–a rather fancy hearse with wheels and adaptable runners for winter. There were also two nets to cover the horses. The horses were covered with black nets whenever there was a funeral for an older person and there were white nets used for younger persons. The nets began at the horses’ ears and covered the whole length of the horse and draped down the sides of the horses nearly to the ground. One of the early teams used to draw the hearse was Albert Little’s. He had a fine looking matched team of blacks. Prior to the purchase of a hearse, coffins were carried on a flatbed wagon; the hearse added considerably to the dignity of the funerals. For some years, Ab Johnston drove the hearse. Later George Speedy and later teams as chosen by Harry T. Swan, who was the funeral director and kept the hearse in the old Howard Robison barn. Prior to that there had been a specially built hearse house and when Albert Little was driving the hearse the hearse house was kept at his place, then to Ab Johnston’s it was moved, and still later to George Speedy’s. The horse drawn hearse was succeeded by a 1929 Dodge motorized hearse and then by a Packard hearse.

For some years Austin Moffitt has relentlessly pursued this inquiry and he has discovered the location of the wagon tongue that had been attached to the hearse. There are 

also some yet unconfirmed clues which might indicate the last resting place of the hearse. What would be particularly helpful would be a snapshot showing some detail of the hearse–that is the horse-drawn one.

It might stimulate your memories if I remind you that Harry I. Swan was a practicing funeral director in 1934 when he bought the Howard Robison place (where Richard Phillips lives). Mr. Swan was licensed as a funeral director in 1948. He continued this practice till his death in 1955 and during these years he was assisted by his son-in-law, A. G. Knowlton. After Mr. Swan died his widow, Lottie, continued to operate the business, her late husband’s license having been passed on to her. With her son-in-law, A. G. Knowlton, she would go to the homes of the bereaved arid make arrangements for the funeral. Very often in those years funerals would be held in the homes, and it was in these situations where Lottie’s warmth and understanding was especially helpful.

Mrs. Swan recognized that it would not be practical for her to continue as a funeral director and she offered the business for sale. About a year later Al Knowlton and Arthur Craig entered into a partnership to buy the business. Mr. Knowlton was licensed as a funeral director in 1965 and Mr. Craig apprenticed under Mr. Knowlton. They built a funeral home adjacent to Mr. Craig’s property at the top of Harvey hill. Mr. Craig retired in 1976, and A. G. Knowlton built the Swan Funeral Home in this present location in 1977.

During the years that Al and Joyce Knowlton operated the business he was frequently assisted by Levurn Swan. For nearly twenty years Al performed the delicate tasks of a funeral director with dignity. In 1994, Mr. Knowlton sold the funeral home to Flewellings Funeral Service Ltd., Nackawic, who presently operate it.

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: