From The Scrapbook By Rev. Bill Randall


October 1996

By Dr. Bill Randall

The First In Harvey

On October 8th, I was invited to talk about Harvey History to a Senior’s Group from Fredericton who came to Harvey for their autumn celebration of the autumn colors.

I enjoyed this as always and as a part of my research for material I once again scanned old scrapbooks. I looked into the notes we have retained of the late Mary Coburn’s scrapbooks. She had made up her own lists of Harvey firsts, and I will share these with you,

In looking at Mary’s written material more closely she writes that her material was “taken from a scrapbook compiled by John Taylor Sr. of Harvey.”

John Taylor had his furniture and casket building shop in the building which still stands as the bakeshop owned by Rodney Black. John Taylor was also a Justice of the Peace and could write wills and other legal documents.

The First,

First relates to the history of the Presbyterian Church and appears to be a combination of John Taylor’s notes and Mary Coburn’s memories. Taken from a Scrapbook by John Taylor Sr. (comments by M. Coburn)

First services in the new Settlement of Harvey were held in the school house, conducted by the elders and others.

There were four of them: John Thompson, Thomas Herbert, Thomas Piercy and James Nesbitt. In this connection the name of Nicholas Lister should be mentioned. He took regular turns at the desk with the elders, giving out the Psalm or Paraphrase, leading in prayer, and reading the sermon.

There was no great force in the reading of the sermon but to hear some of these men praying, pleading at the throne, offering up their gifts at the altar, was something grand. The very simplicity of the language lent power and solemnity to their soul stirring devotions; nor was the service of praise led by Matthew Piercy less earnest and striking. At the end of 16 years in 1852 (I think this should have been 15 years as Harvey was settled in 1837) a substantial meeting house had been erected with the understanding that it should be open to any of the three Presbyterian denominations then existing and at rivalry amongst themselves.

The Old Kirk, the Free Kirk or the United Presbyterian Kirk. The result of this was that two or three individuals who favored the Free Kirk, guided, no doubt, by certain of the clergymen, contrived to have the building deeded, to be in connection with the Presbytery of St. Stephen, which Presbytery inducted the Rev. Alexander Smith into the charge, against the wishes of a very large majority. This led to a disruption and division.

(The church referred to stood on the site of the memorial to the Pioneers next to the Harvey Cemetery, with a manse nearby in the same field – where Ezra (Gerry) Messer now lives. The manse was a thing of the past as far back as I can remember but the sturdy old church was torn down a few years ago and the lumber was given to the Y.P.S. of. Knox Presbyterian Church to be used in the building of a hall. This was during the pastorate of Rev. Ross C. Robbins of the United Church and the deal was transacted through the St. Stephen Presbytery. Ed James of Tweedside later bought the lumber from the young people. Later on they built Knox Hall with new lumber.

Mr. Smith and the Presbytery were allowed to hold their ridiculous position. The majority left and built another church in 1856, this time in connection with the United Presbyterian Church of Nova Scotia.

Meantime there was a newspaper war with much bitterness and animosity whilst the stories of Auchterarder Marnoch and Strathbogie were freely ransacked and raked up.

Another church was built, as already stated, into which the Rev. Samuel Johnson, was ordained and inducted in May, 1856. He ministered to the people 20 years, while Mr. Smith’s pastorate lasted only 2 years. Mr. Johnson – here the paper was so badly worn that I can go no further, but later on, in another scrap I read the following: The church built in 1856 was destroyed by fire in 1896. The present St. Andrew’s Church, on the same site, was dedicated in January 24th, 1897.

List of Ministers:

1. Rev. Samuel Johnson                         2. Rev. E. Roberts

3. Rev. Robert Nairn- Scotland              4.Rev. James A. McLean – Nova Scotia

5. Rev. Malcolm J. Macpherson – PEI    6..Rev. Jamieson Fraser MacKay – NS

7. Rev. J. Hugh McLean – Harvey           8..Rev. Alexander MacKay – PEI

9. Rev. Ross C. Robbins – NS              10. Rev. W. Edward Aitken – PEI

11. Rev. John L, Rose – NS                    12. Rev. Wm. Randall – NS

13. Rev. Larry Todd                               14. Rev. George Stratton -NFLD

15. Rev. David Chesney

Another first:

First school, built east of George Pollock’s. First licensed school teacher in Harvey, David Glendenning. First blacksmith, Michael Donahue. First Roman Catholic born in Harvey, Rev. Walter Donahue, son of Mike and Ellen (McGinn) Donahue. First Sisters of Charity, Gertrude Donahue and Rena Donahue, sisters of Rev. Walter Donahue. 

First framed house

It was built by William Embleton on the site now occupied by Nina and Donald Spilman. First resident doctor

In Harvey, Dr. Bowman Newton Keith.

First Harvey resident to be elected to the

New Brunswick Legislature,

Thomas Robison.
First Harvey resident to lead the province in Normal School exams,

Ruby Grieve.

The following items was found in a scrapbook made by the late Sarah Coburn, and was passed on to me by Donna Feeney.


(from a child’s view)

After Christmas break, a teacher asked her young pupils how they spent

the holidays. One small boy wrote the following:

We always spent Christmas with Grandpa and Grandma when they lived in a big brick home, but Grandpa got retarded and they moved to Florida. Now they live in a place with a lot of other retarded people. They all live in little tin boxes. They ride on big three-wheeled tricycles and they all wear name tags because they don’t know who they are. They go to a big building called a wrecked hall, but if it was wrecked, they got it fixed, because it’s all right now. They play games and do exercises there, but they don’t do them very good.

There is a swimming pool there. They go into it and just stand there with their hats on. I guess they don’t know how to swim.

As you go into the park, there is a doll house with a little man sitting in it. He watches all day so they can’t get out without him seeing them. When they can sneak out, they go to the beach and pick up shells.

My Grandma used to bake cookies and stuff, but I guess she forgot how. Nobody cooks, they just eat out. They eat the same thing every night, early birds. Some of the people are so retarded that they don’t know how to cook at all, so my Grandma and Grandpa bring food into the wrecked hall and they call it “pot luck.”

My Grandma says Grandpa worked all his life and earned his retardment. I wish they would move back up here, but i guess the little man in the doll house won’t let them out.

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

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