From The Scrapbook By Rev. Bill Randall

From The Scrapbook

April 1998

By Dr. Bill Randall

N.B. Telephone News

Our modern telephones are wondrous machines! Why you can tell who is calling you before you ever answer the phone—- and if you don’t want to talk to him or her—take a walk!

Earlier phones served a wonderful purpose. Here’s a story about our phone’s history.

From – N.B. Telephone News – March 1948

The Story of the Harvey Station, McAdam and Fredericton Junction Exchanges

By C.A. Kee

Harvey Station is the principal village of the Parish of Manners Sutton, in York County, which lies along the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway running between Saint John and McAdam. When speaking of Harvey, one is inclined to think not only of this neat little village but of the rich agricultural fields, green meadows and upland pastures, of Jersey cattle, Harvey butter and ice cream, for this prosperous section of our Province is noted for its pure bred Jersey stock and dairy products.

The Parish of Manners Sutton was first settled by a colony of English and Scotch immigrants, about thirty families in all, as many of the names of the settlements throughout the Parish testify  Tweedside, Wooler, Gass Settlement, Harvey and York Mills.

As early as 1904 or 1905 the Harvey Telephone Company was organized. This company actually was a composite of several different companies, in other words it was made up of divisions. Each division served a separate settlement which built its own line and was responsible for its maintenance. The shareholders in each division had a manager who represented them on the board of management. All messages from one division to another were without charge and all divisions paid their portion of the operation expenses. Under this organization rural lines were constructed from Harvey Station to Tweedside, Brockway, Prince William, Magaguadavic, Blaney Ridge and Lake George. For instance, the line between Thomaston Corner and Brockway was built by the Brockway people. Mr. J.D. Davis was the manager of this division and represented the Brockway community on the board of management. Mr. Ernest Vail, prominent merchant and lumberman at Brockway built a line of his own from his place of Business at Brockway to Lawrence Station with a spur through to Flume Ridge thus completing a circuit from Harvey Station through to Lawrence Station.

The Harvey Telephone Company was not in operation long until trouble arose between certain divisions which in time practically wrecked the Company, therefore, around 1909 the York and Charlotte Telephone Company was organized and incorporated. Mr. Thomas Robison of Harvey was one of the chief promoters. A switchboard was installed in the store of S.B. Hunter at Harvey and in July 1910 an agreement was made with New Brunswick Telephone Company whereby the York & Charlotte Telephone Company would run a trunk line circuit from their exchange at Harvey Station to Lower Prince William on the west side of the St. John River twenty-two miles above Fredericton and the New Brunswick Telephone Company agreed to run a circuit from the Keswick Exchange to this point to connect with it. In 1916 the exchange was moved from Hunter’s store to the residence of S. Allan Robison, Miss Mary Robison, his daughter becoming the operator. By this time the maintenance and operating expenses had so increased as to make it necessary to increase the yearly rentals of the telephones. This was bitterly opposed by many of the subscribers and a number had their telephones removed, from this date on the Company began to decline not having the necessary money to keep up the system. The pole line began to deteriorate and by 1934 Harvey was practically without telephone service.

At the request of the people in and around Harvey the New Brunswick Telephone Company installed an exchange in 1934 and constructed a toll pole line from Long Creek through to Harvey and McAdam. They also re-routed their St. Stephen-McAdam toll line by constructing a line by way of Lawrence Station and Brockway joining the Harvey-McAdam line at Thomaston Corner. The Company’s exchange was installed in a building owned by Frank N. Halford, now owned by Ethel N. Halford, and a No. 1220 Northern Electric switchboard was installed starting with one hundred subscribers.

Today Harvey Station Exchange has 153 subscribers, one direct toll line to Fredericton

and one to McAdam. The staff is as follows:

Miss Violet M. Halford, Chief Operator

Miss Irma R. Cunningham Mrs. Bertha R Grieve

Miss Barbara F. Mowatt Miss Margaret T. Robison

Harvey Station is in District 3 and under supervision of Fredericton.

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: