Dorchester Sketched

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Dorchester Sketched
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DORCHESTER SKETCHED. An Outline History of the Shiretown, As it Was Founded, Named and Became Important. Who Were Who in its Early Days and Their Occupations The following “Paper” on “Dorchester, N. B.,” was read by Master Harry K. Bowes, of the Advanced Department of the Superior school, Dorchester, on March 5th: -- Many of the Acadians who were expelled from Nova Scotia in 1755 fled to the woods till the English armies had left the country. Some of them came and settled on the Miramichi River, others on the marshes on the Memramcook River. They then built low mud houses and surrounded them with dykes, so the water could not get at them. A short time after the French settled here, a party of English, most of whom had fought in the War of Independence, sailed up Shepody Bay and settled on a small island. Here they commenced to build their houses and arranged to make their homes. A short time after this a band of Loyalists followed and also settled here. Both parties applied to the King for grants, and they were given, so much upland and marsh. Each person was granted about 200 acres of upland. They drove the French from the marshes around their property. The grant extended north to Rockland and south to Buck’s Cape. The Acadians then settled farther up the river and some settled on the Petitcodiac River. The English and Royalists were about now settled and some bent their occupation to ship building, others to farming and many different things. Gideon Palmer, who was Lieutenant in the British army at the time of the War of Independence, started a grist mill and the farmers would take their grist to him to be ground. As DORCHESTER HAS A VERY FINE HARBOR and is a very central place people began to open up commerce with Great Britain. Ship building, at this time, became all the rage and as lumber was plenty the farmers found a good market for the lumber which they had to sell. Mr. Hickman, father of William Hickman, carried on the largest shipbuilding industry. After his death his son William took up his trade and built twenty-nine ships. Mr. Chapman carried on a large shipbuilding industry and built a large number of vessels. There was at that time three stores which were run by Mr. Joseph Hickman, Mr. Thos. Keillor and Mr. Godfrey. After about two years Dorchester Island and the country surrounding it had increased so rapidly that the government gave to it the Customs House which was the only one between Pugwash and Richibucto. About this time the courts which had been held at Westmorland Point were removed first to Sackville and shortly afterwards to Dorchester Island. At this time Albert was a part of our own county. After a short time the courts were removed to Dorchester proper. THE FIRST COURT HOUSE was built in 1823. This building was occupied till it got so dilapidated looking that the people of Westmorland County thought that their finances would allow them to have a new building, which was built in 1875. The court house is situated on the hill and is an imposing wooden structure. It is nicely finished and the people of Westmorland County need not be ashamed of their court house, as people are heard to remark when they visit our quiet village that “it is a fine looking building.” The only regret is that it is not made of stone. The sheriff’s, clerk of the court, county secretary’s, clerk of the peace and registry offices are all on the first flat. The court room, lawyer’s and judge’s rooms are on the second flat. The jury rooms are on the third flat. A large vault is in connection with the building. At the time of the courts on Dorchester Island there were no railroads and the mail was carried by a one horse cart between Halifax and St. John. It was increased till it was carried by a four horse cart. After this it was succeeded by the railroads. Mails were then taken a good deal faster and with not so much delay. A short time after this quarries on the other side of the Memramcook river were opened and gave employment to hundreds of men. Dorchester is situated about 23 miles from Moncton. It became the shiretown in 1822. Its population is now about 1000. It was NAMED AFTER EARL OF DORCHESTER, first Governor-General for the Province of Quebec. The inhabitants are mostly French and English. There are the Baptist, Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist and Church of England churches. They are conducted by Rev.’s Mr. Burgess, Father Cormier, Mr. McKay, Mr. Dawson and Mr. Campbell. They are all well attended. The gaol is situated about 20 yards from the court house and is a large brick building built under modern plans and is under the charge of gaoler Bowes. The penitentiary is situated about one mile from the Court House, and is enclosed by a picket fence 27 feet high. Warden J. B. Foster has charge of affairs in this institution. There are about 180 prisoners confined here. They are made to be carpenters, machinists, tailors, barbers, and farmers. Others are kept at work cleaning the buildings. An hospital is in connection over which Dr. Mitchell presides. While the prisoners are at work they are under the direction of guards who are about 30 in number. The “Hotel Windsor” is situated about 20 yards from the Court House, and is a handsome building. Mr. Patrick Gallagher is manager. It is owned by the “Dorchester Hotel Company.” The basement is used for sample rooms. On the first flat are the office, dining-room, three private rooms, kitchen and lavatory. On the second flat are the ladies’ parlor, bed-rooms and bath-rooms. On the third flat are a large number of bed-rooms. THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS of Dorchester consist of four departments with a total enrollment of 210 pupils. Mr. N. W. Brown, A. B., is principal. They also have a museum attached to the main building, which stands as a lasting monument to the energy and industry of ex-principal Oulton, now principal of the Moncton city schools. This room, with its rare and interesting collections and costly apparatus is second to none in the province. A settlement of the “School Question” which has disturbed Canada for some years has been completed. This was largely brought about by that able statesman, Hon. Wilfrid Laurier, of whom we are so proud. If we had the dissatisfied ones in Dorchester we would show them how agreeably Catholics and Protestants can get along together. I should be very sorry if my Catholic school mates were separated from us, while I am a Protestant I do not like them any the less because they are Catholics. The boys of Dorchester have many privileges which other boys do not enjoy. They can go to the Court house and hear the speeches of some of the most learned men of New Brunswick, which are very interesting and ought to do the boys a great deal of good. Justices Hanington and Landry reside here. Justice Hanington carries on extensive farming operations. Lady Smith, widow of the late Sir Albert J. Smith, minister of marine and fisheries in the Mackenzie government, also resides here; as does Hon. H. R. Emmerson, chief commissioner of public works. Hon. A. D. Richard, who was at one time solicitor-general for the Province of New Brunswick, claims our village as his home. IN SUMMER DORCHESTER is noted for its beauty; it has some very fine trees which make it very pleasant. About three miles from the town is Cole’s Point, a bathing station where in summer nearly everybody enjoys the salt water and fresh pure air. A number of bathing houses have been built. People from Moncton, Amherst, Sackville and many other places come and share in the sport. At this Point, a ferry well and faithfully managed by Mr. Edward Cole, jr., connects our village with Hopewell Cape, the shiretown of Albert County. By this time Dorchester is known by nearly everybody as the scene of the great wreck, which took place on January 26th, 1897, and in which a man and woman were killed on the I. C. R. Messrs. J. H. Hickman & Co., F. C. Palmer & Co., and M. R. Dobson, are our principal merchants. The business done by these firms is very large. Palmer’s store is a new building, handsome and commodious. The drug store is a well and handsomely stocked establishment. The proprietor is the leader of our “foot ball team” and is also an “all round sport.” Dorchester can boast of having a Foot Ball team that has never won a game in three years!