Tag Archives: Sussex NB

Officers and Gentlemen

Commander Ralph Neville was one of several English naval officers living in Bay St. George, Newfoundland in the early 1900s. They shared a love of salmon fishing (see Part 1). He bought land at Dump Pool near Black Duck. It adjoined properties on Harry’s Brook owned by Antarctica explorers Captain Victor Campbell and Commander Frank Bickerton.

near black duck nl google street view
North toward Dump Pool from Hwy 460 near Black Duck (Google streetview)

Ralph had commanded destroyers in World War I. He was promoted to Commander in 1922 and retired soon after. His father was Admiral Sir George Neville and his mother was Fairlie Florence Lloyd-Jones. He was born in 1887 in Somerset, England. In 1936 he died in Newfoundland.

In 1918 Ralph married Lettice Cary, daughter of Lt.-Col. Byron Plantegenet Cary, 12th Viscount Falkland. They had two children, Monica and Richard. After his father’s death in 1923, Ralph became heir to his uncle’s estate. His father’s elder brother Robert Neville-Grenville owned Butleigh Court in Somerset.

Neville of Dump Pool

So a family, and prospects, in England. And time and money to visit friends and go fishing in Newfoundland. In 1932 Ralph went to a dinner party hosted by another English ex-pat living in Barachois Brook, south of Black Duck. There he met the daughter of the hosts, Commander Cornelius Carter RN and wife Ida. Marjorie Carter was 19 years old and had just returned from finishing school in England. Despite the 26 year age gap, and his wife and children in England, they fell in love.

Dump Pool Google maps
Dump Pool top left, First Pool, top, Big Marsh Pool bottom (Google maps) See larger view

Marjorie moved into Ralph’s house at Dump Pool and they spent four years together there. Their daughter Nadage was born in December 1935. That same year, his wife Lettice in England divorced him. But the fairy-tale, or scandalous, romance at Dump Pool did not last long. The next summer, Ralph caught pneumonia and died in August 1936.

Ralph’s mother and a cousin sailed to Newfoundland for his burial at Corner Brook. Marjorie, with her baby daughter, returned to her parents’ home in Barachois Brook.

In the 1935 census, only one household is recorded in Dump Pool: Ralph, Marjorie and a domestic servant. In 1945, there are two households: those of William Barry and of Richard Barry.

Nfld 1935 Census Dump Pool Nfld Grand Banks
1935 Nfld census for Dump Pool, Bay St. George – See larger view

The Nevilles of Dump Pool were no more. Within almost those same years, neither were the Nevilles of Butleigh Court. A month after Ralph’s death, the family was dealing with the estate at Butleigh. Uncle Robert Neville-Grenville died in September 1936 and Butleigh Court passed to Ralph’s 14 year old son Richard. The executors began selling off stock and leasing estate lands. Household goods – furniture, silver, books and paintings – were auctioned off. When Richard came of age, he continued selling goods piecemeal, including a family portrait by Gainsborough, then sold the entire estate in 1947. In 1980, he died. His sister Monica had died in 1969 at the age of 49. (See Ralph Neville 1a2A for details of what was sold.)

Butleigh Court

Another British officer

Back in Barachois Brook, Marjorie met another British officer. Major George Donald Grant-Suttie was retired from the Royal Highland Regiment, a veteran of the Boer War and World War I. He was recently widowed and had no children. Born in 1877, he was three years older than Marjorie’s father. He had emigrated to Canada after World War II. He was cousin, and heir, of Sir George Grant-Suttie, 7th Baronet of Balgone in Scotland.

North Lodge at Balgone estate

Marjorie and Donald married on June 27, 1937. They lived in Newfoundland, presumably in Bay St. George. Their first child was George Philip, born in December 1938. A daughter, Ann, was born in June 1940. Just five months after her birth, Donald Grant-Suttie died at the age of 63. Marjorie, now with three children, was widowed at 27 years old.

A US Army officer

While Marjorie’s marriage to Major Grant-Suttie had been approved or even maybe arranged by her family, her next marriage was not. In 1944 she married Paul “Tom” Underhill, a Lieutenant in the US Army. They left Newfoundland for the mainland, with Marjorie’s two younger children and maybe all three. Over the next few years they had another four children, at least one of whom was born in Montreal.

By the late 1940s, Underhill had left Marjorie, and she and her children somehow came to live in Sussex, New Brunswick.

The Laird from Sussex NB

Philip, son of Marjorie and Donald Grant-Suttie became heir to the Balgone estate in Scotland when his father died in 1940. His father’s cousin Sir James Grant-Suttie, 7th Baronet, died on May 19, 1947. Philip was eight years old. The estate was managed by executors until he came of age. Unlike the executors of the Nevillle-Granville estate, they kept it intact.

Philip remained in Canada, visiting Scotland once in 1954 to see his inheritance. He didn’t tell his friends about his future, but he factored it into his plans. After finishing high school in Sussex, he graduated from agriculture school at McGill University in Montreal.

Barns at Balgone estate

In 1959, he moved to Balgone in East Lothian. Two elderly aunts were living in the main house. So he moved into a smaller house and worked on rebuilding the estate lands and farms. After the aunts died, he sold Balgone House. His focus remained on the cattle, farming and forestry.

Sir Philip Grant-Suttie

In 1962 he married Elspeth Urquhart. They had one son, now 9th Baronet. They divorced in 1969. Sir Philip enjoyed a good life on his estate, at work and play. He returned to Sussex to visit friends regularly. They also visited him in Scotland, getting a glimpse of a totally different world of dinner parties, shooting weekends and rich-people travel. Philip died after hip surgery on November 7, 1997. He was 58 years old.

Philip’s mother Marjorie died two months later, on January 7, 1998. His younger sister Joyce Underhill Jewett died in 2011 in New Brunswick. Nadage, his elder sister, died in 2014 in Halifax. She was a registered nurse and had been married to Dr. William Howard McConnell, a law professor at the University of Saskatchewan. To my knowledge, his other siblings are living.

Carter Neville Grant-Suttie genealogy chart d stewart
Family chart for Marjorie Carter, husbands and families – dorothystewart 2022 – See larger view

Many on-line sources helped me piece together the story of Marjorie Carter, Ralph Neville, Donald Grant-Suttie and their families. Here are some of them.

Library Books

Sussex-Regional-Library-photo-j-stewartIn January, when stricter Covid-19 rules resumed, the Sussex Library was open only for pickup of books ordered online. We had not realized this. So when my husband went there to get books for me, a librarian told him he couldn’t go in.

Oh, ok, he said and turned to walk away. “What does she like?” the librarian asked. “Mysteries,” he said. And she asked him to wait while she got some books for me.

He came home with three books with really nice covers by authors I’d never read. And of course, the story of how he happened to have them. I couldn’t wait to see what a total stranger had chosen for me. And I was thrilled that she had chosen them at all! She could have just said, too bad, so sad, check the website next time.

The three books

cover An Irish HostageThe first one I read was An Irish Hostage by Charles Todd. Set in 1919, it’s the story of an English nurse who goes to Ireland for the wedding of her WWI nursing comrade. Tensions between Irish and English are still running high after the 1916 Easter Uprising in Ireland, and the bride’s family is in the thick of it. It’s the 12th in the ‘Bess Crawford Mysteries’ series, published by HarperCollins in 2021. Excellent.

Behind Closed Doors coverNext I read Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris. It’s about a perfect marriage. I found myself reading just one more page, just one more chapter, just until I finish this bit. It’s very creepy, and very good. But a trigger warning, I guess. There’s a small part about a dog, and it stayed with me – not in a good way. Despite that, I’m very glad I read the book. It was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2016.

Hostage book coverLastly, I read Hostage by Clare Mackintosh. A flight attendant learns about a threat to her family while she’s on a long haul flight. She has to do as she is told, or else. You’re right there with the crew and passengers. The jacket asks: what would you do? I really don’t know, despite thinking about it a lot. But I’d be hard pressed to get on an airplane and not think of this story. Published in 2021 by Sourcebooks.

Tap book covers to see on Amazon, plus others below and in sidebar.

So thank you, Sussex librarian, for introducing me to these three authors. I loved the books. And, especially, thank you for going out of your way to make sure I had something to read. Having spent a lot of time in the Sussex Library, I know that the staff is always pleasant, knowledgeable, and helpful. Still, this time, you went way beyond the call of duty and I greatly appreciate it.

Molly Ann Gell

Lt. Robert Petley, Fredericton NB from the Oromocto Road, 1837 Library and Archives Canada

In 1807 a Wolastoqiyik girl named Molly Ann Gell entered the Sussex Vale Indian Day School in Sussex Corner, New Brunswick. It was run by The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England, an Anglican mission also known as the New England Company. Historian Leslie Upton told Molly Ann Gell’s story in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Here’s part of what he wrote:

Gell (Gill), Molly Ann (Thomas)

Molly Ann Gell was one of the five children of Joseph Gell, whose wife died in the winter of 1807. Aged and infirm, he was unable to provide for his family and turned them over to the company for the clothing allowance and 2s. 6d. a week. Molly was sent to learn domestic service in the household of the Reverend Oliver Arnold, master of the New England Company’s school at Sussex Vale (Sussex Corner) and minister of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. Arnold had some half dozen apprentices at a time, for each of whom he received £20 a year.

There were especial hazards for the female apprentices. On 6 Jan. 1809 Molly Ann Gell deposed before the magistrates that, returning from Saint John the previous July, she had met a stranger who “Carried her into the Bushes and Against her Will forced her to Comply with his Wishes.” A son was born to her in February 1809, Joseph Solo Gill, who was taken on as an apprentice at birth by Arnold. Molly Ann Gell’s indentures expired in 1811; years later she confessed that the father of the child was Arnold’s son Joseph, who had seduced her in his father’s house.

This treatment of female apprentices was not uncommon. The illegitimate children were taken on as apprentices and so tended to make the program self-perpetuating. No fewer than 13 persons of the name of Gell, for example, appear on the apprenticeship lists.

William G. R. Hind Harvesting Hay, Sussex NB 1880. Library and Archives Canada

Dr. Upton says that in 1822 Molly Ann married a black man named Peter Thomas. They had five children and lived near Sussex Corner.

Google could not help me find out more about Molly Ann, Peter Thomas or their children. In his 1892 biography of Rev. Arnold, Leonard A. Allison lists seven Arnold children but none named Joseph (pp. 16-17).

School closed after 30 years

Sussex Vale school closed in 1826. Two reports (Bromley 1822 and West 1825) cited operational and efficacy problems. In terms of the school’s operation, there was maltreatment and abuse of students. Molly Ann Gell’s story was not unique. There was also undue enrichment of school management and local white residents, through the “fostering” stipends and free labour. Secondly, the school wasn’t doing its job. Students were not actually receiving any useful education and neither they nor their families were converting from Roman Catholicism to the Anglican faith.

Sussex Vale, New Brunswick. Currier and Ives print ca. 1870

The New England Company didn’t rethink the merits of white, Christian education for First Nations. They just changed how they did it. They moved west from New Brunswick and adopted a fully residential school system.

For more see Judith Fingard, “The New England Company and the New Brunswick Indians: A comment on the colonial perversion of British benevolence, 1786-1826” in Acadiensis (Spring 1972) 1:2:29-42.  Also see Andrea Bear Nicholas, “The Role of Colonial Artists in the Disposition and Displacement of the Maliseet, 1790s-1850s” for more on the artist Robert Petley, in J. of Canadian Studies (Spring 2015) 49:2:25-86.

The Birthday Lunch

The Birthday Lunch by Joan Clark on Amazon.ca
Tap for Amazon.ca

Maybe it’s because Sussex NB is now my hometown. Or maybe it’s because Joan Clark wrote an amazing book about family and place. Whatever, I read her 2015 The Birthday Lunch with only grudging stops for my own lunch.

It’s about a death, sudden and unexpected, and how the woman’s husband, kids and sister cope. It mostly takes place over the following week, summer of 1981 in Sussex. The shock, the whys and hows, the obituary, what would she want done, the funeral. In the course of that week, we learn about the lives of these people and their friends, neighbours and family members present and past.

Downtown_Sussex-2006-Rangeley-wikipediaThe son having believed he may have fathered a child with a local girl seemed a pointless tangent, according to a reader’s review I read. But keep following that string. It will give you the skein that is life in a small town. Your history is not yours alone, everyone in town shares in it. Ms Clark isn’t slapping you in the face with this, but the intertwining of lives is there on almost every page.

Neighbours and friends aren’t slapping it in anyone’s face either. They are just there, like the streets, worn hills and creeks. A woman who watches passersby on Main Street with binoculars sees a lot more than who’s walking where. A neighbour, knowing from the loss of her husband how painful words of condolence can be, silently leaves meals for the family on their doorstep. These are good, but not cloyingly good, people. They simply have learned from their own hardships.

The person who has learned lessons from her problems, but maybe not the most useful ones, is the dead woman’s sister. Laverne is probably the least likeable character in the whole story but one who lives the most interesting life inside herself, inside her walls. She has done something that I’ve never thought of, yet once you read it, you think well, why not?

Woman with a Child in a Pantry

Pieter_de_Hooch_007-woman-with-a-child-in-a-pantry-ca-1658-rijksmuseum-wikicommonsLaverne lives inside a 17th century painting. (The book, of course, explains this.) Noted in passing is that she doesn’t care that the woman and child are missing in her rendition. They’re central to the artist. But to Laverne, I think, what’s central is the artist and maybe the sense of love or belonging. Conveyed in a painting, there is no reciprocal obligation. In her small time capsule, she is central. She does not share any of this with anyone else, not even really with her sister.

Another peripheral, but important, character, is fascinated by Laverne’s creation and thinks of how he can use it. Does he wonder about who this woman is that she could, and did, do it? No. But he’s mightily impressed by her ability to adapt architecture and real light to perspective and painted light.

A beautiful book about Sussex. A beautiful book about anywhere where an accident causes a family and a town to grieve. Regret and remember. Come together in some places and pull apart in others.

Laverne made asparagus and Stilton soup and  scallops for the birthday lunch. Here’s how I make any cream soup.

Princess Louise Park

Sussex has the best all-in-one park I’ve ever seen: Princess Louise Park on Leonard Ave, just off Main Street. There are other recreation areas in town, but PLP puts a whole lot of everything in one place.Canada Day Princess Louise Park photo Jim StewartFrom spring to fall, every weekend, there is a special event going on in the park. Plus Canada Day and fireworks, even the circus (Great Benjamin’s Circus).  All that is aside from its regular usage by ballplayers, skateboarders and people walking with or without dogs.

Old bandshell Princess Louise Park photo d stewartA pretty treed area alongside the creek has picnic tables and a bandstand. Baseball diamonds, soccer field, tennis courts and skateboard park. Also a hockey arena, agriculture museum (housed in an old tank hangar) and senior centre.

Show Centre

And the PLP Show Centre. Filling the back corner of the park, it has a covered riding arena, an outdoor ring, five barns and a penning corral. There are horse shows almost every weekend from April to October. Put on by horse breed and equestrian discipline clubs, they’re open to everyone. The season starts with the Equine Review, put on by the Maritime Quarter Horse Association (this coming weekend, schedule here).PLP Show Centre 2014 mini horse competitionWhen horses aren’t in the Show Centre, other animals are. All kinds of livestock fill the barns and riding ring during the 4-H Club’s annual exhibition. It provides performance space and horse accommodation when an event like the RCMP Musical Ride comes to town (Musical Ride II).

Agility competition PLP photo d stewartOn almost as many weekends through the summer, the park hosts dog agility competitions on the playing fields. In September, a rod and gun show fills the hockey arena in September. Outside, on the grass, hunting dogs demonstrate their skills.

The park is large enough that more than one event can take place at the same time, and still leave space free. Only two events fill the entire park.Sussex flea market and car show photo Jim Stewart

Flea Market and Hot-air Balloons

On the weekend of the 3rd Saturday in July, is a huge flea market and antique car show. All the grounds and even the hockey arena are used for vendors.Atlantic Balloon Fiesta 2014 photo Jim Stewart

Then, the weekend after Labour Day, is the Balloon Fiesta. Hot-air balloonists come from all over North America each year hoping for good weather for dawn and dusk takeoffs. Also a midway and lots of food (curly fries!).

Summer Camp parade, Camp Sussex 1910 8th Hussars Reg. Museum virtual museum.caThe Department of National Defence used to own the land. Established in 1881, Camp Sussex was used in both World Wars for training troops prior to deployment overseas. The 8th Hussars (Princess Louise) armoured reserve unit is headquartered across Leonard Ave. When the base closed in the early 1970s, Sussex acquired the land and turned it into the park. The town has used it well.

The Great Benjamin’s Circus

The circus came to town last Friday. The Great Benjamin’s Circus at the Princess Louise Park in Sussex. Catching sight of a huge tent with lights flashing and flags flying – all the ‘adulting’ I was in town to do went right out of the window. Errands would get done – after the circus, whenever.Great Benjamin's Circus tent-plp-sussex-nb-photo-d-stewart

One ring under canvas. Settle in, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and enjoy the show.

Let the show begin

hula-hoops-photo-d-stewartA juggler, a hula hoop lady, a dog act of Standard Poodles, Spaniels, Terriers and one scene-stealing Chihuahua. Fire eaters, a contortionist, aerialists with hoops and silks. Clowning, rope twirling with nerve-rattling audience participation.

Motorbikes circling in a steel cage. Sitting near the cage, I watched a crew member circling the outside of it throughout the performance ensuring all the bolts were staying tight.motorbike-cage-photo-d-stewart

I took pictures early on but then just watched and held my breath at the feats of wonder. Cheered and clapped. More photos toward the end, no flash of course. Who would want to be responsible for distracting a performer for even a nanosecond?

It was a capacity crowd for the late afternoon show. The evening performance would likely be overflowing. The front of house people must have agreed with that assessment. While we were leaving, an announcement was made: another performance had been added after the 7 p.m. show. Outside the tent, an enormous line of people waited to get in.great benjamin's circus dogs-photo-d-stewart

So late in the night, after three performances, the circus would pack up and head off for the next day’s shows in Moncton. It’s not a long drive, but another long day would follow for performers and crew. Not unusual for them, I’m sure.circus in lights photo-d-stewart

According to their website, The Great Benjamin’s Circus is based in the US and Mexico. They play the small towns of North America, all through the year by the looks of the schedule. I am very happy they came to my small town. I looked at the faces of the kids as they were leaving the show. Awestruck. I wondered if, like me, they were thinking about running away with the circus.

Tale of Two Dog Parks

stthomastimesjournal.com_2012_07_18 dog park maintenance
click for larger view

I don’t know if St. Thomas dog people and City Hall are still battling about the weeds in the dog park.  Please God, I hope not! Of all the issues that may cause problems between the powers that be and dogs running loose, tall weeds should not even register on the fight-o-meter.

No one has suggested clear cutting the woods or leveling the ravine. All that was asked was to keep weeds and grasses to a manageable height so that dogs, and their poop, cannot get lost in them. No one wants a dog or a small child to get a stick in their eye while running through an area where they can’t see where they’re going. No one wants ticks on their dogs, their children or themselves. And in case you’re wondering, park users aren’t permitted to just cut the weeds themselves. Only City employees can do so.

St. Thomas Mayor Heather Jackson has been a good friend of the Lions Club Dog Park since the beginning, as have been Council members and Parks & Rec staff. That’s why it seemed so odd that such a battle over its “landscaping” ever developed.

Compare Two Dog Parks

Thirsty Pooches 3 Jul 2012 in Kings Co. Record Sussex NB
click for larger view

Two weeks before the weed cutting battle was raging at St. Thomas City Hall, the King’s County Record in Sussex NB published this article entitled “Thirsty pooches should be pleased”. The town council approved the expenditure to install a water fountain for the dogs, replace the snowfencing with chainlink and create a small dog area in the town’s dog park. I don’t know what kind of negotiations preceded this decision, but it was nice to read Mayor Marc Thorne saying “There are a lot of dogs in town, and residential properties don’t have the amount of space they need to get a healthy workout.”

two dog parks, poodle running in Sussex dog parkThe Sussex Bark Park terrain is totally different from St. Thomas’ park. It is on a hill and could be improved further by planting a few shade trees. But, as you can see from the picture, the dogs in it can run. There ain’t no waist-high weeds.

First posted on this date on my St. Thomas Dog Blog