The right fit

Post ofs Box 63 9 pm
Dorchester NB
Jany 28 1952

My Dear Nephew

If you will excuse Mr. Webster for differing with me in some of his spelling as I find it sometimes necessary I will tell you something of your grand father Bunetts 94 years of life.

In his youth the use of Intoxicants was about equal to that of tea and articeal (sic) that caused the revoulinary (sic) war as the crooks of Boston wanted to keep the price high. As you know you great grand parents were Loyalists and suffered great financial loss. Your great grandfather Burnetts sword is in the Museum in St. John NB (I loaned it to them).

Your grandfather Burnett was born in Central Norton KC one of 14 children (some of them went to Upper Canada). He never drank liquor neither did his father but when the Minister was expected to be there and He generally stopped with them great grandfather would enquire as to whether there was liquor on hand and if not some of the boys would be sent to Hampton ferry to get liquor for the expected Minister.

The meeting house was in the home of a Mr. Pickels. In the lower half was a bar room and on Sunday the ship carpenters came to church. Ships were being built about three miles up the river from Hampton ferry (no bridge at that place). The women of the settlement walked barefoot to save their shoes and stopped before reaching the church to put their shoes on. Some had only one shoe. They kept their bare foot under their skirt in church.

When it was time to being the service Mr. Pickels would step to the trap door where the stairs came form the Barroom (sic) and he would call to this Son “Nicholis close the Bar its time to start the meeting” but Nicholis would be doing a good business and it was always necessary for his father to repeat the call at least three times when Nicholis who had been doing a good business would close the Bar and the ship carpenters would come up to the meeting.

Your great grandfather Burnett was given about a mile of land along the highway and river and another block in Midland. Your grandfather Burnett was a man of good judgment and was well educated.  He taught singing school for about thirty years generally during winter months and carried the old sword in the sleigh as a defence against wolves. He had also a flint lock muzzle loading pistol as I recall. The days when I knew him a (sic) remember that in the various meeting held in the Country Hall he very often was not in agreement with the majority and I used to wish that he was.

There are many things that I remember. He and your great uncle Christopher Burnett and Justice Wetmore built a suspension Bridge at the place where the house is situated in which your mother and I were born in central Norton. A road was built to the European and North American Railway station at Passe Keag a mile through the forest. The government were to take the tole Bridge buy it from them but during the spring of 1863 there was a very heavy ice freshet following a cold winter. The ice jamed (sic) and damed (sic) the water so that ice raised the bridge off the abutments and just about sundown carried the bridge away. It was a heavy financial loss. I remember when logs came down from the Millstream and filled the river from nearly to Hampton ferry where the Flemings had a mill. These logs were large and your Mother and I would find on that had an abundance of spruce gum and we certainly enjoyed chewing that gum. To cross the River father used 2 boards (when there was a trunk to go) putting the trunk in a wheel barrow He would reverse the boards and so cross. Later there was the back freshet when the water from the St John River came. It backed the water up and it covered the meadows. I have seen two men on one log cross the meadow using their pike poles as oars and they made fast time.

Your Mothers people the de Forests were Huguenots and came to New Amersterdam in 1624. Jess de Forest brought a ship load. They escaped from the Hell that caused his satanic Majesty to blush when he heard the piteous crys of those who suffered for their belief in God.  In 1924 a large member of the New York descendants of these people visited those places of torture and in their dampness were shown these words snatched on the side of the cels (sic) “resist I say resist”.

Mrs. Roseveld was one of those who is a descendant and visited those places. Your great great grandmother de Forest married Josiah Fowler and settled in what is known as French Village.  The house they lived in still stands (in French Village).  It is all hand made shingles nails the brick oven carved stair rail. When your great great grandfather moved to the house nearer the church he gave the slave woman her choice to come with him or be sold with the older house. She chose the older house. When she died she was not buried in the church yard. Slaves were not to be burried (sic) where free people were. This was before Wilburforces advocy (sic) obtained the freedom of everyone in the British possessions a blessing costing the people of England millions of pounds but no bloodshed.  There were 14 in your great grandmothers family the same as in your great grand father Burnetts.

These are facts and I hope I have no (sic) caused you to be tired. I haven’t used any eye glasses.

Can we retain the freedom so dearly obtained for us and at great sacrefice ( sic) (even in our time) by the people of our motherland. Can the new comers from Europe be loyal to our Motherland and the freedom of conscience?

Please accept my very kind regards for yourself your wife and all your children for whim you sent (sic) a good exemple (sic).

Your uncle George B. Burnett

BURNETT letter Jany 28 1952

The Loyalist Collection