Colpitts Family Reunion at
Little River, Albert Co. (c1933)
The following text was
transcribed from an undated article which appeared in an area
newspaper of the past (name of newspaper is unknown). The
article was in the possession of the Margaret Moorehead who so gratiously agreed to contribute
it to the Albert Co. GenWeb pages. Althought undated, clues
from the article would appear to place the year of the
reunion in the early 1930s. The article mentions that the
founding father of the family, Robert Colpitts, emigrated
from England "a century and a half ago". Later in
the text it states Robert "coming here to settle in
COLPITTS FAMILY DESCENDANTS
ASSEMBLE IN GREAT NUMBERS AT OLD HOMESTEAD FOR REUNION
Little River, Albert County, is
Scene of Remarkable Gathering - Honor Founders Who Come from
England a Century and a Half Ago
Little River, Albert County,
Aug. 25--The many hundreds of members of the Colpitts family,
when they arose this morning, prepared to participate in the
big family reunion and picnic which took place at the family
homestead at Little River, Albert county today found the
weather not so bright as they had hoped, but not
unfavorable. Early in the morning the throngs commenced
to gather and the roads leading to the place of meeting were
soon thickly dotted with motor cars and other vehicles filled
with members of the family and their friends all set for a
happy celebration. Soon after sunrise a few clouds appeared
and had the effect of making the weather a little dull, but
the crowds did not seem to mind that and continued on their
journey despite the clouds. For those who did not find it
convenient to make the trip by motor car, and therefore
traveled by rail, automobiles were in attendance at the
railway station at Salisbury, which conveyed the travellers
to the site of the picnic, some three miles away.
An elastic programme, more or
less impromptu, had been prepared for the visitors by a
capable committee in charge of the affair. The Salisbury band
had been engaged for the occasion and rendered a splendid
programme of music during the day. Other musical
entertainment was provided by the girls who are spending the
summer at Camp Hermit Thrush, near Elgin, who gave a splendid
concert in the afternoon, and will give another, of the camp
fire variety, early in the evening.
For those who did not bring
picnic baskets for dinner and supper, arrangements were made
for these two meals by the ladies of the churches in the
vicinity, who served most appetizing meals at a most
reasonable cost, devoting the proceeds to church purposes.
The crowds began to gather at
the picnic grounds by nine o'clock and all during the morning
and early afternoon they continued to arrive with more
expected in the evening. At noon there were some 100 cars on
the grounds and from 500 to 600 people. It was noted that on
the occasion of the first gathering in 1900 there was only
one car present and today, by contrast, there was only one
horse and carriage outfit.
Luncheon was served at noon by
the ladies of Parkindale and Forest Glen churches, the
proceeds destined for church purposes. Light refreshments
also were on sale on the grounds during the day, and this
evening supper will be served by the ladies of Colpitts
Settlement church with other ladies assisting.
The afternoon's proceedings
were begun at two o'clock when an excellent entertainment was
given by the Girl Guides from New York who were camping
nearby. Following this was a programme of field sports in
which the young people took part with enthusiasm.
Following the sports there was
to be a business session at which one of the principal
matters to be discussed was the proposal to erect a memorial
to the founders of the family. That a memorial will be
erected may be taken for granted, judging by the enthusiasm
displayed, for early in the day some $400 had been
voluntarily subscribed for the purpose.
There remains the question of the site. Some of the members
from a distance favor the location of the old homestead. Some
of the local people want the monument placed in the new
burying ground, and some favor the graves of the first
Colpitts as the most suitable situation.
A feature of the afternoon's
proceedings was an address by Rev. E. S. Weeks, of Salisbury.
From Distant Places
The distance traveled by some
of the members of the family to attend the reunion was
indicated by the license plates of the cars, some of which
showed that their owners had travelled from all three of the
Maritime provinces, many from Massachusetts, some from New
York State and some from Michigan.
These re-unions have now become
an institution in the Colpitts family. The first of the
gatherings was held in 1900, and proved to be such a success
that it was determined to hold them at intervals of every
five years, and so far this programme has been adhered to
with the exception that the 1925 picnic was postponed until
this year owing to the death of the secretary Rev. R.
J. Colpitts. At today's celebration it was planned to
complete organization for the erection of a suitable memorial
to the founders of the family, in this country.
The acting secretary of the
organization Sherman L. Colpitts, of Forest Glen, has lately
returned from a trip to Vancouver and there he located 25
families, descendants of the pioneer, Robert Colpitts. He
found 12 more families in Winnipeg and, three or four in Fort
William. The large majority of the descendants have remained
in the Maritime Provinces and they are now like the
descendants of old Abraham of old, become as numerous as the
sands of the sea.
Founder of Family
The original Robert Colpitts
was born in England in 1745 and died in New Brunswick in
1813. His wife Margaret Wade, was born in 1747 and died in
1794. She was the daughter of wealthy people and was cut off
with the proverbial shilling because she chose to come to
Canada with her husband. Robert Colpitts had been a captain
of militia in England and had visited this country previous
to his coming here to settle in 1783.
On that earlier visit he had
made a small clearing on what is now the Charles Trites, farm
above Moncton. He returned to England, settled up his affairs
there and made ready to come back to Canada but had to wait
seven years because of the Revolutionary War which made it
impossible for settlers to make the journey to this country.
During those seven years he was keeper of a toll bridge. The
family consisted of himself, his wife and seven children. The
father and the two oldest boys walked most of the way when
their vessel had landed in Halifax to Moncton the other
member of the family traveling by boat to Dorchester. Robert
Colpitts found that the farm he had first selected had been
taken by other settlers and he made his new selection of the
site at Little River with a rock maple forest on intervale
land. The family had settled in its new home by summer.
700 In Third Generation
It is not strange that there
are many descendants in the present day as in the third
generation there were already many more than 100. The eldest
son John was born in 1768 in Norton Durham. England, and
married Eleanor Foster, of Amherst. He died in 1792, leaving
two children, John and Margaret, and John married Miss
Goodwin of Baie Verte and had a large family. Among his
descendants is Fred W. Colpitts, the president of the reunion
The second son, Robert, married
Rachael Steeves and had 13 children four boys and nine girls,
and his descendants are scattered throughout Kings county,
their family names including Hayes, Fenwick, Weymen,
Cochrane, Morrison, Pierce and Sherwoods. Lieut-Col. E.C.
Weyman, of Saint John, is one of these descendants.
This Robert Colpitts' oldest
daughter married George Jonah, from whom Judge Jonah of
Sussex is descended.
Allied With Smiths
The third child, Elizabeth,
married Lewis Smith and had five children. Many of the New
Brunswick Smiths are descendants. The third son, Thomas,
married Eunice Reynolds and had 10 children. Numbered among
the descendants are Sherman Colpitts the secretary of the
reunion organization. Captain Nathaniel Colpitts, in New
York, who is a relative of the engineer who built the
cantilever bridge in Saint John across the Reversing Falls.
The fourth son, William,
married Elizabeth Cummings, better known as the widow Stiles,
and had eight children. Among his descendants are W. W.
Colpitts, president of the Canadian Club in New York, and his
brother Charles of New York.
The fifth son, Ralph, married
Mariah Jones and had 10 children and from this branch there
are many families in this province and elsewhere. The sixth
and youngest, George married Elizabeth Foster, sister of his
brother John's wife and had seven children. The second
daughter, Margaret, married Jacob Day of Wickham, Queens
county, and had four children and there are many Queens
county families that are her descendants. The youngest child
Jane, married Christopher Horsman and had eight children and
her descendants are found scattered throughout Westmorland
county and in Elgin.
In Luxury Class
The original settlers had
apparently been in comfortable circumstances in England,
judging by the articles of the luxury class that they brought
with them when they came to settle in the wilds of New
Brunswick. The family Bible is still in existence and is at
the home of Ray Horsman, The Glades, Westmorland county, a
great grandson of the youngest daughter Jane. There were
three grandfather clocks among the possessions of the
original Robert Colpitts and one of these is now owned by
Edwin Colpitts, a descendant of the son, Robert Colpitts.
The first reunion of the
members of the family was held at the homestead, Little
River, in 1900 and proved so successful an event that another
reunion was held in 1902. The second reunion was at Forest
Glen, Westmorland county, the home of the present acting
secretary of the organization and at that time 350 were
present. The third reunion was in 1905, and the fourth in
1910, both being held at the homestead in Little River. The
fifth in 1915 was at Forest Glen, and the sixth at Little
The interest in these grand
rallies of the members of one family has grown steadily
throughout the years and the gatherings are believed to be
the only ones of their kind in this province.
Note from coordinator:
If you would like to
report on a reunion you have attended, please contact me.