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Albert County, New Brunswick

Genealogy

 

Genealogy-related Projects in Albert Co.

If you have a genealogy-related project which would be of interest to Albert Co. researchers, please send me the details and I will give you space to advertise it. Please send me an email with the words Genealogy-related Project in the Subject field. If you wish to get more information on any of the projects below, you are encouraged to get in touch with the person named as contact in the project descriptions.

 


 

Camp Whisong - Girl Guides of Canada - Albert Co. Project

Our heritage campsite in Elgin has been the centre of camping activities for Girl Guides from Albert County and the surrounding communities of Petitcodiac, Salisbury and Moncton for almost 40 years. Camping and outdoor activities are enjoyed by all of our members. The property is approximately 103 acres of open fields and woodlot, ideal for residential, wilderness camping, day camps and/or environmental and nature activities. The property is divided by the Elgin Rd resulting in forty acres of open fields for camping and sixty-three acres of woodlot. The fields border the Pollett River on the east with easy access to six trails for hiking. The site is ideal for environmental and nature activities that are important to our youth. These activities provide skills in self reliance, self esteem, independence, compromise, problem solving and outdoor skills.

The camp committee began researching the property's history for interest sake and to qualify for funding from organizations. The house is structurally sound with the roof and basement requiring priority attention. The building has been inspected three times, since 1997, with repairs, renovations, updates being identified by qualified building consultants. Other repairs recommended include updates of plumbing, heating, electrical systems, painting, new storm windows, addition of wheelchair accessible bathroom, and upgrading the entrances to allow wheelchair accessibility.

Facilities include a two storey house with phone, electricity, and oil furnace. There are five rooms, plus two half baths, and a large activity room upstairs, a fully equipped kitchen (no hot water or dishwasher), diningroom, office and storage space are downstairs. Each of the two established campsites can accommodate 40 - 50 campers with a storage building, outdoor bathroom, environmentally friendly waste water disposal, fire wood, eating/program shelter, fireplace, cooking areas, cold water and access to the Pollett River for swimming and other water activities. Space is available to accommodate 250+ campers in a wilderness setting (additional latrines and eating/program shelters are necessary).

The campsite is funded through minimal payments included in campers fees, rentals, occasional donations and bequests. The camp committee receives a yearly donation of $30.00 from each of the sixteen units and $2.50 per member from the registration fee. This money (~$900.00) is used to help finance regular maintenance. Additional revenues are obtained through an annual fundraiser. Funds acquired through the Guiding organization barely meet our obligation for insurance, grass cutting, replacement of equipment and general upkeep of the site. It does not allow for the major repairs that are now required. At present the camp is used only during late spring, summer and early fall. A finished basement and plumbing updates would allow organizations access to year round residential camping at a reasonable cost.

Our fields, (~30 acres) are rented to a local farmer for the cultivation of hay providing a yearly revenue of $300.00. We are actively pursuing opportunities of cooperation with other volunteer organizations. This has resulted in manual assistance from Riverview Venturers, Boy Scouts of Canada doing minor repairs, and rental of the campsite to nonprofit, charitable organizations. Our own members, adults and girls, maintain an active participation in camp upkeep doing many minor repairs in the house and property (ie. installing smoke alarms, painting, replacement of appliances, landscaping, updating the flooring and general maintenance). We also replant and maintain seedlings and immature trees as replacement for diseased and damaged trees on the agricultural grounds. This is done under the direction of SNB Wood Cooperative Ltd.

Our most ambitious project is the selective harvesting of our woodlot and acceptance of a long term woodlot management plan also under the direction of SNB Woodlot Cooperative Ltd. This will provide a continuing source of income in the future and excellent educational opportunities to increase awareness in conservation, and the preservation of the natural environment. In 1998, council realized that repairs and renovations of the historical house that sits on the property were necessary. Quotations for repairs were obtained and options of available funding were explored. The idea of having the property declared a provincial historical site is also being explored. The proposed renovations and updates will ensure a facility that will be well used and enjoyed for the next forty years. To assist us in these endevours we are requesting anyone with knowledge of the history of the campsite, or can identify sources of assistance, please contact us.

Kathryn Henderson Girl Guides of Canada, Albert Division Camp Advisor, Camp Whisong henders@nbnet.nb.ca

HISTORY OF CAMP WHISONG The original land grant given to George Miller, in 1828, was for two hundred acres and was shared with Robert Colpitts. The property had originally been petitioned by a John Jonia(?) many years before and had passed through many hands. We have obtained copies of George Miller's original petition for a land grant and the land grant. He served two years nine months in the "New Brunswick ~~ Infantry in Captain Gibbons Company under the command of General Coffin." He was discharged in 1816, when the corps were disbanded. The petition for the land grant was made before William Scott, Justice of the Peace, stating he was a married man "with the means and abiliity to cultivate the land." and that he had already cleared (?) acres of land. It is interesting to note that on the copy of the original land map, the Pollett River, which is the present boundary line for the west side of the property, is written as being "Paulette's River".

The land presently covers 103 acres. The property has had the following owners - George Miller (1828), the Bleakney family(1898), Carl Olsen (1931), Canadian Farm Board (1931), the Arthur Harrison family(1936), the Colpitts family (1947), and finally Albert Division Girl Guides (1960).

The original house was the back porch and campfire/activity room and is thought to be 150+ years old. The window in the porch looking into the kitchen is an original window frame and was the front window of the original structure. Two of the panes of glass in the porch side window and some of the panes in the upstairs window are the originals. When you look through these panes, the landscape seems wavey, rather than the clear view glass gives. The main part of the house was added on later, estimated construction date 1854 - 59. All 5 bedrooms had built in closets (most area settlers didn't have funds to build rooms large enough to contain closets), gingerbread woodworking decorates the roof peaks, high quality wood was used in the construction, unique types of wood used. The stairway was constructed as a half spiral and constructed of oak and walnut; the walnut being shipped from Philadelphia , decorative plaster work at the ceiling level of most rooms. All the original floors have "graining" done to them. To help with the upkeep and maintenance of the property, Carl Olsen, nicknamed "the Dane", was employed. It is said that material, workman and craftsmen were brought in from England, as were many of the furnishings.

The Bleakneys had one son, Otto. When his parents died, he had financial difficulty in maintaining the propery. The caretaker, Carl Olsen, took over ownership of the land and house in lieu of default of payment in Jan'31. Carl subsequently lost the property, in May'31 to the Canadian Farm Board by defaulting on his mortgage ($1400.00). Otto, at some point, moved to Moncton where he lived in the Salvation Army Eventide Home, on Church St. Moncton. He died in this residence many years later. Otto had his own moment of fame when on Jan. 6, 1936, while cutting wood on the Lake family property,located in Painsec Junction, he discovered three bodies in the snow. The entire Lake family, except the infant daughter, had been murdered in a successful attempt to kidnap the four month old baby. This crime was called the Painsec Junction murders. Suspects were arrested and successfully convicted. Two of them were hanged Sept. 23, 1936.

In 1936, Arthur Harrison purchased the property from the Canadian Farm Board for $1800.00. His daughter, Marion, lived there with her husband Ian and family until the late 1950's. Guiding members of Albert County were invited to camp on the property as they wished.

The Colpitts family left for Ontario in the late 1950"s - leaving furniture, etc. in the house. Guiding members continued to make use of the property with the Colpitts permission. Shirley Stiles, a leader from Elgin, suggested Albert Division Girl Guides ask the Colpitts family if Girl Guides could purchase the property. To obtain the money for the renovations necessary Girl Guides held haybox, bean hole suppers, etc. as fundraisers. In 1960, members of Guiding who resided in Albert County, became the proud owner of "Camp Whisong" at a price of $1.00 (according to the deed).

Members of Girl Guides in Albert County take great pride in their campsite. Adult and girl members can recall many fond memories in their experiences at Camp Whisong and wish the tradition to continue. The folklore that has developed over the years has given campers with active imaginations many avenues for mystery and intrigue. The resident ghost "Otto" provides the basis of many stories. The cedar grove in front of the house is referred to by the girls as the "Monkey Trees" due to the trees' unique growth and formation. This area serves the dual purpose of an outlet for physical energy and quiet place for reflection.

Any recollections of the history of the property would be greatly appreciated. We are also requesting identification of possible funding sources. I can be contacted via email henders@nbnet.nb.ca

Kathryn Henderson

Girl Guides of Canada
Albert Division Camp Advisor
Camp Whisong

 

Submitted: 5/7/99


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