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History of Tidnish Bridge

By Pearl MacD.Atkins., printed in the Amherst Citizen, dated Saturday, January 4, 1986.

(The late Pearl MacD.Atkins, a long time resident of Tidnish Bridge wrote this story back in 1956. Mrs. Atkins, a one time correspondent of the Amherst Daily News, passed away early in October, but her historical writings will always be remembered.)

This text is also available in printable Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Word and Rich Text files on the Tidnish Bridge index page.

(From the Citizen, dated Saturday, January 4, 1986.)

The community of Tidnish Bridge lies between Upper Tidnish, N.B., and Lower Tidnish, N.S. To the north is the bay (Verte) and Tidnish Head. South is the area of Tidnish River, so called from the river winding in from the bay, whose north bank, from its mouth to the bridge, serves a part of the provincial boundary.

It has a unique situation, as it lies partly in each of the town provinces, but this division has little effect on the ordinary operation of it's affairs and in most cases, it carries on as if it were situated wholly in one or the other. As for instance, children from the New Brunswick part attend, the Nova Scotia elementary school on the Tyndal Road, while Nova Scotia pupils pass through a portion of New Brusnwick in order to reach it. Residents of the Nova Scotian half attend and help support the only church, which is on the New Brunswick side.

To the passerby, it is apparently a farming community, but, with a few exceptions, farming is only carried on as a small sideline, or not at all. Most of the male residents are engaged in other businesses and occupations and many commute daily to their employment in Amherst or elsewhere.

Indian Origin

Like many other places in this country, the name Tidnish is of Indian origin, said to signify "A Paddle". Occasionally it is confused with the Prince Edward Island place name of Tignish, and mail addressed to "Tin-dish", has been received here.

Prior to the coming of the first white settlers, a large Mic Mac Indian encampment was at Tidnish Head, near what is now Jackson's Point where the summer home of Lorne Coates is located, and remained there for years after. However, after buying the hatchet with such great ceremony in Halifax in 1764, the MicMacs had ceased to be openly hostile towards the white and were no longer to be feared. Besides this camp, the burial place of all the Indians of this area was also at Tidnish Head.

The exact time of the first white settlement of the locality is uncertain, but it is thought to have been about 1880. It was made by Charles Chappell. His great-great-grandfather had emigrated from England to New England in 1634. His father, and grandfather, Eliphalet and Jabez Chappell came from New London, Conn., to the Baie Verte region in 1763. (Presumably on Governor Lawrence's proclamations after the expulsion of the Acadians). There they were granted land and there Charles was born. His mother had been a Miss Sohmers, of one of the families of Pennsylvanian Dutch, who were the early settlers of the Moncton area. He was one of a family of ten children whose numerous descendents and their connections form such a large percentage of the population of Baie Verte and surrouding areas today. "The Chappells were a prominent family there for years and had a good record" is noted in old accounts of the vicinity, preserved in Fredericton.

Crosses Bay

One day, near the beginning of the last century, young Charles Chappell came across the water from Baie Verte and rowed his boat into the Tidnish river, which then ran through unbroken forest. Landing, he blazed his way up through hemlock trees so huge that he could barely pass between them, until he came to the top of the slope and the site presently occupied by his great grandson, Fred N. Chappell, which he eventually purchased. Here he felled trees and built himself a log cabin, somewhat to the left of the present large house, which was not built until about 1835 and is now the oldest house in the community. From seed carried in his pockets, Charles planted his first grain patch. Later, he built a dam and water powered saw-mill in a creek to the rear of the homestead, where boards were sawn to build a small frame house to replace the log cabin; and also for at least a dozen of the first houses of subsequent settlers, the frames all being hand-hewn.

Granted Land

In 1809, Charles Chappell was granted a tract of land, comprising some 300 acres, which including what he was settled on, gave him 350 acres. This grant embraced all the land along the lower part of the river, and extended to, and also included what is now the late Frank Bugley property and some of the present W.G. MacGlashen land. Today, there is estimated to be over a score of homes and several summer cottages on that acreage. In 1821, 300 acres on Goose River (Linden) were also granted to Charles Chappell, but nothing seems known of this by now.

Two of Charles' five brothers also settled here, but later, James' land was further up the river, and his home was built on the present Atkins' property, below the cemetery.
In 1825, Eliphalet (Liffy) Chappell, the younger brother, was granted 200 acres at Tidnish river, between land granted to James, and the Amherst Township boundary. As their children grew up, it is likely all this land was appotioned to them as at one time it is said that almost every house in the ccommunity was occupied by a Chappell family.

Another early settler, was Abraham Horton, who came from New York to Baie Verte, in 1783, and later had 500 acres surveyed for him at Upper Tidnish. In 1820, his widow asked for renewal of warrant and grant for this land, on which she had tenants. One of these, Daniel Holmes, together with Samuel Holsted, Jr., had land surveyed for themselves. None of these names are known here today.

12 Children

Charles Chappell married Miss Eleanor Thompson, and in the period, 1803-27, his family of 12 children was born. Of these, one son, William Burton, remained at the old homestead and raised his family there. His son, Burton, in turn, did likewise. The latter was the father of Fred N. Chappell, George M. and Claude Chappell and Mrs. Harry Davidson, all now living in the community. Great-grandchildren of the first Burton, now living here, are J. Burton, Aubrey, Carl, Keith and Audrey Chappell; William MacGlashen, and his sister, Mrs. George B. Fullerton; Sherman Davidson, and his sister, Mrs. Murray Fullerton. Children of all these, who have them comprise the sixth generation, while those of J. Burton's daughter, Mrs. Roger Chapman, are the seventh in direct line, born in this country.

Charles Chappell's daughter, Melinda married Thompson Brundage. Their son was the father of Mrs. R.B. Davidson, whose son Norman, and daughter, Mrs. Otis Baxter, who live here, also are great-great-grandchildren. Another daughter, Mary Thompson Chappell, married James MacKay. Their son, Ephraim, was the father of the late James W. MacKay, so that his son, Neil, is yet another great-great-grandson. Many other descendents of these three, live elesewhere, as do also those of the rest of Charles' family. Inter-marriages with other families has put Chappell blood in the viens of a good number of present-day residents with other names.

Many Indians

There were many Indians around the country during the early pioneer days. Although not war-like, they were sometimes sly and treacherous, and delighted in pestering the settlers by setting fire to their log "Snake" fences and perpetrating other similar tricks, since scalping had "gone out". Charles Chappell, who was said to have worn his hair in shoulder-length curls, once has a set-to with the chief, who indicated during the scuffle that he had not quite lost the old urge or his touch with a scalplock, by getting a firm hold of Mr. Chappell's and exclaiming gloatingly what a "heap fine scalp" it would make! However, the latter managed to break clear before the chief's urge overcame him. On the whole, the two seem to have got on fairly well, as they often went goose and duck shooting together along the shore.

(From the Citizen, dated Saturday, January 11, 1986.)

The pioneers had plenty of hard work and hardship, few conveniences, and no doctors or hospitals, in emergencies, but they seem to have taken everything in their stride. As an example of the fortitude and nonchalance with which they faced the vicissitudes of life in those earlier days, there is the story of the old-time Chappell, who, while employed in the woods, had the misfortune to break a leg. It was a clean break between knee and ankle, so his compansions set it by pulling on his shoulders and foot until the broken bones fitted together. Next, with wool from the sheepskins used to sit on while teaming, the limb was well padded and wrapped. Then the hoops were removed from a barrel, the staves bound around the wooly dressing and the job of the imprompt surgeons was completed. Nothing daunted by his mishap, the patient announced that he was "still good for teaming," he was assisted to mount his load, and continued from where he had been interrupted. The broken bone knitted perfectly and he never lost a day!

Fared Well

The early settlers of the area must have fared well in the matter of meat and drink. Caribou and moose were everywhere; large numbers of brant; geese and ducks frequented the bay waters, and, to quote from old accounts, "All drank good rum in those days." Bears seem to have been plentiful and a great nuisance - people were always chasing them away with clubs, forks or anything else at hand.

Before settlement, there were no roads whatever and for sometime after, merely wood paths. Long distance travelling was on horseback, with necessities carried in saddle bags; or by water. When a family of M. Elmons moved from Jolicure to Tidnish in 1801 they came over the bay ice. It must have been a mild season, as old records say there was no ice outside the bay-shore and they picked clams all winter. Their nearest down-shore neighbors were at River Philip. Three years later, the 13-year-old boy and his 11-year-old sister took a bag of grain on a hand-sled "to Mr. Trueman's Mill," to be ground. This would be Point de Bute, as the mill at Truemanville was non-existant before 1817. Some people went to Prince Edward Island to have grain ground and to get supplies. Later, produce was taken to Halifax and sold and supplies brought. And there was a certain amount of trade with Newfoundland.

The first sawmill on the Tidnish River, was a water-powered one, built sometime during the first part of the 19th century, by an English mill-wright by the name of John Toby, who operated it along with James Costin. This mill was situated on that part of the river below the house on the farm now owned by Thomas Mosley. Here Messrs. Toby and Costin carried on until, falling on troublous time, the mill property was sold to a young man who appeared on the River about then --- William Doyle. He had left his native Ireland rather hurriedly, sometime previously, because, according to tradition, he had so far forgotten himself as to slap the face of the village priest, while engaged in an altercation with him. This was a most serious offence in those days, so young Doyle lost no time in going home for money and a fast horse to take him to the nearest port, where he embarked for this country. After acquiring the mill and land, he continued where the previous owners had left off. He built the house now owned by Thomas Mosley, married a Miss Beecham and raised a family. Years later, while on a trip to Britain, his ship was wrecked and he was drowned. By a strange coincidence, his body was washed ashore near his Irish home and was found and cared for by a nephew of the very priest whom he had once slapped. Thus he returned to the old sod.

Lumbering Business

Mr. Doyle's sons carried on the lumbering business for some years, modernizing and enlarging the mill as time went by, until around the last decade of the century, they sold their timberlands to other interests, and were done with sawing. One son, William, married the foster daughter of John R. Chappell, a son of Charles Chappell's brother Eliphalet, who had the property now owned by Duncan A. MacDougall. Mr. Chappell also had a mill, situated on near by land.

Mr. Costin's farm was near that of the original Doyles, and he had over 800 acres covering a large section of the Tyndal forests. Later, his son, John, carried on a large lumbering business on this land. His mill was situated up the river where Mrs. Charles Mosley lives, and her house and outbuilding were once the living quarters and other buildings connected with the Costin mill. About 60 years ago, a disastrous forest fire swept over a wide area of the Tyndal woods. Later, Mr. Costin sold the property and mills to David Jackson, retired from lumbering and built and moved to the house at the corner of the Tyndal Road, now owned and occupied by his daughter, Mrs. J.W. MacKay, and her son Neil and wife. Incidentally, Mrs. MacKay has an old 1842 surveyors's map made for her grandfather, James Costin, showing the Tidnish River and the position and dimensions of land granted to him and aalso to her maternal great-grandfather, James Chappell and to John Toby. A relic of Mr. Toby, his old sawfiling chair, is in the possession of V.E. Goodwin, of Baie Verte.

Costin Place Sold

In 1900, the old Costin place was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Gorveatte, of Lornville, who raised a large family and remained there until their deaths. Mrs. Gorveatte kept a post-office for many years. After her passing, the property was sold and the ancient house torn down.

Several other large mills have been situated here and there; in other times, including one operated by John Read and son, back on the present property of Duncan MacDougall, on the Green Road, where part of the saw may still be seen. In pioneer days, a small stationary water-mill on any convenient brook, was found on most homesteads for the sawin of the all-surrouding trees into boards to build the new homes. After portable steam mills fell into disuse. Later still came the present types, that have sawn large cuts here in recent years. Last year more than a million feet were sawn by G.B. Fullerton while his mill was set up on it's home site here.

Another thing that has changed considerably is the wage-rate. In the long gone days, mill-owners rose at daylight, worked in the mill until breakfast, from then until dinner and from dinner until supper. After this, they returned to their work until dark. All this for the munificent sum of "$13 and found" per month. But what a lot that money could buy compared to now!

David Jackson

The late David Jackson of Amherst Head, arrived here in 1894 and set up a sawmill below where his son, Earle Jackson now lives. His intent was to stay on a short while, but he remained to make this his permanent home. Along with the mills and private wharf, Mr. Jackson also operated a store during the boom years and did a large business. The two store buildings were removed several years ago to be made into houses, elsewhere. The Costin mills, sites and timberland in the Tyndal woods were later purchased by Mr. Jackson and added to his business. The first part of the large Jackson house, was originally the employees boarding house. It was added to later, when the family decided to remain, and then need arose to accommodate more boarders, including seamen, who put up there while their vessels were loading.

It was finally increased to it's present size with nine bedrooms above and other below. At one time, fifty-odd men were accomodated.

During the later years of the 19th centruy, and the opening ones of the 20th, extensive lumber exporting to Europe and Newfoundland was carried out from the area. It has been estimated that between five and six million feet were loaded aboard vessels and taken away each year, during the shipping era. Logs cut in the forests of the upper reaches of the river, were floated down to the mills along its course, or on to Jackson's Mills at it's mouth. The lumber was made up into rafts, towed out and loaded onto barques anchored off in the bay. These vessels were mostly of European registry, mainly Norwegian. As they were loaded, they were moved farther out to deeper water. Mrs. Earle Jackson recalls counting 29 of them in the bay at onetime --- a beautiful sight, with their white willowing sails, which are not seen today. The 50-odd years since have banished all shipping and cargo vessels from the bay. The long government wharf gradually went down, from disuse and neglect. An agitation was started some years ago to have it re-built, but there being now no real necessity for it, this was not done.

(From the Citizen , dated Saturday, January 18, 1986)

Marine Railway

In October, 1888, began the building of the famous marine railway across the Chignecto isthmus, and the several years during which this work was carried on, were stirring ones, bringing plenty of ready cash and excitement to this area. As this was before much mechanization of labour, hundreds of Italian navvies were brought in by the various contractors and men and carts from Quebec. A great many local men were employes also. Many buildings sprang up, including hotels, stores, warehouses and other places of business, most of which are gone now. Rum shops were everywhere -- no less than three are said to have been located between what are now Atkins' and Davidson's corners, alone. Much brawling went on, especially after paydays, and during one wild night of it a man was killed on the River Road, and his body thrown in the water. It was later recovered, but the one responsible for the killing was never punished for the deed, as he vanished immediately and was never found.

Many curious visitors, as well as people on business and company officials, were constantly travelling here, and all these had to be provided with over-night, or longer, accommodations for themselves, and often for their horses, too, so everyone in a position to do so kept boarders and stabled horses. The Italian labourers had their own camp in a wide hollow adjacent to the railroad back of the original Chappell home. Early each morning, the smoke from their many breakfast fires would hang over this low area, so that afterwards the spot was known locally as "Smokey Hollow." These Italians, a superstitious lot, were extremely fond of very young veal. One evening at dusk, a man who was gifted as a ventriloquist, while crosssing a field, noticed several Italians stealthly approaching a stable nearby. Guessing their intention to be the theft of a new born calf he knew to be in there, he "threw" his voice. As the calf was laid hold of, it seemingly begged its abductors not to kill it. This so startled the would-be calf thieves, that they let go their hold on it and took to their heels, to the great amusement of the ventriloquist.

Is Terminal

The north-eastern terminal of the Ship Railway was at Tidnish. The great dock was strongly built of huge, squared stones and heavy piles. A brick building stood near it, to house the machinery for hoisting, and rails were laid on the roadbed.

As is generally known, this fantastic undertaking failed, from lack of further financial backing, just short of completion and fell into ruin. The last crumbling remains of the powerhouse were knocked down and the bricks taken away some 20-odd years ago, while the dock stones were all "bulldozed" out and trucked to Cape Tormentine at the time the new dock for Prince Edward Island ferry, M.V. Abegweit, was under construction, and used therein. All that remains of the Ship Railway is the high rail-bed, now heavily overgrown, and the fine arched stone culvert, just above the bridge. This was built so that the course of the river might be diverted through it, thus allowing the regular channel to be filled in to form a part of the railbed. The specially cut stones for it were imported from Britain, and men from there engineered the job. It is a picturesque subject for artists, and they may be seen, from time to time, with easels set up on the roadside by their parked cars, busily sketching it. Several roads leading into the woods off the Tyndal Road are still known by the names of the contractors who used them to transport materials in to the railroad, such as the Kennedy and Cook roads.

Ketchum Is Promoter

George C. Ketchum, the remarkable promoter of the Ship Railway, is remembered in the little Anglican Church, that he had built at the head of the road leading down to the dock, with its stained glass window to his memory. And also by his summer home, overlooking the docksite, which was left to the church for the use of its clergymen who conduct Sunday services in the little church during the summers. The old-fashioned ginger-bread style house once stood well back, amid beautiful cultivated grounds, but the bank has gradually fallen away in front, and trees and bushes are now crowding it from the rear. It was in the attic of this house that the Ketchum plans and working models for the Ship Railway were discovered by chance, several years ago, and were then obtained for the Fort Beausejour Museum.

Mr. Ketchum died soon after the failure of his great project and his remains were laid in a cement vault in the garden, but later removed to Sackville, N.B.

A local lady, Mrs. Earl Jackson has several interesting relics of the Ketchums--some lovely old English silver and pewter dishes, given to her by Mrs. Ketchum, and a chest made from the Ketchum drafting table on which all the Ship Railway plans were drawn. It was of a solid, heavy hardwood and also came from England. it was given to Mrs. Jackson's father, the late Jacob Baxter, who made the chest.

An important industry, begun in the closing decades of the last century, was Chappell Brothers, woodworking plant and saw mills, where a large number of men were employed for years in the manufacture of various articles of furniture and builder's supplies, as well as the sawing of lumber. The plant buildings were on the river bank below the present home of Harry Davidson, and included the factory and mill, as well as a large cookhouse. A long boarding house, a store and post office were some of the buildings on the opposite side of the road. The late William Davidson, father of Harry Davidson, was shop foreman for years.

Chappell Brothers

The Chappell brothers, William, James, George and Renwick, were sons of Lucius Chappell (who had the property on the hill above now owned by Mrs. A. Wood, of Moncton) and grandsons of the pioneer James. A fifth brother, Lucius Jr., remained on the home place. George and William lived in the houses now owned by W.P. and W.R. Strang, while the present home of Harry Davidson belonged to James.

During a slack period here, a building boom began in Windsor (N.S.) and the woodworking machinery and business was transferred there, but only remained there a short time, when it moved to Sydney, where it has greatly increased and is now a most important concern.

About 1912, the remaining sawmills were sold to Moses Chapman and Charles Read. The empty factory was later torn down by C.J. Silliker and taken away. The last of the original Chappell Brothers, Renwick, died at Sydney in 1953, aged 89, and his remains were brought here and interred in the old family plot.

(From the Citizen, dated Saturday, January 25, 1986.)

Fish have contributed greatly to the economic welfare of Tidnish Bridge and vicinity. It is likely that fishing for domestic needs was done since pioneer days, but somewhere during the early 90's, smelt fishing for sale, was begun. The little fish were packed and shipped to American markets and the returns from them, were a dependable and important source of income to many until the last few years, when for some obscure reason, the runs have gradually slackened off to practically nothing.

Around 1900, a plant was set up on the river by the late Arthur Davidson, for the smoking and drying of herring, which came up in great schools. He operated it until about 1901, then leased it to a man from Grand Manan, eventually selling out to Harry Inglis, of the same place. About 1916, Mr. Inglis sold the plant to four local men, Walter Davidson, George M. Chappell, Frank F. Chapman and Morey Strang, after which it was known as "The Little Four." After the mysterious disappearance of the herring from the waters of the vicinity, the buildings stood idle until they were all sold and moved away, with the exception of a large drying shed, which finally fell down.

Large Plant

In 1912, the late R.B. Davidson built a much larger plant at the mouth of the river, which did a tremendous buisness. This plant had its own wharf, where vast numbers of herring were unloaded from the fishing boats, and after processing, were loaded on vessels for export, mostly to the West Indies. Between 10,000 and 12,000 cases were shipped each year. Fishing was done with weirs. At the height of the season, 25-30 men were employed some from Grand Manan -- besides local youths, who picked up spending money in the summers by "stringing fish" at the factory (putting the fish on the rods in the drying sheds). Rollo Irving had a "Shook" mill, which was kept busy turning out materials for the fish boxes. After the herring ceased to run here, they were brought in from Magdalen Islands for a time and processed here. Eventually that was discontinues and the building stood idle until some years ago, when they were purchased, along with the site by the Amherst Rotary Club, and re-modeled as a summer camp for under-privileged children.

Small, ocean-going schooners were built many years ago at a place up the river known as "The Shipyard" -- a spot below Percy Helm's home, now overgrown by woods. Hugh Davidson, grandfather of William H. and Edwin Davidson also built vessels on the river below Murray Fullerton's present residence. Incidentally all fresh water for use on shipping vessels leaving local waters, and others calling here, was procurred from the well on this place as it was said to preserve its thirst-quenching properties at high temperatures much better than any other.

About fifty years ago, large scows were built up near Chappell Brothers' mill to be taken to the Miramichi to use in moving a bridge there. In more recent times, large motorized craft, for fishing and pleasure were turned out by Fred Chappell, until his boat-factory was burnt, along with a large completed craft in 1946 when he went into other business.

Summer cottages, of every size and shape, from flimsy little beach shacks to large substantial summer homes, have sprung up so fast and in such large numbers, of late years, both around the bay and up the river, that it is difficult for even the older residents to recall when the first ones were built. Back somewhere in the 1890's, the Thirteen Club, composed of thirteen prominent Amherst men, had a club house at Tidnish Head, to which they were want to repair for relaxation and salt breezes and to amuse themselves with horse racing on a private track, now bush-grown. The present road leading to Lorne Coates' cottage is a part of this old track. The horses were stabled nearby, at the barn of Netis Chappell, now dead for many years.

Summer Cottages

Twenty-odd years ago, there were no more than a half-dozen cottages at Jackson's Point. Today, there are scores of them and more are building each year. The spot became popular during World War II, and has become increasingly more so since. The continued establishing of summer resorts along these shores, is bringing an ever-enlarging stream of traffic over these roads during the warm weather, especially on Sundays, when the dust raised by passing cars, averaging two each minute, obscures the sun, and one wonders how large shore colonies must be before they rate a paved road.

The first schoolhouse was situated on the Green Road, at the flat hollow opposite the present home of Russell Chappell. Church services were held there, also. The road, at one time, went up the riverbank past where Mrs. R. Bugley now lives, coming out near the school on the Green Road. Records are vague, but it would seem that with the establishing of the Chappell Brothers' industry on the Tyndal Road and the resultant building up of that vicinity, it was deemed advisable to have the seat of learning more conveniently located. At any rate, a new school house was built; that is, the one now in use and the old one used as a hall until its destruction by fire. The site was known for years after as "The Old Hall" lot. One teacher taught all grades, from primary through to high school, until the building of the Amherst Regional High School. Since then, only the elementary grades are taught here.

(From the Citizen, dated Saturday, February 1, 1986.)

In 1897, the first telephone line went through coming out the Tyndal Road and going as far as Northport. A telephone each at Chappell Brother's and David Jackson's were the only one for a long time. Two others on the line, one at Tidnish, one at Northport. Others were installed later. In time, the part of the line from the Tyndal Road to the now vacant MacKay place on the river Road, went down, but a few years ago, a line was run from the latter place across the fields to the main road. After that, the N.B. Telephone Co. ran a party line down from the Baie Verte to Davidson's Corner and a short distance up the Tyndal Road.

General Store

The well-known general store owned and operated by William H. Davidson, is the only one here but is one of the best appearing and equipped of its type, in the country. The first store on the site was opened in the 1880's, by Mr. Davidson's father, the late Arthur Davidson, who operated it until 1921, when he sold out to Edgar Fillmore of East Amherst with R.E. Davidson as manager. It ran from June until October of that year, when it caught fire and burned. It was re-built and operated under different managers for some years, later becoming vacant. The present owner returned from the United States in 1934 and re-opened it and has carried on since.

The late Calvin Strang opened a store in 1879 and ran it until his death, when his family carried on until 1918-19, when they closed it permanently. Mr. Strang's home was opposite the church-hall, now owned by Allan MacGregor. The large store building, near the house, was torn down a few years ago. During the building of the Ship Railway the company ran a large store for its employees, located back of the original Chappell house. It was managed by Arthur Avard, now spending his retirement at Tidnish. A number of other stores have been here through the years. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Jones operated one, until they sold their property to Silas Woodworth, about 1945. A Mr. Amos had a store in this same house fifty years ago. And, a post office was there until rural mail delivery routes were established early in the 1920s.

At the time the church at Lower Tidnish was built, local people contributed towards it, and attended it. but for many years now, church services have been held in the building here, originally erected for use as a Temperance Lodge hall. It formerly sat on the roadside, but was moved back to where it stands now. Later, a kitchen was added to the rear. It has been kept up, furnished and cared for by church funds, societies and donations, and used mainly as a church, and is now known as the church hall. The congregation is ministered to, at present, by Rev. R.L. Bacon, of the Port Elgin - Baie Verte - Tidnish Bridge United Church Charge of Moncton Presbytery. At one time, a clergyman living at Shemogue, N.B., would drive in a buggy from there, conducting services at several churches along the way, as far as Northport, here included.

In early days most families buried their dead in small, private burial plots near their homes. There is that of the Doyles, on Thomas Mosley's farm, of the Strang's, on Garnet Mason's and another on Mrs. Morey Strang's, to mention several. Riverside Cemetery, located on the river bank at the back of the Atkins' property, was originally the Chappell family burying ground, as the headstones in the older section attest, some dating back more than a hundred years. Later, others were allowed burial there. Then John Costin gave additional land to enlarge it. In 1936, it was incorporated at the Riverside Cemetery Company. By 1948, more land was purchased to increase its size, and the whole newly fenced. It is reached by a private right-of-way from the road.

New Power Lines

In 1948, the Canada Electric Co. put their powerlines through here and a new era began.
In conclusion, a brief mention of several names associated with the life and industry of the community for seventy-five years and longer, may be of interest.

Joseph Irvin emigrated from Northern Ireland, presumably around 1815, and settled first at Point de Bute, where he and a partner kept a store at a spot known as "Irvins' Corner" in the early. Soon after marrying Miss Ann Tingley, Mr. Irvin moved to Upper Tidnish and spent the rest of his life at farming. He had seven sons and three daughters. A son, Joseph, a sea-captain, married Margaret MacKay, a granddaughter of Charles Chappell, and they were the parents of Roll Irvin, who passed away several years ago at the old home. Another son Charles lived at the foot of the lane to Irvin's Point, where James Helm now lives. It is said that the original house was near here and burned. Another son lived further up the lane, where only a few remains of the buildings are in evidence. Capt. Joseph Irvin had his house on the road from Tidnish to Baie Verte, as did his brother Edwin, the father of Robert Irvin, who was the last of the name here, until he sold his farm to Otis Barnes of Sackville, several years ago and now lives with his niece, Miss Amelia Goodwin, Baie Verte.

From Scotland

In 1820, Mr. and Mrs. William Davidson, ancestors of the local people of that name, emigrated from Dumfries, in Scotland. It is not certain where they settled first, but it is understood that they were on the Miramichi, at the time of the Great Fire in 1825, as tradition says that Mrs. Davidson stood for hours in the water, holding her baby's head above the surface, while the fire raged. The name is still in that area. Some of the family later came to Baie Verte and then here, but exactly when, is not known. The family was considered a most intelligent one. They always named the eldest sons, William, a custom that dated back for many generations. Harry Davidson and his family; the family of the late Arthur Davidson; and Norman Davidson, are local descendants.

The ancestors of the Strangs came from Prince Edward Island to the Baie Verte region many years ago, and settled there. Several families moved to Tidnish later. The local Strangs, represented at present by Ernest Strang and Mrs. Bertha (Strang) Davidson, are descendants of Daniel Goodwin, the first English-speaking man in Baie Verte, and of the pioneer Chappells of that place.

Thomas Bagley, later changed to Bugley, emigrated from Ireland, in the fore part of the 19th centruy and according to tradition was granted land reaching from that of the Chappells down through Lower Tidnish, where he settled. Later members of his family came here to live. Nearly all this family have been natural-born fiddlers and consequently, always in demand at local dances. Charles Bugley, Mrs. Lorne Kirby and Mrs. Leonard Lowther are great-grandchildren of Thomas Bugley, or "Bagley".

James Helm

James Helm was a later arrived coming here in the 1870's from Rocky Point, P.E.I. His father had emigrated from England to Newfoundland, leaving there in 1822 for the Island. James Helm, a man of considerable means, brought all his goods and stock over by schooner to Tidnish. On arrival in the Bay, everything was transferred to rowboats, but the horses and cattle, which were thrown overboard and swam ashore. Mr. Helm had purchased the former home of the pioneer, James Chappell, and he hauled his possessions there directly on landing. He was the grandfather of John, James and Percy Helm, and Mrs. Sadie Smith and Mrs. F.N. Chappell, now living here. After his death, the house, probably the oldest one here at that time, was occupied for awhile, by his son, Joseph, then became vacant. It fell into ruin, and was torn down leaving only the large, deep cellar to be seen there today.

Much more could be written of the history of this vicinity, but this should suffice to show that it has had a very colorful and busy past. Now there is one more big thing to look forward to -- the Chignecto Canal! One of several possible lines for it was surveyed through Tidnish Bridge some years ago. Pessimistically inclined folk say we will never see it, but -- we can dream, can't we?


The writer is indebted for much useful materials for the foregoing article to members of the Chappell, Davidson and Helm families; Mr. and Mrs. Earle Jackson and Mrs. Marion MacKay of Tidnish Bridge; and to Messrs. E.P. and E. Goodwin, Baie Verte, as well as the Public Archives of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.