Saturday, 10 March 2018

The Kings County Museum has a large collection of local family histories in our Research Room and we will be open on St Patrick's Day, March 17, from 1:00pm until 4:00pm.
Come explore your Irish roots. Locate your family home on our Irish Family Homes Map. Get hints on research with our books Handbook on Irish Genealogy by Heraldic Artists Ltd, Tracing Your Irish Roots by Christine Kinealy or Immigrants from Ireland to Kings County Prior to 1840. For those wearing their green, the $10 research fee will be waived.
And remember . . . "If you're lucky enough to be Irish, you're lucky enough".

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Treasure from the Storeroom:

Treasure from the Storeroom:

One of my favourite items unearthed from the storeroom during the recent clean-out was this beautiful ladies dress from the mid 1800's. It is a fairly recent acquisition and has not yet been displayed, but I anticipate it being a hit for our exhibit this summer. It belonged to Mrs Julia Nembhard Helen (Kortright) Neales, wife of Rev Dr James Neales of Gagetowm She was born in 1831, married in 1849, moved to Gagetown in 1859, died in 1885. It is handstitched with an elegant Scallop pattern at the neck and the sleeves, fully lined, and in excellent condition. It has detachable "Modesty Sleeves" and a 22 inch waist!

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Heritage Homes

February 12-19 2018 is Heritage Week in New Brunswick.

Celebrating our heritage is not just about musty old clothes in your grandmother's attic (although attics are amazing places to explore). Heritage includes the buildings that house those attics! Kings County is fortunate to have many heritage homes, but regrettably not all have survived. Ryan's Castle in Lakeside (Hampton) is one such. On a property of approximately 10 acres overlooking Darling's Lake (on land now owned by the Downey family), the showcase home was purchased in 1895 by Dr John J Ryan. Dr Ryan, the son of James Ryan of Millstream, became a celebrated dentist in Paris. He purchased the home as a summer home and is said to have spent $70,000 on renovations to the house and grounds, including a model barn constructed by George Langstroth. The lovely home deteriorated after the death of Mrs Ryan in 1927 and after a number of years being vacant and vandalized it burned in 1963.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

I Do . . .

I Do . . .
With Valentine's Day approaching this is good time to share a few of the wedding dresses we have in our textile collection. Traditionally brides did not have a "wedding" dress, but rather wore their "best" dress for the marriage, or if they had a new dress for the wedding it was often black or blue and intended to become her best dress. White did not become popular for wedding dresses until after the mid-19th century when Queen Victoria chose to wear white for her marriage, after which the wealthier families began wearing white dresses made specifically for the marriage.
We have a number of gowns in our collection, a few of which are:
1. A dress worn by Mary Steeves for her 1880's marriage to Wilford Burwell Jonah.
2. A 1908 dress made by Ethel McLeod Good for her wedding to Oscar Frederick Deakin.
3. A dress worn by Mary Shanklin for her marriage to Rev. Sedgewick A Bayley, about 1907.
4. A gown from the wedding of Grace Winnifred MacKay in 1909
5. A dress worn by Annie Frost Wetmore for her 1913 wedding to William Stirling Parlee.

Sunday, 21 January 2018


We received some archival documents back from the New Brunswick Museum recently and they needed to be processed to be returned to our archives. Among them were these 200 year old documents, some in Sheriff Bates own handwriting, regarding the operation of the County Gaol. There are expenses claimed for handcuffs and chains and clothing for the prisoners, and an expense of moving a prisoner "out of the county" at a cost of 6 pounds. At this time the gaol would have been located in Kingston, which was then the county seat. It is not the same building as currently stands in Hampton, as that is the "new" gaol, built in 1840 and subsequently dismantled and moved to Hampton when the county seat was moved in 1870.
Sheriff Bates was a Loyalist who came to New Brunswick from Connecticut and spent many years as the"High Sheriff of the County of Kings". He is likely best known for his book The Mysterious Stranger, recounting the story of Henry More Smith and his time in the County Gaol. Henry More Smith was "a confidence man, master puppeteer, hypnotist, seer, liar, and above all else a superlative escape artist who lived for a while in New Brunswick, Canada. Chains, handcuffs, shackles, even made-to-fit iron collars could not hold him." (

Saturday, 23 December 2017


So says the large envelope dated December 1955 and addressed to Mr Harold Morgan of Hampton Village (no street address required) from Kaye's Auto and Electric. Inside is a large "Season's Greetings" Christmas card from Kaye's Auto-Electric, Dealer for Mercury, Meteor, Lincoln, Frontenac, and English Built Ford Products. Lift that and you find a set of paper Christmas placements, 4 each of 4 .different designs. I found it interesting that the message is "season's Greetings" not "Merry Christmas". A man ahead of his time?
According to David Keirstead's "Reflections, The Story of Hampton", the Kaye's garage was built by Whit Scovil, opening in the spring of 1948. For a few months it was run by Harold Piers, but was soon taken over by Eldon Kaye in November of that same year. I don't know when it closed, perhaps one of our readers can enlighten us, but it was till in operation when David's book was written in 1982. It was located on the present site of Spuds N Things.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

The Flewwelling Mill complex was the economic backbone of Hampton during the late 19th century. First established in 1862 by brothers Gilford and George Flewwelling, together with partners Gilbert White and Samuel White, by 1893 it employed 150. Gilbert Flewwelling died in 1897 at the age of 62. That December his "fellow workmen" were given a souvenir card with his portrait in remembrance of him.
Interestingly, the first Christmas Card was the brain-child of a British civil servant, Sir Henry Cole, who had helped set up the Penny Post three years earlier and was looking for ways to have more people use the service.