My mom's father Perley Bagley and his family came from Woodstock, New Brunswick. Most of them emigrated to Maine and ultimately Connecticut about 100 years ago. My grandfather was also descended from the Bakers, a Loyalist family that in the 1780s helped settle the area that ultimately became the incorporated town of Woodstock in 1856 - the first in New Brunswick.
My mom has never been there. When she was about 11, they planned a trip to visit family in Canada. They were in the car headed north, but her dad was too sick to continue, and they had to turn back home far short of their destination. He died not long after.
We were lucky to glean bits and pieces of their story from my great Aunt Phyllis. We spent an afternoon in 2004 filming her and another great aunt telling family stories. Not long after that she lost her memory, so those videos and stories are a true family treasure. Thanks to hard work searching records and chasing family ghosts, and invaluable help via email from the historian at the local library in Woodstock, we put together a lot of the stories.
We crossed one off the bucket list this week - we got to Woodstock. While there were no living family left to visit, we did meet Greg Campbell the kindly historian who'd helped us piece together so much of our family story. We drove to the communities of Nortondale and Temperance Vale where my ancestors lived. We visited the graves of three of my great-great grandparents, who lived their lives in this town far away.
To my mom and for all my Bagley family; here's a little window into a world from where we came. I'm really glad I was able to finally finish that trip for my mom, and it was pretty darn cool to share in her delight and wonder at the whole notion of being there. And yes, the sky and the water were even more spectacular than these pics captured.
Downtown in western New Brunswick's first incorporated town (1856), the hometown of my grandfather.
Mom's grandmother Baker was born and raised in the community of Nortondale, about 30 miles east of Woodstock. This beautiful sky and green fields were all we found of it.
The still quite alive community of Temperance Vale.
Dramatic late day light on Woodstock's riverfront.
Mom's great-grandparents grave in the old Methodist cemetery of Woodstock.