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Mini Biographies of Scots and Scots Descendants (W)
The Waddell Story


Waddell MillFrom a small coastal town in Scotland, a handsome young man with adventure in his heart and a glint of humor in his eyes, headed for the new World  across the great ocean aboard a schooner that was assigned the task of finding masts for the King's Navy.

James Waddell was born in Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, Scotland in the year 1789, the seventh child of John Waddell and his wife, Jean Thomson. He left Scotland with a very little capital of his own, but a dream of finding a new life and opportunities in North America.  James arrived in New Brunswick in the year 1819. At that time, New Brunswick under the guidance of the colonizing loyalists, and was gaining attention as a source of lumber.

The value of its forests was the utmost importance and the cutting of white pine to be used as masts for the Royal Navy was a thriving industry. Fertile farms had been carved out on the banks of its broad rivers and orchards had been planted.

Upon reaching Saint John,  the young Waddell hired an Indian guide and went scouting in a birch bark canoe on the St. John and Kennebecasis Rivers. He was looking for timber stands suitable for making masts for the King's Navy. Being an astute business man, when he came upon Reed's point on the Kennebecasis River, James recognized that lumber was a prosperous and growing industry. Land was available to settlers for a nominal fee, so he purchased a tremendous parcel of land there. Having established a foothold in the new land James returned to Scotland to fetch his new wife, Margaret Brodie, and bring her to New Brunswick where they began to carve their new life.

Now, it seems that James had two children by a previous marriage, a boy and a girl. They had  been born in Scotland before his first trip to Canada, and were left behind to be raised by his father. It appears from old letters that the mother of these children died shortly after, the second one was born.  Little is known of the son, but the daughter, whose name was Ann, wrote to her father in 1839 asking if she could come to Canada to join him.  She was 19 at this time and her grandfather, James’ father, was no longer living.  There is no record of her ever coming to Canada.  She married a man named Thomas Martin in Bigger, Scotland. 

In 1821, James Waddell built his first mill at Reed’s Point. The following year, he moved the mill to a spot beside the river so ships might have easier access to the lumber.  It was run by a water wheel, 30 feet in diameter, and the water that powered it came from a lake about a mile and a half inland from Kennebecasis River.  He named this water source Waddell Lake.  The Wheel was used to drive the gang saws in the mill.  It was beside the mill that James Waddell built his first home.

For the next 15 years, the mill prospered and grew, as did the family of James and Margaret Waddell.  Their first child born at Reed’s Point was a daughter Susanna, born in 1821.  Five  years later, in 1826,
their first son, James 2nd was born.  Alexander came along in 1828, then Margaret in 1834.

Around the year 1825, James built a grist mill, a tall, square building with a few tiny windows.  Settlers came from Moss Glen, Clifton and Kingston, bringing grain to be ground. Those not rich enough in worldly goods such as horses and oxen, would trudge long distances to the mill with heavy sacks of grain on their shoulders, then make the long trek home with the coarse, dark flour from which their wives made bread. 

Grist mills, run by water power or by wind, were essential to the early settlers. James built a factory near the mill, a large building that was used as a mercantile and furniture shop. The trim for many homes was made here.  Some of that trim is still evident today on the house that stands above the mill, the McCormick home on Kennebecasis Island, and on Ilene Wetmore’s home in Clifton.

During the heyday of the lumbering business, the woodworking factory was operated in conjunction with the mill.  The mill produced millions of board feet of lumber which went into the making of sturdy sailing vessels, launched almost under its shadow.  They turned out lumber for doors, window frames and houses. They made adult coffins for $7.00, while a child’s coffin went for $2.50 to $3.00. Much of the lumber used to re-build Saint John after the great fire of 1877 came from the Waddell mill. Lumber
was exported by ship to such faraway ports as Cleveland, Dorchester, and other points in the U.S.

A shed at the factory was used to dry the wood.  The lumber was placed vertically with gaps between the boards to let air circulate.  The dried lumber was then sold or used to build furniture. A blacksmith shop was established on a corner near the mill.  Nails, wagon wheels, and some other of the metal used on the arms of the first ferry to prevent the wood from wearing on its pulleys as the cable went through, were made there. They also manufactured the big tanks that held water to help keep the engine cool on the ferry.

After the birth of their fifth child, David in 1835, James returned to Scotland in 1836 to purchase forge equipment to upgrade the mill. On his return voyage, while traveling up the Kennebecasis River on the schooner "The Jean", the ship sank.  With special permission, he was able to retrieve his precious cargo from the sunken hull. Two more children were born to James and Margaret at Reed’s Point.  John in late 1836, and Edward in 1838.

In 1908, the driving force for the old mill was replaced by steam and the old water wheel was abandoned.  The gang saw blades, which moved up and down, were replaced by more modern rotary saws.  This made the mill some what less picturesque, but much more efficient. It also gave the men who worked the mill, shorter hours and higher wages. In the early days, the workers would arise at 4 o'clock in the morning.  One would go up to the lake, open the dam and release the water to power the mill. They worked all day for the princely sum of one dollar.

All the lumber for the mill was cut from James Waddell property.  In his wisdom, he had given orders that no small trees were to be felled.  The order was to be carried by his eldest son, James Waddell Jr., who  took over operation of the mill in 1845, and by his  grandson, James Elphanston Waddell who took over in 1896.  This explains how the mill was able to provide its own source of lumber for so many years. 

As an indication of how financially successful the business was, an old account book from October 1880 shows a sum of $11,879.24 being paid on account. The book keeping was very accurate and even with their limited education, they managed to accurately record all transactions in their ledgers.  A person buying lumber to be shipped had to pay storage, insurance and commission to the supplier The store stocked many types of supplies.  Most purchases were paid for by the month, some with trade.  They also loaned sums of money to those in need.

Here are some examples of the goods carried and the price of these commodities back in the late 1800's:

Salt .................1box.............15c
Oil..............5 gallons..............25c
Flour ...............10 punds .....15c
Softwood....3loads................30c
Stockings..........1 pair..........15c
Tea.............1 pound...............30c
Hardwood........1 load..........15c
Molasses....1 gallons..............52c
Broom..............1................. 25c
Tobacco....1 pound ..............25c
Cough Medicine.1bottle........25c
Pants..........2 pairs.................25c

One could buy all of their sewing needs there as a carding machine for the wool, settlers could have their grain ground, lumber cut, and wool carded, all within a short distance of their homes.

A few years after James E. Waddell (James 3rd) took over the running of the mill in 1896, his son Roy St. Clair Waddell built a second mill just up the road and ran it for many years. Roy’s younger brother,
Lorne Kenneth Waddell, became the original mill owner after his father, and ran it right up until May of 1950, when the mill was burned to the ground.  There was no insurance, so Lorne and his older brother, James Eugene Waddell completely rebuilt the mill from their own resources. 

Since the year 1821, the Waddell's have owned, operated and worked in these mills, and provided work for many of the people around Reed’s Point.  And now, a fifth generation Waddell, Donald, son of Lorne, owns and operates the Waddell mill at Reed’s Point.  Over the generations, many houses were built in the area, with lumber from the mills.  The one that still stands above the mill is now owned by Lorne’s son Charlie Waddell.

Years ago, champion speed skater, Hugh McCormick married Sarah Waddell, daughter of James the second.  They ran the hotel for a number of years before moving to Sussex, and later to Saint John where they ran the 3 mile Hotel. Lorne Waddell’s third child and only daughter, Roma, now owns the old hotel, the Willows, situated about mile from the Gondola Point Ferry.  It was brought to this spot, section by section, from the Mount Misery Road, about a quarter of a mile down the road.

On the same section of land where the Willows stood, the first court house was built. Across the road was Gallows Hill, where a man named Shanks was hung. After the court house burned, a hotel called the Glengarry and he supplied a Gondola to bring customers across the river to the hotel.  That is how Gondola Point got its name.

James Waddell built a school directly across from the Willows. It was also used as an Orange Hall and a Sunday School.  A teacher taught in this school for 10 cents per day per pupil.  The teacher in 1903 was Edith Cummings and her pupils were:

Pearl Belyea, Mable Coffey, Jennie F. Coffey, John Coffey, Harry Coffey, Agnes Cronk, Genevieve Flewelling, Harold Flewelling, Brock Flewelling, Ida Marshall, Stanley Pitt, Douglas Pitt, Ella Pitt, J. Eugene Waddell, Jessie Waddell,  John C. Waddell, Mable Waddell, Mary S. Waddell, Effie M. Waddell, Annie Waddell,  Clyde Waddell, Roy Waddell, and Amanda Worden.

When the children of the original Waddell's at Reeds Point married, and their sons and daughters married, new families were welcomed into the clan  -- Sterritts, Galleghers, Waltons, Gillilands, Stewarts, Halls, Brawns, Cathlines, Archibalds, Whites and so many more.  If you were to meet today's descendants of James Waddell and his wife, Margaret Brodie, you might notice the family skills that have been passed down from generation to generation -- mechanic, machinist, mill worker,
electrician, and jack of all trades and master of most of them.

Written and researched By Ann Waddell, edited by Jim & Gerri (Waddell) Archibald, Glenna Jack With thanks to my father Charlie Waddell, and his sister Roma Scott, to letting me dig through old papers and pictures, without their help I would not have been able to go as far as I have.

Hi out there cousins,

I haven't sent my history out in a while, actually since we made the ultimate contact, what a rush that was! So I will write this letter and save it and every once in a while resend it.. my two friends Glenna Jack and Jim Archibald  and I have finished a book on "Waddell's from Reeds Point and Beyond" we have made it back to the late 1600's.. I will write out the generations and if anyone has more info on one of these ancesters write back as as we are doing a follow up.

Our ancester is James Waddle  born May 9, 1787, in Stonebyres Ground, Lanarkshire Scotland, he married Margaret Brodie born Dec. 14, 1794, he left behind a son and a daughter the son died early and the daughter Ann born 1720 was raised by her grandfather, later on married a Thomas Martin and lived her life out in Biggar Scotland, looking for any info on her also.

James Waddell married May 30, 1713 in Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, Scotland, Agnes Arbuckle, their children were:  all were born in Lesmahagow

    1.  Janet born May 30, 1714 in Gilbank
    2.  John born April 13, 1718 in Hoodshill
    3.  Barbara born Aug. 28, 1720 in Hoodshill
    4.  Rachel born June 3, 1722 in Hoodshill
    5.  Cordelia born July 12, 1724 in Hoodshill
    6.  Alexander born April 17, 1726 in Hoodshill
    7.  Elizabeth born Feb. 23, 1729  in Hoodshill
    8.  James born June 3, 1735 in Affleck

Our direct ancester from here was:

Alexander born April 17, 1726, he married Helen Steel on July 11, 1750,  their children were born also in Lesmahagow in small village, the children were:

    1.  James born Dec. 7, 1752 in Nether Affleck
    2.  Alexander born June 28, 1754 in Taithes
    3.  John born Jan. 2, 1756
    4.  Thomas born Oct. 7, 1757 in Affleck
    5.  _______born Aug. 1, 1759, Nether Affleck
    6.  Agnes born Feb. 7, 1762, in Nether Affleck
    7.  Helen born Mar. 20, 1764, in Nether Affleck
    8.  Thomas born June 13, 1766 ""
    9.  Robert born April 9, 1768, ""
  10.  Marion born April 9, 1768  "" these two of course were twins*

Our James grandfather was John Waddle born Jan 2, 1756 he married March 21, 1777 a Jean Thomson born about 1759 from the same place, John died before 1836..Their children were:

    1.  Alexander born April 15, 1777
    2.  William born Dec. 24, 1778
    3.  Marion born Dec. 25, 1780, it is assumed this, John and Jean's 3rd child died as they also named their 10th child, Marion
    4.  Helen born July 16, 1782
    5.  John born Feb. 4, 1785
    6.  James born May 9, 1787**which is our direct ancester**moved to New Brunswick Canada*
    7.  Robert born July 28, 1789
    8.  George born June 19, 1793, **we have made contact with George's direct ancester Marisa Visocchi, who is my 5th cousin, she lives about 20 km from Lesmahagow, I was quite excited to meet her.
    9. Marion born Mar. 11, 1796

I have a web page on http://www.fortunecity.com/millenium/rover/233/waddell2.htm if you would like to look at our story; we have met and made many friends and relatives on our journey back.. Hope we make a new connection and it will help all of us.
thanks
Anne Waddell


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