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Restigouche River, New Brunswick

GRANDFATHER WILLIAM MANN

   He wrapped the stub in a rag and started to work again. He was bleeding badly and his son Bill said: "For God's sake Father, let me take you to Matapedia to a doctor." He said: "I'll be alright, I have no time to go to the doctor." But Bill forced him and he had to yield. He got a contract to build the Restigouche Salmon Club buildings in Platapedia. The first morning he went to look the place over, one of the club members was standing in the window. He said to one of the guides: "Go out and give that tramp, standing in the yard, this quarter, and tell him to go away." The guide said: "That's not a tramp, that's Mr. William Mann, the man who is going to build your club buildings." The member said "That's hard to believe.
   Then something happened on Mann's Mountain that changed that family's whole way of life. One fine summer day two Salvation Army men strolled up the mountain road. Seeing a man working in the yard they enquired where they would find Mr. William Mann. "I am the man you want." One of the army men said: Can we talk to you for a few minutes?" He replied: "I am awfully busy but I am going to lunch in a few minutes. You can talk to me going up to the house and coming back." So he invited them to have lunch with him.
   Lunch was a short affair with him. He had a habit of sitting down at the table pulling off the homemade stocking cap that he wore winter and summer, he put it on the floor by his chair and started to eat, saying nothing, just pointing to what he wanted. When he finished eating, put on his cap and went back to work. But on this day he seemed interested in what the Army men were saying and he lingered a little longer than usual. They accompanied him down to the factory. He was impressed by their talk, something not many could do on religious matters. They said good-bye and went down the mountain road but he found time to invite them back again. A few days after that they came again. This time Mr. Mann made them quite welcome and again they had lunch with him. So they asked him if they could have a meeting in his home and he agreed. They invited all the neighbors and the meeting was a success. William said: "Why don't we build a meeting place. I will supply the material and the knowhow and with a little help from you people we will have it done in no time. So a Barracks, as it was called in those days, was built in a short time, and a very good job at that. Then the fun began. He attended all the meetings with the family. He would even get up and testify.
   Then he laid down a few rules for the family: no smoking, no drinking, no swearing, no parties. He said all these were the devil's work and you must say your prayers before going to bed, nothing but hard work. But like young people the world over, they wanted some fun. So they rebelled, with their Mother taking sides with them. lie still worked like a mad man, from before dawn till late at night. He built a beautiful two and one half story house for himself, finishing it with beautiful panelling work in the halls. One day a man arrived on the mountain by the name of Hearman Branbach. He was an artist, just the man William wanted. He hired him to do the decorating for him. Over one door on the plaster he painted a peacock, on another a lion, on another a display of flags of different countries and in the living room he painted wall paper, and you had to look the second time to be sure it wasn't real; a beautiful pattern, but as I said the young people rebelled and went to parties against his will and he left home and went to live with his favorite son who lived close by, but he still maintained his home as before and as for working together things hadn't changed any either.
   The sons and daughters married and for some reason the Army stopped their meetings and the Barracks was turned into a storage shed.
   What really happened I don't know, but the family was changed.
    The army had left its mark on that family and for the rest of their lives they neither smoked, drank or swore, except one, who learned to use tobacco when he became older.
   My oldest brother was born on Mann's Mountain and when my parents moved to Tide Head he was so attached to his grandfather and grandmother and they so attached to him, that they wouldn't part with him, so he lived there until he got quite old. lie was the fireman and engineer. One day he either forgot to open a valve or the pop valve stuck and the boiler blew up. Luckily, Roy, that was his name, was having a little fresh air and was not hurt but it wrecked the place, so they had to shut down for a few days and get a new boiler. So the years went on. William was getting old but his heart was still in the factory. lie spent most of his time there but when he was well in his seventies he was felled by a stroke. They carried him to Bill's home, as he had never gone back to his own. They put him to bed. He said: "I will be alright I'll go back to the factory in the morning."
   But his days were numbered. Three days later he took another stroke and that evening that great heart stopped. Only God can judge, but I think he would say: "Well done, William."
   After my grandfather died young Bill, as he was called, bought a farm and some timber land on the Upsalquitch. He dismantled the factory, demolished the buildings and moved there, and Jack, who was the youngest son, inherited the farm on Mann's Mountain. One day when I was about twelve or thirteen years old Uncle Jack came to our house and asked my Mother if he could take me with him to Mann's Mountain. She said it would be alright. I was delighted, so up I went. It was a wonderful place for a boy to be. By now the farms were big, for over the years they had cleared a lot of land and built big barns and houses.
   Uncle Jack let me drive the team when he plowed or harrowed and when we twitched wood from the bush I would get on the horse's back and he would cut the wood and he would let me go to the house by myself. That made me feel like a man. There was lots of things to do. I would roam through the fields or explore along the brook. In the fall I would go hunting partridge. They were quite plentiful in the back fields. I would also see deer and moose.
   Uncle Jack told me to keep an eye out for bears as they were seen quite often but I didn't see any. I did the chores around the house and barn, such as cleaning out the stables, throw down the hay and feeding the stock. I found this all fun but I guess I lingered on the job quite a bit, fooling around with the treadmill and all the other farm machinery. There were a hundred things to see that had accumulated over so many years. After awhile I got tired of being alone. I was thirteen or fourteen years old and a boy that age should have a chum or two. I knew that John T. Mann that lived on the other side of the brook had boys about ray age because I had seen them in the yard. I thought I would try and get acquainted, so when I got time one day I strolled down the road past their house, hoping they would see me and come out. Down the road a ways were some spruce trees. Picking spruce gum in those days was a good pastime. This was a good excuse for me. I hadn't looked for gum very long when I saw two people coming down the road. I thought this must be the boys. I didn't look again for a few minutes, then I took a look. This wasn't two boys but two girls. Now I was afraid of girls and awful shy.
   I didn't know what I should do - hide or run, but they were too close, I was caught. They both spoke together and asked: "Are you picking gum?" I think. I must have been the most red faced boy in the world. My legs were like rubber. One of them spoke again: "I am Mina Maim and this is Louise and we are twins. What is you name?" I managed to tell them who I was. They said: "We know where there is a good gum tree down the road a ways. We will show you." They could really talk, which gave me a little courage. They asked me where I came from and how long I would be in Mann's Mountain, then they said: "If your grand father is William Mann and our father is his brother, then we must be second cousins." Pretty good figuring I thought. We picked come gum and walked back. When they got close to their house they said: "This is where we live," as though I didn't know. Before they went in the house they said: "We have two brothers just about your age, why don't you come over sometime and see them?" I was quite proud of myself when I thought about those two lovely girls coming over to pick gum and talk to me and I thought to myself, girls are not too had after all. I was starting to like Mann's Mountain better all the time. I was too shy to go over but I watched from our yard.
    I saw them a couple of times in the yard and one time they waved to me. I was elated. one day I was going by their house and two boys came out and said they were the twins' brothers, Earsel and Hanley. We got to be good friends, too good, I'm afraid, for I neglected my chores. We were together every chance we got. I would go over to their house and I got to know the twins very well and found them very nice. We boys had a ball around the farms. Their father had a big ram we used to tease and he got quite dangerous, but we knew how to handle him. We would point a finger at him and he would charge and all we had to do was lay down, as his neck was too short to butt when we were on the ground. Except for a few paws with his feet we were safe but if he took you unawares he could in jure you badly. This happened one day to Mr. Mann. Luckily for him he was close to the ram so the animal didn't get a good run, otherwise he may have been badly hurt. He was very angry at us boys and swore if he saw us teasing the ram again he would knock our heads off, so we let the ram alone after that. Mr. Stewart was the next neighbor, quite an old man. We would play tricks on him, all quite harmless. In the winter he went. to Matapedia quite often. We would follow him down the mountain road.
   As this road was on the side of the hill we would grab the rear end of his sleigh and threw it over the side. He would swear and chase us but never caught any of us, just as well for us. We were always playing tricks on Mr. Stewart. Then came Halloween, the night for tricks, although trick or treat was not invented yet, tricks were and we played quite a few. One of the boys said let us go over and shove over Mr. Stewart's back house. We did last Halloween, and he was awful mad. So we waited till it got quite dark and over we went. But Mr. Stewart had different ideas and he remembered last Halloween and he was waiting for us. We knew he was because we saw him peeking around the corner of the barn, so we decided to wait till it was good and dark, then we would sneak over and then go real quick, give one mighty shove and the deed would be done before Mr. Stewart could catch us. When it was dark enough we sneaked over till we saw the back house looming up. We got ready for that mighty shove, then we charged and got the surprise of our lives. The trick was on us, for that bad Mr. Stewart had moved that little house back about four feet. Now that's what I call a dirty trick, after all it was Halloween, but never in all my life did I ever plan on shoving over another toilet.
   Every day seemed to be adventure. One day we would plow and the next day sow seeds and I would harrow. I loved that job. I had a long pair of rope reins and walked behind the spike tooth harrow, sometimes slapping the team with the reins and telling them to get along and stop their nonsense, just like Uncle Jack would do. With the dust blowing up behind me I thought I was quite the man and was in my glory. In the fall we would dig potatoes and roll them down into the cellar. They made a noise like thunder and I liked that. I loved making hay, staying up on the load and tramping the hay, then lifting it up with the hay fork and stowing it in the mow or hay loft. But the best time of all was when the harvest was all in and we were ready for threshing. The evening before threshing Uncle. Jack would say to me: "We had better get to bed early tonight. We have a hard day tomorrow." But as we went to bed early every night or at least they did, it was no news to me. I could hardly wait for the morning to come. When I came downstairs Uncle Jack was already out. I would take a hasty breakfast and get out so as to miss nothing.

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