The James Nisbet family and John A. Strong

Nisbet / Nesbet

James Nisbet, died September 27th 1877 aged 73 years.

Also Frances, infant daughter of James and Elizabeth Nisbet, died January 19th 1870 aged 6 weeks.

In Memory of Janet, wife of James Nisbet died 15th June 1855 aged 54 years.

James Nisbet (sometimes spelled Nesbet) was a cabinetmaker of Fredericton and probably a brother of Thomas Nisbet, cabinetmaker of Saint John.

James Nisbet was first married to Janet Paton, and his friend Thomas Aitken was a witness at the wedding. Both men were from Scotland and attended the Kirk. James Nisbet and Janet had a son, William, born in 1835, and a daughter, Jane. William later was a partner in the business of his father, in Regent Street near King.

Janet Nisbet died in 1855 and James married, secondly, Elizabeth, the widow of Thomas Aitken. She brought her daughter Elizabeth Aitken to be a member of their household. Her younger daughter, Mary Ann, joined the household of her grandfather, Tom Armstrong, and his widowed daughter, Mrs. Wesley Ross.

By James Nisbet’s second marriage, there were three children: Thomas (born 1857), Mary (born 1861), and Frances, who died in infancy and is buried here.

Census, Fredericton, NB, 1871:

Nisbet, James, 63, Scot. Cabinet maker C of S

Elizabeth, 44, wife C of S

Thomas, 14

Mary, 10

Elizabeth Aitken, 19, tailoress.

In this census James Nisbet has given his age as 63. His second wife, Elizabeth, born in 1852, was very much younger than her husband.

New Brunswick Reporter, Fredericton, NB, 7 January 1880:

Married, at Fredericton, on the 31st ultimo by the Rev. J. Fowler, M.A., Mr. John S. Strong of Johnstone, Queen’s County to Elizabeth A. Aitken of Fredericton.

Of this marriage there were two daughters and a son, Benjamin. The children were small when Mr. Strong left. He did not return. Mrs. Nisbet, Mrs. Strong and her daughters, and Thomas Nisbet, who was with the Department of Education, lived together in a fine house on Carleton Street, next to the International Order of the Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) Hall. The house had high ceilings and cornices and was very beautifully furnished.

Census, Fredericton, NB, 1901:

Nesbit, Elizabeth, Widow, born Mar 9 1827, age 74

Strong, Elizabeth A., niece, Widow, born Nov 13 1851, age 49

Strong, Janie, niece, born Oct 17 1881, age 19

Strong, Bessie, niece, born Sep 9 1884, age 16

"Grandma" Nisbet presided over the household, and Mr. Strong was forgotten until — the family story has it — a prominent city lawyer called on Mrs. Strong, asking the name of her absent husband. Mrs. Strong refused to answer. Finally, when she was asked if his name had been John A. Strong, one of his daughters replied that that was the name of her father. A legacy had been bequeathed to the two daughters apparently by John Franklin Alexander Strong, Territorial Governor of Alaska 1913-1918, who died in 1929 in Seattle, Washington.

The last survivor of the family was Miss Jane, a retired teacher who died in 1956. The celebrated Nisbet family furniture was sold locally.