Dr. James Robb

Robb

Lot #45 was jointly owned by the Robb and Ward families. Today there is no sign of the wooden fence which once enclosed the lot.

Sacred to the memory of James Robb, M.D., Professor of Natural Science in the University of New Brunswick, born at Stirling, Scotland, Feb. 2, 1815, died at Fredericton, N.B., April 2, 1861.

Erected by members of the Fredericton Society of St. Andrew as a token of respect for the memory of one who long and ably filled the office of their President and who was universally esteemed as a gentleman, a scholar and a benefactor to this Province.

A St. Andrew’s Cross marks this grave.

Dr. James Robb, who joined the staff of King’s College in 1837, was the first professor of Chemistry. He had studied medicine in Edinburgh University but was more interested in Natural Science. He came to New Brunswick to accept the position of lecturer in Chemistry and Natural History in King’s College. A loved and respected teacher, Robb devoted himself to the agricultural interests of the Province. He was appointed Secretary of the Provincial Board of Agriculture when it was established in 1858. His valuable collection of species is now in the New Brunswick Museum.

Dr. Robb was a surgeon, 3rd York County Militia. He was prominent in the formation, 23 April 1847, and continuance of the Fredericton Athenaeum, a scientific and literary society of which Archdeacon Coster was president. Robb was the secretary, and prepared the astronomical material for the almanac issued by the society. In 1849 he was a chosen a member of the first Council of Fredericton. It was he who designed the city’s coat-of-arms.

Dr. Jack, Dr. Robb, and Marshal d’Avray together weathered the stormy criticism of King’s College during the 1850s, until in 1859 the Act to establish the University of New Brunswick was passed. All three are buried in this graveyard, near the grave lot of John Gregory, a foremost critic. Although James Robb and John Gregory held different views as to the necessary curricula for New Brunswick youth, when James Robb was president of the St. Andrew’s Society in 1860, the first vice-president was John Gregory.

Dr. Robb’s wife, Ellen, was a daughter of the Venerable Archdeacon Coster, and she is buried here beside her husband in an unmarked grave. Their daughter Catherine E. married John Black, a barrister of Fredericton. In 1900 when Mrs. Clarke Murray of Montreal founded the Imperial Order, Daughters of the Empire, Mrs. John Black formed the first Chapter.

The family of William Brydone Jack, President of the University of New Brunswick

Jack

Sacred to the memory of Marian Ellen, wife of William Brydone Jack, D.C.L., of King’s College, Fredericton and daughter of the late Charles D.J. Peters, who died at the College, March 20, 1858, aged 33 years.

Sacred to the memory of William Brydone Jack, A.M., D.C.L., President of the University of New Brunswick from 1861 to 1885, born at Tinwald, Scotland, Nov. 23, 1819, died at Fredericton, N.B. Nov. 23, 1886.

Charles Jeffrey, aged one year. William Glendenning, aged five years. Children of William Brydone and Marian Ellen Jack. Sacred to the memory of Hurd Augustus Brydone, third son of William and Marian Ellen Jack, born Oct. 1, 1856, died July 8, 1867. Also Mary Anne Elizabeth, eldest daughter March 22, 1846, died Oct. 17, 1878. "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him." 1 Thes. chapt. 4, verse 44.

This tombstone stands in the centre of a large lot surrounded with a wrought-iron fence.

Mary Anne Elizabeth Jack was thrown from a high gig driven by her father and killed. The accident happened on Queen Street near St. John Street. The three little sons who lie buried here were first buried together at the college but their remains were later removed to the Old Burying Ground.

Royal Gazette, Fredericton, NB, 25 December 1844:

Married, on Thursday, the 19th, by the Venerable Archdeacon, William Brydone Jack, M.A., Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, King’s College, Fredericton, to Marian Ellen, youngest daughter of the Hon. Charles Jeffrey Peters, H.M. Attorney General.

Royal Gazette, Fredericton, NB, 10 July 1861:

Provincial Appointments — William Brydone Jack D.C.L. to be President of the University of New Brunswick.

William Brydone Jack was the second President of the University of New Brunswick (1861-1885), having come to this university from Scotland in the autumn of 1840, and serving the college faithfully for forty-five years. In connection with the mathematical and physical studies, he installed the fine equatorial telescope, at the time the best in British North America. He was the initiator of surveying, which led to the department of engineering. Besides his administrative and scholastic ability, he was an admirable speaker. He was a strong and vigorous man, over six feet in height, and fond of open exercise, walking, gardening, curling and driving spirited horses. One of the early university maps indicates Jack’s Iris Field and Gardens.

He died in 1886, survived by his second wife, Caroline Disbrow, and their four children: William Disbrow, M.D., of Vancouver; Arthur of California; Mabel A., who married Louis B. Millidge of Saint John; and Robin E. Brydone, who was appointed Engineer of Public Works for Canada. Robin Jack lived in Vancouver and married a daughter of Frederick Fisher of Woodstock, New Brunswick.

Much credit is given to William Brydone Jack and his colleagues, Dr. Robb, who lies buried close by, and Marshall d’Avray, for the development of the University of New Brunswick. During their tenure, however, there was government criticism that college costs were out of proportion to the benefits received, that discipline was lax, and the curricula unrelated to local educational needs.

This brilliant man could have forsaken Fredericton and accepted any of the many invitations from leading world universities. He instead chose to remain in Fredericton. The last years of Jack’s life were plagued with ill health, but in the era of very small salaries and no pensions, he was forced to continue working. Eventually the university granted him a very small pension, the first of the University of New Brunswick to be so recognized. He did make one trip back to his beloved Scotland, in 1886, the year in which he died. He was elected President of the St. Andrews Society in 1832 and held that office until 1847.

Many children were baptised "Jack," in such high regard was William Brydone Jack held.

A plaque on the Old Arts Building, UNB, reads:

William Brydone Jack, 1819-1886. Born in Scotland and educated at St. Andrews, Jack came to Fredericton in 1840 as Professor of Maths, Natural Philosophy, and Astronomy at Kings College. In 1851 he built the first astronomical observatory in what is now Canada and equipped it with the best available instruments. In collaboration with Harvard University, he established the correct longitude of Fredericton and several other N.B. sites and corrected errors in the international boundary. President of the University, 1861-1865, he succeeded in establishing the young institution upon firm academic foundations. Jack put the university on a solid footing and it prospered and grew during his 24 years. But like Head, the preceding president, it was a matter of student discipline that eventually proved his undoing.

A St. Andrews Cross marks the grave of William Brydone Jack.

The Mark Needham family

Needham

In memory of Mark Needham who departed this life January 31st 1863 ae 84 years, also Isabella, his wife, died on the 25th day of May 1862 in the 76th year of her age.

Sacred to the memory of W.H. Needham, Esq., Q.C., born at Fredericton, N.B., Dec. 9, 1810, died at Woodstock, N.B., Sept. 29, 1874 ae 63 years. "Requiescat in pace" Also his wife Mary Ann, died at Halifax, N.S., July 17, 1888 aged 70 years.

In memory of Mirianne, widow of Dr. W.R. Fraser, late of Edinburgh, Scotland, died Feb. 8, 1893 in her 81st year.

Our Willie.

“Our Willie,” William Hazen (1853-1860), was the son of William Hazen and Mary Ann (Gale) Needham.

Besides the names of the Needham family inscribed upon the four tombstones, Mark Needham’s youngest daughter, Jane Eliza, died in Fredericton in 1909, at the age of 93, and would have been buried in the family plot. She had been a teacher.

Mrs. M Fraser claims for herself, her sister Jane Eliza Needham, a lot known as the Mark Needham lot. Situate in the westerly part of said ground, enclosed by a wooden paling. This lot [#101] was first assigned to the late Mark Needham, father of the claimants.

Mark Needham, born 1778 in Yorkshire, was the son of an army captain of the 54th Regiment, which was stationed in Fredericton when the city was first laid out. The father died and Mark Needham took on the support of his mother and her three orphaned children. He rose to become a prominent citizen of Fredericton. Needham is the family name of the Earl of Kilmorey, an Irish peerage. The crest of that family is a phoenix, which may account for the origin of Phoenix Square in Fredericton.

In the 1820s, Mark Needham and his family lived in Saint John and he was a member of the St. Andrews Society, 1821-1826. On his return to Fredericton in 1826 he was made an honorary member of that society. In Fredericton he bought town lot #7, part of the old gaol ground. His place of business as an auctioneer was in Carleton Street.

Advertisement, 1837:

Pews for sale: Christ Church, Fredericton, on Saturday, the 19th day of January next at 12 o’clock, will be sold at public auction at the Church several Pews on the ground floor, as also Pews in the Western Gallery. Dated 26th Dec. 1837. Mark Needham auctioneer.

Early in 1822, he was foreman of the jury which brought in a verdict of "not guilty" at the trial of George Frederick Street, Captain John David of the 74th Regiment, and Wentworth Winslow. The charge was murder, George Ludlow Wetmore having been killed on 2 October 1821.

Mark Needham was Treasurer of York County, off and on, until his death in 1863, having been appointed in 1831. He was appointed one of the city assessors in 1848, the year in which Fredericton was incorporated as a city. He was one of the earliest wardens of the first Parish Church (Christ Church) in Fredericton, and was for nine years Quartermaster of the New Brunswick Regiment. He was appointed New Brunswick’s first parliamentary librarian in 1842.

A memorial of Mark Needham, dated 10 April 1804 and addressed to His Royal Highness Field Marshal the Duke of York, Commander in Chief of His Majesty’s Forces etc., states that he was the son of a soldier of the 54th Regiment killed in the American war. Mark Needham himself entered, when very young, the 54th Regiment. By the favour of his commanding officer, he obtained his discharge when the regiment was ordered from New Brunswick. He was burdened with the support of two sisters and a brother. He joined the Provincial Regiment when it was raised in 1793 and in the course of nine years’ service he rose through the ranks of Fifer, Corporal, Sergeant, and Paymaster’s clerk, until his Excellency General Carleton (then Colonel of the Regiment) was pleased to promote him to the Quartermastercy.

There was difficulty about obtaining half-pay for Mark Needham. On 7 November 1804, William Hazen wrote on his behalf to Edward Winslow, then in London:

Winslow Papers, p. 552:

As I feel anxious to do everything that can serve a young man of great industry and merit, and as I know what your dispositions and have been on similar occasions, I am confident… Mr. Needham has lately been so unfortunate as to lose an adventure worth an hundred pounds by the singular accident of a Brig being burnt in port at Jamaica. This has taken nearly all the industrious scrapings of his last nine years service, that the support and education of his mother and her orphans had left him.

However, Mark Needham did not receive half-pay. Instead, in 1819, he was granted 500 acres in Carleton County in the 2nd tier west of the St. John River.

Mark Needham married Isabella, a sister of James Fraser, a well-to-do ship owner and trader who had married a daughter of Dr. Charles Earle. Their children were William Hazen (born 1810), Mirianne (born 1812), Isabella Fraser, Jane Eliza (born 10 March 1816, died unmarried 25 September 1909), and Mark Robert, who was born 12 December 1818 and baptised 4 April 1819, according to the Parish Church Register.

The eldest Needham daughter, Mirianne, married Dr. W.R. Fraser, and survived her husband by nearly fifty years. She later resided on St. John Street in Fredericton. Her son, Donald St. George Fraser, married as his second wife, Mary, the daughter of John Gregory and a sister of Albert Gregory, Q.C.

Royal Gazette, Fredericton, NB, 15 May 1844:

Died at 8 Garner’s Crescent, Edinburgh, on Sunday, April 7th, William Fraser, Esquire, Surgeon, aged 36 years, sincerely regretted by all who knew him… Dr. Fraser having during a long period of Professional usefulness in this town gained for himself the high respect and regard of all classes of the community.

Mark Needham’s daughter Isabella married Isaac Woodward Jouet on 28 December 1833. Isaac Jouet predeceased his father, Xenophon Jouet, who had been Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod 1784-1831. When Isabella Jouet was widowed, she taught school. Her three children, Gertrude Garrison, Mark Robert, and Isaac Woodward, lived with her brother, William H. Needham.

Isabella Jouet was married a second time, 21 June 1843, to Benjamin Yerxa of Keswick, a merchant and farmer born in 1802. He was of Dutch extraction, and one of the first of his considerable connection to leave the Church of England and become a Baptist. He was a widower with eight children from his first marriage to Jemima Sisson. He and Isabella had two children, Henry D. Yerxa, who married Sarah Emery, and Edward. They settled in Boston sometime before Benjamin’s death in 1888, and at least two of his grandchildren settled there also.

William Hazen Needham, Mark Needham’s son, attended King’s College, Fredericton, and read law in the office of George Frederick Street. He was admitted to the New Brunswick Bar in 1834 and practised for a short time in Woodstock.

Notice, October 1835:

Needham-Gale. By the Rev. Dr. Gray, William H. Needham, Esquire, of Woodstock, Barrister at Law, to Miss Mary Ann, second daughter of Mr. Benjamin Gale, of St. John.

Mary Ann’s family was from Saint John, where W.H. Needham had spent his youth. She was a sister of James Gale who had then recently settled in Fredericton where he was to become the foremost druggist of his day. A sister conducted a school for ladies in Saint John and, later, when she was Mrs. Hunt, did so in Fredericton.

W.H. and Mary Ann Needham had ten children, nine of whom survived their father: Isabel Ford (born 1838), Margaret Helen (born 1839), Mary Louise Kemmis (born 1840), Henry Mark (born 1843), James White (born 1848), George Clarence (born 1854), Florence Maude (born 1858), Robert Bruce (born 1861), and John Gale (born 1863). William Hazen (1853-1860) is "Our Willie" buried here.

Soon after his marriage, W.H. Needham practised law in Saint John. He was Mayor in 1849 and elected a member of the Legislature for City of Saint John in 1850. W.H. "Billy" Needham was an outstanding man of his time and came of a clever family, as did his wife. His natural ability benefited from association with the most highly trained and experienced legal minds in the Province, having read law in Fredericton with the Honourable George Street, and in the 1850s, upon his return to Fredericton, he became a partner in law of Hon. John Ambrose Street, long the senior Q.C. in the Province.

In 1854, a bill was laid before the New Brunswick Assembly to abolish King’s College, now the University of New Brunswick. It was through the influence of Hon. John Ambrose Street and the eloquence of L.A. Wilmot, Charles Fisher, and W.H. Needham that the college was saved, not forgetting that the Superintendent of Education, Marshall d’Avray, became owner and publisher of the Headquarters, a Fredericton newspaper, in the fight to retain higher education.

Needham was four times Mayor of Fredericton between 1855 and 1868, with the exception of 1859-1861 when James S. Beek held that office. In his first civic election in March 1855, W.H. Needham received 381 votes and his opponent, G.F.H. Minchin, 274 votes. He was a short man, not more than five feet tall, a brilliant speaker and noted for his wit. Many good stories are credited to him. He was popular everywhere, and a prominent member of the Cathedral congregation.

"A Trip to New Brunswick," Cort correspondence, 1870:

…Twenty-four miles from Fredericton, Ox and Major Islands divide the river into three channels. We take the right and approach the little parish of Sheffield. Here a boat hails us and we take on board Judge Fisher and Hon. W.H. Needham of Fredericton, the latter a veritable Jack Falstaff.