John Elliot Woolford, artist and architect


In memory of J. E. Woolford, Esq., late Barrack Master, Fredericton, died 12th Jan. 1866, aged 88 years.

In memory of Margaret, wife of J. E. Woolford, Esq.

Royal Gazette, Fredericton, NB, 6 February 1833:

Died on Wednesday morning last, the 30th ult., Mrs. Margaret Fullerton, wife of J. E. Woolford, Esquire, Barrack Master of this place, deeply and deservedly regretted.

John Elliot Woolford of the Barracks Department was appointed Assistant Barrack Master at Saint John in 1823. He bore the title until 1839 or 1840 when he was described in the New Brunswick Almanack as Deputy Barrack Master, and in 1842 as Barrack Master. He had charge of the army buildings in Fredericton.

J. E. Woolford was in charge of the building of Government House, and the very fine plans of the same are now in the Archives, Ottawa. The contract for building Government House was awarded to Jedediah Slason, and it was built in 1827.

New Brunswick Royal Gazette, 14 March 1826:

Contracts will be received by William F. Odell, Thomas Wetmore and Samuel D. Street… building a college… rough stone, hewn stone for the corners, boards, planks and scantling.

William F. Odell and the Reverend George Best advertised contracts in the New Brunswick Royal Gazette, April 1826, for a building for King’s College. The contract was awarded to James Taylor and also to Cross and Murray of Saint John. J.E. Woolford was the architect, and a model of the college building which he designed stood in his home.

Had there been a public library at that time, Mr. Woolford probably would have designed it, as the following notice suggests:

Royal Gazette, Fredericton, NB, 19 July 1839:

Fredericton Library — A General Meeting of the Proprietors is requested at the residence of Mr. Woolford on Friday afternoon next at 21st instance at 4 o’clock to decide upon the selection of a Library Room and such others matters as may be brought before the meeting. By order of the President. R. Gowan, Secretary.

J.E. Woolford resided in Regent Street opposite the Park Barracks until 1841.

Royal Gazette, Fredericton, NB, 10 July 1839:

Notice "The Subscriber" respectfully intimates to his friends and the Public that he has taken that commodious and pleasantly situated House in Regent Street owned by Captain James Segee next door to J. E. Woolford, Esq. and nearly opposite to Mr. Donald McLeod where he intends keeping a Genteel Boarding House for the reception of permanent and Transient Boarders. Good staffing is required. Joseph Estabrooks.

Royal Gazette, Fredericton, NB, 1 November 1841:

Welner-Baile Tailoring Shop in the House lately occupied by Barrack Master Woolford, Regent Street.

He was one of the artists who exhibited at the Grand Exhibition in Saint John in August 1842, and was President of the Floral and Horticultural Society of New Brunswick in 1843. He retired in 1859 from the Barracks Department, but remained in Fredericton until his death.

The Head Quarters, Fredericton, NB, 17 January 1866:

John E. WOOLFORD, Esq., late Barrack Master in this garrison was a native of England, born in London; served under Duke of York in Holland, afterwards under Sir Ralph ABERCROMBIE in Egypt where he was present at all the principal engagements. It was there that his merit as a sketcher of landscapes attracted the attention of Lord Dalhousie, under whose patronage he settled in Scotland on his return as an artist. On Lord DALHOUSIE’s appointment to the Government of Nova Scotia, he accompanied him to that country. In 1821 when his Lordship made a tour through Upper and Lower to Lake Superior, he attended him as an artist, and took views of all the principal residences on their route. In 1823 on a change being made in the Barrack Dept., he received his late appointment to this garrison and held it until 1858. It was the plans of Mr. WOOLFORD that both the College and Government House were built. He was married to a lady of the ERSKINE family, related to Lord BUCHAN and the late Lady DOUGLAS wife of Sir Howard DOUGLAS.

William T. Atherton, Lizzie Chestnut, and Little Jentie


Lizzie Chestnut, wife of William T. Atherton, died January 29, 1868 in her 27th year. "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."

William T. Atherton, 1839-1911

Little Jentie "Too lovely a flower for earth. She is gone to dwell in Heaven."

William Treadwell Atherton was the son of George Atherton, hotel keeper, and his wife Rebecca. Elizabeth Janet ("Lizzie") Chestnut, the wife of William, was a daughter of Robert Chestnut. Their son, William H. Atherton, was born 3 October 1863; his middle name is variously recorded as Herved and Hewell.

William T. Atherton was the proprietor of the Brayley House, a hotel opposite the People’s Bank. He purchased his hotel in 1862 from William Segee. His advertisement in the Saint John Morning News, July 1862, described a "first class hotel, good stabling, careful Hosteler, a coach in attendance on the arrival of all steamers… George R. Atherton, William T. Atherton, Livery Stable."

The advertisement of William Segee in the Saint John and Fredericton Business Directory for 1862 had been similar:

BRAYLEY HOUSE, Queen Street, Fredericton, N.B. This house having been built on a modern and convenient plan, the Proprietor is able to offer to the Travelling Public and to PERMANENT and TRANSIENT BOARDERS, superior accommodations, and a table affording all the luxuries of the season. This House is very convenient for CONCERT OR OTHER TROUPES, being opposite the Exhibition Hall, and the CHEAPEST HOUSE IN THE CITY.

The Fredericton Evening Capital, Fredericton, NB, 8 January 1887

George R. ATHERTON breathed his last. He was in his 77th year and had been for some days been prostrated by an attack of apoplexy so that his death was not unexpected. He died at the residence of his son-in-law, W.G. GAUNCE and was buried Sunday in the Methodist cemetery. Rev. Dr. McLeod, of whose church the deceased had been a member, conducted the ceremonies at the house and grave. Mr. Atherton was a descendant, in the third generation, of one of the United Empire Loyalists who after the Revolutionary war preferred the wilderness of New Brunswick. His name was Benjamin ATHERTON, an officer in the British Commissariat. He came to Fredericton and received a grant of a lot of land on which the Government House now stands. Here he continued for some time, engaging in the fur trade with the Indians who made St. Anne’s (Fredericton) their periodical rendezvous. After a residence of some years he was offered his choice of lots between Fredericton and Woodstock in exchange for his grant. He chose Bear Island whither he removed to engage in farming and trading. He had five sons, one of whom, Stephen ATHERTON was the father of the man laid to rest last Sunday. Stephen also had five sons, three of whom are still alive, namely, Israel ATHERTON and John ATHERTON of Fredericton and Stephen now in Nebraska. Benjamin, the other brother, died a few years ago, shortly after establishing the Royal Hotel. George R. Atherton had 12 children by his wife Rebecca Anne McKEEN d/o John McKEEN of Mactaquack. Four of these are still living – Robert ATHERTON in the civil service in St. John; William ATHERTON in British Columbia; Eliza ATHERTON wife of William Grant GAUNCE and George L. ATHERTON, Fredericton druggist. In early life the subject of our sketch was engaged in the lumber business up the river Saint John. When chopping near St. Francis (Madawaska) the head of his comrade’s axe flew off and inflicted a severe gash on his knee. Blood flowed freely. Four miles from camp, the case seemed desperate, but nothing daunted, he dispatched his mate for assistance. Tired of waiting, after some time he tried to crawl toward camp on hands and one knee, but was soon met by a party of rescue and carried on the back of a stalwart friend to shelter. A surgeon was procured with difficulty and the gaping wound stitched up. Israel Atherton, his brother, went up from Fredericton and brought him here where, during an interval of six years, he has since remained. These things happened 44 years ago. He then rented the Commercial Hotel on York St. which he afterwards gave up to his brother and commenced the livery stable business by which he is best known to the general public. The Atherton Stables on York St. were for many years noted headquarters for horseflesh. He contracted to carry the mails from Fredericton to Woodstock and had often more than one hundred horses engaged in that business alone. During the stirring times of the Trent affair, when British troops were being sent to Quebec through Fredericton, he rendered the military authorities valuable assistance in horses and sleds. A few years after this warlike period he went to Halifax where he remained for six years. Returning to Fredericton he has spent the happy eve. of his life in the society of his own kith and kin. The descendants of Benjamin Atherton are now very numerous. In Dr. ATHERTON, now of Toronto, the medical profession has a distinguished member.