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


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.

Descendants of Colonel Beverley Robinson


William H. Robinson claimed lot #69, size about 13×18[other measurements in as 13 x 18] feet, situated in the new part, Section 4, fifth lot from George St. near the Alex Cumming lot. It is enclosed with stone posts and chains and marked by two double monuments, one interrupted for the children, and a single one to the memory of claimant’s grandfather, Hon. F.P. Robinson.

This fenced lot contains four stones and six graves, those of the Honourable Frederick P. Robinson and his wife, Jane; their eldest son, William Henry; their son, Morris; and two little granddaughters, Mary and Susannah Mary.

In memory of the Hon. F.P. Robinson, born Sept. 22, 1785, died May 11, 1877.

In memory of Jane, wife of the Hon. F.P. Robinson, born April 9th, 1789, died February 4th 1871.

William Henry Robinson, born Nov. 29 1815, died Dec. 29, 1873.

In memory of Geo. Morris Robinson, born at the Nashwaaksis Dec. 1819, died Apr. 9th, 1841.

In memory of Mary, born April 5th, 1848, died Aug. 11, 1849 and Susannah Mary born March 23, 1855, died March 13th, 1858, children of William H and Mary McL Robinson. "Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven" I.H.S. ‘Jesu Mercy’

Colonel Beverley Robinson (1722-1792) was born in Virginia, the son of John Robinson (1683-1749). He raised and commanded the Loyal American Regiment during the American Revolution, and died in England. Colonel Robinson and his wife Susannah Philipse had ten children, three of whom died young. Of their five sons, four served with their father’s regiment: Beverley (1754-1816), Morris (1759-1815), John (1761-1828), and Frederick Philipse (1763-1852). The youngest, William Henry (1766-1836), was sent to England at the beginning of the Revolution.

Lt. Col. Beverley Robinson was the eldest son of Col. Beverley Robinson and Susannah Philipse. He married Anna Dorothea ("Nancy") Barclay of New York, and eventually settled at Nashwaaksis. Three of their ten children settled in Fredericton and Nashwaaksis: Frederick Philipse, John, and William Henry.

The Honourable Frederick Philipse Robinson of Nashwaaksis (1785-1877) became Auditor General of New Brunswick. He married Jane, the daughter of Dr. Adino Paddock, Surgeon to the Ordnance in this province. They had five sons and one daughter.

John Robinson, who held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel with the 10th Regiment of Foot, married Eliza Maria Allaire. The youngest brother, Hon. William Henry Robinson (1793-1848), married Lousia Millidge of Saint John.

Hon. John Robinson, a brother of Lt. Col. Robinson, retired as a Colonel of the British Army. He married Elizabeth, a daughter of George Ludlow, Chief Justice of New Brunswick, and they had five sons and one daughter. He was deputy paymaster of the forces, a member of the Council and was for many years a mayor of the city of Saint John. In 1821 he was appointed first president of the Bank of New Brunswick, the first chartered bank in the Province. He was also provincial treasurer and filled other important offices. John Robinson died 8 October 1828, aged 67 years.

"Lt. Col. Beverley Robinson," Dr. Lillian Maxwell wrote, in the Official Centennial Book: The Story of Fredericton 1848-1948, was "formerly a wealthy landowner of Duchess County, N.Y., settled first in Fredericton, but his house being burned in 1788 he built again on the upper side of the Nashwaaksis. He was the first clerk of the New Brunswick Supreme Court, was appointed a member of the Governor’s Council in 1790, and was one of the first three trustees of the Academy of Learning. He was also colonel of the King’s New Brunswick Regiment."

Dr. Frank Baird, in the same book, continued:

This family, perhaps more than any other of the Loyalists who came to New Brunswick, brought with them, and maintained while here, what might be termed the ‘blue-blood’ attitude. They never forgot they had originated in Virginia, or that they had entertained Prince William Henry who later became King William IV. Their former high social standing, their wealth, culture, their friendship with Washington and others of the colonial aristocracy made this type of life natural to them. Indeed their aristocratic mannerisms added much of colour and variety to early Fredericton: especially, when, in winter, the family came to the city from their Nashwaaksis residence in their dashing four horse sleigh hung with buffalo robes: or, in summer, in a carriage fashioned on precisely the same lines as that in which royalty drove through the streets of London.

William Henry Robinson, grandson of Lt. Col. Beverley Robinson of Nashwaaksis, was a wine merchant.