On 6 July 2013, the Fredericton Region Museum opened the latest in its permanent galleries, the New England Planters of Maugerville/Sheffield, 1763-2013. Located on the main floor in the museum’s second largest galleries, the exhibit fills what is generally known as the Old Summer Kitchen. The curator, Bob McNeil, is a retired school teacher, York Sunbury Historical Society board member and co-editor of the Fredericton North Heritage Journal as well as the curator for the museum’s off-site Walking Trail History Exhibit.
The Planter’s Exhibit relates a story, which has seldom been told. The history of this New England group from their Rowley, Massachusetts beginning to their successful settlement of Maugerville/Sheffield has some unique twists to it. The leaders, Francis Peabody, Israel Perley, and Joshua Mauger, were responsible for securing the fertile farm land for the settlers. In later years, other famous and infamous people were part of the story. Some famous descendants include Egerton Ryerson, Humphrey Pickard, Henry Seabury Bridges, Colin B. MacKay, Thomas Harrison, Jeremiah Barry to name a few. The infamous Rebel Committee under Jonathan Eddy, John Allen, Seth Noble and others sided with their compatriots in the Thirteen Colonies during the American Revolution. This allegiance caused them to flee when the war ended.
The exhibit, funded by a grant from the provincial New Brunswick Government’s Heritage Branch, is the largest exhibit the museum will be opening this year and features two early games, Puritan artefacts, an agricultural display, a model farm and several pictures related to the New England Planters.
The seed from which this project grew was the book Maugerville 1763-1963, by I. Louise Hill. We wish to thank Miss Hill’s executrix, Katherine LeButt, for allowing us to use this material. The Fredericton Region Museum would like to thank the Province of New Brunswick Heritage Branch for their generous contribution, as well as, Bob McNeil for his contribution of research, exhibit design and his ongoing support of our organization. The support of the Exhibits Committee, especially Elizabeth Earl and Ramona Francis is greatly appreciated. The Johnson Avenue Senior’s Workshop was instrumental in designing, building and erecting the barn display- what a great job. The people of Maugerville/Sheffield were very generous with their time and information on their community. This really helped with the research. A big thank you to our contractors and summer students (Alexandra Fox, Elspeth Burris, Kate Dixon, Bobby Cole, Conor Falvey and Clinton Gillespie) as well as our volunteers who worked tirelessly on the exhibit invitations, poster and exhibit opening. Thank you to our graphic designer, Charlotte, for the panel designs and to the artist, Linda J. Bartlett, for painting our two depictions of life in Maugerville/Sheffield.