Annapolis Heritage Society | Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

Woodbury Letter – 1880 Town Fire

Annapolis Royal has been the victim of a great number of fires. The best known fires took place in 1920 and 1921 but, these are far from the only fires in the town. The town has been burned by attackers, burned by defenders, burned by accident and burned on purpose. In 1880 no fewer than 18 shops and dwellings were burned across from the Fort grounds.

This letter, written by Chalmers Woodbury on a small scrap of paper discusses events in Annapolis Royal shortly after the 1880 fire. Interestingly, he also includes various pieces of town information (gossip) after he discusses the fire. The language of the letter is as it was written.

Annapolis Aug, 8th 1880
Dear friendI received your welcome letter and was glad to hear from you. You cannot imagine how our town has changed since you left. Last Monday night it caught fire in Lockets and burnt down to Wilsons and came near burning his for his wood house and barn both are in ashes then it burnt all up to the church on the front street and down to the Tobias house about an acre and a half. I was great work among the shoe strings Gus Harris is going to build again – Crowe, Dargie and John Runciman are all going to build soon a possible I have got a weeks work on Wilsons house it is all holes I am going to work for C Dargie a month or more Sam Mason and wife have both run away they stuck most all in town.
Salter had his horses sold for debt wagons & Harnesses
Fen has not been to Bridgetown lately will go in a fortnight he is running Ern Sanders ?? Arth Hardwick cut his leg was in the house for three weeks
Ben is not coming home this summer
Charles Hardwick is as big a lyre as ever and I guess always will be
Strange people stays home and works this summer his the same as ever
Purses Thomases wife has got a young one a week old now. He is very week and wants the 15 inch cradle Arty is an old bugar he a girl some times when his wife is away –
Joseph Foster & Wm Ritchie are going to run a big Hotell where Mason kept and the stuff for Christmas
The Windsor boys had it good yesterday there was an excursion from there to Digby
It was very heavy the day of the fire some did not know anything till the next morning two would sweep a quart at once
I got my oxen home on Friday they are good beef on girls 6 feet 5 the other 6 feet 8. have not sold them yet beef is low I dont think any more news at this time so will close as I am going to Round Hill this afternoon
So answer in about a month

Yours Truly
Chalmers Woodbury
excuse paper this is all I have