Saturday, February 25, 2012

Former Abram Jeffery / Louis Jeffery house burns

     Early yesterday morning the house my father grew up in was completely destroyed by fire.  It was moved from Lauretta to the Dock Road in Elmsdale West/ Brockton in the mid 1970's
     Below is the article from the Journal Pioneer's website yesterday:
Inspecting the aftermath of a Thursday night house fire in Brockton.
Published on February 24, 2012 by Eric McCarthy/ Journal Pioneer.  Photo Eric McCarthy
BROCKTON -- A Brockton woman made her way into her burning house early Friday morning to rouse her granddaughter who was asleep upstairs.
            The pair made it safely out of the house, but all of their belongings were destroyed and several family pets perished.
            Phyllis Nugent said she was in the barn when she heard a smoke detector going off in the house. Upon investigating, she discovered the porch was on fire. Unable to enter the house through the usual route, she entered through the back.
            “I woke her up because the smoke detector was going off by the basement and the kitchen door was closed, so (my granddaughter) wouldn’t really hear it for a while,” Nugent said.
            “The other smoke detectors were in the other part of the house. They weren’t getting the smoke yet.”
            Nugent and her 17 year-old granddaughter, Ashley, were able to rescue their dogs and three pet birds during their escape.
            “I lost seven cats and a bird,” Nugent added.
            Ashley Nugent had a cell phone with her and called 911 after the pair were safely outside.
            The granddaughter was subsequently taken to Western Hospital to examined for possible smoke inhalation.
            Phyllis said the family moved from New Brunswick last May when they bought the Brockton farmstead. She had lived in nearby Rosebank until 30 years ago. Her husband, who was at work in Saint John, N.B., was notified of the fire Friday morning and was en route.
            Alberton fire chief Kenny Ramsay said the alarm sounded at 7:13 a.m. The house was fully engulfed when the first trucks arrived on the scene at 7:35 a.m. Tignish, Miminegash and O’Leary fire departments provided backup.
            Heavy snowfall Thursday night made it difficult for firefighters to get out of their driveways en route to the fire hall.
            “There was nothing really to save,” Ramsay said in describing the extent of destruction when they arrived. “All we could do was protect the surrounding exposures. There were two vehicles that suffered light heat damage. If it wasn’t for the wind direction it could have been a lot worse. Two other buildings could have been lost, probably, and the vehicles as well.”
            Phyllis said she didn’t know the cause of the fire but thought it started behind the clothes dryer. As fire fighters turned their attention to salvage and overhaul, Nugent said she didn’t know if she would rebuild at that location. She said the loss is covered by insurance.
            Deputy fire marshal Robert Arsenault said Friday he couldn’t determine the cause of the fire but has ruled it accidental.
            He acknowledged that it did originate in the area of the dryer and said it possibly could have been electrical in origin.

Here's an aerial photo of the homestead around 1955.
Below:  a closer look at the Jeffery home.
Below:  Abram Jeffery and Mary Jane (Smith) Jeffery.  Photo taken in the late 1930's.  Their son Louis took over the farm in 1918 when he married Annie Jane Cannon of St. Lawrence.
     Abram and Mary Jane built this house sometime in the mid-to-late 1890's (they were married in 1892) on a 50-acre farm located on the Centerline Road in Lauretta.  They raised a family of 11 children here:  William, Bessie, Levi, Louis, Hannah, Jack, Stephen, Pearl, Harvey, Eliza and Ethel. 
      In September 1943 Abram was helping his son take in hay (he was 74 years old) when he fell from the load breaking his neck.  They say Mary Jane died of a broken heart a few months later in January 1944 - she was 78 years old. 
     Below:  the family of Louis and Annie Jane (Cannon) Jeffery:  Back L-R: Gladys Kinch (a neighbour); Mabel, Stirling, Wilbert.  Front L-R: Gladys, Eileen and Preston.  Photo taken around 1942.  Missing from photo are the two oldest boys, Gordon and Harold.
Below:  we don't have many photos of the house - here's a photo of Uncle Preston with his father's truck around 1955.
Below:  Here's a photo of the old house taken in the fall of 1971 (processed Mar '72). 
     My grandfather Louis died in 1962 in Saint John, NB.  My grandmother lived here till about 1965 when my parents Wilbert and Verna bought it from her - they rented the house for a few years, then it was left abandoned and was vandilized. 
     One evening in the late 1960's I remember visiting the tenants here with my father and being amazed that they were living by lantern light - we lived 1/2 a mile down the road and had power. 
     After it was abandoned my brothers and I, like most children in those days, were always roaming around the community on our bicycles and we'd often go into the house to explore and look around.  There were a few antiques and junk in the house, ie. ice box refridgerator, side board mantle, a few bundles of cedar shingles and I remember there being alof of letters strewn over the floor in the upper hall.
       In the mid 1970's Albert MacInnis of St. Lawrence approached Dad to buy it and move it to the Dock Road. I remember the day it was moved, coming down the driveway and through the road towards St. Lawrence, down the Olde Tom Road and out to the Doct Road.  
Below:  Here are two photos I took of the house in the spring of 2010 - it had changed owners a few times in recent years.
Below: my brother Kerras and his wife Shirley were by the property yesterday afternoon and took this photo.

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