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- Textual record
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- Attributions and conjectures: Biographical History
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1864 - 1891 (Creation)
- Benjamin R. Stevenson
- Charlotte County
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After BR Stevenson's death in 1890 his family continued to use the Masonic office, where he had had his office. Stevenson's office was occupied for a time by Melville N. Cockburn, who had succeeded him as judge of probate. Stevenson's papers were placed in the attic, where they remained until the building was acquired by St Marks Lodge in 1829. The attic where the papers were stored was located in the peak of the steeply slopping roof. In 1975 a severe storm caused the chimney to topple over, damaging the roof. Manley Gowan, a young carpenter, engaged in repairs, picked up a small book and seeing that it was very old showed it to his Grandmother, Rosetta Gowan, who had an interest in localhistory. She advised Manley to take it to Charlotte COunty Historical society.
Having learned that there was a lot more material in the attic, Dr Medcof, on behalf of the society, contacted Frank Langley a member of the St Marks Lodge, who consulted other Lodge members, resulting in the whole collection being offered to the CCHS as a free donation. Though they did hold the right to review the material before removal, which they did before CCHS took possession of the gift.
Scope and content
The contents of Stevenson's letter books are shown in some detail as they are not strictly chronological. Unfortunately the books for his period as Surveyor General are missing and a search for them in Fredericton yielded no result. One wonders if they ever existed, as notes indicating the tenor of the reply appear on some letters. Stevenson's correspondence is vast, considering that everything is written in his own hand and there is no indication that he ever employed a secretary. letters that one might have expected to find in the Crown Land Office remain among his private papers. Quite a number are addressed to people other than Stevenson.
Stevenson's legal papers indicate that he was interested only in civil law. However, his one venture into criminal law attracted a good deal of attention at the time. He defended his friend, Dr Robert Thomson of St George in a malpractice suit brought by John B Key. Stevenson kept his own extensive records of this case, and account of which appears in the New Brunswick Law Reports.
The financial difficulties of the time are well illustrated in the estate papers which in the estate papers which include records of transaction carried out on behalf of previously well-to-do persons forced to leave the Province. Other papers came to him through the Probate Court, including those of Wellington Hatch, clerk of the Charlotte County Court prior to 1864. These are of sufficient importance to be considered as a separate collection.
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- Benjamin R. Stevenson (Subject)