INDIGO VICTORIA to JAMES BREWSTER, NEW BRUNSWICK, BRITISH NORTH AMERICA [CANADA]
This cover was addressed to James Brewster Esq., Harvey, Albert County, New Brunswick, British North America, and a manuscript ‘Per Overland Mail’ and the perf. 12 greenish-blue One Shilling stamp of Victoria was postmarked with an indistinct barred numeral ‘230' (of Indigo). There was a red transit stamp of LONDON/ J(U?) 16/ 60/ PAID. In addition there was a manuscript rating mark which could not be determined, plus a manuscript ‘# 2(5 or 8) which may denote the number of letters in a correspondence (Figure 1).
There were four postmarks on the reverse, an unframed INDIGO/ AP 14/ 60/ VICTORIA (confirming the barred numeral of the place of origin), a transit MELBOURNE/ A/ AP 17/ 80, an unframed ST. JOHNS NEW BRUNSWICK/ JU 26/ 1860 and an arrival in HARVEY/ JU 30/ 1860/ N.B. (Figure 2).
The post office opened at Indigo on 6 November 1858 and its Type 2 barred numeral has 2 bars on either side of the numerals. It is rated as RRRR by Freeman & White (2001) The Numeral Cancellations of Victoria. In September 1858 at Indigo (so named because Indigo plants grew along the banks of Indigo Creek). There was a gold rush of 450 miners in September and the numbers grew to 2,000 by mid-October. Settlements grew at Upper Indigo and then at Lower Indigo. There was an influx of Chinese in 1859 and they represented ca. 1,000 out of 3,000 miners working Upper Indigo Lead. One of the mines in the region was known as Indigo Township Mining Co. By May 1860 the Indigo Main Lead was abandoned even by the Chinese in its upper part, however they were still working new ground east of Old Indigo Lead in July 1863. The general region of these gold mines were around Indigo Creek, seen in Figure 3.
James Brewster was a difficult man to research until Ruby Cusack printed my email in her column in the Telegraph-Journal a New Brunswick newspaper and the answer to my queries came the next day from Ann Breault, a New Brunswick researcher. James Brewster of Harvey, New Brunswick was a justice in the County Court in Albert County N.B. in addition to his being a ship carpenter and farmer. He and his wife, Rebecca (née Colhoun) were married April 28, 1818 when Harvey was part of Hopewell Parish, then Westmorlan County. James and Rebecca are buried in Bayview Cemetery, Mary’s Point, Harvey Parish. They had several children, and one of them was Gilbert Brewster (born ca. 1830) and he and his wife, Amelia Wells of Harvey Parish, had children, one of whom was Harlan Carey Brewster, born 10 November 1870, who was of interest to me.
Harlan was born in Harvey, N.B., educated in N.B. and Boston, and he held many positions as printer, deep-sea navigator, ship’s purser, accountant and salmon cannery manager, then manager of his own firm. His political career in British Columbia started in 1909 as Liberal M.L.A. for Alberni, leader of the Opposition in 1912, then defeated, but returned as Liberal member for Vancouver, and served as Premier of British Columbia from 1915 until his death at Calgary on 1 March 1918. Thus James Brewster’s grandson rose to the highest political position of Premier of British Columbia. A picture of Harlan Carey Brewster is seen in Figure 4.
I am indebted to two researchers in New Brunswick, Ruby Cusack and Ann Breault for information on the Brewster family. To date no relationship of James to another famous Brewster, poet and author, Elizabeth (born Chipman, N.B.1922) has been found.
Addendum: This information was provided by Bruce Estabrooks of New Brunswick:
Date : March 22, 1877
County : Westmorland
Place : Sackville
Newspaper : Chignecto Post
James BREWSTER, Esq. of Harvey Bank died Wednesday morn. and was buried on Friday following, He had lived to see 80 years, was a Justice of the Peace and when Inferior Courts were extant was a Judge of that court. He was one of the pioneers in the shipment of deals from Shepody to Great Britain; he was also first in the county to embrace temperance principles. He built many vessels and was competent to model, build and sail them.