Henry Robert Osgood (1873 – 1962)

Name Henry Robert Osgood of
Date of Birth 1873-08-09
Place of Birth  
Date of Marriage 1904-09-07
Date of Death 1962-12-28
Place of Death Campbellton, NB
Son of
& of
Giles Osgood
Margaret Ann Lafferty
Name Nellie Jane Branch
Date of Birth 1878
Place of Birth  
Place of Marriage  
Date of Death 1930-04-14
Place of Death  
Daughter of
& of
Samuel Branch
Bela Brown


Name D.o.b Place of Birth D.o.d Place of Death Date of Marriage Spouse
Alice May Osgood 1907-08-10   1929-09-25 Harry S. MacLauchlan
Burns MacLauchlan  
Edris MacLauchlan  
Robert Giles Osgood 1910-01-26   1924-03-13    
Henry Branch Osgood 1912-07-07   1993-07-30     Iva Bean Roix
Robert Osgood   Claire Dow
Helen Osgood   Gaston Comeau
Henry Robert Osgood

From Osgood, A Family History by Robert Osgood:

Henry Robert did not follow his father and become a baker. Henry was called Harry and he began working at about the age of 12 in 1885 or 1886 at a shingle mill in Salamanca on the out skirts of Fredericton. His pay for the week was between 3 and 4 dollars which he gave to his mother and his mother would give him 25 cents on Saturday. He spent virtually all his working life involved in the forest industry. The only exception was at about the age of 21 or 22 he went to Boston and became a barber. That did not last long and within a year he was back in New Brunswick.

Most of his work was with Fraser Co. Ltd. He was a millwright who worked on construction and maintained saw mills. He was also a shingle sawyer and operator of saw mills. At some time he learned how to scale logs because in November 1923 he was granted a special permit to scale cut logs on Crown Lands. He wrote his scaler’s examination on September 12, 1924 at the age of 51 and received his license October 1, 1924. He was now able to continue scaling or measuring the cubic content of logs, lumber and rock. Why did he change his career at the age of 50? We do not have an answer to the question. We do know that the work was less physically demanding then his previous employment but he then had to spend long periods of time away from home in logging and pulp cutting camps. In 1929-1930 Fraser Co built a pulp mill in Atholville and Harry worked at this mill in the debarking operation where the pulp coming in had to be measured or counted. He worked there until retirement. When he retired is not clear but there is documentation that he signed a negotiated agreement for Local 160 of the International brotherhood of Pulp, Sulphite and Paper Mill Workers with Restigouche Company Ltd a wholly owned subsidiary of Fraser Company Jan 26 1939 when he was 66 years old. He was retired in 1943 when my sister was born and my mother suggests that he may have been as old as 70 when he entered retirement. The company had no retirement plan at the time so that he never paid into a pension fund but upon retirement he was give a small pension of $40.00 per month. In 1961 they had increased his pension to $49.09 per month. When he was in his early seventies he was asked to work a winter scaling rock as new piers were built at the log holding pond.

In the course of his employment with Fraser Co. we know that Harry worked saw mills at Victoria Mills, NB, Cabano, PQ and Atholville, NB. We don’t know where or when he met Nellie Jane Branch of Bathurst NB but their marriage license states that Harry was a resident of Cabano at the time and that is where they started their married life and where all their children were born. They were married Sept 7, 1904 when Harry was 31 and Nellie was 26 years old. They had three children. The eldest Alice May was born Saturday Aug.10, 1907. She married Harry S. McLauchlan Sept 25, 1929 when she was 22 years old. They had two children Burns and Edris and lived in Campbellton NB. Robert Giles was born Wednesday Jan 26, 1910. He died at age 14 of pneumonia on March 13, 1924. The youngest child was Henry Branch and like his father he was called Harry. He was born July 7, 1912.

In 1919 when Harry was 46 years old they moved to Atholville NB because Fraser Co. was building a new saw mill there. It was Harry’s last move as he died there on Dec. 28, 1962 at age 89.

Shortly upon arriving in the Atholville area Harry set out to purchase a house for the family. Much of the land in Atholville was owned by Mr. Alexander R. Ferguson and he leased out lots of 52 ft by 200 ft for 10 dollars per year for 999 years. On May 21, 1914 Mr. Ferguson leased a lot to David LeFurgey. Harry signed documents dated Dec. 31, 1920 that transferred the lease for the land and the building there upon from Mr. LeFurgry to Harry for $700.00. This was the family home where I was raised and remained in the family until 1998.

I will now cover some of the major occurrences in Harry’s life and something about the man I remember as my “Grampy”. All my memories while growing up include my grandfather. He was always there. By the time I can remember him he was retired. He was there when I left for University and he was their when I married. My memories as I write this are of a time and place that is more than 40 years ago. My concern is that the accuracy is not only dimmed by time but also that my memory has decided to only remember the good things and eliminate the bad so that the true nature of my grand father is not revealed. Since I can do nothing about how good my memory is of him at this time I leave it to you read this critically.

Grampy was very tolerant of all religions. It may have been because his mother and her siblings had been raised Catholic and he saw this as just another form of worship. His practice was to attend church every Sunday. What particular church was not that important to him. When traveling he would attend the handiest church he could find including the Catholic Church. In Atholville before he arrived there had been a Church of England church building. The building disappeared around 1910. The Protestants of Atholville did something very unique for the times. Instead of building several churches to cater to each denomination in the village they joined together to build a Union Church. They did not hire a full time Minister but instead paid the clergy of the near by town of Campbellton to conduct services on Sunday afternoon. Consequently, there were a number of preachers of different denominations that preached in the union Church. Grampy was a full supporter and official of the Union Church in Atholville as well as a member of First United of the United Church of Canada in Campbellton. He was raised Church of England, married into the Presbyterian and with church union became a member of the United Church of Canada and for the last 40 or more years of his life he mostly attended the Union Church. In those 40 or more years the schedule at the Union Church was as follows: First Sunday of the month was Presbyterian, second Sunday Baptist, third United, forth Church of England and if there were five Sundays in the month the preacher was Salvation Army.

When he was a very young person his mother had his ears pierced and he wore gold sleepers in his ears for the rest of his life. His Irish mother believed that pierced ears would help his sight and hearing. He also believed that honey was a healthier sweetener than sugar and therefore he used honey in place of sugar exclusively. When it became difficult to buy honey during WW2 he searched for those who could supply him. On one occasion he saw an ad in a magazine for honey from the Prairies. He ordered a case of 4 pound cans, 24 cans to the case. It was buckwheat honey that was darker with a peculiar taste. No one else in the house liked the honey so he ate all 24 cans. I can’t remember how long it took but to a young person it seemed like for ever. He also wore a copper bracelet to reduce the pain of his “rheumatism”.

Harry may have been born a Canadian but he was a product of his up bringing and was therefore also very much a British Subject. He did not expound on the subject of King and Empire but he was a royalist and he decorated the house with the Union Jack on May 24, Queen Victoria’s birthday.

Some time just after WW2 he was visiting his sister Alice at her home in Berwick Corner about 6 miles from Sussex NB. On this occasion I was also there with my parents. Across the street from Fenwick Tourist Home which she operated was a blacksmith shop where all the traditional work of a blacksmith was done including shoeing of horses. One day he and I went to visit. It was a fascinating place for me and I went there often to watch and listen and to be there with my grandfather made it a memorable occasion. The men were swapping stories and I was being very quiet and listening. I would be less then 10 years old. They were talking about hunting and rifles and Grampy was asked if he hunted. He said no that he did not own a gun. He went on to say he did not like guns. He was of course asked why and he then told the story where he had saved money as a young person to buy a rifle and after some time finally had the money he needed. Soon after buying the rifle there was an accident of which I cannot remember the details. The event scared him. Even though no one was hurt he realized what could have happened. He took the rifle to the near by rail road tracks and smashed it to pieces. That was the end to his shooting career.

The original settlers of Atholville were from Scotland and spoke English but when the Pulp Mill was built a large number of French speaking people moved there as there was work available. The mill management was English speaking so the language on the shop floor was also English. Since the French speakers tended to be Catholic and the English speakers tended to be Protestant, there was tension and some animosity within the Village. This all missed my grandfather. He was held in high regard and treated with respect by the people of the village. He bowled with young French speaking people 70 years his junior and they got along just fine.

It was previously mentioned that in Nov. 1923 that he obtained a scaling permit and therefore spent the winter of 1923-24 in a logging camp. It was March 1924 that his son Robert Giles (Robbie) died. It is likely that Grampy was not home when the death occurred. Nellie was shocked by the death and became so ill that she was sent to a mental institution in late 1924 or early 1925, from which she never returned because she died there on 14 April 1930.

At some time in 1925 Harry broke his right wrist. When it was set it was not done correctly so that it did not heal properly. Consequently, in the winter of 1926-1927 he had to go to a hospital in Saint John to have the wrist rebroken and reset. The winter 1926-1927 was not a good one for the family, Nellie was in the hospital in Saint John, Alice was 19 and had left home to work and live in Campbellton, Harry was also hospitalized in Saint john and young Harry at age 14 was home alone and responsible for himself. Alice had been asked to come back home to look after young Harry but chose to stay in Campbellton.

The second operation on the wrist did not work out as planned and the bones did not knit properly. In fact the bones rested upon each other and when Grampy shook his wrist I could hear the bones click together. This wrist had very little strength so that he had great difficulty in writing with his right hand. Harry was a determined individual with family responsibilities so he taught himself to write with his left hand.

Harry’s income tax return of 1932 gives his occupation as pulp wood counter. In a question that asks if he filed a return in 1931 he responds “no”. The next question is why. Harry replies, “did not earn much”. His income is $618.85 from Fraser Co, $240.00 from Workers Compensation Board, $180.00 from rentals, $111.00 from investments, for a total of $1149.85. It seems clear that the wrist bothered him for some time. It prevented him from doing work that would have paid a higher income.

When it was necessary to institutionalize Nellie, Harry called upon a lady in the community to help dress her and prepare her for the trip to Saint John. That woman was Elizabeth Roix the wife of a shop keeper/ business man in the village. Her daughter, Iva, would on July 6, 1936 marry young Harry. Iva, at age 24, then moved into the home with her new husband and 63 year old father-in-law. Both men were working shift work and on different shifts. Iva was always making a meal. Mother told me that when she got married she knew that her new home would be with father and son. However, she thought that Grampy was an old man and soon they would be alone. It took another 26 years. In fact, they saw their children grow and leave before Grampy passed away. If it was difficult for a young Iva I never saw it. I look back and I believe that they had great love and respect for each other.

When he retired he wore a three piece suit every day. It included the watch chain and pocket watch in his vest pocket. He never wore a wrist watch. He also wore Stanfield’s long underwear, wool in winter and cotton in summer.

He did not drink alcohol. He did once and became inebriated and said that it would not happen again and it did not. However, when he was in his eighties he did have Brandy on hand for medicinal purposes. He did not smoke but he chewed tobacco. Clover leaf was his brand. He had a small bottle that we used as a spittoon that he kept on the floor beside his seat on his couch. When he went out he had a small bottle in his suit coat pocket. He was so quiet and clean about it that some people did not know that he chewed.

Harry kept a record of his income and expenses in a little black notebook. I can’t say for sure it was a lifetime thing but it seems likely. I remember him keeping these records from my earliest memory and I have in my possession his black book that covers from1953 until his death in December 1962. The notebook contains some interesting information about the times in which he lived and I will mention a few. His total assists in Jan 1953 which included a house, cash and investments was $5404.96 and by 1961 it had increased to $8266.94 mainly due to the increase in his property value to $3500 from$ 2000 and more money in his bank account. In 1961 his company pension was $589.08 per year; Government Pension was $660.00 per year plus investment income to give a total of $1659.87. In 1954 a movie cost $.50, a plug of chewing tobacco was $.28, a 4 pound tin of honey $1.09, Oveltine health drink was $1.10.

When I was attending the University on New Brunswick in Feb, 1960, Grampy came to attend Winter Carnival activities. He was 87 years old and as one looked around the rink he was clearly the oldest person present. He also used the occasion to visit a boy hood friend. It was Mr. Aitken who lived on the farm next to UNB. The University had just purchased the farm and the land has been used for much of University expansion that is visible today. Even the old farm house has been restored and is used by the University today. In 1960 the farm house had been upgraded and moved a bit to make room for Residence construction (Aitken House) and the old house was the residence of Mr. Aitken until he no longer wanted to live there. He had never married and had lived there all his life. I remember asking Grampy,” How was Mr. Aitken?” This gentleman was about 10 years Grampy’s junior and his response was “The poor old fellow is crippled up and can’t get around very good.” Grampy just did not think of himself as old.

In the little black book it is noted that the Bus trip to Fredericton cost $15.60 and that he stayed in room 38 of the Windsor Hotel. Lunch one day cost $.85 and supper was $1.29. The cost to attend Winter Carnival was $1.25 the first day and $.75 the next day. During his time in Fredericton I met him with a girl friend of the time and she asked questions about his life in Fredericton when he was a boy and he answered her with more information then I had heard in 20 years. Some of the information that is recorded in this story is the result of her questions. He opened up and spoke to her for over two hours.

His life style as I remember it was that he slept late and went out most every evening and he read a lot. As a young boy before I started going to school, I would have a second breakfast with him at about 11 AM. This meant that I sat on his lap and ate with him out of his porridge dish. In the evening he would read me the comics from the Saint John Telegraph. He taught me to respect the name of Osgood and do nothing to besmirch it. He said that Osgood is a name that has respect in the community. Keep it that way! Each day he walked to the Post Office to get the mail and more importantly the morning edition of the Saint John paper. He would walk the 2 miles to Campbellton and home again more often then he would take a taxi for he never owned a car. On one occasion he was advised by his doctor that because of his age that walking to town may be a bit too much. Therefore, for exercise he would walk half way to town and then home again.

He was an active member of The International Order of Oddfellows Lodge. He joined the IOOF Victoria Lodge in Fredericton on the 7, March, 1898 and received a 60 year award for continues membership from the North Star Lodge in Campbellton in 1958. He was still an active member when he died 5 years later.

Even though we lived in the same house he did not interfere in the raising of the children. But if he saw some thing that he felt needed to be mentioned he did. He would take me aside tell me what he did not like why he did not like it and what he expected me to do. He did this on hot summer’s day when I set up a number of wooden strawberry boxes to simulate a street of houses and then set them on fire. Much to Grampy’s displeasure the burning took place beside the stacked winter’s wood which was ranked beside the house. When I was young I might have argued, spoke up or been angry when disciplined by my parents but that did not happen when Grampy spoke. As I look back, it is interesting that a man who admonished me so little could bring me into line so quickly.

He bowled into his 89th year with an average of 80, went to lodge, attended church, went to card parties, saw every movie, and remained active right to the end.

Looking back at Grampy what I remember the most of my grandfather was his tolerance, calmness and even temper. He could be very content keeping his own company but he was greeted warmly by many in the community when they met on the street. He was a very accepting person of all types’ of people and they seemed to feel comfortable in his presence.