Henry “Harry” Branch Osgood (1912 – 1993)

Harry Osgood

Photo 1974

Name Henry Branch Osgood
Date of Birth 1912-07-07
Place of Birth Cabano, QC
Date of Marriage 1936-07-09
Date of Death 1993-07-30
Place of Death Miramichi NB
Son of
& of
Henry Robert Osgood
Nellie Branch
Name Iva Bean Roix
Date of Birth 1913-01-07
Place of Birth  
Place of Marriage  
Date of Death 2015-06-02
Place of Death Campbellton, NB
Daughter of
& of
Dudley Bean (biological)
Elizabeth Hutcheon


Name D.o.b Place of Birth D.o.d Place of Death Date of Marriage Spouse
Robert Osgood 1938 Campbellton NB 1962 Claire Dow
Robyn Osgood   1992 Christopher Ashwood
Kelly Osgood   1994 Chris Macnab
Steven Osgood   1999 Sheri MacGregor
Helen Osgood 1943 Campbellton NB 1972 Gaston Comeau
Timothy Comeau 1975 Toronto ON  
Michelle Comeau 1976 Toronto ON   2008 Scott Winfield

From Osgood, A Family History by Robert Osgood:

Harry Branch was my father. He started his education in Cabano and then moved to Atholville with the family where he continued his schooling. However, in March 1924 when he was 11 years old his brother died and his mother became ill and before a year passed his mother was hospitalized never to come home. This must have been very upsetting because in 1925-26 while in grade 8 he and some friends had an argument, dispute, etc. with their teacher Mr. Johnny DeGrass and they walked out of school never to return. He was just short of his 14th birthday. The following winter1926-1927 in his 14th year he was home alone looking after himself. This was the winter that his father had to have the operation on his wrist. It must have been difficult for the young Harry. Neither he nor his father was the kind of person who could or would talk about their feelings and the boy must have felt abandoned and confused.

The year he was 18 he worked at a saw mill in Nouvell PQ and after that little work experience he was able to join Fraser Co. at the Atholville Pulp Mill in Nov 1931 at age 19. He retired in June 30, 1977 with 46 years of service. He started as a laborer in the Screen Room and eventually becoming Screen Room foreman. The last 2 years he was Shift Superintendent of the over all operation.

He married Iva Grace Roix on July 9, 1936 and had two children me, Robert Giles and Helen Elizabeth. When Dad and Mother married they lived in his father’s home. The early years of their marriage were the depression years. The mill did not operate full time. When it did the men worked 7 days per week The Union contract signed by Grampy in 1939 stated that Sunday was not a regular work day and if worked it would be paid at time and one half. Consequently, in those early years Harry worked rotating shifts 7 days per week. There was no provision for vacation time in those years and the 1939 contract did not change the situation. In order to have a vacation, the men would work 12 hr shifts to give each other time off. Next came the war years with people working all the overtime they could work. No only did the mill produce a type of pulp used in the manufacture of Gun Cotton but also the machine shop had a contract to make parts for ships. Dad was also trained to work in the machine shop so that he would work where required.

When the Union was formed in the early years of operation it occurred without a fight with mill management. There has never been a strike or lock out at the Atholville mill. This occurred even though the operation that has changed ownership at least 5 different times. The practice during Dad’s working years was to wait until International Paper (largest pulp and paper organization in eastern Canada) signed a contract and then they would negotiate a similar agreement. Shortly after WW2 the 6 day week was reduced to 44 hrs. Then the 40 hour week as we know it today came about around the time I entered high school in 1953. Dad worked shift work his entire working career. He did it his way which included always eating breakfast in the morning. We had our main meal at night except when dad was working evenings and then the main meal was at noon. He would come home in the morning after working the night shift and he would eat breakfast and go to bed. At about 5 PM I would be sent to wake him for supper and I would need to shake him awake. I do not recall being asked to be quiet because Dad was sleeping. I do recall being asked to play more quietly by our next door neighbor Mrs. Hill because her husband Joe was sleeping. Mrs. Hill never spoke to the kids in the yard about noise if an adult was present. Dad always ate very slowly. He could and would lay his fork down between bites.

I remember on a Sunday he had worked the night shift coming home after 8 AM and was making a short change, that is he was to report for work at 4 PM. On this occasion we went to church and there was no one home to wake him because Mother forgot he was to go back in at 4. When Mother remembered I ran home to wake him and it was after 4 at this point. He woke up there was a flash of anger then said ok and at his normal speed go ready for work including having a lunch before he left. He said I’m late now so the deed is done. I need food to do the job they will wait until I get there. It is the only time I know of that he was late for work.

For some reason copies of Dad’s tax returns from 1942 to 1950 were saved and they make some very interesting reading. In 1942 and 1943 he listed his occupation as machinist. All succeeding years he lists himself as a Bellmer Operator in the Screen Room. Income in 1942 was $1862.21 and a year later in1943 he made $2083.26. His tax load was $156.76 and he was entitled to a tax refund. He received a cheque for $13.68 from the government of the day and a notice that “Refundable Savings” of $30.76 would be returned under the following conditions: “it is payable with interest after the cessation of hostilities between Canada and Germany, Italy and Japan….”By 1950 his income had jumped about 75% from 1942 to $3688.64. Taxes were $173 and as a percentage of income was only 4.7%.

Dad took a correspondence course in pulp making in the lat 40’s and early 50’s at a time when many new mills were coming on line and experienced workers were in demand. He and Iva thought long and hard about a new mill in Red Rock Ont. Located on the north shore of Lake Superior. However, Grampy was 80 years old and would not leave Atholville and the younger family would not leave him behind. I had the opportunity to visit Red Rock in 2002. I am so grateful that the move did not take place so that I did not grow up in Northern Ontario.

When Dad was born his birth was not registered. In later years when he needed proof of age he set about the legal proceedings to register in Cabano Quebec his birth place back in 1912. It was finally settled on Oct 9, 1949 that he was who he said he was and his birth date was confirmed.

He was a smoker and decided to quite and did so cold turkey. He was a person that if he made up his mind to do something it would happen. He had trouble with an ankle swelling or gout and went to the doctor and was told to start smoking again and the pain would go away. He could then stop smoking some time later. He took the advice and started smoking again. The pain left. He stopped smoking. There were no side effects.

Dad’s mother was Nellie Branch. Her siblings were Percy, Mildred, Frank, Jessie, Isabelle and John. On one occasion when I was about 11 or 12 years old Dad and the family were visiting relatives in the Bathurst area and we went to visit Mildred who was married to a Loggie. They were reputed to be much better off then most people we knew because he was a business man who operated tourist cabins. They also lived in a very nice home. Mr. Loggie was showing dad and me around and while going through the kitchen he proudly showed off his new refrigerator and opened the door to show how big it was. On the shelf at eye level was a bottle of beer. He said as he quickly closed the door, “just a little beer for when guests arrive”. It stuck me as I thought, “What are we”? This came to mind again when I was married and the wedding gift from the Loggie’s was used cloth napkins. Their reputation for being frugal seems to be well earned.

Dad was known as an honest man in the community. In the late 40’s his employer did not have any sickness insurance for their employees so a group of the men in the Screen Room formed the Screen Room Benefit Plan. Each person paid in a small premium and received a benefit if off work because of sickness for minimum period of one week Dad was part of the formation and he was elected to handle the funds. I remember him coming home from work some days and his lunch car would be heavy with change, mostly quarters that he collected as premiums.

In 1980 Byrne Osgood Delong passed away in Vancouver BC with no family in the area. By chance an advertisement was noticed in a newspaper in Sussex NB that the probate court was looking for heirs of Byrne to settle the estate. The closest heirs were Dad and his first cousin Madge Fenwick Nordbloom. They knew there were no other heirs but it was necessary to proof it. This took some searching of records to find the death certificates etc. and in Jan 1984 they each received the final payment from the estate and all was settled. This surprise inheritance enabled Dad and mother to have a comfortable retirement above their expectations.