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NOTE: This page has been adapted for the Website from Donald Coburn’s My Line. Use of the first person is in relation to Donald and not the webmaster/author of the site. Subscript index numbers (ex. Moses4) refer to generations after the family’s arrival in North America. Edward Colborne being generation 1.


ABRAHAM TYLER7 COBURN (David6 David5, Moses4, Moses3, Joseph2, Edward1) b. Keswick Ridge 27 Nov. 1836 d. 16 Sept. 1903 son of David6 and Sarah (Sloot) Coburn m. 11 Nov. 1868 Elizabeth Ann Smith b. 3 May 1838 d. 10 July 1908. Elizabeth was a daughter of Thomas b. 1788 d. 18 Sept.1872 and Jane b. 1799 d. 1 March 1879 (Anderson) Smith.

Tyler was born in the Coburn homestead and was the second child of David6 and Sarah. Both parents died when he was fourteen. An obituary in the New Brunswick Courier of 14 December 1850 reads: “d. Fredericton 5 inst. David Coburn 41 left 5 orphan children to deplore their loss.”Tyler and brother Benjamin must have gone to live with their aunt Hetty Caroline at Lake George. Hetty Caroline, his mother’s sister had married Thomas Pickard 26 November 1840. Thomas was one of the trustees named in David’ Coburn’s will. Thomas Pickard was a son of Humphrey Jr. who settled in Prince William and grandson of Humphrey Pickard, a grantee on upper Keswick Ridge.

As Tyler and Benjamin’s names do not appear in the York County census of 1851, they must then have been in Prince William. A census for Prince William was taken that year but thus far no copy has been found. We do not know how long the boys lived there. Their former guardian came to an untimely end at age 45. Here is an account in the newspaper Head Quarters.

1 Feb. 1860 H.Q. We deeply regret the death of Thomas Pickard Jr. Esq. of Prince William (York Co.) It appears that Wednesday last, Mr. P. taking a mechanic with him, went out to Lake George to effect some trifl ing repairs to his grist mill; which being done and the mill set to work, he went around the machinery to oil the edge of the horizontal wheel. While thus employed his coat sleeve was caught, and he was dragged among the cogs and crushed to death in a most horrible manner. One of his feet bracing against the cogs stopped the mill and it was some time before the body could be taken out. Every bone in his breast seemed to be broken. The funeral took place Friday. From 1850 to 1854 he was one of the representatives for the county in the General Assembly.

We don’t know how long Tyler lived at Lake George, probably not very long. Two claims against the four Coburn brothers were paid in 1851 and 1853. To clear their father’s estate, payments were made to Moses C. Pickard and Phoebe (Pickard) Currie, children of their Aunt Elizabeth.

Brother William married in 1859 and Tyler may have lived in the old home until he married in 1868. Tyler built a new house in 1869, the house in which I presently live (1992). Tyler married Elizabeth A. Smith 11 November 1868. Their first child Charles Wilfred was born 4 November 1869 at Elizabeth’s parents’ home, Crock’s Point, nearby, on the St. John River. Tyler’s was built the year of the Saxby Gale. The builder, probably Robert K. Jewett, was working against an October 5 deadline and got the windows inbefore the storm struck. ( Lt. Saxby of the Royal Navy had in Nov. 1868 published his prediction of a major storm for Oct. 6, 1869. It came a few hours earlier on Oct. 5 hitting southern New Brunswick particularly hard, causing extremely high tides, much destruction and some loss of life. Blowdown Settlement near Crabbe Mountain York County got its name from that storm.)

When Dr. Brown, who lived near where Fred and Helen (Kingston) Steadman now have their home,asked Elizabeth Smith if it was true she was to marry Tyler Coburn, she said Yes. He then said A Coburn could make a living on a rock pile.

When her sister-in-law Phoebe died in May 1862, Elizabeth A. Smith had assumed the responsibility for her orphaned eleven-month-old niece Sarah Jane Smith b. at 7 o’clock 29 June 1861 daughter of James W. and Phoebe Ann (Yerxa) Smith. The Tyler Coburns must have moved into their new home later that fall or winter (1869) with their infant son Wilfred and eight-year-old Jane. Jane was a highly esteemed member of that family, like an older sister to the Coburn children. She lived there until she married, 22Sept. 1880, Harvey Allen Jewett.

A story survives that depicts Lizzie (Elizabeth Smith) as an independent spirit. She took the infant Jane to the Anglican Church to have her christened. There were a number of christenings that day and before the minister got to Jane he was quite critical because baby Jane was crying. So Lizzie took her child and went home to Crock’s Point. She later had Jane christened at the Keswick Ridge Congregational Church. This story was told tome by Marie (Carlisle) Dunphy, my school classmate, who is Jane’s granddaughter.

Elizabeth’s parents had come from Bartibog on the Miramichi River, after the fireof 1825. Her mother, Jane Anderson, was from Douglastown in that area. Her father,Thomas, was born in Rusagornish, and went to the Miramichi as a young man. The Smiths of Bartibog owned schooners and were engaged in the West Indies trade. They lost all with the fire, but their stone house still stands. It is now called the MacDonald House located in a small Provincial Park. A picture of that house was featured on the cover of a recent N.B. Telephone directory.

At the time of the Miramichi fire, an Irishman with a yolk of oxen was working in the woods for Thomas. The teamster unyoked the cattle and followed them. They finally came out of the woods on the Bay of Chaleur in the very north of New Brunswick.

The 1851 census describes Thomas Smith as a ferryman proprietor. His ferry was probably the first at Crock’s Point. Thomas Smith’s brother Samuel is listed in the 1851 census as a Farmer Proprietor. This Smith family woke up one winter’s morning to find tracks on their snowy window sill. A wolf, during the night, had been peering in at the window. That old house is now the home of Beverly and Eldona (Seymour) McCullough. Tyler Coburn was a farmer. Besides the usual farm mix, he propagated some apple trees. He had a nursery row along the driveway to the main road. One tree of that row survives, an ancient Alexander which still bears fruit. Across the driveway a pear tree also survives from that time. Tyler’s buildings appear to have been a typical farmstead of the late 1800’s. The house, located nearest the public road, was closely associated with the woodshed, followed by the pig pen and hen house. The pig house had a brick fireplace and chimney for boiling hog feed or heating water for scalding when pigs were slaughtered. The barns and root cellar were farther removed, chiefly as a fire precaution, where the horses, cattle and sheep were housed along with their feed and bedding.

Farms at that time were largely self sufficient. The principal purchases would be sugar, molasses and that innovation kerosene and possibly flour if they didn’t grow their own wheat.

Sources of income were butter, eggs and meat, as well as apples and vegetables. Another important product was woollen yard goods which were produced on their own loom for barter with Fredericton merchants. Elizabeth and her daughter Effie produced much of that useful staple.

Tyler Coburn Family
Tyler7 Coburn Family c1890
Between Tyler7 and Elizabeth (Smith) Coburn are their children
Back row: Effie8, Tyler8, Bina8
Front: Wilfred8 and Fred8

Tyler Coburn was a Baptist, while his wife Elizabeth was Anglican. He was a man of few words. My father, Fred, has told this story more than once. An Indian couple came to the house, probably selling baskets. Sister Effie was talking away at a great rate. Finally the Indian man said to her ‘Where you get you speakum? Your father, she say nothing!’

Tyler was lame during the last years of his life. He injured one leg between the wagon wheel and a rock when the wheel slipped getting the wagon onto the ferry scow. Father said grandfather slept away his last days on the kitchen couch. Tyler died 16 September 1903 aged 67. He was survived by wife Elizabeth 65, sons Wilfred 39, Tyler 37 and Fred 35, and daughter Effie 38. He was predeceased by his youngest child, daughter Albina who died age 25 in 1900. There were no grandchildren.

Elizabeth died 10 July 1908. Tyler and Elizabeth’s monument and that of Albina are in the All Saints churchyard at McKeen’s Corner.