Tappan Adney and the Heritage of the St. John River Valley by Keith Helmuth

Tappan Adney c1900

Woodstock, New Brunswick’s Chapel Street Editions must be one of this province’s best-kept publishing secrets. I found out about them quite by accident when another author mentioned one of their books they recently read (the novel Taapoategl & Pallet, which I plan to read soon).

Edwin Tappan Adney is a name well-known to New Brunswickers, particularly in and around the town of Woodstock, which borders on Maine in the central-west area of the province. It was here, in 1887 that Adney, a young American, visited (as an invitee by Minnie Bell Sharp, who would later become his wife) and it made such an impact on him that he left off his plans to attend Columbia University and never looked back.  He was enthralled not only with the natural environment but also with the Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) way of life, particularly their building of birch bark canoes.

“It seemed to me then as it has ever since from contact with the Indian in his primitive life untouched by the white man’s culture, that the Indian had attained that which the Japanese possessed, not so much a low standard of living….as a high standard of simplicity, which under the same conditions the white man has not essentially improved upon.”

This beautiful and well-written book by Keith Helmuth broadly covers the story of Tappan Adney, who not only loved New Brunswick but also was a friend and defender of the Wolatoqiyik peoples and the violation of their treaty rights. Tappan Adney is also considered as “The Man Who Saved the Birchbark Canoe” for he not only detailed their construction for posterity, but he built many canoe models, the bulk of which are owned and displayed at the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, Virginia.

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Lavishly illustrated with original photos, maps, drawings, news clippings and more, this book resembles a well-organized scrapbook of Tappan Adney’s time in New Brunswick. Produced in association with The Town of Woodstock and The Carleton County Historical Society, Tappan Adney And the Heritage of the St. John River Valley is a must for any naturalist, and New Brunswick history enthusiast or scholar.

*If you choose to purchase the book through Amazon I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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About the author

James M. Fisher is the owner and editor-in-chief of The Miramichi Reader. Started in 2015, The Miramichi Reader strives to promote good Canadian books, poets and authors, as well as small-press publishers, coast to coast to coast. James works and resides in Miramichi, New Brunswick with his wife and their dog.

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