Documents tucked behind antique frame detail life of 19th century N.B.-born preacher
Published Friday, October 12, 2018 7:47PM EDT
When Heather Richards-Dalling purchased an antique photo at an estate auction months ago, she was shocked -- then pleased -- to discover what else came with it.
Tucked behind the frame were a series of documents and photos at least eight decades old -- puzzle pieces that she put together to tell the story of a New Brunswick man named Wellington Herbert Jenkins.
“It was kind of like a bit of a treasure,” Richards-Dalling told CTV Atlantic. “There was this whole menagerie of photos and certificates and it was just like the history of this man. It was as exciting as winning the lotto.”
Born in 1860 in New Brunswick, Jenkins received a high school certificate in Nova Scotia and was later licensed to perform marriages in New Brunswick and to teach.
A reference letter from a chaplain in Sydney, N.S., said that Jenkins was a Baptist minister in good standing.
Jenkins, who died in 1936 at the age of 76, is buried in Codys, N.B., according to Richards-Dalling, who searched online for the location of his gravesite.
“The idea that this gentleman was born here in the Maritimes and died here…I need to know more,” she said.
Richards-Dalling does not intend to keep the documents. She is hoping to locate Jenkins’ descendants to see if they might want this catalogue chronicling the preacher’s life.
“Obviously, there’s somebody out there who knows of him or is family with him,” she said. “I think these things belong with the family.”
Harold Wright, a local historian, told CTV Atlantic that the documents must be protected and suggested the provincial archives as an appropriate home for them.
“Keep it in the immediate family if they will treasure it and use it,” Wright said. “If they’re going to stick it in a box or a drawer, nobody benefits.”
With a file from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron