McAndrew, Josephine

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                                        JOSEPHINE MCANDREW
                             Born in Chatham - Returns 82 years later
                                           By Jim Stacey


Josephine McAndrew returned to Chatham last week – for the first time since 1910.

She was born in Chatham on June 1, 1904. She moved to Powell River, British Columbia, when she was 10 months old. The only other time she was here to visit was in 1910 when she was six.

McAndrew now lives in West Vancouver, British Columbia. “This was my first time coming back out east in 82 years. It is so exciting,” she said. “Ever since I was a young girl I have always wanted to come back to Chatham to see my roots,” she added. “Especially after all of the stories that my mother had told me.”

Needless to say, a few things have changed since her last visit. Then she travelled out by train. This time she came out by plane. Last time she stayed for a couple of weeks. This time she arrived Friday night and was to fly back Monday morning.

In 1910 horse and buggy was the main mode of transportation on the dirt roads. She also noticed there are many more houses and the buildings are much larger.

When she arrived Friday evening she stayed at the Morada Motel in Chatham. She was escorted by her granddaughter. Much to her surprise, the motel had arranged a welcoming for her. Her room was decorated with balloons and a big welcome sign. There was a member from the Greater Miramichi Chamber of Commerce on hand to greet her and she received a pin from the Town of Chatham which she proudly displayed after the interview.

Monday, McAndrew was scheduled to fly out with her daughter to Toronto until June 3. Then she will fly back to her home in West Vancouver.

                           McAndrew’s roots run deep in Chatham

Josephine McAndrew’s roots run deep in Chatham. Her grandmother was Mary Cameron from Chatham, one of six children born in her family in the 19th century. Mary was adopted when she was six weeks old and raised by the Parkers in Chatham.

About 20 years later she met Captain Hugh Forbes and they married.

Mary gave birth to a daughter when they were travelling on a ship around South America. Her name was Bella, Josephine’s mother. Bella Forbes married Arthur Edward Ruddock, one of the co-owners of the Chatham foundry. Arthur and Bella Ruddock had a baby girl on June 1, 1904 and called her Josephine.

“When I was born I guess I looked so much like my grandfather that they decided to call me Josephine,” she said with a laugh.

When Josephine was 10 months old, her father and uncle Charles had a disagreement. Arthur Ruddock and his family left for Vancouver. Josephine was only 10 months old.

She remembers all of the stories that her mother used to tell her about Chatham.

Josephine Ruddock eventually met a man from Powell River, B.C. named William McAndrew. She knows what it is like growing up in a pulp mill area. Her husband worked at a pulp mill in Powell River for 38 years, she said.

                                   Returns to Chatham

Josephine McAndrew came back to the town where she was born on the weekend. She returned to Chatham for the first time in more than 80 years.

She visited the old foundry founded by her family during her stay in Chatham. She also visited the home where she was born. The home on Water Street is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Scott. McAndrew not only visited the home, but also the room where she was born.

She had no pre-conceived idea of what to expect when she visited Chatham, McAndrew said. “It is a very attractive town. The people I have met have been so friendly and nice,” she said. “I am proud to say that I was born in Chatham.” One of the most impressive things she found was how clean and tidy Chatham was, because there are so many communities that are not. “It is a beautiful town,” she said.

                           Smell of pulp mill familiar to visitor

Josephine McAndrew recognized the smell of the pulp mill when she travelled over the Morrissy Bridge this past weekend. McAndrew lived on Powell River, British Columbia, for over 40 years. Her husband, William, used to work for a pulp mill there.

McAndrew and her granddaughter drove over the Morrissy Bridge this past weekend and the smell was the first thing McAndrew recognized. “She has an understanding of what a pulp and paper mill means to an area,” her granddaughter said.

This weekend was nostalgic for McAndrew. And she did a lot of walking in Chatham and saw many sights her mother used to tell her about.

They went to Kouchibouguac National Park, her granddaughter said, and walked the entire length of the boardwalk. “It was the first time I had ever seen sand dunes. Out in B.C. the beaches are made of rocks,” McAndrew said.

Miramichi Leader historical columnist Charles Whitty from Chatham dropped by and gave her some information and pictures about the local area.

McAndrew has two children, a son and a daughter. She also has five grandchildren. She also has five great-grandchildren.

When McAndrew’s husband, William, retired in the early 1960s, that was when they started to travel. They lived in Chile for a year and spent a year in England. They also visited Israel, cruised in the Caribbean, and stayed in China. McAndrew’s son-in-law was a cultural attaché with the Canadian embassy in China for a while.

Her husband died three years ago. He was over 90, McAndrew said. “He was a very active man,” she added.

Josephine loves to play bridge, go for walks, and do some reading. “She loves to walk on the sea wall in West Vancouver. She is a fitness fanatic,” her granddaughter added.

Despite all of her travelling, she said she is going to retire from it for a while. She will relax until she celebrates her 90th birthday on June 1, 1994.


Source: Miramichi Leader – May 26, 1993

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