Mullin, John & Rose

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                                      MULLIN, John and Rose
                                        By Steve Lord


Ninety-two-year-old John Mullin is a man with a quick smile and sharp memory who has no trouble recalling the early log drives on the Miramichi. Memories like this will no doubt come back Saturday – a special day for John and his 91-year-old wife, Rose.

They are to celebrate 70 years of marriage together during a special gathering at Whitneyville. Mullin spent half his life on boats driving or hauling logs to mills on the Miramichi. He settled on the porch chair at his more than a century-old Whitneyville home before speaking one day this week. “I’ve had a pretty good life,” he says.

He recalls many past experiences and takes time to probe his memory. He explains that he keeps busy, carries wood to the cellar, does the washing and cooks his meals, although a neighbour might come by with home cooking. Mullin says he and his wife spend the winter in Saint John with their son. He migrates back to the Miramichi in the spring. “When April comes, John comes,” chuckles Boom Road friend and neighbour, Mrs. Bervel Forsythe, who introduced the interviewer to Mullin.

Speaking of the period around the time of his 1911 wedding, Mullin says there were few cars then. He recalls the reaction of one neighbour to the horseless carriage. When an old chain-driven Ford came along the Boom Road, old Mrs. Linda McGibbon shouted to her son, “Jim, get off the road. There’s some kind of thing coming along the road and it’s flying,” she said.

He relives some of the 47 summers he spent on boats driving or hauling logs between Newcastle and Red Bank. He had worked for George Burchill and sons. He recalls boat captain Jim McTavish. Logs were driven or hauled in booms. Wages on the boats were between $1.25 and $2.00 per day. Mullin says he and another man quit Burchill’s many years ago when they got tired of working without sleep for three or four days. That was the year they started to truck logs, he says. Then Mullin cut hardwood and sawed ties with Fred Menzies for up to four winters.

Jumping to the present, Mullin said he has noticed the cool, wet weather this season. “I’ve never seen as much rain…I have a big-mouthed horse pail, and I emptied that twice the day before yesterday.” That was last Sunday. He says the weather has been cooling down in recent years.


Source: Miramichi Weekend - June 5, 1981

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