Hundreds to remember former home on New
As published on page A11(Saint John Telegraph
Journal) on November 11, 2006
CFB GAGETOWN - Remembrance Day in a place once
called New Jerusalem is a
painful mix of memories of home, war and loss
for the hundreds of people
who used to live there.
New Jerusalem was a farming community set in the
rolling hills of
southern New Brunswick until it, along with
several other villages, was
swallowed up in the early 1950s in the massive
that created Canadian Forces Base Gagetown.
Today, all that is left of the village of New
Jerusalem and its 19
neighbouring communities are the carefully
tended graveyards and a
cenotaph in the midst of Gagetown's sprawling
Every year, former residents of the communities
and their descendants
travel by the hundreds to the cenotaph to honour
the dead of past wars
and to remember their own personal sacrifice for
Enid Inch, 85, of the village of Gagetown, said
her ancestors first
settled in New Jerusalem in the 1820s.
"Even though it has been over 50 years since the
expropriation and there
isn't a building left in the village, it's still
home," she said.
Many of the people who used to live in the lost
communities still feel
bitterness about the expropriation, which was
executed quickly and
without a great deal of sympathy for the
families that were uprooted.
Allison Inch, 69, one of Enid's cousins, said
people were ``bullied" out
of their homes.
"We were one of the last families to leave,"
Inch said of his forced
departure from New Jerusalem in 1954.
"When my parents were trying to move out, the
tanks were coming across
"My mother had to go out and stop them because
they were going to tear
everything to pieces before we could get things
Ottawa decided in 1952 to expropriate
600-square-miles of land in
southern New Brunswick to create the base, even
though it meant simply
wiping out 20 communities and forcing the
relocation of close to 1,000
Allison Inch said it was such a drastic move, he
doubts any government
would attempt anything so massive today.
"We were told we were going and this is how much
we would get for our
properties," he said.
"That was it."
Perhaps to make amends, the Canadian military
has maintained the
tradition of holding Remembrance Day services at
the New Jerusalem
cenotaph since 1953.
Tents are erected for people and soup and
sandwiches are served after
Enid Inch said upwards of 200 former residents
and their descendants
attend the annual event.
Franklin Johnson, 77, of Fredericton, a former
resident of New
Jerusalem, said the tightly knit bonds that
united the small farming
communities never have been completely severed.
"People were scattered all over the province
after the expropriation but
whenever there's an occasion to get together,
they come back," Johnson
"We might be considered kind of clanish but
there was a community spirit
and it still carries on."