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Retrieval Number: 0102/3/p.77
Robert Trueman’s expenses in building and furnishing his home, March 1817 - October 1818.
Mount Allison University Archives, Trueman family fonds.
May be reproduced only with permission of Mount Allison University Archives.

Robert Trueman's expenses.

The Trueman family were part of the Yorkshire immigrant group who had been induced to settle in the Chignecto area in the 1770s. This document points to the fact that by 1818, about forty-four years after the family’s arrival, farmers such as Robert Trueman, grandson of William Trueman, were investing in what was probably the third generation of new houses associated with this group. The house in question was built near Prospect Farm on the Cumberland Ridge, which was the “home place”of William Trueman and his descendants. Robert had married Eunice Bent in 1817, and thus this house was intended to be where they started their new life together.

In striking contrast to our modern day practices of “pre-fab or “instant” houses, this document shows the slow and laborious process of hiring men to hew timber and saw lumber on site, and to dig and wall the cellar. Not surprisingly some items, such as plaster of paris, shingles, panes of glass, bricks, nails, hinges and screws were purchased, but much of the wood going into the building was probably procured from the farm itself, or obtained from other members of the family. The Truemans did have their own mill located nearby where some of these materials might have been sawn. The record shows payments made to 19 individuals, suggesting that Trueman hired individual hands to work on the job. There is no evidence of tradesmen or artisans, nor of gangs of labourers, suggesting that hired help worked side by side with Trueman and perhaps other family members to construct the house. In all, the record extends from March 1817 to January 12, 1818, some ten and a half months and we have no means to determine whether the dwelling was indeed completed and habitable by that date. Nor do we know whether the £106.4.2 expended constituted the full cost of building the dwelling. If it was, it stood in marked contrast to the estimated cost of £800 it took to erect the large brick house built on Prospect Farm in 1799

 

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