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Retrieval Number: 9709/6
Marsh record book, Sunken Island, 1876-1884. (cover and selected pages from 1881).
Mount Allison University Archives, Albert Anderson family fonds.
May be reproduced only with permission of Mount Allison University Archives

Marsh record book for Sunken Island.

The annual accounting of the work of the Commissioners of Sewers is preserved in a series of marsh record books - although it was not unusual for Commissioners to be rather less systematic in their recording, preferring to use old notebooks, the back pages of farm account books, and even loose sheets of paper stuffed haphazardly into other documents. The document shown here is valuable in part because it records work on the marsh and provides us with a specific snapshot of activity in one particular piece of the marsh, Sunken Island. A typical record includes the names of landowners, the number of acres of marsh being assessed or taxed, the rate of assessment, the assessment itself and any amounts collected or owing. These records allow a comparative assessment of amounts spent and sketch an outline of the locations of this spending. The Sunken Island marsh was one of the last areas allocated in the cadastral plan of 1761. Over a century later, as this document demonstrates, considerable attention was being paid to this marsh in an effort to increase the production of marsh hay. The timing is important here; improvements in transportation, particularly the opening of the railway, were expanding the export possibilities for marsh hay. The owners of marshland, through the commissioners of sewers, responded to this opportunity by intensifying production.

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