Friday, January 31, 2014

Sugar John and His Little Wife

Newfoundland Dog
Free image from Wikimedia Commons
There is a brief but wonderful story surviving about John and Sarah in those early days. I believe its existence gives us all a reason to write down our memories about our families. When you read about this couple and their adventures in the wilds of New Brunswick, they come alive and you can never forget them. 
The story is found in the book, Israel Kenny: His Children and Their Families by Edwin Wallace Bell, 1944. It can be read online for free at the Internet Archive Lending Library at
On page 13, we read about John and Sarah, my great great grandparents:
John S. Kenney and Sarah Crabtree were married at Bay Chaleur, [New Brunswick] and after living there for a short period removed to Greenfield, [New Brunswick]. 
The pioneers of [New Brunswick] never lacked for romantic adventure. After the ice had formed solidly on the Saint John [River] it is said that John Kenney brought his little wife of fifteen years down the river on a sled drawn by a large Newfoundland dog. 
At Greenfield he made his home along with his father Stephen and his uncles John and Andrew Kenney who occupied an important part of that thriving settlement. The rock maple trees grew plentifully on John S. Kenney's new farm. He was a tireless worker at anything he undertook to do and soon became famous for the great quantities of maple sugar he made. There were other Kenneys in the community named John and his friends soon found it easy to identify him as "Sugar John" a name that anybody might be proud of. 
John and Sarah raised seven children to adulthood, and they all lived good long lives:  

  • John Shepherd "Shep" Kinney, Jr. 1837-1918 (81 years)
  • Aaron, 1841-1925 (84 years)
  • Sarah Ann "Annie" (my great grandmother) 1842-1935 (93 years)
  • Susan 1848-1934 (86 years)
  • Adelia 1850-1933 (83 years)
  • Richard 1856-1932 (76 years)
  • Charles Allen (called Allen) 1858-1934 (76 years)
You can see a photo of them all together in the post, The Kinney Siblings. There were other children born to John and Sarah as well, but their stories make clear the hazards faced by the pioneers. 
Fern Gallup Kinney tells us, in her Kith and Kin of the Kinneys,1944 (also available online at
There were four others born into this family, making eleven in all, but where or in what order I do not know. Probably in between Shepherd and Aaron as they are four years apart, Sarah Ann and Susan are six years apart, and Adelia and Richard are six years apart:
  • Cyrus Kinney went bathing in the brook. Caught a cold and died. 
  • Baby died (scalded) at one year.
  • Elizabeth died as a child of diptheria.
  • Amy died at two weeks, infection of the navel.

The last post introduced you to my great great great grandparents, Mary Giggey and Richard Arnold Crabb. Their daughter, Sarah, was born in 1820, in New Brunswick. She married John Shepherd Kinney (also spelled Kenny or Kenney) in 1835, when she was only 15 years old. 

embeddable family tree updated live from WikiTree


  1. From my half-sister, Joan:
    Warren and I went on a bus trip to Prince Edward Island ( Anne of Green Gables land) we were so impressed by the neatness and cleanliness of the place==homes - lawns -farms etc., but we thought we would never get thru New Brunswick !! It was so vast --with large forests --trees -trees!!
    Also impressed with Japanese wedding taking place at "Annes' home - they -still love the story !! I think it was another Canada trip we saw the 'Reversible Falls" where the St Johns' river meets the ocean--at high tide the water goes up the falls and a good speed --I think I'm right about that.

    It's nice that there is so much history preserved that you can read about --good research!! very impressive.

  2. Having just had a road journey through New Brunswick last June I can attest to the large forests and trees upon trees, lol.


When you leave a comment, be sure to subscribe to follow-ups so that you will be notified of any responses.