Minote, Autumn 2009.
On March 19th, 1905, Arthur Thorne bought two farmhouses and several outbuildings on a parcel of land in Golden Grove, near Saint John, New Brunswick. The cost was one thousand dollars. The purchase included a small lake called ‘Lake Arlott’. Arthur immediately changed the name of the lake to ‘Minote’ (pronounced Min-o-ta) which meant, from several accounts in the visitors’ guest books, “Happy Thought.”
Work began on the expansion of the little farmhouse by the lake, in the spring of 1906. In that year, bachelor brothers Arthur and Henry Thorne hosted the WH Thorne Co. Ltd. employees picnic; several dinner parties; and a sleigh drive and snow shoe tramp.
The first thirty years of Minote were the glory years. Thorne friends & relatives came for overnight visits of several days. Some dined and returned to Saint John on the same day. The “regulars” enjoyed the routine of excellent meals, fishing, hunting, walks to the mountain, reading by the fire, gramophone music, card games and copious alcoholic toasts far into the night. Some fished, swam or rowed in Minote’s spring-fed, clear water. Some pitched in and helped Arthur to ‘farm’. The visitor’s guest books record that he was dedicated and of single purpose in creating a model farm of his beloved Minote. The vegetable and flower gardens he set down transformed the old farm house and fields into a colourful flora landscape. His chickens produced eggs for market in great quantities.
Minote in 1905.
One hundred and eight years later, in 2013, Minote remains in family hands: having been passed down four generations, to them from Uncle Arthur. In that time, the size of the property has gradually expanded with acquisitions to its current size of seven hundred and fifty acres. It has, otherwise, changed very little. The bulk of the property remains virgin forest. The water in the lakes is pure enough to drink. The presence of nature is palpable. The property includes many walking trails around the lakes to explore.
A sign still hangs in the main room of the camp. It, too, is one hundred and eight years old and could be called the motto of Minote. It says “Do as you damplease.”
Top photos and historical text contributed by Valerie Teed, Katie’s Aunt. Gallery photos by Chris and Sandy Teed.[/fullcontent]