poetry and prose about place

in search of Thornton W. Burgess

with 6 comments

Last weekend we took a drive to the western part of the province. Our goal was to see Bolton Lake.


I have heard that there was once a cabin on an island on Bolton Lake used by Thornton W. Burgess during his summer visits to New Brunswick. Thornton W. Burgess (1874 to 1965) was a conservationist and children’s author who wrote adventure stories featuring all the denizens of the wild wood – he wrote more than 170 books and many stories including The Adventures of Jerry Muskrat (1914), The Adventures of Sammy Jay (1915), The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse (1915), The Adventures of Grandfather Frog (1915) and so on. I particularly remember Mother West Wind’s Neighbors (1913) because it brought lots of the characters together.


Our drive took us along East Brook Road, off highway #630 in western New Brunswick, in the area of Palfrey and Spednic Lakes.


Bolton Lake is at 8 o’clock on the map … we followed the East Brook Road (upper road marked in red from right to left) and then the Parker Lake Ridge Road (marked in black along the left edge of the map)


The road is well-used but rough and I had a few ‘moments’ as my husband navigated the potholed and sometimes inundated road.


the road is the northern boundary of one of New Brunswick’s protected areas


it always looks worse than it is …. a beaver dam blocking a culvert caused this flooding on the road


our conversation as we drive is augmented by my warnings … “bump!”, “big rock!”, “really big rock!” as if my husband couldn’t see these himself! … there was lots of road maintenance going on – culverts replaced and washouts resolved


We were surprised but wildlife sightings were scarce on our trek. We saw moose, deer and coyote tracks, bear and coyote droppings, and lots of beaver lodges but no one was out and about on such a hot and windy day.


a moose track in the sand of the road


We had been to Bolton Lake in 1990 and were amazed to find that almost thirty years has made a huge change. The road from Parker Lake Ridge Road to Bolton Lake has completely grown over.  So Bolton Lake will keep its secrets and its history for now. We will have to content ourselves with a vista from Pemberton Ridge along the Forest City Road … the lake in the distance is one of the many waters comprising the Spednic Lake – St. Croix River system along the US/Canada boarder. Bolton Lake is hidden in the trees and valleys on the right hand side of the photo.



Copyright Jane Tims 2017

6 Responses

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  1. We own the camp on Bolton Lake and it’s still there. The camp on the island on which Thorton Burgess did some of his writing, has long since dissapeared, leaving only the majestic fireplace. We spent most of this week in there with family. The lake is very low but the big sandy beach is beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    Kelly Harrington (Morton)

    July 24, 2020 at 2:16 pm

  2. A few years ago we stopped by the Green Briar Nature Center in Sandwich, Massachusetts, where Burgess was born and grew up. The Thornton W. Burgess Society operates it. Tim loved the jams he bought at the Green Briar Jam Kitchen. 🙂 How interesting to learn that Burgess vacationed in New Brunswick.

    Liked by 1 person

    Barbara Rodgers

    June 14, 2017 at 8:36 am

  3. Jane I can hear your voice when I read this. Bump. Big rock. 😜 I was weaned on Burgess. Knew em all. Blackie the Crow… Buster Bear… Reddy Fox… As did every other kid in Colpton…

    Liked by 1 person


    June 14, 2017 at 8:06 am

    • I don’t think my ‘back-seat-driver directions’ are always appreciated.


      jane tims

      June 14, 2017 at 7:39 pm

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