Gail Tuttle is excited to spend her days at the Wallace and Area Museum.
Tuttle, originally from the Wentworth Valley, started five weeks ago as the museum manager and curator. She’d only recently moved back to the area after retiring.
“I didn’t intend to hire myself out again,” she admitted, “but I saw the posting for the position about a week later. I’m just thrilled to be here. Every day, I’m learning about myself along with the other families in the area. I even found out I’m related to a board member here.”
This summer, the museum will feature a new exhibit titled “United Empire Loyalists of Remsheg.” Remsheg is the Mi’kmaw name for Wallace, and the exhibit depicts the life of the roughly 460 Loyalists who arrived on two ships – the Thetis and the Nicholas and Jane – on July 19, 1783. They were fleeing the American Revolution and travelled from New York to Fort Cumberland.
“They were given lots of land by the British government,” explained Tuttle. The government also provided tools and supplies to begin farming. One of those tools, a sickle dating back to the late 1700s, will be on display as part of the exhibit.
The government wanted the Loyalists to establish a town in North Wallace by the name of Fanningboro, after David Fanning, a British officer who fled to Canada in 1791. The town site was abandoned in favour of agricultural lots in present-day Wallace.
The area still has a number of Loyalist family descendants in the area, including Tuttle. Her ancestor, Peter G. Tuttle, owned the land in the 19th century where the museum stands – he sold the 222-acre land parcel, and shipbuilder James B. Davison built the Davison/Kennedy house in 1839.
The Loyalist exhibit will feature life in that period of time, shown in the main two galleries at the museum.
“There are some wonderful artifacts that descendants are lending so we can tell the story and set a framework for that time,” said Tuttle.
Coming back to the area, and learning about her descendants has been a joyful experience for Tuttle.
“My grandfather had so many stories of the Tuttles. As a child and teenager, I just soaked it all in. Now I have a chance to further my knowledge of my family. It’s a totally engrossing project – the more I learn, the more excited I become about the area.”
The Tuttle family home still stands and is used as a ski retreat. Tuttle’s sister and family still farm the original grant.
“It’s wonderful,” she said.
Her cousins, living in Tatamagouche and the Wentworth area, were historians and are lending a hand to Tuttle.
“I plan to publish the unpublished history of my family with their help.”
During the month of May, the museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Throughout the summer, the weekday hours remain the same, with it open 1-4 p.m. on Sundays.
- May 27 – The museum will be open during the Wallace Dandelion Festival, with a flea market table and other activities
- June 4 – Opening of United Empire Loyalists of Remsheg, 2-4 p.m. Refreshments will be served
- Wednesdays during July and August – Tea in the Garden weekly feature in the afternoon
- July 2 – The annual Francis Grant Day celebration, with readings from Grant’s writings and talks about the historic significance of the museum’s Grant collection
- July 22 – Heritage Day celebrations animates the museum’s Loyalist research and collection, and Loyalist re-enactments throughout the day
- 17 – The annual Remsheg Rug Hookers Hook-In features a day of rug hooking and good food