Coleman Frog

Coleman Frog housed at the York Region Museum Fredericton

Coleman Frog

The Coleman Frog is an intriguing part of Fredericton’s local lore. In 1885, Fred Coleman went fishing on Killarney Lake when a frog suddenly leapt into his boat. As the frog began to ribbit, Fred, unable to understand the frog’s croaks, assumed it must be hungry and offered it some human food including buttermilk and whiskey. This became a daily ritual: Fred would return to Killarney Lake, and the frog would jump into his boat for a meal. Over time, the frog grew larger to an extraordinary size of 42 pounds (19kg)​., and so did their friendship. 

Stories about the frog spread, and soon, it became a beloved local legend.

The Coleman Frog was not just a curiosity; it was a symbol of good fortune. Local folklore held that touching the frog would bring luck and prosperity, adding to its mystical allure. The frog’s fame extended beyond Fredericton, becoming a subject of fascination and speculation throughout New Brunswick and beyond.

P132-128 The Barker House, Queen Street, Fredericton
P132-128 The Barker House, Queen Street, Fredericton

The frog, often referred to as “Cornelia Webster,” supposedly died in a dynamite accident around 1903. Following its death, the frog was taxidermied and displayed prominently at the Barker House Hotel in Fredericton.

After some years, the frog was transferred to the Fredericton Region Museum (formerly the York-Sunbury Museum), where it remains a notable exhibit​. 

York Region Museum, Fredericton
York Region Museum, Fredericton

Today, the story of the Coleman Frog remains an enchanting piece of New Brunswick’s cultural tapestry. It serves as a reminder of the wonders of nature and the magic that can be found in the most unexpected places. The frog, whether viewed as a symbol of luck or simply a remarkable creature, continues to inspire and captivate those who hear its tale. 

Whether you’re a local resident or a curious traveler, the tale of the Coleman Frog is a delightful piece of Canadian folklore that invites you to believe in the extraordinary.

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One thought on “Coleman Frog

  1. These whimsical tales about our past never fail to captivate me. The next time I’m in Fredericton I will be sure to visit the museum.

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