The Wallace Farm in Hillsborough has historical significance because it was the home of John Wallace (1812-1896). His grandparents had come to New Brunswick from Donegal in northern Ireland. Besides operating a large farm, he also owned a sawmill and was a director of the Albert Southern Railway.
From his youth he was public spirited and a rousing orator. He became Justice of the Peace of Albert County and the President of the county’s first agricultural society. His neighbour across the road, Mr. John Lewis, was an equally gifted public speaker.
In 1864 an election was held principally to debate the question of New Brunswick joining in a union with Upper and Lower Canada and Nova Scotia. Mr. Lewis favoured Confederation, while Mr. Wallace strongly opposed the union. Although living only a stone’s throw from each other, their bombardments were of a verbal nature only. Albert County chose to back Confederation, the only county in the province to do so, and sent Mr. Lewis to the provincial legislature.
A year later in 1865, a provincial referendum was held on the question. By then a majority of New Brunswicker had come around to Albert County’s way of thinking and voted to join Confederation.
Mr. Wallace was not content to let his public life end in a defeat. He ran, successfully, in the first Canadian federal election, which was held in September, 1867. His federal parliamentary career spanned fifteen years, ending with his retirement in 1887.
Since 1792, six generations of the Wallace Family have worked and lived on this farm. The present house was to replace the original homestead, which was destroyed by fire. Hay is still harvested and cattle still graze the land.
The Wallace Farm is a good example of a rural vernacular farmhouse from the late 19th century. The present dwelling was built in 1884 by John Wallace.
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