The timber-framed house located at 232 Northumberland Street in Fredericton was constructed in 1846 by carpenter William Taylor, who resided there with his family for an impressive span of 130 years.
Originally, the entrance to the house was situated on the front street, corresponding to the location of the right-hand window, but it was later moved to the side, sometime after 1877.
William Pentlowe Taylor (1802-1871), a carpenter and house joiner, immigrated from London, England to Fredericton with his father, George Taylor, prior to 1826. William and his wife Frances had five children: William, John, George, Susan, and Sophia. William Taylor Sr. constructed the family home at 232 Northumberland Street, where they resided for an extended period. His sons, John M. and George T., worked alongside him for a time, and possibly with their grandfather as well.
John remained involved in the family business, operating his workshop on Westmorland Street, where he crafted various items for the people of Fredericton. He sharpened blades and cutters, fashioned ice skates and household goods, and even built the town’s first bicycle, known as a “velocipede.”
Furthermore, before the establishment of a water supply system, John constructed hand fire pumps. Drawing inspiration from British or marine models, he created replicas that enabled the firefighters of Fredericton to do more than rely on buckets to extinguish fires from the town cisterns.
Later, he assisted in the installation of steam-driven equipment in the new water pumping station and developed an interest in steam-driven machinery. While further verification is required, it is believed that he eventually served as the chief engineer of the pumping station.
John M. Taylor also undertook the construction and repair of steam engines. Meanwhile, William Taylor Jr. resided in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, during the early 1870s.
George Taylor (1838-1913), William’s second son, pursued a career as a painter and became a pioneering photographer. In 1856, he built his first camera and began experimenting with daguerreotype production. George was among the first to capture photographs of Fredericton and its surroundings. In 1863, Lieutenant-Governor Arthur Hamilton Gordon requested that Taylor travel across the province to capture photographic views. Accompanied by Native guides, he embarked on expeditions by canoe along the St. John and Tobique Rivers, documenting cityscapes, buildings, countryside scenes, military exercises, river activities, commercial scenes, and portraits of First Nations individuals. He expanded his house to include a portrait studio, specifically designed for this purpose.
George Taylor continued his photographic pursuits until 1906, leaving behind an extensive and remarkable collection of images. The renowned Taylor photographic collection, housed in the Provincial Archives, stands as one of the Province’s most significant visual records, documenting its rich history.
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