By Rev. Karl Drew
The girls were committed to the Home for a term of two years or more and had committed crimes of prostitution, vagrancy, theft, forgery and other offenses. There was an excellent rate of rehabilitation among those committed to the Home with many of them being rehabilitated and living good lives after their release. Also to quote from the report of the Chairman of the Special Planning Committee to the April 24, 1968 Home Executive meeting "that to our knowledge there have only been three women returned (re-sentenced) to the Inter-Provincial Home for Young Women." The rate for Canada stands at 80% for recidivists. That in 1966, Canada had the highest rate of prisoners in the Western World, 243 per 100, 000 of population compared to 200 for the United States and 57 for Great Britain.
The women committed to the Home worked both indoors and outdoors on the farm under supervision by the staff consisting of six or more persons and the Superintendent. Some worked in the kitchen, laundry and dining room, regularly served the Board members when attending Executive and Annual Board meetings as well as housekeeping chores and caring for their rooms. Outdoor work was from Spring until October every day except Sundays when they were regularly escorted by staff members to attend the various Protestant churches in Moncton and Riverview. Regular morning services were held in the Chapel of the Home which contained the gift of provincial flags from the governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
The common room was equipped with a television, papers, magazines and other recreational materials and here many churches and other community groups visited the Home and presented entertainment for the girls and met with them individually. Those working outdoors grew beautiful flowers and entered them into public flower displays in Moncton, New Brunswick and won prizes. One year the girls donated prize money to construct the two gate posts at the end of the driveway by Coverdale Road, one of which contained the mail box.
Girls educationally capable took Business College training and obtained good employment after their release and completed their rehabilitation. School classes were also held. Weaving and hairdressing were also taught with hairdressing discontinued after objections from people outside the Home.
During the 28 years, the writer, Rev. Karl F. Drew, served as an active member of the Board of Governors from 1955 to 1983, and now an honourary member. The doors of the Home buildings were never locked with the residents of the Home free to run away at any time. While some girls took advantage of this freedom to escape, they were soon returned by the R.C.M.P.
A Woman's Auxiliary of the Home known as "The Auxiliary of the Inter-Provincial Home for Young Women" with a Constitution whose object was to assist the Home in matters of secular and religious education, recreation, finance and publicity, and to assist those discharged from the Home with all activities subject to the approval of the Superintendent, was active during the years of the operation of the Home.
The Honor Cottage was constructed by Mr. Ambrose Wheeler with Mr. A. Edwin Priest, registered architect, Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was the result of the dream and effort of Dr. S.H. Prince, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Chairman of the Home Board for over 25 years, and was used to house girls who behaved well and were trusted. The building was opened with special services on October 17, 1956. After the sale of the Home property to the New Brunswick Government the Honor House property was obtained by the Town of Riverview from the Government to be used as the Town Hall with a recent addition to the building. All other buildings on the Home Property were demolished. The name Honor House Court has been perpetuated by the Town of Riverview.
Mr. George Bulmer, farmer, constable, caretaker etc., lived in the dwelling house on the Home property from 1934 until the property was sold in 1974. Other farmers before 1934 were Mr. Stanley Adams, Mr. Martin Anderson and Mr. Alfred Hoyt.
The following have been officers of the Board of Governors since 1920, Chairman Rev. H.A. Goodwin, Dr. S.H. Prince, Rev. Dr. J.J. Alexander, Rev. L.E. Blaikie, Rev. Garland Brooks, Rev. V.C. Lowery, Rev. Dr. A.O. MacLean, Mrs. L.T. Hancock, Mr. E.H. Fisher and since May 1984 Dr. G. Fores Elliott; Secrrtaries Rev. C.M. Corey, Rev. F.S. Dowling, Rev. J.A. Ramsay, Rev. D. J.J. Alexander, 1931-1958, Miss Dell MacAulay, Rev. James Hicks, Rev. Karl E. Drew, 1963-1983, and the present Secretary, Rev. Brenda Shipton. Treasurers of the Board, Rev. J.A. Ramsay, Mr. D.A. MacBeath and Mr. Calvin Taylor for over 40 years, Mr. Stephen Steeves, Rev. Waldo Elliott, Rev. William Draper, Rev. Ronald Stevens, Rev. Bert Hyde, Rev. J.A. Secord, Mr. Fred Devinney, Mr. Robert MacQuade and the present Treasurer Rev. B.C. Lowery.
With extensive housing developments on both sides of the land of the Home and Coverdale becoming the Town of Riverview, extensive pressures were put on the Board of Governors of the Home to obtain this land by developers, school organization and other groups. Also pressure on the Provincial Government for a second road over the Petitcodiac resulting in the expropriation in the spring of 1960.
The New Brunswick Government, without the knowledge of the Home Board, expropriated a strip of Home land very close to the back of the buildings of the Home and cut the property into two pieces on which Bradford Road was built. This public road greatly interfered with the operation of the Home. Tue to the very small amount of money offered in payment for the land, the offer was refused and the matter of financial settlement went into arbitration. This was followed a few years later with a second expropriation, again without the knowledge of the Board, of the land of the Home from the Coverdale Road to the bank of the Petitcodiac River, containing approximately 21 acres. The very small amount was again refused and the amount of the settlement went to arbitration. Hearings were held which resulted in the Inter-Provincial Home for Young Women receiving a financial settlement commensurate with the true value of both expropriate lands. After expenses were paid the remaining money was invested. The Home was closed in September 1972.
The Board of Governors of the Coverdale Foundation consists of 28 members with seven persons appointed or elected by the four co-operating denominations, Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian and The United Church of Canad and five Honourary members: Archdeacon J.J. Alexander; Judge J. Elliott Hudson; Mr. Fred Devinney; Dr. Eric Balcom and Rev. Karl F. Drew. The officers and members of the Executive are elected at the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors with the officers for 1984-1985 being Dr. G. Forbes Elliott, Saint John, New Brunswick, Chairman; Mr. E.H. Fisher, Halifax, Nova Scotia, immediate past Chairman; Rev. Cameron Brett, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Vice-Chairman; Rev. Brenda Shipton, Herring Cove, Nova Scotia, Secretary; and Rev. Basil C. Lowery, Treasurer.
In closing this summary of the History of the Inter-Provincial Home for Young Women, one should ever remember and give thanks for the countless thousands of hours of persons who have given without pay or monetary return of their time and talents, both in an official capacity and unofficially in many other forms of service to the staff, girls and the work of the Inter-Provincial Home for Young Women during the last 64 years, 1920-1984, and to those who will continue this work today and in the years to come.
The above history and operation of the "Inter-Provincial Home for Young Women" was prepared after the interview on July 8, 1984, by Rev. Karl F. Drew, Moncton, New Brunswick. Unfortunately, it has been necessary to reduce the text for publication.