Middle Coverdale became known as Riverview Heights in 1953 when the province recognized the area under the county government system as a local improvement district.
It is regretted that space will not permit a proper study of the sudden transition from rural to suburban to urban life in less than three decades. The interviews, to which your attention has already been drawn, will be placed in the Archives of the Riverview Public Library for your examination. [Note: These interviews are available for viewing on the Interviews link].
Middle Coverdale consisted of possibly eight to ten farms, a number of which had dairy cattle and some had market gardens. The post office was established in 1861 and remained until 1919. Like the little communities to the east, rural mail was introduced and most people considered the daily service a decided improvement. The road, now known as Pine glen, was then called the Niagara Road, because it led to the settlement known as Niagara. The first postmaster was Albert H. Crossman, so its postal name was Crossman. To add to the confusion, it was usually pronounced Nigarry, rarely Niagara.
In 1922, the Gaskin farm became the site of the Inter-Provincial Home for Young Women. A detailed report on this institution is included in his history. Mrs. Audrey (Gaskin) Steeves and her esteemed brother Ewart, were interviewed in 1984, just months before his death at the venerable age of 90.
In the Appendices, you will find articles on some of the pioneer families, including the Ryans. The Riverview Historical Association was fortunate to have access to materials preserved by Mr. W.A. West, and thus we have continuity of title to property which was the beginning of the development of the area we know as Riverview today.
The early history of New Brunswick often revolves around claims for grants of land. There are over 10,000 Petitions for Grants in the Provincial Archives (formerly filed in the Crown Lands Office). All too often, persons petitioned for land on which they were living and years would pass before the grant containing title and any restrictions as to certain minerals, etc., was formally approved. This was the case of the Ryan family.
James Ryan was listed in the 1851 Census as a teacher, 30 years of age, married, and residing in Coverdale Parish. He lived on a tract of land which bordered on what is now known as the Pine Glen Road, and yet, he never received title to it in his lifetime. When the father died, the property passed to his son Sanford, and on the 21st day of January 1896, the Province of New Brunswick registered Grant No. 23,341 to Sanford S. Ryan, described thus:
Beginning at a poplar tree standing on the southern bank or shore of Petitcodiac river at south west angle of lot number twelve granted to Thomas Berry below Boundary Creek, thence running y the magnet south three degrees west, one hundred and forty six chains,* thence south seventy five degrees west eleven chains and fifty links, thence north one degree east one hundred and forty six chains to a birch tree standing on the southern bank or shore of Petitcodiac River Aforesaid and thence along the same following the various courses there of down stream in an easterly direction to the place of beginning ----Containing one hundred and eighty eight acres more of less and distinguished as lot number eleven on the southern side of Petiticodiac River below Boundary Creek. *A chain was a land surveyor's measuring rod of 100 jointed iron rods called links. It measured 66 lineal feet.
This Grant covers the area of the Pine Glen Road to Montgomery Avenue and runs back from the riverbank approximately two miles. Sanford S. Ryan died May 9, 1933 and left one daughter, Ethel Ryan Nutter, of Truro, Nova Scotia. She and her husband sold one hundred and fifty acres (the roadways had been deleted) to Joseph E. Dobson of Lower Coverdale. among his sons ere Dr. Joseph W. Dobson, a respected physician and surgeon in Moncton, and Byron A., whose name was destined to be "writ large" in a community which actually began on this very property. Joseph E. Dobson retired from farming ten years later, and on December 1, 1943, he and his wife, Lillian, deeded this property (less some lands on the Niagara Road by the brook, probably Boundary Creek, as given in the Grant) to Mary Elizabeth Dobson, wife of Byron A. Dobson.