Canadian Son: Roots, Stars, and Everything in Between

I took a trip to Canada to find my roots and stare at the sun.

Written .
Last updated with stars!

The view from a car driving east down the Trans-Canada Highway towards Fredericton, New Brunswick in late winter.

Driving east along the Trans-Canada Highway toward Fredericton, New Brunswick. There was a lot of driving involved during this trip. A lot. Thankfully, car chargers were mostly plentiful.

Foreword and Forewarning

Some things only happen once in a lifetime; it's rarer still to have so many lifetimes involved.

A word of mild caution to my few regular readers: This blog entry is going to be a little different from my usual fare. It's going to be a little less formal, and a little more casual stream of consciousness. This article won't be like stealing secret glances from a page from a teenager's diary, with the sentences written in ink and arranged into perfect chronological order; instead, it'll be more like a memoir refined from the few days I spent visiting my friendly neighbor to the north. It's also an excuse to share some photos and videos with my longform thoughts, so if you're on a slow cellular connection right now, bookmark this page and come back to it later when you have time (and Wi-Fi).

There's also going to be a lot of talk about my long-dead ancestors, compiled from various sources by nothing more than a skilled amateur working in his free time over the years. You may not be interested in the subject matter, but I hope you enjoy the ride all the same.

When the Heavens Align

Ever since I was young, trying to memorize all the names and faces at a family reunion, I've always had an interest in genealogy. Over the years, I was able to trace my paternal grandfather's family back to England via New Brunswick, Canada. Thankfully, these days, there are plenty of ways someone can do that. FamilySearch, Find A Grave, and are all wonderful educational resources (even if Ancestry has locked your own past behind an overpriced capitalist paywall).

A lot of my family history turned out to have taken place just over the international border, before my great-great-grandfather and some of his siblings left for America during the interwar period of the twentieth century. Despite living in New England my entire life, I'd never been to Canada. Perhaps I was waiting for the right reason; that is, the perfect union of events that'd warrant me taking my head out of the stars long enough to cross this off my bucket list.

As luck would have it, I'd heard about the Great American Eclipse well in advance, and I saw that it was passing over Ontario, Québec, and the Maritimes. I planned this trip more than a year in advance, booked the Airbnb and got time off of work absurdly early, and began making a to-do list. Then, there was nothing left to do but wait — and eventually, plan.

Map of the Great American Eclipse of April 8, 2024, showing how totality passed over Maine and the Canadian Maritimes.
Despite eclipses being mapped out millennia in advance, I somehow beat the Airbnb surge pricing.

Getting There

As a Connecticut native, there are two axioms when you're driving a car. Firstly, there's always traffic in Connecticut. I hit traffic in Newtown, Waterbury, and Hartford. Then, the roads were nice and clear for the rest of the day. Literally nothing, though construction clogged things a tiny bit around Boston. I'll never know why traffic seems to be strictly something for the Nutmeg State, especially with so many people travelling north to watch the eclipse.

Secondly, if you drive for a few hours in southern New England, you'll wind up one or two states away. That's how it went, until I reached the Maine border. It's New England's largest state by far, with the only highway meandering its way up the coast and through the interior. More than half of my journey was still ahead of me, with three hundred miles of I-95 in front of me. I drive an electric vehicle, and I'd managed to get from my house near the New York state line all the way into Maine on a single charge — in the winter, on the highway, no less. I was thrilled to see how much the state of Maine has invested in fast chargers — at least in southern Maine, south of Bangor.

I nearly filled up the car in Bangor for the 150-mile run to the border, as there are only Tesla Superchargers and overnight chargers after that point. As any EV owner knows (or anyone who's left their phone in the car overnight to find it's dead), a cold battery puts out less power. Not only was it wintertime, but a blizzard picked a fine time to blow in, dropping the temperature and wind chill, and my car's range with it. While it wasn't enough to cause an actual problem, it was enough for my range anxiety to kick in. Visibility was also reduced to next to nothing, as my high-beams only reflected off the blowing snow, and my low-beams only illuminated the dozens of signs reminding me that this unfamiliar, dark, unlit, unplowed stretch of I-95 where the townships have numbers instead of names and you run the risk of colliding with moose.

I drove slow because of the snow. Not only did that help me see where I was going, it squeezed a little more mileage out of my car. I got into Canada with plenty of power left. I also had the foresight to find a house with a car charger, which means you start every morning with a full car.

I also lost an hour of sleep due to the time zone change when crossing the border between Maine and New Brunswick. While I could push a few buttons on my car to switch everything to metric, my phone and watch took a while to realize they were in a different time zone.

That being said, it's a long drive and Houlton International Airport basically sits on the Canadian border. Maybe next time I could save myself several hours.

Once I was up there, I had no trouble finding a car charger when I needed or wanted one. The provincial electric company has installed car chargers in many spots, and they dispense power at fair prices with a phone app that doesn't suck too badly. Meanwhile, back home, you don't see Eversource installing any chargers, despite electricity being the literal thing they exist to sell — and at an insane markup, too. But, that's the difference between our two countries; in Canada, people expect the government to do something useful for them, and in America, we talk about overthrowing it (and with rare exception, do nothing about it but complain). Maybe America would build more chargers if they came with stores that sold snacks at captive-audience prices. But I'm getting way off-topic here.

The Bridges of Carleton County

The world's longest covered bridge, a wooden structure spanning the St. John River.
The Hartland Covered Bridge is the world's longest surviving covered bridge. It was a little odd to not see an American flag hoisted high in the sky, but I got used to the maple leaf quickly.

Whenever I go somewhere, I do want to see all the popular things, but I try to avoid the tourist traps. I prefer to taste the local flavor, so to speak. I'd found that the town of Hartland has the world's longest surviving covered bridge. This 1,282-foot long bridge (measured before Canada's metrication in the early 1960s) carries a single lane of traffic across the mighty Saint John River. It's paved and still an important thoroughfare for the town, so I joined the regular traffic and drove across it.

Driving eastbound through the Hartland Covered Bridge. There is no traffic light; rather, people wait and take turns, because this is Canada and everyone I met on this trip was polite. I'm not even making fun of stereotypes. Everyone was nice.

A few days later, I went to visit another nearby stop on my list: a potato chip factory in the Waterville suburb of Hartland. I was hoping to take a tour and sample some snacks, but I wound up only dismayed as I drove up to a charred, vacant lot with a lonely backhoe. A quick search told me that the Covered Bridge Potato Chip plant had burned down over a year ago, and the factory debris had long since been razed and disposed of, leaving only a charred vacant lot.

Fortunately, one of their marketing gimmicks survived the blaze. The world's shortest covered bridge (allegedly), at over 24 feet long, carries a single lane of foot traffic from the factory, over a rocky gorge, to the local gas station. Unlike its larger sibling across town, I took the time to walk across this one.

The world's shortest covered bridge (reportedly), a wooden structure constructed by Covered Bridge Potato Chips to span this little rocky gorge.
That's over 700 centimeters for you Canadians.

Unfortunately, the Guinness Book of World Records says the shortest covered bridge in the world is in Latchford, Ontario at 3.4 meters "long", less than half the length of this one, but I'll give the chip company points for trying.

In other news, the company does plan to rebuild a factory in the same spot. My Airbnb host gifted me a bag of their cheddar and sour cream chips, and after tasting them, I wish the company the best of luck! They're hoping to have a new factory ready to go by the end of 2025. (Also, please export these to the States.)

Come Feed Thy Spirit

In , my great-great-grandparents, Murley and Kate, and their five sons — the twins Horace and Norris, and Phillip, Burton, and John — left the sleepy farming community of Simonds, NB, crossing into Maine. It wasn't the first time they'd left their homeland for America, but this time, it was permanent. They eventually found their way to Connecticut, where generations of my family were born, raised, and died. That's the story and the people I know.

However, it's only natural to wonder about what came before everything you know, and what came before that, ad infinitum. Following census, birth, marriage, and death records backwards, I'd found that my great-great-great-grandfather's name was Godfrey. According to even older census records, it was a name that he'd inherited from his father, also named Godfrey.[1] The elder had immigrated to the British colony of New Brunswick sometime in the early 1800s, with the earliest written record of his life being his marriage to Mary Ann Jackson in .[2]

I'm going to note that the elder Godfrey was illiterate, as many people were back then. It seems that his surname was spelled Cogle in England, as it is in America. When he arrived in Canada, the spelling drifted to Cougle, likely when someone else wrote it down. Various sources spell the Godfreys' last names both ways, though the younger Godfrey adopted the Cougle spelling. For simplicity's sake, I'm usually going to spell it the way I spell it. No offense to the generations of distant cousins who spell it with the "u".

After re-discovering Tim Horton's over breakfast (their only Connecticut location closed more than a decade ago) and buying a few bags of coffee to import, my next stop was the L. P. Fisher Public Library in downtown Woodstock. I knew about their genealogy department, old newspapers, and county records. I thought that the librarians would be annoyed, lamenting that some dumb American dashed their dreams of a quiet and quick Saturday. Once again, I grossly underestimated the profession. The staff set me up in one of the reference rooms, and gave me a stack of old books (some of them handwritten!), recommended web sites, and gladly searched through dozens of rolls of microfiche at my request. I was quite surprised to see how far microfiche has come ever since I was in elementary school, pushing rolls of film through a glorified lightbox. Now, it's mostly computerized.

A modern microfiche reader attached to a computer.  The reader is being used to display an issue of The Carleton Sentinel newspaper from 1859 on the computer screen.
Thanks to the intersection of tireless librarians and modern technology, I'm now reading an issue of The Carleton Sentinel from with minimal fuss. Many of the old newspapers still exist in a stack in the corner of the room, but they're slowly digitizing them before the originals fall apart. I wish them the best of luck, and hope that this somehow makes it online.

Together with a handwritten index of names and dates corresponding to mentions in the local newspaper, as well as plenty of dates from my own research, we spent a good chunk of this overcast April afternoon in the library, a veritable Alexandria in relevance, looking at newspapers from the nineteenth century.

Later on, while he went to find some files that I might be of interest, I noticed a map covering some of the back wall, ceiling to floor. Skilled, patient, and knowledgeable cartographers had drawn a map of Carleton County as it was in , showing not only each road and river as they coursed their paths through this new county in this new province of this new confederation, but they'd even dotted and annotated where each landowner called home. I gave this map my undivided and rapt attention, staring into the past and looking for places whose names I'd only known as letters on a computer screen: Wicklow, Knoxford, Richmond, but it was in Simonds where a familiar name reached beyond the time.

A map of Carleton County, New Brunswick as it appeared in 1876. A segment of a map of Carleton County, New Brunswick as it appeared in 1876.  Near the center of the photo, a bit inland from the Saint John River's west bank is a property marked with a dot labelled "G. Cogle".
The first image shows the map in all of its glory. Unfortunately, I couldn't get rid of the glare no matter where I stood or how I photographed it. The second map is a zoomed-in look at Simonds Parish, with a dot marked G. Cogle roughly near the middle. Hey, I know him! Well, I know of him.

Thankfully, Carleton County's roads haven't changed too much since then. I opened up Apple Maps on my phone, found that same location, and dropped a pin on there. I wish I could have stayed and dug through more old newspaper articles, but at that point, I was finding marriage announcements for his kids, and the occasional sentence saying that Godfrey had attended a town meeting. It seemed like I was scraping the bottom of the barrel. April days only offer so much daylight, and I didn't want to burn any more of it.

I'd like to thank one of the staff members, Greg Campbell, for helping me to get my in-person research started and focused, for operating the microfiche reader as many times as I wanted, staring at the screen hoping to find the word "Cogle" highlighted, and for being chatty and explaining a bit of Carleton County's history to me. If anyone reading this is considering researching family and provincial history in the area, he's the guy to ask.

Potato Field of Dreams

According to the old map of Carleton County, more or less confirmed by census records [3], Godfrey's farm was located on what is now called Dryer Street[4], a little uphill half-paved road just off of Route 103. The river and its little tributaries had changed slightly over the decades, and so had the road as it'd turned from a carriage road to a paved one for cars.

I turned up the street into a spot so rural that you'd never guess the Trans-Canada Highway was less than a kilometer away. It's too bad that the eclipse brought me up here when the last vestiges of winter were still keeping everything brown and dead, and as bad luck would have it, this grey, overcast day was the only day that my tight itenerary let me be here. Regardless, here I was, staring at the land where my third- and fourth-great-grandfathers farmed potatoes and raised their families.

A 360° view of Godfrey Cogle's old farm. His was the property that's behind me when the video begins. The larger and more scenic farm closest to the Saint John River belonged to the younger Godfrey's father-in-law, William F. Drier, Esq., for whom I assume this street is named after, too. Why? Because misery loves company, and history shows that the Cogle men can never seem to catch a break.

If I ever go back to New Brunswick and get to do this all over again, I'd love to see what this looks like at the height of the summertime, when the grasses are green, the skies are blue, and with the potato crop maturing. I bet it's beautiful when snow is only a memory, but I didn't let that diminish from the significance.

Don't Chase the Dead (Or Do)

I rounded out the day by visiting more graves in the area. I'd wisely brought my hiking boots, as the local graveyards were still muddy and wet as the snow from melted away. Trudging my way through the quietest and muddiest parts of sleepy Carleton County, armed with my phone and back-to-back calendar events with lists of who was buried where, I found many graves belonging to my distant Cougle cousins, my great-great-grandmother's branch of the Lunn family, and even my sixth-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Drier. However, the elder Godfrey and his wife Mary Ann were missing from R. W. Hale's book, Southern Carleton County Cemeteries. I checked cemeteries in Simonds, Knoxford, Wicklow, and Summerfield (to name a few parishes), holding out a glimmer of hope that I'd stumble across their graves, but I had the same luck as all of those who came before me. All I could do was lay the occasional flower against an ancestor's or cousin's stone, then track some fresh mud into my car.

If anyone reading this is researching names including (but not limited to) Cogle/Cougle, Drier, Jackson, or Lunn, the photographs of gravesites that I took on this trip have all been uploaded to Find A Grave (with GPS coordinates) so that you can see or visit them. Consider it my little contribution to the world. If you'd like the originals, contact me directly.

I celebrated my small victories with a single flight of beers at Cross Creek Brewing. Okay, so I may have squeezed this in between the library trip and the first round of cemetery visits, but I warned you up front that this story wouldn't be in perfect chronological order. In my defense, my car was almost fully charged, so I let it finish up.

A massive flight handle capable of holding ten taster glasses of beer.  It must have been carved from a slice of a full log.  One of the beers is missing because a keg kicked.
They offered a normal flight of four beers, but then I saw the tap handle capable of holding ten tasters. As they say, when in Rome — or Canada, I guess. Besides, who knows if or when I'll come back? One beer is missing because a keg kicked, so they discounted it slightly.

It was then that I remembered that Canadian dollars were not one-for-one with American dollars — dumb American, right? — but when you use a credit card or cash you got from an ATM, the exchange rate is calculated for you. Tipping is a percentage, like it is back home, so whatever.

Night fell, and I was greeted by the light pollution of Aroostook and Carleton Counties. In case you couldn't tell, that was a joke. The towns around Route 2 are some of the brightest spots in the province, but it was still darker than it was back home. If it weren't cold, muddy, and lacking outdoor chairs, I could have sat outside for a while just staring up into space.

Stars in a dark night sky.
Shut up and stare.

In Search of a Dead Man

Sunday opened just like every morning I'd spent in Canada thus far: to Tim Horton's for their bacon, egg, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, with the optional habañero sauce. I've tried replicating it back home, but whether it's on Kaiser roll or a proper New York City-style bagel, it just isn't the same. Props to Timmies for whatever they do.

I visited some more graves in some very rural parts of New Brunswick, crossing onto dirt roads that were almost entirely mud.

I drove across the border, down a seldom-used road through an official border crossing. After answering questions related to taxation and imports (the opposite of what the Canadian border patrol had asked me when I came in), and already losing my grasp on the metric system, I continued north up U.S. Route 1 toward where the younger Godfrey spends his time.

It'd be remiss to talk about a man's final resting place without talking about his life. Godfrey Cougle (spelling it as it appears on his grave) was born in Richmond, New Brunswick on to Godfrey and Mary Ann (Jackson) Cougle, the seventh child out of twelve and the fourth of four sons. His obituary would read, But little is known […] of his boyhood[5], which is a good summary of my genealogical efforts. By 1871, he and his father were living in Simonds where the video up above was recorded, and in 1873, he'd married Matilda Blanche Drier, the daughter of William F. Drier, Esq. Godfrey's father died in at the age of 75. The family moved on, with the 1891 Census of Canada showing them living in nearby Wicklow, where Godfrey and Matilda would complete their family two years later with the birth of their ninth child.[6]

A blurb appeared on page six of the issue of the nearby Maine newspaper, the Presque Isle Star-Herald. It was as strong in meaning as it is simple in its brevity:


Whereas my wife, Matilda Cougle, has left my bed and board without just cause or provocation, all persons are cautioned not to harbor her or give her creal on my account as I shall pay no bills of her contracting after this date.

G. Cougle.
Knoxford, Carleton Co., N. B.,
Hey, it happens to the best of us.

It seems that Matilda had fled to Maine. Her just cause or provocation has been lost to the ages. However, , their divorce was made official in a Penobscot County courthouse.

Perhaps Godfrey had fallen in love all over again. His reasoning, too, is stuck in the past, but it wouldn't be long before second wedding bells rang for him. He married Elizabeth J. Rand (née York) on in Mars Hill, Maine[7], shortly after celebrating his 57th birthday. Eliza had two adult sons to whom he [Godfrey] was an own father.

I'd like to think that Godfrey and Eliza had a happy marriage, for he spent the rest of his life in Mars Hill, dying on . The local Baptist church performed an Adventist service for him, and he was buried in King's Grove Cemetery three days after his death. His wife died and was interred along with him.

It wasn't hard to find the cemetery; nothing is hard to find in the age of cell phones with mapping apps, except for a single rock. After over an hour trudging through the snow, grass, and mud, I was starting to wonder if the Godfrey Cougle entry on Find A Grave was punking me. I thought I'd checked every stone at least twice. I even resorted to using my belt and a long stick to lift up a fallen face-down stone. But then, in the shadow of a tree, I found my man.

Godfrey and Eliza Cougle's grave as seen from afar.  It's the one in the shadow of that tree. Godfrey and Eliza Cougle's grave. Godfrey and Eliza Cougle's grave.
My trip to Canada had taken me to Maine to stare at a rock, and that part of my mission was accomplished. Yes, it was a nice and well-maintained rock, and it was mesmering in its own way.

I left him with a few real flowers, as well as a fake floral stone topper that I'd found blowing around a graveyard in Knoxford the day before, then bid my great-great-great-grandfather and his wife farewell.

I drove north until I could cross the border at Fort Fairfield. My ancestors crossed here, albeit in the opposite direction, though I was more interested in the car charger on the Andover side. (Plus, why cross at the same place twice? Keep the border patrol on their toes!) The CBSA agent guessed I was coming for the eclipse, but he didn't seem too impressed at me finding my long-lost relative. It was either my tongue-in-cheek ask to let me in because all of my stuff was in my Florenceville-Bristol Airbnb, or my valid passport and reasoning, that got me back into Canada.

I stopped near the banks of the Saint John River in Perth-Andover and couldn't resist taking a few pictures, not only of the mighty river, but also of my car, which had gotten splattered during the day's muddy adventures. (Be wary when you see the "pavement ends" signs. Things can get a little rough, especially with a heavy car.)

Okay, fine. I went up a muddy road, decided I wasn't going to go further and get stuck. Then, while I was turning around, I got stuck. Shout out to the guy in the tractor who pulled my electric car less than one meter onto more stable ground. I wish my dashcam's SD card hadn't corrupted, because that was a sight to behold. Only my pride was damaged, and we both had a good laugh about it. If you're reading this, email me, because what I had in my wallet wasn't enough to thank you properly.

A blue Chevrolet Bolt EV splattered with mud. The Saint John River in Perth-Andover, New Brunswick, facing south on a clear late winter day.
A lot of blue in this picture.

Staring at the Sun

The next day, I'd stopped at Moonshine Creek Distillery in Waterville to try this new spirit they invented called Canadiana. This clear liquor is made by fermenting all of the sugar out of a fresh batch of maple syrup, and the hearts are diluted with water from maple trees. The result is filtered clear and is somewhat smooth, lacking maple flavor but carrying its gentle earthy tones. I had tastes of that, as well as a variant of Canada's official drink, the Caesar; both were delicious, the latter surprising me as it has a tomato base and I don't like Bloody Marys. Perhaps Moonshine Creek's decision to make this variant with their pickle moonshine helped. (It sounds strange, but they work better together.)

While I had my few-milliliter samples, wondering if I can get this shipped States-side (no, I can't), someone saw my Connecticut license plate in the parking lot and jokingly remarked that it's like another American invasion up here. He also mentioned that the nearby towns were right in the exact middle of totality, which was just my luck. Still, having spent a few days in the area, I opted out of Woodstock's EclipseFest in favor of visiting the provincial capital of Fredericton, and seeing what that was like.

An hour later, I was deep into New Brunswick, carrying my modest photography gear, a ham radio, a portable battery for my phone (fully charged, knowing me), and enough eclipse glasses to share. I left my car to charge in a garage (my car was half-dead and I still spent far more on the parking space than the electricity I consumed), I slung my backpack over my shoulders, checked my watch, and then proceeded to make the best of the next four hours.

An eclipse-themed painting done on the window of a meat market in Fredericton, New Brunswick.  It features the earth trying to take a picture of the sun, but the moon is photo-bombing it.
Some art on a meat market.

My wandering and whatnot wound up bringing me to the Fredericton riverfront, once again on the banks of the mighty Saint John. Hundreds of other people had already gathered in this kilometers-long park, but I found a spot off of a walkway, in sight of the Westmorland Street Bridge, one of the two bridges linking the water-split halves of the city. In front of me was a basketball court, a skate park, a warehouse, and a clear view of the southwestern sky. I took out my tripod, attached my SSD and battery to my phone, and pointed it toward the sun.

People gathered at the Fredericton riverfront for the Great American Eclipse.
People gathered at the Fredericton riverfront for the Great American Eclipse.

Bands played songs, food trucks and portable beer gardens served foodstuffs, and an emcee occasionally gave us updates on the sun. Eventually, I saw through my filter that the sun was no longer perfectly round. Slowly, over the course of an hour or so, the sun turned from a sphere, to a toenail, and back again.

Moments sun the eclipse.  Thin white clouds are blocking the sun. Moments sun the eclipse.  The clouds moved out of the way just in time. Moments before the eclipse.  Thin white clouds are blocking the sun. Moments before the eclipse.  The clouds moved out of the way just in time. Moments before the eclipse.  The clouds moved out of the way just in time. Moments before the eclipse.  The clouds moved out of the way just in time. Moments before the eclipse.  The clouds moved out of the way just in time. Moments before the eclipse.  The clouds moved out of the way just in time.
There were no clouds in the sky, except for minutes before the celestial event. It provided for some harrowing photography, and me wondering if should have skipped the genealogy and gone to Québec instead. Thankfully, it all worked out in the end. All photos in this section are arranged in chronological order, with and without me holding a solar filter over the iPhone's lenses.

Finally, the coveted two minutes and sixteen seconds came. If you don't have professional-ish photography gear like my colleague who saw this same eclipse in southwestern Texas, your photos of the sun will be absolutely terrible in comparison. If you're not NASA or a gigantic telescope, your pictures of the sun may still suck. Trust me when I say that a total solar eclipse, at 100% totality and nothing less, is truly a sight to behold in person. As I wrote on Mastodon while the memory was still fresh in my mind:

The crowd gathered on the Fredericton waterfront cheers, and then falls silent during totality. They lower their glasses. I cannot speak for them, but as for me, I am humbled to but the speck I am in the infinite cosmos, and gaze in wonder on something I will never again see in my days on this Earth. I am not religious, but it is in these three minutes that I understand how people claim to have felt the presence of God or Allah.

The moment is gone, and I won’t see anything like this again; but I will talk about my memories until the day I die. Still, I share these photos in hopes that you may taste a drop of the cosmic wine my eyes consumed by the cask.

When I knew my camera was inadequate, I focused on something else besides the magnificent union of sun and moon.

A photo of the solar eclipse in Fredericton, New Brunswick.  The moon looks like a dark dot obscuring the sun.  Only the corona is visible.  Thin clouds are around the sun, but not enough to obscure the full detail. The Westmorland Bridge in Fredericton, New Brunswick during totality during the Great American Eclipse.  The sky is dark above but light at the horizon.  The streetlights are on. The sun during a total solar eclipse in Fredericton in 2024.  The sky is dark and a few stars are visible.  The moon is covering the sun.  Streetlights have turned on.
Photos during totality. The sun and the moon looked a million times better in person, so I also photographed my surroundings, the Saint John River waterfront, and the nearby Westmorland Bridge.

Needless to say, if you ever get a chance to see a total solar eclipse in person, I strongly recommend you do it. There is nothing like it. When you hear the crowd gasp as they pull off their sunglasses, you really feel like you're a part of something greater. I heard that one or two couples somewhere on the riverfront picked that exact moment to exchange wedding vows. Now I understand the hype.

I ended my time in the capital visiting a hole-in-the-wall fish and chips place, and was shocked at how good it was. Fredericton is probaly an hour from the shore, but I've got to say: they did it beautifully. If I had a pen and a non-greasy piece of paper, I might have written home about it.

On the way home, I ran into a local who visits his friend in Connecticut every so often. As our cars charged (I was only charging long enough to go inside and use the bathroom, because the rates are so cheap up there), I had to break the news to him that the Tim Horton's in Plainville is long gone. He said he'd try not to let it worsen his next trip down to the States.

Next Time

The next day, I packed up bright and early, thanked my unseen Airbnb host for her hospitality and gifted her a beer from my local brewery as she gifted me some from hers (thank you again, Jayne!), and I was off.

When I crossed the border in Houlton, the border patrol agent was shocked to hear that I'd found my great-great-great-grandfather. She welcomed me back home, and I told her that I was still at least nine hours away.

My Chevrolet Bolt EV's trip odometer saying I've driven 2,590.2 kilometers with an efficiency of 18.5 kilowatt-hours per 100 kilometers. My Chevrolet Bolt EV's trip odometer saying I've driven 1,609.5 miles with an efficiency of 3.4 miles per kilowatt-hour.
How far did I drive in five days? This far. Pardon the poor efficiency, but it was winter and most of Maine's highways are rated for 120 km/h (75 miles per hour); on the way home, the weather was clear and I didn't feel like taking it slow anymore.

I hope I can return to New Brunswick again someday. I'd love to show my own kids and grandkids their history. I'd love to show them the graves of their own ancestors, and I'd hope that they pass it on to my descendants long after I'm gone. Greg Campbell recommended I visit the Hartland library as well, as they also have a great collection of genealogical and historical material, so there's already impetus for another trip.

Until next time, Canada, thank you for the memories.


If you came to read about my journey, you can stop here, and like and share this content. But, if you're here researching some cold hard Cogle facts, my sources and revisions follow. Note that I am not a professional genealogist (nor do I play one on TV), and I have not paid one to vet my work.

See the endnotes and revision history.


  1. Three consecutive census records all show households with Godfrey and Mary Cougle, with a son named Godfrey. Spellings vary wildly at this point, based on the time and the source; the father was Godfry Cougal in 1851, Godfrey Cagle in 1861, and Godfriy Cogle in 1871.
  2. The New Brunswick Royal Gazette published this on : m. Wakefield (Carleton Co.) by Rev. Street, , Godfrey COUGLE / Mary Ann JACKSON. Secondary sources include Daniel F. Johnson's book New Brunswick Vital Statistics from Newspapers (Volume 4, 1829-1831), and the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.
  3. The New Brunswick Census Returns 1861 (pages 22/23) and the Simonds Parish Census of 1871 show both Godfreys living in the same household.
  4. Set your GPS to 46° 23' 9.729" N, 67° 36' 1.4508" W. (Open in Maps)
  5. The younger Godfrey's obituary: "Mars Hill." Presque Isle Star-Herald, , p. 12. The text follows, with light copyediting and errors corrected:

    Godfrey Cougle was born in Richmond, N. B., in . But little is known here of his boyhood. At 21, he was married to Matilda Dryer and to this union nine children were born, [seven] of whom survive, four daughters, [Leona], Ruby, Ella, Nellie; [three] sons, Harry of Knoxford, [Murley] of New Haven, Conn., and Robert of Corinna. [Mina and Minnie predeceased him. --Colin]

    In , he married Eliza York Rand, daughter and the late Edward and Frances York, and since that time has been a resident of Mars Hill. Devoting his time to farming industry. He leaves two step-sons, David and Walter Rand, to whom he was as an own father. For the past nine years he has made his home on the farm with David Rand. Although of the Advent faith he attended the local Baptist church. He was a devout Christian and a man highly respected. Funeral services were held at the United Baptist church on , Rev. H. F. Bickford, officiating. Musical selections were rendered by Mrs. William Ackerson and Mrs. H. A. Anderson with Mrs. E. L. Lowell pianist. The floral tributes were many and beautiful. The bearers were Duncan and Gordon Irvine, Harry Currie and Charles Bryan. Interment was made at King's Grove Cemetery.

  6. The guy behind Cowgill Cousins researched a bunch of the Canadian Cogles/Cougles in the area to see if they were related to his Cowgills. They are not. However, Perry Cowgill was nice enough to share his research with me.
  7. Maine Marriages, 1892-1966, 1977-1996, database, Maine Genealogy, entry for Godfrey COGLE and Elizabeth J. RAND, , citing Maine Vital Records.

Revision History

This only covers changes to the text or media of this HTML version.

  • v1.1.0 - - Added the paragraph and photo about the stars. How could I have forgotten about those?
  • v1.0.2 - :
    • Noted that both Godfreys were present in the 1861 census as well as the 1871 census.
    • Corrected William F. Drier to William L. Drier. That was a typo on my part.
  • v1.0.1 - - more endnotes
  • v1.0.0 - - initial release