SEARCH TURNS UP WRONG WOODWORTH (February 13/04)

Her history of the Dominion Atlantic Railway is a monumental work, I stated in last week’s column when asking if anyone could help in my search for information on Marguerite Woodworth.

Calling this work “monumental” in my opinion is an understatement. Ms. Woodworth starts her history in the period well before Joseph Howe conceived the idea of a railway between Halifax and Windsor. From the stagecoach period to Howe’s crusade for a railway and the passing of the Railway Act in 1854, Woodworth details the trial and tribulations of getting a railway started. She ends her account in the early part of the 20th century, saluting along the way the many pioneers who made the railway possible.

This is the historian I said I’d like to know more about. To me, Woodworth is a bit of a mystery person, and this is why I asked readers for assistance.

Following my request for information, I received a telephone call from a reader who told me that Marguerite Woodworth was a Kings County native and had several surviving relatives in the Church Street and Port Williams area. I was given the names of two nieces and a nephew, two of whom I know. The caller gave me Woodworth’s birth and death date, 1899 – 1967, and told me she was buried at the Chipman Corner cemetery.

From the nephew, I learned that Ms. Woodworth had been a school teacher in Kings and Digby County, had married late in her senior years and had been interested in local history. Woodworth had done a lot of research on various old homes on Church Street and in Port Williams, I was told.

At this point I was delighted. Finally a picture of Woodworth the historian was emerging. It was only after I stopped at the Chipman Corner cemetery to look at Woodworth’s tombstone that some doubts crept in. The cemetery stone read “Margaret E. Woodworth, 1899 – 1967, and gave her married surname. This was either the historian with the first name misspelled or someone other than the author.

After leaving the cemetery I talked with Margaret E. Woodworth’s niece. She confirmed that her aunt wasn’t the author of the railway history. Later a review of burial records at the Kings County Museum revealed an unusual coincidence. A Marguerite E. Woodworth rests in the St. John’s cemetery a few miles east of the Chipman Corner cemetery. Like Margaret E. Woodworth, Marguerite E. Woodworth was born in 1899 and died in 1967.

I have yet to confirm that the Woodworth is the St. John’s cemetery is the author of the railway history. However, I have a few more leads to follow and eventually I hope to have a biographical sketch of Marguerite Woodworth.

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