1989.103.293 | Birthplace of Richard Bedford Bennett, Hopewell Cape, Albert County, New Brunswick
Birthplace of Richard Bedford Bennett, Hopewell Cape, Albert County, New Brunswick
About 1930, 20th century
7.8 x 12.9 cm
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
Keys to History
Henry Bennett (1842-1905) and Henrietta Stiles (1844-1914) welcomed the birth of their first child, Richard Bedford Bennett (1870-1947), at Hopewell Cape, NB on July 3, 1870. With the golden age of New Brunswick sailing ships fast approaching its end, Henry Bennett's shipbuilding business had seen better days by the 1870s. While by no means poor, the Bennett family of three boys and two girls did not bask in any degree of luxury.
By all accounts, the young Bennett, a tall, freckled youth, appeared healthy and active. As happened with Mackenzie King (1874-1950), his political rival of a half-century later, Bennett's adoring mother played a significant role in his upbringing, introducing him to books and encouraging him toward greatness as an adult. Educated in the local one-room schoolhouse, Bennett completed Grade 8 by the age of 12 and qualified to attend the Provincial Normal School at Fredericton, a training ground for teachers. While he was studying at the Normal School, his classmates composed a little rhyme in tribute to his quick wit and his capacity for forthright repartee:
"First there came Bennett, conceited and young,
Who never knew quite when to hold his quick tongue."
Thriving shipbuilding and lumbering industries formed the major enterprises of Hopewell Cape during Bennett's early years.
Hopewell Cape is located 50 kilometres south of Moncton, NB, along the Petitcodiac River, and is the site of the world-famous Hopewell Rocks.
Hopewell Cape served as the seat of local government for Albert County from 1845 until 1960.
The Bennett family traced their arrival in the Maritimes back to Zadok Bennett (1733-1810), who came from Lyme, Connecticut, in 1761.