At the risk of sounding a little (or a lot) dorky, I get so excited when I come across old property inventories for manses. Just thinking about all that now antique furniture puts stars in my eyes and it’s interesting catching a little glimpse of everyday life from so many years ago. The Canterbury Methodist Circuit in New Brunswick included churches in Canterbury, Benton, Lower Woodstock, North Lake, and Skiff Lake. A valuation of the manse at Benton, listed the manse and property as being work $600, or $15, 300 in today’s US dollars.
Furnishing the manse was very much a congregational effort as church members contributed money or supplies to make sure the minister and his family were comfortable. For example, Mrs. Isaac Marsten and Mrs. John Murray each volunteered to give a pair of pillow slips and A. Wilmot Hay agreed to supply a cradle.
Following is the actual inventory of properties on the Canterbury Methodist Circuit for the year ending May 1883. This inventory is a bit different than most because it also lists the contents of each church. As you can see, there were 5 churches in the circuit. Each church just had the basics but Lower Woodstock had a “splendid set of lamps.” The estimated value of these properties and the manse (or parsonage) was $3300 or approximately $85,000 in today’s US dollars. Obviously carpets were top of mind as the minister, William Pepper, had quite a lot to say about them: “The old Brussells carpet not being the proper size for any room is left to be put down according to the pleasure of my successor. The odds and ends of carpets are of little value.” I suppose this interest in carpets makes sense as there was no in-floor heating in those days!