German Spy Captured
On February 2, 1915, Werner Horn, a German national, attempted to blow up the bridge at Vanceboro, Maine. This bridge was a vital Canadian Pacific Railway track linking western Canada with the Maritimes. It was a critical link during WW 1 as Upper Canada supported the war effort by shipping troops and material through McAdam to the ports of Halifax and Saint John.
A few days after the war began, Horn received orders to report to Germany for military service. Being a retired captain, he pursued these orders by closing his business affairs in Guatemala, where he managed a coffee plantation and went to Galveston, Texas, where he tried to get passage to Germany. However, no steamship line would take him.
German Spy Captured
Werner Horn and Sheriff George Ross pose before Horn’s trial. Horn was accused and convicted of a criminal act and not an act of war in attempting to blow up the bridge connecting Vanceboro, Maine with McAdam, New Brunswick.
Three weeks later he left for New York, thinking it would be easier to obtain passage there, However, he found it impossible to ship from New York as from Galveston. Eventually, he took lodging in a hotel on Staten Island and it was there that he received instructions regarding the destruction of the Vanceboro / McAdam bridge. Where his instructions came from, he would not say, nor would he give the names of the people who sent them.
He arrived in Vanceboro late on the afternoon of January 31st and at 7 pm that night, by previous instruction, he met an Irish man that he had never met before. After giving the password, “Lo Tommie”, the man gave Horn a satchel containing 80 pounds of nitroglycerine. He took this satchel to his room at the Teague Hotel and there it stayed until Monday night. February 2nd, when he embarked on his mission which startled all of New England and the Maritimes.
Shortly before 8 pm on Monday night, Horn went to the bridge in wickedly cold weather, with his nitroglycerine under his arm. Though he could have set off the explosive at any time, he wanted to make sure that no fatalities would follow the destruction of the bridge. So he waited until the block signals told him there was no train within a mile. He spent hours in nearby woods waiting for the right moment.
But finally, the work was done and he left for the hotel while the three-minute fuse slowly counted down until a tremendous explosion shook the earth and shattered scores of windows in Vanceboro.
Numbed and frozen by the cruel hours above the bridge that resulted in both of his ears chilled and his thumb frozen, he dared not attempt escape and was arrested a few hours later in his room at the Teague Hotel. He was taken to Bangor on the charge of breaking windows and was held for 30 days. Later he was charged for the illegal transportation of nitroglycerine across state lines. Despite his bitter fight for freedom, the American federal authorities said he was guilty of a criminal act, not act of war, and like any other criminal he would have to suffer the consequences. He spent several years in various federal prisons until he was deported to Germany. His fate after returning to Germany remains unknown.
Churchill Visits McAdam
On August 13, 1943, Winston Churchill was in McAdam along with his wife and daughter. A rumor was growing all day that a special train was coming through McAdam and a crowd began to gather on the station platform in the early evening. At around 8:30 pm the whistle of this train was heard in the distance and excitement began to build as to who might be aboard this special train. The R.C.M.P. and C.P.R police were present and had a hard time to contain the ever-growing crowd. Finally, the train pulled into the station and those fortunate enough to be at the end of the last car saw the Prime Minister of England standing on the platform of the Observation Car enjoying one of his ever-present long cigars. The crowd broke into a tumultuous cheer for this famous leader.
Prime Minister Churchill then spoke to the crowd for a few minutes before departing on his journey back to England. Mr. Churchill ended his speech by saying “God bless you all and raising his hand high in the air giving the famous “V for victory salute. Mr. Churchill’s train went through Fredericton and Saint John but he was not visible at either of these stops. Also aboard this train was the British Secretary of War Brendon Bracken. Mr. Churchill’s daughter Mary was very appreciative of the crowd in McAdam and came out to acknowledge them on several occasions during the twenty minutes the train was in our village. She blew kisses to the crowd from the platform of the Observation Car as it left the station.
Editors Note: The following is the original news release announcing the Construction of the McAdam Railway Station, circa 1899.
A Handsome Stone Structure to Replace the Present One.
Contractor Joseph McVay of St. Stephen has a crew of men at McAdam preparing the foundation for the new passenger station to be erected by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company.
Following in the line of the C.P.R. policy for the improvement of McAdam, a building has been decided upon that will be a credit to the village, built up in a desert and rapidly growing into a town. The new building will be entirely of stone and will be splendidly fitted and furnished throughout. It will be situated at the west end of the yard, very nearly half a mile from the present building.
It will be two and a half stories high and 133 feet long and 36 feet wide, with a basement 60 feet long and 36 feet wide in which will be located the coal cellars, kitchen, laundry and scullery. On the ground floor will be the lunchroom, and dining room, which will form part of the hotel, and ladie’s waiting and toilet rooms, general waiting, gentlemen’s toilet rooms, ticket office, baggage and express rooms.
The next floor is divided, half being taken up by the hotel accommodations, which will consist of seven bedrooms, parlor, reading and writing room, bathroom and closets. On the other end of this floor and separated from the hotel will be the offices of the train dispatcher, trainmaster and conductors, agent, freight staff, customs officers, superintendent and the superintendent's staff. There will also be a bathroom at this end of the building. The attic will contain four bedrooms for the help in connection with the hotel.
The Building is Well Lighted
With windows as laid out in engineer Barber’s plans, the train dispatchers room having a beautiful large bow window, making a bright, pleasant room. The ornamental is not neglected in the building and the rear is made nearly as attractive as the front.
A veranda will surround the entire structure and on one end is to be a grass plot with platform and awning next. The east end will be given up to platform space, but will also have a large awning in the center.
It is the intention to go rapidly ahead with the work and those who visit McAdam Junction in a few months hence and have any experience of former visits will be agreeably surprised with the accommodation.