Lawrence Arthur Green

1908 – 1979

 

Lawrence Arthur Green was born on May 21, 1908 at Perth, New Brunswick. He was the son of the late Marjorie (nee Vandine) and Henry Green.

When he was still in his teens he moved to Detroit, Michigan where he lived with his half brother who was a barber. Lawrence’s first employment was at a motor vehicle plant doing bodywork on the vehicles on an assembly line.  He then enlisted in the Merchant Marines.  Even though he was under age he got accepted.  When his mother found out about it she reported him and he was discharged immediately.  He then studied barbering and began working with his brother.  Soon after he met and married his wife Marjorie who during the war migrated to the United States from Belgium. They moved to Perth, New Brunswick in 1937 where they raised a daughter and two sons, and lived out the remainder of their lives.

Lawrence who was now a certified barber opened his own barbershop that same year.  It was around 1945-46 that he added an alcove to the barbershop.  It was from there that he operated a small store selling fishing and hunting licenses and supplies.  Lawrence also repaired and sold fishing rods and their accessories. He was responsible for getting an awful lot of people started in fishing and hunting. Lawrence Green’s Barbershop was the place for most people to go if they wanted to talk hunting and fishing.  And talk it they did, by the hour, day after day.

 

Lawrence Arthur Green circa 1968
 

A few Big ones Hunting Dog At the Fishing Camp Lawrence and Friend

 

Lawrence started tying flies around 1946.  For the first several years he exclusively tied feather-winged patterns.  He patterned his flies after the old English ones. Toward the end of his fly tying days he tied mostly hair-wing patterns, but during his heyday he tied and sold hundreds and hundreds of the fully dressed patterns.  He was viewed as a perfectionist when it came to tying flies.

            Lawrence loved experimenting with flies. He had customers that would go to him with an idea for a particular pattern, or with a fly pattern used successfully but that they had lost or broken.  He would tie the fly and away the customer would go to the river.  He also enjoyed tying flies for the younger kids who angled in the area.  He got great satisfaction in giving a fly to a kid.  He especially liked designing his own trout flies.

He also experimented with different materials, dying his own deer hair and substituted the feathers of starlings to replace jungle cock, which was expensive and hard to get.

            In the late 1940’s he originated a fly called “Simon Red.”  It was named after his very close Native friend the late Simon Paul who lived on the Tobique Reserve.  Simon and Lawrence had a very strong friendship and spent many years fishing together.  The pattern for the Simon Red has long since been forgotten, but Lawrence’s son Claude Green from Perth recalls that it looked like a “Light Montreal”. 

            Lawrence would tie flies all winter and sell them during the summer.  Not only did he sell his own flies at the shop, but he helped other tiers like Jimmy DeWitt, another well known fly tier who lived in Perth, display and sell flies there too.  He helped other tiers learn the basics of tying.  He shared his techniques with anyone who showed an interest. He also taught his son Claude to tie at the age of 16.

Lawrence’s flies were sold to many of the local fishermen and to countless customers from many different countries. Few records exist as to who his customers were, but during the research into the fly tying past of Lawrence Green it was learned that he sold flies to visiting sportsmen from all over the world.  The names of the customers weren’t important to Lawrence.  If the person was an outdoorsman, fisherman or hunter he was friend.  He didn’t even have to have a name to purchase from Lawrence Green.  He didn’t even have to have money for there are accounts of Lawrence  giving away many salmon flies.  People who got their hair cut by Lawrence would be given one of his salmon flies.  

Some of the more popular patterns he enjoyed tying during his era included the “Green Cosseboom”, “Silver Doctor”, “Brown Hackle”, “Dusty Miller” and “Green Drake”.

Lawrence was an avid angler and fished many New Brunswick Rivers including the Saint John, North Branch of the Miramichi, Southwest Miramichi, and North Pole Brook, but his favourite river was the Tobique.  He regularly traveled to Sillikers, New Brunswick where he fished the Little Southwest Miramichi too.

            The largest salmon that Lawrence ever landed weighed close to 30 pounds. Lawrence’s son Claude tells the story about the big one that got away on his father. When Claude was very young he would go fishing with his father in the canoe.  Lawrence would get Claude to raise and drop anchor as he maneuvered the canoe to fish different spots within the pool.  One evening Lawrence wanted Claude to go with him to fish Ann’s Pool, situated behind Ann’s Hotel. Claude wanted to go fishing, but his mother wanted him to go to a movie with her. His mother won out and so off to the movie they went.  To get to the theater they had to cross the bridge overlooking the pool where Lawrence was going fishing.  It was nearly dark when Claude and his mother left the theater.  As they were crossing the bridge on their way home they spotted Lawrence who was still in the pool.  They thought he was on his way home and so they continued on their way. About an hour after they got home Lawrence came through the door.  He was very upset and started telling them about the big salmon he had hooked and was still trying to land when they spotted him from the bridge. Lawrence was upset because he couldn’t get the salmon landed.  The salmon was too big to bring close enough to the beach.  After many attempts Lawrence managed to work the salmon into some deeper water close to shore, but he still couldn’t get close enough to the salmon because it’s belly would drag in the sand when he tried to bring it closer. The salmon broke free when Lawrence missed in an attempt to gaff it. The belly of the salmon made an imprint on the sand as he fled back into deeper water and freedom.  He hooked that fish in early July, and he always believed the salmon weighed easily 35-40 pounds. The following day he took Claude to the spot where the fish broke free and showed Claude the belly mark that was still in the beach.

            Lawrence was an avid hunter.  He had a bird dog trained for hunting woodcock, duck and grouse.  He was also an expert Marksman and took part in numerous pistol, rifle, and skeet competitions, at which he won many medals and trophies.  He did some guiding when he was younger, but limited his guiding for close friends. He was also an extremely good canoe man. 

Green’s Barbershop was situated on Main Street in Perth.  It was built on the top of the hill next to the river.  The back wall of the shop was built so close to the edge of the riverbank that the wall was supported on poles to keep it from falling over the hill and into the river.  Lawrence could look out the back window and see everything that was going on in the Bridge Pool.  According to some witnesses it wasn’t uncommon for Lawrence to leave his customer sitting in the barber chair with a half completed haircut whenever he saw an angler hooked into a big salmon.  Without warning he would make a rush to the river with net in hand to help land it.

In 1952 the government built a dam on the Tobique River.  For the first year they didn’t have a fishway on it, so the salmon couldn’t get past the dam.  According to Lawrence when they dammed the Saint John River in 1957 everything went to Hell.  Damming the river really bothered him and a lot of anglers lost interest or completely gave up angling because of it.

Lawrence was a Sportsman.  He supported hook and release and never took more than he was allowed.  There were many times that he released fish and never took the number of fish that was legal.  He did the same thing while hunting and allowed many game animals to walk away from his sights.  Lawrence Green was not a man to abuse his hunting and fishing privileges.  He got very upset if he heard about people poaching in his area.

Lawrence Green’s love for angling and the river never wavered throughout his entire life.  He tied flies right up to a short time prior to his death on December 24, 1979.  He would also take his fishing rod and drive to any nearby river or brook to either wet a line, or just to be near the stream.  It didn’t matter if he saw or caught anything he just loved to be out there.

 

(Photo and pattern for “Simon Red” to follow)

 

Green Cosseboom

 

Head:                      Black

Tag:                        Oval gold tinsel

Tail:                      Green hackle fibers

Body:                     Dark green floss or yarn

Rib:                         Oval gold tinsel

Wing:                     Gray squirrel tail

Collar:                     Yellow hackle

 

Flies were tied by Lawrence Arthur Green in the Mid 1950’s

 Jock Scott            Black Dose

Thunder & Lightning            Durham Ranger

Nighthawk            Red Abby