By JAYMIE L. WHITE
Special to the Appalachian
STEPHENVILLE — Town representatives and dignities unveiled a new monument located at Kin Square on Main Street depicting Mosey Murrin, also known as Mosey Burns. Mosey was a familiar sight around town, a homeless man who wandered the streets for nearly four decades, and is remembered fondly for his quick wit, sense of humour, and his wheelbarrow.
Mosey loved to share stories with people he came across, and these stories still live on long after his passing in 1980. Mayor Tom Rose said there was a reason a monument was dedicated to his honour.
“Mosey Burns stands out as an individual that stood out in the town with his unique lifestyle. He was very witty and very admired,” said Rose.
The monument was officially unveiled on Monday, Nov. 22, and is shaped like a wheelbarrow.
Dwayne Russell, Manager of Municipal Services, said the project took longer to come to fruition than the cenotaph monuments unveiled recently.
“It was about a two-and-a-half-year project to try to get the wheelbarrow to look somewhat like an older style. That’s where a lot of the ideas were floating around and trying to figure out the size of it. It took a long time to get it where it is now,” said Russell.
The initial plans started out quite differently than the end result.
“Originally I think the plan was just to put it out on a storyboard stand that we have around town now, but after I got involved with it, I changed it a bit and turned it into a wheelbarrow.”
Mayor Rose said Russell has been instrumental in numerous town projects.
“He comes from a drafting background, a really good skill set, and he was key in the development and building of our new entrance signs. Those entrance signs tied into the culture of our Indigenous, Acadian, and rich U.S. military, so he took on this project, which has been in the works for some time,” said Rose.
Russell contacted the same people who have been involved with the cenotaph monuments to get the structure built. It was a long process that required a lot of planning to execute properly.
“I had the idea of making it as a wheelbarrow, but we needed to figure out how to make it look like a legit wheelbarrow, make it look good, so we went through that process for about six months off and on sizing. And once we narrowed it down to what we could build and what would look nice, then I brought it to Coastal Glass where he wrapped it with a beautiful wrap,” said Russell.
Mayor Rose said the location for the monument was an easy choice.
“We felt the most appropriate location would be down at the new community Kin Square and get a showcase there because a lot of traffic and flow through comes through Main Street,” said Rose. “It’s part of what we’re trying to do to hold on to our history and identify key characters or individuals or environmental uniqueness that exists here.”
Russell approached Bob Byrnes, president of the Business Improvement Association (BIA), to discuss the location.
“He thought it would be a good idea to put it into the Town Square somewhere. The outside where it is now isn’t where it was originally going to be, but it turned out to be a great spot for it,” said Russell. “He was on board right from day one when I brought it to his attention.”
Byrnes said this is part of the process of improving downtown.
“You come into town. You’ve got a place here that’s going to be bigger and better as time goes on. It’s a place where people can relax, where they can listen to music in the summer time, and with people like Dwayne coming up with ideas like this, it’s only going to get better,” said Byrnes.
Mayor Rose said more projects are on the horizon that will pay homage to the region’s history and culture surrounding, and this monument showcases an important piece of that.
“He was part of our community and we felt it was an honour to recognize him and tell his story,” said Rose. “It’s holding on to your history. You don’t know where to go if you don’t know where you come from.”