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Ruby M. Cusack
    In "The Story of the Restigouche” (1954)
by George B. MacBeath, who was the Curator of the Department of Canadian History of the New Brunswick Museum, I found many interesting facts.

Campbellton looking west,
showing houses and school on side of a hill, ca. 1900. 

Photograph by Isaac Erb. Courtesy of the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick P11-125

January seemed to be lasting forever. The weather was very changeable with a few days of bitter cold, then rain which created a great deal of slippery ice and then lots of drifting snow.

Dad did a lot of grumbling about not being able to get into the woods to cut next years supply of firewood, even though he had the team shod with winter shoes.

I think the evenings were long for the adults as we seemed to be having a lot of company once the sun went down.

We already had company, when car lights were seen coming in the driveway. Dad put on his heavy jacket and the cap with the ear tabs and went out to meet the visitors which turned out to be relatives. He and Aunt Sadie took  hold of Gram and got her across the icy yard and into the house.

The smell from the tin container, let the cat out of the bag. Fresh sugared doughnuts were going to be served for lunch.

I had problems following the conversation. It seemed Gramp had Cabin Fever and felt he needed to get out of the house. I hoped he wasn’t bringing this flu to us as Mum took pneumonia easily.

Once the teapot was heated and the aroma of doughnuts drifted through the kitchen along with the smell of hot tea biscuits smothered in butter and molasses, Gramp did not appear to be ill.

Mum lectured us on not talking when we had our mouths full but this tidbit of good manners didn’t seem to apply to anyone tonight. 

As I listened, I heard stories of the past that I had never heard mentioned before.

This also happened when I read Jessie Lawson’s Introduction to the 1954 publication titled “The Story of the Restigouche” by George B. MacBeath, the Curator of the Department of Canadian History of the New Brunswick Museum. I found many interesting facts in this book.

For one thing, this beautiful river serves as the boundary between New Brunswick and Quebec for about seventy miles. Its source is a watershed near Lake Temiscouata which is six hundred feet above sea level.

In 1756 many of the Acadians who had escaped the expulsion made Beaubair’s Island in the Miramichi their home but due to circumstances, 750 of them later moved to the Restigouche

In 1773 John Shoolbred bought the Baillie property and established the first permanent settlement on the Restigouche. His agent brought out eight Aberdeen fishermen with their families and established a salmon pickling factory.

In 1775, Shoolbred petitioned for a 400 acre grant on the south bank of the Restigouche where he planned to sell dried cod and salted salmon to the Mediterranean market, barrelled cod for London, England, herring, mackerel and various kind of lumber for the West Indies. Also corn was being raised and ships were being built. All his work paid off and he received a 5,000 acre grant.

A group from the Isle of Arran came out in 1829 as their leases had expired and the Duke of Hamilton would not renew them.

Robert Ferguson erected an imposing residence and store at Old Church Point which he named Athol House after his birthplace in Scotland. He was man of many business interests from fishing, ship building, farming, raising horned cattle and prize horses, plus lumbering the great stands of pine for masts of ships for the Royal Navy. He was one of the first merchants on the river to purchase square timber to sell to England.

Thomas Dodd was an Englishman of about 50 years of age with a home at the foot of Sugar Loaf that was very different in design, being about eight feet high and thirty feet long. It resembled a Norman castle with two wings and manifold turrets. Since he was a bachelor, he did his own cooking and enjoyed plum pudding and superior wines. He was very interested in politics and read the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews and other journals. He was a chair maker and portrait painter during the winter and painted houses during the summer.

I was very interested in Daniel and John Fraser. Daniel, a six foot four gentleman, employed more than 100 employees.  Upon his premises were a trading house, store, blacksmith shop, saddler’s shop, dairy, post-office and a telegraph station, several barns and other outbuildings. His house was filled with many luxuries.

John Fraser was born at Fort Augustus, Inverness-shire, Scotland on December 21, 1799. He came to Nova Scotia in 1820 and then studied law in the office of Hon. J. Ambrose Street in Fredericton. Later he moved to the Miramichi. In 1837 he married Elizabeth Ferguson, daughter of Robert Ferguson and they had a family of 10 children. Next he lived on the Cross Point property and was appointed postmaster in 1846 then the Justice of the Peace, Collector of Customs, and a Lloyd’s agent for the Bay of Chaleur.

He died on September 12th, 1893 in his ninety-fourth year being in possession of all his faculties. His final resting place was in the old burial ground at Athol House,

The members of the communities desired roads thus in 1829 a highway between Campbellton, Bathurst and the Miramichi was commenced This brought improvement in the postal service with service being increased from one mail delivery a year to one post a week.

A Presbyterian Church was erected in Campbellton on Prince William Street in 1831 with the Rev. James Stevens being brought out from Scotland.

The first Roman Catholic in the county was established in Upper Charlo.

With the opening of the Intercolonial Railway to the Restigouche late in 1875, and to Quebec the following year, new avenues of trade were opened and settlements like Dalhousie and Campbellton began to grow once more.

Tragedy struck Campbellton on July 11th, 1910 when a spark from Richard’s Mill rapidly swept through the town with only a few houses left standing. The loss was estimated at six million dollars. 

Building on the ashes, these hardy pioneers had the courage to start again.

"The Story of the Restigouche” (1954)
by George B. MacBeath, who was the Curator of the Department of Canadian History of the New Brunswick Museum, I found many interesting facts.

New and Used Genealogical and Historical books of
New Brunswick for sale.

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