Miramichi Historical Society – 61 Years of Preserving History

The Miramichi Historical Society was organized in 1959 with 21 charter members. Their mission was to collect and organize the history of the Miramichi, to aid researchers of history and to present programs to the public on Miramichi historical events and people. Dr. Louise Manny and Edith MacAlllister, both noted local historians and writers were on the list of founding members.

Today, 61 years later the mission remains the same – to collect, organize and disseminate the history of the Miramichi. Over the years, membership has waxed and waned but the Society is still going and still working to accumulate knowledge of our beautiful Miramichi. A significant bank of cultural and historical records has been built up over time. These extensive files, which are housed and maintained in the Newcastle Public Library, are open to all interested and must be used on site. They are not available for borrowing from the library.

The Society meets 6 to 8 times a year. Sometimes there is a guest speaker, sometimes a general sharing of items of interest among those present; perhaps a photo, an article, an intriguing historical fact or an artifact. Questions are asked and answered and mysteries solved. There is always something new to be learned and shared.

Some of the programs in the past few years have included talks by members and guest speakers. Topics included Peter Mitchell, the Miramichi lumber industry, the North Shore Regiment, Vimy and Normandy, Father Murdock, Dr.Louise Manny, Beaubear’s Island, the Provincial Archives Miller Photograph collection, the restoration of the New Brunswick portage system, and a talk by Dr. Stephen Patterson of UNB on the rebuilding of NB after the Miramichi Fire of 1825. William Murray of Miramichi was an important builder of that period. Last winter, Gary Hughes, curator of history at the New Brunswick Museum, gave an interesting presentation on the life of Dr. Louise Manny. The latest talk was about Sheldrake Island and its associations with leprosy in the 1800’s.

Members visited St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Bushville and St. James and St. John United Church in Newcastle and their graveyards, the Miramichi History Museum, took walking tours of Chatham and Newcastle, visited the old school in Oak Point and took several river trips on the Max Aitken. The Society also supports enrichment projects related to our history undertaken by students of the area and the District Heritage Fair with an award for research related to the Miramichi. The Society also has developed a close association with the Miramichi History Museum in support of our common interest in the Miramichi and its history.

March 9, 7pmIrish Immigration to Miramichi
Miramichi History Museum

The next meeting of the Miramichi Historical Society will Monday March 9. Cyril Donahue will be the speaker and just in time for St. Patrick’s Day his subject will be the Irish Immigration to the Miramichi. This event is open to the public and will be held at the Miramichi History Museum at 182 Wellington Street at 7pm.

This article was first featured in the 2020 Winter Issue of Giv’er Miramichi Magazine.

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