The Miramichi River valley was not settled by large transplantations of Scottish clans or large scale movements of starving and evicted Irish. Though there are one or two interesting exceptions. In after trade had developed with Newfoundland, Miramichi was surprised and shaken by the arrival of the so-called "Two Boaters", perhaps as many as These were the Irish who had taken advantage of cheap fares to St.
John's in the spring and summer of With no prospect of obtaining a land grant, jobs in the woods or in the mills were the only means of getting established. Most of them were able to get at least temporary employment upon arrival, but it was short lived. In a sharp decline in timber prices resulted in massive layoffs in Miramichi including most of the "Two Boat" Irish of the Chatham area.
Following their grueling experience in St. John's and now unemployed they became disenchanted by their new found misery so many miles from home. They began to create disturbances in the village of Chatham. Violent outrages were committed in broad daylight, property was stolen and in the worst cases houses and barns were burned to the ground.
The people of the area soon dubbed them "those uncivilized immigrants from Ireland", whom local magistrates were powerless to control. But the Irish were not the only troublemakers along the river at that time. They were often mistakenly blamed for outrageous disturbances caused by unruly sailors idling about the port during the spring and summer months.
These idle sailors whooped it up at Miramichi particularly on Sundays when the taverns were closed but often the Irish got the blame. In a detachment of the 78th regiment stationed in Fredericton was temporarily sent to Chatham to keep the peace. But it was not the soldiers of 78th regiment who quieted the Irish. It took an improved economy, jobs and new found opportunity to do the trick. Fewer than four so-called coffin ships made it to Miramichi between and with less than three hundred people on board.
They were ships plying to Quebec with sick and dying passengers, stricken with cholera and other diseases. They diverted to 'Miramichi in desperation and on arrival were quarantined at Middle Island where they were treated in appalling conditions. There was great fear of them and some Miramichers including the Irish referred to them as yellow mealers believing all they had had to eat was corn. The arrival of the famine ship Looshtauk on June 2, , was a major tragedy at Miramichi. She left Liverpool for Quebec with passengers on board.
During the first two weeks at sea more than died of sickness and the majority of the crew contracted severe fever and were unfit for duty.
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With only a few able seamen available to man the ship and few other options, the captain headed to the nearest port - Miramichi. When news of the dire conditions on board became known she was forbidden by the port authorities to dock even at Middle Island. The captain could not get permission to land the sick and dying or to bury the dead for over six days in which further severe anguish and the loss of forty more lives occurred.
The arrival of two more famine ships the Richard White and the Bolivar further exacerbated the problem. The authorities finally but reluctantly constructed temporary shelters on the island and allowed the sick passengers and crew to land. A further fifty or so people died in the makeshift facilities provided, including the young Chatham doctor John Vondy who volunteered to stay full-time to administer to the sick and dying and within a few days succumbed to the fever himself.
In total they represented forty percent of the population of the region spread fairly evenly over the entire Miramichi watershed. Eighty percent were Catholic and only the upriver parish of Ludlow had a Protestant Irish majority. However the majority were still listed as skilled and unskilled workers. Although subsistence farming constituted one part of the new settlement's economy, the thin, acid soils of the Miramichi were not conducive to agriculture; thus, the lumber industry and Atlantic salmon fishery were the mainstays.
A shipbuilding industry was established by Davidson in , largely to facilitate overseas lumber exports, including masts for the British navy, and to provide winter employment for the men. Davidson's first ship, "Miramichi", was lost with her cargo off the Spanish coast. Miramichi benefited greatly from the Napoleonic wars and American independence , as Britain became dependent on its remaining North American colonies, including New Brunswick, for lumber.
However, the Great Miramichi Fire of , the advent of steel-hulled ships, and perhaps over-cutting of eastern white pine , would eventually contribute to a long-term decline in the area's economy. Only 12 buildings remained in Newcastle. The towns of Newcastle and Chatham developed a long history of rivalry, including a small "war" fought between the communities "the fighting election of ".
The election was fought on a political level between John T. The Rankin and Cunard factions literally fought the election in the streets of Newcastle and Chatham with sticks, stones, coal and other missiles. In , the region's largest construction project in history was completed when the federal government's Intercolonial Railway ICR opened between Moncton and Campbellton.
One of the biggest geographic obstacles presented in the project was the crossing of the Miramichi River. Surveyors deemed the ideal location for bridging to be at the upper reaches of tidewater between Nelson and Newcastle , crossing the Southwest Miramichi , then a short section of land at Derby, followed by the Northwest Miramichi.
The combined length of these bridges would be among the largest constructed to date in Canada surpassed only by the Victoria Bridge in Montreal and were the first bridges over the Miramichi River , revolutionizing transport in the region. CNR operated express passenger trains along the main line from Halifax to Montreal via Newcastle, most notably the Ocean Limited , along with various local trains to Fredericton, Moncton and Campbellton. The ports and railways serving Newcastle and Chatham burgeoned with activity as the 19th century lumber industry gave way to the 20th century developments in pulp and paper, and mining.
As the shipbuilding, masting and lumber industries waned, pulp and paper production eventually replaced lumber exports as the mainstay of the area's economy. A valuable sports fishery developed, attracting "sports" initially from adjacent New England , and subsequently from all parts of the world.
In the mid 20th century, an air force base, CFB Chatham , became the cornerstone of Chatham's economy. The mine and air force base had both closed by as the mine's ore body was depleted, and with the collapse of the Cold War.
The forest industry is the dominant player in the city's economy today. In the 20th century the rivalry between Newcastle and Chatham continued, expressed chiefly through sports, politics, and in competition for businesses and government largesse. The amalgamation of the former towns and villages to form the City of Miramichi was controversial at the time, and remains so today, due in part to the strong identities that each of the communities possessed. The amalgamation of the communities served to limit local rivalries, giving the region a larger and more united voice in promoting the region.
Other sectors include: tourism, customer contact centres, manufacturing, and the provincial and federal government. The service sector is the city's largest employer. The region has recently experienced the closure of several wood mills causing many residents to migrate west.
Since the shale gas boom in Alberta, many Miramichi residents split their time between the oil fields and Miramichi. The Repap paper mill between the Anderson and Miramichi Bridges was purchased by UPM in ,  and was later closed in because of economic pressures in the North American forest industry and subsequently demolished. Miramichi has good highway connections to other major centres in New Brunswick offered via Highways 8 west to Fredericton ; north to Bathurst and Campbellton and 11 south to Moncton , Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
The Plaster Rock — Renous highway Route offers the quickest connection to major centres in Quebec , Ontario , and points west. For many years, the only bridge at Miramichi was a narrow, historic crossing called the Morrissy Bridge , at Newcastle. Ferry service facilitated crossings at Chatham and Loggieville. In the late s the Centennial Bridge was completed at Chatham, greatly improving north-south transit across the river. The Miramichi Bridge at Newcastle opened in the late s. Miramichi Transit also operates local bus service within the city.
The towns of Chatham and Newcastle were formerly important ports for northeastern New Brunswick. Dredging, however, was necessary to maintain a deep enough channel for most ships to cross between the barrier dune islands at the mouth of Miramichi Bay. Ocean-going ships entering the port must have a shallow draft, and must navigate the ancient, meandering course of the drowned Miramichi River channel through the inner Bay.
Miramichi Port Committee Inc.
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The focus of MPCI is to provide logistics to the forestry sector. MPCI officially commenced operation in Two unheated storage sheds are located on the property containing 10, m2 and m2 of enclosed storage area. There is an open storage area of square metres.
Police in New Brunswick identify four teens killed in crash near Miramichi
Miramichi is located within a minute drive of two international airports Fredericton International Airport , Greater Moncton International Airport with scheduled domestic and international flights. As in other regions of the Maritimes , Miramichi culture is firmly grounded in the Mi'kmaq , Acadian , English , Scottish , and Irish traditions of the region's founding population, particularly in the fishing, sailing and lumbering industries.
These roots and the lives of their ancestors provided inspiration for the novels of local author David Adams Richards , the tales and folklore of Herb Curtis , and the fiction and non-fiction books of Chatham writer Raymond Fraser. Local young adult author Valerie Sherrard 's first historical novel, Three Million Acres of Flame , deals with the Miramichi Fire , one of the largest recorded land fires in North American history. Bought my 4th vehicle from them! Great service, always friendly and a pleasure doing business with them!
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