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Notice d'autorité
Charlotte County Archives

Stevenson, Benjamin R.

  • MC42
  • Personne
  • 1835-1890

Benjamin Robert Stevenson was born in St. Andrews 10 April 1835, the son of Robert Stevenson and Christina Green Milliken. His paternal grandfather, also Robert Stevenson, had emigrated from Lohwinnoch, Renfrewshire, Scotland and was joined later by Benjamin's grandmother, Janet Crawford with their five sons and one daughter. Two more sons were born in St. Andrews. The Stevensons were a closely knit family and during his lifetime Benjamin kept in close touch with his uncles and aunt.

Benjamin's mother, Christina, was the daughter of Benjamin Milliken who was connected with a prominent Loyalist family of St. George. His branch of the Milliken family settled in Eastport and Christina met Robert Stevenson when her father came to St. Andrews to operate a tannery. Robert had been a shoemaker until the death of Christina's father provided him with the opportunity of taking over the tannery. Thus he became more prosperous than his brothers and was able to give his two sons a good eduction.

Robert Stevenson became a prominent and much respected man in St. Andrews. He was a Charlotte County magistrate and several times Chairman of the Board of Sessions, a school trustee and a member of the Municipal Council. He was President of the Charlotte County Agricultural Society for twenty-seven years. He was also an elder of Greenock Presbyterian Church.

Benjamin, the elder son, was a good student at the Charlotte County Grammar School and attended King's College in Fredericton. He graduated in 1854, a few years before it became the University of New Brunswick. His brother, John Fletcher Stevenson studied medicine, possibly in Boston, and became a physician in St. Andrews. There were no other children.

On his return from Fredericton, Benjamin Stevenson studied law with James w. Chandler, a barrister in St. Andrews. He qualified as an attorney in 1858 and was called to the bar of New Brunswick in 1859. He immediately set up a law office in St. Andrews and became involved in many local activities. In association with another lawyer, G. D. Street, who was his partner at one stage in his career, he founded the St. Andrews Mechanics Institute which appears not to have been very successful. He chose not to join his father's church and became a member of the Church of England although their relatives were Methodists. Many of young Stevenson's close friends were Masons and he became a devoted member of St. Mark's Lodge and remained so throughout his life. He had friends in all walks of life and it was said that he had a reputation for being kind and generous, although he sometimes appeared cold and unfriendly. He also joined the Militia and rose rapidly to the rank of lieutenant. At the time of the Fenian raids he was promoted captain and was on active service for three months commanding a unit known as the "Gordon Rifles". He eventually became a major.

Stevenson found it necessary to deal in insurance to supplement his income. However, he advanced in his profession and, in 1863, he was appointed Registrar of Probate for Charlotte County. He also suffered misfortune. His mother died in the same year and his brother two years later. Young Dr. Stevenson had gone to the United States to take part in the Civil War as medical officer with a black battalion. He was discharged in Florida in the fall of 1865 and died of dysentery on the way home. His brother's estate was one of many wound up by Stevenson in the course of his practice and he also looked after property left behind by people who had left St. Andrews owing to the depressed economy.

Benjamin Stevenson made his first attempt to enter political life in the provincial election of 1865, which was looked on as a test of the willingness of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to enter a union with the two Canadas. He was a strong supporter of Confederation and, having announced his candidature, he was surprised at the strength of the opposition. His father and some of his friends urged him to withdraw, but he declined.

Stevenson's membership in All Saints Church and his service in the militia had brought him in contact with two young Englishmen, James and John Bolton, whose father, John Bolton, had come from Alnwick, Northumberland, and settled near St. Andrews as a gentleman farmer. They and their sister Katherine became his close friends and their advice was an important factor in his decision to contest the election. His poor showing at the polls was mitigated by the fact that he shared his defeat with veteran politicians.

Pressure from Britain resulted in the dissolution of the legislature and another election in May 1866. It took place when things were beginning to settle down after the Fenian invasion which had disrupted life on the St. Croix and among the islands. There was much indignation that the United States had permitted its territory to be used as a base for attack on its friendly neighbours in New Brunswick and this greatly enhanced the perceived value of the British connection. Nevertheless the supporters of Confederation in Charlotte County were taking no chances. A "Ticket" was formed to ensure that there were only four pro­ Confederation candidates, two Liberals and two Conservatives, two of them from the north and two from the south of the County. Stevenson, a Conservative, was not one of them, withholding in favour of Francis Hibbard of St. George.

The following June, two of the newly elected members, James G. Stevens of St. Stephen and James W. Chandler of St. Andrews, were made County Court Judges and a bye-election was called for October. This must have encouraged Stevenson to believe that his political future was assured and on 1 August 1867, he and Kate Bolton were married. The election followed soon after and Stevenson was elected, taking his seat in the Legislature the following February. In the same year, his brother-in-law, John Bolton, who had had no political experience, took advantage of the lack of interest in federal politics, became a candidate and was elected to the first House of Commons. The following year he sent back accounts of his experiences in Ottawa and Stevenson himself went to see the new capital, travelling by way of the United States to visit his younger uncles who had gone to live in Wisconsin. Bolton's political career was brief as he died in July 1872.

In opening the session of 1870, the Lieutenant-Governor spoke of the need for settlers as new sections of the Province were opened up by railway construction. At the close, an Act was passed to incorporate the New Brunswick Railroad Company with the object of extending the line originally begun by the St. Andrews and Quebec Railway and extended by the New Brunswick and Canada Railway. This section was to run from Woodstock to Edmundston in the northwestern part of the Province.

At that time strongly held political opinions cut across party lines and some members were not committed to either party, which made governments very unstable. An attempt by the Conservatives to seize power, made during Stevenson's first session, was unsuccessful. He was re-elected in June 1870 and when the House met in February 1871, George E. King, a Liberal, was called upon to form a government. King was the author and chief proponent of a bill to reform the New Brunswick school system and knowing that Stevenson, although a Conservative, was in favour of a system that would make education freely available to all, he offered him the post of attorney-general, which he accepted. Unknown to Stevenson, some of his Conservative colleagues, who were against the School Bill, had met and decided how the offices would be allocated if King failed to form a government. According to this plan, Mr. Gough was to be premier and Hibbard attorney-general but Stevenson was not included. King did fail but the Lieutenant-Governor called on E. L. Hatheway, a supporter of the School Bill, who offered Stevenson the post of surveyor-general which he accepted. Hibbard was furious and there was a great to-do in St. Andrews. Stevenson was called home to explain himself, which he did most convincingly. The Common Schools Act, which became law in 1872, set up a system of public, non-sectarian schools and was one of the most important and far-reaching actions of the New Brunswick Legislature.

One of Stevenson's first acts as a minister was in connection with the attempt to develop St. Andrews as a summer resort. The St. Andrews Hotel Act incorporated a company to build a large new hotel, and a second act empowered the Justices of Charlotte County to borrow $5,000 to get it started. Unfortunately the company ran out of money and the hotel was not completed.

Of the greatest importance was the Free Grants Act which Stevenson piloted through the Legislature in 1871. This provided free grants of land to new settlers under clearly defined conditions. Implementation of this act occupied a large part of Stevenson's time during his term as surveyor-general which ended in 1878. He had to deal with agents overseas, shipping companies and hundreds of immigrants, many of them in poor circumstances, and one suspects that he occasionally dipped into his own pocket to assist the sick, starving and homeless. He had a warm heart and found it difficult to resist appeals for help. The settlements formed at that time include Kintore, Kincardine and New Denmark. His records provide a vivid description of the difficulties experienced by immigrants making homes on previously uninhabited land.

The great cost involved in this project led to charges of extravagance and an investigation was held in 1877. It showed that the Surveyor-General's department had been conducted in an honest and able manner and had in fact provided revenue for the government. Mr. Stevenson was said to have administered its affairs with credit to himself and benefit to the province. His work involved a great deal of correspondence and frequent visits to the new settlements.

Naturally Stevenson was concerned with the railroads leading to the new settlements. He became a shareholder and a director of the New Brunswick and Canada Railroad and assisted in getting railroad legislation through the House. In 1886, the managers of the Company decided that there was insufficient traffic to warrant a daily train service to St. Andrews and a furore erupted. This was quelled when Stevenson persuaded the Company to complete the hotel, still standing unfinished, and to provide a daily train service during the summer months. He took personal charge of the work, engaging and paying the contractors, and ordering the furnishings himself. When it finally opened in 1881 it was the first hotel in the Province to operate in the summer only.

During the periods between sessions of the Legislature, Stevenson was active in his business and in many local projects, especially in St. Andrews. He took shares in vessels, and built Stevenson Hall, now the Masonic Hall which was rented for meetings and entertainments and included offices for himself and others. This building remained in the possession of the family until 1929 when it was sold to St. Mark's Lodge. Stevenson had a law office in St. George as well as in St. Andrews and had many friends there. It was probably through Thomas Barry that he became interested in the Bay of Fundy Red Granite Company, established in 1873 and largely financed by some men in New York. He and other friends took stock in the enterprise and he later became President of the Company. He is said to have lost very heavily when it failed.

When Stevenson was re-elected in 1878, he was disappointed that he was given no department, especially as the new premier, John James Fraser, was a close friend. Fraser had difficulty in putting together a government and may have found it easier to offend a friend than an enemy. When the House met in 1879, Stevenson was elected Speaker and continued in this office until 1882.

Stevenson's interest in railways continued until the end of his life. As legal counsel for the New Brunswick and Canada Railroad Company, he handled important litigation and, later, with Sir Leonard Tilley, he organized the building of another railway, the Grand Southern. This line proved to be unprofitable and it is believed that he suffered heavy financial losses.

When the House was dissolved in 1882, it was rumoured that Stevenson was leaving provincial politics and, on 8 June, he was chosen unanimously as the Conservative Candidate for Charlotte in the forthcoming election for the House of Commons. His "forceful" acceptance speech was reported in the newspaper but there was little publicity thereafter. Seemingly, there was much greater interest in the provincial campaign that was going on at the same time. Stevenson had been very optimistic as it was believed that the federal Liberals had very little chance. It was ironic, therefore, that he was defeated by A. H. Gillmor who, as an opponent of Confederation, had defeated him in 1866.

Stevenson then retired from politics and devoted himself to his law practice and to local and railway affairs. He became Judge of Probate, a school trustee and President of the Charlotte County Agricultural Association. He was a warden of All Saints Church, managed the church funds, and was its representative at meetings of the Church Diocesan Society. He also served as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New Brunswick. He continued to take an active interest in St. Andrews as a summer resort and the operation of the Argyll Hotel. He and Sir Leonard Tilley were the local representatives in 1888 when the St. Andrews Land Company was formed in association with Robert S. Gardiner and other men from Boston. He was also involved with the Chamcook Water Company. By this time he had become a man of note in the County and, when the St. Croix Cotton Mill was formed in Milltown in 1889, he was invited to lay the corner stone.

Throughout his career, Benjamin Stevenson had been plagued by ill health and he died suddenly in St. Andrews on 16 January 1890 at the age of fifty-four.

Save Passamaquoddy Bay

  • Collectivité
  • 2006-2010

A grassroots movement operated through a three-nation (Passamaquoddy, Canada, and the US) effort to stop the development plans of Calais, Quoddy Bay, and Downeast LNG company. LNG was a natural gas company planning to create a regasification plant on the East coast. The movement started in 2006, it’s main focus were the issues of fishermen and the local aquatic life as the large tankers needed a 2 mile exclusion zone and that the US/Canada customs and local governments were not sure on how to deal with the import and export of the liquid gas. Through petitions and legal actions defeated Quoddy LNG on October 17th, 2008. Calais LNG on April 4th, 2012. And Downeast LNG on August 17th, 2016.

Ardeth Aileen (Emerson) Holmes

  • MC 717
  • Personne
  • 1953-2022

Following a period of failing health Ardeth Aileen Holmes (Emerson), St. Andrews, N.B. passed away at the Charlotte Co. Hospital, St. Stephen, N.B. on August 19, 2022, with her husband by her side.

Ardeth was the daughter of the late Murchie and Marjorie (Thornton) Emerson. She leaves behind her beloved husband of forty-one years Jeffrey K. Holmes, her sister Janet Emerson, St. Stephen; her brother-in-law Blaine Holmes, Waweig; aunts Aileen Howson, London, Ontario and Audrey Mitchell, St. Andrews, N.B.; numerous cousins and family friend Chris Flemming. In addition to her parents she was predeceased by her father-in-law and mother-in-law Lester and Madeline (Mady) Holmes, and her brother Ross Emerson.

Nehemiah Marks Sr.

  • Personne
  • 1746 - 1799

Nehemiah Marks was born in Derby, Connecticut, on 9 October 1746. He was the son of Mordecai Marks (1706-1771), a Sephardic Jew who emigrated from London, England, in 1721 and became a prosperous merchant. He converted to the Anglican faith and in 1729 married Elizabeth [Hawkins] of Derby, Connecticut. Soon after the Revolution began, Nehemiah Marks went to New York where it is believed he carried despatches for the British army. He served as a captain in the Armed Boatmen, a Loyalist corps, with a commission dated 5 October 1782. His commission as a lieutenant in the Maryland Loyalists, dated 1 October 1783, can be found among the papers of his son, Nehemiah Marks, Jr. With the evacuation of New York City, Nehemiah Marks, Sr. was forced to seek refuge in Nova Scotia, and on 1 November 1783, he was appointed a captain in the Nova Scotia Militia for the District of Port Mouton, and charged with the responsibility of settling his men and their families. The refugees remained at Port Mouton for the winter of 1783, but in 1784 Captain Marks decided to move to the Falls of the St. Croix River (St. Stephen, New Brunswick), and a number of his men chose to accompany him. On May 23, 1784, a group of about 200 including men, women and children led by Capt. Nehemiah Marks, steered up the St. Croix River to the head of tide and landed on the Canadian banks of the St. Croix River.
For their loyalty, King George III granted them land, which over time they made prosperous. A large community grew around shipbuilding and lumbering industries, which would eventually become the Town of St. Stephen.
In 1770, Nehemiah Marks married Betsy (Elizabeth) Hawkins (1751-1812), the daughter of Abraham Hawkins (b.1725) and his wife, Elizabeth Basset (b.1728) of Derby, Connecticut. Eight of their children are known to have survived, including: Elizabeth Ann (b.1772), Betsy (b.1774), Hannah (b.1776), George Beckwith (b.1778), John, Nehemiah (1794-1853), Rebecca, and Abraham Hawkins (b.1796). When Nehemiah Marks died in 1799 at the age of fifty-two years, he left an estate that included a house and a store in St. Stephen, a large tract of land on which much of the present Town of St. Stephen is built, and several hundred acres of woodland.

George Gardiner

  • Personne
  • 1856-1938

George [Gardiner or Gardner] was born on 8 March 1856 in Weymouth, Dorset, England. He was the son of William Gardner and Anna [Mylard or Myland]. He came to Canada at about age 16 and began working here. He came to St. Andrews in approximately 1894. He was married to Mildred Gardner. He died on 28 April 1938 in St. Andrews, New Brunswick and is buried in the Rural Cemetery.

John A. Doon Company

  • Collectivité
  • 1920-1970

John Andrew Doon was born on May 01, 1870 and died June 26, 1948. He was the son of Arthur Doon (1831-1918) and Rachel Doon (1833-1906). They had moved to St. Andrews from Deadman’s Harbor, Charlotte County in 1865.

Arthur Doon leased the home on 24 King Street, St. Andrews which was directly behind the Hardware Store, some time prior to 1900. In 1900 his son John Arthur Doon purchased it. It then became the Doon Family home until the 21st century.

John Andrew Doon was a successful boatman and St. Andrews fish dealer.
He was married to Luella Jack and had two sons. George Doon's dates of birth and death are unknown, though John Eldon Doon who was born in 1910 and died December 14, 2000.

The Doon residence saw three generations of Doons, and the property was conveyed to John Eldoon Doon in 1940.

The Doon Residence at 24 King Street, St. Andrews is designated as a Local Historic Place for its architecture and its past occupants. The actual construction date is not certain, but the style suggests that it was built in the late 1700s or early 1800s.

McAllister

  • Famille
  • c.1800s

Japhet Hill McAllister was the son of John McAllister whose
parents Daniel McAllister and Mary Patterson came from New
Boston, New Hampshire with other settlers at the end of the
Revoluntary War and obtained land in the Parish of St. David.
Japhet’s mother, Keziah, was the daughter of Japhet Hill
whose family were early settlers at Machias. They followed the
traditional occupations of farming and lumbering.

            Japhet H. McAllister operated a mill at Upper Mills on the
St. Croix and the family residence was in Milltown. His wife was
Lucy; her family name is not known. Japhet also engaged in
farming and lumbering and, in 1851, he joined with William Porter,
Daniel Hill and others to form the Musquash and Digdeguash Brook
River Driving Company, incorporated under Provincial Law. He was
a member of the Baptist Church. His daughter, Emeline, married
Andrew Murchie McAdam, son of Hon. John McAdam, politician,
who also engaged in the lumber industry.

BACKGROUND

The papers of Japhet Hill McAllister originated between
1826 and 1862 and are concerned with his personal and
business affairs. Included are deeds, mortgages and leases
to his various properties including his mill at the Upper Dam
in Milltown, also documents concerned with fire wards, the
Baptist Church and the Middle Bridge. All are photocopies
of the originals held by John Gilman of Deer Island.

Nehemiah Marks Jr.

  • Personne
  • 1794 - 1853

Nehemiah Marks was the son of the Loyalist, Nehemiah Marks, Sr. (1746-1799) and his wife Betsy (Elizabeth) Hawkins (1751-1812). They were Loyalists who settled at the Falls of the St. Croix River (St. Stephen, New Brunswick) in 1784, and are considered prominent figures in the early development of St. Stephen. Nehemiah Marks was born in 1794, and by the time of his marriage in 1812 to Sarah Thompson, the daughter of James Thompson of St. Stephen, he was largely responsible for his father's business interests which consisted of the family store, farm, and wood lands. During the next three decades he expanded his timber holdings in New Brunswick and in Maine, and supplied cargoes of lumber for vessels sailing to England and to the West Indies. Beginning in the 1820s, he started to acquire vessels which he owned and operated himself, and which carried his lumber to many ports. Eventually, he acquired a fleet of nine brigs, one barque, and two schooners, including the brig "Nehemiah Marks" which was built at his own wharf in St. Stephen. In addition to the vessels he owned outright, he was part owner of other ships which he did not manage. Using a network of agents in ports in the West Indies, Ireland, United States, and Liverpool, England, his ships and their cargoes were sent to many ports, according to the season and the market conditions. Returning vessels usually brought clothing, furniture, dry goods, salt, coal, rum, and many other goods for sale in the store. As horses and horse racing were a life-long passion, on occasion, a race horse was included in the cargo. He was also an officer in the Charlotte County Militia for more than twenty years.
When Nehemiah Marks died on 17 August 1853, all of the ships in his fleet had been sold or lost by shipwreck, but his estate still included timber and farm land in Charlotte County, town property in St. Stephen, and vast holdings of wood land in Maine and in York County, New Brunswick. For over twenty years, Nehemiah Marks was an officer in the Charlotte County Militia and Lieutenant Colonel of the Fourth Battalion. He was Overseer of the Poor for St. Stephen Parish for at least ten years, and was an active member of Christ Church (Anglican) in St. Stephen. He was survived by six children: John, Joseph P., Abraham H., Nehemiah, Elizabeth Caroline, and Sarah Henrietta.

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