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- Albion Steam Works (Nashwaaksis, N.B.)
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Albion Steam Works was founded in 1836 in Nashwaaksis, New Brunswick, across the St. John River from Fredericton. Co-founders William Braithwaite and William P. Kay, originally doing business as Braithwaite, Kay and Company, combined a variety of business ventures to form the firm. They constructed a brewery, oat and flour mills, a smithy and a cooperage, machinery for garding (gardening or farming), a shop to turn wood and iron, circular sawing for joiners work, facilities to cut hay and straw and for bruising oats. All the company's machinery was run by steam engines. In fact, the owners' primary intention was to open a general engineering firm to serve as an outlet for the sale of steam engines and mill machinery.
In addition, Albion Steam Works operated a general mercantile business. Albion Store sold a variety of imported products, as well as locally produced goods, such as pork, fish, stoves, vinegar, grain, flour, beer, coal, and plaster of Paris. The Works also offered architectural design services, which included estimates for building construction. This work was probably completed by co-founder William Porden Kay, who, in the 1840s and 1850s, would be employed as a colonial architect by his uncle, the governor of Tasmania, to design a number of public buildings there. Merchants John V. Thurger and Robert Chestnut served as company agents in Saint John and Fredericton respectively. In July 1837 the firm expanded when a store opened on upper Queen Street, Fredericton, with Anthony Lockwood as agent. A drying kiln and a barley mill were added in September of the same year.
The services of Albion Steam Works were in demand in the late 1830s. These records suggest that the volume of business increased to the point that the firm acquired the schooner "Mary Ann" to transport raw materials upriver and end products to market. The ledgers contain a number of accounts pertaining to the provisioning of the "Mary Ann". The date Albion Steam Works ceased operation is unknown.
Sources: Daniel Johnson's Vital Statistics from New Brunswick Newspapers on-line; MC248; and other records.
Scope and content
This fonds consists of financial records for Albion Steam Works, dating from 1836 to 1839. They offer a window into the social life and economy of early 19th century Fredericton and area, recording the names of customers (residents) and occasionally their occupations (i.e., merchant, contractor, mason, innkeeper, miller, blacksmith, servant) and places of residence (i.e., Fredericton, Saint John, Woodstock, Stanley, Boiestown, St. Marys, Douglas, Nashwaak, Royal Road, Campbell), along with the foodstuffs, services, building supplies, and household goods they purchased. A number of customers were employees of Albion Steam Works.
There are 4 ledgers, one dating from 1836 to 1839, the second, from 1836-1839, the third, from 1837 to 1838, and the fourth from 1838 to 1839. There is also a day book, dating from 1837 to 1838. The 1836-1839 ledger (MS1A) contains both customer accounts and day book entries. Included among the customer accounts are a number pertaining to individuals and companies who were living in or working to establish the newly-created village of Stanley, most notably Commissioners E. N. Kendall and Richard Hayne and the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Land Company. The 1836-1839 ledger (MS1B) appears to be a continuation of first (MS1A) and likewise contains the names of customers, sometimes their places of residence and occupations, services performed, items purchased, amounts charged, and sums paid (cash, kind, and labour).
The 1837-1838 ledger includes both cash book entries and individual accounts, and the 1838-1839 ledger contains individual accounts. The cash book entries record monies and goods received and expended; the day book entries identify the items purchased and names of customers; and the account book entries record the names of customers, the items purchased, the amounts charged, and the payments received, either in cash, kind, or labour.
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