Fonds MC224 - Read Stone Co. Ltd.

Read Family photograph Boy standing with grindstones ready for shipment by rail, dog in foreground. Red Saddle No. 444 Advertising Sample Read Stone Co. Letterhead Beaudet, Lefaivre & Garneau Stone Order Natural Abrasives Advertising Sample Letter to Mrs. Anne Read from son Herbert Comeau Read Counter Display Advertising Sample

Title proper

Read Stone Co. Ltd.

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  • Textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of the fonds.

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Physical description

22.95 m of textual records

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Name of creator

(Company established ca. 1810 in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick operations began in 1856)

Administrative history

In 1824, Joseph Read and his father opened a stone yard office in Boston, Mass., and in 1860 they purchased a grindstone property in Stonehaven, New Brunswick from Sprague Spoule & Company. The lack of stone available for making grindstones in New England meant that the stone had to come from the Maritimes or England. In New Brunswick, stones were produced at Lower Cove, Ragged Reef, Sand River, Apple River, Wood Point, Rockport, Grindstone Island, Mary's Point, Beaumont and Fox Creek. The Reads came into ownership of around 40 quarries throughout the Maritimes which remained open until the company's closure in 1930. At the time of its closure, the Read Company owned 51 schooners which took stones to ports in the northeastern United States, South America and the Caribbean, then on to England carrying rum.

Joseph Read first began quarrying grindstones in 1810 when he leased a section of shoreline at Minudie, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia from Amos Seaman, who was also in the business. Joseph Read's son, Joseph, Jr., expanded the business, opening a stoneyard for grading, distributing, and selling grindstones at Boston in 1824. Joseph Read, Sr. entered into partnership with John T. Seaman, and the company expanded its operations to Rockport, Dover, and Beaumont. The Reads' record the founding of their company as 1824, possibly the year that the partnership of Read and Seaman was formed. Minudie remained the company's base of operation throughout the 19th century.

In 1856 the enterprise expanded when another stone quarry was opened at Stonehaven, Gloucester County, New Brunswick. By 1900, the company had moved its base of operations to Sackville, N. B. and was now producing building stone and pulp stone along with grindstones. In 1908 the business was incorporated under the name Read Stone Co. Ltd., at which time the quarries and businesses of Joseph Read, of Stonehaven, and Henry C. Read, of Sackville, were consolidated. The company's business interests extended from New Brunswick to Montréal, West Virginia, and Ohio. H. W. Read closed the quarries at Stonehaven in 1930. Read Stone Co. Ltd. surrendered its letters patent on 10 February 1954.

Custodial history

The bulk of the records was retrieved from the stone lathe and storehouse in Stonehaven, N.B. H. W. Read had moved a number of the bound volumes to Sackville prior to 1978, when the first donation to the Archives was made.

Scope and content

This fonds consists of the business and financial records of the Read Stone Co. Ltd. as well as family correspondence and other personal records. It includes minutes of meetings, correspondence, letterbooks, general ledgers, day books, cash books, accounts receivable and accounts payable ledgers, order books, sales invoices, survey records, bills of lading and other shipping records, invoices, accounts, receipts, bank books, cancelled cheques, draft notes, and time books. Family records include correspondence, diaries, photographs, and material pertaining to the Independent Order of Foresters.

There are also brochures, labels, advertising boards, catalogues of various suppliers, almanacs, grindstone and rock samples. Lastly the fonds includes several annual reports and statements of the Dominion Steel Corp. and British Empire Steel Corporation (1920s), issues of the journals, The Maritime Merchant (1920s) and the Contract Record & Engineering Review (1910s), and a copy of an unpublished thesis entitled, "The Cumberland Basin grindstone industry by James D. Snowden," (1972).

Physical condition

A general ledger, 1882-1882, (4/29) and a day book, 1926-1938, (5/28) were contaminated with mould. These items were reexamined in March 2001. Researchers are advised that they must view them in well-ventilated conditions (fume hood) and wear appropriate gloves and masks.

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated to the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick by Herbert Read, of Sackville, New Brunswick in 1978, 1994, and 1998.


Language of material

  • English

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No restrictions

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An inventory is available.

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Associated materials

A ledger of the Stonehaven operation of the company, 1913- 1936 is held by Mount Allison University Archives.

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