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History

Blackville

old-blackville postcard

By Doug Underhill

The village of Blackville is located about 20 miles up the Main Southwest Miramichi river from Newcastle. It is situated where the Bartholomew River flows into the main river.

Incorporated as a village in 1967 it has a population slightly above 1,000. Its main industry is the Blackville Lumber saw mill located at the junction of the Howards Road and the main route 8 to Fredericton.

In his book Currents In the Stream author Wayne Curtis captures the spirit of the village close to where he grew up.

"The mill is the main employer here.On working days the snarls and rattles of the sawmill echo through the village streets. The noises from the mill, with its shrill lunch whistle, have been comforting sounds to the people of Blackville since the early 1800s. This village has steadily progressed in the protective shadow of the mill. Thus, a circular saw and a green tree, featured above a lumber pile, are displayed on the towns welcome sign, a symbol of its livelihood."

Blackville has had a long history related to logging and mills. The first were built by two Scotchmen by the names of Mr. Doak and Alexander McLaggan in 1820. This later become to be known as "the old water mill." Alexander "Boss" Gibson bought and changed the mill to a steam operated facility in 1893.

When Gibson sold the mill in 1915 Archibald Alcorn took over. His mill was destroyed by fire in 1931. Then the Bamford brothers of Doaktown operated a mill until 1958 when Miramichi Forest Products took over. This mill was destroyed by fire in 1973.

Hugh John Flemming operated for a few years before Rayonier bought them out in 1977. In 1987 Nautical Terra became the new owner. With its present mill it is not had to see why Blackville is designated NBs official logging town.

Over the years Curtis noted that Blackville had a furniture store, jewelry store, Taylor and boot shops, a taxidermy shop barber shops, blacksmith, general stores, cheese factory, doctors office and banks.

It even had its own newspaper titled "The Advertiser." Founded by William Herbert Grindlay who operated the Blackville Printery, The Advertiser was launched March 1, 1905. It was a semi-monthly publication. According to W. D. Hamilton only one copy is still known to exist and is dated July 21, 1906.

In 1907, Grindlay seemed to focus his interests on another form of communication as his company known as the Grindlay Exchange installed a telephone system that ran from Upper Blackville to Renous.

Today Blackville has a nice village park on the site as you enter the village from the Newcastle side. It had a school system from elementary through to high school. A doctor, tackle shops, RCMP building, Credit union, churches and a variety of stores.

Blackville continues to be a pleasant little village that offers much of the ambience of the region.

oldblackville

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