By Doug Underhill
The village of Douglastown, now
part of the City of Miramichi, has an interesting history. It was part of a 100,000 acre grant given to two Scots named William
Davidson and John Cort in 1765. Like most Miramichi communities it too grew out of the logging and lumbering industry.
1812 Alexander Rankin and James Gilmour came to the area and set up a lumbering industry. Their firm Rankin and Gilmour Company
worked out of what today is still known as the Rankin House.
The village was initially known as Gretna Green, but
following the Miramichi Fire of 1825, Rankin invited the Lieutenant-Governor Sir Howard Douglas to come to Miramichi to inspect
the damage. The community was thus renamed Douglastown in his honour. In recent times the elementary school in the community
has honoured the original name by calling itself Gretna Green.
Rankin also built the stone Seamens Hospital and later
through the Hutchisons his house was given to the village as an elementary school. Today it is a museum.
Rankin was one of his company men named Richard Hutchison continued the lumbering industry. He erected what eventually came
to be known locally as the "Seven Sisters" and "Two Brothers." He also built a number of sailing ships namely them consecutively
from "A" to "B" to "C" onward. He eventually sold his company to his son Richard who built the first electric light plant
in 1890 and a huge stone mansion today owned by the Asoyuf family.
Douglastown continued to grow incorporating into
a village in 1966. It had a marina, Northumberland Square Mall, several fast food outlets and restaurants, a bowling alley,
seniors complex, a race track for cars, a volunteer fire department, village hall, churches, post office and businesses. Douglastown
became part of the new City of Miramichi in 1995.