By Doug Underhill
The village of Doaktown, New Brunswick
nestles nicely along the banks of the Main Southwest Miramichi River almost mid way between the City of Miramichi and Fredericton
on highway no. 8.
It is located in the heart of salmon fishing country and plays host to the Miramichi Atlantic Salmon
Museum complete with a large aquarium where you can view the "King of Fish."
Doaktown was first settled by the French
who were fleeing following the British take-over in the late 1700s. Later there was a trail over the portage from Fredericton
to Boiestown and down to Doaktown where it crossed the river. Trees were spotted along this route through to Newcastle.
trail crossed the Miramichi River at Doaktown at the head of Pine Island. Gradually a horse back trail was formed. The first
white settlers were a Mr. Ben Davis and his sister. Davis built the first hotel in Doaktown in 1807 as land was cleared and
civilization began to take hold.
The Baltic Wars in Europe gave Doaktown a real boost as a high tariff was place on
lumber from the Baltic region. This opened the door for an industry that has supported the community ever since. With an abundance
of tall white pines, the lumber came into prominence with the first being cut near the Grand Lake Road. All tall straight
pines were marked with a broad arrow and reserved for the Kings masts.
Mrs. F. D. Swim wrote that "A this time all
the country from Boiestown to Indian Town was called Ludlow Parish and was granted to 70 old soldiers. Ephriam Betts held
in trust this grant, he being the captain of the company."
Gradually the community began to grow with the arrival
of William Mitchell from Maugerville, the first grist mill owned by a Mr. McAllister in 1818, the first school in 1822, and
the first blacksmith shop in 1814. In 1820 a scow and canoe ferry was established by a Mr. Swim.
Doaktown was basically
spared by the Great Miramichi Fire of 1825 which ravaged most of the entire Miramichi region. But by this time the need for
lumber had dropped, but the people had their farming to sustain them.
It was about this time that a move was made
by the government to give proper names to all communities. Doaktown took its name from Squire Robert Doak who settled in the
are setting up a mill in the late 1920s and early 1830s. He was the most prominent citizen at the time.
In 1847 the
first bridge was built across the Miramichi about where the present one is today. Since, Doaktown has continued to grow and
is a thriving village today. It still has its lumber roots with several mills. It boasts a big tourist trade through its salmon
fishing and tackle shops such as W. W. Doak and Sons operated by Jerry Doak and Southwest Tackle run by Stephen Pond. It has
beautiful riverside accommodations such as Ledge Inn and offers a multitude of angling and outdoor excursions through local
Take some time to experience the relaxing atmosphere of the Miramichi River with the friendly people of