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History

Doaktown

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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.

The 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 outfitters.

Take some time to experience the relaxing atmosphere of the Miramichi River with the friendly people of Doaktown.

Mighty Miramichi
www.mightymiramichi.com