Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Pioneers, Ploughs, and Politics: New Brunswick Planned Settlements

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Calling all Farmers Post-Confederation Colonization

Helping Hands
By the mid-19th century, newly-arrived immigrants could ask local societies for help and advice, as they struggled to establish themselves on the land. Emigrant societies were organized or reorganized in several New Brunswick counties in the 1840s, including York, Carleton, Charlotte, Gloucester, Kent, Kings, and Queens. The primary purpose of the York County Emigrant Society, instituted in 1819 and reorganized in 1841, was to provide employment, information and assistance to newly-arrived immigrants. The society was also authorized to give "temporary relief to sick, indigent or disabled" immigrants and to assist in transporting recent arrivals to other parts of the county for employment or settlement purposes. A high demand for aid and few financial resources, however, often limited a society's ability to act.
Local agricultural societies were another source of support for newcomers. The first such society in New Brunswick was organized in St. John County in 1790. By the mid-19th century most counties and a number of farming communities had formed branches. Members shared information on such topics as agricultural techniques, disease, raising crops, and livestock. The society also purchased agricultural supplies, such as seeds, lime, and fertilizer in bulk to reduce costs, as well as male pure-bred farm animals to improve the quality of farm stock. Many of the societies remained active well into the 20th century.
Likewise cultural societies offered food, money, and other forms of assistance to immigrants who suffered from financial loss, illness, injury, or some other misfortune. The Society of Saint Andrew was one of the earliest of these organizations. The Saint John and Fredericton branches, formed in 1798 and 1825 respectively, offered money, food, and other goods to needy Scottish families, including those who settled in Glassville, Kincardine, and Kintore in the 1860s and 1870s. These settlers might otherwise have relied on family for help had they not been thousands of miles away across the sea.