Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Pioneers, Ploughs, and Politics: New Brunswick Planned Settlements

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St. John the Evangelist Parish Other Social Institutions and Organizations

The year after Father Chapman's arrival, the Great Fire swept through Saint John, leaving thousands of city residents homeless. Approximately 35 families were resettled at Chapmanville, located near Johnville, which was named in Father Chapman's honour. Rumours that a railway line would be built in the area encouraged some of these former urban-dwellers to move to Carleton County. Most of the newcomers applied for land under the Free Grants Act of 1872, which, for the most part, had replaced the earlier Labour Act. Few of them, however, stayed on their land. Discouraged by the numerous challenges of pioneer life, many of them moved to Moose Mountain, Holmesville, or more established parts of the Johnville settlement.
About this time, construction of a second St. John the Evangelist Church began near the original site with donations of money and supplies from parishioners and their non-Catholic neighbours. By 20 August 1878, the date of the parish picnic, the frame had been raised. The new church opened in 1882. The Johnville picnic was hailed a success and became an annual fundraiser and social event. It is still held today.