Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Pioneers, Ploughs, and Politics: New Brunswick Planned Settlements

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Dominion-Provincial Immigration Conference

During the early 1860s, the New Brunswick government was a key player in several settlement initiatives in Carleton County that resulted in the creation of Glassville, Knowlesville, Beaufort, and Johnville. All these settlements were established on crown lands, mostly by immigrants from Scotland, England, or Ireland who either had arrived directly from the mother country or had migrated from cities and towns in the Maritime Provinces to their new homes.
This burst of settlement activity was followed by a lull in immigration in the mid-1860s, due partly to industrial and commercial prosperity in Britain that increased employment options for the working class and dampened emigration fervour. As well, the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny drained away many young men into the army, and the American Civil War discouraged travel to North America. By 1869, however, Britain was suffering the effects of an economic depression and the agricultural sector was struggling from several years of poor harvests. These factors helped to renew interest in emigration which lasted into the early 1870s.
Between 1869 and 1871 New Brunswick was reticent to launch a full-scale recruitment drive for immigrants. Politicians feared that any outlay of cash would be wasted, as newcomers, soon after their arrival, would be attracted south of the border where many of them believed better opportunities awaited. New Brunswick, however, did receive a number of British immigrants at this time, including Maria Susan Rye's pauper children, who hailed primarily from London, Liverpool, and other economically depressed industrial centres.
In 1872, as a consequence of the Dominion government's changing policy on immigration, New Brunswick began to look seriously again at promoting settlement on crown lands. This renewed interest in colonization, coupled with a shortage of agricultural land in Europe in the face of growing demand, led to the migration of several hundred Danes to northwestern New Brunswick. Here among the rolling hills of Victoria County they established the farming community of New Denmark which has retained its Danish flavour to the present day.