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Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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FRASER, ALEXANDER JR (1788-1866)

FRASER, ALEXANDER JR, businessman, sawmill owner, JP, and militia officer; b. Scotland, c1788; m. 1822, Catherine Fraser; d. Chatham, 24 Dec 1866.

Alexander Fraser Jr, popularly known as "Long Fraser" to distinguish him from other men with the same name, came to Pictou Co., N.S., from Scotland in 1804 and to the Miramichi around 1812. His wife also arrived in Pictou in 1804 with her parents, from the Stratherrick district in Inverness-shire. The Hon. James Fraser, a successful New Glasgow businessman and Nova Scotia legislative councillor, who was born in Boleskine parish, in the same part of Inverness-shire, in 1802, was their children's uncle, and was probably a brother of Catherine Fraser.

In 1825 Alexander Fraser Jr was among the principal businessmen on the Miramichi, as indicated by the fact that he was a member of the relief committee formed that fall to assist sufferers from the Great Fire. Throughout his active years he was based at Chatham Head, where he had a general store and later a steam-powered sawmill - the second on the river, after Cunard's. His mill was rebuilt following its loss to fire in 1849, but his business failed in 1851, at which time a sheriff's sale was announced of his property holdings in Nelson, Newcastle, and Chatham parishes. At this time, his manager, John Percival, came into possession of the mill and certain other assets, and Fraser relocated in Newcastle where his son Alexander had a store and blacksmith shop and owned the first Newcastle-Chatham Head steam ferry. He was still living there in 1861, but his last home was in Chatham.

Fraser was the principal school trustee at Chatham Head in the 1820s and 30s. In 1847 he was named a justice of the peace, and his appointment was renewed in 1855. He was one of the leading figures in the militia, being appointed a captain in the 1st Battalion in 1822, a major in 1835, and lieutenant colonel and commanding officer in 1837. He remained in charge of the battalion until his death, some twenty-nine years later. On the day of his funeral, "as a mark of respect," the Chatham Rifles turned out and escorted his remains to the grave.

Fraser and his wife, Catherine, who died in 1842, at age thirty-nine, had seven children. One of their daughters was Margaret Fraser, the second wife of William M. Kelly. Their son James Fraser, who was said to have been a lawyer, died in a Moncton hotel room in 1878. In 1888 their two surviving sons, Alexander and Edward Fraser, were living in New Zealand.

Sources

[m] City Gazette 11 Jul 1822 [d] Telegraph 2 Jan 1867 / Advance 25 Apr 1878; Advocate 30 Jul 1884 (obituary of James Reid), 20 Jan 1897 (letter of William Russell, Jr.); Can. Parl. Guide 1883 (re. Hon. James Fraser); Cooney (H); Facey-Crowther; Ganong Collection (NB settlements); Gleaner 25 May 1847, 19 Jun 1849, 3 Nov 1851, 11 Aug 1855, 9 Jul 1859 (re. steam ferries); NB Courier 29 Jan 1842; PANB (probate file re. Annie Fraser, 1888)


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