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Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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JARDINE, ROBERT (1819-1875)

JARDINE, ROBERT, militia officer and innkeeper; b. Dumfriesshire, Scotland, c1798; m. at Kingsclear, N.B., 1819, Glorannah Reed; d. Indiantown, 10 Feb 1875.

Robert Jardine came to the province around 1818, and after his marriage he settled on a farm at Indiantown. He was experiencing serious financial problems in the early 1830s but continued to own property. In his later years he sold patent medicines and took overnight guests into his home.

Jardine was a leading figure in the 2nd Battalion of militia, which was based at Derby between the 1820s and 1860s. He was appointed an ensign in 1830 and promoted to captain in 1836. In 1859 he became adjutant of the battalion. In December of that year a well-crafted letter in defense of militia policy appeared over his name in The Gleaner. He was promoted to major in 1861. In 1864 he was made a lieutenant colonel and commanding officer of the battalion. He relinquished command in 1868 but retained his rank in the retired provincial militia.

Jardine was a school trustee for Derby (then part of Nelson) parish in the late 1820s and early 30s. In 1844 he was one of twenty commissioners who carried out a 'grand inquest' into the conduct of magistrates and salaried officials in the county. Observations on his personality are found in an account published by a traveller from New Hampshire who stayed overnight at his place in 1860. During the evening in question "the Captain," as the guest referred to him, was in the company of "a comrade in arms...the adjutant of the 3rd." At first their conversation related to the militia, but as the night progressed the guest discovered that Jardine was "equal to any Yankee in the science of trading horses, swapping watches, selling waggons, or buying anything." "He told me," he wrote, "that he was a native of Dumfries, I think Ecclefechan, but I strongly suspect that he is from Connecticut."

In Jardine's old age, the overnight lodging business was improving, especially in May and June, as more and more anglers came to fish where the Renous River and Indiantown Brook empty into the Southwest Miramichi. Here sea trout weighing between a half-pound and five pounds were to be found in abundance, and 'the killer' which was used to hook and land them was the 'Indiantown fly' ("red body and hackle and white wing, tied on a pretty large trout hook"). Business was given a boost in the summer of 1875 when Call & Miller began to run the ANDOVER up the Southwest twice weekly. By then, Jardine's, with its "first rate icehouse," was the most popular lodging place on the river, and under the management of the "hospitable Frank Jardine," a son of the original owner, it continued to be the fisherman's home of choice for another thirty years or more.

Jardine and his wife, Glorannah Reed, raised ten children in all. Their son John F. Jardine was a hotel proprietor for some years in Chatham and Newcastle, operating, for brief periods in all cases, the Victoria, Metropolitan, Exchange, and Waverley hotels, the last of which burned down a few years after he bought it from Alexander Stewart. He later conducted a hotel in Campbellton which he also named the Waverley.

Sources

[m] Royal Gazette 14 Dec 1819 [d] Advocate 24 Sep 1875 / Advance 22 May 1879, 1 Apr 1880; Advocate 30 Jun 1875, 25 Jan 1888, and 19 Mar 1890, 22 Apr 1896; Bird; Facey-Crowther; Gleaner 28 Feb 1832, 28 Sep 1844, 26 Nov 1859, 10 Dec 1859, 20 Oct 1860, 5 Sep 1863, 11 Aug 1860; News 7 Oct 1981; World 25 Nov 1914


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