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Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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MORRISON, ALEXANDER (1827-1904)

MORRISON, ALEXANDER, lumber company head and consular agent; b. Alnwick parish, 24 Aug 1827, s/o Finlay Morrison and Mary McDonald; m. 1859, Susan Duncan Chalmers, sister of John Chalmers; d. Morrison's Cove, 22 Mar 1904.

Alexander Morrison was employed as a clerk by Gilmour, Rankin & Co. from 1844 to 1857 and later conducted a lumber business of his own. In the 1860s he bought the "Springfield Steam Mill," west of Chatham, from Lestock P. W. Desbrisay of Richibucto. In the years that followed he manufactured lumber for shipment overseas and maintained a mercantile establishment at this site. Upriver he had substantial timber limits and carried on logging operations. In the interests of his business, he was a founding director of the North West Boom Co. in 1862 and played an important part in its management.

Morrison's firm was still flourishing in 1875 when he bought the barque Molilamo from the failed Miramichi Shipbuilding Co. and had it completed and launched. In 1877 twenty-three vessels took on lumber at his wharf, amounting to about ten per cent of the lumber shipments made from the Miramichi that year. Later, however, the business fell into decline. Sawmilling operations were concluded about 1885, and the millsite and its contents were advertised for sale in 1889. Besides a sawmill with "two Gates, Circulars, and Trimmers," the site had a retail store, office, carpenter's shop, blacksmith's shop, farmhouse and stables, and six dwelling houses for employees.

Morrison was appointed a captain in the 4th Battalion of militia in 1865. In 1867 he was named a commissioner of the Seamen's Hospital. In his later years he was the German consular agent for the four northeastern counties of New Brunswick. A personal charity of his for many years was to supply the firewood needed to heat the Hotel Dieu Hospital in Chatham.

The Union Advocate described Morrison as "a typical lumberman, brusque in manner, positive in his opinions, impatient of opposition or contradiction, asking no man's advice and seeking no favors." The Saint John Sun depicted him as one who inspired intense personal loyalty and "had bound to him 'as with hooks of steel' the many friends of his youth." He and his wife, Susan D. Chalmers, who predeceased him in 1900, had a daughter, M. Minnie Morrison, who was an oil painter. Prior to her marriage in 1894 to John G. Forrest of Boston she had an art studio in Chatham. One of her works was a painting of the wreck of the Queen of Hearts, the unlucky ship of Miramichi legend which was built by James Desmond in 1868 and lost at sea in the late 1880s.

Sources

[b] tombstone [m] Gleaner 1 Oct 1859 [d] Advocate 30 Mar 1904 / Advance 10 Jan 1889, 25 Apr 1889 (ad), 17 Aug 1893, 9 Aug 1900; Advocate 14 Nov 1877; Arbuckle (re. North West Boom Co.); Fraser (C); Gleaner 12 Sep 1863, 9 Sep 1865, 9 Mar 1867; Manny (Ships); Manny index (re. Mrs John G. Forrest); official records (re. Morrison/ Forrest marriage, 5 Dec 1894); St Michael's Museum (re. HDH firewood); World 30 Aug 1882, 14 Jan 1905


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