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Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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BOIES, THOMAS (1789-1861)

BOIES, THOMAS, founder of Boiestown; lumberman, mill owner, and farmer; b. Bedford, N.H., 27 Sep 1789, s/o John Boies and Mary Parker; m. 1st, Susan Martin, and 2nd, 1823, Mary Ann McBean, of St Mary's parish, York Co., N.B.; d. near Boiestown, 7 Aug 1861.

Thomas Boies arrived on the Upper Southwest Miramichi in 1820, at age thirty-one. He hailed from Madison, Me, and was possessed of the necessary capital and know-how to create one of the largest farms in the province, build carding, grist, and saw mills, and conduct agricultural and lumbering operations on a large scale. He built a school, chapel, and hotel. He sold farm produce, tools, rum, and imported goods to the lumberers whom he employed in the woods, and he ate, gambled, and otherwise associated with them and others in such a way as to make his house "a kind of rallying point."

In brief, Boies was successful in creating a 'company town' which flourished for a number of years and adopted his name. He was in financial distress by 1836, however, and in spite of efforts made by Joseph Cunard, Thomas H. Peters, and others to help him, he lost his business in 1840 through a suit brought in the Supreme Court of New Brunswick by Gilmour, Rankin & Co. After his fall he moved to Taxis River, in nearby York County, and later to Parker's Ridge.

A traveller from Britain who stopped at the Boies farm in the 1840s described him as "an American of about sixty years of age and full of speculations of all kinds." A visitor from New Hampshire who met him in the summer of 1860 marvelled at his ability to remember everything that had happened over the past forty years, and to narrate events "by a flow of language which never halts, accompanied by a series of winks and significant nods." "The only drawback," he stated, "is that he punctuates the narrative as he goes along, by giving the listener any number of nudges with his elbow, and as the story increases in interest, the commas and colons are put in with greater force, [until] you feel the necessity of giving him sufficient elbow room."

There were eleven or more children from Boies's two marriages. Sanford Boies, a son of his marriage to Susan Martin, was the Baptist minister at Keswick when he died in 1843, at age thirty. James Parker Boies, a son of his marriage to Mary Ann McBean, perpetuated the surname at Parker's Ridge.

Sources

[b/d] Boies family data [m] official records / Gleaner 5 Jan 1836, 26 Jan 1836, 12 Apr 1836, 10 May 1836, 28 Jun 1836, 20 Dec 1836, 22 Sep 1840, 22 Apr 1843, 18 Aug 1860; MacKinnon; Spencer; Spencer research


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