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Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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TWEEDIE, LEMUEL JOHN (1849-1917)

TWEEDIE, LEMUEL JOHN, lawyer, MLA; premier and lieutenant governor of New Brunswick; b. Chatham, 30 Nov 1849, s/o Joseph Tweedy, a native of Co. Leitrim, Ireland, and Catherine (McGeary) Easton, a native of Prince Edward Island; m. 1876, Agnes Loudoun, d/o Alexander Loudoun and Mary Wyse; d. Chatham, 15 Jul 1917.

Lemuel John Tweedie was a grandson of Robert Tweedy, the leader of a small group of Irish Methodist families which settled at Williamstown in 1822, but he was born and raised in Chatham, where his parents made their home from the time of their marriage. His father sometimes worked as a laborer and sometimes as a colporteur, or Bible salesman. His mother was a former schoolteacher.

Tweedie attended the County Grammar School and the Presbyterian Academy in Chatham and studied law with John M. Johnson and William Wilkinson. He was admitted to the bar in 1871 and maintained a law practice in Chatham for the rest of his life. In 1874 he won a seat in the House of Assembly on the issue of free, non-sectarian schools, which he favored. He was defeated in the election of 1878 but was re-elected in 1886 and in the six subsequent elections, retaining his seat continuously until 1907.

After the general election of 1890 Tweedie was the leader of four Conservative opposition members from Northumberland County, all of whom were persuaded to cross the floor in return for a promise from the Liberal government to lower stumpage fees on lumber cut on crown land. Tweedie was rewarded personally in the so-called "Northumberland Deal" with an appointment as surveyor general of the province. He had this portfolio until 1896, when he became provincial secretary in the administration of Premier James Mitchell. He was provincial secretary throughout Mitchell's term and that of Premier Henry B. Emmerson, and indeed throughout his own tenure as premier, which extended from 1900 to 1907. He resigned the premiership on 5 March 1907 in order to be appointed to succeed Jabez B. Snowball as lieutenant governor.

Tweedie was an astute lawyer and businessman and one of the ablest and most popular political figures in New Brunswick history, but he did not permit himself to become totally absorbed by provincial concerns. Throughout his career he continued to participate in the affairs of the Miramichi community. In 1882 he was one of the incorporators of the World Publishing Co. of Chatham. In 1894 he was a director of the Miramichi Steam Navigation Co. He fished for salmon for sport and was a guest in 1889 at Camp Adams, the hideaway which Michael Adams owned on the Northwest Miramichi. He was an early proponent of wildlife conservation and served a term as president of the North American Fish & Game Protective Association. He was equally interested in agricultural development and occupied the office of president of the Miramichi Exhibition Association from 1904 to 1911. He was a member of the Masonic order and a "generous supporter" of St Andrew's Presbyterian Church.

Tweedie was interested in education and served as a trustee of one of the small Chatham school districts in the early 1880s. In later years he donated prizes for students and served on the governing boards of the University of New Brunswick, Mount Allison University, and the Halifax School for the Blind. In 1904 the University of New Brunswick awarded him an honorary LLD degree.

A highlight of Tweedie's life came in 1902 when he and his wife, Agnes Loudoun, were presented to King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra at St James's Palace in London. There were four sons and two daughters in the family, of whom only Frederick M. Tweedie displayed an interest in politics and public life.

Sources

[b] Can. Encycl. [m] Advocate 13 Dec 1876 [d] World 18 Jul 1917 / Advance 20 Jan 1881, 8 Aug 1889, 11 Jan 1894; Doyle; Fraser (C); Graves; Hamilton (NE); MacMillan; Morgan; PPNB; World 22 Mar 1882, 25 Jan 1905


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