Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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ANDERSON, WILLIAM STAFFORD, lumber company head and MLA; b. Burnt Church, 16 Feb 1884, s/o William Anderson and Janet Sewell; brother of Walter Douglas Anderson; m. 1910, Huldah Helen Jane Morrison, d/o James Morrison and Margaret R. Young, of Burnt Church; d. Newcastle, 28 Mar 1980.

After attending the County Grammar School and the Saint John Business College, W. Stafford Anderson entered the family's lumber manufacturing and shipping business at Burnt Church. Five years later, in 1908, he formed W. S. Anderson & Co. At first this firm cut white birch in the vicinity of Ludlow village for shipment to Britain for use in the manufacture of spools for threads and twines. In 1916 Anderson built a spoolwood processing mill at Ludlow. It was destroyed by fire three years later, but in the early 1920s he had both spoolwood and long lumber mills on the North branch of the Cains River. In 1931 the W. S. Anderson Co. had one long lumber mill and three spoolwood mills in operation at different locations along the Miramichi.

In 1922 Anderson bought the former Canadian Gear Works property in Newcastle and opened the Anderson Manufacturing Co., a year-round sawmill business which was a subsidiary of W. S. Anderson & Co. In 1924 he took up residence in the town to join his brother Walter D. Anderson in the operation of the plant, while continuing to pursue his business interests elsewhere. Until the mid 1960s W. S. Anderson & Co., of which spoolwood remained an important product, had operations based at Chipman, N.B., and Loon Bay, Nfld, as well as in Newcastle. Anderson had various other business involvements, including a partnership in the 1920s and 30s in the MacTavish-Anderson Motor Co.

Anderson ran successfully as a Liberal in the provincial election of 1930 and was returned with strong voter support in the next four general elections, retaining a seat until his retirement from politics in 1956. He became a member of the cabinet of Premier A. Allison Dysart in 1935, at which time he was named chairman of the New Brunswick Electric Power Commission. He held the chairmanship until 1938, when he was appointed minister of public works. He kept the public works portfolio for the duration of Premier Dysart's term and throughout the premiership of John B. McNair; that is, until the Liberals were defeated by the Conservatives under Hugh John Flemming in 1952. The Anderson Bridge, across the North West Miramichi, attests to his success, as minister of public works, in having a modern highway bridge built to replace the Sinclair Bridge, which was destroyed by fire in 1947. An even more important political accomplishment of his from a Miramichi perspective was the successful lobbying which he did to have Chatham selected as the site for a military airfield. Construction of CFB Chatham began in 1940, and the base was opened in 1941.

Anderson possessed "an enormous capacity for hard work," as well as exceptional intellectual and personal qualities. These were reflected in his singular success in business and politics and in almost everything else that he attempted in life. In 1950 he was president of the Highland Society. In 1977 he was made a Freeman of the town of Newcastle. He was a member of the Masonic order and the United Church. He and his wife, Huldah H. J. Morrison, had four sons and three daughters. Their son J. Ernest Anderson served for a number of months as commanding officer of the North Shore Regiment in World War II and was later deputy minister of youth and welfare for New Brunswick. Their daughter Margaret J. Anderson, a Newcastle businesswoman, was named to the Senate of Canada in 1978 and sat until her retirement in 1994.


[b] Can. Who's Who 1948 [m] World 15 Oct 1910 [d] News 2 Apr 1980 / Advocate 23 Nov 1916, 11 Feb 1919, 12 Dec 1922; Bird; Commercial World 15 Dec 1960; Graves; Hist. Spoolwood Making; Leader 6 Jul 1956, 27 Jul 1977, 29 Mar 1978; Hist. Highland Soc.; Lee, A.; Martin; PPNB; PMC