Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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MACKENZIE, JAMES DANIEL BAIN FRASER, pharmacist and militia officer; b. Pictou, N.S., 5 Mar 1855, s/o Colin Mackenzie and Margaret MacKenzie; m. 1884, Annie Miller McKay, d/o Neil McKay and Dolina McKay; d. Chatham, 27 Aug 1938.

J. D. B. Fraser Mackenzie, who was named in honor of the pioneering Pictou druggist James Daniel Bain Fraser, was one of three sons of a blockmaker in the shipbuilding yards at Pictou to enter the field of pharmacy. After attending Pictou Academy he worked as a drug clerk, and he was a qualified professional by the summer of 1880, when he left Nova Scotia to open a new drug store in Chatham.

Being a single man, Mackenzie resided at first in the boarding house kept by his fellow-Pictonian Alexander McN. Marshall. One of his friends in this period was an itinerant dentist, Dr M. C. Clark, who was a part-time resident of nearby Canada House, and he admitted the young dentist into his business as a minor partner. It was undoubtedly an embarrassment to him in 1881 when Clark absconded, leaving a trail of debts behind him. However, Mackenzie continued on his own and was soon numbered among the town's most successful merchants.

In 1882 Mackenzie installed at "Medical Hall," as his pharmacy was called, an elaborate new contrivance which had been shipped to Chatham from Boston. It was built of "Tennessee marble with white Italian marble panels" and nickel-plated moldings. It had ten syrup cans lined with glass and three draft taps. It was the first soda fountain to reach the Miramichi. In 1883 he added an aquarium, with turtles and an alligator imported from Florida. Medical Hall remained at its original site until 1892, when it was dismantled and moved to the new Hocken Block on Water Street in Chatham, where a drug store has been conducted from that date to the present.

In 1884 Mackenzie was a founder and the first president of the New Brunswick Pharmaceutical Society. He was honored at the society's fiftieth anniversary celebrations in 1934 as the only charter member still in business. Meanwhile, he served a term as president of the Canadian Pharmaceutical Society. He was a member of the board of directors of Dalhousie University, which conducted the only college of pharmacy in the Maritimes, and for many years he taught pharmacology in the nurses' training program at the Miramichi Hospital.

Mackenzie joined the militia in Nova Scotia in response to the first Riel Rebellion of 1878-79. In 1886 he was admitted to the Miramichi's 73rd Battalion as a second lieutenant, and he remained an active member for more than forty years. In 1904 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and appointed commanding officer of the battalion. At the same time, he was made an aide-de-camp to Lieut. Gov. Jabez B. Snowball. He was commanding officer of the 73rd for five years. Later, as commander of the 16th Infantry Brigade, he led the force which seized the privately-owned Wireless Station at Newcastle after the outbreak of World War I. This action was taken to ensure that the station could not be used by agents of the enemy, and to make it available to the Canadian military. He retired from the militia in the fall of 1914.

Mackenzie invested in the Miramichi Steam Navigation Co., of which John P. Burchill was president, and was a member of the board of directors in 1913. He was instrumental in the creation of the first telephone service for the Chatham public in 1887 and was a founding director of the amalgamated Chatham Electric Light Co. and Miramichi Telephone Exchange in 1888. From the time of the town's incorporation in 1896 until his death in 1938 he was a Chatham school trustee. With Philip Cox, James McG. Baxter, and others he was a charter member of the Miramichi Natural History Association, and he held the presidency in 1906-07. He was the first noble grand of the IOOF lodge which was established at Chatham in 1882. He was a member of the Highland Society, the Masons, and the Presbyterian church.

Mackenzie's wife, Annie M. McKay, predeceased him by nine years. He was survived by a daughter and by two sons: Norman A. Mackenzie, and F. Arthur Mackenzie. The latter was his successor in business, but within a year the drug store was sold to Walter J. C. Scott.


[b/d] official death records [m] World 8 Nov 1884 / Advance 3 Jun 1880, 26 May 1904; Advocate 19 Jun 1929, 31 Aug 1938; Bird; Fraser (C); Kee; Leader 11 Nov 1992, 19 Jul 1994, 20 Jun 1995; MacMillan; PANB (microfilm of an obituary on F11840); scrapbook #93; Stewart; World 21 Jun 1882, 1 Jul 1882, 2 Jun 1883, 1 May 1886, 12 Oct 1887, 17 Mar 1909, 25 Jan 1913, 9 Dec 1914