Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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CLELAND, BENJAMIN JOHNSTON, businessman; b. Mount Albert, Ont., 1887, s/o James Barr Cleland and Mary Ann Johnston; m. Alice Muriel Kierstead, of St Stephen, N.B.; d. Moncton, 11 May 1964.

Benjamin J. Cleland began his working life as a bank employee, and while still in his twenties he was a branch manager in Saskatchewan. He entered the lumber business in the Maritimes in 1914 and was head of a company in Nova Scotia before coming to the Miramichi in 1936.

It was Cleland who brought the pit prop industry to region. By sending a trial shipment of slender jack pine logs to Britain in 1937 for use in the mines, he opened up a market for large quantities of this timber to be exported from Newcastle, Chatham, Richibucto, Caraquet, and other ports in the three Maritime provinces. For many years, the British Canadian Pitwood Co., which he founded, was the principal firm engaged in this trade.

Other businesses founded by Cleland included the Cleland Lumber Co., Cleland Construction, Cleland Motors, Cleland Plumbing & Heating, and Cleland Propane.

Cleland raised purebred cattle at "Woodburn Farm," the former home of Henry Cunard, where he and his family resided. He was a sports enthusiast and held a life membership in the Miramichi Golf and Country Club. He was survived in 1964 by his wife, Alice M. Kierstead, three daughters, and three sons.


Leader 15 and 22 May 1964