Archives provinciales du Nouveau-Brunswick

Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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CROCKER, TIMOTHY W. (1843-1934)

CROCKER, TIMOTHY W., land surveyor and fish processing and shipping company head; b. Derby, 8 Oct 1843, s/o Rowland Crocker and Margaret Parker; m. 1875, Mary Isabel Betts, d/o Jared Betts and Ann Clouston; d. Newcastle, 18 Apr 1934.

Timothy W. Crocker and his younger brother Hugh P. Crocker started a fish dealership in Derby parish in 1864. Soon afterwards, they entered the fish exporting business, with their headquarters on the Newcastle waterfront. In 1868 Timothy Crocker qualified as a New Brunswick land surveyor. 'Crocker Settlement', which he surveyed in 1876 north of Newcastle, was to be a free grant settlement, but it was never occupied. For about fifteen years he alternated seasonally between the two occupations and then became a full-time businessman. The Crockers were among the first to ship fresh fish on ice to overseas markets, and their firm emerged as a leader in that branch of the industry. In the 1870s cargoes of fresh fish from a site which they owned on Fox Island were transported by schooner to Shediac, and from there by rail to Saint John, for shipment to British and European destinations.

In 1879, T. & H. P. Crocker shipped over 88,000 pounds of fresh salmon. This was much the largest quantity shipped by any of the twenty-four Miramichi firms which were catering to the fresh salmon market that year and represented roughly twenty per cent of the total. The brothers were also the principal shippers of fresh mackerel in 1879 and one of the four leading shippers of smelts. In 1880 they sent a consignment of frozen salmon to Britain from Halifax, "as a feeler for the market," and throughout the decade of the 1880s they were supplying both fresh and frozen salmon to the Liverpool market, in particular. At the same time, they were doing their part to help supply the American and central Canadian markets.

In 1886 Crocker bought out his brother's interest in the partnership and formed the T. W. Crocker Co. At around this time he had a steamer built for business and personal use which was named the BESSIE, in honor of his daughter. His company continued to be successful over the long term, producing a good deal of employment, both along the Miramichi and in branch operations as far-flung as Dalhousie Junction, N.B., and Pictou, N.S. He invested in several other businesses as well, including the World Publishing Co. and the Miramichi Black Fox Co., of which Dr Bliss A. Marven was president.

Crocker and his wife, Mary I. Betts, lived first at Millerton and then at Newcastle. Their talented family consisted of four sons, including R. Waldo Crocker, and two daughters: Bessie C. P. Crocker and M. Florence Crocker. After studying music for several years in Germany, Florence Crocker married Henry T. Ball of Rock Island, Que. She and her husband were the parents of Henrietta Ball, the second wife of Sir Frederick Banting.


[b] Advocate 11 Oct 1933 [m] official records [d] Leader 20 Apr 1934 / Advance 4 Mar 1880; Advocate 17 Dec 1868, 26 Aug 1869, 11 Jun 1873, 30 Apr 1879, 10 Dec 1879, 7 Jan 1880, 14 Jan 1880, 2 Jun 1886, 27 May 1908, 23 Aug 1910, 25 Apr 1934; Encycl. Can. (re. Frederick G. Banting); Leader 5 Mar 1909, 3 Oct 1913, 24 Aug 1977, 15 Nov 1978; Rayburn; World 22 Mar 1882