Archives provinciales du Nouveau-Brunswick

Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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SALTER, WILLIAM (1798-1874)

SALTER, WILLIAM, businessman, Indian commissioner, and militia officer; b. Halifax, 4 Apr 1798, s/o Benjamin Salter Sr and Susanna Fillis; m. 1st, 1818, Susan Rogers, and 2nd, 1824, Mary Caroline Millet, of Halifax; d. Newcastle, 24 Dec 1874.

William Salter was a grandson of Malachy Salter, a native of Boston who became a leading merchant in Halifax after the founding of the city in 1749. William Salter's father, Benjamin Salter Sr, was also a Halifax merchant until his premature death in 1800.

Salter came to the Miramichi in 1825. Until 1827 he was a member of the merchandising firm of Salter, Robson & Salter, of which the senior partner was his older brother Benjamin Salter Jr. In 1827 he entered into a new partnership with John Robson alone, but this was dissolved in 1828. He continued on his own as an auctioneer and commission agent and was still in business in 1844.

In 1845 Salter was appointed commissioner of Indian reserves for Northumberland County, under legislation enacted the previous year. Although Edward Williston was also appointed a commissioner in 1849, Salter had the main responsibility for communicating legal and administrative information to the Indians and for keeping provincial authorities apprised of Indian activities and demands. He was regularly reappointed to this position until Confederation, when Indian affairs were transferred to the federal government. During part of the period in which he acted as an Indian commissioner he also worked as a fisheries warden.

Salter played an important part in the Northumberland County militia. In 1836 he was made a major in the 2nd Battalion. In 1844 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and appointed commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion, in the absence of Lieut. Col. James Gilmour. This position became his own in 1847, and he would appear to have occupied it until 1867, when his promotion to colonel was announced. This was evidently to be his rank in retirement.

Salter was a member of the Masonic order and the Anglican church. He and his second wife, M. Caroline Millet, were the parents of W. Millet Salter, and of at least five other children, most of whom died young.


[b] Salter family data [m] ibid.; Acadian Recorder 20 Nov 1824 [d] Advocate 6 Jan 1875 / Facey-Crowther; Gleaner 10 Aug 1844, 26 Oct 1844, 6 May 1845, 16 Mar 1847, 17 Jul 1849, 1 Mar 1852, 20 Apr 1867; Hamilton (JT); Mercury 9 Jan 1827, 26 Aug 1828


The birth date of 4 Apr 1798 was obtained indirectly from the Salter family Bible, which is in the possession of the Canadian business mogul Conrad Black, a Salter descendant. In certain other sources, Salter's baptism date of 6 May 1798 is shown as his birth date.