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John Fogan

Born Born 1811 Ireland
Died Died 1891 New Brandon, Gloucester Co., New Brunswick
Married Married 13 April 1836 Mary Haskett at Bathurst, New Brunswick


  • Father: unknown
  • Mother: unknown


Johnís Early Years

John arrived in New Brunswick from Nova Scotia in 1831. His original birthplace is uncertain but likely it was in the old country, in Ireland. He worked in the forest industry, as the 1881 census lists his occupation as a lumberman.

John and Mary

Mary Haskett originally came from England or perhaps Tipperary and arrived in New Brunswick in 1822.

After marrying John Fogan in Bathurst A on April 13, 1836, she and John stayed in the area, raising a family of four sons and one daughter. Sometime after James was born, the family move on to Chatham, some ninety miles south, as they are shown there on the 1851 census.

Lumbermen were vital to the growing Miramichi industry of shipbuilding, and John may have been involved in the harvesting of timber for the Cunard ship business based in Chatham, although it was in decline by that decade. Some background on Joseph Cunard is covered in the footnotes.

Mary died in Chatham on August 4, 1852 at the age of 39, just two years after James was born. Subsequently John moved the family back to Bathurst, although it seems the family was unable to stay together and infant James was left in the care of a Chatham family, adopted (per 1861 census) into the home of Thomas Brooks in Newcastle, across the river from Chatham.

The Final Years for John

John Fogan lived out his years in Gloucester County, first in Bathurst where his daughter Mary Ann was married, then later moving to the coastal village of New Bandon. He is shown in the 1881 census as living with another widower and family, a James Ellis. John passed away in New Bandon ten years later in 1891.


NOTE A: "FOGGAN, John married Mary Haskett of bathurst on Apr. 12/1836."
Per: Irene's Genealogy and History site (lacks citations).

Court Case

Memorial of a Judgement: of Richard BLACKSTOCK and James JOHNSON (plaintiffs); case (slashed-L) 23-10-9; versus Robert MOLSUN and John FOGAN (defendants); Fredericton, March 13, 1839; no. 198, page 217.
- per "Abstracts of Register, Gloucester County, Volume III, 1838-1842" by Donat Robichaud, published 1987. Copy at Family History Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, Cat. 971.512 R28r V.3.

The Children of John Fogan

There is no subsequent record of young John or Peter (ages 6 and 3 in the Chatham census of 1851). They may have been adopted as was their younger brother, James.

Chatham Census of 1851

The census shows John Fogie, of Nova Scotia, labourer and his wife Mary, plus all the children, William, Mary Ann, John, Peter and James living in the east side of the town of Chatham.1

Joseph Cunard of Chatham

In the Miramichi's shipbuilding and timbering days of the 1830's and early 1840's, there was no one riding higher than Halifax-born Joseph Cunard. But in 1847, when economic depression and personal recklessness combined to end his financial empire, it was Cunard's employees - loggers, shipbuilders, office workers and shop clerks - who fell the hardest and suffered the longest.

Rapid Expansion: Joseph Cunard, born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1799, was the younger brother of Samuel Cunard, founder of the famous transatlantic steamship company. In 1820, in partnership with Samuel and another brother, Henry, Joseph purchased a wharf and store on the Miramichi River in Chatham, and was soon involved in lumbering, milling and shipping on the north side of the river. Throughout the 1830's, the Cunard empire grew rapidly to include several mills, brickworks, stores, a counting house, and at least 2 shipyards in Chatham. It spread to additional mills downriver, and stores in Shippagan, Kouchibouguac and Richibucto. In 1831, Cunard purchased stores, houses, and other buildings in Bathurst and began to ship timber. His company established shipyards in Chatham, Bathurst and Kouchibouguac; in Bathurst alone, Cunard commissioned the building of 43 vessels, including the 1846 Velocity, the first steamboat constructed on the Miramichi.

As his brothers gradually distanced themselves from the daily affairs of the central New Brunswick operations, Joseph strengthened his ties with Chatham and the Miramichi region. He became a justice of the peace, chair of the local Board of Health, commissioner of lighthouses, and a representative to the New Brunswick government, first as an elected Member of the House of Assembly, then as an appointed member of the Executive Council. Cunard was also the owner of Middle Island, site of a quarantine station for arriving immigrants; in 1848, he unsuccessfully opposed plans to move the station from Middle Island to Chatham.

Flamboyant Figure: As Cunard expanded his empire, he cultivated a larger-than-life public profile that matched his imposing physique. His Chatham home was lavish; peacocks roamed through his estate, and he rode to church in a luxurious coach, accompanied by footmen dressed in livery. In the manner of returning royalty, Cunard often arranged for cannons to salute and church bells to ring when he arrived home from transatlantic voyages. When Samuel Cunard succeeded in winning the contract to carry transatlantic mail by steamship, Joseph was given a rousing reception at home, by those who had yet to realize that steamships would spell an end to the Miramichi's shipbuilding prosperity. Cunard had many admirers, but he also had several enemies. He waged a long and bitter business and political battle with Alexander Rankin, another well-established Miramichi entrepreneur. Cunard and Rankin frequently clashed over timber reserves; their support for opposing political candidates in Northumberland County resulted in the "fighting elections" of 1843, when troops had to be sent in to restore order.

Corporate Collapse: Despite its large payroll and outward appearance of success, Joseph Cunard's financial empire was overextended and precarious. In 1842, a declining economy, relentless competition from Rankin, and a call of government loans pushed Cunard toward insolvency. His declaration of bankruptcy in November of 1847 resulted in a legendary public confrontation, in which Cunard, faced with an angry crowd of unemployed workers, is said to have brandished 2 pistols and demanded: "Now show me the man who will shoot Cunard."

Lingering Effects: The crowd dispersed, but 500 -1,000 people had lost their jobs. Some moved away from the area, and others, who ran small businesses that depended on Cunard's payroll, also went bankrupt. The devastating effects of Cunard's business failure were felt in the Miramichi region until shipbuilding revived in the 1850's. Cunard went on to found a new shipping business in Liverpool, England, and to continue his comfortable lifestyle. His New Brunswick debts were finally settled by his brother Samuel in 1871.

- quoted from website "The Miramichi River"

Canada Census of 1881

Person Sex Status Age Born Religion Occupation
ELLIS, James M widowed 30 New Brunswick Ch England farmer
Robena Ann F   6 New Brunswick Ch England  
Herbert James M   1 New Brunswick Ch England  
FOGAN, John M widowed 70 New Brunswick C. Presbyterian lumberman
- Canada 1881 Census for New Brandon, Gloucester Co., New Brunswick, District 36, Subdistrict C, page 48, household #167.


  1. Chatham, New Brunswick history website

-- JimBenedict - 30 Apr 2006
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