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CNHP - Alexander "Boss" Gibson - Fredericton, NB
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member BK-Hunters
N 45° 57.477 W 066° 37.481
19T E 684063 N 5092118
Quick Description: Mounted along the North Riverfront Trail in Fredericton, this is a plaque that will only be seen by walkers, joggers, bikers and alert Waymarkers.
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Date Posted: 4/17/2016 12:11:35 AM
Waymark Code: WMQYXQ
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Weathervane
Views: 2

Long Description:
Mounted on a large polished granite slab, this plaque was placed to honour entrepreneur Alexander "Boss" Gibson, lumber and cotton magnate and railway baron. This plaque appears originally to have been mounted in Carleton Park, possibly a half kilometre north of its present location. It is now just north of Nashwaak Trail, along North Riverfront Trail, and about 50 metres east of the east end of the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge, the old railway bridge across the St. John River.

A native of New Brunswick, Gibson was born August 1, 1819 in or near St Andrews, N.B. and died August 14, 1913 in Fredericton. A giant of a man, in both physical and entrepreneurial stature, Gibson was responsible for a greater collection of advancements and improvements in New Brunswick during his lifetime than anyone. See excerpts from his biography below.

Lumber and railway baron and generous benefactor, Gibson was a pivotal figure in the economy of the Maritimes at a time of transformation and integration within the national economy. A leading entrepreneur in mid-to- late 19th-century New Brunswick, he diversified from lumbering into the cotton industry, leading to the further development of Marysville as one of Canada's first model company towns. Like many Maritime entrepreneurs, his business foundered under the overproduction fostered by the National Policy. Nonetheless, New Brunswick's "Lumber King" left an important legacy of railway and industrial infrastructure in his province.

From the CNHS Plaque

...He grew into an exceptionally tall and powerful man, a red-bearded giant of “very striking” appearance and “fine bearing,” an obituarist noted, able to dominate others by his physical appearance and with a desire to excel in everything he touched. When well past middle age he would boast that “there was nothing in connection with the lumber business that he could not do better than any man he employed.” Starting initially as a labourer, he moved on to become a skilled sawyer and then manager in water-powered sawmills in Milltown, since called “the most strikingly industrialized landscape in the province.”

By 1847 he had acquired a modest property, and over the next decade he came to be described in land records as “millman,” “lumberman,” “merchant,” and “yeoman,” this last designation indicating that by his mid thirties he had added farming to his other activities, but his particular strength lay in his mastery of the skills needed to manage water-power and exploit the new technology of gang saws introduced in Milltown in the 1840s...

...Gibson was a director of the Fredericton Railway Company, incorporated in 1866, and a member of the group which incorporated the New Brunswick Railway Company in 1870. When the promoters of the latter company, Henry George Clopper Ketchum* and John James Fraser*, failed in attempts to raise capital in England, Gibson promised to finance a quarter of the project and assumed the presidency in 1872. The company received 1,647,772 acres of crown land, 10,000 acres per mile, for building and operating a narrow-gauge railway on the eastern bank of the Saint John River. This “Gibson Line” reached Edmundston in 1878, with spur lines to Fort Fairfield and Caribou in Maine and bridges across the Saint John at Woodstock, Perth (Perth-Andover), and Grand Falls. The interchange with river traffic was at Gibson, where the company had a roundhouse, machine shops, and a freight yard...

...Throughout his life he was a man apart who marched to his own drummer. No one in the history of the province ever matched him in gaining private possession of crown land, yet in 1874 he offended his fellow lumber barons by coming to the rescue of the provincial government in its attempt to restore stumpage duties on wood cut on crown land. When lumbermen in the northeast, who unlike those in the south did not control extensive freeholds, refused to participate in an auction of timber limits, Gibson stepped in and acquired a number of choice lots. They then agreed to pay the fees...

Marysville, still recognizably his town, is now incorporated into Fredericton. The cotton mill continued in production for more than four decades after his death and the building survives, a national historic site restored as government offices with a larger-than-life statue of the Boss in the foyer. Charles Henry Lugrin, founder, proprietor, and editor of the Fredericton Daily Herald from 1882 to 1892, a newspaper closely identified with Gibson especially in its early years, gave this summary of his character: “A very shy man . . . [he] appeared to live in a world apart from others. . . . Beneath his stern . . . exterior, this keen and indefatigable business man hid the soul of a poet. . . . Some men loved him; many men esteemed him; more men feared him; no man understood him. He probably did not even understand himself.”
Read more at Biographi Canada


Photo goes Here

Classification: National Historic Person

Province or Territory: New Brunswick

Location - City name/Town name: Fredericton

Link to Parks Canada entry (must be on www.pc.gc.ca): [Web Link]

Link to HistoricPlaces.ca: Not listed

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