Canadian Heritage

Historical Vignettes

In 1905, Donald Fraser and his two sons Archibald and Donald Jr., Thomas and William Matheson as well as Andrew Brebner constituted the F & M Lumber company.

Working in the Mill: From the Forest to the City

In 1911, the F & M Lumber Company became Fraser Limited and bought James Murchie & Son Company's cutting rights as well as the sawmill located in Edmundston. Fraser then bought several cutting rights and other sawmills in New Brunswick as well as in Quebec. In 1917, a federal charter combined all of the Fraser interests under the name Fraser Companies Limited; Archibald Fraser (see historical vignette # 4) assumed the presidency. A year later, the assets of the company were in constant growth. It also made a remarkable entrance in the pulp and paper sector after the construction of its Edmundston pulp mill.3

This industrial development also brought other changes to the Madawaska region, demographically, geographically, and economically. That's how the population spread rapidly around the mill. "After all, it is prosperity for the little town of Edmundston whose population increases from 1821 in 1911 to 4035 in 1921."4 Certain people would go from being farmers to becoming urbanites and day labourers after the construction of the Fraser mills.

The population of north western New Brunswick mainly live from agriculture and the forest industry. Forestry assures work not only to the lumberjacks and the river drivers but also to a large number of town people in the Edmundston region where the Fraser company mill is situated.5