The John Wyse House on Shore Drive is recognized as a Local Historic Place for being the oldest dated structure in the city of Miramichi. Built before the Miramichi Fire of 1825, it stands as a testament to the city’s rich history.
Constructed by Scottish immigrant farmer John Wyse, who also operated a nearby ferry, this Georgian-style stone cottage has served multiple historic purposes. It functioned as a tavern, hotel, shop, and coroner’s inquest venue. In 1842, it became the Female School for Douglastown, where John’s daughter Susan taught.
The house also holds significance as a meeting place, particularly for two gatherings held in April 1843 that were related to the contentious Fighting Election of July 1843 in Newcastle. The election saw a fierce political rivalry between John T. Williston of Chatham (supported by local entrepreneur Joseph Cunard, brother of Samuel Cunard) and John Ambrose Street of Newcastle (backed by prominent lumber baron Alexander Rankin of Douglastown).
The Rankin and Cunard factions clashed in the streets of Newcastle and Chatham, using sticks, stones, coal, and other projectiles as weapons. The violent encounter resulted in one fatality and earned the event the moniker “The Fighting Election.” John Ambrose Street ultimately won the election.
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