Meductic

Park at the Village of Meductic

Meductic

Meductic is a small village located along the Saint John River approximately 33 kilometers southeast of Woodstock

Old Meductic Consolidated School Grades 1-12
Old Meductic Consolidated School Grades 1-12

The Meductic Indian Village / Fort Meductic was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1924 due to its significance as the primary Maliseet First Nation settlement from before the 17th century until the mid-18th century, as well as an important fur trading center during the Acadians’ influence.

Situated on a plateau beside the Saint John River, west of the Eel River, the fortified village of Meductic was established by the Maliseet First Nation. The lowlands surrounding the plateau became fertile farmland each spring, and the nomadic Maliseet would visit the site to plant and harvest corn. The French settlers, who allied with the Iroquois, Maliseet, and Penobscot, fought against the English-backed Mohawk for control of the valuable territory. To defend against the Mohawk, the Maliseet built a fort on the plateau.

By the end of the 17th century, Meductic was home to a Jesuit mission and incorporated into a French seigneury. The mission transformed the village, and by 1760, the Maliseet had abandoned Meductic to settle elsewhere. The early settlers arrived in the area via the Saint John River and established a village near Eel River, which eventually adopted the name Meductic.

The first settlers to come to this area found no highways or railroads on which to travel. They came up the Saint John River, cleared the land, built log homes, planted their crops and, despite the hardships, reared their families. It was common for a town or village to spring up where a tributary flowed into the river. This is true of a village that formed near Eel River and was known as eel River. Later in the 18th century the name was changed to Meductic. 

Meductic Bridge

In 1785 there were 33 men, 14 women and 22 children, all of whom were destined to work hard on the land they were to occupy, and to face the severe winter that followed. The regiment made use of a house, which is thought to be the same house in which Russell Cummings lived. 

Russell Cummings House

In the late summer of 1786, some of the settlers of Meductic who had begun to clear their lands in the spring were surprised by an early and uncommon frost that foretold of an unexpected early snow. This halted their progress of clearing and also destroyed crops. The Lieutenant Governor from Fredericton ordered provisions be sent to these indigent and unfortunate people. 

Meductic Train Station
Meductic Train Station

In 1845 the first regular steamboat service, which would pass through Meductic, was established. In 1864, a Baptist Church was organized for the people of the community. In 1883 a pastor was hired who received $1.00 a month for wages. 

Meductic United Baptist Church 1931
Meductic United Baptist Church 1931

By 1896 the village was growing and several business establishments existed in Meductic, some of which included a millinery shop, a blacksmith and a gristmill.

Theoplois Edwards built the millinery shop for his daughter. He previously used the store as a shoe shop where he made shoes for all ages. Since the factories could make them and sell them at a low price, it forced him out of business. He changed the shop into a general store and it later housed the village post office. It burned in 1930.

The Abraham Marsten store was built by Abraham and Isaac Marsten who later sold it to Harry Foster. It burned around 1934. 

Marsten's Store Meductic

Dr. Turner was, for many years, the only country doctor within a radius of 12 miles. When he retired, he sold the house to Mrs. Flewelling who turned it into a nursing home. 

Dr. Turner House

Later she sold it to Bertram Cummings, and when he died it was left to his sons Ralph and Neil. They rented it as an apartment building.  

Neil Cummings & Ralph Cummings
Neil and Ralph Cummings

The Aberdeen Hotel was a two-storey building with a dining room, kitchen, sample rooms, men’s and ladies’ waiting rooms. It also housed the first telephone office of the village. It burned around 1916 or 1917.

The Cyrus Farnham watch and clock repair shop was first built and owned by a man named Brown. The house burned in June 1965. 

The A.J. Best Taylor Shop was first run by a man named McKay and then sold to Mr. best. The lower rear of the building was later used as a shoe store. 

A.J. Best Taylor Shop, Meductic
A.J. Best Taylor Shop, Meductic. From an old Tin Type.

Elisha Moore’s carriage factory and blacksmith shop was all in one building near the mouth of the Eel River. Elisha Moore invented the first peavey, and invention that was stolen from him as he didn’t have the money to patent it. He did pater patent the device for the motorman of a streetcar to throw the switch of the rails from the deck of the car. 

Meductic Train Bridge
Train bridge over Eel River in Meductic

Stanson’s Sawmill and Gristmill were run by waterpower from a dam on Eel River where both were located.

Despite several fires that destroyed many establishments in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the village continued to grow. In 1966, Meductic was incorporated as the smallest village in New Brunswick and gained global recognition with the arrival of the SABIAN Cymbal Factory.

Meductic is now a National Historic Site of Canada, with a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque and cairn located nearby on Fort Meductic Road.

Meductic / Fort Meductic Cairn

This is the original cairn placed by the river before the Mactaquac Dam was built. 

Original Fort Meductic Cairn

plaque on the original Fort Meductic Cairn

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4 thoughts on “Meductic

  1. In going though paperwork and pictures of my late parents Ernest & Glenna Brown, son of Donald Bruce Brown & grandson of Daniel Brown & great grandson of Jonathan & Rebecca (Cogswell) Brown of Lower Brighton. I found a picture of a home and on the bottom of the picture is says:”E.R. Stairs, Meductic”. I am trying to find any family member of this hotel/home. Please contact me at w3cas@aol.com

  2. Hello! I will be passing through in a few days, looking at some Lounsbury family genealogy. I have a listing for an ancestor being buried in “Lower Meductic Cemetery,” but I cannot find any information on such a cemetery online. Please, would someone help me find this place? Thank you!

    -Scott Lounsbury

  3. Thanks for the post. I can’t believe I lived there for almost 20 years and didn’t know half of that history.very interesting.

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