The Town of Woodstock is located in Carleton County that was incorporated in 1856. Woodstock is the shire town of Carleton County and New Brunswick’s first town. Woodstock is located at the mouth of the Meduxnekeag River, 103 km up the Saint John River from Fredericton.
The town’s name may have been inspired by the community of the same name in Oxfordshire, England. Woodstock’s development was initiated by the disbanded troops of Oliver Delancey’s second battalion. Despite its Loyalist tradition, the town’s ethnic makeup quickly changed, leading to a riot between members of the Loyal Orange Order and Roman Catholics in the mid-19th century.
According to local history, Aaron Putnam from New Salem, Massachusetts established the first store in Woodstock around 1805 near Bull’s Creek. He later moved to Houlton, Maine, after purchasing Daniel McSheffrey’s tavern and adding a store to the property. Shortly thereafter, Thomas Phillips opened his own store in Upper Woodstock.
The first frame house in Woodstock was built by Richard Smith’s son, with Rev. Frederick Dibblee documenting the event in his diary on November 9, 1805. Richard Smith went on to build a second frame house, and his father, Capt. Jacob Smith, built his own in 1811. In 1820, Major Joseph Treat was sent by Governor King of Maine to survey timber and timber cutting on the Penobscot and St. John rivers. His sketch map of Woodstock showed residences on both sides of the river, with the “Creek” on the upper bank of the Meduxnakeag and the “Corner” at the junction of the road to Canada and the road to Houlton. Richard, Benjamin, and Oliver Smith, along with George Bull, were noted as building a mill at the mouth of the Meduxnakeag. No other sawmills were mentioned in the area.
The Woodstock and Fredericton Stage Coach Company was incorporated on March 16, 1836. Although this may not confirm the start date of stage coach travel between Woodstock and Fredericton, as the Saint John Stage Coach Company and Fredericton Hotel and Stage Coach Company were also incorporated during the same month, regular stage coach service existed in southern New Brunswick as early as 1816. However, the Road to Canada between Fredericton and Woodstock still required travellers to cross and recross the St. John River by ferry as late as 1832, which may have delayed the implementation of a stage coach line.
Woodstock had become a hub of activity, with sawmills, tanneries, woodworking plants, harness shops, carriage factories, a woollen mill, a canning factory, and several foundries. However, the construction of a headpond for the Mactaquac Power project in the 1960s destroyed much of the town’s recreational area on Island Park in the Saint John River. New facilities have since been built to replace the lost recreational areas.
Today, Woodstock is a transportation hub and service center for the potato-farming industry, located at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and Interstate 95. It is also home to the New Brunswick Community College.
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