Village of Rexton

Village of Rexton Municipal office

Village of Rexton

Located along the Richibucto River, the Village of Rexton was initially inhabited by the Mi’kmaq First Nations, with many descendants still living in the nearby Elsipogtog First Nation, formerly known as the Big Cove Band. Acadian settlers colonized the surrounding area in the 18th century, including Bouctouche, Miramichi, and Richibucto Village.

Between 1787 and 1810, after the Expulsion of the Acadians, most French settlers were permitted to reclaim and settle on their original sites near the Richibucto River’s mouth. Communities like Richibouctou-Village emerged from this resettlement. English, Scottish, and Irish settlers arrived later, settling further along the Richibucto River. Many Irish Protestants came to work at the Jardine Shipbuilding Yards around 1819 and eventually cleared enough land to receive grants following the 1820s survey by Mr. Layton in the Molus River area of Weldford Parish.

The majority of Scottish settlers arrived on two ships, the Dickies, captained by Simon Graham, and the Isabella, helmed by Captain Thomas Carruthers.

Throughout the 19th century, fishing, lumbering, and shipbuilding industries thrived. The first bridge over the Richibucto River was completed in 1850, enhancing commerce and communication in the region.

Aerial view of bridge over the Richibucto River, August 1931
Aerial view of bridge over the Richibucto River, August 1931. Photo: NB Provincial Archives P197-320

John Jardine is credited with founding the Village of Rexton when he built there in 1825. Initially named Kingston, it was renamed Rexton in 1901 by replacing “King” with its Latin equivalent, “Rex.” Jardine was a typical Scottish settler, with many pioneers hailing from Annan, Galloway, and other regions in the shires of Dumfries and Kircudbright.

The abundance of white pine led to the development of a significant milling operation and a shipbuilding industry, second only to Saint John’s.

Rexton is also the birthplace of Andrew Bonar Law, the only British prime minister born outside the British Isles.

Andrew Bonar Law Homestead in Rexton
Andrew Bonar Law Homestead in Rexton

William John Bowser, Premier of British Columbia (1915–1916), was born in Rexton as was former Premier of New Brunswick, Shawn Graham

MacNarin Park Rexton NB

MacNarin Park is named after the MacNarin sisters. Harriet married K. C. Irving of Bouctouche and they had three sons. In 1966 the Harriet Irving Library at the University of New Brunswick was named in her honour. 

The Mast, Rexton NB

To preserve the history of the Richibucto River, “The Masts” was created. It represent a beached tall ship patterned after the “Ellen Douglas”. Folklore suggests it was the first square-rigged ship built at the Rexton Yard in 1819. 

The Mast, Rexton

On November 9, 1966, Rexton was incorporated as a Village by the Municipalities Act of the Province of New Brunswick. 

Click on a thumbnail to see more photos of Rexton 

 

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