REPORT OF SAMUEL WILMOT, ESQ., ON THE SELECTION OF A SITE AND THE ERECTION OF AN ARTIFICIAL SALMON BREEDING ESTABLISHMENT ON THE MIRAMICHI RIVER, IN THE PROVINCE OF NEW BRUNSWICK, DURING THE SEASON OF 1873.
To the Honorable A.J. Smith Minister of Marine and Fisheries, &c., Ottawa.
Sir, - having visited the Miramichi River in August last at the request and by the instruction of your department, for the purpose of selecting a site and erecting thereon an establishment of the artificial breeding of salmon, I beg to report the particulars of my transactions in relation to that work.
On the sixth day of August I arrived at the town of Newcastle, on the Miramichi River; when there I received despatches from your Department, instructing me to examine minutely the several brooks and streams upon the north-west and south-west branches of that river, with the view to select therefrom one that would be best adapted for an artificial salmon breeding establishment.
Calling upon Mr. Hogan, he local fisher officer there, and having had a conversation with him on the subject, I at once procured his services and proceeded up the north-west Mirmaichi, examining closely the various streams which enter it on the south bank as far as the Little South-West River and the Sevogle. On this side I noticed Tozer’s brook, Stewart’s mill-stream, Goodfellow’s brook, Malby’s brook, Red Bank Creek and several lesser streams, making notes in reference to each of them, and obtaining the information that I possibly could from the inhabitants residing along the river.
Having inspected the streams entering the south side of the Miramichi, I pursued a similar course with those entering the river on the north side. Of the many which I saw Ellison’s brook and M’Coy’s mill-stream presented he most satisfactory appearances. Having completed an inspection of the north-west, I returned to Newcastle in order to proceed up the south-west for a like purpose, when I met Mr. Venning, Inspector of fisheries for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, who joined me on my tour up the South-West. His intimate knowledge of the river assisted me very much in my esquires. Calling upon Mr. Parker, he local overseer of that branch of the Miramichi, who lives about twelve miles above its mouth I procured his services also; and proceeding up river as far as the Renous, examined every stream by the way. Amongst these were the Tannery Springs, Ferguson or Crocker’s mill-stream, Elm-tree brook, Indian Town Creed, with other smaller brooks; on the opposite shore were Doyle’s brook, Barnaby River, and other streams.
Having visited the South-West, and obtained all the information possible as to the supply of water in the several small streams, and their purity, I again eturned to Newcastle.
Here, after collating the information which I obtained upon both branches of the Miramichi, I set about making a selection of the best site for the object in view. Only a few of the streams possessed the necessary conveniences for the location of buildings, whilst others were deficient in a supply of water for the works. In some instances where a proper selection might be made, mills were erected, using the whole supply of water at times; others were held by joint owners, making it next to impossible to purchase a site; others were too remote to answer the purposes. Upon further inspection, and obtaining most satisfactory accounts from old residents, both as to the constant supply and purity of water in Stewart’s mill-stream, I selected it for the site of my operations. This brook is situated on the south side of the north-west Miramichi, and about two miles above the Miramichi bridge (near the site of the present Anderson bridge)where the line of the Intercolonial railway crosses the river. It takes its rise in a small lake some three miles in the interior, and running through an almost uncleared country over a rocky gravely bed, empties into a pretty secluded cove in the main river, into which the tidal waters regularly ebb and flow. The stream is also reported to be never failing in its supply of water. The head of the cove is crossed by a long elevated bridge in connection with the main road, and is the general throughfare for the traffic of the right bank of the Miramichi...
The property through which this brook ran was owned by the Honorable Mr. Hutchison, who held it for a mill privilege; from him I learned that the value set upon the whole lot would not far exceed the price that would be asked for the front part where the mill site was. After communicating these views to your Department, and receiving an answer thereto, I purchased the whole lot of one hundred and forty acres for the sum of four hundred and fifty dollars. The stream in its windings crossing the adjoining lot to the east, which if held by persons constructing mills thereon would make it annoying and perhaps injurious to the work of fish breeding below, I concluded, after consulting with the Minister, that it would be expedient to secure it. It was therefore purchased for the sum of four hundred dollars. In the purchase of this property two hundred and forty acres of land are comprised: upwards of sixty of it cleared and fit for tillage. There are also upon the premises a good sound mill frame and an old frame barn, together with that which is considered there a good mill privilege; the whole cost being eight hundred and fifty dollars.