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Miramichi, NB Fire, Oct 1825

One of the earliest of these was the great Miramichi fire of 1825. It began its greatest destruction about one o'clock in the afternoon of October 7 of that year, at a place about 60 miles above the town of Newcastle, on the Miramichi river, in News [sic] Brunswick. Before ten o'clock at night it was 20 miles below Newcastle. In nine hours it had destroyed a belt of forest 80 miles long and 25 miles wide. Over more that two and one-half million acres, almost every living thing was killed. Even the fish were afterwards found dead in heaps on the river banks. Five hundred and ninety buildings were burned, and a number of towns, including Newcastle, Chatham, and Douglastown, were destroyed. One hundred and sixty persons perished, and nearly a thousand head of stock. The loss from the Miramichi fire is estimated at $300,000, not including the value of the timber.

In the majority of such forest fires as this the destruction of the timber is more serious loss by far, than that of the cattle and buildings, for it carries with it the impoverishment of a whole region for tens or even hundreds of years afterwards. The loss of the stumpage value of the timber at the time of the fire is but a small part of the damage to the neighborhood. The wages that would have been earned in lumbering, added to the value of the produce that would have been purchased to supply the lumber camps, and the taxes that would have been devoted to roads and other public improvements, furnish a much truer measure of how much, sooner or later, it costs a region when its forests are destroyed by fire.

Grand Forks Daily Herald, Grand Forks, ND 22 Sept 1908

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It appears from a letter dated Halifax, October the 18th, that a very calamitous fire has been raging in the woods of this vicinity for some considerable time, and spread upwards of 100 miles. The village of Miramichi, is said to be nearly ruined in its trade, in consequence of the destruction of timber. The fire spread with very great rapidity, destroying houses, barns, timber, and almost every description of property in its way. The inhabitants of Miramichi have been great sufferers. One young man has lost 3,000l, a firm 40,000l, and many commercial houses have lost every thing. The loss of property is great, but the loss of lives is truly deplorable, as will be seen from the following:

"It is most melancholy to think that some thousands of persons have perished in the flames in different parts of the woods; the whole appears to have been done with the rapidity of lightning, only two or three persons have saved their books.---From what I can learn, six or seven hundred houses have been burnt, and in them, many inhabitants. Seven dead bodies were found in one ruin, and twenty-six in another. Take it altogether, from the written and verbal accounts, it is one of the most heart-rending tales I ever heard.---The sufferings at Fredericktown are great, but in a less degree. By last accounts, the fire in the woods was still burning, and we fear, further distress will be experienced." Burlington Paper.

Brattleboro' Messenger, Brattleboro, VT 12 Nov 1825

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MIRAMICHI.---The following account of the loss and Lives and Property sustained by the late conflagration at Miramichi, is extracted from an abstract published there, by order of the "Committee appointed for the relief of the sufferers."

Persons burnt, 130; drowned, 10; deaths from injury received by the fire, 20---Total, 160.
Sufferers who left Miramichi immediately after the fire, 300. Total number of sufferers, 3078.
Buildings destroyed---303 houses, 47 stores, 40 work shops, 135 barns, 66 stables, 4 mills---595.
Cattle destroyed---41 horses, 86 oxen, 33 cows, 403 sheep, 312 hogs. Total 875. Hay and Oats---22445 tons.
Rods of Fencing---36,235.
Public Buildings & Vessels---Court-House and Jail, 3000l., Madras School, 200l; ship Canada, 3000l; Concord, 3500l; brig Jane, 2500l. Loss of boats, anchors, cables, sails, &c. sustained by the shipping generally, 2000l.

Amount insured, £12,050
Loss sustained by the inhabitants, 225,474
Grand total loss, exclusive timber on Crown Lands, £248,524

The Baltimore Gazette And Daily Advertiser, Baltimore, MD 3 Mar 1826

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MIRAMICHI---Divine Service was performed, and all business suspended, in Miramichi, on the 7th inst. it being the Fourth anniversary of the Great Fire which desolate nearly the whole of that flourishing country. The Miramichi Schediagma, in remarking on the occasion, has the following paragraph: "Let us now relieve our memory from dwelling on past desolation and turn our attention to present renovation. Newcastle and Douglastown have resumed their original size, and Chatham is every day extending itself. Churches and Seminaries are rising up amongst us for the propagation of religion and science, and stores and wharves are continually erecting for the prosecution of commerce." ---Ib.

The Baltimore Gazette And Daily Advertiser, Baltimore, MD 9 Nov 1829



article | by Dr. Radut