THE GRANITE INDUSTRY OF ST. GEORGE AND
RECOLLECTIONS OF ITS PEOPLE
MISS M. EULALIA O'HALLORAN
Presented 4 July 1968 St. George, N. B.
Certificate of Merit
In the beginning The Resource RecollectionsOUTLINE
THE GRANITE INDUSTRY OF ST. GEORGE AND RECOLLECTIONS
OF ITS PEOPLE
According to geologists a molten mass of red granite intruded
the roots of a great mountain chain in the St. George area. The mountains
were intensely folded Ordovician and Silurian rocks. This intrusion occurred
during Devonian times about 380 million years ago (Tupper and Hart, 1961).
Millions of years of erosion of this mountain chain finally exposed its
roots which are the St. George granites (as we know them) today.
Bailey (1870-71) described their extent and compared them favourably with the well known granites of Aberdeen, Scotland.
The first interest in commercial exploitation of this resource dates back to an 1872 fishing trip to Lake Utopia by Mr. Charles Ward, a New York artist and photographer. Mr. Ward was fascinated by the immense ledges of beautiful dark red granite and it was his enthusiasm that "sparked" St. George's first granite firm, The Bay of Fundy Red Granite Company, in 1872. It was made up of New York capitalists and practical granite-men with Mr. Ward as secretary. This company purchased 1,320 acres of land, and erected a $75,000 plant at Magaguadavic Falls.
According to Parks (1914) the first monumental stone
manufactured by this company was a large red granite cross marking the
resting place of the Reverend Samuel Thompson (1861) in St. Mark's Cemetery,
It was a Scotchman, Mr. McLachan, who brought out the first experienced granite-cutters for the Bay of Fundy Red Granite Co. They came from his homeland to St. George in 1872-74.
I have not been able to discover exactly who Mr. McLachan was. It could have been Hubert McLachlin, medical doctor, St. George, who is listed in McAlpine's Charlotte County Directory, 1996-70. There is nothing to associate this man with granite, but many names are misspelled in this directory, so I am wondering if he was the man responsible for inviting the Scottish stone workers to our area.
Mr. Wm. Coutts' obituary in a clipping from an unidentified
newspaper tells us the story of some of these first workers:
"In 1868 William Coutts, Alex G. Milne, James Watt, and Alex Milne came from Scotland to America, and to St. George in 1874, and were employed with the Bay of Fundy Granite Company for nearly two years. In 1876 these four men formed the firm of Milne, Coutts and Company. They began manufacturing granite in the "Gully"* until 1884, when they purchased the Bay of Fundy Granite Company, where the industry progressed extensively for many years."
Alex Milne was known as "Big Sandy" and Alex G. Milne
as "Little Sandy". The two men were cousins and Mr. James Watt Sr. had
been employed as foreman of the Bay of Fundy Red Granite works; when
they bought out the company in 1884 they renamed it Milne Coutts and Company.
Mr. Watt retired about 1885. That same year Capt. Charles Johnston retired
from the sea, joined the new company, and purchased the controlling interest
from Mr. Watt who died in 1892. In
A hewn beam crossing the gully shown in James L. Watts picture (See Appendix, Fundy Fisherman, 26 February 1969) was used as a footbridge by many of our first granitemen. It accommodated those employees of Milne, Coutts and Company who lived in that part of our town that was nicknamed "South Boston". They crossed the gully on their way to and from the granite sheds.
All the granite workers were not from Scotland. Many came from Saint John and other parts of New Brunswick. At that time the lumbering industry was on the decline and many woodsmen left the forest for the granite sheds to become stone cutters or stone polishers, which took about three years of learning. Others became expert quarrymen, and some who were artistically gifted learned to do lettering, engraving, designing, and scrollwork.
Examples of their fine work may be seen in cemeteries
in St. George and elsewhere. Besides gravestones, their products included
urns, letter-presses (with names or plain), door-stops, bookends, polished
balls of granite in different sizes, hat-pin heads (for your sweetheart
or someone else's), hairpins, table tops, and scenes cut or sandblasted
on flat pieces of polished granite. All varieties of granite had their
uses and a common use was for foundations, especially in older homes in
this vicinity. On one special occasion, "curling stones" were cut and polished.
A red granite newelpost, a work of art, was made and finished by the Meating Epps Co. It was sent to the Chicago Columbian Exposition, 1893, celebrating the 400th anniversary of Columbus discovering America, or the Chicago World's Fair, where it received first prize. It was eventually placed in Henry Meating's residence, now occupied by his grandson, Harry Meating.
A more massive production is shown in Figure 9. It was manufactured before 1911 to serve as a base of an Ottawa war memorial (perhaps the Boer War). The Roosevelt Cairn was made by Mime Coutts & Co., and was taken by scow to Campobello where it was then assembled by Frank N. Chaffey and John W. McGrattan.
Columns for the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Boston, Mass., and columns for the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, and stone for the American Museum of Natural History, New York, were supplied by St. George.
In those early years, granite was quarried by hand methods. These methods produced much waste material or "grout". Rows of holes were drilled along natural fracture lines and blasted to produce blocks with relatively straight edges. Small blocks could be handled with hand winches or derricks. Horse derricks were used in most quarries for large blocks. The hoisting cable was wound on a windlass turned by a long pole or boom hauled by a horse walking in a circle.
The Bay of Fundy Granite Company cut granite first
at Youngs' Front (also called Burpee) Quarries (Figure 10) and later at
the Burpee Quarries (sometimes called Saint John Quarries). These were
near the intersection of Highway No. 710 and the Manor Road. From there
it was moved by a train to a nearby stone shed for polishing.
In summer granite was also transported on scows from Lake Utopia through "the canal' then down the Magaguadavic River to the granite sheds. Much later trucks were used.
At first Lake Utopia sand was used in polishing the granite. Later on,
steel shot replaced sand for smoothing rough surfaces. The stone was next
washed clean of all traces of shot, then polished with coarse carborundum,
an extremely hard compound of carbon and silicon. The second polishing
was with fine carborundum, and the third (final) polishing to a gloss was
done with whitening and scouring blocks. The scouring blocks were cut from
trunks of willow trees, placed upright in the polishers so the end grain,
saturated with whitening, was in contact with the stone. Felt was sometimes
used instead of willow blocks but in either case the result was a fine
After polishing the products were often hauled down
the Lower Road to the Red Store Wharf at Breadalbane and transported from
there by boat to Saint John. In winter oxen were used on this route to
haul larger stones for special jobs.
Breadalbane was at the mouth of the Magaguadavic River about two miles from St. George. Sailing vessels used to discharge winter supplies there when ice prevented them from coming up the river to the St. George wharf. The "Red Store" was located on the wharf. Over 100 years ago many people, including a number of Scottish families in that area, drove to the Red Store for supplies. Later our St. George stores hauled supplies from the Red Store wharf. One St. George man, H. Vernon Connell, now in his eighties, remembers hauling hogsheads of molasses to town over these two miles of winter roads.
As mentioned earlier, the Bay of Fundy Red Granite Company initiated the St. George granite industry that was to have a life span of 60 years. That company played an important role but its history was brief and many other companies came and went. Table 1 summarizes the story.
I have been able to assemble more detailed information on some of these firms by inquiry and reading. Dr. Ruitenberg's map (Figure 10) shows the sites of quarries they operated. Wright, 1934, presented similar maps including black granite quarries of the Bocabec, Chamcook and Bayside areas. He gives the local names for several of these.
In 1875, Matthew visited the area and recorded his observations in REPORT OF PROGRESS FOR 1876-77. He described operations of three companies, the Bay of Fundy Red Granite Company, the New Brunswick Red Granite Company, and the Brothers Michael.
The Bay of Fundy Red Granite Company then employed about 100 men. Their plant was working night and day to fill orders for columns for the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Boston and had supplied polished columns for the parliament buildings in Ottawa and for the post office in Saint John.
The New Brunswick Red Granite Company had been operating Youngs' Front (Burpee) Quarries on the west side of Magaguadavic but their $30,000 plant, or mill, at the falls had been burned. For a short period their stone was finished in Saint John, but that mill also burned.
The Brothers Michael Quarry had been recently opened
on the east side of the Magaguadavic, and they were shipping stone in the
rough. This quarry was later owned by the Epps and Dodds Company.
Table 1. Various companies that participated in St. George granite industry.
|Names of Company and principals||Period of Operation||Fate of Company|
|Bay of Fundy Red Granite Co.
Charles Ward, Sec'y
|1872-1884 (ca.)||Sold to Milne, Coutts & Co.|
|St. George Granite Works
Alex. Taylor & three sons
|1876-1900 (ca.)||Sold to O'Brien & Baldwin Co. but business continued under same name|
|Milne, Coutts & Co.
A. and A.G. Nilne,
W. Coutts and James Watt
|Tayte, Meating Co.
A. R. Tayte, Nicholas Meating Sr. and Joseph Meating
|1897-1915||Sold to St. George Pulp
& Paper Co.
|Epps, Dodds Co.
Chas. Epps (Mgr.)
|1897-1910 or 11||Sold to Meating, Epps Co.|
|Meating, Epps Co.
George F. Meating(Mgr.)
Owners: Henry Meating,
Chas. Epps, George &
Nicholas Meating Jr.
|1910 (ca) -1945 (ca.)||Closed and property taken over by Milne Coutts Co.|
|Henry McGrattan &
Charles W. McGrattan, Mgr.
|1912 (ca) - (?)||Closed|
|Victoria Red Granite Co.
Walter Messinett &
|1897 - (?)||Milne Coutts Co. took machinery|
|1897 - (?)||Formed company|
The 27 July 1876 issue of the St. Croix had this
"Manufacturing facilities of St. George
The red granite business, still in its short clothes, and one saw-mill in operation are all that we can claim as a manufacturing town."
The 19 July 1877 issue reported:
"Annual meeting of the Bay of Fundy Red Granite Co., April 10, directors elected -
Hon. R. B. Stevenson Pres.
B. R. Lawrence Treas.
C. C. Ward Sec.
J. S. Brown (New York)
Robert Ellin ( " " )
At or about that time the Bay of Fundy Red Granite Company employed 65 men in the finishing factory and an additional 15 in the quarries, located about five miles north of St. George.
The Company's dam was directly under the bridge which has since been rebuilt. The rushing water fell through a flume and turned a water wheel at the base. At that time the power was transferred, by means of a cogwheel, to the main shaft in the mill, situated behind the hill. Power was taken off the long shaft at various points in the mill for operating lathes, column-cutters, and polishing machines
Alex Taylor III, born in Blackburn, Aberdeenshire,
Scotland, came with his family to America in 1872. He settled in St. George
in 1874, and was employed by the Bay of Fundy Granite Company for nearly
two years. Then, in 1876, he established with his three sons the St. George
In 1897, he died suddenly while on a business trip to the province of Quebec. Alex Taylor Jr. assumed res ponsibility for the business as senior partner with his brothers. Within a few years the two brothers died but Alex Jr. continued the business for nearly thirty years before selling out in 1890 or 1900.
The new owners were John O'Brien and Andrew S. Baldwin.
They continued the business under the same name.
S. L. Tilley Moran, a grandson of John O'Brien, became manager.
In 1894 (St. Croix Courier 1954 in "60 Years Ago"
reported) "the granite manufacturers combined (last week) and built a new
dam at the head of the falls, and now have plenty of water."
Bailey (1897) reported that the Bay of Fundy Red Granite Company, which had been purchased by the Milne Coutts and Company about 1881, was shipping stone by rail over the Shore Line joining St. George and Saint John. (This line was built in 1875 by Russel Sage, was taken over by Grand Southern in 1882, and in the early 1900's became part of the CPR.)
Three other companies, Tayte, Meating and Company, Epps, Dodds and Company, and the Victoria Red Granite Company, were also operating in 1897. By this time, they had begun working with black granite and besides exploiting local resources they were finishing imported American stone. They supplied stone for the Museum of Natural History in New York and many other private and public buildings. However, U.S. duties on manufactured granite were "well nigh prohibitive" and the St. George product was marketed almost wholly in Canada.
In 1902, a New Yorker bought rights to build a pulp mill below the falls at St. George and promised to supply power to the stone sheds for 99 years. In 1920 this company was sold to New York World Company, and in 1927 to the International Paper Co. In 1933, the mill was sold to the Lacroix family. In spite of all these changes, this Company was always known as The St. George Pulp & Paper Company Ltd.
An important report of this period was that made by Dr. William Parks (1914) based on his own field work in 1912. He found the following six firms or individuals quarrying granite at that time: Milne Coutts and Company; Epps (Fig. 7); Dodds and Company; Henry McGrattan and Sons (Fig. 8); Tayte, Meating and Company (Fig. 5); O'Brien and Baldwin (Fig. 2 & 9); and John Maxwell who was operating the Young Quarries.
A contract of some interest was let in 1923 (St. Croix Courier, 1953, "30 Years Ago"): Henry McGrattan and Sons undertook to supply stone for the Saint John Dry Docks. It was taken from the Dawson Mountain quarry, and the work continued for three months, furnishing work for 30 men.
The total annual value of the product at that period stood at about $75,000. The red granite finished in 1910 was valued at about $45,000; the black and gray, about $22,000, and imported stone finished in St. George, about $8,000.
In 1934 Dr. N. J. Wright with assistance
from Hazen Baldwin, a well known quarryman of this district, prepared an
excellent report on the granite industry. It shows the vast extent of the
granite formations that extend 60 miles westerly from the Saint John to
the Saint Croix River. Granite has been quarried in many places in this
area but the most important were at Spoon Island (Hampstead, N. B.) and
at St. George.
Wright's report describes the location, history of development, including ownership changes and the condition of most of the known quarries at that time. I would recommend it to any of you who wants information on particular quarries in Charlotte County. It describes not only those near St. George but others on the Digdeguash, on the Bocabec, on Chamcook Mountain and at Bayside. The last produced granite under the trade name, "Irish Black".
It would be beyond the scope of this paper for me to quote Dr. Wright's report and I am not including his map (Plate 33-10) showing positions of quarries in the St. George area. The quarry numbers refer to sections of the report in which they are described.
As Dr. Wright's Index Map (inset) shows, the St. George quarries lie along the southern margin of the granite formation and extend westerly from Lake Utopia to Oak Bay, a straightline distance of 18 miles. In this area there are at least 50 quarries, some of which have been operated since 1872. They have supplied stone to all parts of Canada and the eastern States, and building stone for many noted structures in Montreal, Boston, and New York, the supply being unlimited.
The stone quarried in the St. George area falls into
two general classes, commonly called "St. George Red" and
"Black Granite". The red granite varies in colour from place to place,
from deep-red through light-red, salmon-pink, flesh-coloured, ivory, gray,
and almost pure white. Particular colours were obtained from particular
quarries, offering customers a wide range for selection.
The Bay of Fundy Red Granite Company began operations
using simple hand methods. It was Milne) Coutts and Company that installed
steam or pneumatic power for drills and derricks
in the quarries. These could be moved from quarry to quarry as old ones were abandoned and new ones opened.
Milne, Coutts and Company also used electric power, of which about 75 horsepower was used, and obtained from the St. George Pulp & Paper Company under the agreement referred to above. The plant equipment included 1 compressor (Can. Rand Co.) delivering air at 80 lbs; one pneumatic surfacing machine (Tron & Holden); 8 polishing machines (Jenny Linds, Union Foundry Co., St. John, N. B.); 10 stations for pneumatic tools; 2 plug drills; 1 cutting lathe; 6 polishing lathes; 1 pendulum polisher; 5 vertical polishers; and a column-cutter installed about 1911. Twenty-two men were employed: stone- cutters received from $2 to $2.75 per day of 8 hours and polishers $1.50 to $1.80 per day. In 1910, 720 ft of red stone, 300 to 400 ft of Spoon Island grey, and a small amount of black Bocabec stone were cut. This is exclusive of imported stone. The Company paid $1.00 per cubic ft for red stone quarried from their own property and delivered at the mill.
Tayte and Meating Co. was one of the oldest St. George Granite concerns. It operated the largest column-cutter in the area. This Company's property was sold about 50 years ago to the St. George Pulp and Paper Co.
Tayte and Meating Company mill (Fig. 5) consisted
of one building 115 ft by 40 ft and two other buildings each 23 ft by 60
ft. About 40 horsepower was used, obtained from Pulp Co. The equipment
included: 2 compressors (1 auxiliary); 1 pneumatic surfacing machine; 1
column-cutter; 2 polishing lathes; 4 polishing machines (Jenny Linds);
1 vertical polishing machine; 1 pendulum polisher; 9 stations for pneumatic
tools; and 1 plug drill.
Seventeen men were employed in the period about 1910.
The mill operated by Epps, Dodds and Company (Fig.
7) was 110 ft by 70 ft, and equipped with 1 pneumatic surfacer; 1
gang-saw; 8 stations for pneumatic tools; 1 compressor;
5 polishing machines (Union Foundry Co., Saint John); vertical polishers and polishing lathes. About 40 horsepower of electrical energy from the Pulp Co. was used.
Twenty men were employed.
After the death of Mr. Dodds, the Epps Dodds Company name was changed to Meating Epps Company (Fig. 1). Mr. Henry Meating carried on operations for 35 years and the business was continued by his sons, George and Nicholas Meating. Charles Epps of Epps Dodds Company invented a machine for quickly making (or forming) granite balls of all sizes. The first granite balls were hand-made by Daniel Matheson Sr., who came from Prince Edward Island many years ago.
One of the Mooreland quarries (No. 22) (near highway east side of Magaguadavic River north of Milne Coutts property) was first worked by Thomas Colmer about 1892 and afterwards used by Epps, Dodds Company, has claim to fame. A column 15 ft long was removed from it.
The O'Brien and Baldwin Company mill (Fig. 2 & 9) was 150 ft x 45 ft and equipped with 3 polishing machines (Jenny Linds); 2 vertical polishers; 1 cutting lathe; and 2 polishing lathes. About 40 horsepower of electrical energy was obtained from the Pulp Co. There was no pneumatic plant. In 1910 about 30 men were employed in mill and 6 in quarry.
The Henry McGrattan and Sons mill (Fig. 6) was about
100 ft by 50 ft and used 30 horsepower of electrical energy, at a cost
of $20.00 per horsepower per year. The plant
contained 2 compressors delivering air at 80 lbs pressure; 1 surfacing machine; 5 polishing machines (Jenny Linds); 1 polishing lathe; 10 stations for pneumatic tools; and
1 plug drill. In 1910 between 25 and 50 men were employed.
In 1910 the amount of New Brunswick stone cut was:
Red granite, 2,000 cubic feet
Grey granite (Spoon Island) 800 cu ft
Black granite, 350 cu ft
Black Granite Quarry in the Digdeguash area was owned by Stephen Spinney and Eldon Holt and worked by them for several years. They sold out to Kenneth Fitzgerald of St. Stephen, who recently sold to Nelsons of Sussex. The Nelsons are still removing stone from this quarry.
Frost Mountain Quarry was owned and worked by Alex
Maxwell, George Maxwell, and Arthur W. Stewart.
Walter Messinett and John McDougall formed the Victoria Red Granite Company and erected a granite shed on Riverview Avenue, St. George, where they finished and shipped stone by the nearby railroad. Walter Messinett and John McDougall later joined Milne, Coutts Co., and the machinery was taken over by them. Thereafter and until his death, Mr. McDougall served as bookkeeper for the Milne, Coutts Company.
Charles Young Quarries were operated by the New Brunswick
Red Granite Company in about 1875, and are sometimes called the Saint John
Quarries. They were afterwards owned and operated by Messrs. Burpee who
shipped rough stone to Saint John. About 1893 they were purchased by Charles
Young. Young shipped undressed stone by rail to a finishing plant in Calais,
Maine. After Young's death, the quarries were operated until 1933 by Henry
McGrattan and Sons on a 'stumpage' basis. That year they were purchased
by Messrs. Nicholas and George Meating of Meating, Epps and Company.
The St. George granite industry began in 1872 and
expanded quickly. For 60 years it was a source of revenue but ground to
a near halt during World War II. Who knows whether its bones will rise
The stone has been used in several well known public buildings in the New England States and eastern Canada and the ornamental stone is known all over Canada. But the granite business had many difficulties. As early as 1910 statements like the following were being made (Parks, 1914):
"It must be noted that It has never been the practice of the owners to ship rough stone, but to employ practically all the product in the mills at St. George.
"The decrease in production, therefore, is not due to a lessened market for rough stone but to a decline in the demand for finished monuments. This decline was due chiefly owing to the birth of manufacturing plants at other centres where other stone is more easily obtained. As there is no outlet for St. George rough stone, the quarrying industry has declined with the 1essened demand for finished work."
The following were some of the facts of life for granite operators of 1910. Rough stone delivered at the mills was valued at from $1.00 to $1.25 per cu ft. The average value of finished material was about $5.00 per cu ft.
The amount of red stone (granite) cut in the mills
in 1910 was about 9,000 cu ft, of which rather less than half was of the
dark-red type. The product was worth approximately $45,000. The amount
of black granite cut was 1,400 cu ft,* having an approximate value of $22,000.
To this must be added a considerable amount of imported stone, which would
raise the total output to about $75,000, in 1910.
*and of grey about 3,000 cu ft.
Numerous quarries had been opened on Lake Utopia
from time to time. Stone was taken from the lake quarries by water to St.
George; from other quarries it was hauled a distance of 2 or 2½
miles, first by teams,* and later on trucks.
*A few of the teamsters who were employed years ago were Rankine McIntyre,
Alex Daigle, Charles Henry Sr., Lawrence Perry, George Henry, and James
L. McCarten (who was the very last one.
But by the 1930's the industry really began to languish in spite of its natural assets. In 1932 it was suggested that the decrease in number of employed was partly accounted for by:
1. The then modern practice of buying stone
from contractors at a fixed price per cubic foot, thus dispensing with
reqularly employed quarrymen like Messrs. Fraquharson, Dukendief, Louis
Stevens, Oscar Leavitt and Fred Baldwin who had grown up in the business.
2. By using large amounts of imported stone.
The cost of foreign production and foreign freight
rates were so low that stone quarried in Sweden could be imported through
Scotland and landed in Saint John and brought to St. George almost as cheaply
as it could be procured from the St. George quarries.
By 1932, the following companies were still operating:
Milne Coutts & Co., Mgd. - Arthur W. Stewart;
Meating, Epps Co., Mgr. - George F. Meating;
Henry McGrattan and Sons, Mgr. - Charles W. McGrattan;
and O'Brien and Baldwin, Mgr. - S. L. 'Tilley' Moran.
That year a scheme was proposed to stabilize the ailing industry. Henry McGrattan & Sons were to amalgamate with the Meating, Epps Co. under the name of Meating & McGrattan, but the scheme was abandoned.
The last shipment of Swedish granite to arrive in Saint John by boat and transported to Milne Coutts Co. of St. George was just before World War II. Mr. Arthur W. Stewart was still in charge at that time. Little quarrying was done during war years, and foreign stone was not available.
Immediately after World War II (about 1946) there
was a demand for grave stones and Gillmore and Cotterelle filled many orders.
But this was only a temporary demand. A vigorous industry could not thrive
on occasional contracts like these.
The death was slow. Percy G. Tayte, son of Anthony R. Tayte of the old Tayte and Meating Company, John W. McGrattan and Sylvester Southard, collected many orders for monuments which kept a small crew busy finishing and delivering for a few more years before final closing of the last operators, Mime, Coutts, Co.
In 1953 the Milne Coutts Co. property was purchased
by the St. George Pulp & Paper Co. for the timber on it. Much of the
grout had been salvaged to face up river banks and piers. This was the
end of the St. George granite business.
An appraisal of the quarries was made for the New Brunswick Department of Industry and Reconstruction by Fletcher, and results were reported by Patterson (1948). It estimated that investments of several hundred thousands of dollars would be necessary to establish a modern operation.
In 1954-55, Harold C. Atkinson, Edward C. Hennessey,
and Kenneth Patterson, who were interested in renewal of granite industry,
spent much time in investigating the potentialities. Mr. Atkinson discussed
Canadian marketing potentials with the largest Canadian (Montreal) importer
of Scotch and Scandinavian granites. He also met with a large New England
producer. Both companies were quite enthusiastic, but stressed the fact
that St. George interests could not compete in the markets unless they
obtained modern heavy mobile equipment. This, of course, they were unable
to finance. Undoubtedly, the necessary investment would be much greater
Dr. A. A. Ruitenberg, District Geologist of the New Brunswick Department of Mines, has presented a report (1968) on geology and mineral deposits of the Passamaquoddy Bay area. In this he reviewed the granite resources after having examined the quarries during the summer of 1967. His efforts were hampered because most of the old workings are flooded or filled with grout. Nevertheless, his work, which includes careful maps, is of much interest. Dr. Ruitenberg agrees with Patterson and Atkinson that the only way to revive the industry is to adopt modern quarrying methods.
The most common modern quarrying method is known as "channelling". This involves drilling adjoining holes, by pneumatic power to outline blocks that are to be removed. It is also possible to cut a narrow channel with a high- temperature torch, which reduces granite to small powdery scales. In either case, quarrying costs per cubic foot of stone decrease with increasing size of the blocks. The minimum size of blocks accepted by the industry is about 10 tons and larger blocks are often required. Hauling these requires costly, modern, heavy equipment (Nelson, 1967).
It would be pointless to invest in this expensive
equipment unless it could be used efficiently and profitably. Operations
would have to be extended below the surface zone of intense weathering
and large quarries developed. The largest granite resources seem to be
of the light-to-salmon-red type like that found in quarries south of Lily
estimates of these reserves are difficult because the quarries are filled with grout. Considerable costly exploratory work, including removal of surface rocks and diamond drilling would be necessary even before deciding where to locate suitably large quarries.
According to Dr. Ruitenberg, it is probable that
large quarries could be established in the areas where there are exposures
of red and salmon granites but improbable that large amounts of good black
granite can be found anywhere.
An efficiency study would have to assess the necessary capital investments, operating costs, land and water transportation costs (local demands are small and many markets are far away), exploration costs, the capacity of markets to absorb granite products, and finally, the study should examine changing market demands. In the past, the greatest demand was for dark-red granite used for monumental purposes and building stone. Apparently this situation has changed. Black granite is now more popular for monuments and lighter red and pastel- coloured varieties are favoured for building stone (J. C. Smith, 1967). Thus, to be successful, any revived industry would have to be confident of substantial resources of many varieties of granite. Without these, it could not hope for long-term survival.
According to Dr. Ruitenberg, only 20% of the suitable stone available can be recovered even with the best quarrying techniques. There is an 80% waste. So any efficiency study should appraise the market for possible secondary products, which could be made from the waste, for example, curb stones, crushed stone, poultry grit and stone for heavy construction.
The effects of foreign competition would also have to be investigated. Stone is now being imported from several Scandinavian and African countries in both the rough and finished condition.
In the overall view, the possibilities of revival
are not bright.
I have lived all my life in or near the light and shadow of the granite industry. Even during my grandparents' time many of those who were connected directly or indirectly with granite were my family's friends and neighbours. Understandably it has everlastingly affected my life. Many granite people departed long ago, many of them long before I arrived, including my grandfather, Wilson A. Hamilton, who was a polisher (or finisher) for Tayte & Meating Co. There is hardly a name mentioned in this paper that I have not heard many times. Their descendants are here, or they still come and go as visitors, and we are always happy to see them. Among our older townsmen there are several of the first granite cutters and polishers and many younger men who joined the industry after it was established. Among these are Arthur V. Callaghan, J. Ambrose Murphy, George Lee, Merle Meating, Willard B. Campbell, James Henry, and Hugh L. Meating.
The granite industry touched the lives of nearly
every St. George family in some way. I can still remember its sights and
sounds. Footsteps hurrying by in early morning, crunching the snow in winter;
horses and wagons arriving with workmen from Canal, Caithness, or Mascarene
sometimes with sleigh bells tinkling; trundling of heavy truck wagons leaving
for the quarries and returning later, laden with blocks of granite in the
rough for finishing in the mills; and the comic forgetful man hurrying
off to the quarry (with horse and wagon and dog) who discovers when he
is half-way there that he has mistaken the tea kettle for his lunch box,
and must sheepishly return home and be late for work.
I remember hearing of opposition to the first air compressor installed by the Milne Coutts Co. to operate pneumatic equipment and also used to blow the whistle and how "Little" Sandy Milne used to say it was only good for one thing, "to blow that d--- whistle".
After the 7 a.m. whistle, the drills rattled; the granite cutters began their clinking; the surface cutters, column-cutters and polishers made their own heavy, steady sounds; the derricks squeaked as they moved huge stones from place to place and mixed with all this clamour were the shouts of the workmen themselves.
The whistle blew again at noon, at one o'clock, and at four and, twice every day, crews of men covered with granite dust emerged from the mills. I used to meet them on my way home from school at noon.
The finished stones were crated and hauled by wagon
to the railway station, to be shipped by the Shore Line which later became
the Grand Southern and eventually the CPR.
These sights and sounds have long since passed and
there are few relics left to show that an industry once thrived here.
In 1961 I visited two granite quarries in the Lily Lake area, No. 41 of Tayte & Meating, and No. 40 of O'Brien & Baldwin. The openings were filled with waste rock, and the depths indeterminable. At the bottom of one quarry I saw a broken wheel once turned by a horse that had helped remove stone years ago. As I stood looking down I tried to picture how it must have been then. It must have required much courage, patience, and determination to make a start and keep going. It had all been accomplished in the most difficult and primitive way. And now the quarries were overgrown with trees. The quarries were very deep.
Where were the 500 men who worked in the granite industry, the quarrymen, the stone-cutters, the teamsters, the polishers and finishers, the blacksmiths who sharpened tools, the stone-cutters, the water-carriers, the derrickmen, the machine hands, the scrollwork designers, the shapers of monuments and columns, the letterers and the shipping craters? Where were the owners, the directors, and the shareholders? Gone - all gone away.' The only relicts were inanimate things, like red granite wheel, partly attached to an iron rod behind O'Brien & Baldwin's old red mill. One time it polished fancy edges, flutes, and hollows, and had swung like a pendulum.
The Tayte and Meating Company mill still stands, robbed of its machines and now used as a pulp storage. The old red mill that belonged to Epps & Dodds Co. (later by Meating, Epps, Co.), the cement office, and the second Bay of Fundy store (the first, built in 1883, had burned) have all been taken over by the St. George Pulp Co. The store has become a residence. Only blocks, chips and bits and pieces of granite, a rusted wheel, scattered parts of a derrick, wooden pulleys, and an old grindstone are left to remind us that St. George was once called ''The Granite Town''. All is quiet and serene!
I must not forget to say that back in 1902 we had a "paper", the Granite Town Greetings. That same year the horse watering trough at the old town pump was finished by Thomas Armstrong and Edward McGirr. It was made of red granite with "1902" cut in its face side. This trough was Bob Wetmore' s conception and Sandy Milne, Dr. Henry I. Taylor and others were involved in its creation. This antique and the old town pump were removed some years ago for shame. But both are back in place now (a few flowers need to be planted in the trough).
We still have the Presbyterian Manse, built in 1904
of native red granite when the Rev. Mr. Hillock was minister.
Ernest Jackson and another man (name unknown) made and installed the intricate granite window frames, a work of art. We also have the Post Office, built of granite in 1936, and a memorial name of a society of lasting importance, "The Granite Chapter, Order of Eastern Star"
Our oldest artificial relict, and one in which we feel too little pride, is one of Canada's earliest works of white men (see Spinney and Grearson, Contribution from CCHS No. 21). I refer to the red granite medallion believed to have been carved in 1604 by a member of the DeMonts settlement on St. Croix Island. This is preserved in the New Brunswick Museum, Saint John. It was found in the St. George area (Lake Utopia) about 1862.
Our medallion is more than 350 years old and it was
at one time considered as a suitable insignium for our Charlotte County
Historical Society but the head of Queen Charlotte was preferred. Our Society
is still without an insignium and I would like to advocate here that the
medallion be chosen for this purpose.
Apart from these historical society partisan considerations, the ups and downs of industry and the comings and goings of familiar scenes and people, the Devonian granite hills of St. George and Charlotte County stand aloof and serene as they have stood these many million years. What is man?
I wish to thank the following people of this district who helped me with information, pictures,or loan of granite articles for display: Mrs. Herbert Bronn, Mrs. George Baldwin, Arthur V. Callaghan, Mrs. John Dillman, Mrs. Vera (Taylor) Grearson, Manford Henry, Miss Catharine Laing, Rainnie O'Brien Moran, Miss Phoebe Moran, Hugh Meating, Mrs. Merle Meating, Harry Meating, Miss Ella O'Brien, Herbert 0. Parks, Mrs. Frank D. Spinney, William Southard, Miss Mary A. Stewart, Marshall W. Stewart, Miss Elizabeth Toy, James L. Watt.
I would also like to thank Dr. A. A. Ruitenberg of St. Andrews for advice and assistance with maps, geologists' reports (including his own).
A special word of thanks goes to William McMullon
of St. Andrews for preparing such excellent illustrations. Some of the
originals he worked from were badly faded and copying them required great
Final1y, I would sincerely thank our Editor, Dr. J. C. Medcof, for his patient encouragement and assistance in the preparation of this contribution.
2. Bailey, L. W. 1898. The mineral resources of the province of New Brunswick.Geol. Survey of Canada. Ann. Rept. for 1897, Part M.1. Bailey, L. W., and G. F. Matthew. 1876. Summary report of geological observations in New Brunswick. Geol. Survey of Canada, Report of Progress, 1874-75, Part IV
4. The Fundy Fisherman (semi-monthly newspaper). The3. The Saint Croix Courier (weekly newspaper). St. Croix Printing and Pub. Co. (see text references to specific issues).
5. Parks, Wm. A. 1914. Report on the building andFundy Pub. Co., Black's Harbour, N. 5. 1969 issues of 26 Feb., 12 Mar., 26 Mar. and 9 Apr.
6. Fletcher, R. A., in Paterson, John A. 1948. Surveyornamental stones of Canada. Geol. Survey of Canada, Vol. II.
7. Ruitenberg, A. A. 1967. Geology and mineral deposits,Reconstruction, Fredericton, N. B.
8. Tupper, W. M., and H. S. Hart. 1961. Minimum age ofPassamaquoddy area. Rept. Investig. No. 7, Dept. Natural Resources, New Brunswick.
Middle Silurian in New Brunswick based on K-Ar method. Bull. Geol. Soc. Amer. 72: 1285-1288.
9. Wright, N. J. 1934. Preliminary report of the granite industry of St. George, Charlotte County. New Brunswick Dept. Natural Resources, Fredericton, N. B.