Joe Cunard

Dear Bread ‘n Molasses,

My grandmother, Margaret (Vickers) Murphy, was born in 1871 in Blackville and died in 1940 in Newcastle. She had a scrapbook in which she kept articles of interest. While visiting my cousin, Irene Loggie, a few summers ago, I saw this article and made a copy of it. I have no idea what newspaper the article came from. Irene Loggie said that our grandmother loved poetry, so I imagine that is one of the reasons she had cut it out.

Pat Murphy/Kelly in Madawaska, Maine

Joseph Cunard Was Miramichi Lumber Lord

Joe Cunard

From Halifax came Joe Cunard,
His father worked in the Navy Yard.
But his brother Sam made his neighbours stare —
They said he would die a millionaire.
For Sam made money, and Sam took risks,
And he made a fortune in sailing ships
He became a captain of Industry
And he sent his brothers to Miramichi.
They landed here one day in June,
And that’s when Chatham began to boom.
Henry the farmer settled down
At Woodburn Hill a mile from town.
But Joseph lived like a lumber lord
In a style they said he couldn’t afford.
He furnished the house in luxury
That the Hendersons built for Dr. Key.
With harpsichord and chandeliers,
Calfbound books and mahogany chairs.
Peacocks paced on the terraced lawn,
The gardeners worked from early dawn.
There was a road to the porticoed door
For Joe Cunard and his coach and four.
The beacons blaze, men cheer and sing
To the sound of the cannon echoing.
A coach and four drivers grandly down
And Joe Cunard is back in town!
They say his downward march began
When he took Middle Island from the Shirreff clan.
A.D. Shirreff, on his dying bed,
With a pair of pistols under his head,
Said, defiant in the face of death,
“They’re for Cunard — I’ll get him yet.”
There’s a mob in the streets of Chatham town
The banks are closed and the mills shut down.
For disaster came with the English Mail,
And the word goes round that Cunard has failed.
“Shoot the villain,” the people roar,
When Joseph steps out from his office door.
With a murderous mob at his bridle rein,
He rode to the mill and back again.
Defiantly breasting the threats and jeers,
Of the men he had owned for thirty years.
He stood at the bay on his office steps,
A ruined man and an inch from death
When look, where a child through the tumult runs —
It is William Wyse, with his father’s guns!
He passes them up, and the crowd goes mute,
As Joe shoves one in each high topped boot.
Then he looked at them all, and his smile was hard;
“Now show me the man who will shoot Cunard.”
At dark on the Richibucto Road
No cannons boomed, or beacons glowed.
A man rode alone through the gathering night,
With the frogs for band, and the stars for light.
Wrapped in his cloak, with his head bent down.
Joe Cunard is leaving town.

— Author Unknown