Jared Tozer, Jr.

Born into an influential family in 1798, Jared Tozer Jr. was a lumber contractor and public figure on the Miramichi. His father, Jared Tozer Sr., was a native of Connecticut, who had fought as a Patriot in the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) before being drawn to New Brunswick in 1789 by the economic opportunities of the new province.

The elder Tozer settled with his Loyalist in-laws in Maugerville and started a family. In 1811 Jared Sr., his wife, and their eleven children moved to the Northwest Branch of the Miramichi River where Jared Sr. became a wealthy and powerful man through the skills he had acquired in the lumber industry.

By the 1830s Jared Tozer Jr. was a lumber contractor and mill owner in his own right, as well as a justice of the peace, school trustee, militia officer, and Baptist churchman. His lumbering interests were centred on the Little Southwest Indian Reserve, where the hereditary chiefs of the Julian family had begun to issue illegal leases to reserve land. In 1836 Tozer took advantage of the opportunity to acquire a large riverfront acreage, on which he erected a sawmill. His employees, relatives, and others flocked to the reserve, which was soon occupied primarily by non-Aboriginal settlers. This period marked the beginning of the settlements of Lyttleton and Sillikers.

Because of land incursions and other problems confronting the Aboriginal population, Moses Perley was commissioned in 1841 to visit the reserves and file a report. He proposed that the portion of the Little Southwest Reserve that had been alienated through the business dealings of the Julian chiefs be granted to its non-Aboriginal occupants. This prompted Tozer and his workers to immediately petition for formal grants since they were in possession of the greater proportion of the alienated reserve lands – several thousand acres – their requests make up a majority of the 1841 petitions from Miramichi posted on this website. Instead of granting the lands freely, the province announced a program of sales. However, before these took place Britain revoked its favourable tariffs for colonial lumber, crippling New Brunswick lumber producers such as Tozer. In 1843, over £200 in debt to his creditors, he declared bankruptcy and his Little Southwest holdings passed into other hands.

Following this disappointment Tozer continued engage in business on the Miramichi and serve as justice of the peace. After failing to win a seat in the election of 1856 he was appointed postmaster at Newcastle, but he had to resign in 1858, when, for the second time, he was declared an “insolvent debtor.” At an unknown date between the censuses of 1861 and 1871 he died, outlived by his wife Sarah, who subsequently immigrated to Kansas, where several of their sons were living. Another son, Jared Tozer III (1835-1912), followed in his father’s footsteps on the Miramichi as a lumberman, merchant, postmaster, justice of the peace, county councillor, and Baptist churchman.