Forest clearance and farming in New Brunswick brought great numbers of Irish to its river valleys.
The timber trade drove New Brunswick's economic development. It built the towns of Saint John, Chatham, St. Andrews and
Fredericton, created employment for countless men and encouraged the investment of capital in the province.
Although their earliest major settlements were in Nova Scotia, it was New Brunswick which would
eventually attract the majority of the Irish.
In 1851 the Irish-born accounted for a staggering 71 % of New Brunswick’s total population.
The timber trade provided the impetus to the province’s economic development and greatly
influenced settlement choices.
Irish Protestants predominated in the St. John River Valley in the south
Irish Catholics came in considerable numbers to the Miramichi River in the north east of the
province. And, later on, as the focus of the timber trade moved slowly northward and eastward, it drew further Irish Protestants and Catholics to the Chaleur Bay and Richibucto regions, where they
established agricultural and fishing communities.