Maugerville | The Canadian Encyclopedia



Maugerville, NB, parish, population 1,772 (2021 census), 1,831 (2016 census). Maugerville is located on the Saint John River, 16 km southeast of Fredericton. It was founded by New England planters from Essex County, Massachusetts, in 1763─64 and named in honour of Joshua Mauger, who aided settlers in gaining title to their lands. Mauger is also known to have built a significant portion of his business empire on the labour of enslaved Black people.


Situated on rich alluvial soil in the Saint John Valley, Maugerville was the first successful English-speaking settlement on the river. During the American Revolution most inhabitants openly supported the American cause; several took part in an attack on Fort Cumberland in 1776, the only armed uprising against British authority in Nova Scotia.

When the province of New Brunswick was created at the end of the war, Loyalist leaders held the old Yankee residents suspect for their past sympathies and divided the township, retaining the name Maugerville for the upper half and renaming the lower section Sheffield. The growth of the mast-and-timber trade brought prosperity and the rich farmlands, flooded annually by spring freshets, provided much of the produce consumed in Saint John and Fredericton throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today there are fewer farmers and the river, once bustling with sloops, barges and paddle-wheelers, now carries only pleasure craft. Yet the proud independent character of the first settlers is still evident in the farms tilled by their descendants.