This attractive billhead from the Intercolonial Railway is dated January 27, 1888 and contains a list of goods shipped to the McNair Brothers General Store in Eel Crossing, New Brunswick.
The McNair Brothers, James, William, Robert and David were 4 of 10 children born in New Brunswick to Scottish immigrants. In addition to the General Store the brothers also operated a lumber mill which burnt to the ground in 1889. By 1892 James and his brother Robert were on the west coast and had constructed a small shingle mill at Hastings. Ten years later they constructed a new shingle mill – the largest in the world – and went on to become significant figures in BC lumbering history.
The Intercolonial Railway ran from Montreal to Halifax and officially began operation in 1872 but it’s name implies its’ origins are much older, and indeed they were. Connecting the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada with those on the Atlantic Coast were top of mind after the War of 1812 and security concerns were raised again during the US Civil War. The name stuck despite the company beginning operations five years after Confederation and remained intact until the railway was taken over by the Canadian National Railway in 1918.