Richibucto River Historical Society Museum
For many years, the Richibucto River Historical Society has been the collector and keeper of great amounts of local history and artifacts. It is believed that the idea of a historical society spawned from an earlier school reunion of former teachers. During this reunion, it was decided to document some of Rexton’s early history. This initiated the writing of a book called “The History of Old Kingston”, by Edward L. Gallagher. Of course, many locals volunteered to do research to assist with the book.
In 1969, a small group of interested citizens of Rexton and Richibucto formed a steering committee to start a Historical Society and Museum. They felt it was time to save some of our heritage as many items were leaving the area. It was felt that Kent County was too formidable a task to deal with, so it was decided to deal with the narrow confines of the Richibucto River. Following a public meeting, the Richibucto River Historical Society was started.
Through the generosity of Richard Palmer, Deputy Minister of Public Works, whose father and mother were from Kent County, the society was lent a room in the Richibucto Court House. Judge Daigle and Dr. Graham made shelves from old bricks and boards, which was the beginning of the museum.
During a meeting held on March 31, 1978, Marjorie Thompson was recognized for her contribution towards the founding of the Richibucto River Historical Society and Museum and was thanked for her hard work and dedication.
In 1979, due to the need for a larger space, the Richibucto River Historical Society and Museum moved to Rexton, to be located in the former Rexton Hospital Building, old Kingston Hall.
Following the construction of the new interpretative building in 1997, the Richibucto River Historical Society and Museum, moved to its present location at the Bonar Law Common.
Other than the general preservation of many artifacts, one of the society’s most proud individual accomplishments was the preservation of many full volumes of the Richibucto River Review Newspaper. These newspapers were shared with the Province of New Brunswick, who in turn has had them microfilmed and thus made them available to the whole population.
In many various ways, the society has shared the local history to thousands over the years. In recent years, the society assisted with information for the books “River of Fire” and “Rexton the first 175 Years”, they also assisted with information for 15 panels placed along Rexton’s walking trail telling of Rexton’s history and have also helped in the development of the community’s Local Registry.
Two of the most recent projects involving the Richibucto River Historical Society were the creation of a steering committee to review the history of Wooden Tall Ship Building Industry plus the development of a partnership to assist with developing a “ Walk Through Time” along the beautiful winding shoreline trail at Bonar Law Common. For the first project, a subcommittee, Kingston Maritime Committee, chaired by J. Garth Girvan, moved forward with the construction of the Tall Ship “Shipwreck” built on the banks of the Richibucto River at Mundles Point in Rexton.
The local Richibucto River Historical Society and Museum may be small, but thanks to its long history and the dedication of many volunteers, the Richibucto River Historical Society and Museum boasts an incredible amount of preserved documents and artifacts. The museum has a beautiful collection of portraits of former residents who have gone on to great things. Citizens such as Andrew Bonar Law, the only person to be born outside Great Britain to become Prime Minister, as well as, William Bowser, who became Premier of British Columbia can be found in the museum. Many other portraits are also available for viewing.
Some documents, which are also available at the museum, include a list of churches and gravesites all along the Richibucto River and a great document listing information of the tall ships built in Kent County including information on the builders and their families. This information was researched and documented by Norton Wise.
To view some beautiful old pictures of the region, click this link: Pictures of the Region
To view some of the artifacts you will see when you visit the site, click this link: Museum artifacts
As well you may want to check out the Village of Rexton’s Local Historic Registry, click this link: Historic Registry
One of the more popular documents you will read of the region, is a book “The River of Fire” written by Myron Macdonald. To view a peek at this book, press click this link: "The River of Fire"
We would like to thank you for your visit to our web site and do hope you will visit our museum in the near future