During the last two hundred years the Miramichi area has produced a great number of outstanding men. Some of these men, such as Lord Beaverbrook, left to seek fame and fortune elsewhere. Others stayed and made their mark in a less spectacular but nonetheless impressive way.
R. R. Call was one of these men. Yet how many people today are even familiar with the name?
Robert Randolf Call was born in Newcastle, the son of Obadiah Call, who arrived here from the United States in 1823. He was the eldest of seven children.
The "Andover" was purchased in Fredericton soon after and placed on the up river and down river route by Call and Miller. This was the only steamer that made the trip to Doaktown.
In 1874 R. R. Call was made a member of the Board of Pilotage Commissioners.
He appears to have been involved in the life of the up river community. The following excerpt from the Union Advocate of August 3, 1881 is of interest.
"R. R. Call, Esq. has received from William Richards, Esq. a very valuable gold watch, chain and seal in recognition of his valuable services rendered by him in stopping the drift of lumber from the South West Boom on May 21 last. The watch is Waltham in a solid 18-carat gold case engraved with Mr. Call's monogram and engraved inside the cover with the two men's names and year."
"Congressman John J. Adams, Esq. of New York, a native of Douglastown, William Crawford, Dr. Crawford of New York and Michael Adams, ex-Surveyor General of New Brunswick spent last week at Camp Adams, North West Miramichi. They had splendid sport, killing 108 salmon and grilse in five days.
R. R. Call has been presented by Hon. J. J. Adams, congressman for New York, with a diamond breast pin in appreciation of Mr. Call's kindness to himself and his American friends during their visit. Mr. Call, an American Consul, has with his steamers and in other ways enhanced the pleasure of the visitors from the land of the Stars and Stripes."
In his book "My Early Life," Lord Beaverbrook speaks very highly of R. R. Call and writes at length about him and about one of his sons who was engaged to his sister Rahno. He writes "Joe Call went to the west to gather a fortune. Within a short period of time, perhaps a week, word came to my father from Denver in Colorado that Joe was dead. He was asked to inform the family. I recall vividly my mother rocking to and fro on a chair upholstered in horsehair, crying in grief and misery over the untimely and tragic death of Joe. I was terrified and added my cries to the general confusion."
In June 1867 he was elected chairman of the Northumberland Country Alms House commissioners.
At the time of his death in 1903 he was High Sheriff of Northumberland County, having been appointed in 1897.
He also travelled widely in Canada and in Europe.
Rev. William Aitken, father of Lord Beaverbrook, in his eulogy said, in part, "His death has cast a deep gloom over the whole surrounding community. He was widely known. In his various business relations, he came in contact with people of all sorts. All liked him. All trusted him. All spoke highly of him. His staunch and upright business habits and with all his kind and obliging disposition rendered him a general favourite. We may truly say that in the majority of homes on the Miramichi his name was a household word."
The six pallbearers were well-known residents of the Miramichi. They were: John C. Miller, James Robinson, W. A. Park, Ernest Hutchison, J. D. Creaghan and William Irving.
(Northumberland News, September 24, 1980)