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The Emperor of Grand Manan

Wilford Fisher was nicknamed the Emperor of Grand Manan. In the early1800's he settled near Woodwards Cove and established a smoked fish operation and a retail enterprise. Soon Fisher was made magistrate and militia captain; he was regarded as the most powerful man on the island. Fisher was also a man who wanted complete control. His only vocal opposition came from John Dunn, the local clergyman. On an October night in 1839, St. Paul's Church at Grand Harbor was destroyed by flames and an effigy of a clergyman was found hanging in a tree nearby. The evidence gathered at the time pointed to Wilford Fisher and his followers. A trial was held in St. Andrews but all accused persons were acquitted due to a lack of evidence. The church was rebuilt but Fisher lost his power over the people and was branded a church burner. The stone church built in 1840 is still standing in Grand Harbor.


Mitch Biggar
graymon@nbnet.nb.ca