The McLure's

The McLure’s were another business family that influenced the areas development. They were Scottish immigrants, and their large family settled on a farm in Murray Harbour North around 1840. Two of the children in this family, Gavin and Cartney, moved to Murray River and quickly made their mark on the community.

Gavin was the first to seek out opportunity here when at the tender age of 16 (!) he acquired the rights to the millpond in Murray River.19. Although he wasn’t technically a landowner, he filled the niche that the Cambridge family left in almost every other sense, operating the saw mill, grist mill and a small general store.20. He was soon joined by his younger brother Cartney, and Cambridge Mills became McLure’s Pond.

Cartney had ambitions apart from his brother, and he trained in shipbuilding. It’s not entirely clear who he apprenticed with, or where he learned; he may have studied with William McLure (either his older brother or his father), who is recorded as having built a few ships in the 1850’s,21. or the Clow family of Murray Harbour North, who were well know shipbuilders, or maybe one of the many men who built ships around Murray River. In any case, Cartney built his first ship in 1859, (the 113 ton Brig Jane, presumably named after his mother) and he took his skills to Murray River where he would be the areas primary shipbuilder. It’s hard to find solid numbers in terms of how many people it would have taken to build a ship, but it would certainly have boosted the area’s economy and required the skills of many tradesmen. It’s likely that a blacksmith would provide the iron fittings, skilled woodcarvers would make the ships wheel, figurehead and sternboards, someone else would make the sails, and of course there would be people who got the appropriate lumber from the forest and sawed the wood.22. McLure’s main partner in financing his shipbuilding ventures was Artemas Lord, a Charlottetown merchant and politician who often turned to McLure for new vessels. 

By the time the brothers died in 1901 and 1909, they owned about 155 acres of land in and around Murray River, some of which would become the village. Gavin and Cartney had remained bachelors, and when they died the businesses were passed down to a nephew, and remained in the family until the 1970’s.19. They were buried beside one another in the Gladstone cemetery.


In Partnership with