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Trinity United Church Shediac
SUNDAYS @ 10:30 AM
Robert Chesley Tait (R.C. Tait) Potato Exporter Lumberman (1856-1938) was referred to as Shediac's most prominent and prosperous citizen. As with all the Taits, he owned property and buildings but some of these were destroyed in the great Shediac fire of 12 October 1879. His grocery store and flat, a 20' by 38' wooden building, were lost to the blaze, along with a barn and all the hay. This dealt quite a blow to the area as many of Shediac's prominent families and employers, like the Taits, lost establishments to the fire. As with many setbacks though, the buildings were eventually replaced.
Not allowing his brother/business partner's untimely death to slow him down, he expanded the potato business by building the first potato warehouse. Located on Sackville Street in Shediac, the upper floor of this warehouse became Shediac's public auditorium. Through the 1880s and 90s, it boasted a proper stage with theatrical curtains and dressing rooms. All was eventually lost to another fire in 1901.
In 1881, he, along with his brother, Alexander James Tait, bought the Dawling-Crowe Mill and site but William Crowe operated the mill until his death. R. Chesley took over complete management in 1891. This plant gave employment to about thirty men during the summer months. It was burned in 1921 but Robert set up a modernly equipped plant for the making of barrel staves. In 1934 he sold the mill to H.G. Glendenning and Son, who enlarged the plant and added modern improvement for the sawing of lumber.
In 1884, he purchased a glorious house (built in 1866) on Sackville St. and it grew room by room with his growing family and needs. Unfortunately, this was lost to the Great Fire of 1911 but the present day house "Elmbank" replaced it before year's end. It is now utilized as a "bed and breakfast" on the corner of Main St. and Chesley St.
"A disastrous fire struck one of the most beautiful Shediac homes, when the R.C. Tait home burned. The Ladies' Aid had been invited to meet with Mrs. Tait the following week. One of Mr. and Mrs. Tait's daughters, Miss Lena Tait, was at this time church organist. The story is remembered, that on the following day (Sunday), Miss Tait was as usual, at the organ, and all the family attended the service, even though they had to use clothes belonging to friends, as everything had been lost in the fire."
(Trinity United Church: 100 Years of Christian Service 1879-1979)