Speakers of the Legislative Assembly

Hon. J.P. Burchill

John Percival Burchill was born at Beaubears Island, Northumberland County, New Brunswick, on February 6, 1855, of English descent. He was the son of George and Bridget Percival Burchill.

He was educated at the public school and at the Chatham grammar school, Chatham, New Brunswick.

He located at Nelson, Northumberland County and engaged in the lumber business of the firm of his father, George Burchill & Sons. He was for some time president of the Miramichi River Service Limited and the Northwest Boom Company Limited.

He served as a director of the Miramichi Agricultural Exhibition and the Miramichi Pilotage Commission. He was a prominent member of the A.F. & A. M.

On January 4, 1882 he married Eliza Bacon Wilkinson, the eldest daughter of Judge William Wilkinson, of Bushville and Chatham, a Judge of the County Court of New Brunswick. By this marriage there was a family of one son and two daughters.

For six years Mr. Burchill served as a member of the Northumberland County Municipal Council from Nelson, Northumberland County. He also held the office of Warden for one term.

He was first elected to represent Northumberland County in the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick on June 22, 1882. At the general election of April 26, 1886, he was defeated on the stumpage question, but at a by-election held March 16, 1887 he was elected to the seat made vacant by the resignation of Hon. Michael Adams, who ran for the House of Commons.

On January 20, 1890 he was elected in opposition to the government on the stumpage question, but that matter being satisfactorily adjusted, he gave them his support. He was re-elected October 22, 1892; October 16, 1895; and February 18, 1899.

Defeated in the general election of February 28, 1903, he was re-elected again in a by-election December 1, 1908 called to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Donald Morrison. He sat until the dissolution of 1912 when he temporarily retired.

Re-elected again in the general election of February 24, 1917, he sat until the dissolution of the Legislature in 1920. He was subsequently defeated at the general election of October 9, 1920. He then retired from active political life.

Mr. Burchill was twice elected Speaker of the House of Assembly. He was first elected on March 9, 1893 and retained the position until the dissolution of the House in 1895. He was re-elected Speaker again on February 13, 1896 and remained until the dissolution of the House in 1899.

John Percival Burchill died on December 18, 1923 at the Miramichi Hospital at the age of 68 and was buried in St. Paul's Anglican Cemetery, Bushville, New Brunswick.

Source - Speakers of the Legislative Assembly, Province of New Brunswick, 1786-1985. 1985, Legislative Assembly, Province of New Brunswick, Office of the Clerk, Fredericton, N.B.