Historical Survey completed by George Brace, in 1876.

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Submitted by Christine Gorman

Historical Survey completed by George Brace, 1876, PEI PARO Accession No. 2702, Historical Survey Series

With thanks to Kevin MacDonald. - Omitted -- those answers with a "Don't know" answer.

George Brace, Born St. Johns Nfld in 1809. Emigrated here in 1832

1. Are you a native of P. E. I?


2. Where and when were you born?

St. Johns N. F. Land, March 27, 1809.

3. When and in what vessel did you come to P. E. Island? From what port did you sail?

Schooner Priscilla, owned by George Warren and Brother of York River. The time, September 1832. I sailed from St. Johns.

4. Were there many people in her, and were they used well?

5 passengers. Yes.

5. When and where did they land?

At this Port. [Charlottetown.]

6. Who were born and who died on the passage?


7. What was the state of the Island when you came here?

8. How did the settlers managed to get along at first?

9. Who owned the first Mill in your settlement? Was it a saw, grist carding or fulling Mill?

10. Where was the first Church built? Who built it, and what clergyman used to preach in your settlement? Before you had churches, where were religious services held? Did different denominations use the same building at different hours? Did they worship in barns? Were different denominations buried together?

11. What sort of roads had the early settlers, and when and who opened the first one in your neighborhood?

12. Were there any shops or fishing stations near you, and where?

Nos. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Campbell's or some other History must answer these questions.

13. Were there many stores in Charlottetown when you were a boy? Describe the town as it was then.

Boyhood was past before I arrived here.

See blank page on this sheet.

[And Brace continues...]

The Business Men were James Peake, Daniel Brenan, Nathan Davies, John McGill, Charles Dempsey, Peter McGowan, Sam Nelson, T. B. Tremain, David Wilson, Ramsay, Ralph Brecken and Son, and some others of less note.

St. Paul's Church stood nearly on the site of the Present Post Office; the 16 square market house on the site of the Provincial Building. The Wesleyan Church [was] 26' x 40', afterwards added to by the late J. N. Harris and turned into a store, and again altered, and now owned by Philip Coyle. Queens Wharf has been added to once, if not twice, since 1832 and all the others built. One fall, I saw between Jas.(?) T. Morris on one side and Peakes on the other, the mud 12 to 16 inches deep. The whole breadth of the street [it was] of the consistency of Pancake batter and in rear of the Province Building and new courthouse, a complete bog. No sidewalks; everyone taking the middle of the street; cellar hatches in number abundant.

14. What sort of schools had the people?

Poor enough, I guess.

15. What old men and women do you remember? Where were they born?

Governor Sir A. W. Young; Collins, his secretary; Judge Jarvis; Paul Mabey; Sam Nelson; Speaker McNeill; Major Sam S. Bagnall; Ralph Thompson; James Cantelo and Father; Major Holland; J and S. (?) DesBrisay; G. Birnie; Donald McDonald; J. S. McDonald; N. Marquand; C. Cross; D. Reddin; J (?) and Henry Smith; John Gainsford; John Trenaman; John Bovyer and Wife; Martin Heartz; Francis Longworth; T. H. Haviland; J. S. Smith; R. Weeks and Wife; Smardon, Saddler; Two McDonalds, brothers, carpenters; Sam Maston (Martin?) and Bill Byers, colored.

Richard and Theophilus Chappell; Fulton, the Lawyer; Charles Binns, ditto: Watson Duchemin; James Moore and Wife; James Coles, Father of Hon. George [Coles]; William Matthews, Wheelwright; John Godkin; Sam Collins and Brother who hung himself; Mr. Wright, Builder; Isaack Newton, Framer; Davison, blacksmith; John Summors; Clear Lallow, Market Clerk; Hon the late John Brecken and Hon Tracadie McDonald; James Watts, baker and Father, the Mason, one of the contractors [ for the] Province Building; McDuff and Bain being the others;

Robert Hutchinson, W. Douse, James Peake, D. Brenan, G. Goodman, T. L. Haszard, George Dalrymple, John McGill, Charles Dempsey, C. D. Rankin, Abercrombie Willock, John Barrow, John Hawkins; old Sims, father of Artemas Sims; William Feure, a tavern keeper; Joseph Pippy, his brothers John and Gregory; Squire Farquharson, from Lot 48; John and Thomas Robinson;

White the shipbuilder; William Gardner and his Father; John Breen, blacksmith; Mr. Grub; Squire Hall; Mr. Hensley; Long Irving; Irvine 6 eyes (?) R. B. I.(?); Richard Faught.

The Late Hon. G. Wright; Thomas Pethick; old Mr Barnard and Mr. Brecken, builders; G. Beer, first, G. Beer second, and G. Beer, third, and the present G. Beer, 4th; Bishops McEachern and McDonald; John Davis, baker, and son Blind Jack; W. Tanton, tailor, now 85; W. Pepperall, Sexton; Denis McCarthy, tinsmith; Mooney, publican; Fulton who run(?); James Quinn; John Costain (?); Con Little; Ramsay, Captain James; - all dead but 3 o4 4.

16. Who had the first wagon, gig, jaunting sleigh, cariole, cart, or plough in your settlement? What was the horse tackling made of? Who had saddles, and what were the cart wheels like?

First, can't tell.

Second, Leather, as now.

Third, he would be a wise man if not a conjuror who could tell who had or who had not.

Fourth, as they are now..spoke wheels.

17. Were the houses shingled or thatched? When was the first frame house put up in your locality?

Shingled, I never saw a thatched roof.

18. What was the price of oats, butter, potatoes, &c, sold for?

Potatoes in the field, one shilling per bushel; eggs, four pence per dozen;

the rest I can't say at what price they sold.

20. Which is the oldest house in town and who first lived in it?

I think that Mrs. Craith's, corner of Sydney and Queen St. is the oldest in Town.

21. Were there any forts or batteries in Charlottetown when you first remember it?

Yes, (a) four gun battery and that at the Barrack Grounds.

27. Are there any of the old people living yet, and who?

The venerable Thomas Davison and Mrs. John Bovyer, widow, are the oldest persons living that I know.

28. Were dances and frolics more kept up than they are today?

Don't know, but think they were.

29. Who was the first settler in your part of the country?

No doubt one of the Micmacs.

30. What old schoolmasters did you know, and can you tell anything about them?

James Breading of the National, now the Normal School, and Mr. Brown of the Grammar School after that of the Academy. Breading became a Minister, and Mr. B. died in the Academy.

31.Was there more snow, and were the winters colder than now?

Much alike, over about 37 the quicksilver frost at Government House. (?)

32. Did you know of anyone who used to carry on the seal fishery?

Tried once from New London - failure.

33. Did you ever see a Sea Cow, or any traces of it on the Island?


34. What wild animals were in the Island in your younger days?

I don't know.

35. Where used the mails to cross in winter?

As now, at Cape Traverse.

36. How long did it take letters from England to reach here, and what way the postage paid?

I don't know.

37. Which was the first Island Newspaper? Who printed it, and where was his office? When was the next one started? Name all the Island Papers you remember.

The Royal Gazette was published by the late J. D. Haszard when I cam here in '32 in his house on Pownal St. Another name, forgotten, by T.(?) H. White in the Wellington Hotel. Rankin published 19 numbers of the "Times" when W. Douse knocked it all into Pie (?). "The Colonial Herald" by Cooper and Bremner. "The Morning News" I think by Moody, continued after his death by his daughter; another by J. J. Pippy; after by J. J. Rice, name forgotten, Mitchel can tell;

"Palladium" by Whelan.

40. When was the first wharf built?

Before I came here.

41. When did you get a post office, and who kept it?

Richard Chappell was Post Master when I came here.

44. How did you get the mails?

They were brought in the steamer Pocahontis when I came here.

45. Who were the first and oldest brewers you remember?

Thomas Pethick, G. Coles and Whiskey Robinson.

48. On their way to and from Charlottetown, how did people living at a long distance away, get along when night overtook them on the journey? How far could they go in a day, and did they often meet with dangers? How did they find their way?

As in the daylight, by following the road. The writer left one winter's day and got to Park Corner in 11 hours.

49. Have any of the early French settlers removed from the Island? How many, and where did they go to; and who is the oldest French person you can speak of?

Some left here for the nearest part of Lower Canada some 14 or more years ago. How many, I can't tell.

50.Where was your settlement situated, and who were its leading men?

In town.

51. How were the first houses lighted in the day time? Were they carpeted? When did people begin to use kerosene? How long since cooking stoves came into use?

By the Sun, no doubt of it. I think Major Pollard was the first who imported Albertine Oil here; after that, kerosene being cheaper, drove Albertine out of the market. Some few persons in the city had cooking stoves 38 if not 40 years ago.

53. Who were the first Doctors you remember, and where did they live?

St Croix and Mackieson, another called Trant, a disreputable person, kept a tavern, his daughter was convicted of perjury; after imprisonment, the whole brood went away.

54. When did mussel mud come to be used as a manure; did many farmers use it at first, and how was it dug and carried from the beds?

Don't know. Hydes and Crosbys were using [it] 20 years before anyone else.

55. How many mud diggers in your neighborhood?

Not one.

57. Do you remember of any period of great distress for food on the Island?

I do, but forget the year.

58. Do you remember early frosts destroying the crops, and in what year? Any and what steps were taken to meet the case?

I do, but forget the year...I think in 1836.

59. What is the earliest time of the season the rivers have been frozen, what the latest time of breaking up in spring; when did navigation begin earliest and close latest?

Once and only [once] have I seen the rivers open in the end of March; once open after Christmas; once four years ago or more, vessels could not get out the 20th of May.

60. Were there many bears 50 years ago, and were they dangerous?

I don't know, but there used to be great talk of them.

61. Do you know of the old settlers cutting through the ice and taking shell-fish in winter? Did you ever hear what distance they had to travel for food? Give all you know on this point.

I know nothing on this point.

62. Do you know anything of a plague of mice, and when did it happen?

I heard it happened in Souris; I don't know how far it extended.

63. Do you know anything of a great storm called the Michaelmas gale, and when was it?

I suppose that it is that in which so many Americans perished. I forget the year.

64. Do you know anything of fires laying waste considerable sections of the country, and are their effects still perceptible?


65. Was game more abundant in old times than now? Were wild pigeons ever here?

Can't say.

66. Was any fox hunt ever held on the Island; when, and under whose auspices?

Yes. G. Coles, Captain Swabey and other bucks followed the hounds at times.

69. When and by whom were artificial grasses first introduced?

Very likely by the old or first Agricultural Society.

70. Do you remember how long since Swedish turnips were first cultivated?

35 or perhaps 33 years ago.

79. Have you heard of ploughing done in January, February, or March, and in what years?

I think that I have heard of it being done as late as January and as early as March. The years are forgotten.

82. Who was the first person to use lime as a manure in your neighborhood?

I think G. Beer, father of the late Hon. G. Beer and John Rowe, father of Manoah, late MP, first used lime on a farm on the St. Peters Road near Town.

84. Do you know of any manuscript or writings in existence that would throw light on Island history?

I do. The late Ralph Thompson kept a complete record of events during his life. Births, deaths, funerals, weddings; Judgments, sentences in the Supreme Court; arrivals and departures of ships, where from and where to; occurrences great and small in town and country, etc. etc. etc.

After his death, John Rendle sent them to St. Pierre, to Thompson's daughter.

86. Who owned or manufactured the first threshing machine; what was the date, and describe its make.

Steven Bovyer invented a threshing machine about 40 years ago but it was not a success.

91. Any information not covered by these questions, you are respectfully requested to put down in your answers.

The only thing I can say here, is that Fires in the City since 1832 have almost always occurred on Saturday night or Sunday morning. I don't think there are 4 exceptions.

92. Note down your own name and Post Office address, and the names of those giving you information.

Brace Glass, Box 232, P. O., Charlotte Town.

93. How were wedding celebrated in time of your earliest recollection, and have any changes taken place with respect to marriages and weddings?

I know of no change.

94. What amusements were prevalent in old times, and what changes have taken place in this respect?

Country folks could answer this better than I can.

95. Were drinking habits more prevalent in your earliest recollection than now, and illustrate the change if any.

I think so. I think the labors (?) and various temperance Societies, the Pi... (?) and the Pulpit have produced a better State of society than existed 40 years ago.

96. What changes have taken place in regard to amusements, comforts, habits, and mode of living of the people, and illustrate by examples?

I think, if any difference, the amusements are more rational.

97. Have you known of cases of witchcraft, or belief in witchcraft, or charms to exist on the Island; and can you mention instances of belief on those or kindred subject, or name persons who resorted to charms or fortune-tellers?

A very odd or scarce one may [have] believed in witchcraft.

98. Were the people formerly as comfortable as now? In either case, were they formerly happier than now, as a rule? What is your opinion in this respect?

More comfortable by far now, but as for happier, I can't say.

99. Was Gaelic, or Irish, or French, more generally spoken than at present? What changes are taking place in this regard?

As far as I know, Irish was never much spoken and now less than ever; very few Irishmen can speak it. Gaelic is supposed to be dying out by some who can both read and speak it well. Possibly, on this Island, the French will hold on longer than either.

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