Submitted by Christine Gorman
Charles Anderson, Stanley Bridge, born in New London, 1802,and Robert Anderson, Stanley Bridge, born in New London 1794. Public Archives of Prince Edward Island, Accession Number 2702, Item, No. 299.
Unanswered questions are omitted. [Square brackets are mine.]
1. Are you a native of P. E. Island?
We were born on the Island, in New London in June 1802, Charles Anderson, age 80;
Robert Anderson, born in New London, January 30, 1794, and now 88. Our father came to the Island from Scotland in July 1775. He landed at Point Prim, and married in Rustico in 1789.
Thirteen families came to the Island at the same time. [They] were persuaded to come here by certain proprietors who made promises to them which were never fulfilled.
8. How did the settlers manage to get along at first?
Very badly. Through many hardships, starvation, etc.
9. Who owned the first Mill in your settlement? Was it a saw, grist, carding or fulling Mill?
David Johnston at Long River, a grist mill - and an old fashioned one built about the year 1820.
10. Where was the first Church built? Who built it, and what clergyman preached in your settlement? Before you had churches, where were religious services held? Did the different denominations use the same building at different hours? Did they worship in barns? Were different denominations buried together?
In New London near the Harbor, [there was] a log building. Presbyterians built in 1805. Dr. Kier was our first minister. Ministers occasionally preached in houses, barns. All denominations were buried together.
11. What sort of roads had the early settlers, and when and who opened the first one in your neighborhood?
Tracks and paths through the woods, followed by blazes on trees.
12. Were there any shops or fishing stations near you, and where?
James Townsend, Esquire, kept shop in Park Corner. He was the leading man in our settlement.
14. What sort of schools had the people?
None - my father employed an old Yankee in winter in his own house to teach his seven children.
15. What old men and women do you remember? Where were they born?
The Pickerings, Coles, Marks, Johnstons, Clarks, and McKays who live near the harbor.
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?
James Townsend, Esquire, drove the first gig - an old chafs [chaisse?] that came from Scotland. Wheels were pieces cut from ends of logs and run on wooden axles.
17. Were the houses shingled or thatched? When was the first frame house put up in your locality?
James Simpson built the first frame house in Hope River about 1810. My father's was the second frame house.
18. What was the price of oats, butter, potatoes, &c., sold for?
Oats, 16 to 18 pence; potatoes about the same.
Butter 1/- for [?] very little for sale.
22. Who was the first blacksmith, tailor, shoemaker, saddler, cooper, or carpenter in your settlement?
Francis Pillman, the first blacksmith, had been in the Battle of the Nile with Nelson.
Kimball, first shoemaker, came from Canada.
Mr. Graham was the second blacksmith.
23. How was grain taken to the Mill in old times? And was oatmeal manufactured as it is now?
On men's backs, but chiefly in canoes in summer, and sleds in winter.
25. Who do you think built the dykes round the marshes, and what were they intended for?
The Indians - either for catching animals or shelter in fighting with bows and arrows.
26. How many people lived in your settlement when you first knew it?
9 families, about 45 in all.
27. Are any of the old people living yet, and who?
All are dead now.
28. Were dances and frolics more kept up than they are to-day?
They were more prevalent then. People had more innocent amusements.
29. Who was the first settler in your part of the country?
My father was among the very first.
30. What old schoolmasters did you know, and can you tell anything about them?
Prier, an American, first teacher who taught in my father's house. He taught several families.
31. Was there more snow, and were the winters colder than now?
More snow, severe winters, but earlier springs.
33. Did you ever see the Sea Cow, or any traces of it on the Island?
I have seen them and numbers of their bones on the shores of the west end of the Island where they had been killed in large numbers by the people there.
34. What wild animals were in the Island in your young days?
Bears, martin, wild cats, foxes, &c.
39. Who were the chief business men in your young days?
Mr Townsend, and Clarke, and John McKay of New London were the principal business men when I was a boy.
41. When did you get a post office, and who kept it?
The only P.O. was in Charlottetown when we arrived.
Duncan McIntyre kept the first P.O. 50 years ago near Clifton.
42. Who built the first vessel in your neighborhood, and how long was ship building carried on?
Mr. Townsend at French River built the first vessel.
43. How did the people of Crapaud, Tryon, DeSable, Malpeque, etc. get to town before they had their present roads? State at length any information you may about the mode of travelling in the early history of the Island.
People travelled along the shore in canoes, often crossing creeks in rafts. They would follow blazes on trees, carrying steel and flint and tinder, and making a fire and camping when night came on.
45. Who was the first and oldest brewer you remember?
John Adams brewed in 1822.
46. What is the oldest wayside tavern you know of?
A Frenchman kept one near Wheatley River.
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 any dangers? How did they find their way?
They often camped at night in woods. They would travel about 30 to 40 miles a day and carry a load. They were often in danger from bears. My father's house was a common resort for people to call at and rest or remain all night when travelling.
49. Have any of the early French settlers removed from the Island? How many, and where did they go; and who is the oldest French people you can speak of?
James Peters kept a tavern near Wheatley River in 1810. Many French moved from the Island to N. S. [Nova Scotia] and Cape Breton.
50. Where was your settlement situated, and who were its leading men?
In New London, near the Harbor. My father=s house stood near when George Andrews now lives.
52. Were oxen used for ploughing and farm work, and are they so used now in your settlement?
Oxen were used entirely. There were only 3 horses on the Island when my father arrived.
53. Who were the first Doctors you remember, and where did they live?
Doctor Henderson was the first Doctor in New London. He came from Canada and lived with [the] father of Dr. McKay near Clifton for many years.
55. How many mud diggers are there in your neighborhood?
56. When was your first ferry started? What kind of bridges had the people 80 years ago?
Fife's Ferry was first started in 1823 where Stanley Bridge now stands.
57. Do you remember of any period of great distress for food on the Island?
In 1778, there was great distress on the Island. While a poor family was crossing the ice near Point Prim in search of food, a girl died from cold and want of food.
59. What is the earliest time of the season the rivers have been frozen, what the latest time of breaking up in the spring; when did navigation begin earliest and close latest?
In December, some years in the last of November.
In some years, 1st May, often in April.
60. Were there many bears 50 years ago, and were they dangerous?
There were many, but not very dangerous if left alone, or if not too hungry.
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 have known poor people to cut ice and get shell or other fish to live on.
64. Do you know anything of fires laying waste considerable sections of the country and are their effects still perceptible?
Dreadful fires often took place when fine tracts of excellent timber was destroyed.
67. To what extent did hogs exist on beachnuts 50 years ago? Was it difficult to catch them in the beginning of winter.
They often lived entirely on beachnuts and came home late in the month of January, Feb. or March. We caught them with dogs and often had to shoot them.
68. Of what breed were the horses within your earliest recollection? What kind of horned cattle, sheep and pigs, had farmers then?
Small Canadian horses, very hardy; only 3 on the Island in 1776. Small and inferior breeds.
73. How were potatoes cultivated, dug, disposed of, or preserved for the winter?
With hoes and kept in greenhouses.
74. Was rye raised to any extent in this Island?
Not much raised.
75. Was flax grown generally. State the process of its cultivation and manufacture.
It was grown to some extent, especially by the French.
76. State the process of making wool into cloth, including "thickening."
Carding by hand, and spinning on little wheels; woven by hand looms and thickened by hand on a "walking frame", made of small rods of wood closely woven together.
77. How was barley ground in old times? Have you ever seen a barley pounder?
I have seen plenty of barley pounders and worked at the work which was slow and tedious, but made good barley.
79. Have you known of ploughing being done in January, February or March, and in what years?
I have known ploughing done in Jan. and also in March.
83. What sort of shoes did people wear 60 or 70 years ago?
Green hide moccasins generally.
88. What traces of the French occupation are you acquainted with? Give all the particulars you can on this head.
When my father came to the Island in 1775, one way of civilizing the Indians was by paying $50 to every Frenchman who married a squaw, and traces of the Indian race and blood could be seen in the French.
90. Have you ever seen any weapons or stone used by the Micmacs of this Island in their savage state?
I have seen their axes made of hard stone and held in a bent with of wood..
91. Any other information not covered by these questions, you are respectfully requested to put down in your answers.
Land was sold cheap - 100 acres for a pair of good oxen. My father bought about 500 acres at about that price. We paid for it with oxen and timber at about £80 [?] for 100 acres of choice land.
92. Note down your own name and Post Office address, and the names of those giving you items of information.
Charles Anderson, Stanley Bridge.
Robert Anderson, ditto.
[The interviewer had been writing the answers, but each signed his own name.]
93. How were weddings celebrated in time of your earliest recollection, and have any changes taken place with respect to marriages and weddings?
In the good old-fashioned way, but never without plenty of rum - generally proclaimed by banns, seldom by license.
94. What amusements were prevalent in old times and what changes have taken place in this respect?
"Thickening" frolics, dances, &c..
95. Were drinking habits more prevalent in your earliest recollection than now, and illustrate the change, if any.
Drinking was more prevalent than. Every man drank and treated his neighbor, but very few ..[?] confused drunkenness.[or, were confused drunkards...]
96. What changes have taken place in regard to amusements, comforts, habits, and modes of living of the people, and illustrate by examples.
Changes in comforts are immense. People live better, more comfortably, and clearly, live better. Better food, clothing, bedding, and houses.
97. Have you known of cases of witchcraft, or belief in witchcraft, or charms, to exist in the Island; and can you mention instances of belief on those or kindred subjects, or name persons who resorted to charms or fortune-tellers?
Belief in witchcraft was prevalent. Old Scotch women and men were blamed for practising the craft - such as taking the good [out] of a neighbor's cows' milk, &c. and &c.
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?
Not by any means. They were, I think, as happy but not as comfortable.
99. Was Gaelic, or Irish, or French, more generally spoken than at present? What changes are taking place in this respect?
Gaelic, Irish and French were very much spoken then by the people having those languages.