Submitted by Christine Gorman
Charles Ramsay History Survey 1876 PARO AC. No. 2702, Item No. 310, Series 20.
[On the outside of the Survey.... "Charles Ramsay, Montrose, born at North St. Eleanors, 4th January, 1804. Contains an Account of the Malpeque Settlers." There is different handwriting inside.]
1. Are you a native of P. E. Island?
I was born on the Island in 1804 in Lot 17, North St. Eleanors, on January 4th.
9. Who owned the first Mill in your settlement? Was it a saw, grist, carding or fulling Mill?
The first mill was a grist owned by the Settlement and her gudgeons ran on the Seacow tooth.[?]
10. Where was the first Church built? Who built it, and what clergyman used to preach in your settlement? Were different denominations buried together?
In Malpeque by Rev. Dr. Keir, Presbyterian..
In very few instances 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?
A man by the name of Hennesy opened the road from St. Eleanors to Traveller's Rest.
12. Were there any shops or fishing stations near you, and where?
There were none.
14. What sort of schools had the people?
The school houses were small log buildings, 15 ft x 18 ft.
15. What old men and women do you remember? Where were they born?
I remember a number of the first immigrants that came to Prince County, viz. Matthews, Ramsay, MacKendericks, and others.
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?
Samuel Green had the first horse cart in 1828. Ox cart was common for a number of years before [that.]
17. Were the houses shingled or thatched? When was the first frame house put up in your locality?
The houses were generally shingled, or boarded up and down on the roofs. Before 1810, there were several frame houses built.
18. When was the first Court House built?
St. Eleanor's Court House was built in 1831.
21. Were there any forts or batteries in Charlottetown when you first remember it?
There were in 1817 when I first saw it.
22. Who was the first blacksmith, tailor, shoemaker, saddler, cooper or carpenter in your settlement?
George Cannon was the first blacksmith; Nicholas Stewart, carpenter.
23. How was grain taken to the Mill in old times, and was oatmeal manufactured as it is now?
Grain was taken to the mill on horseback; there was not any oatmeal manufactured in any way till 1830, and then not sifted.
25. Who do you think built the dykes around the marshes, and what were they intended for?
It is my opinion that the dykes were formed by nature.
26. How many people lived in your settlement when you first knew it?
The Settlement was thickly inhabited when I first knew it.
27. Are any of the old people living yet, and who?
I know not any.
28. Were dances and frolics more kept up than they are today?
29. Who was the first settler in your part of the country?
The first settlers were French from the Colonies.
30. What old schoolmasters did you know, and can you tell anything about them?
John Mackinnon, John Burke.
31. Was there more snow, and were the winters colder than now?
There was more snow and the winters were colder than now.
32. Do you know of anyone who used to carry on the seal industry?
33. Did you ever see the Sea Cow, or any traces of it on the Island?
I have seen the teeth and the skin.
34. What wild animals were in the Island in your young days?
There were the bear and the wild cat.
35. Where used the mails to cross in winter?
From Cape Traverse to Tormentine.
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 newspapers you remember.
"The Royal Gazette" was the first newspaper, printed by James Bagnall in Charlottetown. The next was "The Christian Visitor" printed by Cooper and White. The next was "The Palladium."
38. Who was the first native white person born on the Island? Who was the first born in your settlement after coming here?
The first born in Prince county was Duncan MacKenderick (White.)
39. Who were the chief business men in your younger days?
The chief business men were Mr. Hill of Cascumpeque, Alex Campbell of Bedeque and Mr. Chanter of Port Hill.
41. When did you get a post office, and who kept it?
We got a post office in 1832, kept by Hugh Smith.
42. Who built the first vessel in your neighborhood, and how long was ship building carried on?
The first Ship was built by Mr. Campbell of Bedeque. There was no shipbuilding carried on previously to 1810 in our neighbourhood.
44. How did you get the mails?
The mails were carried on horseback.
45. Who were the first and oldest brewers you remember?
Pethick and Westlake were the first and oldest brewers.
46. What is the oldest wayside tavern you know of?
Bagnall's, Smith's and Crabbe's.
49. Have any of the early French settlers removed from the Island? How many, and where did they go; who is the oldest French people you can speak of?
The oldest French I can speak of are the Perries, Arsneaux, Goody, and Desroches.
50. Where was your settlement and who were its leading men?
The settlement was North St. Eleanors and the leading men were Major Compton and Samuel Green.
51. How were the first houses lighted in the daytime? Were they carpeted? When did people begin to sue kerosene? How long since cooking stoves came into use?
The houses were lighted by windows as now. In some instances, they were carpeted. Kerosene was used about 1854 or '56. Cooking stoves came into use about 30 years ago.
52. Were oxen used for ploughing and farm work, and are they so used in your settlement?
Oxen were used till 1824 and not much since.
53. Who were the first Doctors you remember, and where did they live?
Doctors Patton and Siminson visited the Settlement occasionally.
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?
Mussel ["mufsel"] was used as a manure in 1823 - 1824 by Mr. Malcolm Ramsay. It was lifted with forks into canoes.
55. How many mud diggers in your neighborhood?
There are about 18 diggers now.
57. Do you remember any period of great distress for food on the Island?
In 1837, 7th [or lst] September, there was a great scarcity among the poor caused by an early frost damaging the crops.
58. Do you remember early frosts destroying the crops, and in what year? Any and what steps taken to meet the case?
Failure of crops.....Government granted for three years, 1846, 1847, 1858, money to buy seed, and the proprietors gave a small sum one year.
60. Were there many bears 50 years ago, and were they dangerous?
The bears were more numerous than at present.
62. Do you know anything of a plague of mice, and when did this happen?
The last that I knew of was in 1815.
63. Do you know anything of a great storm called Michaelmas Gale, and when was it?
[In the handwriting on the cover of the Survey: "Robert Stewart says there was, 20 Sept., 1811. Immense damage was done by it - among others was the old Wellington Hotel which was then just framed...it was flattened. The storm was felt all over our area and occasioned great damage to wharves, shipping and houses."]
65. Was game more abundant in old times than now? Were wild pigeons ever here?
Game was more plentiful and pigeons were abundant.
67. To what extent did hogs exist on beachnuts 50 years ago? Was it difficult to catch them in the beginning of winter?
68. Of what breed were the horses with your earliest recollection? What kind of horned cattle, sheep, and pigs, had farmers then?
The horses were of the Canadian breed.
The first horned cattle, sheep and pigs were brought from Quebec, by Clark and Campbell.
71. What variety of potatoes had people 30 years ago, and before then?
The red potato was cultivated about 30 years ago and [a] cross [of] whites and blues were cultivated previously.
74. Was rye raised to any extent in this Island?
75. Was flax grown generally? State the process of its cultivation and manufacture.
Flax was grown generally. They would select a piece of clean rich meadow in the spring; ploughed; sowed it about the first of June at the rate of a bushel to 2 an acre. Manufactured by hand.
77. How was barley pearled in old times? Have you ever seen a barley pounder?
It was pearled by pounding in a mortar.
78. Who owned the first metal mounted plough in your settlement; where was it made, and what kind of plough had they before then?
Colonel Compton imported metal ploughs as early as 1806. Before then, farmers made their own ploughs.
79. Have you known of ploughing done in January, February or March, and in what years?
In the year, 1843, ploughing was done in January, February and March, and wheat sowed in March.
86. Who owned or manufactured the first horse rake in your settlement?
Mr. Samuel Cambridge owned the first horse rake.
87. Who owned or manufactured the first threshing machine; what was the date, and describe its make.
George Tanton owned the first threshing machine, made by Bond (?) about 1832. It was a fixture, threshed by beaters. In 1861, the first mower and reaper was introduced by the Mannings.
88. What traces of the French occupation are you acquainted with? Give all the particulars you can on this head.
Farming and fishing were the chief occupations that the French were engaged in that I am acquainted with.
90. Have you ever seen any weapons of stone used by the Micmacs of this Island in their savage state?
I have seen the stone axe.
92. Note down your own name and Post Office address, and the names of those giving you items of information.
Mr. Charles Ramsay, Montrose.
95. Were drinking habits more prevalent in old times, and what changes have taken place in this respect?
Drinking habits were more prevalent in me earlier days than now. Liquor was considered as necessary at all social gatherings.
96. What changes have taken place in regard to the amusements, comforts, habits and mode of living of the people, and illustrate by example.
In a great measure, Temperance Societies, Lectures, tea parties, have taken the places of dances and taverns.
97. Have you known 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?
I put no belief in any of them.
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 regard?
The people were not formerly as comfortable as now, yet were they as happy.
99. Was Gaelic, or Irish, or French more generally spoken than at present? What changes are taking place in this respect?
French and Gaelic were formerly more generally spoken on the Island than now.