Submitted by Christine Gorman
History Survey, 1876, John B. Schurman, Bedeque - Public Archives of PEI, Accession No. 2702, # 311.
Thanks to Kevin MacDonald, Archives, and to Shirley Atkinson, Amherst, who scanned the diagram in Answer #78.
Unanswered questions have been omitted. [Square brackets are mine.]
Twelve additional pages were added by Mr. Schurman for answers....
1. Are you a native of P. E. Island?
2. Where and when were you born?
In Bedeque, Lot 25, in the year 1805.
9. Who owned the first Mill in your settlement? Was it a saw, grist, carding or fulling Mill?
Some remains of an old French Sawmill remained on Dunk River long after my first recollection. And I have been told that the first settlers got some boards there to cover their camps when they came there first.
The people used quarens, that is, two stones, placed together, something like millstones and a handle in the upper one which the person took hold of and turned it around, feeding the grain into a hole in the top stone with the other hand at the same time.
A man named Jacob Siliker built the first Gristmill, on a small brook, and it would not grind much faster that the quaren, and was soon a wreck.
William Schurman built a Grist and Sawmill on the Dunk River which did all the work when I was a boy; it did not sift the meal. Isaac Ives was his millwright.
Add to question 9 [separate page]
John Gouldrup built a Gristmill in Tryon before William Schurman built his mill and I have heard the old men tell of taking their grist on their backs and walking on snowshoes from Bedeque to Tryon to get it ground. The mill was on the same spot where Ried's Woolen factory now stands.
10. Where was the first church built? Who built it and what clergymen used to preach in your settlement? Before you had churches, where were religious services held? Did the different denominations use the same building at different hours? Were different denominations buried together?
The first I recollect of was built in Bedeque by the Presbyterians. Rev John Kier was the Minister. Before that was built, and long after, the religious services were held in private houses and barns.
The different denominations did not worship in the same church since I can recollect. That Church was built about the year 1812.
11. What sort of roads had the early settlers, and when and who opened the first one in your neighborhood?
First, no roads, but a blaze and perhaps a few bushes moved out of the way. The first I recollect were cleared about 8 or 10 feet wide and the tops of the hills levelled down a bit.
12.Were there any shops or fishing stations near you, and where?
There was one store in Bedeque, when I first recollect, owned by Alexander Campbell, on the farm now owned by Hon. Alexander Laird. I would think about 18 ft by 22 [ft] perhaps a little longer and from all I can learn, all Prince County as it was then inhabited, came there for their supplies.
13. Were there many stores in Charlottetown when you were a boy? Describe the town as it was then.
I can say nothing of Charlottetown, I never saw it till 1828, therefore can say nothing about it.
14. What sort of schools had the people?
The first school I went to was taught by a man named Jonathon Stowe. I still believe if he would keep sober he would be considered a good teacher in this day. The school was kept in an old house which the owners had left to move into a new one; this would be about the year 1810. There were several schools taught in old houses and barns before that time, taught by some cast of [cast-off?] Man of Wars men or perhaps Clerks who could not get employed in any other business on account of intemperance and I must say that I saw but one sober teacher till I had my education. His name was William Dawson and he left teaching and went to sea.
15. What old men and women do you remember? Where were they born?
Jacob Sileker (he was the first man who died in Bedeque) died before my recollection - his wife married a man named Branscombe. They both also died before my recollection, and were all buried in their own field. Richard Robins with Nathan Wetheral and M. Herd [or Flerd, or Flood]started to walk from Bedeque to Charlottetown on snowshoes and as there was no roads then, they had to walk around the shore; when they got about halfway across Seven Mile Bay, Mr. Robins gave out and they turned to go back, but he, being an old man, soon gave out so much that he could walk no further. They tried to carry him till night came on and they were near giving out themselves and they were forced to leave him and, I suppose, thought to make him as comfortable as possible, placed him between 2 large stones with his face right to the wind. And they hastened to the nearest house about two miles from him, but when help came to him, he was dead. He was also buried in his own field. This must have happened about the year 1795 or between that time and 1800. He was great grandfather of John Robins, Esq. in the Savings Bank. Alex. Anderson lived till he was 107 years old; Peter Schurman lived till he was 99 years and 9 months old. I could name many more old men whom I recollect if required. The oldest I know now living in Bedeque who were born on the Island are John Townsend, Esq., Hon Alex. Anderson, and Thomas Robins. The oldest woman I know is Miss Amy Green, an old maid.
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?
The first waggon I ever saw or heard of was owned by Major Hooper, Esq.
Carioles were quite plenty when I was a boy. As to the horse tackling, I will describe what my father had for his first cariole. The collar was made of straw, plaited and sewed. (I made one like it last summer.) The hames were common wooden hames tied together at top and bottom with bits of rope or withs and leather tugs to draw by instead of Ganheck [??]Iron traces - rope reins - breechen was made of leather without any mounting, but some buckles which my grandfather made (he was the first blacksmith in Bedeque) His name was John Baker.
The saddle was a strap of leather over the back with tugs to hold up the shafts..[torn and illegible]
17. Were the houses shingled or thatched? When was the first frame house put up in your locality?
Some were shingled, but few; some were thatched, but not many. The most were covered with boards and the cracks battened with slabs and some were covered with sods - some with spruce bark and some with larch bark. The houses covered with slabs and a good covering of seaweed over that, were considered quite fine and very comfortable.
18. What was the price of oats, butter, potatoes, &c, sold for?
When I first took notice of such things, butter sold for about one shilling per pound; potatoes for about 2 shillings per bushel; oats for about 2 shillings and sixpence, and wheat for about 8 shillings, but I have seen oats sold for 1/3 or 1/6 often and wheat for 5 s and could not get money at that.
19.When was the first Court House built?
I think the courthouse at St. Eleanor's was built in either 1828 or 1929 or perhaps 1830.
20. Which is the oldest house in town, and who first lived in it?
Cannot answer. I was never in Charlottetown until 1828. The oldest house in Bedeque now standing was built by Major Hooper, Esq., and is now owned by Artemas Hooper. Another one was built by Major Hooper's father; I think his name as Thomas Hooper. He died and it fell to his son Elisha Hooper; he died and it fell to his son Lemuel Hooper who owns it yet. They were both built before my recollection.
21.Were there any forts or batteries in Charlottetown when you first recollect it?
I think there were, but I am not sure.
22. Who was the first blacksmith, tailor, shoemaker, saddler, cooper or carpenter in your settlement?
John Baker was the first blacksmith. John Graham was the first taylor that I knew anything about. I knew of no saddler till Ephraim Reid set up a saddler's shop sometime about the year 1830. Several shoemakers were about or men who could make something like shoes before I can recollect, but I think David Noonan was the first that could be called a tradesman. He learned his trade in Ireland. As for coopers, I do not know of a proper tradesman ever being there, yet a great many have worked at the business, but none made their living by it. The first carpenter I ever saw was named George Brown. He went Miramichi and died there. George Tanton was the next and did all the work after George Brown went away.
23. How was grain taken to the Mill in old times, and was oatmeal manufactured as it is now?
Sometimes on men's shoulders; sometimes on horses' backs; sometimes by oxen and sled, and sometimes in boats or canoes, and. I have seen it carried on ox's backs.
24. When was the road opened from to ?
I cannot answer.
25. Who do you think built the dykes round the marshes, and what were they intended for?
I think it must have been the old French inhabitants, but what for, I cannot say.
26. How many people lived in your settlement when you first knew it?
On Lot 25, there were 13 families.
On Lot 26, there were 17 families.
[The rest is torn...]
27. Are there any old people living yet, and who?
You will find the answer to this in Question 15. None of the first settlers are living now.
28. Were dances and frolics more kept up than they are today?
Yes, you could scarcely meet a few friends but a dance was got up. I have heard of people travelling 10 or 12 miles with oxen and sled to go to a dance.
29. Who was the first settler in your part of the country?
I cannot answer. The father of John Gouldrup was the first I heard of; he was drowned before the Refugees came.
30. What old schoolmasters did you know, and can you tell anything about them?
Samuel Crossman who left teaching and went to farming;
Jonathon Stowe, a good teacher but fond of strong drink;
Harnet, [?] an old Man of Wars man;
Joice, [?]a man who was turned out of store because he could not be trusted;
Doctor Graham, fond of drink;
William Dawson, a sea captain;
James Gilender, a good teacher, but fond of drink;
William Firth, an old Man of Wars man;
James Bell, [?] an excellent writer, but fond of drink;
John McIntyre, turned out of a store in Miramichi for drinking;
William Nellis, a good teacher, but fond of drink.
31. Was there more snow, and were the winters colder than now?
I think there was, and colder weather.
32. Do you know of anyone who used to carry on the seal fishery?
I never heard of any.
33. Did you ever see the Sea Cow, or any traces of it on the Island?
.I never saw any, but I have heard of many being caught on Seacow Head where the light house now stands, or near that place.
34.What wild animals were in the Island in your young days?
Bears, wild cats, foxes, rabbits, minks, martins, otters, musquash [muskrats]
35. Where used the mails to cross in winter?
I think it was from Wood Islands to Pictou if it crossed at all, but I do not think it did when I was very young.
36. How long did it take letters from England to reach here, and what was the postage paid?
I cannot answer.
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 first I ever saw was called The Royal Gazette and printed by James Bagnal; the next bore the same name and was printed by J. D. Haszard; the third was printed by J. B. Cooper, but I have forgotten the name. I think the next was the Paladium by E. Whelan; The Advertiser by John Pippy; The Islander by John Ings; The Gazette, and Haszard's Gazette by J. D. Haszard; the Presbyterian; The Patriot; The Summerside Journal by J. Bertram and by Graves & McMurtry, and The Summerside Progress by R. T. Holman, Kerwin and by John Delaney. The Protector & Protestant, I think, were printed by George Haszard and edited by the Presbyterian. The Morning News by Moody, Ross's Weekly by Ross. I know of several others, but cannot think of them now.
38. Who was the first native white person born on the Island? Who was the first born in your settlement after coming here?
John Gouldrup born in Tryon, or John Simpson, born in Charlottetown, and William Clarke born in Cape Travers, all claim to be the first child of English parents born on the Island.
39. Who were the chief business men in your young days?
Alexander Campbell and William Schurman. I speak of [hole/fold/illegible] only.
40. When was the first wharf or bridge built in your settlement? Who was the contractor, and how much did it cost?
There was a bridge over what is called Wright's Creek before I can recollect. There was also one called Taylor's Bridge over Dunk River, just at the head of the tide. The bridge over Dunk River, called Murray's Bridge was built as near as I can tell in 1814. It was built by Statute Labour.
The first wharf was built at Summerside, or I should say, was commenced in 1829. I cannot give any opinion as to what it cost.
41. When did you get a post office, and who kept it?
I cannot give an idea when it started but it was kept by Thomas Hooper.
42. Who built the first vessel in your neighborhood, and how long was ship building carried on?
I think William Schurman built the first vessel on Dunk River. I do not know the size and shipbuilding has been carried on more or less ever since. The first was built about the year 1800.
43. How did people of Bedeque 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.
The people from Bedeque used to go around the shore till they got some kind of road and often walked on horseshoes. In answer to Question 15, you will see some of the difficulties and more will be told in answer to Question 60.
44. How did you get the mails?
By private conveyance.
45. Who were the first and oldest brewers you remember?
The first I recollect or heard of was Archibald McMurdo about the year 1836.
46. What is the oldest wayside tavern you know of?
George Bearisto in Malpeque; James Hillson, William Lefurgey, Gilbert Palmer in Wilmot Creek and Caleb Schurman in Bedeque, and Terrace Webster in Tryon.
47. Were there any salmon, gaspereaux or shad, in our rivers when you were a boy, and what rivers had most of them? Are there any in your locality now?
In Dunk River, salmon were plenty. I never heard of shad. Gaspereaux were often caught but I think they were never very plenty. Herrings were so plenty in some parts that they were caught for manure. Salmon are caught in the Dunk River yet.
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?
I have heard tell of people camping at night on their way to Charlottetown but in my first recollection, there was a road so that you could ride on horseback and there was a Smith, a Bagnal and a Crabbe keeping taverns on the road. And a Mabey on the road through Tryon. I have heard of many dangers from bears on the road. I will tell some in answering question 60.
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 people you can speak of?
I am so little acquainted with the French that I cannot answer this.
50. Where was your settlement situated, and who were its leading men?
Bedeque was situated on the Dunk River. But who were its leading men were is hard to tell.
Anderson [hole] Major Hooper were Magistrates, but whether they were leading men or not, I cannot say.
51. How were houses lighted in the day time? Were they carpeted? When did people begin to use kerosene? How long since cooking stoves came into use?
I never knew of any other way than by windows as now; though I have [seen] some very strange looking windows with 2 or 3 pains of glass only in the whole house. As for carpets, a person was counted both rich and proud who could spread a carpet on the floor - even as lately as when I was married. As for Kerosine, I think it began to be used about the year 1850. Before that we had a burning fluid but it was dangerous. I have heard of several persons being burned to death by it...one young lady in St. Eleanor's, a sister of Richard Hunt, Esq., was one of the number. Before that, candles were used and I often seen pitch pine or pine knots split up and used as candles.
52. Were oxen used for ploughing and farm work, and are they so used now in your settlement?
Oxen were used altogether when I was a boy. I do not know of a pair of oxen in the settlement now.
53. Who were the first Doctors you remember, and where did they live?
I have heard of a Doctor Paten or Patison; I do not recollect which. Dr. De St. Croix cut off my grandfather's leg before I was born. My grandfather was a blacksmith and I have often seen him work at the forge with a crutch under his arm. He would not use a wooden leg. His name was John Baker.
54. When did mussel mud come to used as a manure; did many farmers use it at first, and how was it dug and carried from the beds?
About the year 1828 it began to be used by a few farmers, but they did not get mud diggers and make a business of it till about 1850.
55.How many mud diggers [were] in your neighborhood?
I cannot tell. I would suppose there are nearly 100.
56. When was your first ferry started? What kind of bridges had the people 80 years ago?
I do not know when the first ferry was started, in fact we have none yet. All bridges were built as long ago as I can recollect...something like they are now but very rough.
57. Do you remember of any period of great distress for food on the Island?
I do not recollect of any great distress. I have heard of some......[unfinished.]
58. Do you remember early frosts destroying the crops, and in what year? Any what steps taken to meet the case?
I recollect one year, I think it was 1836, the frost killed the grain on the 4th of September, but people got through ti without anything special being done to relieve them that I know of.
59. What is the earliest time of the season the rivers have frozen, what the latest time of breaking up in spring; when did navigation begin earliest, and close latest?
I have never kept notes, and my memory is bad for numbers, therefore, I will not try to answer this question.
60. Were there many bears 50 years ago, and were they dangerous?
There were a good many bears when I first recollect, and I have heard of many narrow escapes but do not know of any person being killed by them.
Joseph Baker, John Robins, John Farkle, and I think one or two more, were in the woods with their guns. They started a bear with her cubs. She immediately made at J. Farkle, and he, walking backwards and preparing to fire, caught his heel against a log and fell. The bear immediately jumped upon him. He, seeing no way of escape, thrust his hand in the bear's mouth and caught hold of his tongue as near the root as he could and held on till the others killed the bear. His arm was very badly bitten, but he recovered.
My father (Isaac Schurman) and my mother, with a child in her arms, were going through a woods of about 3 miles, but before going, my father prepared a suitable stick for the purpose and it was well for they had not gone far before a bear came at them, growling. My father stood in the road (such as it was then) and just pointed his stick at him and kept turning around as the bear walked around him, growling all the time, till my mother with one hand ( she had the child in the other) picked up some brush and struck on the ground and said "I will [kill] you" when the bear walked off to the side of the road and sat down. They started to run and the same scene was gone over, and when the bear sat down the second time, my father walked backwards till he got out of sight of the bear. It is worthy to note that in the midst of the danger, my father so much lost himself as to lay down his stick and tie his shoe. The bear stud [stood] still and looked at him all the time. It used to be said that if you looked straight into a bear's face, he would never come at you. They immediately went to search for the bear, but could not find him.
Two old ladies were riding on horseback from Rustico to Charlottetown, a bear came out of the woods and one of the horses jumped and the old lady fell off. (I think her name was McCallum.) The bear came right at her but her little lap dog nipped him at the heels; he turned to chase the dog; and as soon as he turned again, the dog was at his heels and this kept the bear away until the old lady got on her horse and rode safely into town.
I have heard of some boys by the name of Allen who were walking on the shore when a bear came after them. They took to the water; the bear followed them till he lost bottom and had to swim; then the boys turned on him, caught hold of his head, and held it under water till he was drowned and then dragged him ashore. (This was in New Brunswick.)
I have known of some of our neighbours killing 3 and 4 of a summer.
My father-in-law, John Hyde, was working in the woods lumbering and the company had a bucket full of rum which was left at a place where different persons could get at it. A bear came out of his nest, found the bucket and drank the rum. They found the bear about 100 yards from the bucket, so drunk that they easily killed him. That was in Miramichi.
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 heard that it was done, but I never saw it. It was before my time.
62. Do you know anything of a plague of mice, and when did it happen?
I have heard of that, too, but it was before I recollect, and I cannot tell the year.
63. Do you know anything of a great storm called the Michaelmas gale, and when was it?
I do not know that I ever heard of it.
66. Was any fox hunt ever held on the Island; when, and under whose auspices?
I never knew or heard of any.
67. To what extent did hogs exist on beachnuts 50 years ago? Was it difficult to catch them in the beginning of winter?
I know hogs used to get very fat on Beachnuts, but the meat was very soft, not as good as that which was fattened at home. I never knew of any great difficulty in getting them home.
68. Of what breed were the horses within your earliest recollection? What kind of horned cattle, sheep and pigs, had farmers then?
I think they were the old Canadian breed. They were small-sized with a heavy mane which was often cut off very short at each side of the neck and longer in the middle and sharpened up to a sharp edge on the top - a little shorter at head and shoulders to look like a bow neck. The tail was also heavy which they cruelly cut off till it was about 6 inches long; this they called "docking."
Then they would take great pains to cut the hair as square as they could. They had another most cruel practice called "nicking." It consisted in cutting the under part of the tail and fastening it up till it got well, to make what they called a "good tail." The legs had long hair on them which they took great pains to keep cut [as] short as they could cut it. The ears too were filled with long hairs which they would cut out and burn out with a candle to make it smooth.
I think the first horse was brought to Bedeque by Nathan Wetheral or Thomas Hooper, Esq., I am not sure which. I know it was Wetheral's horse which was sent after Mr. Robins when he was frozen to death. This was in the year 1776 or 1786; I am not sure which.
I cannot tell much about the horned cattle. I know there were some very good cattle when I can first recollect, but pasture was very good in the common then. About sheep, I can say less.
71. What variety of potatoes had people 30 years ago, and before that?
When I first recollect, we had white and blue potatoes. I do not know by what name they went. The white ones were used to feed the pigs and cattle, and the blues were for the table. I also recollect that we would consider it quite a prize to find a red one; once in a while there was another kind which were called calico potatoes - spotted blue and white. They were a very good potato but were only found mixed with others.
72. When was two-rowed barley introduced?
In fact it is not much raised in these parts yet, but I recollect of seeing it as long ago as I can recollect.
73. How were potatoes cultivated, dug, disposed of, or preserved for winter?
They were often planted with a hoe in what was called "burnt land." I think some new settlers do so yet. They would dig a little hole where ever they could get enough earth to cover a hill of potatoes; put in from 3 to 5 seeds and cover them 3 or 4 inches deep, making the hill as large [a]round as they saw would hold all the potatoes as they grew. They needed no more work till digging time. A little later and a plough was used planting in every third furrow. Those were generally harrowed 3 times and ploughed twice. They were generally dug with forks or hoes and [torn] picked them up.
They were generally put in cellars or greenhouses as they are now, but sometimes they were made in piles, covered with straw and then with earth, about 32 feet thick. This was called "putting them in pits."
74. Was rye raised to any extent in this Island?
Rye was not rased in these parts. I have seen a little, but I think it was not raised to any extent Winter wheat was raised to a considerable extent by the first settlers but when the place came to be cleared, the winter killed it, and the people gave it up.
75. Was flax grown generally? State the process of its cultivation and manufacture.
Flax was raised by nearly every farmer when I was a boy. The sheets, table cloths, towels and shirts were all made of homemade linen and in many cases pants, and a frock which took the place of a coat.
The flax was always sown on a piece of good land and when it came to maturity, the whole family - men, women and children - would turn out to pull it. This was done by taking hold of the top and pulling it up by the roots. It was then spread to dry, and when dry, taken to the barn and the seed thrashed out.
It was then spread out very thin and left to rot till the stalk would become brittle. The next process was the breaking - They generally, or I may say, always, used a bench about as high as would be convenient. In this, they placed 4 wooden knives with edges up; they then made a frame containing 3 wooden knives of exactly the same dimensions as the others. These they hung by a sort of hinge at the back with the edges down, and so as to strike exactly between the lower ones, and the forward end was a large block of wood to make it heavy enough to strike a pretty heavy blow. In this block they put a handle to work it by. They then made a fire in some convenient place in the woods and placed 2 poles over it and spread the flax on them to dry, taking care to stir and turn it so that it should not burn. When properly dry, they would take as much as they could hold in the left hand, and lay it on the lower knives, and pound the upper knives down on it till the stalk was completely broken into shivs. This was called "breaking."
The next process was to take a handful of the flax thus broken and with the left hand, hold it firmly over the end of a board made smooth for the purpose, and beating it with a wooden knife till all the shivs were beaten out. This was called "scutching." Next was the hackle which was made by driving a number of very sharp and smooth nails about 9 inches long through a piece of hardened [hardwood?] board; the women would take hold of one end of the flax and draw the other [end] through these nails to take the tow out of it. The next process was spinning and weaving, and next came the bleaching which was done by boiling the linnen in lie [lye] and then spreading it out on the grass [grafs] in the sun and often as it got dry, they would wet it with water. This work was all done by hand.
76. State the process of making wool into cloth, including "thickening."
Wool was taken from the sheep just as it is now. It was then washed and dried as we still do and then picked and greased, as we do, if we do not use a picker. Then with a pair of hand cards, one woman would card while another would spin. When it was spun, it would be dyed in may ways, mostly with indigo...then woven in a hand loom, of course.
For thickened - by making a frame about 9 or 10 feet long, having about 3 cross bars and bending rods, or "withs," under and over till the frame was made solid with them. This we called a "fooling [fulling] door." This door was framed on posts or legs so that it would about as high as the hips. The cloth was placed in a tub of soap suds and wrung out of that, and wound around this fooling door till it was all on and then a company of men and women would stand around the door and push the cloth from one to another till it was fulled....singing songs all the time the fulling was going on. They generally rubbed the cloth with soap once or twice while fulling. They generally had one person for each yard and always as much rum as was good for them at these fulling frolics.
When the cloth was fulled, we danced till morning.
77. How was barley pearled in old times? Have you ever seen a barley pounder?
We dug out a sort of trough as round as we could and about a foot in diameter and about 10 inches deep, which we generally burned inside to make it smooth, and put the barley inside it and wet it and pounded it with a beetle called a "pestle" till the shell came off. The trough was called a "mortar."
I recollect how bad I used to hate pounding barley. I hated it so bad that I cannot eat pearl barley yet.
78.Who owned the first metal mounted plough in your settlement; where was it made, and what kind of plough had they before then?
I cannot tell who owned the first metal plough. The first ploughs were made something like this figure:
A, the shoe; B, the beam; C, the tail, D, the head; E, the clevice [clevis.]
There was no iron about it, but the share coulter clevice [clevis] and a small rod of iron which was driven through the shoe and up through the beam. It had a head at the bottom which was let into the shoe level with the wood and a key on top of the beam. The share and coulter were fastened together at the points, which was called "licking." I have often seen a with used for a clevice. For a mould board, they would get a large log which in splitting would wind about half way round in the length of the mould, cut it the length and split it and dress it to something like the shape, and fit one end snugly to the head, and brace the other end off from the tail by two pieces of wood, a little larger than a treenail used for planking ships. This was done with an adze. They would dress it to the proper shape and the plough was done.
The first 2 handled plough I ever saw was used by Major Hooper, Esq., but I was very young when the Hon John Wright began to make them...nearly like the wooden ploughs now used and C. C. Davison ironed them. The mould board was covered with thin bars of iron or often with an old hand saw or whip saw and, if they could get one, an old mill saw. For a hand side [?] they would be made[?] up. The bottom plate was always a piece of flat iron.
The first iron saw that I ever saw was brought from Scotland by Herbert Hogg in the year 1826. It is a good plough yet.
79. Have you known of ploughing being done in January, February or March, and in what years?
I ploughed all day New Year's Day; I think it was the year 1830. I saw people ploughing in February, which was in the year 18941 or 1842. I cannot say which, and in the year 1846, D. [Dr.?] Wiggans ploughed and sowed wheat in March. I have heard my father tell of seeing Joseph Siliker plough on New Year's Day and again on the first day of March following, but I cannot tell what year. It was before my recollection.
80. Do you remember of any great drought in the Island?
I do not remember of any particular drought in the Island.
81. Do you know of any whales or grampuses being taken in our rivers or bays?
I have seen one and know of 2 or three small whales or grampuses being taken in Bedeque harbour.
82. Who was the first to use lime as a manure in your neighborhood?
I do not know, but I think it was The Hon. Joseph Pope, or his brother William.
83. What sort of shoes did the people wear 60 or 70 years ago?
Often Moccasins, some made of rawhide with the hair all on them; some with the hair all shaved off, and some of tanned leather.
Others wore shoes of their own make. Sometimes they would sew sheepskin around the top to keep out the snow. They would then lace up like a half-boot. I never had a boot till after I was married, and there were but pairs of boots in Bedeque then.
Some wore gaiters or spats as they were called; a sort of legging which came over the tops of the shoes, and a string went under the feet and tied on the top. They kept out the snow very well and was very comfortable in dry weather.
84. Do you know of any manuscript or writings in existence that would throw light on Island history?
I had an old history of the Island, printed by James Bagnal as long ago as 1812 or 1814, but I believe it is lost. I cannot find it. I think it could be got from George Haszard.
"The Life of the Rev. John Kier" - a pamphlet.
"The Life of the Rev'd James McGregor" a volume - will give a great deal of information the early history of the Island. They will be obtained from Presbyterians.
85. Who owned or manufactured the first horse rake in your settlement?
The first horse rake I ever saw was manufactured and owned by a man named Leard in Tryon. I do not recollect his given name.
86. Who owned or manufactured the first threshing machine; what was the date and describe its make.
The first threshing [machine] I ever saw was imported. I cannot remember where it came from, but it was about the year 1850. A man name Alex [?] Millar soon began to manufacture them and manufactured a great many. I speak of portable machines. I think George Tanton of St. Eleanor's had a machine which was a fixture many years before.
This question is continued on the separate leaf.
[86 continued]... and in fact there were several different kinds of machines before the portable ones came in use. I think G. Tanton had the first, about the year 1830 or perhaps a little later. A man named Bovyer manufactured some on which the horse walked around on a large round wheel, but the general way was to fasten horses to long arms and let them draw them around.
87. When was the first mower or reaper introduced; what was it like?
Being so little acquainted with mowers, I cannot describe them, but the first I saw was bought by two of my brothers, Caleb and Joseph about the year 1850. I think there were some in Bedeque before that. I think Ephraim Reid had the first, perhaps 2 years before that.
88. What traces of the French occupation are you acquainted with? Give all the particulars you can on this head.
I know of 2 old French burying grounds. One in Bedeque which has been ploughed over and cropped till it cannot be seen, and one in St. Eleanor's which has a stone wall around it. Though very rough, it is still sufficient to protect it from cattle. On the marsh which my father used to own, there are a number of logs which were placed there by the old French. The top side is all rotted, but if you dig one up, you will find the bottom as sound as it was. The marsh has grown over them so that they can scarcely be seen. I have mowed over them many a time. There was an old sawmill on Dunk River, I have seen enough signs of it to be able to know the exact place where it stud [stood.] I have heard that the first settlers got some pieces of boards there to cover their camps when they came here first.
On a farm belonging to John Lefurgey, there was an old well in which many pieces of chain, hatchets, knives and gun barrels were found and a hole was dug at night in a field where he was ploughing and it was thought a box had been taken out and carried off.
89. Do you know anything of the existence of moose on the Island?
I have never heard of any.
90. Have you ever seen any weapons of stone used by the Micmacs of this Island in their savage state?
I have some recollection of seeing a stone shaped like an axe which they told me was a MicKmac axe.
91. Any other information not covered by these questions, you are respectfully requested to put down in your answers.
I have told all I am able.
92. Note down your own name and Post Office address, and the names of those giving you items of information.
John B. Schurman, Summerside, P. E. Island.
I got no help from anybody.
93. How were weddings celebrated in time of your earliest recollection, and have any changes taken place in respect to marriages and weddings?
People were generally married by a Magistrate, always had plenty of rum, and a fiddle, and I have known them to dance for 2 or 3 days. The whole settlement would be invited to the wedding.
94. What amusements were prevalent in old times, and what changes have taken place in this respect?
Horse racing (when I was a boy,) dancing, and on Christmas and New Year's the young men would go round and fire a gun before daylight and the people of the house would get up and treat them. A young man named Lacust, [Lacoste?] on one of these excursions, loaded his gun with powder very heavily and then filled the barrel with snow, [so] that she would make a great noise - fearing she would kick, he held her over his head and fired and fell dead and never breathed after. This happened about the year I was born, 1805. I do not know what changes have taken place. Some young people can tell you better that I can what the amusements are now.
95. Were drinking habits more prevalent in your earliest recollection than now, and illustrate the change, if any.
Yes. I could not meet a friend, but there must be a treat and if a neighbour came to see you, he would not think he was kindly treated unless treated out of the decanter. The first drink a child got when born had rum in it. At frolicks, weddings, births and funeral - rum must be there.
96. What changes have taken place in regard to the amusements, comforts, habits, and mode of living of the people, and illustrate with examples.
People lived as well, that is, had as good victuals, when I was a boy as now. But did not dress so fine, and had not such fine houses or carriages or household furniture. Each person made his own chairs, tables, and bedsteads, and cariole which was all the carriage he had. I think they were more contented and happy then than now and I know they were more friendly and obliging.
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?
I have heard many stories of Witches and ghosts in my youth....enough to lead me to think that the people then believed in such things, but as I believe in nothing of the kind, I can say nothing about 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 respect?
I think I answered this in answering Question 96.
99. Was Gaelic, or Irish, or French more generally spoken that at present? What changes are taking place in this regard?
Gaelic was spoken in Seven Mile Bay; French in St. Eleanor's; a few persons spoke Irish, but a very few.
I have answered all. If not well done, you must take the will for the deed. By referring to the figures, you will find the answer to each Question. Thomas Robins, Senr., Hon Alex Anderson or Benjamin Pollard or John Townsend of Traveller's Rest are much older than I am, and can give you much information that I know nothing about.
John B. Schurman