Submitted by Christine Gorman
Historical Survey completed by John H Walker, Launching, in 1876.- No. 314, Accession No. 2702, PEI Archives and Records Office.
Only the questions answered have been transcribed.
1 Are you a native of P. E. Island?
A native of P. E Island. Born at Launching Place in A. D. 1836.
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 different denominations use the same building at different hours? Di d they worship in barns? Were different denominations buried together?
At Launching in the year 1798. The people of Launching built it and the Rev. Aeneas McEachern preached there before he was ordained Bishop and afterwards. No different denominations used the same building or burying ground.
11. What sort of roads had the early settlers, and when and who opened the first one in your neighborhood?
They had no roads at all but going along the shore of Cardigan River to the head and a blaze through the woods to Mount Stewart. The Launching people had to go so far as the 18 Mile Brook on the George Town road and as far as Morell towards St. Peters to work their statute labor for a number of years before they had any roads within 10 miles of their own place. Angus Walker was their overseer.
15. What old men and women do you remember? Where were they born?
Michael McCormack, Donald's son, is the oldest man in our neighborhood. Born in Scotland, South Uist, Inverness Shire...left there in 1798. He was 5 years old at the time.
17. When was the first frame house put up in your locality?
The first frame house in Launching was the Church and Priest's house...50 years ago. The Church before then was a log walled and thatched roof.
26. How many people lived in your settlement when you first knew it?
When I first knew Launching settlement, there was one hundred and seventy people in it.
27. Are any of the old people living yet, and who?
One of the old people living yet is Michael McCormick.
28. Were dances and frolics more kept up than they are to-day?
Dances and frolics were more kept up than they are today.
29. Who was the first settler in your part of the country?
There were six families settled it once, named respectively Angus Walker, Donald McDonald, John McPhee, Roderick McDonald, Donald McCormick, Angus McCormick. There are 26 households in our School District now.
30. What old schoolmasters did you know, and can you tell anything about them?
John Hopewell(?) was the first School Master.
38. Who was the first native white person born on the Island. Who was the first born in your settlement after coming here?
John Walker first born in Launching Settlement.
40. When was the first wharf or bridge built in your settlement? Who was the contractor, and how much did it cost?
The first Wharf was begun in the year 1843 and has not been extended far enough yet.
41. When did you get a post office, and who kept it?
When the Liberals first held the power, they gave us an office, and in three years, the Tories deprived us of it until the present one was established after Confederation.
42. Who built the first vessel in your neighborhood, and how long was ship building carried on?
John B. McCormick built the first vessel in our neighborhood, and built three afterwards.
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?
Few of all them are taken every year in Launching Bay.
50. Where was your settlement situated, and who were its leading men?
At Launching Place, Lot 55, King's County. Angus Walker, Donald McDonald and John McPhee were the leading men.
52. Were oxen used for ploughing and farm work, and are they so used now in your settlement?
Oxen were used for ploughing at first, but not now in our settlement.
53. Who were the first Doctors you remember, and where did they live?
Dr. Robert Turner.
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?
Nine years since the farmers first used it as a manure.
55. How many mud diggers are in your neighborhood?
There are two mud diggers in our neighborhood.
70. Do you remember how long since Swedish Turnips were first cultivated?
The first Swedish Turnips were cultivated in Launching in the year 1842.
71. What variety of potatoes had people 30 years ago, and before then?
They had Malagash, Blue, Sotch (Scotch?) appll(?), and yellow moster (mosten?) and pinkeze.
78. Who owned the first metal mounted plough in your settlement; where was it made, and what kind of plough had they before then?
The first metal mounted plough in our Settlement was made in Pictou, Nova Scotia, and owned by Angus McPhee.
82. Who was the first to use lime as a manure in your neighborhood?
Hugh Walker was the first to use lime as a manure in our neighborhood.
85. Who owned or manufactured the first horse rake in your settlement?
Peter Morrison owned and manufactured the first horse rake.
86. Who owned or manufactured the first threshing machine; what was the date, and describe its make.
Peter Morrison owned the first threshing machine. "Thrid wheel friction fixture haire noak (??) (horse yoke?) for a belt" The date was 1845.
88. What traces of the French occupation are you acquainted with? Give all the particulars you can on this head.
There is the appearance of a forge in my farm at Launching Pond; coal cinders and scraps of iron. One piece was picked up by me - something like a plough share, also an eel spear.
90. Have you ever seen any weapons of stone used by the Micmacs of this Island in their savage state?
There are several of them to be seen around Launching Pond yet.
91. Any other information not covered by these questions, you are respectfully requested to put down in your answers.
The origin of the name Launching was a track cut through the woods across the Point into the Bay to avoid going around Boughton Island with canoes and small boats. When going up Cardigan River or Montague, the beech or sand bar connecting Boughton Island to Launching was 14 feet above high water mark in 1796 and the people used to have three and for stacks of sand hill hay and thus for a number of years until the trampling of cattle's feet broke the swarth and the sun passes through at high water.
Launching bay had several oyster ("oister") beds in it. At first, trading vessels used to load with oysters there and they are all covered with sand. Now the mud is not fit for a manure on account of the sand, and the herring does not come in their plenty as they did 60 or 70 years ago. It was the best herring fishing place on the Island, at first, but now they do not come in as plentifully.
This is from
John H. Walker,
Born there 1836.