Submitted by Christine Gorman
Historical Survey completed by Lawrence Peters, 1876, PEI PARO Accession No. 2702, Volume 308
With thanks to Kevin MacDonald.
From the Daily Examiner, December 9, 1895:
"Lawrence Peters, Rollo Bay, Born there in 1809"
Only answered questions are included. Some of the handwriting was difficult to decipher.
1. Are you a native of P. E. Island?
2. Where and when were you born?
I was born in Prince Edward Island in the year 1809. My ancestors came to the Island shortly after Quebec was taken. They landed at Point Prim at a place called Wind Mill. When there they found themselves too much exposed to their Enemies, and came to Bay Fortune as they named it themselves. There they were joined by a few families of the residents of St. Peter's Bay Parish who had remained on the Island, being sick with the measles at the time the rest embarked. They were not long there when they were found by the British and were barbarously treated for two or three years. Finally they took the oath of Fidelity and were left in peace for a few years, when the late John Townsend claimed to be the right owner of Township Lot 43 and drove them away from Bay Fortune. Some of them bought land from John Cambridge in Rollo Bay, Lot 44, and rest removed to Cape Breton.
9. Who owned the first Mill in your settlement? Was it a saw, grist, carding or fulling Mill?
The first Mill in Bay Fortune was a Grist Mill owned by all the settlers in general.
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? Dit they worship in barns? Were different denominations buried together?
The first Chapel in the eastern part of this Island was built in Rollo Bay by the French Acadians. Previous to the building of said chapel, Religious Services were held in private houses. The first Clergyman that officiated in Bay Fortune was a M. Dawe (?) a French priest, next was Abbe Calonne, also a Frenchman of noble birth. The third was a M. Gabriel Champion, who remained there until the late Bishop McEachern came to the Island. M. Champion was also a Frenchman.
12. Were there any shops or fishing stations near you, and where?
The nearest shop or fishing station was at St. Mary's Point, near George Town, kept by one Mr. Biggin (or Riggin.)
26. How many people lived in your settlement when you first knew it?
Twenty-five families lived in Rollo Bay when I first recollect.
27. Are any of the old people living yet, and who?
One old woman living yet of the first settlers is a Widow Chaissong.
29. Who was the first settler in your part of the country?
The French Acadians were the first Settlers in this part of the Country.
30. What old schoolmasters did you know, and can you tell anything about them?
The first schoolmaster I know was an Acadian by the name of Peter Delaire who taught
School in Rollo Bay in the years 1816 to 1820. The next was a Frenchman by the name of Louis Signet who taught in Rollo Bay until the English language was introduced.
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 native white person born on the Island was French.
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?
Several of the French settlers removed from the Island to Cape Breton at the time they were expelled from Bay Fortune by John Townsend.
62. Did you know anything of a plague of mice, and when did it happen?
I knew of a Plague of Mice in Souris 60 years ago, destroying all the Crops. So great were the numbers when they left the land and took to the sea, (??) a boat could scarcely be rammed (?) through them.
88. What traces of the French occupation are you acquainted with? Give all the particulars you can on this head.
At (the) Five Houses, St. Peter's Road, the traces of the French occupation are yet visible. At St. Peter's Harbour, the foundation of a Chapel, burying ground and the foundation of several houses were visible when I last visited the place about thirty years ago. The Chapel Bell was found latterly near the Foundations of said Chapel which was claimed and obtained by the people of Rollo Bay and kept by them in memory of their ancestors.
Lawrence Peters, Rollo Bay Cross Road Post Office, Lot 43.
"On the morning of the 19th ult. at his home in Rollo Bay, at the ripe old age of 88, Lawrence Peters, Esq., passed to his reward. He was a man of exemplary piety, irreproachable character, of more than ordinary talent, while his skill as a mechanic and architect was universally acknowledged."