Historical Survey completed by Dr. John Mackieson, 1876, Public Archives of Prince Edward Island, AC. No. 2702, Item No. 306

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Submitted by Christine Gorman

Historical Survey completed by Dr. John Mackieson, 1876, Public Archives of Prince Edward Island, AC. No. 2702, Item No. 306

1. Are you a native of P. E. Island?


2. Where and when were you born?

In Sterlingshire, [Scotland] Oct. 16, 1795

3. When and in what vessel did you come to P. E. Island? From what port did you sail?

In the Brig Relief, 250 tons, Nov. 15, 1821, from Liverpool.

4. Were there many people in her and were they well used?

Only 5, cabin passengers.

5. When and where did they land?

Georgetown Harbour.

6. Who were born and who died on the passage?

No berths and deaths.

8. How did the settlers manage to get along at first?

By ?ing and poverty, industry and strong faith!

9. Who owned the first Mill in your settlement? Was it a saw, grist, carding or fulling Mill?

Hyde and Wright - all grist mills.

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? Did they worship in barns? Were different denominations buried together?

In Charlottetown, preacher Rev. Mister DesBrisay.

The same building at different hours, and were buried together.

11. What sort of roads had the early settlers, and when and who opened the first one in your neighborhood?

First, by blazes on the Trees, then by roads stumped and finally by roads ploughed up and formed.

12. Were there any shops or fishing stations near you, and where?

I lived in Char...Town.

15. What old men and women do you remember? Where were they born?

I remember an old Lady who told me that when a child, she was often carried in the arms of General Wolf (in Glasgow) the Conqueror of Canada! I was also acquainted with an old Lady who was born at the Siege of Louisbourg.

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?

Wagons were not yet invented. But gigs were owned by Gardner of Potosi, Nelson, Lepage,

Paul Mabey and Warren(?) North River.

17. Were the houses shingled or thatched? When was the first frame house put up in your locality?

The houses in Town were all shingled.

18. What was the price of oats, butter, potatoes, &c. sold for?

Oats 1/- , butter 10 p; potatoes 8 p.

19. When was the first Court House built?

Before my time in Town by Mr. Plaw the architect.

20. Which is the oldest house in town, and who first lived in it?

A low hut near Prince of Wales College - another near Newsom's factory.

23. How was grain taken to the Mill in old times, and was oatmeal manufactured as it is now?

On Horseback, and was well ground.

25. Who do you think built the dykes around the marshes, and what were they intended for?

The Early first settlers, the French.

28. Were dances and frolics more kept up than they are to-day?

They mustered in small numbers and occurred at rare intervals.

30. What old schoolmasters did you know, and can you tell anything about them?

Mr. Brown of Prince of Wales College and Mr Lockerby. Both from Dumfries shire, Scotland.

31. There more snow, and were the winters colder than now?

I think there fell an average quantity. And cold, the same.

32. Did you ever see the Sea Cow, or any traces of it in the Island?

Never saw such a sight.

34. What wild animals were in the Island in your younger days?

The same as at Present.

35. Where used the mails to cross in winter?

By the Wood Islands, to Pictou.

36. How long did it take letters from England to reach here, and what way [was] the postage paid?

Don't recollect.

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.

Royal Gazette, By James Haszard.

40. When did you get a post office, and who kept it?

The first office [was kept] by Richard Chappel.

44. How did you get the mails?

By a small sailing Packet from Pictou.

45. What is the oldest wayside tavern you know of?

Bagnalls - Hazel Grove.

53. Who were the first Doctors you remember, and where did they live?

Dr. McAulay, Point Prim; Dr. St. Croix, and McDonald, Charlottetown.

58. Do you remember early frosts destroying the crops, and in what year? Any and what steps were taken to meet the case?

I remember a severe frost on the sixth of September which cut down the potatoes in one night. I don't recall the year.

59. What is the earliest time of the season the rivers have been frozen; what the latest time of breaking up in spring; when did navigation begin earliest and close latest?

The first of December 1875, the River was frozen and People.....??

60. Were there many bears 50 years ago, and were they dangerous?

About the usual number, then caught, as now. Some deaths were reported.

62. Do you know anything of a plague of mice, and when did it happen?

This plague must [have] occurred before 1801.

63. Do you know anything of a great storm called the Michaelmas gale, and when was it?

Not by that name.

64. Do you know anything of fires laying waster considerable sections of the country, and are their effects still perceptible?

Extensive fires occurred in the older time - and the second growth of Forest trees, so prevalent, is the effect of these conflagrations.

66. Was any fox hunt ever held on the Island; when and under whose auspices?

I never heard of a regular Fox Hunt.

67. To what extent did hogs exist on beachnuts 50 years ago? Was it difficult to catch them in the beginning of winter?

Non mi Ricordo ! [Not in my memory.]

73. How were potatoes cultivated, dug, disposed of, or preserved for winter?

With regard to these manipulations, I confess I am in the dark.

74. Was rye raised to any extent in the Island?

Cannot tell.

75. Was flax grown generally? State the process of its cultivation and manufacture.

Not generally.

76. State the process of making wool into cloth, including Athickening.@

Ask some domestic economist (?)

77. How was barley pearled in old times? Have you ever seen a barley pounder?

Cannot saw - I never saw one.

78. Who owned the first metal mounted plough in your settlement; where was it made, and what kind of plough had they before then?

Never knew.

79. Have you known ploughing being done in January, February or March, and in what years?

In January 1830?

80. Do you remember any great drought in the Island?


81. Do you know of any whales or grampuses being taken in our rivers or bays?

Dead whales have been thrown up on our shores.

82.Who was the first to use lime as a manure in your neighborhood?


83. What sort of shoes did people wear 60 or 70 years ago?

Mocasins by the country people and Rustico French.

84. Do you know of any manuscript or writings in existence that would throw light on Island history?

I once saw an old work in the possession of John McGregor which assisted him much in writing his account of the Island. I cannot recall the title, I think the author was French.

88. What traces of the French occupation are you acquainted with? Give all the particulars you can on this head.

The only trace I recollect of is the fort near Blockhouse on Warren Farm.

89. Do you know anything of the existence of moose on the Island?

I never knew of Moose being seen on the Island.

90. Have you ever seen any weapons of stone used by the Micmacs of this Island in their savage state?

I never did.

92. Note down your own name and Post Office address, and the names of those giving you items of information.

John MacKieson, Pownal Street.

93. How were weddings celebrated in the time of your earliest recollection, and have any changes taken place with respect to marriages and weddings?

Weddings were celebrated much in the same manner as now, an ostentatious farce.

94. What amusements were prevalent in old times, and what changes have taken place in this regard?

The chief amusement of the new settlers was grubbing with the hoe.

95. Were drinking habits more prevalent in your earliest recollection than now, and illustrate the change, if any.

Drinking was at last introduced by an Expert from Glasgow.

96. What changes have taken place in regard to amusements, comforts, habits, and mode of living of the people, and illustrate by examples.

Instead of travelling in mockasins, we skate in illuminated Rinks! We assume pet characters and attempt masquerades; live on the fat of the Land - Idolize strangers, and drench them with champagne.

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 resort to charms or fortune-tellers?

I am aware that there are Individuals among us wicked enough to mulct the ignorant and picket [pick up?] the proceeds. Naming such would be invidious.

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?

The people were generally comfortable, happier, and more social than in the present day..... More like one Family, when everyone assisted his Neighbours

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