Submitted by Christine Gorman
Historical Survey 1876, Neil McCallum, Senior, Brackley Point - Accession Number, 2702, Item 305, PEI Archives.
Born there in 1786.
1. Are you a native of P. E. Island?
2. Where and when were you born?
In Brackley Point, Township No. 33. I was born in the year 1786. I believe I was the fist male child born on the Island.
9. Who owned the first Mill in your settlement? Was it a saw, grist, carding or fulling Mill?
The first grist mill was built by Duncan Shaw. Previous to that we had to take our grists to covehead in a canoe to Bovyer=s Mills, or to Rustico to Peters= 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 different denominations use the same building at different hours? Did they worship in barns? Were different denominations buried together?
Brackley Point being but a small congregation, they united with the Cove Head congregation and built a church below John Miller=s at the Shore. The first minister that preached to us was Dr. McGregor. The first that settled among us was Mr. Pidgeon. Before this, services were held in Miller House, and C. Higgins, Point. All denominations buried their dead together.
11. What sort of roads had the early settlers, and when and who opened the first one in your neighborhood?
The roads in those days were trails through the woods. We waded all the creeks, but the people here soon began a road to C-Town which was completed for horses and carts about 50 years ago.
12. Were there any shops or fishing station near you, and where?
Francis Longworth started the first Fishing Est[ablishment???] in Rustico Island, about 50 years since.
13. Were there many stores in Charlottetown when you were a boy? Describe the town as it was then?
Several. Cambridge, Brecken, Bremner, Evans, Ray, and others. C-Town at that time resembled New Glasgow now. I built one of the first two story Houses.
14. What sort of schools had the people?
Schools were supported by voluntary contributions.
Our teacher, Sandy McLeod, was so unfortunate as to have his house burnt. During the conflagration, Sandy's wife asked him, "Is the axe saved?" "Yes."
"Is the wheel saved?" "Yes."
"Is the hoe saved?" "Yes."
"Then thank God ," she exclaimed, "we can live yet."
15. What old men and women do you remember? Where were they born?
The first old man I remember was David Lawson, grandfather of the late D. Lawson, Esq., of Stanhope. He was born in Scotland. C. Higgins, father of the late D. Higgins, Esq., was also a Scotchman. A Mr. McDonald who fought in Culloden, Mr. Campbell, old Mr and Mrs Simpson, Cavendish. Mr and Mrs Clark, Cavendish, Mr and Mrs. McNeill, all from Scotland, and are dead over 50 years.
Also the McNutts, Stewarts, McGougans from Malpeque.
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?
My father, Duncan McCallum had one of the first wagons. It was built in N. S or the U. States. Ten or twelve were imported, four came to B[rackley] Point. We sent to Scotland for a plough; it was almost useless; it had such short stilts.[?] Roper made the first wood ploughs. The cariole with a bearskin or two was generally used by well-to-do farmers. Much of the harness was made of sealskin or seacow hide. No saddles.
Cart wheels often consisted of blocks of wood sawn off a tree with an axle put through the centre. Better ones were made of spokes and rims so heavy that they required no iron trim to keep them together.
17. Were the houses shingled or thatched? When was the first frame house put up in your locality?
The house I was born in was covered with bark. It was some years after that shingles were used. I put up the first frame house to take my Bride to. The House was but 8 feet post [square?]
18. What was the price of oats, butter, potatoes, &c. sold for?
Butter 1/-; oats 2/; potatoes 1/-; chiefly bartered for other goods.
19. When was the first Court House built?
Gov. Smith built the first Court House.
20. Which is the oldest house in town, and who lived in it first?
Brecken's was the oldest house in C-Town, on the spot now occupied by J & T Morris. Gov. Patterson lived in it; Judge Stewart lived on the opposite side of the street.
21. Were there any forts or batteries in Charlottetown when you first remember it?
The 4 gun battery was built as long ago as I can remember.
22. Who was the first blacksmith, tailor, saddler, cooper, or carpenter in your settlement?
I brought John Hughes, Blacksmith, from Newfoundland to this place about 1813.
23. How was grain taken to the Mill in olden times, and was oatmeal manufactured as it is now?
Grain was taken to the Mills in dog sleighs or canoes. Cambridge Mills, now B. Wright's, made the first oatmeal. It had to be sifted by hand at home.
24. When was the road opened from Brackley Point to Ch=town?
About fifty years ago.
25. Who do you think built the dykes around the marshes, and what were they intended for?
I think the Indians built them for the purpose of capturing game.
26. How many people lived in your settlement when you first knew it?
About four families on the whole Lot.
27. Are any of the old people living yet, and who?
Only myself and my wife.
28. Were dances and frolics more kept up than they are to-day?
Much more prevalent than now.
29. Who was the first settler in your part of the country?
My father, Duncan McCallum.
31. Was there more snow, and were the winters colder than now?
I think such was the case, but in 1812 we had a very open fall and mild winter. I picked and ate strawberries on the 12th of January 1812.
32. Do you know of any one who carried on the seal fishery?
John Gallant, Charles and Joe Gallant and Blanchard used to catch seals 50 years ago. They were large ones, worth 20/- each . 400 was thought a good catch. Those men were richer than most of the fishermen and looked down on them. They were very hospitable. My uncle Archibald was in Rustico one day and called on Joe Peters about dinner time. He thought he saw indications of company there, and asked Mr Peters, who replied, "Oh it is only Govr Fanning, and two or three of my friends from Ch'town." My father and mother went to Joe Gallant's to see a sea cow calf which he had taken alive. About the year 1790, a man from Rustico was taken out of canoe by a sea cow.
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 person born in this settlement was myself. I think Major Holland was the first white child born on the Island.
39. Who were the chief businessmen in your young days?
Cambridge, Brecken, Ray, Bremner, Ross, Evans,- Campbell, still later.
41. When did you get a post office, and who kept it?
About 15 years ago, kept by John Shaw.
42. Who built the first vessel in your neighborhood, and how long was ship building carried on?
I built the first in 1809, and continued building for 40 years.
43. How did the people of Crapaud, Tryon, etc, get to town before they had their present roads? State at length any information you may have about the mode of travelling in the early history of the Island.
In 1813, I and my wife, Rebecca Bovyer, went to Malpeque on a blazed road on Horseback and carried a child, an infant, with us, wading all the creeks between the two settlements, from thence to Bedeque and Tryon, returning by Hooper's on the Malpeque Road. Carriages were unknown in those days and there were no roads for them.
45. Who were the first and oldest brewers you remember?
Down or Downing and Pethick.
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?
Gaspereaux were very plentiful in every stream, but the Joggins[?] in Tracadie was the best place for them.
51. How were the first houses lighted in the day time? Were they carpeted? When did people begin to use kerosene? How long since cooking stoves came into use?
With glass windows as long ago as I can remember. No carpets in those days.
52. Were oxen used for ploughing and farm work, and are they so used now in your settlement?
Oxen were generally used in old times, but not now.
53. Who were the first Doctors you remember, and where did they live?
Dr. Nicholson in Ch=town and Dr. McGregor was our first doctor. And lived about 7 miles from Town.
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?
It has been used in this settlement for 25 years. It was first landed from scows.
55. How many mud diggers in your neighborhood?
56. When was your first ferry started? What kind of bridges had the people 80 years ago?
The Rivers were mostly forded. Sometimes tall pines were thrown across streams for foot passengers.
57. Do you remember of any period of great distress for food on the Island?
Never any distress on our Lot, but considerable in some other Townships.
60. Were there many bears 50 years ago, and were they dangerous?
They were very numerous. One neighbor of mine shot 13. They were not considered dangerous but made sad havoc among the sheep.
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.
Frequently, to take eels, which for years was a staple article of food. A man with a dog and sleigh came from Malpeque to Stanhope for barley.
62. Do you know anything of a plague of mice, and when did it happen?
In the latter end of the 18th Century. Mice were very troublesome and trenches were dug to destroy them.
67. To what extent did hogs exist on beachnuts 50 years ago? Was it difficult to catch them in the beginning of winter?
In 1830, a number of hogs remained in the woods all winter, living on Beech Nuts.
68. Of what breed were the horses within your earliest recollection? What kind of horned cattle, sheep and pigs, had farmers then?
French-Canadian or Magdalen Island Horses. Sheep and Pigs, the same.
70. Do you remember how long since Swedish Turnips were first cultivated?
Over 40 years.
71. What variety of potatoes had people 30 years ago, and before then?
Blues, and Spaniard.
74. Was rye raised to any extent in the Island?
75. Was flax grown generally? State the process of its cultivation and manufacture.
Every man grew a little - enough to supply his own family.
76. State the process of making wool into cloth, including Athickening.@
The wool was carded by hand and spun and wove in almost every house. Thickening frolics were very popular among the merry makers.
77. How was barley pearled in the old times? Have you ever seen a barley pounder?
A hole was cut in a log, the Barley put in and pounded. I used one for thirty years.
79. Have you ever known of ploughing being done in January, February, or March, and in what years?
Yes, in every month of winter, I do not remember the year, except in 1812 when ploughing was done on the 8th of January.
81. Do you know of any whales or grampuses being taken in our rivers or bays?
They were frequently driven ashore by accident. I have had large bones for years - picked up on the shore.
83. What sort of shoes did people wear 60 or 70 years ago?
Seal skin moccasins, also green hide moccasins. Boots and shoes were almost unknown.
84. Do you know of any manuscript or writings in existence that would throw light on Island history?
Consult Dr. McGregor's Memoirs. He visited the Island over 90 (?) years ago, and gave some description of it.
85. Who owned or manufactured the first horse rake in your settlement?
I made the first in this settlement.
88. What traces of the French occupation are you acquainted with? Give all the particulars you can on this head.
When Louisbourg was taken, Nova Scotia and P. E. I. fell to the British. On the Black River are the remains of four or five cellars where a number of the French were hid for years. They lived on eels and trout which were very abundant.
92. Note down your own name and Post Office address, and the names of those giving you items of information.
Neil McCallum "Sr" Brackley Point.
In the year 1816, I sent the schooner Rebecca, Mr Stewart, captain, from Ch'Town bound to the Island of St. Thomas, West Indies, calling at Halifax and Philadelphia. But before reaching her destination, she was wrecked on an Island near Antigua. This was the first craft sent by an native-born to the United States or West Indies.
At the time I built my house in town which was the first two story one erected there by an native. (This house is now occupied by the family of the late William Cundall, Esq.) Rough board, nails were 1/- per lb, and shingle nails 1/3. Horse shoe nails at this time were home made.