History Survey completed by Peter Praught, 1876, PEI Archives Acc No. 2702, No. 309.

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Submitted by Christine Gorman

History Survey completed by Peter Praught, 1876, PEI Archives Acc No. 2702, No. 309.

Thanks to Kevin MacDonald

Peter Praught, Pownal, Lot 49, Born in Lot 50 in 1796.

Unanswered questions were omitted.

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


2. Where and when were you born?

I was born in Lot 50 in the year 1796

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

John Acorn owned the first grist mill.

10. Where was the first Church built?

In Pownal village. Who built it, and what clergymen used to preach in your settlement?

The inhabitants built it. Methodist Clergymen.

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

No Road - only blazes on trees.

Frederick Praught was overseer of opening the first road.

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

There were four.

13. Were there many stores in Charlottetown when you were a boy? Describe the town as it was then?

The town was a barren looking place then.

14. What sort of schools had the people?

When I was a boy, there was no schools.

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

Nicholas Jenkins and wife. He was born in Germany. And she was born in New York.

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?

Robert Lund had the first plough. Straw and flags.

Nicholas Jenkins had the first saddles.

The cart wheels were sawed off the end of a log.

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

The houses were thatched with sods.

The first frame house was put up about 60 years ago.

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

What ever could be got for them.

19. When was the first Court House built?

The provincial building was the first court house.

21.Were there any forts of batteries in Charlottetown when you first remember it?

No, there were no forts or batteries when I first remember.

22. Who was the first blacksmith, tailor, shoemaker, saddler, cooper or carpenter, in your settlement?

Richard Wisner was the first blacksmith.

Nicholas Jenkins was the first shoemaker.

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

The grain was taken to the mill on a horse's back.

No, oatmeal was not manufactured as it is now.

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

The French built the dykes round the marshes and they were intended to keep the tide out.

26. How many people lived in your settlement when you first knew it?

There were seven families lived in the settlement when I first knew it.

27. Are any of the old people living yet, and who?

No, there are none of the old people living yet.

28. Were dances and frolics more kept up than they are today?

No, they were no kept up so much then as they are now.

29. Who was the first settler in your part of the country?

Nicholas Jenkins was the first settler.

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

Thomas Roberson (Robertson?) and Richard Snow were the first schoolmasters.

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

There was deeper snow, but the Winters were no colder.

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

Beares, Wild cats, Foxes, Minks, Otters, and Rabbits.

35. Where used the mails to cross in winter?

From Wood Islands to Picto(u).

37. Which was the first Island newspaper? Who printed it, and where was his office?

Hazard and Bagnell printed the first paper.

38. Who was the first native white person born on the Island? Who was the first born in your settlement after coming here?

Frederick Praught was the first born. [Note: Len Praught points out that Peter is not answering the question of who was 1st born white person on PEI, or in the Pownal. He is saying who was 1st Praught born in Pownal]

39. Who were the chief business men in your young days?

Brechon, Owen, Ray, and Bremner.

40. When was the first wharf or bridge built in your settlement? Who was the contractor, and how much did it cost?

Acorn's bridge was the first, and Pownal wharf was the next.

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

Samuel Lane kept the first post office.

42. Who built the first vessel in your neighborhood, and how long was ship building carried on?

Nicholas Jenkins built the first vessel.

It was carried on to a great extent until about 4 years ago.

43. How did people of Crapaud, Tryon, DeSable, Malpeque, Cape Traverse, Bedeque, etc. get to town before they had present roads?

They had to travel through the woods to get to town.

45. Who were the first and oldest brewers?

Pethic(k) and Cole(s) were the first brewers.

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

The Five Mile House is the oldest.

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?

Yes, and the most of them was in the Hillsborough River.

48. On their way to and from Charlottetown, how did people living at a great 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 dangers? How did they find their way?

They camped in the woods. They could go about twelve miles. They found their way by blazes on the trees and by the compass.

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?

The oldest French people that I know about are the Dagles, and old Simon Bourke.

50. Where was your settlement situated and who were its leading men?

It is situated in Lot 49. James B. Day (Ray?) and Nicholas Jenkins.

51. How were the first houses lighted in the day time? Were they carpeted? When did the people begin to use kerosene? How long since cooking stoves came into use?

The first houses were lighted by opening the door. No, they were not carpeted. The people began to use kerosene about ten years ago. Cooking stoves came into use about 25 years ago.

52. Were oxen used for ploughing and farm work, and are they so used now in your settlement?

Yes, oxen were used for ploughing. No, they are not used in our settlement at the present time.

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

Doctor St. Croix was the first, and he lived in town.

54. When did mussel mud come to be used as a manure; did many of the farmers use it at first, and how was it dug and carried from the beds?

Mussel mud came into use about twenty years ago. No, not a great many used it. It was dug with a shovel and scowed (?) ashore.

55. How many mud diggers in your neighborhood?

There are 40 mud diggers in our neighborhood now.

56. When was your first ferry started? What kind of bridges had the people 80 years ago?

The first ferry was started about 65 years ago. They had none - only fall a tree across, and walk on that.

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

Yes, the crops were destroyed by early Frosts about 41 years ago. People had to take the best they could.

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

The earliest I know of is the 20th of November. About the 10th of May the latest. The earliest that I know of was the 28th of March; and the latest is the 23rdof December.

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

They were plenty, but not very dangerous.

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.

Yes, I have known them to cut through and take up oysters. Yes, they had to travel a long ways.

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

Yes, I knowed of a plague of mice, and people had to dig drains around their crops to keep them away, and it happened about 60 years ago.

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

Yes, I do, and it was about 55 years ago.

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

Yes, I do, and it may be observed yet in Lot 48.

65. Was game more abundant in old times than now? Were wild pigeons ever here?

Yes they were more abundant than they are now. Yes, wild pidgeons were more abundant than they are now.

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

Yes, to a great extent, and it was difficult to catch them in the beginning of the winter.

68. Of what breed were the horses within your earliest recollection? What kind of horned cattle, sheep and pigs had farmers then?

The horses were of the old Canadian breed. The cattle were of the breed the French left here.

69. When and by whom were artificial grasses first introduced?

It originated from what the French left here.

70. Do you remember how long since Swedish Turnips were first cultivated?

Swedish turnips were first cultivated about 35 years ago.

71. What variety of potatoes had the people 30 years ago, and before then?

The variety of potatoes were Yellow, Monsters, and Rough Blues.

72. When was two-rowed barley introduced?

Two-rowed barley was introduced about 50 years ago.

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

Potatoes were dug with hoes. And preserved for winter in cellars and green houses.

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

Yes, it was grown to a great extent.

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

Yes, it was grown generally. It was hackled and broke, and then the old women used to spin it.

76. State the process of making wool into cloth, including "thickening."

It was first picked and carded by hand, and then spun wove. And thickened on a piece of Board.

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

Barley was pearled in a mortar and pounder. Yes, I have, and made them and used them.

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

Robert Lund owned the first one, and it was made in England.

A kind of a wooden plough...

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

Yes, I have ploughed in January, but I can't remember what year.

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

Yes, I do remember of a great drought in the Island.

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

Yes, I do know of whales and grampuses, both, taken.

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

William Acorn used lime first.

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

No sort of shos - only mocassons of a very inferior quality.

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

No, I know of none.

85. Who owned or manufactured the first horse rake in your settlement?

William Jones manufactured the first horse rake.

86. Who owned or manufactured the first threshing machine; what was the date, and describe its make.

Alexander Smith owned the first one and it was a four horse power.

87. When was the first mower or reaper introduced; what was it like?

The first mower was introduced within the last twenty years.

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

All the occupation I know about is Rustico and Grand River.

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

Peter Praught, Pownal, Lot 49.

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

Yes, there are a great many changes (which have) taken place. A Scotch thickening was as good as a wedding is now when the Run (Rum?) was plenty (plentiful?)

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

The amusements were Fiddling and Dancing and piping.

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

No, drinking is carried on as much now as it was then.

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

A great many ways.... playing cards is more carried on now than it was then.

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 believe they were happier then than (they) are now. There were not so many Beaver hats and prunella boots and silk dresses as there are now.

99. Was Gaelic, or Irish, or French, more generally spoken that at the present? What changes are taking place in this respect?

Yes, they were more commonly spoken that they are now.

I remain, Yours, Peter Praught, Pownal, Lot 49.

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