Submitted by Christine Gorman
1876 Historical Survey - Richard Hudson, Born Yorkshire, England, 1797; emigrated 1817. Public Archives of P.E.I., Accession No. 2702; Item 303
Unanswered questions are omitted; [square brackets are mine.]
1. Are you a native of P. E. Island?
I am not.
2. Where and when were you born? When and in what vessel did you come to P. E. Island? From what port did you sail?
My name is Richard Hudson. I was born in Yorkshire in the year 1797, emigrated in the year 1817; the name of the ship was the Valliant. We sailed from Hull.
4. Were there many people in her and were they used well?
There were 197 passengers ["pafsengers"] and 20 of the ship's crew. We all had the best of usage.
On the Western Ocean, we took on board the passengers of the Brig Leigh, Captain Bishop, 30 passengers and 10 of the crew. All landed in Charlotte Town.
6. Who were born, and who died on the passage?
We had but one death; a little boy, the son of Mr. Christopher Smith of Crapaud.
7. What was the state of the Island when you came here?
8. How did the settlers managed to get along at first?
It was very low indeed, and of a great scarcity of food [?]; Flour, six pence per pound; potatoes four shillings per bushel, sometimes not a loaf of bread could be procured from the bakers, and the settlers had great difficulty to get along at all, many and great were their privations and suffering.
9. Who owned the first Mill in your settlement? Was it a saw, grist, carding or fulling mill?
Mills were very Scarce and very far apart and of very rough construction. There was one grist mill and one saw mill. The grist mill was owned by Mr. Gouldrup and the saw mill by John Lord, Esq.
10. Where was the first church built? Who built it and what clergyman 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?
There was a small dilapidated English Church in Charlotte Town. The Rev. Mr. DesBrisay was the Parson, and the Rev. James Bulpitt, [was] Wesleyan Minister, also preached in the same building. There was also a Roman Catholic Chapel. Those were all the churches there. All the other churches in the City have been built since I came to the Island. The different denominations did not use the same building, save in the case of Mr. DesBrisay and Mr Bulpitt. Private houses and barns were used for divine worship generally throughout the Island. The Protestants and the Roman Catholics had their own burial grounds.
11. What sort of roads had the early settlers, and when and who opened the first one in your neighborhood?
The Roads generally were nothing more than blazes on the trees through the Forest. Tryon is one of the oldest settlements on the Island, and even in the very heart of this settlement, there was no open highway.
12. Were there any shops or fishing stations near you, and where?
There was no shops or fishing stations in the part of the Island.
13. Were there many stores in Charlottetown when you were a boy? Describe the town as it then was.
There was but few stores in Charlotte Town, and the Town itself was a poor miserable scattered village.
14. What sort of schools had the people?
The country was almost destitute of schools, and few places could afford to support them as this was a very heavy tax upon the people.
15. What old men and women do you remember? Where were they born?
I have been conversant with many male and females, some natives, and other residents, but cannot tell you either where they were born or when they died. There is to the best of my knowledge, hardly any instance in Tryon of one of those persons now remaining.
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?
59 years ago there was no such vehicle as a riding waggon. I owned the first gig of English build in this settlement. The jaunting sley of today was unknown. The only conveyance of this kind was the French cariole. Plows were of native construction and a miserable substitute. Horse tackling - the collar of straw, the hames [?] of pieces of rope; the tains [reins?] of thongs of leather, tanned by the natives. Saddles unknown. Cart wheels, sawed from a large log with a hole through the centre.
17. Were the houses shingled or thatched? When was the first frame house put up in your locality?
Buildings generally were covered with boards and the .......[?] covered with slabs. I never saw but one or two thatched. Frame houses have been common for the past fifty years.
18. What was the price of oats, butter, potatoes, &c, sold for?
Oats 2/-, Butter 1/-, potatoes 2/-, generally sold for barter.
19. When was the first Court House built?
The first court House was built in Town, and was the first Government Building on Queen Square.
21. Were there any forts or batteries in Charlottetown when you first remember?
There was what was called the four gun battery at the narrows entering the Harbour, and the Battery at the Barracks, which was the residence of the Governor and the soldiers.
22. Who was the first blacksmith, tailor, shoemaker, saddler, cooper or carpenter in your settlement?
John Leard, Senior, R. Hudson, John Hood, McCabe, Thomas Hodgson.
23. How was grain taken to the Mill in old times, and was oatmeal manufactured as it is now?
Oxen were used, the bags drawn and slide [?]
Oatmeal was not generally used, as fish and potatoes supplied the flour.
24. When was the road opened from....to.....?
From Charlotte Town to Tryon, 59 years ago, there was no open Road, or bridges; the road was blazed, and the rivers had to be forded.
26. How many people lived in your settlement when you first knew it?
When I came to this settlement, 59 years ago, there were about 20 families.
27. Are there any of the old people living yet, and who?
I do not know of any of the old people who were here when I came that are yet alive.
28. Were dances and frolics more kept up than they are today?
They were more frequent than now.
29. Who was the first settler in your part of the country?
Mr. Pineau [? or Penman,] Joseph Woods, and Mr. Ives [?] with some of the Leards and Lords.
30. What old schoolmasters did you know, and can you tell anything about them?
Mr. Ray was the oldest - A good teacher, but habits intemperate.
31. Was there more snow, and were the winters colder than now?
It is generally supposed that 50 years ago there was more snow than now, but the Roads were not so much travelled, and I think the winters were colder.
32. Do you know of any one who used to carry on the seal fishery?
No seal fishery was carried on about here.
33. Did you ever see the Sea Cow, or any traces of it on the Island?
34. What wild animals were in the Island in your young days?
The Bear, Loup-servir, Fox, and a variety of smaller animals.
35. Where used the mails to cross in winter?
At Wood Islands, attended with the loss of many lives.
36. How long did it take for letters from England to reach here, and what was the postage paid?
At least, in a general way, about one month.
Postage 3 shillings, 6 pence.
37. What 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.
Mr. Hazzard's paper was the first I recollect. Some years after Mr. Cowper started another, and then The Islander.
38. Who was the first native white person born on the Island. Who was the first born in your settlement after coming here?
On this Question, I know nothing personally. The late William Clark of Cape traverse always claimed to be the first white child born here. He has been dead some years. He was about one hundred years old when he died. [He] once claimed to be born two hours earlier than the old [? Colonel?] Holland in Charlotte Town.
39. Who were the chief businessmen in your young days?
The Cambridges, Breckens, Paul Mabey.
40. Who built the first wharf or bridge in your settlement? Who was the contractor, and how much did it cost?
There was but one wharf 59 years ago, that was the wharf on Queen Street, Charlotte Town that was so small that a small coasting vessel could not come up to it but at high water.
41. When did you get a post office, and who kept it?
These are of recent date; there was no Post Offices in the Country untill of late years. The first Post Office was kept by Mr. W. W. Lord.
42. Who built the first vessel in your neighborhood, and how long was ship building carried on?
Tryon has not been a place where ship building haws been carried on. Websters have built some five [or six] schooners; Hon W. W. Lord has built some fine square-rigged vessels, and others have been engaged in this trade, but to no extent.
43. How did people of Crapaud, Tryon, etc, get to town before they had their present roads? State at length any information you may about the mode of travelling in the early history of the Island.
The Main Road from Tryon to Crapaud to Town was through Scotch Settlement, to the Malpeck Road, 10 or 11 miles from Town and in a rough state, merely the woods cut down by the ground and only of any use to foot passengers or on horseback. The roads from parts westward were no better, but worse. The general way of travelling was on foot. What had to be taken was by a Wallet on the back, and what had to be brought home, the same. I have often taken in a wallet what I had to carry when going to town, and bring 12 or 15 pounds, home on my back.
44. How did you get the mails?
The best way we could get them from Town. We had then no post office.
45. Who were the first and oldest brewers you remember?
We had none in the country and only two in Charlotte Town.
46.. What is the oldest wayside tavern you know of?
Mr. McConly [?] and the late David Dawson, Esquire, and Mr. Britten to the Westward.
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?
There was salmon, but scarce; gaspereaux plenty; shad unknown; salmon still scarce; gaspereaux, plenty.
48. On their way to and from Charlottetown, how did people at a long 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 generally contrived to leave home in time to arrive in Town, and the same in returning. I f night overtook them, they camped in the woods the best they could. The distance from Tryon to Town was about 30 miles...and their journey to town and back took two or three days.
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?
They have, and I should say, by thousands. The oldest French people I know of live from Tignish Cascumpeque, and from thence to the end of the County.
50. Where was your settlement situated and who were its leading men?
Tryon is situated on the eastern edge of Prince County and joins Queens County.
John Lord, Esquire, Philip M Callbeck, Joseph Fay [? Foy?]
51. How were the 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?
Sometimes by one small aperture cut out of the logs and open in fine weather, and in storm, closed by a board frame, sometimes by a rough frame and sush [sack?], and covered by oilese paper; at other times, the door [permitted] the only light, which invariably stood open except in storm.
52. Were oxen used for ploughing and farm work, and are they so used now in your settlement?
Oxen were invariably used in farm work; horses have replaced them.
53. Who were the first doctors you remember, and where did they live?
The first Doctors I remember were Doctor D. St. Croix, Doctor Wingate, and Doctor McGregor.
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?
Mussel mud has been used for many years about North River. Of late years, generally where it can be procured. It was first dug by the hand at low water and put on board lighters, scows or boats. Latterly, chiefly dug by diggers in winter and conveyed by horses in sleighs.
55. How many mud diggers in your neighborhood?
There are in this settlement 20 or 30, but in other localities, they are much more numerous.
56. When was your first ferry started? What kind of bridges had the people 80 years ago?
We have no ferries any where about this part of the Island.
Bridges were miserable, and dangerous to pass over.
57. Do you remember of any period of great distress for food on the Island?
I do remember when numbers were in great distress for want of seed for their land, which want the Government supplied with seed and sustenance.
58. Do you remember early frosts destroying the crops, and in what year? Any, and what steps were taken to meet the case?
I have known the crops partially destroyed, especially the potato crop, but I do not know of any special remedy to meet the case.
59. What is the earliest time of the season the rivers have frozen, what the latest time of breaking up in spring; when did navigation begin earliest and close latest?
From the first December, to the breaking up in the month of April to the last.
60. Were there many bears 50 years ago, and were they dangerous?
Bears were numerous 59 years ago, and altho dangerous, [not] unless the she bear with cubs.
[They] seldom attacked persons, altho I have known of persons being injured by them.
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.
Never. I have heard of Mr. Dan Clark of Cape Traverse leaving home with a hand sleigh to procure food. He was away three days before he returned and found his family in a state of starvation. I have heard of John Lord, Esquire say that he went 20 miles for a bushel of potatoes and to carry them home on his back and to make his way on the sea coast and ford rivers as he came to them.
63. Do you know anything of a great storm called the Michaelmas Gale, and when was it?
I have heard of it.
64. Do you know anything of fires laying waste considerable sections of the country, and are their effects still perceptible?
Fifty nine years ago there was a large fire laying waste to the north of Charlotte Town. I have also known other sections of the Island where extensive fires have destroyed the forest. No vestige of fire remains.
65. Was game more abundant in old times than now? Were wild pigeons ever here?
Game was more abundant then than now except wild fowl, geese and ducks. They are as plenty as ever.
66. Was any fox hunt ever held on the Island: when, and under whose auspices?
I never heard of such a thing.
67. To what extent did hogs exist of beachnuts 50 years ago? Was it difficult to catch them in the beginning of winter?
Hogs have been fattened by hundreds, perhaps thousands on beechnuts. The pork is very soft and not generally appreciated, and as they were generally suffered to run until a good coat of snow covered the ground, they became wild and very difficult to manage.
68. Of what breed were the horses within your earliest recollection? What kind of horned cattle, sheep and pigs, had farmers then?
The horses of 59 years ago were of inferior size and altho they would handle [?]hard labour and subsist on poor fare, [they were] far better than the common run of horses at this day.
70. Do you remember how long since Swedish Turnips were first cultivated?
Swedish turnips have been raised ever since I came to Island, first sown broadcast, but for many years sowned in Drills.
71. What variety of potatoes had people 30 years ago, and before then?
59 years ago, the blue potato was the chief kind sowed, they failed or ran out and have been superseded by a great variety to the present day; Governor whites, callicos, painted ladies, Jacksons, etc.
73. How were potatoes cultivated, dug, disposed of, or preserved for winter?
59 years ago, potatoes were the first crop taken from the virgin soil. The forest was cut down and the trees cut up in lengths that 2 men could manage and pile. The rotten wood was carefully piled upon the logs, and burnt, and the root in the way cut, and the tubers planted in hills; 3 tubers in each hill, and when ripe dug with a hoe. Frequently preserved for winter in a greenhouse, or the cellar.
75. Was flax grown generally? State the process of its cultivation and manufacture.
Flax was generally grown by the settlers, broken and de-hulled by the natives, then carded by the women and wove into cloth.
76. State the process of making wool into cloth, including "thickening."
The process of making wool into cloth, carded and spun by the women, woven by them into cloth and then thickened by a number of young people at night. The stage was made of young willow branches and stood about the height of a table. The web was plentifully supplied with thick soap suds and then the fullers on each side of the stage would pass it from one side to the other, until fulled.
77. How was barley pearled in old times? Have you ever seen a barley pounder?
Pearl barley was prepared by placing it in a pounder, namely, a log of hardwood 2 1/2 feet high, scooped out at the top to the circular size of the log about one foot deep, and then placed in the pounder. A little warm water being added, and then pounded with a pestle until the skin of the barley was separated.
79. Have you known of ploughing being done in January, February or March, and in what years?
I have known of plowing being done in January and in March, but never in February. I have also known of wheat being sown in March and succeeding well.
81. Do you remember of any whales or grampuses being taken in our rivers or bays?
I never knew or heard of whales or grampuses being alive in either rivers or bays but I have known them brought in dead.
82. Who was the first to use lime as a manure in your neighborhood?
The late Thomas Hawkins, I think, was the first.
83. What sort of shoes had people 60 or 70 years ago?
The sort of shoes generally worn were mogassins in summer travel; in winter, green hide with hair on.
85. Who owned or manufactured the first horse rake in your settlement?
I owned the first horse rake used in this settlement.
86. Who owned or manufactured the first threshing machine; what was the date, and describe its make.
Threshing machines are general, but who the first to introduce them was, I cannot answer.
90. Have you ever seen any weapons of stone used by the Micmacs of this Island in their savage state?
The only weapons I have seen among them was the Tomahawk; what they were in their savage state, I do not know, but I have known them for 59 years, and I never saw any amongst them that disgraced them more than the white people.
92. Note down your own name and Post Office address, and the names of those giving you items of information.
Richard Hudson, Tryon.
93. How were weddings celebrated in time of your earliest recollection, and have any changes taken place with respect to marriages and weddings?
Weddings formerly were celebrated by magistrates, but as places of Religious Worship multiplied and Ministers were appointed to supply those Churches, marriage generally were celebrated by Ministers of the Gospel.
94. What amusements were prevalent in old times, and what changes have taken place?
Boating [bowling?] on the Sabbath, taking the wheels of carts or carriages and placing them on the ridge of barns, Fencing up the high ways, practically filling Wells with debris, robbing orchards, all of which have been and are now on the decline. Young people are more sober and peaceably inclined, and ever I am inclined to judge them, generally, I should say that their inclination would be a time in the .......[?], or attending a public Town meeting. Or a game of cards.
95. Were drinking habits more prevalent in your earliest recollection, and illustrate the change, if any.
So far as this settlement in concerned, I thank that intemperate habits were more prevalent than now. Young men seem to be ashamed to be seen lounging about a Tavern.
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?
As regards the comforts of life, there is no question they are more comfortable now than they were, better fed, better clothed, and better in their social position in society. But whether they are more happy, is another Question, as I believe pure happiness or enjoyment is from one higher power, than any the world can give.