Lower Montague An Historical Spot by James Westaway McCue

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Transcribed by Grace Cantelo Blackette - gjblackette@pei.sympatico.ca

Lower Montague An Historical Spot by James Westaway McCue

The Evening Patriot, August 26,1929

Lower Montague is one of the most beautiful spots on Prince Edward Island. It is also a point of historical interest, probably because Georgetown Harbor and the Montague River attracted early settlers from across the sea.

When the first settlers came to Lower Montague in 1767 they met many hardships.

The land had to be cleared for farming and precautions had to be taken against the numerous wild animals which inhabited the place. The early settlers were of hardy stock. They were the most rugged men that England, Scotland and Ireland were capable of producing. They had to be to face the difficulties of settling in the new world. One settler named Alexander Martin carried two bushel of potatoes fifty miles around the shore line on his back to plant them.The only places that settlers could find cleared land were spots where the French fishermen had built shacks for fishing purposes.

One of the first settlements on Prince Edward Island was Wightman's Point known also as St Andrews Point. Here in 1767 two men from the States, Creed and Higgins set up a fishing establishment. These two men brought negro slaves with them.Some of the descendents of these slaves are still living on the Island.

In 1821 when the first settlers were getting over the struggles of pioneer life Joseph Wightman came with his parents to Lower Montague. There he went into mercantile business. The "Annandale" was built for Mr Wightman at Murray Harbor. This was his first adventure in shipping. Wightman commanded this craft for some timeand she was one of the best trading coasters of her day. Captain Wightman was one of the leading shipbuilders in Kings County. He died in 1874. The old Wightman homestead is still standing in Lower Montague.

Another spot in Lower Montague is the old Westaway whose first owner and settler was Roger Dart Westaway of Devonshire, England who came to Prince Edward Island in 1820. His son Richard Westaway inherited the farm and became engaged in the shipbuilding and mercantile business. Richard built his first brigantine, the "Richard" on the shore of his farm. He built four more ships at Murray Harbor and two at Georgetown, across the river from Lower Montague. The last ship Richard Westaway built was the "Westaway". Captain Westaway commanded many of his own ships as well did his sons. Captain Richard Westaway died on January 30,1896 at the age of seventy-six. Roger Dart Westaway present owner and son of Richard Westaway inherited the old farm at Lower Montague.

There is another point of historical interest in Lower Montague and that is the old Wightman graveyard which is situtated above the Wightman homestead near the shore line. In this graveyard Joseph Wightman and his wife, and son James are buried. James Wightman died June 16, 1863 in the Armory Hospital at Washington, D.C. from the effects of typhoid fever. He was, when he died, assistant surgeon in the 2nd Massachusetts Regiment during the Civil War in the States.

James Wightman went to the United States before the Civil War and when he died his remains were sent back to Prince Edward Island, his native land.

Not long ago some Grand Army Veterans sent a man to Lower Montague to find the remains of James Wightman so that his name could be recorded on the roll of the 2nd Massachusetts and that his final resting place could be honored.

Dave Hunter and The Island Register: HTML and Graphics© 2004

Last Updated: 01/25/2004 7:26:49 AM
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