Memories of Long Ago by Benjamin Bremner


This file has been typed into a word processor by Eileen Bremner - eileen@diether.org. Benjamin died in 1938, and has presented here a lovely narrative of early Charlottetown history and life.


Memories of Long Ago, by Benjamin Bremner

 

Benjamin

This book is dedicated to the memory of my dear wife...

 

Preface

 

Responding to a desire on the part of many who have expressed their

appreciation of my efforts to revive interest in the scenes and happenings

in Charlottetown of times long past, to have the "Reminiscences" lately

appearing in the "Guardian" newspaper republished in book form, I am issuing

this booklet which is named - Memories of Long Ago.

 

I have endeavored to make these sketches reliable as to historical facts

and have also added considerable new matter gathered from tradition and

personal observation, also from files of old newspapers. I have tried also

to avoid too great detail in description, so that their recital may not

prove tedious.

 

To repeat in substance what was stated in the "Guardian" these articles have

been written as a pastime-mostly from memory, without drawing on the

imagination for adornment of a subject, nor ascribing to them literary

merit. I therefore desire to convey, in a conversational way, the matters

contained herein, for your favourable consideration. -- Benj. Bremner, July, 1930.

 


Table of Contents

 

Fort la Joie

Warren Farm

The Old Barrack Square

The First Gathering of the Clans

The Old Wooden Jail

The Bog

The Old Round Market House

Queen Square on Fair Day

Verses by John Lepage on the visit of the Prince of Wales

North Side Queen Square

South Side of Queen Square

The Island Poet Laureate

The Southport Ferry

The Old Methodist Meeting House

The Infant School

Old St. Paul's

St. Dunstan's Cathedral of Old

An Old Folks Concert

The Great Fire of 1866

The Town Crier

An Old Cemetery

A Sad Memory

The Tenant League

The Muse of the Sixties

Amateur Dramatics Etc.

The Russian War as Felt in Charlottetown

The "Broad - Axe"

Editorial Amenities

Some local Institutions - Civic and Otherwise

The YMCA

Terpisichorean

Honour to a P.E. Islander

Here and There

Song of the Pen (Lepage)

The Duke of Connaught

The Hero of Kars (General Williams)

Noah's Ark

Holland Grove

Camping Out

Ship and Shipbuilding (The Prince Edward)

Chestnuts

Appendix

 


 

Abegweit

 

(The Micmac name for P.E. Island)

 

"Cradled on the ocean,

courted with her charms,

Lulled by every motion

Of her Mother arms,

And crooned by voices wild

And playful soft alarms,

 

Like a sea-mark resting

In a restless sea;

Like a storm-bird breasting

waters strong and free,

Thou sittest and thy waves

Bring all their gifts to thee.

 


Morn and noon and even,

dawn or sunset glow,

clear or clouded heaven;

Breeze or calm below,

thou liest, cradled still

On ocean's ebb and flow. -- Webster Rogers"

 


Memories of Long Ago


 

The first object an observant stranger approaching Charlottetown

from the sea would notice, after taking in the beautiful combination of

colour of the red sandstone cliffs, the red soil, and the vivid green of the

fertile fields, backed by the deeper shades of the trees of the forest,

would likely be the Blockhouse, standing on a high point on the left. The

Blockhouse is about the site of the old Fort which, under French occupation,

was known as Fort la Joie.Entering the Harbour's mouth he would probably

observe, on the same side, Warren farm, a most delight stretch of country,

owned, I believe, in the fifties by Colonel Cumberland. I can remember, in

the long ago, the annual picnic of the Methodist Sunday School being held

there, when we were carried by steam boat and scow, the latter being

fitted up for those scholars who could not find room on the ferry. The

latter boat towed the scow.

 

Before proceeding farther, I would refer back to Fort la Joie above

mentioned. In Fort Amherst as it was subsequently called, lived John Webster

Sr. with his wife and until the reduction of the military forces. During the

War of Independence of the US he had charge of the commissariat Department

in Charlottetown. He was subsequently elected to the House of Assembly in

1784 also in 1785. Afterwards he removed to St. Peters Bay, where he died

in 1813. His son, John Webster Jr. was born on the 24th October, 1760 and

is claimed by his descendants to be the first British subject born on the

Island. (PEI magazine 1899) The family name is still held by a very large

number of people in St. Peters Bay and vicinity.

 

From the Colonial Herald (PEI) 1841:

 

"The Capital called Charlottetown, is proposed to be upon a point of

the harbor, betwixt York and Hillsborough rivers, as being one of the best,

and nearly a centrical, part of the Island....".

 

The ground designed for the town and fortifications is well situated upon a

regular ascent from the water side a fine rivulet will run through the town;

a battery or two... will entirely command the harbor; an enemy

attempting to attack the town cannot do so without great difficulties;

having passed the batteries at the entrance of the harbor, they must attempt

a passage up Hillsborough or York Rivers, the channels of both which are

intricate.

 

Approaching Charlottetown at the present time, historic Government

House would probably be the first prominent object to meet the view,

followed by the row of fine residences along the water front. But at the

time of which I am writing it was very different. Very few nice residences

would then meet the eye. After passing Government House, probably the next

object to draw one's attention would be "Douse's Shipyard", then a busy place

at the west end of Richmond Street, after which would be seen the guns in

the old fort of The Old Barrack Square.

 

The Old Barrack Square

 

I wonder how many of our people now living even remember what was

known as "The Old Barrack Square", which contained houses in which were

quartered a company of Her late Majesty's Troops, in the middle fifties? In

the centre between two rows of Officers and Men's quarters was a large

expanse of ground extending south from Sydney street to the water front and

now covered by the City Hospital and Sacred Heart Home and the south end of

Rochford Street now running between these two institutions. Of course there

was no street here then.

 

The main entrance to the barracks was facing about the lower or west

end of the old Jail (or Pownal) Square. On public holidays, especially the

Queen's Birthday, now Empire Day, in the fifties and sixties, the Barrack

Square was the scene of great glamour and military pomp. The old Volunteer

Militia here held their annual parade with banners flying and bands playing.

The Imperial troops at this time had been removed from the Province.

Visiting Naval forces occasionally joined with our volunteers in maneuvers

and sham battles. In the summer time this was the regular place for drill

until the present drill shed was erected. In winter the drill was carried

on in the upper story of Pope's warehouse, where Dr. Jenkins office now stands.

 

On the parade days in the old barrack square were to be seen arrayed

in all the glory and panoply of war, a few of the remaining officers of the

Old Brigade of Charlottetown Militia which existed long before the

establishment of the volunteer Militia. They, of course had an honorary

place among the spectators. I can recall, but four of those celebrated

characters, viz; Major Benjamin Davies, Captain Paul Mabey, Peter Macgowan

(for quite a time City Clerk) and Richard Faught. My paternal grandfather

was a Captain in the old Charlottetown Militia, but that was long before I

was born.

 

When a boy of about ten or twelve years it was a red letter day in

my experience to be allowed on Queen's Birthday to go to the barrack square

to witness the parades and firing of the big guns from "The Fort". And the

Bands, My! how they used to delight us! There was Lobbans Band with old Mr.

Lobban leading with an instrument called a "Serpent". and it looked like

one, with its many coils. Then came the newly-organized Galbraith's Band

with its martial strains. I can remember when the latter played, for the

first time in the city, the newly-arrived "Dixie Land", which quickly caught

the ear of the public and up to the present is popular, also several songs

written during the American Civil War.

 

I observe, in perusing the second volume of Lepage's poems that the

first Gathering of the "Caledonian Club" took place on the old Barrack

Square in the month September 1863... The gathering was among the last of

the old associations that cluster in the memory around the spot, remembered

as the Old Barrack Square.

 

I here quote a few of Mr. Lepage's verses written following that occasion.

 

Sandy:

 

"Oh! saw ye the crowds in their wonder surrounding

The Major and Staff on the auld Barrack Square?

And heard ye the bagpipes wild melody sounding

When Donald and a the braw pipers were there?

 

They blew like the brave, when a citadel storming

Each Scottish heart dancing with national glee

Ye should hae been there mon! the weather was charming,

and fine bonny lassies were pleasant to see".

 

John:

 

"Don't talk about bagpipes! the lassies endearing

I like well enough but that barbarous drone!

I'd rather be miles to the windeard of hearing,

When that relic of obsolete ages is blown".

 

"Away with your heathenish pibrocjhs, I loathe 'em;

They might do in the Highlands of Scotland to play,

But here, in a civilized country, to blow them -

Would frighten a horse from his rations of hay".

 

Sandy:

 

"Hoot, mon! ye'll be jesting, or only half witted,

Talking thus o' the bagpipes, tak'heed what ye say;

The sons o' auld Scotia are no' to be twitted,

'Nemome impune lacessit,' - today".

 

"Blow! blow! Donald, blow! for in spite o' their banter,

The soul stirring pipes are o' music the crown;

To the ear of the Scotsman one screed o'your chanter

Is better than a' the brass bands o' the town".

 


 

"Dinna rave mon sae loud o' Galbraith and Beethoven!

That the sounds o' the bagpipes have civilized mair

Than a' the brass bands, ever blown, can be proven;

This, Donald the puper is ready to swear.

 

Aft fechtin abroad in the land o' the stranger,

Th' invicible Scot never knows a defeat;

But, pipin the flag o' Great Britain thro' danger

He plays every air in the world, but-retreat".

 

A full account of the volunteer movement will be found in Major Pollard's "Historical Sketch of Prince Edward Island Military and Civil", published in 1898.

 

In the summer time many parades were held on Rochford Square and

once I participated in one that maneuvered on "Springfield", near which

Love's tannery stands on St. Peter's Road.

 

Before the present Drill shed was constructed the drilling in the

winter time was conducted in Pope's Warehouse, before referred to. When a

small boy I can remember witnessing a drill there in the early part of they

1860 when the men were addressed by Col. Stewart, Adjutant-general (who

passed away in 1867). He informed them of the expected visit in the coming

August of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales (afterwards King Edward VII) and urged

them to prepare to put their best foot forward when they would be called

upon to escort Queen Victoria's son from the dock to Government House, the

incumbent of which then was Lt. Governor Dundas.

 

There were three companies of volunteers at that time in

Charlottetown--the Artillery, commanded by Capt. Pollard, the Prince of

Wales, commanded by Capt. Neil Rankin and the Irish, commanded by Capt. John

Murphy.

 

Apropos of the time Mr. John LePage the Island Poet, dedicated an address in rhyme to the Island volunteers, a few verses of which I here quote (from first volume of the Island Minstrel).

 

"Come kittle up a cheerful air;

A lively martial strain;

The spring returns and fancy yearns

To breathe in song again.

The loyal muse cannot but choose

To raise three hearty cheers!

and pledge a health, long life and wealth

To Pollard's volunteers!

To Pollard's volunteers, my boys

The English Volunteers!

And croply too! the sergeant true,

That trained the Volunteers!

 

Nor shall the Muse her praise refuse

To Captain Rankin's corps,

Another band that ready stand

To guard our native shore;

Fill out a flowing bumper then,

Health, honors, wealth and years!"

 

To Captain Rankin's gallant men--The Highland Volunteers! (later colonel, Col. Neil Rankin was also fourth Mayor of Charlottetown.

 

"The Highland Volunteerism, my boys

to Rank's volunteers

O'Brien too, that put them through

That drilled the Volunteers!"

 

O'Brien was later Captain of Irish Volunteers

 

"No more shall we defenceless be,

When dread invasion comes,

For yet we boast another host

To sentinel our homes.

Erin go Bragh'! One loud hurra!

the company appears!

All dressed in green to serve the Queen -

the Irish volunteers!

The Irish volunteers! me boys!

The Irish volunteers!

Selected joys to Erin's boys,

The Irish volunteers!"

 

Returning for a moment to the vicinity of the old barracks we note a

short street at the east of where the old barracks stood, known by the

classic pseudonym of Leather Lane This used to be the scene of many fights

both verbal and fistic. It was also the scene of a tragedy which resulted

later in a hanging from the outer wall of the old jail.

 

Following along eastwardly from Leather Lane we come to the corner

of Pownal and Sydney streets, on which yet stands the building occupied as a

residence and place of business of the first Mayor of Charlottetown, (1850)

Robert Hutchison, grandfather of Mrs. Archibald Irwin of this city.

In this vicinity, on the east side of Pownal Square stood the old wooden jail.

 

Old Wooden Jail

 

A hideous looking structure, surrounded by a ten foot wall. It

remained there up to quite recent times and until the present building on

St. Peter's Road was ready for occupancy. It was nicknamed "Harvey's Brig",

and inside its walls were housed several celebrated characters. Besides

those imprisoned for crimes and misdemeanors and some for debt, there was

one particularly, for contempt of court. The latter "gentleman" having

considerable means, held "high jinks" in the brig for several years, and

frequently invited several outside boon companions to enjoy his hospitality

within his suite in H.M. prison. There were many stories extant about this

individual, the accuracy of which I cannot vouch for. The demolition of

this old prison house was greatly welcomed by the residents in the vicinity,

and Pownal Square is now rather a pleasant place to look upon, and could be

still further improved by the addition of a few trees and rustic seats.

 

Not very far from Pownal Square we come to Rochford Square, and at

the west of this enjoyable spot lies Government Pond. On the eastern shore

of this stretch of water and mud, extending from the end of the Brighton Road

(formally called Black Sam's Bridge), to about Richmond Street, now covered

by nice residences was the classic locality known in old times as The Bog.

 

The Bog

 

The Bog was the residence section for most of the negro population

of the city for many years previous to and a few years following the

erection of St. Peter's Cathedral on Rochford Square. The colored

population in those days was considerable, and embraced several well-known

characters. There may be a few of our people who can remember some of the

old timers, such as "Black Bill" (Byers), Black Ralph, Susan's Bill, PopEye

ect , ect. The old celebrities have all passed away. I can remember having

pointed out to me when I was a child, a little old colored man named Black

Sam said to considerably over one hundred years of age. There was I think

considerable guess work about the ages of these old fellows. Black Bill was

well known in the fifties and sixties and was the chief chimney sweep of the

town. He was a large powerful man and generally had a happy grin on his

face when talking to one. I was told that some practical joker had him

nominated at one time for Mayor of the City and nearly regretted his action

as Bill was only defeated by a relatively small vote. I cannot vouch for

the accuracy of the story.

 

Readers may be interested to learn how the bridge that once was

situated at the east end of Brighton Road got its name. Little old Black

Sam was allowed by a kind-hearted gentleman to place a small shack, in the

winter season, at the rear of the latter's back yard. Here Sam lived in

winter, but would not stop there in summer, so he procured a large sized

puncheon and placed it at one end of the bridge. He actually lived in this

puncheon and that is how the bridge got its name of Black Sam's Bridge.

 

The Old Round Market House

 

The Old Round Market House on Queen Square was, if I remember rightly,

somewhat octagonal in shape and had several entrances. Inside and

over one of the doors in large lettering, was the following from

Proverbs 11:2 " A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just

weight is his delight".

 

That reminds me that on perusing the Police Court

proceedings found in newspapers of 1855, that several prominent merchants were

fined ten shillings each for having in possession un stamped yardsticks

and un stamped pint measures. Judging by the "liquid" advertisements

to be seen in the papers of that time, pint measures were evidently

greatly used by most of the shopkeepers.

 

To return to the old Market House:

The eaves of the pagoda-shaped roof of this old relic extended quite

a distance from the walls and formed quite an umbrella like shelter

for several huckster men and women who held booths there and plied

their trade in home made molasses candy, spruce and ginger beer,

apples and small fruits. Inside there were butcher's stalls and

sections for the regular market women and men who carried on their

business much as is done today. The market stood about the east end of

the present market and to the west of it was a building which, divided

into separate apartments, served as the general Post Office, City

council Room, and Police Station and nearby was the City Scales in

much the same position as at present.

 

The south side of Market Square in the fifties and sixties

witnessed many colorful and exciting scenes. On a small scale it might probably

resemble the Billingsgate of London of former times. Several old - time

truckmen and female hucksters used to exchange wordy battles in this

celebrated arena. Two celebrated characters were Johnny Mc ----- and

Mother Nation, the latter rather fine looking lady of amazonian

proportions, and of the type that Daniel O'Connell, in his historic

encounter, had with Mrs. Moriarty in the Dublin Market.

 

Long before the Provincial Exhibition was instituted the Horse

and Cattle Show, was often held on Market Square under the auspices of

what was known then as the "Royal Agricultural" (on the page opposite

of this writing is a pen and ink drawing of the Old Round Market

House, and Old St. Paul's church.) Society, a prominent member of which

was James Douglas Haszard, Esq., and whose office was somewhere in the

old block near where now stands the Cameron Block. The day of the

annual Exhibition was known as Fair Day, the house and cattle show

being held on the square and the agricultural exhibits shown in the

Temperance Hall --- the present Guardian Office building. Fair Day was

generally observed as a public holiday and was quite a gala affair.

In addition to the horse and cattle parade which occupied nearly all

of Queen Square, dancing stages, as well as booths were numerous, the

booths being covered with crazy quilts owned by the occupants

(Hucksters) who plied a busy trade under these coverings.

 

Probably the most spectacular affair that ever took place on

the Market Square was during the visit in 1860, of H.R.H. the Prince of

Wales (afterwards King Edward VII) when the place was gaily decorated

for the occasion and a large number of Micmac Indians were allowed to

pitch their wigwams about the square fronting the market house, and

where they paraded their loyalty to the Crown before the Heir Apparent.

 

Apropos of the royal visit are the following lines selected from an address in rhyme that was presented to the Prince by Mr. John Lepage and to be found in the second volume of the Island Minstrel:

 

"Let acclamations loud and long

Ring o'er our hills and dales!

God save the Queen, our loyal song,

And bless the Prince of Wales.

Where thousands press to see his face,

The foremost place we claim,

This beauteous Isle, our dwelling place,

Records his grand sire's name.

 

Then let us first our homage pay,

As rightfully we claim, -

We hail the brightest star today

In Edward's arch of fame.

 

But still a finer chord we wake,

To sound the praise we mean,

We love him for his Mother's sake,

Because we love our Queen--

Our gracious Queen may she receive

the best that Heaven bestows;

And long in health and splendor live

The envy of her foes!

 

Where despots rule with iron rod,

Regardless of the right,

Their vassals must obey their nod

And tremble at their might;

But where Victoria's flag is seen,

there Liberty must grow

And loyal hearts that love their Queen

Spontaneous homage show".

 

A dispute having arisen about the decoration of the Market

Square in honour of the Prince's visit called forth some verse from Mr.

Lepage, two of which I here quote:--

 

"Some recommend that seven fat kine at least

Be roasted whole upon the Market Square,

And to give eclat to the sumptuous feast,

That all in Lilliput alike should share

And that for fuel dry to do them brown

Th' old market house be burned, that eyesore to the town.

 

But others think 'twould be a sin and shame

To burn the poor old market house, when we

Must all admit it has a righteous claim

Upon the tenure of our memory,

And that 'twould be much better, on the ground,

To make it ornamental to the eye;

A mammoth Indian camp, all covered round

that all the Micmac subjects of our Queen

May dance a hunt the squirrel through the sylvan scene".

 

A few words might be said about the north side of the square

or rather, the row of houses on Grafton Street from Apothecaries Hall to

the Bank of Nova Scotia. The latter building replaced Crabbe's

Hardware Store, which in turn replaced a general store owned and

conducted by the late Hon. Patrick Walker. A nephew of the latter who

served in the store is now the Rev. Father Walker of Rollo Bay. This

corner, before being built upon was a veritable swamp. All the

buildings in the Row were, sixty years ago, built of wood and the

remaining wooden ones have been remodeled on the old frames. I can

remember the names of some of the shopkeepers of the time., William

Weeks, John Red Williams, John Pickard, Richard Trenaman, Stephen

O'Mara (On the opposite page now is a pen and ink drawing of the North

side Queen Square Sixty years ago, that was in 1932). George Hubbard

(Bible Depositary), Adam Murray, His residence is still there and

Theophilus DesBrisay, Apothecaries Hall and who was Mayor of the city

for several terms. Quite a land mark on the old Row was a cannon that

still stands on end at the corner of Apothecaries Hall and served as a

hitching-post for many years. It is now surmounted by a flagpole.

There was no sidewalk in those days along the Row, but a wooden

platform extended out from each store front: and of course the streets

were all clay streets, and the red mud on one's boots in wet weather

was something awful to behold.

 

Crossing over to the south side of Queen Square, to the

section now known as Victoria Row, we notice a fine frontage of brick and stone

buildings. Before the destructive fire of 1884, which swept away the

whole row with the exception of Stamper's corner at the west end and

Queen Square School at the east, all the buildings were of wood, with

the exception of the school just mentioned and the Morris building,

which were both of brick

 

Going west from the school there were many historic places of

business. Among those of old times were; the furniture factory owned

by the late John Newson, next was (as some have said) the first brick

house of the city, owned by John Morris (grandfather of Messrs, John

Harry Frederick and Thomas Morris, yet with us.) Then Haszard's

Bookstore and Printing Office. I am not sure of the order of the next

few buildings, but believe them to follow thus; the Cameron property,

where the Cameron family lived and did business. I can well remember

Mr. Ewen Cameron, Jr. and uncle of the late Horace Haszard, Esq.

 

The large three story building was in my young days a double

tenement. The east end was occupied, first by Macnutt and Brown

(later W & A Brown, and the west by Heartz & Son. Over Brown's store

was sign -- British Warehouse and over Heartz's Cheapside. Between

that and the corner was double tenement --- one part occupied by John

Bell sr. as a Flour and Provision Market, and the other by his

sons -- Charles and John Bell as a merchant tailoring establishment.

The Stamper corner house was removed some years after the fire to

Grafton St. east, where Miss Eva Stamper still resides. It has been

well described in the second volume of the P.E. Island Magazine page

346. (on the page opposite is a picture of Jim Louis Big Indian Hunter

see page 14) this is on page 16.

 

The following short letter and quotations were written by me for the

Halifax Herald and appeared in the issue of November 30, 1929-

 

The Island Poet Laureate

 

"Old Timer", Charlottetown, contributes the following which I am

sure will be read with appreciation:

 

It may be a coincidence, perhaps, that while I was perusing the

first volume of the "Island Minstrel", by the late John Lepage, an article

on that subject from the pen of "I.C.R." appeared in the Herald. It

recalled to my mind an interesting era in Prince Edward Island history - the

eventful period just before and following the time when the Island entered

the confederation of the Provinces, now constituting the Dominion of Canada.

I was well acquainted with the late Mr. Lepage - a gentleman and no mean poet.

It is true that he often branched out into what might be called jingle - but

never doggerel- rhyme, uttered in somewhat of a humorous vernacular on the

current political and social topics of the day, but the greater part of his

writings were marked by a high moral tone and displayed ability, education,

culture and research. Take, for instance, the "Address to Prince Edward

Island", New Year's day, 1850, "Loss of the Fairy Queen", "A Visit to

Parnassus", ect. Theses are but a very few of his more serious and

sentimental effusions.

 

I submit one or two specimens, thus,-

 

"My native Isle! fit subject for the lays

Of sweeter minstrel, still the prompting power

Which led me simply to attempt thy praise

Shall sweetly prompt me to my latest hour;

For bound to thee by nature's tender ties,

To thee I feel my warmest wish must flow.

Thy verdant fields, thy placid summer skies,

Thy loaded autumns, and thy winter's snow -

All nearest to my thought, if reason reigns,

Must ever prompt the song, while love of song remains".

 

On entry into Charlottetown Harbor in August, 1862 of H.M.S. Nile.

 

"Brace tars! who Britain's right maintain,

Who sentinel the deep;

As over Neptune's wide domain

A wakeful watch you keep;

Our pride in peace, defence in war,

Of stalwart heart and hand;

We greet you, every honest tar,

With welcome to our land.

Then three times three for Britain's Queen,

My countrymen, in style,

And three to greet her gallant men,

The heroes of the Nile".

 

Then in lighter vein, the political satires, such as "The Island Adrift", "The State Sweepstakes", "Seloc's Warning" (a parody of Lochiel's Warning), thus;

 

Wizard

 

"P Seloc, oh Seloc! beware of the day

When the voters shall meet thee in polling array,

For the candidates' hustings appear to my eye

And the hopes of the * Snatchers forever must die

They rally, they push, in a wild tempest tost,

to recover the places they grieve to have lost.

McLeod in his tartan, rides over the plain,

And Beer is there fresh for the contest again".

 

* A nickname for liberals in the old days.

 

Seloc **

 

"Go, preach to the Tories, thou dark sighted seer!

I tell thee, his legions no more shall appear,

Nor the Skye-man himself! It is more than he dare,

Since I threatened to horsewhip him well on the Square".

 

** When spelled backward it reads "Coles"

 

Another selection from one of his political rhymes reads thus:--

 

"Invited by Whelan to Donnybrook fair

The Paddies came flocking like geese, on the Square.

Bog Trotters assembled for Snatchers' good will

Overright, the big hustings of Sheriff McGill;

And the sheriff himself, arrah! mounted on high,

Wid' to shew what a partisan sheriff can do,

called the meeting at Twelve in the stead of at Two".

 

"And close by the side of the Sheriff's big beard,

On the hustings, George Coles and Cock Robin appeared,

And the hero of Cashmere who threatened so plain

To blow up the Tories when firing his train

On the day of election, make such a flare

As he sent them, like rockets let off through the air;

But the powder got damp and Stephen the bold

Only got back to Bagdad, like Sinbad of old".

 


 

A rollicking rhyme, in Irish vernacular, entitled "High Blood and Hair Triggers", descriptive of a duel that actually took place on the shore near Government House, between two prominent political leaders, but that ended without harm to either of the combatants, reads:---

 

"Arrah! honey Machree, did ye hear of the fight,

For the likes wasn't heard of before,

Of the terrible dewl that took place t'other night

When the gintlemen met on the shore,

Wid' pistols each other to kill or to wing;

And the rason so simple to tell,

For the quarrel was, whifh of the town should be king

When the governor went to Morell".

 

"And Werand, the illegant poet, they say

At home wid the pistol or pen,

Wed the Georgestown mimber the fairest of play

Wint to shew to the dewelin men:

And the finest of canister powder was found,

And the best of hair triggers to boot,

And the seconds wint first all to measure the ground,

And to give them the token to shoot.

 

They stood overright, twenty paces apart,

Two beautiful dewlers entire!

But the brewer they say gave a terrible start

When the pistol of Parchment struck fire!

And you'd think that himself was all shattered in bits

Wid the noise that wint up in the air!

Enough to scare Buonparte out of his wits,

Or Duke Willinton if he was there.

And it's what they all say was the crame of the joke

On the top of this murtherin spree,

They both went stone blind wid' the dust of the smoke

And no lawyer the brewer could see.

So, says he thin, to hit you I niver need try;

You're as thin in the waist as a loon;

And he pointed his calibore up to the sky

And let bang at the man in the moon!"

 

This short sketch of one who was much beloved and esteemed might be greatly extended, but space forbids. The mantle the poet descended on one of his sons -- Thomas Lepage (familiarly) known as Tommy) a former professor in Prince of Wales college regarded as the most brilliant English scholar of his day in Prince Edward Island. He also has passed to the great Beyond.

Following up the above sketch, I desire to add a choice little poem by the late Thomas A. Lepage referred to in the last proceeding paragraph, entitled:--

 

"In Memoriam"

 

"No! not to thee we say farewell!

Though never we shall see thee more,

Nor hold sweet converse as before,

Yet not to thee we say farewell!

 

Thy memory is with us still!

The form may waste, or ore to rust;

The earth may claim her borrowed dust;

thy memory is with us still!

 

The chains are off and thou art free!

A soul by chastning stripes refined;

Death hath but wrought thee rescue kind,

But loosed the chains, - and thous art free!

 

And being free, thou art more near

Than pent within thy house of clay;

A presence now to bless our way;

And being free, thou art more dear!"

 


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Last Updated: 4/27/98 5:03:30 PM
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