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 - Page 2


The Southport Ferry

 

I regret that I cannot impart much information on the above subject.

Of course it was carried on until a comparatively recent period, that

is, up to the time of the completion of the Hillsborough Bridge. I

have a faint recollection of when I was a child of crossing on a side

wheel paddle boat, the motive power of which came from a pair of

horses going round and round on a kind of treadmill. If I remember

rightly, this boat was owned by and operated under the management of

Mr. T.B. Tremaine, who did business on Lower Queen Street somewhere

about the present site of Lyons' coal office. Following this

antiquated Ferry was the steamer "Ino", and later, "Ora" and later

still the "Hillsboro" and "Elfin". These boats left every half hour

from each side and on market days every twenty minutes. Our beautiful

harbor has a rather deserted look these later days. It is a pity it

should be so.

 

At the approach to the Ferry Wharf, where the railway roundhouse now

stands, was the residence of Major Beete, retired army officer, who

was regarded as quite an eccentric character in the days of " long

ago". From there east to about where the Railway freight Sheds stand,

was a succession of wooden dwelling houses, except that about the

middle of the block, there was an approach to a wharf owned by Mr.

William Heard, who carried on a general business on Queen Street,

about the site of Moore & McLeod's establishment.

On the corner of Water and Queen Streets opposite the Railway

Roundhouse, is the "Lenox Hotel". This was formerly the residence of

the Hon. James Duncan, a prominent Merchant and Ship owner, who was,

in stature, the largest man on Prince Edward Island.

From here we go up Prince Street until we arrive at "Trinty

Church", of the United Church of Canada.

 

The Old Methodist Meeting House

 

Or "Wesleyan Chapel" as it was sometimes called, and which stood on the

corner now occupied by the Heartz Memorial Hall. This old building was

erected in 1833-34 and in addition to the main auditorium was a Sunday

school room and vestry. Services were held in the church and classes taught

the school until the completion of the "Brick Church", (1864) standing on

the corner of Prince and Sydney Streets and which is known now as "Trinty

Church" of the United church of Canada. It seems to me quite fit just here

to quote from Judge Warburton's History of P.E. Island (405)

 

"The great religious movement in Great Britain, associated with the

names of John and Charles Wesley, could not but have its effect also in the

new and outlying parts of the Empire. Men of the loftiest character of high

order of eloquence, and filled with the zeal in the Master's service, they

exerted a marvellous power over the spiritual life of the English speaking

people. Without separating from the church of their fathers, they broke

through the formalism which, in their day, characterized the church, and

brought the teachings of christianity home to the common life of

men" ... "They produced the beautiful hymns that go by Wesley's name and

which reach home to the very hearts of hearers".

 

Here follow a few verses of some of the outstanding hymns that

attracted the admiration of those who were privileged to listen to the

music and words of these old time gems that were written by Charles Wesley

and Isaac Watts:

 

"Soldiers of Christ, arise

And put your armour on;

Through his eternal Son:

Strong in the Lord of Hosts,

And in his mighty power,

Who, in the strength of Jesus trusts,

Is more than conqueror". -- Charles Wesley

 

"The Lord Jehovah reigns,

His throne is built on high;

The garments he assumes

Are light and majesty;

His glories shine with beams so bright,

No mortal eye can bear the sight". -- I. Watts

 

"When I survey the wonderous Cross

On which the Prince of Glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride". -- I. Watts

 

"Praise ye the Lord ! tis good to raise

Your hearts and voices in his praise;

His nature and his works invite

To make this duty our delight". -- I. Watts

 

"Come Holy Ghost our hearts inspire,

Let us thine influence prove;

Source of the old prophetic fire

Fountain of Light and Love". -- C. Wesley

 

(The latter hymn was sung to the tune of "Drink to me only with Thine eyes").

 

The Minister of my earliest recollection in Charlottetown was the

Rev. John MacMurray (1854-7). In spite of a little crudeness of form there

appeared to be an atmosphere of deep spirituality and reverence manifest in

the services of those days, which is to me somewhat lacking in more modern

times.

 

The choirs in the fifties and sixties was considered by many

independent critics to have produced the best hymn music in Charlottetown.

Several of the old hymn tunes are still in use, I can remember several of

the prominent members of the choir in the old days. There were James Moore,

Watson Duchemin, Thomas Davy, James Stanley, William Stumbles, John Rendle,

George Moore, Bertram Moore, Albert Duchemin, Edmund Duchemin, W. F. Morris,

John Lea, Artemas Lord, George Bremner, Edward Love, John Dorsey, and later

on; Edward Davy, Richard Passmore, Paul Lea, Jas. R. Davison, F. H. Beer, Wm.

Moore, and John A. Moore. Among the ladies were: Mrs Watson Duchemin, Mrs

John P. Tanton, Mrs. P. G. Clarke, the Misses Lea, Miss Sophie Duchemin,

Mrs.John Newson, Mrs. William Cook, the Misses Davy, The Misses Love, Mrs.

Mary Fearneux (nee Webster - 88 years old, and still a regular attendant at

Divine Service), Mrs W. F. Morris), and later Misses Annie and Mary Moore,

(the latter now Mrs. Jas. R. Davison). Probably there were others, of whom

I have no recollection.

 

The choir was led by Mr. James Moore, (grandfather of William and

John A. Moore) without the accompaniment of an organ. Mr. Moore generally

used a tuning fork, sometimes a flute to strike the key. Such a thing as an

organ was "taboo" in those days and was not used in divine worship in the

Methodist Church until after the new "Brick Church" was dedicated. the

corner stone for which had been laid by Mrs. Dundas, wife of the

Lieutenant-Governor, George Dundas, Esq.

 

The installation of a small cabinet organ in the new church was

looked on with horror and dismay by some who "did not believe in the

worship of God by the turning of a crank". In fact it was said that one old

fellow exclaimed: "If 'ad my way, I'd chop it h'up with a h'axe". People

have gotten finely over that now, as witness the splendid instrument that

now adorns the east end of the interior. A great change has taken place in

the attitude of church members since those days regarding music and vestments.

 

The superintendents of the Sunday School of my earliest recollection

were, in order named; William Brown, William Stumbles, Bertram Moore, and

W. E. Dawson. Of those who attended church and Sunday school in the old

wooden building there are, I believe, less than ten now living.

 

In the old days of the fifties and sixties "Beer's Pasture" was

frequently used by the Methodist Sunday School for their annual picnic. I

can well remember what a joyous time we had when we youngsters formed in

procession, with banners and flags flying and marched from the School up

Prince to Fitzroy Street and out to the Kensington grounds, where we had

games and partook of the generous spread of "goodies" laid out on the tables.

A large number of visitors from other denominations also enjoyed the outing

and the viands provided.

 

Church Notes from the files of old Newpapers:

 

The first trustees of the old church of 1833 were Isaac Smith,

Robert Longworth, *John Bovyer, Christopher Cross, Henry Smith, John

Trenaman, William Tanton, Thomas Dawson, and Charles Welsh.

 

"After the Brick church was built, the old one was sold and placed

on the north corner of Prince and Water Streets, and is now a double tenement".

 

The Wesleyan Bazaar, briefly noticed by us last week was a much more

successful affair than its most sanguine projectors ever anticipated-the sum

realized, after deducting all expenses, amounting to nearly 1,000 pounds,

with a large number of valuable articles still undisposed of". -- (Monitor,

July 21, 1864)

Some proceeds for a two days sale!

 

*John Bovyer was a descendant of the "U.E.Loyalists" and was a grandfather

of Mr. L.A.Moore of Summerside and Mrs. Charles Black of this City.

 

The Infant School

 

Under the auspices of Old St. Paul's Church' was conducted in the wooden

building which stood on the corner where the present Parish Hall stands. My

recollections of that first school I ever attended are slightly vague as I

was only about eight or nine years old when I was sent to another, a little

further advanced.

 

Such an institution as a "Kindergarten", in the fifties was unknown

in Charlottetown (nor, possibly, anywhere else.) We were instructed in the

"three R's" in their most elementary form yet the schooling was efficient as

far as it went. I can yet see in my mind's eye the "Balls and Frame" [Abacus] which

helped us in our first lessons in "sums".

 

The teachers engaged for this Infant School were Mr. and Mrs. George

Hubbard, who were brought from England by trustees of St. Paul's Church.

They were accompanied by their son and daughter, the latter a very beautiful

and accomplished lady, who afterwards became Mrs. Wilbur.

 

The Hubbards were a very kindly old couple and I think all the

children had for them a genuine affection.

 

Mrs Hubbard conducted almost all of the instruction - only

occasionally did her husband assist, being engaged for many years as

Registrar of probate in P.E. Island. On the closing of the Infant School a

few years later, Mr. Hubbard became the depository of the British and

Foreign Bible Society and kept a store somewhere about where the Bank of

Montreal now stands. Mrs. Hubbard was also a very accomplished needlewoman

and many of the girl pupils received their first lessons in the art at the

Infant school. I can recollect that there were a few kids in the school who

although so young, could put over some stunts that were not in the course of

studies and get away with them, when the teacher wasn't looking. Some were

caught and punished and among the latter, I once had the misfortune to be

one of the bad boys. I remember the occasion distinctly, when I stood up

and declaimed part of the first verse of the old rhyme;

 

"Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard

To get her poor dog a bone".

 

I got no further, but was promptly disciplined by being made to stand

up on a bench for exhibition until I said I was sorry.

 

There was one very pleasant part of the "curriculum" that we always

enjoyed. It was when we received our singing lesson.

I can yet see dear old Mrs. Hubbard leading with:

 

"When at first you don't succeed,

try, try, try again".

 

while she would face us all and clap her hands in time with the words. "try,

try". Sometimes we marched around the schoolroom while we sang at other

times we sang from the gallery.

 

At one end of the school room was a gallery, slanting downwards - the

front row of seats near the floor, in which were seated the smallest

children. At stated times we took our places in the gallery for

"examinations". We were frequently questioned and addressed by vistors,

among whom I can recall the faces of Commander Orlebar and Lieutenants

Hancock and Carey, officers of the Hydrographic Survey Ship H.M. Gulnare.

With them was the late H. J. Cundall, then quite a young man. The Naval

Officers above mentioned resided in Charlottetown for a number of years, and

were prominently identified with the religious and social affairs of the City.

 

The only pupils I can remember as having attended the Infant School

still living were Florrie Stumbles, (Mrs. S. W. Crabbe), Bessie Foster (Mrs.

John White), Mary Moore (Mrs. J. R. Davison), Henry Lowe and William Moore.

Those who have passed away were - Adeline Worth (Mrs Burbridge), Annie Moore,

married in California, Annie Alley, and Jas. R. Davison. The Misses Moore

and William were children of the late Bertram Moore.

 

Just previous to the completion of this little sketch Mill Mary

White of this City kindly handed me the following poem written by the late

Mr. Hubbard at the age of seventy nine. The original is one of the most

exquisite specimens of penmanship I have ever seen - resembling copperplate

engraving. I think all who read it will agree that it breathes a spirit of

peace and contentment as well as triumph.

 

My last piece of poetry

 

"O God! my hoary hairs declare

Thy Sovereign Love - thy gracious care,

E'en from the soft parental breast

Down to life to life's decline,

on sick'ning couch no hours have run

Through one diurnal circling sun.

 

I thank Thee Lord 'twas Thine to give

The Mate in lot with whom I live.

Dear, she has made my earthly home,

While fifty of my years have flown.

 

The fear of man's untoward brow

No more besets my Spirit now,

Through God, though four scoreyears are near,

There's not a Man whose face I fear.

 

My god how good! no pen'ry's mine

No want of bread in life's decline,

Though verging to time's shortest span

I'm pleased to be the Aged Man.

 

Now looking Lord that Heaven to see,

Which Christ my God prepared for me,

I herein wait life's parting breath

To slumber through the Sleep of Death". -- G. Hubbard

 

Mr. Hubbard died in England 21st July 1882 aged 80 years

 

Old St. Paul's

 

I can call to mind a few recollections of the old wooden building,

and the services held in St. Paul's Church of the sixties and the

early seventies. From Warburton's History of P.E.I. we learn that it

was first occupied in 1836 that the last service held there was on the

3rd of May 1896 and on the Sunday following the services were held in

the present stone edifice on Queen Square east.

 

In the later sixties I was somewhat of a free lance in my choice of

church attendance. With a few companions, I was in the habit of going

about to different places of worship, but St. Paul's seemed to be the

place of our choice on Sunday evenings. We generally took our places

in the gallery in a pew near the Organ Loft where we could enjoy the

musical part of the service. The members of the choir as far as I can

remember, were: Miss Elizabeth Preedy (now our highly esteemed Mrs.

Roome), who after her marriage was succeeded by Mr. S.N. Earle, Misses

Helen BayBlois (later Mrs. A. Hensle). The male members of my

recollection; William Cundall, leader, Joseph Ball, William Bevan,

Thos. DesBrisay and Edward Love.

 

I can well remember the old high box pews, with doors, both in the

gallery and on the ground floor so high that one could lie back and

sleep without being observed. I can distinctly remember on individual

having done so.

 

Several old families, well known in Charlottetown, whose descendants

now are few, owned pews in St. Paul's and their proprietary rights

were jealously guarded. Such names as Bayfield, Palmer, Longworth,

Haviland, Brecken, Lowe, Batt, Davies, Hensley, Peake, DuBlois, Pope,

Peters, Warburton, Hodgson, ect., ect. There were also pews reserved

for the Lieutenant Governor, the Council, the House of Assembly, the

officers of the garrison and two for strangers.

 

The ministers of my recollection were the Rev. Louis C. Jenkins,

L.L.D. (retired Rector, and great grandfather of Dr. J.S. Jenkins, of

this city) Rev. Dr. Jenkins was succeeded, as appears from the

records,by Rev. David Fitzgerald, who had as an associate Rev. D.B.

Parnther, and following him was (I think) Rev. Alfred Osborne.

 

On the wall of St. Paul's Church may be seen a tablet to the memory

of one of our early governors, viz: Sir Donald Campbell Bart, who died

October 10th 1850, aged 50 years and whose remains are interred in the

vault of St. Paul's.

 

In those days the choir was not gowned nor surpliced. Like the old

Methodist Church, strong objections were held against all manner of

ritualistic practices in both music and vestments as well as the

Bishop's Crozier being carried in processional. The Psalms were read

responsively and neither intoned nor chanted. Several stirring scenes

were enacted in the old days between "Low and High Church members",

which are now happily forgotten.

 

Mention has been here made of Dr. the Rev. L.C. Jenkins who was

rector of the Parish from June 1828 until 1854. This brings to my

mind some of Mr. John Lepage's verses anent the old cemetery, a

subject dealt with by me in another sketch. The following is from Mr.

Lepage’s first volume of "The Island Minstrel".

 

"Lines inscribed to Rev. L.C. Jenkins, Rector, suggested by a walk

in the Churchyard near Charlottetown".

 

"As pensively I wander here

And cast a glance around,

How many names, to mem'ry dear,

Familiar onceare found:

How many epitaphs I see

Where dreamless sleepers lie,

Which preach this truth impressively,

That man was born to die.

 

Tread softly over those that sleep

Beneath the funeral yew!

Ye mourning friends, for friends who weep,

this is the place for you;

But thoughtless ones, with footsteps rude,

This scene so sacred, fly!

Or learn, when hither ye intrude,

That you were born to die.

 

Here poverty with grandeur must

Repose when life is done,

lie earth to earth and dust to dust,

As spoils which death has won:

Ah! why should Pride, with foolish scorn,

Roll round its haughty eye?

The proudest man! and beggar born!

Are born alike, to die!

 

Howe'er distince in life they were

They've no distinction here !

save polish'd stones which here and there

More beautiful appear;

but monuments, or rude or grand!

As Time goes wasting by,

Moulder beneath his crumblinghand,

And, falling, prostrate lie!"

 

St. Dunstan's Cathedral of Old

 

My memory sometimes lingers over a scene of my early youth, and I

can yet see in my mind's eye the old "Catholic Chapel", as St.

Dunstan's Cathedral was often called in the fifties, and the houses

adjacent thereto, on that part of Sydney Street between Great George

and Queen, for it was in that locality I was born. I regret that I

cannot give much information on this subject, as our family removed

from there to Prince Street when I was but seven years of age. But

looking back over the years I can yet see Rev. Thomas Phelan, P.P.,

who was affectionately called "Father Tom" with his goodnatured

smiling face, as he leaned over the fence surrounding the parochial

house, and was so friendly to all about him, especially the children.

I think he was succeeded by the very Rev. Daniel McDonald, or as he

was known "Father Dan". The latter, after being some years in

Charlottetown, took charge of the parish of Georgetown where he died.

 

The front doors of the Cathedral were at the South end in the tower,

and above in the spire was the clock, which served as the official

"Town Clock" for many years, or until the present one was installed in

the front tower of the Law Courts Building.

 

I can remember that a few years after we had removed from Sydney

Street, St. Dunstan's Choir had a great attraction for me. Before my

time and later, this choir was a celebrated one, both for solo and

concerted work, and I believe it was in my younger days that their

first pipe organ was installed, and the first to play it was a

Mrs. Stephenson, who was quite a celebrity in her day, having conducted

several concerts in the city when I was in my teens. She was

succeeded as organist by Miss Mary McEwen, later by Professor

Trudelle, and still later by Miss Faustina Newbery (sister of the late

Arthur Newbery of this city) and later still by the late Stanislaus

(Judge) Blanchard. After some years as Choir Master, Mr. Trudelle

entered the priesthood.

 

Many today will no doubt remember a few of the prominent members of

the choir: there were two Misses Conway, two Misses Higgins, Mrs.

(Dr.) Conroy, Miss Gene Newbery, Mrs. Gaffney, Mrs. F. Kelly, Mrs.

Maurice Blake, Mrs. James Byrne, Mrs. J. C. Doyle (Halifax) and Mrs.

John Haley (San Francisco). Among the male members were: J. G.

Eckstadt, Augustus Hermans and his son Charles, Professor Caven, L.J.

Williams, J. Griffith, Aeneas Macdonald and Charles Bell. Four of the

ladies above mentioned are still living, all the others have passed

away. The efficent conductor and leader of the choir today is the

justly popular Mr. W. J. Brown.

 

A most impressive funeral procession was the cortege accompanying

the remains of Bishop Bernard D. McDonald (second Bishop of

Charlottetown,) to St. Dunstan's Cathedral from St. Dunstan's College

in 1859. I was greatly impressed as the procession moved along Great

George Street to where the last solemn rites were performed. There

was an immense throng of people forming the procession of clergy, St.

Ann's convent pupils with white veil, acolytes and citizens. Among

the convent pupils was Mis Mary Giffin of this city, who still has a

clear recollection of the notable event. I was told at the time, that

as the head of the procession arrived near the doors of the cathedral,

the end of it was just leaving the college gates. Bishop McDonald's

remains lie beneath the crypt of the Cathedral. The late Bishop

McIntyre was his successor.

 

Another incident in connection with the church in Charlottetown, was

the removal, sometime in the sixties, of the old Church of St. Andrews

to Charlottetownthe church in which the first Bishop of

Charlottetown laboured as Parish Priest for many years, Right Rev.

Angus Bernard MacEachern.

 

The Church was hauled over the Hillsborough ice, landed at

Charlottetown, and finally placed in Pownal Street, where it became

the central building of St. Joseph's Convent School, now known as

Rochford Square School. I can quite remember the immense number of

horses harnessed to the structure as it was moved through the streets

to its present position.

 

The building next to the Cathedral premises (west) was the Parish

Day School, and the head master was the celebrated pedagogue Edward

Roche, noted as being one of the greatest mathematical scholars of his

day in Charlottetown. He later taught in the Model School which was

afterwards connected with the Prince of Wales college. One of his

associates was the late Miss Elizabeth McKinnon, who for a great

number of years was connected with the teaching profession. Mr.

Roche's son, James Jeffrey Roche, was quite a celebrity in Boston,

Mass., being editor of the Boston Pilot and a learned scholar and

poet.

 

Following west from this school was the home of the Weeks family,

the head of which was Mr. Joseph Weeks, father of the late W. A. Weeks

and his brother and sisters. A little west of the Weeks home was the

house in which the writer of these sketches was born and where my

father conducted a book and stationery, as well as a printing and

bookbinding business. To digress for a moment, I was told by my

parents that when I was only three weeks old, our house caught fire,

and that when one man asked the question of another: "do you think we

can save it"? The other was heard to answer "The devil a bit "! The

house was saved, however, and so was I, for as soon as the matter

looked serious I was wrapped up in a blanket and hurried off to a

friend's house, at a safe distance from our home. (Pardon this

personal allusion). This house was on the site where the present

brick building, (erected by the late John Gahan) now stands. From

there to the corner were two huckster shops.

 

On the opposite side of the street still stands the same brick

building which was owned and occupied as a store and dwelling by the

Hon. Daniel Brenan, who carried on one of the largest businesses in

the City in the fifties and early sixties. From there west to Great

George Street was a succession of wooden buildings, only one of which

remains today and was then occupied by the McFadyen family, who kept

a farmers boarding house.

 

Quite a celebrated hostelry stood opposite the Cathedral on Great

George Street, near the present site of Gaudet's Book Store, called

the "Wellington Hotel". This was where the principal public banquets

were held in the days of "Auld Lang Syne".

 

Old Folk Concert

 

A rather quaint entertainment took place in Charlottetown in April,

1888. It was promoted and the programme devised by Mrs. Shenton, the

accomplished wife of the Rev. Job Shenton, pastor at that time of the First

Methodist Church. It would take too much space to quote the items of the

progamme. Suffice it to say that it contained "old tyme songes" and music

of the Colonial Period such as "Revolutionary Tea", "Davis's Lament", "When

George ye Third was King", etc., etc. The announcement on the front of the

progamme as well as the names of the performers were printed in old time

lettering and spelling (prominent was the long "s" look like "f" and the

"ye" for "the") and to the names of the performers were added Puritan given

names, as will be seen from the following account:

 

"Ye goode People of Charlottetown and Vicinitie! Take Notice!"

"A Great Concyrte of Sacred and Likewise Worldie Songs, to be sung

and play'd bya Company of Menne and Womenne", (on opposite page is a old

photograph of Old St. Dunstan's church)

 

Singers and Players, will be holden in ye W.M.C.A. halle, on Tuesdaye

Nyghte, wh'is ye 24th Daye of Aprile, in ye year 1888.

"Ye latche string of ye Halle shall be hunge oute at earlie candl

lyghtynge and ye Grande Concerte shall beginne at eight of ye town clocke.

Ye entrance fee shall be 1 shilling 6 pence (35 centes) and ye

gentlefolke who wish goode seats kept for themme will paye two shillings (50

centes)".

"Prynted cardes may be hadde of some of ye pille people, and also at

neighbour Hazard's bookstore".

 

"A Lyste of ye Players and Singers":

"Samuel Waterhouse Ebenezer Snearle will beate ye tyme".

"Frances Experience Hope Weekes will playe a new fangled Instrument

called a Pianowe".

"Ye Bass and Treeble Fyddlers and Players on ye Winde Instruments".

 

"Womenne Singers Leah Sophronia Maclean, Emma Priscilla Jane

BBarr, Agnes Deliverance Longworth, Katie Benevolence Hyndman, Molly Sweet

Briar Kezia Shenton, Florence Tabitha Sophia Earle, Dorothy Ida Fowle,

Mehitable Rose Wilson, Jessie Content Peebles, Margaret Prudence Weekes,

Wealthy Ann Findley, Nancy Margaret Crabbe, Caroline Charity Wade, Minnie

Abigail Johnson, Annie Penelope Weekes".

 

"Meene Singers Deacon Faithful James Davison, Squire Frederick Ezekiel

Beer, Japhet Obadiah Stewart, Christopher Nehemiah Heartz, Intrepid Dobbins

Wilson, Benjamin Armitage Bremner, Edward Jonathan Belle, Wilhelm Jacob

Maynard, and Wilhelm Uriah Makepeace Beer".

 

To these names were subsequently added Joseph Unsworth, Major John

Rogers of Montreal, and Charlie Earle, who at that time was a soprano.

Quite a change for Charlie, who is now one of the best baritones in Canada.

 

Here follow the musical numbers and names of performers who were

dressed in eighteenth century costumes. At the intermission and following

the programme were the following notes:

 

"A short space of tyme will nowe be allowed for the singers to

obtayne theyre breath also ye audience".

 

"Theyre will now be sunge God Save Ye Queene, in which all ye people

shall joine with vigour".

 

"Note Bene. Ye profits wh' shall result from ye greate concyrte

shall be for ye Yung Menne's Xian Association of ye toune, a most

praiseworthy objecte, wh' alle ye good peopel should strive to assist".

 

"For as much as manae of ye yonge womenne who singe have never sung

before so manie peopel, and are therefore shamefaced, ye younge menne

present are requested to looke away from themme when they singe".

 

"Ye goode people neede not fetch candels, as ye halle will be

lyghted with ye wonderful pattent gasse".

 

"Ye menne and ye womenne will be allowed to sit together".

 

"Imprinted by Master George Herbert Hazarde, who doesth alle kindes of job

pryntinge at his place of business in ye Browne's Blocke".

 

It may be noticed that the old time spelling in the programme is not

always uniform, but that was nothing unusual in the days "when George III

was King".

 

The programme used at the "Concyrte" was printed on old fashioned

unbleached paper with deckled or ragged edges, made to imitate handmade

paper, a copy of which I have in my possession.

 

The Great Fire of 1866

Newspaper Account of the Fire

I shall not attempt a description of the great holocaust that befell

Charlottetown on the fifteenth July, 1866. I was absent from town for a few

days and on our way home on Monday the sixteenth, we were told of the

disaster, our informant saying there were fifty houses gone. On arriving

home we found that it was much worse in fact that two hundred buildings had

gone up in smoke. I shall quote almost in full, Mr. John Lepage's account

of it, as given in the second volume of the "Island Minstrel".

 

"The Great Conflagration"

 

On the 15th of July 1866, the inhabitants of Charlottetown were

awakened from their slumbers by the hoarse clangour of the fire bell,

breaking through the stillness which usually prevails on a summer Sunday

morning. It was soon discovered that it had originated among some shavings

in a house recently purchased by Mr. J.G. Eckstadt of this city; and which,

at the time was undergoing some repairs. The house itself formed part of a

group of buildings, known as the Bagnall property, one block north of the

present Cavendish Apartments...............The weather for some time

previously had been exceedingly dry, and the roofs of the houses around, in

consequence, were almost like tinder which, kindling from the sparks that

fell upon them in fiery showers, burst into flames and spread with

resistless fury in all directions. The firemen and inhabitants did all they

could, but not withstanding their utmost efforts, the buildings on four

blocks, in the most populous part of the city, were, in a few hours, almost

entirely destroyed.....

 

"Fire! Fire! said the Crier,

Where? Where? said the Mayor.

 

In Pownal street! said Major Beete,

Those ancient piles of wood

The Bagnall buildings, which complete,

For sixty years have stood!

Of venerable memory;

Amongst our oldest names;

ring! ring! the bell, the folk to tell

these buildings are in flames!

 

Enwrapt in balmy slumbers, lay

The citizens around,

Tired with the toils of Saturday,

And "sleeping very sound".

Ding, dong! Ding, dong! both loud and long,

The Fire Bell in its way,

Said,'sleepers rise and rub your eyes,

There's work to do today !

 

In haste they rose, put on their clothes,

Each striving for the van;

Some with the engines and the hose

And some with buckets ran.

the people swarm'd the lines were form'd,

But hope and hose were vain,

'Twas all too late to stop the fate

Of Bagnall's old domain!

 

thence, raging conflagration red

Went forth, three several ways:

North to the "Mansion House", it spread

And set it in a blaze...

 

Up Water Street with raging heat,

The igneous billows roll,

Eastward their course, with gathering force,

And rage beyond control.

But ah! to trace their onward way

Exceeds the Muse's flight;

On shingles dry the cinders fly,

And blaze where'er they light.

 

A hundred roofs in ruin flare

Tis vain to think on names

Alas! for teeming millions there,

Truck Street is all in flames!

 

One blacken'd scene is all between

That meets the astonished eye;

Save Peake's brick warehouse, two whole blocks

In smoking debris lie!

How great a matter! who can tell

One spark abroad may send;

Or who divine, if kindled well

Where its effect shall end?

 

Across Queen Street the flame is sent,

Urged by the heated blast

To the old seat of Government,

That relic of the past

Though ninety years it there has stood

Defiant to decay,

Enveloped in a fiery flood,

Behold it pass away!

 

Up! up the hill ! to Great George Street

the fire has made its way;

But there, thank God for the mercy great,

The flames their fury stay.

Thanks be unto the fire brigade

Who fought through stifling air,

And by their efforts, nobly made,

Stopped devastation there

 

Some say the Bishop turn'd the flame;

Well! if that tale be true,

I'll not object, in wonder's name,

to thank the Bishop too!

For had the large cathedral caught

And burn't from steeple down,

we might have said, as ruin spread,

Goodbye to Charlottetown!"

 

The Town Crier

 

Who of us can remember old John Hatch, the Town Crier? The present

generation would regard a character of that kind as a curiosity. Yet in the

fifties and sixties it was looked on here as nothing uncommon. Centuries

before that, such an occupation existed in the old lands. Within my

recollection the work of Town Crier and Court Crier were two regular

occupations. The earliest of the kind that I can remember of was an old man

named Squires. I imagine that I only heard him once, but John Hatch paraded

his occupation before the public for many years. In the old times, previous

to confederation, daily newspapers had not arrived and the means for

advertising were fewer than now. A few handbills pasted on the walls and

fences of unoccupied lots, announcing an auction sale, a concert or a horse

race, were not considered by some sufficient publicity, especially by the

auctioneer, hence the services of John Hatch were requisitioned. The

procedure was somewhat like the following; The crier would walk down the

middle of the street about half the length of a block, ringing a bell then

would stop and shout:"O Yes! O Yes! O Yes! (Hear ye). To be sold by

auction on Monday the 10th day of June, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon,

on Pownal Wharf, a cargo of lumber, consisting of (here followed the list).

terms liberal and made known at sale, William Dodd, Auctioneer.

"God save the Queen""

 

The small boys on the street would sometimes follow poor old Hatch

and tease him with interjected remarks during his announcement, as when "O

Yes!" was about to be called, they would shout "were you ever in jail"? , "Oh

Yes!" would follow by the crier, when the old fellow would stop his work to

chase the boys.

 

The Hatch family lived in a small apartment in the east end of the

Temperance Hall (the present Guardian office). the "family" consisted of

John, the crier, and his very aged mother. They were both old when I was a

boy. Mrs. Hatch used to attend divine service in the old Wesleyan chapel

and was dressed in black with a "poke" bonnet extending out several inches

from her face. During the sermon she would express her feelings by piously

wagging her head from side to sidethe motion of the bonnet being

expressive of her appreciation of the preacher's remarks.

I think it was in the year 1861, that a preacher named Baxter gave a

series of addresses in the lower room of the "Temperance Hall" on "The

Second Advent", "Napoleon III as Anti - Christ", and subjects bearing on the

end of the world. Just behind the lecturer's desk was a door leading to the

Hatch Apartments. The story as I heard it told, ran something like this:

the speaker made a prophecy that before the end of 1867, everyone listening

to him would be either in Heaven or the other place. As he concluded this

statement, Old Mother Hatch, looking like a bird of ill omen appeared in the

dark doorway behind the speaker and caused something like a shudder to pass

through the audience.

 

Speaking of the town crier, it must have been quite an occupation

centuries ago. In Shakespeare's play of "Hamlet" the town crier was thus

alluded to by the latter in his advice to the players: "Speak the speech,

I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, tripplingly on the tongue; but if you

mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the town crier spoke my

lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus but use all

gently,... Be not too tame, neither, but let your own discretion be

your tutor; suit the action to the word, the word to the

action....... o'erstep not the modesty of nature:... O, there be players

that I have seen play - and heard others praise and that highly, not to

speak it profanely, that not having the accent of Christians, nor gait of

Christian, pagan or man, have so strutted and bellowed, that I have thought

that some of nature's journeymen had made men and not made them well they

imitated humanity so abominably".

 


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