Submitted by Dave Hunter - firstname.lastname@example.org
In times past, one of the Island's largest export industries was the farming of foxes. Of course, nowadays, this is a frowned upon industry, and one which is essentially gone. However, in the past it was a major source of revenue.
While going through some of my Great-Grandfather, G. Byron Norton's papers one day, I found a stock certificate for the Standard Black Fox Company, Ltd., one of the Island's many fox farms. I hope that this will provide a beginning to a collection of fox farming information on the Island Register...
Our property here was used for raising foxes, many years before we owned it. The back end of the property was covered with mounds where the pens once stood. Over the years, they had become covered with sod, and trees had grown around portions of the old fox wire, making it nearly impossible to remove. For the first 20 years or so that we owned it, we kept digging up large sections of fox wire. I would imagine that we still haven't gotten it all up, though it has been a while since we last dug wire up. For many years fox farming was one of the most prominent industries on Prince Edward Island. Still, there are some who raise foxes, but very few compared to the turn of the century.
Fox Farming Bits & Pieces
From a letter from Ellen Bowman, Charlottetown to Amiee Irene Hubbard Auburn, Cal., Jan 05, 1913:
"Land has gone up in value here on the Island. There is a great many starting in the Fox industry rearing black foxes. They have to have the right kind of a location to keep them they have to have trees mixed hard and soft wood then they enclose them in pens with wovenwire and the trees are enclosed in each pen it is not many farms they can get to start but our home has the right kind of groves so I managed a good price for it. There are six ranches within 3 miles of our place the people are all gone fox crazy But it costs some money to start a ranch a pair of good black foxes for breeding costs from 12000 dollars to 20000 so you see everybody could not start one but they sell shares to anyone that will join. Some are making a big thing out of it but I would be afraid to put much in it even if I had the money."
In 1922, the Shareholders of the Victoria Silver Black Fox Co., Ltd., 1922. turned in their shares, in order to form a new farm to be known as the Willowbrook Fox Farm, on the premises of Mr. Ephraim Bell at Cape Traverse, P.E.I.
RCAF Photo of the Dominion Experimental Fox Farm in Summerside c.a. 1920
If you have information of interest in other fox farms, please pass it along!