Tracing the descendants of P.E.I.'s Fathers of Confederation

Louise Campbell
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Edith, daughter of Thomas Heath Haviland, and her husband, James Peake, lived for a time in what is now Beaconsfield Historic House in Charlottetown. Only one of their children would survive to have a family of his own.

Like their well-known ancestor, descendants of Thomas Heath Haviland can claim a wide variety of accomplishments

Thomas Heath Haviland was described upon his death as an Island landmark.

As the epitome of the old money establishment, the ruling class of the colony, he certainly had a sound foundation upon which to build a legacy.

Haviland was educated in Brussels, Belgium, then studied law back home on the Island before being called to the bar in 1864. He was seen by many as the soundest constitutional lawyer on P.E.I., not surprising, given that he served in the legislature for 30 years.

While in public life, Haviland introduced a number of bills, many of which were enacted and still on the books today. For example, his work led to the Act to Protect the Rights of Married Women in Certain Cases and an act to incorporate the first bank on the Island.

Articulate and able, Haviland talked about a nation that would stretch from sea to sea. Thus, he participated in the Quebec Conference and was part of the delegation to Ottawa in 1873 to negotiate better Confederation terms for Prince Edward Island.

Following Confederation, Haviland was called to the Senate where he served for six years before becoming lieutenant-governor of Prince Edward Island. Subsequently, he became mayor of Charlottetown and held that position for seven years, presiding over much important work, including the installation of the Charlottetown Waterworks.

Haviland and his family resided primarily at Alma Cottage, located at 38-40 Upper Prince St. Eventually, this large house was turned into apartments. The exterior of the structure as well as the parcel of land, is listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

Thomas Heath Haviland and his wife, Anne Elizabeth Grubbe, are known for having children who mostly had no children. Of their nine offspring, three died in infancy and four of the remaining six had no children.

Therefore, Haviland’s descendants come through the progeny of his eldest child, Edith Alice Constance, and his son, Edward Carrington Haviland.

At 19 years of age, Edith married successful ship merchant James Peake.

According to Island historian Edward MacDonald, “When the courtship began is uncertain — Edith was 16 in 1863 — but in 1865, James named one of his vessels after her: a 249-ton brig with the figurehead carved in the bust of a woman. It was a romantic gesture and suggests the families may already have reached an understanding.”

Edith and James started their married life in the Peake family home on Water Street and eventually moved to Beaconsfield located at 2 Kent St., a property also listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

Worth some $50,000, built at a time when the average annual wage was $300, the 25-room Beaconsfield had modern features such as gas lighting, central heating, a water closet (washroom) and running water.

The decline of the shipbuilding industry hit Peake hard, and he and Edith had to sell their beloved home. The only problem was, there was no one to buy it! Eventually land surveyor Henry Jones Cundall and his sisters, Penelope and Millicent, who held the mortgage on the house, moved into Beaconsfield.

Like her parents, Edith and her husband did not leave many descendants. Four of their six children died as infants or in their younger years. Of the remaining two, only George Haviland Peake, the eldest, and his wife Henrietta reproduced — one daughter, who subsequently had three children.

George Haviland Bishop, one of those children, died in Sherbrooke, Que., in 2012. He was described as a devoted and respected career funeral director and co-owner of two funeral homes. Obviously an outdoors lover, he was a member of both the Sherbrooke Ride and Drive Club and the Compton County Fish & Game Club. In addition to his wife and descendants, he was survived by his two sisters Beverley and Joyce.

Edward Carrington Haviland, Thomas Heath Haviland’s fifth-born, and his wife, Anne Campbell Fish, boast more descendants.

Their eldest, also Thomas Heath Haviland, had three children: Richard, Edward and Ruth.

Richard Heath Haviland was born and raised in Montreal. At 19 years of age, he joined The Montreal Star as a library assistant and two years later he was promoted to the editorial department where he covered general news assignments.

With the outbreak of the Second World War, Richard joined the army where he served first as a public relations officer in Halifax. Posted overseas in 1944, he was on Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s public relations staff over the D-Day period in the south of England.

He joined the Canadian Army press camp in Normandy shortly after the invasion and remained on the continent until 1946. While there, he was in charge of press arrangements for the trial of German war criminal Kurt Meyer.

Haviland returned to the Star as an assistant city editor in 1954, eventually becoming city editor and then assistant managing editor (features) in 1969.

Richard, who died in 1981, and his wife, Dominica, adopted two children, Elizabeth and Peter. Early this century, a Robin Haviland, identifying as the daughter of Peter Haviland and the granddaughter of Richard, joined a genealogy site looking for more information about her family, believing she might be the last descendant to carry the Haviland name. Her last-known address was in California, but she could not be located at this time.

Richard had a sister, Ruth, and a brother, Edward. The latter’s grandson, Klaus Okkenhaug, is a noted cancer researcher at the Babraham research facility in Cambridge, England. This great-great-great-grandson of Thomas Heath Haviland and his research group at Babraham focus on how the enzyme PI3K is used by cells of the immune system to instruct and co-ordinate defences against pathogens. Okkenhaug has authored close to a hundred scientific papers relating to his cancer research.

Klaus and his wife, Hanneke, have two children: Lars, 11 and Thomas, 9. Both boys were born in Cambridge, England.

Klaus was born in Montreal, but grew up in Norway until he was 16, at which time he moved back to Canada with his mother and attended high school in Toronto.

“My first time learning Canadian history was when I attended high school in Toronto. It was, of course, exciting to know that one of my ancestors was one of the Fathers of the Confederation,” said Klaus. “I spent the next 13 years in Canada, but I have never been to P.E.I. I very much hope to take my sons there one day.”

As described in his obituary, Thomas Heath Haviland “occupied a high place in the scroll of his country’s honor” and was applauded by his colleagues for a job well done.

The same could be said for many of his descendants.

 

Confederation Connections: Finding the Fathers’ Families will be presented in The Guardian every month with the last one running in August. It is based on genealogies of the families of the Island Fathers of Confederation, as prepared by members of the P.E.I. Genealogical Society, and sheds light on the descendants. Linda Jean Nicholson was the lead genealogical researcher for this month’s article. The series is written by Louise Campbell of Louise Campbell Writing Services and is her first foray into genealogy and family history. To give feedback on this series, which is presented in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference, contact the author at louise.campbell@tacsltd.com. For more information on the P.E.I. Genealogical Society project, visit its website at http://peigs2014.ca.

AT A GLANCE

Fast facts

Who: Thomas Heath Haviland 1822-1895.

Career: A lawyer by profession, Haviland was called to the bar in 1846. He was also a colonel in the local militia.

Politics: In his 30-year political career (1846-1876), Haviland served on executive council and as speaker for the legislative assembly. Subsequently, Thomas Haviland was lieutenant-governor of P.E.I. and mayor of Charlottetown.

Family life: He was married to Anne Elizabeth Grubbe.

Credit: Photo special to The Guardian from Library and Archives Canada/PA-026421.

Organizations: Canadian Register, Rights of Married Women, Sherbrooke Ride and Drive Club Compton County Fish Game Club Montreal Star Canadian Army P.E.I. Genealogical Society Louise Campbell Writing Services Library and Archives Canada

Geographic location: California, Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown Brussels Belgium Quebec Grubbe Montreal Water Street Cambridge Canada Toronto Halifax Normandy England Norway

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  • Peter Llewellyn
    April 25, 2014 - 07:47

    Another little known fact, In his role as a father of Confederation he represented Georgetown\Georgetown Royalty and was one of 2 Fathers of confederation representing Georgetown at the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences