Vernon River man complains about ‘pauper lunatic’ in Charlottetown

Jim Hornby
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The Protestant, July 30

MR EDITOR: Permit me to call the attention of the authorities, through the medium of your journal, to a matter demanding serious and prompt attention. For many years a pauper lunatic named Betsy Connolly has been roaming at large, generally from the South side of the Charlottetown Ferry Eastward. Of late years especially, she has become quite a terror to females and children, in the absence of men from home. I could mention several cases in which she has used violence upon the persons of women, children, and aged and infirm men. About a fortnight ago, a respectable woman, in the prime of life, the mother of a large family resident at Vernon River, was so frightened by the conduct of this person that in a few days, despite all the medical aid at command, she died. I leave this matter with the public to determine whether this dangerous lunatic shall still be permitted to endanger the lives of the people. (James J. Rice, Vernon River.)

Jim Hornby: The Report of Paupers and Lunatics in the Asylum for 1855 records “Betsey Connolly,” age 46, was admitted Aug. 8 and “discharged 18 August”--though a note explains that she “Escaped through the window.” She seems to be still at large nine years later, after 10 days of treatment.

The Protestant, July 30

UNION OF THE PROVINCES. Charlottetown, it appears, by the unanimous consent of the neighbouring Colonies, is to be the place where the Delegates appointed by the legislatures of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are to meet, and as Canada has recently got into governmental difficulties, she too, it is reported, has resolved to be represented at the Conference.

We shall probably have more to say on this subject ere long, but at present we shall content ourselves with giving the following from the St. John Telegraph, as indicating what some of the people in New Brunswick think of the Canadians invading the Lower Colonies to gather stability enough to prop up their ever shattering Government, and to pay the interest of their enormous public debt-- “Early in August, Colonial Delegates will meet in Charlottetown to discuss the question of a union of the Lower Provinces; and Canadian politicians will be present to urge a larger Federation, to include the Canadas.”

The Examiner, Aug. 1

EAST POINT TEA PARTY. The Tea Party, held at Priest Pond, Lot 47, East Point, was a very brilliant and successful affair. Although the weather was exceedingly warm, the attendance was very numerous, every section and settlement in Kings County being well represented. The Charlottetown Amateur Band was in attendance, and enlivened the occasion by their excellent playing; while in several booths erected for the purpose might be heard the music of the violin, and the soul-stirring and national melody of the bagpipes, which afforded abundant enjoyment to the lovers of the dance, despite the heat of the weather.

The Examiner, Aug. 1

MARRIED. On the 27th ultimo, at Summerside, by Archdeacon Read, D.D., Mr. Robert Tinson Holman, Merchant, to Ellen, second daughter of the late Mr. William McEwen, Merchant, Summerside.

J.H.: R.T. Holman was well embarked on his mercantile and trading career in Summerside, building a brick warehouse that year.

Ross’s Weekly, Aug. 4

TENANT UNION. Robert Poore Haythorne has agreed to sell at the rate of Twelve shillings and Six pence of the lawful current money of the said Island besides the said [rent] arrears) payable by Five Equal Annual Instalments together with interest payable annually, and it has been agreed that the said arrears shall also be paid by the said tenant, and shall form another and Sixth Instalment.

J.H.: This was a significant symbolic breakthrough, although the selling landlord was both local and relatively small in acreage conveyed to tenants. The point was that the deal had been achieved by the tenants themselves, with the Tenant Union (as it was first officially called) dealing directly with the landlord, rather than through the government, which had repeatedly failed to find a solution. Haythorne, born into prosperity in England and given land on Prince Edward Island, was a progressive farmer and progressive proprietor. His young wife Elizabeth, mother of their two infant sons, died suddenly while travelling in England in September.

Ross’s Weekly, Aug. 4

DEATHS. At McLellan’s Hospital, Philadelphia, on the 25th of June last, from the effects of a wound received at the Battle of the Wilderness, Virginia, Corporal George Frederick Sullivan, 69th Regt., Irish Brigade, in the 22d year of his age. The deceased, a young man of much promise, was a son of Mr. Thomas Sullivan, Golden Valley, Lot 49.

J.H.: Like almost all Islanders who enlisted in the American Civil War, Cpl. Sullivan fought on the Union or Northern side.

Ross’s Weekly, Aug. 4

DUST, DUST, DUST.--Our city has become notorious for dust, and our City Fathers, from their apparent indifference, appear to revel in the enjoyment of it. For the past month, every store, shop, house and shanty has been thoroughly impregnated with this nuisance. We believe that a few Pounds expended in adopting our water carts to sprinkling the streets would render our town more healthy and pleasant.

Jim Hornby’s column, “1864: The Way We Were: gleanings from Charlottetown’s newspapers,” will be presented in The Guardian every Monday throughout 2014 (on holiday Mondays when there is no paper, it will appear on Tuesdays). It contains excerpts from various newspapers of that era, as well as Hornby’s comments on what he has found. To give feedback on this feature, which is presented in celebration of the sesquicentennial of the Charlottetown Conference, contact the author at

Organizations: Colonial Delegates, Lot 47, Tenant Union

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Vernon River, New Brunswick Prince Edward Island Canada Nova Scotia Summerside East Point Kings England Sixth Instalment.J.H. McLellan Philadelphia Virginia Golden Valley Lot 49.J.H.

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