The story of Mrs. Widgery’s Parcel will be presented by Island genealogist and researcher Linda Jean Nicholson during the Thursday, June 27, meeting of the Belfast Historical Society at 7 p.m. at the Croft House, Selkirk Heritage and Cultural Centre, 136 Selkirk Park Rd.
In May of 1856, Mary Widgery, widow of innkeeper Samuel Widgery of Clyde River, brought a small parcel to the docks of Charlottetown for shipment to her daughter, Mrs. Robert Mackie, who resided in New York City.
The parcel was transported on the merchant schooner, Elizabeth Mary, owned by father and son, George and Thomas Young of Pinette. For many years George Young and his sons had built vessels on the Pinette River for local merchants or for resale to British investors. The Elizabeth Mary was the first vessel they had built for themselves, and it marked the beginning of their mercantile business.
Unfortunately, the transition of the Youngs from shipbuilders to shipping merchants was not to be a smooth one. Shortly after its arrival in New York City, the Elizabeth Mary was denied clearance and charged with attempting to defraud customs. The cause of these charges? The contents of Mrs. Widgery’s parcel.
Nicholson will share this story, which involves some shipbuilders and merchants from Pinette. Connections will be made to others in the area and with existing homes and known buildings. Connecting families include MacDonald, Stewart, Vickerson, Dewar, MacLaren, MacInnes, Emery and Renton.
Nicholson has written and edited numerous articles and books on Island genealogy as well as Belfast community history. She is currently the executive director of the P.E.I. Senior Citizens’ Federation and in the master of arts Island studies program at UPEI.