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Petition from Freeholders and Inhabitants of Wolfe Island, 1836
NAC Upper Canada Land Petitions, RG 1, L 3, vol. 535, W20/21, microfilm C-2959
|I stumbled upon this petition purely by accident, while looking for information about 3xgt. grandfather Daniel or George Rawley. It provides an interesting snapshot of the community on Wolfe Island, Frontenac Co., Upper Canada in 1836, and identifies 34 inhabitants. The importance of Pigeon Island for the landing and curing of salmon to these inhabitants is clearly illustrated. I would be very interested to hear from anyone who might have a sequel to this story! Although disappointed that Daniel Rawley was not a signatory to this petition (does this mean he did not support the petition? or perhaps he wasn't living on Wolfe Island at this time?), I was delighted to identify Martin Staly, Robert A. Horne, William Davis, Samuel Davis, and I.T. Barrett, all relatives of my 4 x great grandmother Mary Ann Staley.|
July [page torn here] W20 No. 21
[......] Freeholders and Inhabitants of Wolfe Island
25th July 1836
Admitted to the Honble. the
Executive Council with reference
In Council 25th August 1836
His Excellency Sir Francis Bond Head, Knight Commander of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic
Order and of the Prussian Military order of Merit Lieutenant Governor of the Province of
Upper Canada etc etc etc In Council
Petition of the undersigned Freeholders and other Inhabitants of Wolfe Island in the
your Petitioners are all natural born British Subjects resident on the said Island, the
majority of whom served in the Army, Navy and Militia during the last war.
That they have all for many years prosecuted the Salmon and other Fisheries in Lake Ontario in the neighbourhood of Kingston, and have erected Houses and other Conveniences for the Salmon Fishery on Pigeon Island a barren rock of about Four Acres totally unfit for cultivation situated about Fifteen Miles South West of Kingston and about Five miles from Long Point, the South Westerly End of Wolfe Island.
That your Petitioners are desirous for their mutual benefit, as well as that of the other British Subjects engaged in the Fishery in the neighbourhood that the same Privileges they have hitherto enjoyed on the said Island might be preserved to them.
That your Petitioners are informed, that a man names James Eccles has petitioned Your Excellency either to sell or lease to him the said Pigeon Island and that it is his intention to make your Petitioners pay him an annual tribute for permission to land or cure their Fish thereon, as they have heretofore been for time immemorial accustomed to do, and your Petitioners would in such case be placed entirely
his mercy, and he might impose upon them such ser[vices] as would secure to him an
exclusive monopoly to the ruin of the trade your Petitioners have so long followed and
consequently to the prejudice of the public in general.
That the said James Eccles never prosecuted the Salmon Fishery, and has been only about three years settled in the neighbourhood on an Island called Horse Shoe Island about eight miles from Pigeon Island.
That your Petitioners have been informed that the said James Eccles has stated to Your Excellency that it is his intention to erect a wharf for the purpose of forming a small harbour as a place of security for boats in bad weather, but the same has been often before attempted in vain, as in violent storms the water breaks completely over the island.
That your Petitioners are desirous that the said Pigeon
Island might either be leased or granted to them in such a manner and under such
restrictions as would secure to them and all other British Subjects engaged in the fishery
in its neighbouring waters an equal rights to land and cure their fish (the run of salmon
in the neighbouring waters being very great and it being essential to their being well
[cu]red that it should be done immediately after taken) the Lessees or Grantees having
power reserved to them to make such reasonable charge to others as might indemnify them
Petitioners therefore humbly pray your Excellency to take the matters above stated into
consideration. And as in duty bound will ever pray etc.
25th July 1836 )
Robert A. Horne
Recommended to the consideration of His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor by
To His Excellency Sir Francis Bond Head Knight Commander of
the Royal Hanovarien Guelphic Order and of the Prussian Military order of Merit Lieutenant
Governor of Upper Canada etc.
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