Monday, July 18, 2011

Wild Bears in Alma

My great-great-grandfather Stephen E. Jeffery of the Centerline Rd. Alma, had a few bear encounters in his lifetime.  Stephen was one of the earlier settlers to the Centerline Road area. Below is an illustration I drew interpreting the early look of the homestead.

Below:  An article which appeared in the Alberton Pioneer on March 7, 1877.
      On Monday the 5th while Mr. Stephen Jeffery of Lot Three was in the woods his dog discovered a bear which had taken up its winter quarters under the roots of a large tree that had blown down.  Mr. Jeffery having cleared away the roots and bush found a she bear with 2 cubs.  The two cubs were then taken by Mr. Jeffery to be raised by him.

Below: Photo of Stephen E. Jeffery (1830-1911) and his 3rd wife Jane Collicutt - photo taken around 1900.
Below:  An article which appeared in the Summerside Journal-Pioneer, c.1967

   Some time ago, Mr. F.H. Mac-Arthur in an article in your paper, wrote about wild bears on Prince Edward Island and suggested it might be interesting to know when the last wild bear was killed in this province.
   It is not my intention to attempt to supply that information but I do think that the following might be of interest.  The subject of this is one Stephen Jeffery, who was one of the first settlers in the Alma, Lot 3 area.  He shot and killed a wild bear in the woods, at or near the dividing line between Lots 2 and 3, now known as Alma and St. Louis area.  Mr. Jeffery saved the hide of this bear and it was shown to me by one of the Jeffery family, sometime around the turn of the century. 
   I have reason to believe that that bear’s hide is still there as the property has been in possession of the Jeffery family ever since and the present family living there is raising the fifth generation of the Jeffery’s in this case. 
   I have no idea how many wild bears might have been killed since Mr. Jeffery killed this one, but I do think that a wild bear, skinned would be a rare thing to find anywhere in this province.  The above-mentioned bear must have been killed in the last century.
W.B. McLellan, Alma, PEI

Below:  The Stephen E. Jeffery Homestead as it appears today.

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