Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Door Knobs, Unhappy Wife, Great Fire

     Here's an interesting story, as it is, about a Colonel Compton, who was granted Lot 17 by the King of England. 
     Col. Harry Compton, a widower, came to Prince Edward Island in 1803 with his son Thomas, daughter and maid Eleanor (who St. Eleanor's was named for).  He encouraged many English settlers to emigrate and settle the lands in Lot 17 - the areas known today as Summerside, Linkletter, Miscouche, Sherbrooke and St. Eleanors.
     Col. Compton's son Thomas (age 22) married Hannah Jeffery (age 20) on Nov. 10, 1810, five days after she landed on Prince Edward Island from the Isle of Wight, England.  Later in life Thomas became a Major and MLA in Prince Edward Island's Legislature and is also credited with giving Summerside it's name while visiting a friend at Green's Shore.
      Col. Compton didn't live on the Island long, he died in France some years later - there's speculation he died as a result of poisoning by his young wife.
     As the years passed and the story was told from generation to generation, one would wonder if the stories of the father and son were blended.
     This story appears in the history of St. Eleanor's called, Sketches of Old St. Eleanors, 1973.
     This house on St. Peter’s Rd in Charlottetown called “Oakwood” is reputed to be similar to the one burned down, but is not identical.
A Fascinating Story as told by William R. Brennan.
“I know not the truth as it may be I only know the tale as it was told to me.”
            A Col. Compton of England married a young lady, she was said to be the most beautiful girl in all the land.  When the Col. Received a grant of land in Prince Edward Island, there was much persuasion to induce his lovely wife to leave her native land to come to a new country to live.
            She at last promised her husband that if he would first come and build her a fine home, completely furnished, that she would come with him to settle in the new land.  When everything was in readiness they sailed for Prince Edward Island.
            After crossing the Atlantic and sailing through the Gulf of Richmond Bay, they anchored their vessel off the shores of North St. Eleanor’s.  The young couple walked together from the shore through the fields some distance to their new dwelling.  He was indeed proud to show her this new home with beautiful furnishing, some of which came from England and some from New England.
            He showed her through the downstairs going from room to room and then they inspected the upstairs.  After everything has been explored the two went outdoors to view the garden and surroundings, and when this was done, he asked his beautiful wife how she liked her new home.  She replied, “The only thing I like about the place are the doorknobs.”
            The Col. then turned, went into the house, removed all the doorknobs , tied them in a string bag, returned to the outdoors, handed his wife the bag with knobs, then immediately he set fire to the new dwelling and all the furnishings.
            That winter they lived in Bedeque and suffered many hardships in the long cold winter.  They were compelled to sell some of the family jewellery to buy the necessities of life.


  1. Hi
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  2. he was also a slave owner
    http://journals.hil.unb.ca/index.php/acadiensis/article/view/12734/13665 look at #42 of the appendix

  3. Anonymous please identify! Otherwise this will be deleted :-D)