Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mission Station, Angus & Marie Steele home, Gaspereaux

     I've had the following photocopy of the Steele house in Gaspereaux for years - it's not reference, however, I believe it came from the Prince Edward Island Public Archives and Record Office
The following information about the Steele House comes from -  
The Steele House
            One of the oldest homesteads on Prince Edward Island stood in Gaspereaux. It was known as the Steele House, and was once used as a mission station during the early years of the Catholic Scots settlement by their pastor Father Angus Bernard MacEachern, Roman Catholic missionary and later first bishop of Charlottetown. Donald MacMullen who came to Prince Edward Island in 1790 with 417 other immigrants on three ships, the Lucy, the Jane, and the British Queen from Visit in the Hebrides, Scotland, settled in Gaspereaux and built the house in a Picket style of architecture in 1812. John Dan Steele married into the family and later inherited the property. Angus and Marie Steele, brother and sister were the last descendants to live in the house. They were very proud of the old homestead, saying that the house had been built over 150 years ago, and there hadn't been a nail driven through it since then. Angus was known as the local amateur veterinarian, who didn't charge anyone for his services. There were even people who came to his house to have their teeth pulled; Angus would have the job done in no time at all!
            In the early days when the Roman Catholic church was being established on Prince Edward Island, the first Bishop of Charlottetown, Rev. Angus Bernard MacEachern used the Steele House during his days as a travelling mission priest. In this home, he celebrated mass, heard confessions, and ministered to the people in the local communities. In June 1967, the ninth Bishop of Charlottetown, Rev. Malcolm MacEachern came to the Steele House in Gaspereaux to stand in the footprints of his ancestor, Rev. Angus Bernard MacEachern, the first Bishop and celebrate mass. The table that he used as an altar was used for the same purpose around one hundred and forty years ago. A chalice-like cup that the pioneer bishop used in his celebrations stood on the mantle among the other cherished mementos in the Steele House.
            When the early settlements were beginning on the Island, people were too poor to have a chapel or a church; a "station" in a private home became the church. The word would spread in the community, and people within reach would assemble at the designated house on the appointed day, and have religious needs attended to there. The Steele home was used as a station before and after the chapel was built between 1814 and 1816 by Donald MacMullen on the west end of Panmure Island.

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