The Last Bear in Marshfield

So not only was R.P. Haythorne Prince Edward Island’s Premier-that-time-forgot, but he was also involved in the hunt for the last bear in Marshfield, as he reported in The Examiner on July 27, 1863 (a letter that appears in the excellent Marshfield and area: A Grand Legacy:

To the Editor of the Examiner.

Rumors of a Bear being amongst us have been current for some time past, which received tangible confirmation by the slaughter of certain sheep and lambs on the farms of Mr. Alexander Stewart and others. Being disturbed in that direction, Bruin shifted his quarters to the farm of R. P. Haythorne, Esqr., where on Thursday night last, he destroyed five sheep and a lamb. Measures were immediately adopted for a general hunt; and on the same afternoon between thirty and forty persons, resident in the neighborhood, met at St. Cuthbert’s Mills for that purpose.

The hunt was joined by His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor and Mr. Atkinson, and by several gentlemen from Charlottetown. After a long and tedious search, the bear was at length started [sic] on the western side of Gough’s Creek, and fired at without success. He re-crossed the creek and in an incredibly short space of time had crossed the St. Peter’s Road, in the vicinity of the Marshfield School House, where he was headed by Mr. Alexander Robertson and his sons and some others. The fatal shot was fired near the schoolhouse by Mr. James Wyatt. The animal proved to be a full grown male, of enormous dimensions, and was estimated by experienced judges to weigh not less than 300 lbs. The skin, it was unanimously voted by the assembled hunters, should be presented to His Excellency.

Your obedient servant,
R. P. HAYTHORNE. 1863.

I am happy to report that since my missive lamenting the lack of recognition for Premier Haythorne in this year of Confederation memorializing that word has come in from Marshfield that there is, in fact, an event planned:

A display board will be established to preset the details of the life of Premier Robert Poore Haythorne on the site of his Haythorne family home. Premier Haythorne’s provincial government negotiated the terms under which PEI would enter Canadian confederation with the Canadian government of Sir John A. MacDonald. A community celebration will occur at the unveiling.

I can think of no better kickoff for the drive to rename a significant Island building after Haythorne, and invite all Haythornites to make an effect to attend this event.


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