Farmers' Bank of Rustico
Hunter River, Prince Edward Island

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Restoration of the Doucet House - Phase 1

 

 

TRANSCRIPT

Edouard Blanchard, local historian, speaks on the Doucet House
August 18th, 2003
Recorded at the Farmers' Bank of Rustico
Rustico, Prince Edward Island
(This is the text version of the audio interview)

The Doucet House is a fine example of early Acadian vernacular architecture, and it is considered to be one of the oldest houses built in Rustico, in the community of Rustico, and possibly is one of the oldest houses in the whole of Prince Edward Island. The house was formerly owned by the proprietor of Rustico Resort Golf Course and the proprietor, John Langdale, decided to build a house on the site where the Doucet House was located. I might say that the Doucet House was located on Grand-Pre Point and the site faced the water, the Wheatley River, and in the fall of 1999 Mr. John Langdale decided to build a new residence where the old Doucet House was located so he had to make a decision on what to do with the house. So what he did, was, that he offered the house to anyone who might like to restore it to its original condition or else if not he would have to have it demolished. So at that time he approached the pastor of the parish, Father Lyndon Hogan, as well as Art Buote the director of the Conseil Acadien of Rustico, and discussed this matter and they approached then the committee of the Farmers' Bank of Rustico, and they decided to accept the house and to transport it from its original site to a site near the Farmers' Bank. This was done on a cold winter day on December the 23rd, 1999, and the house was transported from its original site to its new site where it now serves as an adjunct to the Farmers' Bank of Rustico. The importance given to this house is not only the fact that it is one of the oldest houses if not the oldest house here on P.E.I., but also due to the fact that the house, when it stood on Grand-Pre Point, was also used as a place to celebrate religious services. From 1772 to 1785 there was no church or no other building judged appropriate to hold religious services, so the priests or missionaries who came to the area they used the house as a place to hold religious services. Now from 1775 to 1790 there was no church here at all here in Rustico, and no priest as well, so the Bishop of Quebec, Bishop Desglis, he authorized an Acadian by the name of Jean Doucet, who was nicknamed 'le vieux Jean', he authorized him to take consents of marriage and also to administer baptisms where necessary while waiting for the priest or missionary to come to the area to reaffirm the agreements or the marriages that had been celebrated in the meantime. We might say that Jean Doucet was really the first deacon to be named in the parish of St.-Augustine's of Rustico. It has been decided to restore the building to its original condition as to what it was like when it was built. So today the house has been restored and if you have a chance to visit it on your visit to the Farmers' Bank you have an option to come down to the Doucet House to have a look around there, you will see that the house looks exactly the same as when it was built back in 1768. In fact we have determined the house to have been built in 1768 because we had a professor from the University of Moncton carry out a dendrochronology test on the house to determine its age, and he said that it was built around 1768 to 1772. So the area where the house is now situated also comprises a couple of small barns as well as a bread oven. So a visit to the Doucet House really takes you back in time, 235 years ago. So we welcome everyone to come over to have a look.

 

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