The Farmers' Bank of Rustico
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Acadians on PEI

 

Period     1758-1860

Cape Egmont

Egmont Bay parish includes the Catholic parishes of St. Philippe and St. Jacques since it borders a long today named by Samuel Holland in 1765 in honor of the second Earl of Egmont.

The Evangeline Region

The Acadian families who moved to the Evangeline area did so because of the leasehold system of land tenure the British established on Prince Edward Island in 1767. In the early 1800's a group of Acadian tenants from Lot 17 abandoned their well-established farms in the hope of finding a better life in Lot 15. They founded the communities of La Roche (Egmont Bay) and Le Grand Ruisseau (Mont Carmel).

In 1813, Father MacEachern wrote: "I am very sorry to hear that the poor Acadians of Lot 17 are to move to Egmont Bay Lot 15. It is said that their neighbors are troublesome to them in temporal and spirituals where they are."

Most of the Acadian families who moved to Lot 15 became squatters and hoped that they would in time have the opportunity to buy the land that they lived on. It was not until 1828 several years after the Island government confiscated Lot 15 from the proprietor that about 60 Acadians were able to buy the land they were occupying.

As a gesture to addressing some of the wrongs perpetrated against the Acadians, in 1850 the colonial government gave the Acadians the opportunity to purchase land in Lot 15 at a reduced rate. This explains why the Evangeline area has such a homogeneous population where the French language is most prevalent.

Business and Cooperatives

One of the first and most important small businesses of the Evangeline region was the mill in Egmont Bay. The McNally family sawmill and flour mill were established in the 1840's and operated for a century.

In the 1860's, the farmers in Egmont Bay joined forces to form grain and seed banks. Such agricultural cooperatives for purchasing shipping and livestock breeding affected virtually every aspect of society in the Evangeline region.

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