Survey field book comes to an end
It yields interesting information about the conduct of the survey
Editor’s note: This is one of a series by Earle Lockerby recounting the details of Capt. Holland’s Survey in 1764/1765. This submission is for the week ending July 11.
On July 11, entries in Thomas Wright’s field book ended. On that day he reached North Rustico, joining his survey work to that of Samuel Holland who had surveyed westward to this point during the previous winter. During the week ending July 11, Wright had finished Malpeque Bay, a task made a little easier by the fact that he did not need to survey the eastern side of the bay, having done that section the previous winter. On July 7 he began to survey and sound Darnley Basin which at that time admitted larger vessels than today, and within only four additional days had made it to North Rustico.
One might expect that New London Bay alone would have occupied Wright for at least several days, but he seems to have been in a hurry, perhaps feeling that he had spent too much time in the Malpeque Bay area. His haste shows: the Southwest River and Hope River which discharge into New London Bay were simply not surveyed despite Holland’s instructions that all rivers and creeks were to be surveyed “as far as a Boat or Canoe can Go.”
Wright had already established a pattern of less-than-full compliance with respect to certain other rivers to the northwest, such as the Baltic River, Trout River and Foxley River.
Wright’s field book, covering the shore from West Point to North Rustico, sheds some interesting light on the survey itself. About 865 “shore stations,” or survey points, were established in surveying over this distance, giving an average distance between stations of about 19 chains or 1,250 feet. The shortest distance between stations was 1.5 chains, or 92.5 feet, while the longest was 135 chains, or 1.7 miles.
Wright did not note weather conditions in his field book, but when weather permitted, Wright and his crew surveyed, Saturdays and Sundays included.
The field book does not indicate the hours of the day during which surveying occurred, but no doubt they were long, if not from dawn to dusk. Between June 7 and July 11, a period of 35 days, regular surveying took place on 27 days, though it would appear that on a few of those days adverse weather shortened the survey day.
Five other days were devoted to sailing and sounding throughout Malpeque Bay in order to prepare “sailing instructions” for mariners. It appears that only on three days did the crew not do survey work of some sort, probably because of inclement weather, and even on those days they may have been doing some useful work, such as moving camp, etc.
It took just five days of surveying to progress from West Point to North Cape and around to Kildare Cape, an average of 10.1 miles per day. The greatest distance covered in any one day during the 35-day period was on June 10, when over 14 miles of coastline were surveyed from Little Miminegash Pond to Nail Pond.
While it took only six days to go from West Point to Alberton, it required 29 days to survey from Alberton to North Rustico, including Cascumpec Bay, Malpeque Bay, and New London Bay, and supposedly all major rivers empting into these bays.
Altogether, Wright’s field book records the survey of 205 miles of coastline. But, as indicated above, his mileage tally should have been higher, some rivers having been “short changed.”