Sur­vey field book comes to an end

It yields in­ter­est­ing in­for­ma­tion about the con­duct of the sur­vey

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FEATURES/COMUNITY - Earle Lockerby is a co-au­thor of Sa­muel Hol­land: His Work and Legacy on Prince Ed­ward Is­land, now at Is­land book­stores and at www.samuel­hol­ He can be reached at

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.”

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