An Outline of Brudenell History
Brudenell is a triangular piece of land between the Brudenell and Montague Rivers, bordered by Montague, Union Road, and Roseneath. Google maps with aerial views can be seen on line.
Before the Europeans arrived, the area was a forest. The indigenous people would have hunted and fished here. In the 1700s France claimed the area, and in 1732 Jean Pierre Roma, along with 80 people, came and created a fishing and farming community at our present Brudenell Point. Later France and England were at war and in 1745 New England privateers burned the settlement and the French ran for their lives. In1823 Angus and Hugh MacDonald established their store, shipbuilding, and tavern at the same spot. It was in this era that A.A. MacDonald, one of the Fathers of Confederation, was born.
On PEI the English gave the lands to absentee landlords, and the land was sectioned into narrow farms ending at the river for transportation. It was a habit of these landlords to choose names to honour high English government officials, hence this area was named for George Brudenell, the fourth Earl of Cardigan, England.
British people came to their destination only to find forest, which they laboriously cleared to create humble homes, gardens and farms, as the French had done earlier at the point of land. Lumber and fish and produce were traded or exported by boat in order to sustain their lives. Roads were created, usually from foot and horse trails, with much hard work.
The Brudenell cemetery goes back to approximately 1820 . A church was built there and was later moved near the main highway. The Montague Community Cemetery was later developed near Montague on the A.A. MacDonald highway. A school was built toward the west end of Brudenell Road and later moved to its present position. The council meets in this building monthly. Community groups, such as the Women's Institute and the Red Cross, were formed and many social gatherings occurred, such as crokinole parties and bridal showers.
In the 1800s into the 1900s mixed farming was the norm with emphasis on potatoes, grains, root crops, cattle, hogs, sheep, poultry and even foxes. A gristmill was built at the upper end of the Brudenell River, a dam being created. Much produce was sent via ship through the piers at Montague Bridge as it was called then. In 1906 the railroad, now part of the Confederation Trail, came through the community and provided transportation for passengers, and for produce, livestock and goods going to and from markets. Gradually the farmers needed to specialize to some degree to make a living. Many eventually sold their farm or part of it, and worked elsewhere all or part of the time. Consequently new housing and cottages were built, and businesses developed at the edge of Montague. These trends continue to this day in this lovely pastoral setting of Brudenell.