Although time does not allow for a full genealogy of all the original families, an attempt has been made to provide a brief background on most of the families that came and stayed in Cornwall for several generations. The first number of family names come from the 1798 census, the others come from names drawn from early maps, oral tradition and government records.
John Wilson; John Wilson was born in 1750 and married Isabella Hyde daughter of Thomas Hyde. The birth place of John is not listed. Isabella however, was born in 1760 in County Clare, Ireland. John’s occupation was listed as carpenter and he died April 7th, 1828. The Wilsons had eight children. The fifth child, Mary, was born in York River in 1793. It can be supposed that the family moved to the area that year or the year prior. The youngest son, also named John married Jane Kellow, and they took up residence in North River.21
William Crosby; William may very well have been one of the first, if not the first settler in the Cornwall area after the Acadian expulsion. William was born in 1734 in County Down, Ireland. He immigrated to Canada in 1770 and died in 1808. It appears that William had some wealth, as he paid for three passages to Canada himself. There is also speculation that the Hyde family was on the same ship that landed at Fort Amherst that late summer day in 1770. William married Margaret Orr, and they eight children. The family settled along the Meadow Bank, West River area and over the years some of the later generations moved into Cornwall. Interestingly, it is believed that John William Crosby, the third child of William and Margaret “was the first white child born of British parents in the West River settlement.”22
William Hyde; William was born in 1763 in County Clare, Ireland. William was the son of Thomas Hyde, who with his wife and eight children immigrated to Prince Edward Island, settling along the West River in Lots 31 and 32 in the late 1700’s.23 It is speculated that the Hyde family may have traveled across the Atlantic on the same ship as the Crosbys.24 William married Christiana Simpson, and the couple had nine children. William’s occupation was listed as Captain, Militia/farmer. It appears that William settled along the Meadow Bank area, and it was his children who migrated into the Cornwall area and remained there for many generations.25
William Dockendorff; William was born in Maine, U.S.A. in 1772. His parents immigrated to the United States from Germany. Recorded history of this family is scarce and the information that is available appears to come mostly from oral tradition, the little facts that are available seem to be pieced together as best as possible. It is said that William’s parents were Jacob and Marguerite (McFarland), and they had fourteen children. The common belief is that William came to P.E.I. with Peter Cramer, who married his sister Isabella. It is also believed that William was a United Empire Loyalist.26 William came to PEI (more specifically York Point) around the year 1790 and married Jean Simpson in 1796.27 William was a stone cutter and held other government appointed positions and was well respected among the community. The Dockendorff name has stayed in the Cornwall area (formerly York Point) almost until present day. William and Jean had many daughters and only two sons, Jacob and William. Jacob’s name appears very often in censuses, maps and lists of government appointments. Jacob lived from 1801-1888.28 There is a Dockendorff pioneer cemetery near the end of the York Point Road.
John Creamer; John was born in Massachusetts in 1759. He married Isabella Dockendorff and the couple had nine children. It is said that the couple immigrated and landed at York Point in 1792.29 The following obituary for John Crammer comes from the March 27, 1848 issue of The Examiner, “At the residence of his son-in-law, Mr. John Roper, Charlottetown Royalty, on Monday, 13th inst., Mr. John Peter Crammer, in the 91st year of his age. He was an American Loyalist, and emigrated to this Island about 60 years ago.”30
Jacob Heartz (Hartz); John Jacob Heartz was born in Holland in 1735 (although another source claims that he was born in Germany). He was first married to Dorothea Rhene and then to Elisabeth Hoschelin. He had six children and is said to have arrived on Prince Edward Island around the year 1786. It is believed that John Jacob Heartz was also a United Empire Loyalist.31 Descendants of John Jacob lived in the Cornwall area for many generations.
Jer. Myers; Jeremiah Myers – the only record of Jeremiah Myers other than the 1798 census, comes from the Younker genealogy. Conrad Younker married Jeremiah’s daughter, Ruth.32
Conrad Younker; Conrad was born in 1773, in Hesse, Germany. He married Ruth Myers, daughter of Jeremiah, born in 1782 in New York, U.S.A. The couple was married in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Their place of residence was listed in Milton, however some of their twelve children were born at North River.33 There is an interesting story regarding Conrad Younker, George Vickerson and Wilhelm (William) Fischer. They appear to have been ex-soldiers, whose German regiment was posted in the United States who were either deserters or discharged and made their way to Prince Edward Island. Complications arose with the acquisition of property.34 Click here to read the full story.
William Fisher; or Wilhelm Fischer was a member of the von Knyphausen Regiment, a regiment of the German military that was posted to New York around the year 1779. He was a regimental drummer and went on to marry Anna Maria Juncker. At some point Wilhelm was stripped of his rank and shortly thereafter on March 23, 1787 deserted with his uniform and bayonet. He along with George Vickerson made their way to their way to Prince Edward Island.35 Click here to read the full story.
This concludes the 1798 census. The following family names appear in maps and censuses after 1798, but are still considered early founding families in the Cornwall area.
Bain – Donald and Janet (Water) were the original settlers. They were both from Thurso, Caithness, Scotland and at some point in the early 1800’s they settled in the area formerly known as York Point. They had five children all of whom were born in Scotland, the last being born in 1807. The family therefore would have emigrated from Scotland sometime after that date. William Bain was the second son of Donald and Janet, he worked as a stone cutter and married Ellen Dockendorff, one of the daughters of William Dockendorff. The eldest son of William and Ellen was Francis Bain, the Island’s first geologist and naturalist. Francis wrote several books and papers, and a monument/plaque was erected in his honor in front of the George Coles building. Francis married Caroline Clark and they had nine children, one of which, Laura acted as a missionary in India.36 The Bain family was a prominent one in the North River Baptist Church.
Drake, Frizzell, & Mayhew, all appear to have settled in the Cornwall area of Lot 32 in the 1830’s and 1840’s. The Drakes originated from England and first landed in New Brunswick before moving to Lots 48 and 49 where the second generation was born. Eventually they established themselves on Lot 32. The original Drakes finally settled in Meadow Bank while the children established themselves in Cornwall in the early 1850’s.37
The Frizzell’s originated from Ireland. It is said that there were several brothers who emigrated together from Ireland c. 1830. One of the brothers, Robert settled in Lot 32 and married Anne Pye.38 The Frizzells in the area are descendants of Robert and Anne.
The Mayhew family came from England.39 The date of their arrival is unknown, but records from the Methodist Church on Prince Edward Island dating back to 1839 lists the name of Zachariah Mayhew.40 It is said that Zachariah arrived on Prince Edward Island with his parents. He married Celia Cook.41 The few records that are available of the Mayhew’s of Lot 32 usually involve the Methodist church, so it can be assumed that the family was actively involved with the church community.
Murchison; Donald Murchison, originally from Auchtertyre, Ross-shire, Scotland was born in 1743. He married Ann MacDonald who gave Donald two children and died c. 1779. Donald married Ann MacGillvray the following year, and together they had seven children. All nine children were born in Scotland. The date of Donald and family’s arrival on Prince Edward Island is not known, but the family did settle first in Point Prim. The first set of grandchildren born to Donald and Ann were born in 1808 in Point Prim. Those who settled in North River were Malcolm and his descendants. Malcolm was the son of Alexander who was the son of Donald.42
Newson; Matthew Newson was born and died in England. He married Ann Carter and together they had eight children, all born in England. Their oldest son, William and his family came to settle in Cornwall between the years of 1831 and 1839 according to the birth records of his children.43 It was William’s children who stayed in the Cornwall area. The Newson family has a small pioneer cemetery on the Ferry Road.
Howard; William Howard was born in Ireland44 in 1790.45 He married Sarah Golding, and together they had nine children, all of whom were born on Prince Edward Island. Many of the descendants of William and Sarah established themselves in Cornwall and North River.46 There is some speculation of a connection between the Howards and Pyes. It is entirely possible that Mary Golding wife of John Pye, was a sister of Sarah Golding, wife of William Howard, based on place of origin and naming patterns at the time.47 From genealogy records, we know that William and Sarah were on Prince Edward Island before the birth of their second son in 1819. It is suggested that the Howards and Pye’s may have come to Prince Edward Island together around 1818 or 1819,48 which might make more sense if they were in fact related.
Pye; John and Mary (Golding) Pye hailed from County Tipperary, Ireland. They arrived on Prince Edward Island seemingly somewhere along the West River Settlement c. 1818. John Pye’s lease for 200 acres was on the land on the “Dog River Road.” 49 It appears that the Pye’s eventually moved eastward and they settled in Cornwall. Cornwall in fact was first called Pye’s Corner, after the Pye family. John and Mary had four children in Ireland before immigrating to Prince Edward Island, after their arrival on Prince Edward Island they had eleven more children, which included four sets of twins. John Pye’s occupation was listed as shoemaker, but records also indicate that he ran a tavern as well three miles from the York River.50 Although there were many members of the Pye family, the name faded out in the Cornwall area around the turn of the 20th century.
Kellow; the Kellow family, much like the Pye’s were also early settlers, but whose family name also faded out. James, born c. 1780 and his wife Janie (Tippett) born 1785, were natives of Cornwall, England. They had five children, the last of which, their only son James Rowlings Kellow, was born in 1821 in Cornwall, Prince Edward Island.51 This puts their date of arrival sometime after 1815 and before 1821. It is said that the Kellow family was wealthy and records show that they were actively involved in the Cornwall Methodist Church. Oral tradition claims that the Kellow family hosted services in their home before a church was built. Over the years the family left many bequests to the Cornwall Methodist/United Church. James Jr. married Euphemia MacDonald, and they had six children, the youngest of which, Sarah Jane, was the last living member of the Kellow family. A large bequest to the Cornwall United Church was left by Sarah Jane Kellow after her death. A photograph of Sarah Jane can be found at the Cornwall United Church. At the back of the Cornwall United Church there is a large stained glass window dedicated to the Kellow family.
Leonard; William Leonard was born in Kings County, Ireland in 1770. He married Bridget O’Connor, around the year 1800, together they had six children. All six children were born in Ireland, the last of which was born in 1819. William died in 1822 in Cornwall, PEI, so the family would have immigrated between the years 1819 and 1822.55 The Leonard property that was passed down from generation to generation, and that still remains with the original family today is located on the west end of Cornwall, on the boarder of Lot 31. Oral tradition claims that it may very well have been the Leonard family who was responsible for sending good word about the land on Prince Edward Island which encouraged other Irishmen to settle in the area. Other Irish families that followed included the Eagans, Costellos, Frizzells, Walshes, Mullalays, etc.
Pethick; William Pethick was born c. 1798 in Cornwall, England. He married Sally (Trimble) and together they had five children. William came to Prince Edward Island in 1830 and brought his family over eight years later aboard the “British Lady.” William worked as a shoemaker and postmaster in Cornwall, Prince Edward Island. His youngest son George also worked as a postmaster in Cornwall. Oral tradition tells us that George Pethick ran a brewery and in fact Lovell’s 1871 directory lists George Pethick as postmaster and “Also house of entertainment, agent for DeSable Cloth mills.”53
White; William White was born in Cornwall, England around the year 1790. He immigrated to the York Point area of Cornwall, P.E.I. around the year 1816. Different sources claim different dates of arrival. William White was a prominent shipbuilder along the North and West Rivers. He had several children, one of which for certain, William Jr. also became a prominent shipbuilder in Charlottetown. It is said that at one point William senior moved his business to Charlottetown, but appears to have lived in York Point until his death in 1858.54 Some of the White descendants remained in the York Point area for several generations.
McKinlay/MacKinley; Donald McKinlay was born in 1789 on the Isle of Mull, Scotland. He immigrated to the York Point area in 1809. He was the first deacon at the North River Baptist Church.55 Although presently un-proven, it is possible that the MacKinley’s of the North River/York Point areas are descendants of this first McKinlay.
Some other family names that appear in the latter half of the 1800’s include, Lowther, Stone, MacPhail, Scott, and Cummings. Other family names that appeared early on, but for which a genealogy was unable to be summarized include McDonald, Simpson, Appleby, Halloran, McNattan, Strong, Morsehead/Morside.