Welcome to Panmure Island. This beautiful, secluded location is 15 kilometres east of the Town of Montague in Kings County, Prince Edward Island. Follow Rte.17 east, out of Montague, until you reach Rte.347, turn right and travel 2 Km. to reach this jewel of a island.
Early History of Panmure Island
The first settlers of Panmure Island were the MicMac Indians. They came to the island in the summer months to dig clams, mussels and quahaugs, which were very bountiful.
The next inhabitants, were settlers from Scotland, the first of which is believed to be Andrew MacDonald and his family. The MacDonald's arrived in eastern P.E.I. on the advice of another relative, John MacDonald, who had settled in the West River area of the province and found the land to be excellent.
With this in mind, Andrew MacDonald purchased 10,000 acres of land in Three Rivers. The area is composed of three rivers, the Brudenell, Montague and Sturgeon rivers. Arriving in the province in 1805, the MacDonald's then purchased the entire 800 acres of Panmure Island at the entrance to Georgetown Harbour. They did a brisk business building ships and exporting timber to Britain.
The MacDonald's prospered on Panmure Island until 1817, when the family home burned to the ground with everything in it, including all documents for the property. This is the reason for him becoming involved in a chancery suit, which continued for many years and resulted in the property eventually being sold to pay for the law suit.
After the burning of the family home, Andrew MacDonald travelled to Britain where he purchased a shipload of bricks. They were brought to the island the following spring and his new brick residence, barn and stable was erected. These became the first brick structures on Panmure Island. By 1845 the farm had been vacated and after a number of years the bricks began to crumble and the house and the barn had to be pulled down.
Historic Sites of Panmure Island
Panmure Island has a number of historic sites that should be viewed when visiting this tiny island. One site is the Panmure Island Cemetery, established in 1813 and contains the remains of many of the early settlers.
A school was built in 1897 for $150 and had a total of seven pupils the first year. The subjects taught were "writing on paper", arithmetic, grammar, history, geography, spelling and composition. The teachers pay for the three summer months totalled $32.50. This one room schoolhouse still exists and is presently being used as a community center.
Another interesting site on the island is the Panmure Island lighthouse, a must see for anyone visiting the island. Built in 1853, this 18 metre lighthouse has gabled windows and four storeys crowned by the warning beacon. It sits on the northeast shore alerting ships of the dangerous shoal that has been responsible for several shipwrecks. Tours of the lighthouse are available in the summer months and offer a spectacular view of the surrounding area and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia can be seen on the horizon.
Panmure Island of Today
Panmure Island is much the same as it was one hundred years ago with a few year round residents living on the island in a peaceful rural existence. The big difference between the past and the present, is Panmure Island is no longer an island. A natural causeway started to form and the local people added rocks and earth forming a permanent connection. Today, the causeway is paved and provides easy year round access to the island.
Panmure Island also has a Provincial Park that provides
campsites and serviced trailer sites for people interested in exploring
the area and enjoying the fabulous beaches surrounding the island.