P.E.I. Heritage Award and Book Signings in Charlottetown

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Letter announcing the Heritage Award.

Letter announcing the Heritage Award.

By Sam McBride

I was very pleased last week to receive notification from the Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation that they are giving me a Heritage Award in recognition of my book The Bravest Canadian – Fritz Peters, VC: The Making of a Hero of Two World Wars. I will receive the award at the Annual Heritage Awards Ceremony at the Carriage House at Beaconsfield in Charlottetown on Feb. 19, 2013.

If all goes as planned, I will be in Charlottetown from Sunday, Feb. 17 until Sunday, Feb. 24. I have arranged to do book signings in Charlottetown at the Bookmark Store on Queen Street on Friday, Feb. 22nd at noon, and then at the Indigo Store at 465 University Avenue on Saturday, Feb. 23rd from 1-3 pm. In addition to book promotion activities, I plan to do further research on the Peters and Gray ancestors.

As part of the cross-Canada trip, I will be in Cranbrook Feb. 13-14, Ottawa Feb. 14-17, Ottawa again Feb. 24-26, and Cranbrook again Feb. 26-27. In Ottawa I plan to visit, and conduct research, in the Canadian War Museum and the National Archives, and visit bookstores and Ottawa-based veterans’ associations.

Once again, many thanks to the Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation for the prestigious Heritage Award.

Biog readers with suggestions for book promotion events should contact me either through this blog, or by emailing sammcbridebc(AT)gmail.com.

“The Bravest Canadian — Fritz Peters, VC” Reviewed in Naval Association of Canada’s Starshell magazine

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The Winter 2012-2013 edition of Starshell, the national magazine of the Naval Association of Canada, features a review of “The Bravest Canadian — Fritz Peters, VC: The Making of a Hero of Two World Wars”.

The latest issue of Starshell can be viewed through the link http://www.navalassoc.ca/starshell.

Many thanks to Mike and Starshell editor Cdr (Ret’d) George Moore for helping spread word of the book on a nation-wide basis.

Interestingly, an article on Capt. Frederic Thornton Peters, VC, DSO, DSC and bar, DSC (U.S.), RN in Starshell magazine in 1992 was titled “The Bravest Canadian of Them All”. This was one of the sources that were the basis for the title of the new biography of Fritz Peters released in November 2012.

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Implications of the sinking of “Titanic” in the Fritz Peters story


by Sam McBride

When the supposedly unsinkable RMS Titanic sank off the coast of Newfoundland during the evening of April 15, 1912 after hitting an iceberg, Frederic Thornton “Fritz” Peters was a 22-year-old newly-commissioned lieutenant at the Royal Navy’s China Station in the British colony of Weihaiwei on the northeast China coast.

While none of Fritz’s close relatives died in the Titanic disaster and he never mentioned the sinking in his letters home between 1914 and 1942, the disaster had a significant impact on his family.  His father, former Prince Edward Island premier Frederick Peters, abandoned his law practice in Victoria in 1911 to move north to the new community of Prince Rupert to take up the position of city solicitor.  He made the move at age 59 confident that he was getting in on the ground floor of boom town.  He had lost money in mining-related investments, and was hoping to get back on track financially in a thriving frontier economy.

Led by CEO Charles Melville Hays, the Grand Trunk Railway was going full speed in its program to develop Prince Rupert as a Pacific port to match thriving Vancouver.  Another booster of the Grand Trunk Railway and Prince Rupert was Frederick Peters’ longtime political ally, Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who visited Prince Rupert in 1910 and expressed his government’s support for port development.

The death of Hays in the Titanic disaster was a major blow to Prince Rupert, as he championed the port development project and had not shared his detailed plans for it with anyone else before his death.  Frederick Peters would spend the last seven years of his life working to keep the fledgling Prince Rupert community from bankruptcy.   When Fritz retired from the Royal Navy in 1913 he said the main reason was to “add to my family’s coffers”.

His father Frederick Peters’ finances were reduced to the point that his wife Bertha needed to collect contributions from her sons’ military pay so she could travel to England during the war years to be close to her sons fighting in the First World War.

The Peters family would also have taken a great interest in the Titanic story because of their heritage as descendants of steamship magnate Sir Samuel Cunard.  Fritz’s father Frederick Peters knew his grandfather Samuel Cunard well from Cunard’s many visits to Charlottetown before his death in 1865 when Frederick was 13.

Titanic was built and operated by the White Star Line, which was the chief rival of the Cunard company in trans-Atlantic travel.   Titanic and its sister ships Olympic and Britannic were built in response to the Cunarders RMS Mauretania, which began service in 1906, and RMS Lusitania, launched in 1907.

A key reason for the success of the Cunard company since its inception in 1840 was its commitment to safety as top priority.  The sinking of Titanic was one more instance of loss of life by Cunard competitors obsessed with speed or otherwise careless about safety.  In the 19th century the U.S. Congress provided grants towards establishing the Collins company as a dominant force in trans-Atlantic travel, but it was devastated by many well-publicized wrecks and fatalities at sea.

The exception to the Cunard record of safety was during wartime, when many Cunard vessels were seconded for British use in the war.  Half of the Cunard fleet was sunk by German u-boats in the First World War, including Lusitania and RMS Carpathia, which rescued the Titanic survivors in 1912.

Fritz’s Cunard cousins ceased being involved in the management of the company in the 1920s.

One of the jobs Fritz had after his first retirement from the Royal Navy in 1913 was as third engineer with Canadian Pacific Railway ships in the interior of British Columbia.  He left that position when he rejoined the Royal Navy in August 1914 at the outbreak of the First World War.  There is no record of him returning to civilian service at sea after retiring a second time from the Royal Navy in 1920.

In 1934 White Star merged with Cunard in a new company called Cunard White Star Limited.  By 1949 Cunard had acquired all of White Star’s assets, and reverted to using the single name “Cunard”.  Today, Cunard is a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation and PLC.

Sources: Peters Family Papers, “Steam Lion: a Biography of Samuel Cunard” by John G. Langley, unpublished memoirs of Commander David Joel, RN.

Peters Family Papers: Family History Documents


Photo collage above: clockwise, from top left — Col. John Hamilton Gray, c. 1860; sisters Margaret Gray (sitting) and Florence Gray, with cousin Edward Jarvis at left, in 1868; and lower photo is their elder sister Harriet Gray, dated 1864. (McBride Collection)

by Sam McBride

The following documents are transcriptions of handwritten letters or notes about the Peters and Gray ancestors going back to the 1700’s.  Some are first-person accounts and other documents are copies (in handwriting) of correspondence among cousins.

#1 – Notes on the Gray ancestors by Florence Gray Poole

This letter, written in about 1919 by Bertha’s older sister Florence for her children, has interesting information about 1) John Hamilton Gray’s grandfather George Burns; 2) Gray’s grandmother Mary Stukeley’s family in England; 3) Gray’s mother Mary and his brothers and sisters; 4) Gray’s experience in the British military, including service in India and South Africa; 5) Gray’s attitude towards politics on Prince Edward Island

This is the first page of the Florence Poole document, as copied in her sister Bertha Gray Peters' handwriting.

My grandfather Robert Gray, who had raised and commanded a Regiment for the King in the American War of Independence, married, in Prince Edward Island, when about 60 years of age, Mary Burns, daughter of Major Burns.  Of the Burns family I know absolutely nothing, except that my great-grandfather (Major Burns) was on the Guard of Honour of the Coronation of George the Third, and that he and other officers who formed the Guard were given large grants of land in the North American colonies, his share being the north shore of P.E.I.

My father used to say that he (Burns) had been a very “fast man about town”, and I know he had been a “four bottle man”, and my father and his brother blamed his ability to dispose of unlimited port for their inheritance of gout.  Major Burns’ wife, my great-grandmother, was nee Stukeley.  She belonged to a very old family in Huntingtonshire, where the places Stukeley Magna and Stukeley Parva took their names from the family.  Her marriage to Major Burns was a romantic one.  She met him when she was on a visit to Bath, and was persuaded by him to a runaway marriage.  She and her sister were co-heiresses to their mother, and each had what was then looked upon as a large fortune.

Major Burns laid out some of the money in fitting out a ship with a Lancar crew (probably bought slaves) and took them out to work on his property in Prince Edward Island.  The descendants of the Lancars lived for many years in what was called “The Bog” in Charlottetown.  I have an original letter from Squire Adelard Stukeley of Stukeley House (my great-great-grandfather) written to his daughter Mary (“Molly”) at Bath, complaining of her not writing to him.  He mentioned her “brothers” – I believe they were both soldiers who were subsequently lost off the coast of South Africa in a troop ship.  I also have a miniature, found in this letter, which is supposed (from the dress and date) to be a likeness of Squire A. Stukeley (Bishop Courtey pronounced it to be a “Cosway”).

Then too I have a letter from my great-grandmother to her daughter Mary Burns, afterwards Mrs. Gray.  I am sorry I cannot send you copies of these letters, but unfortunately they are stored with all our furniture, but when we get access to these letters I will have them copied for you, and will send you a copy of the miniature.  My sister in law Miss Poole met a Mr. Prentice whose mother was a Stukeley.  He was interested in hearing of Adelard’s daughter, and said that her sister married an Orme of Yorkshire, and that her descendants are living there.  He also said the Stukeley pedigree, of which he had a copy, dated from the 12th century, and he very kindly sent me a drawing of the Stukeley coat of arms.  I tried to get a copy of the pedigree, but my sister in law had met Mr. Prentice at a County Archaelogical Society, and he did not turn up at their next meeting.  I have his letter to her, with the information I have given you; it is stored with the rest of my papers.

My father’s mother died young, leaving two sons and three daughters — the eldest, Uncle Robert, lived nearly all his life in London.  He managed the Worral and Fanning Estates.  He died unmarried at age 94.  One daughter, Aunt Elizabeth, married in P.E.I. Chief Justice Jarvis and left one son, who died unmarried.  Another daughter married a W. Cambridge (uncle of my stepmother) and had several children, all dead.  Aunt Stukeley lived in Ebury Street in London and died unmarried.

My father was sent to England very young as his father had been promised a commission for him.  I suppose the Stukeleys had forgiven his grandmother’s runaway marriage, as he stopped often at Stukeley House.  I remember his telling me he was taken to see an aged nurse who welcomed him as “Miss Molly’s boy”.  For a few months my father was in a Hussar regiment (18th I think) and there was a cornet in the 7th Dragoon guards, and was nearly 20 years a captain in that regiment.  Promotion in those days was by purchase, and as many of the men were rich it was unusually slow.  My father married when very young a Mrs. Chamier, sister of Sir William Sewell.  She died shortly after their marriage, and he was a widower many years until he met my mother, a young girl of 17, in India, she was just out from school.

Florence Gray with her grandmother, Lady Pennefather (Margaret Carr Bartley) - McBride Collection

My grandmother (Pennefather) used to tell me that my father was a very distinguished man, and his entertainments etc. much talked about in the Cantonment.  The men in the regiment were a very smart set.  My father’s principal friend was Capt. Bentund (father of the present Duke of Portland).  Sir George Walker and Sir Harry Darrel were also great friends, and many tales were told of their joint escapades.  The only one of my father’s brother officers who came to Canada was Gen. Sir Graham Montgomery-Moore, who commanded in Halifax.  I knew him well there, and he liked talking of the old days in the 7th D.G.  He told me that when as a young Cornet he stood before his Captain, he thought him the realization of his idea of a soldier!  Capt. Hamilton Gray was a “splendid figure”, he said.  He also told me my father fought a sensational duel and “winged his man”.  In those days dueling was encouraged, and every man who joined a crack corps like the “Black Horse” was given a pair of dueling pistols to uphold the honour of the regiment.  Soon after my father’s marriage the regiment was ordered out to South   Africa, and my eldest sister was born in a troop ship in the Red Sea!

Photograph of Sir Harry Darrel's depiction of the action in South Africa where Col. John Hamilton Gray led a charge of mounted policemen against a gun emplacement.

The first Boer War was going on then, and my father performed an act of gallantry which would in these days have won a Victoria Cross.  The general described it to me.  The regiment was drawn up in line in a place surrounded by Kopjes, concealed Burghers were potting them on all sides, and a machine gun in a narrow lane was turned on the unlucky cavalry and they were simply mown down, unable to charge or use their sabres.  My father took four mounted police men and galloped to the gun, spiked it and cut down the gunners, and two of the police men were killed.  Sir Harry Darrel who was an artist painted two pictures of this incident, and for years one hung in the D.G. mess.  I have a photo of it, which is fortunate as your Uncle Arthur had the original, and it, with everything else he owned was destroyed in the Halifax explosion during the war.

There was a long period of peace after the war in South Africa, and every one of the wiseacres prophesied that there would never be another war.  My father tired of inaction, and having also kept memories of the fine sport in P.E.I., sold out of the service just the year before the Crimean War and went back to P.E.I.   A year later when war broke out he was desperate and did his best to get back to his regiment, but he had received ₤9,000  for his Troop, and in those days a man who sold out could not get back in.  Then he went on my grandfather Pennefather’s staff hoping to get out to the seat of war, but the “extra” A.D.C.’s had no chance and peace came before he could arrange to enter another regiment.  Highly disgusted, he returned finally to P.E.I. where he ended his days.  He tried to take an interest in politics, but I don’t think he ever cared for a politician’s life.  The only thing that interested him was the Confederation of the Maritime   provinces.  My mother’s death occurred soon after Confederation and he retired from “The House”.

#2 – A short account of his life by Col. Robert Gray,

King’s American Regiment

This short autobiography by John Hamilton Gray’s father Robert has interesting information about 1) his roots in Scotland, among many Grays near Glasgow, 2) the origin of the “Hamilton” name, in honour of the mentor who helped him get established in business, 3) the loss of his property in Virginia in the Revolutionary War, and 4) details of his arrival as a Loyalist in the Maritimes and how he was rewarded with land and appointments.

As it may afford some satisfaction to my dear children to know something of the early life of their father, I have put in writing the following brief memoirs:

I was born on the 7th Sept. 1747 (old style) in Dunbartonshire, Parish of Kirkentilloch1 in my father’s house, a place rented by him but which had belonged to my ancestors, but sold through reverse of fortune by my grandfather to Robert Gray, a distant relation.  My father’s name was Andrew, my mother’s Jean (of the Grays of Lanarkshire, cousins).  In a circuit of many miles both in Dunbartonshire and Lanarkshire, many of the principal families were Grays and nearly related to my family by blood or marriage.  My father being far from affluent, I was articles for four years to John Hamilton Esq. of Dowan to go to Virginia where his four nephews (sons of Thomas Hamilton of Overton) carried on an extensive mercantile business.

signature of Robert Gray.

The same Thomas Hamilton raised a regiment during the American rebellion (now called the Revolutionary War) and was distinguished for his gallant conduct at the battle of Camden where he was severely wounded.  He was afterwards for 22 years His Majesty’s consul for Virginia, and was godfather to my youngest son John Hamilton, and to my deep and undying regret died in London 1816.  These gentlemen, the Hamiltons, being anxious to open an establishment in Norfolk, Virginia, I was taken into partnership and for four years carried on a successful business by sea and land, until the breaking out of the American rebellion.  Towards the end of the year 1776 all business being at a standstill, Lord Dunsmore the Governor of Virginia, having removed the seat of government from Williamsburg to Norfolk, I entered a corps of volunteers which he was forming to co-operate with His Majesty’s 14th Regt-of-foot in checking the progress of the rebels.  In the course of this service I was dangerously wounded, being shot in two places, the rebels having obtained the ascendancy by land.  His Majesty’s loyal subjects and the troops embarked on board the shipping in Norfolk Harbour.  The Town was soon afterwards burnt to ashes by the damned Rebels, and all the valuable property in our warehouses consumed in the flames or plundered by the enemy.  I remained in Virginia with Lord Dunsmore on the fleet carrying on a predatory war against the enemy till the month of July when we sailed for New York where Sir William Howe had arrived with a large army.  There I met Col. – now General – Fanning, who being about to raise a regiment for His Majesty, appointed me to command a company and also to be paymaster to the King’s American Regiment.  I remained with the Regt in various parts of North America, from Rhode Island to Georgia both inclusive.  I was in several actions at the siege of Rhode Island and commanded the Fort-of Goal-Island when it was cannonaded by the French fleet under Count D’Estaing.  I was also honoured with the command of Port Georgetown when it was evacuated.  At the end of the war 1783 the Regt being reduced I was placed on half pay.

In the autumn of 1783 I arrived inHalifaxand in the following spring was sent with a commission of “Surveyor of Land” to superintend the settlement of the Loyalists in thecounty of Shelburne,Nova Scotia, where I was employed for three years having 13 deputy surveyors under me.

In 1787 I received pressing invitations and flattering promises from Gen. Fanning who had been appointed Governor of Prince Edward Island.  I arrived in Charlottetownon the 11th July that year, and was appointed Judge of the Supreme Court – a member of His Majesty’s council and private secretary to Gen. Fanning.  In 1790 I went to London by way of Portugal on private affairs and returned at the end of the year.  In 1792 I was sent to London with full powers to conduct the defence of Gen. Fanning and other Crown officers against complaints preferred against them and having successfully performed my mission returned in 1793.  Next year I had the principal share in raising a corps of men for the defence of theIsland, which I commanded until the Peace of Amiens in August 1792.

#3 – “Relating to my Mother” by Florence Gray Poole

My mother, Susan Ellen Bartley, was an only child.  Her father, a Lieut. In the 22nd Regiment, died at a very early age (about the year 1825) when quartered in Jamaica.  His widow married Major Pennefather, also of the 22nd Regt, and afterwards General and G.C.B.  There was no second family, and Maj. Pennefather treated my mother as his own child.  I believe she did not know of the “step” relationship until she married.

Painting of Margaret Carr Bartley c. 1830, around the time of her marriage to Major Sir John Lysaght Pennefather

One of my grandfather’s brothers, Sir Robert Bartley, was a distinguished soldier in the Peninsular War.  There is a monument to his memory in some English, or Irish, cathedral or church.  I remember a print of it hanging in my mother’s bedroom in Prince Edward Island.  I have tried by writing to Notes and Queries to find out where this monument is but without success.  The man who answered my question knew all about Robert’s fame and wrote that he died at sea on his way home, but did not know where the monument is.  It would be interesting to find it.

The only Bartley relation I ever saw was my “Great Aunt Jessie”.  I was taken to see her when a small child in Dublin.  It is a pity that my mother did not correspond with this aunt, as I have been told that she lived to a great age, and either not knowing or forgetting that she had four grand-nieces in Prince Edward Island, left her money, or a fair amount I believe to her companion!

One of the Bartleys married a Cowell.  Their grandson Major Cowell was Governor to Prince Alfred (the Duke of Edinburgh) and afterwards when Sir John for many years “Controller of the Household” to QueenVictoria.  Sir John was with the Duke of Edinburgh when he visited Canada.  I remember his coming to see my mother, incidentally bringing the Prince to the great wonderment of the P.E. Islanders.  We knew Sir John’s sisters, one married a Major Beadon, but I have never met any of the present generation.  One of Sir John’s daughters married Admiral Curzon-Howe.  I think I have told you now all I know.

Your great-grandmother’s maiden name was Carr.  She and her sister were orphans when very young and were brought up by an uncle at his place inTipperary “Little Island”.  Another uncle was named Senior – any of their descendants of whom I have heard were soldiers.

My grandmother’s sister married a Carr cousin.  His grandson I have known since we were children.  Lt. Col. Lawless R.A.M.C. is the only survivor of a family of cousins.  He has interesting miniatures of the Carr family.  One (an aunt of my grandmother) has a romantic story.  She was a beauty and toast in Dublin…

#4 – Letter from Florence Gray to G.E. Lawless

This letter was written by Bertha’s sister who had taken an interest in the family history.  She is corresponding with a distant cousin.   The main focus of this letter is the Bartley side of the family. Florence’s maternal grandmother was Margaret Carr, who married Lieut. William Bartley and had a child Susan before he died of illness while serving inJamaicain the 1820’s.  Margaret later married William’s commanding officer General Sir John Pennefather and became “Lady Pennefather”.  Susan married John Hamilton Gray.

I am afraid I cannot tell you very much about your mother’s people – I wish I had listened more attentively when  my grandmother discoursed about her “young days”, for of course during my 30 years in Canada I lost sight of my Irish connections.  Our grandmothers, Margaret and Ellen Carr, were sisters; their parents died when they and their brother Richard were young.  The girls were brought up by their maternal uncle Morton of “Little Island” Tipperary, Richard being sent to a London Counting house to make his way.

From what my grandmother used to say, I think “Little Island” was a family place of some importance, and the girls went out a great deal.  Your grandmother married her first cousin William Carr; my grandmother married Wm. Bartley, Lieut. In the 22nd Regiment and went to Jamaica, where my mother was born and my father died very young.  His brother officer Major Pennefather brought my grandmother and her child home, and a year later they were married.  My mother was sent to a French convent while her parents were in India.  She used to spend her holidays with your grandparents, and she and your mother, both called Susan after their grandmother, were great friends.

Your grandparents were very well off then, and I well remember my mother’s grief when she heard of your grandfather’s loss of fortune and a little later of his death.  I do not know the particulars, but remember that my father and mother often spoke of “Uncle William” having been exceptionally honourable.  My grandmother often talked of another uncle called Senior, I think he was in the Service.  I know some of his sons and grandsons were soldiers.

I only met one first cousin of our grandmothers, a perfectly delightful old lady, Mrs. Fitzgerald.  She spent a winter in London when we were in Crawley Place.  Her son, or nephew, Capt. Fitzgerald (known to us as Dicky) afterwards commanded the 69th Regiment.  I have tried to find him.  I think he must be dead.  I have a photo of a very good looking Anna Maria Morton, granddaughter of Morton of Little Island.  She married a man in the service whose name I forget, and went toIndia, I think she was the last of the Mortons of Little Island.

          My grandmother and her husband Gen. Pennefather objected to the “step” connection known.  I believe that my mother did not know of it until she married.

Susan Bartley Pennefather Gray

This has been rather hard on us, as we have never been in touch with our grandfather’s relations (with the exception of the Cowels who claimed cousinship), and your sister in law tells me that our grandfather’s youngest sister died a few years ago, leaving a large fortune to her companion as she had “no near relations”.  The silence about our grandfather was so marked that I fancied all sorts of things and was relieved when dear George told me that when he first went to Newfoundland 40 years ago he dined with the Governor (whose name he did not remember) and the subject of Jamaica coming up, the Governor told him his dearest friend “young Bartley of the 22nd regiment was buried there, and that he was the nicest fellow he ever knew.

#5 –  Letter from Prentice to Miss Ellen Poole      March 25, 1899

62 Shrewbury Road,Birkenhead

Dear Miss Poole:

I have read with great interest the notes you have kindly sent me about the Stukeleys and you will be glad to hear that I can give you their pedigree back to about 1150 and a good deal of information about the family.

A.S. Stukeley (Adlard Squier Stukeley) the father of Mary (Mrs. Florence Poole’s great-grandmother) was brother to my progenitrise Margaret Stukeley, so curiously enough Mrs. Poole and I are far away cousins.

The Stukeleys came originally from Great Little Stukeley in County Huntington and one of the family about 350 years ago marrying the heiress of the Fleets of Fleet in County Lincoln settled at Holbeach, close to where they owned considerable estates, their residence was at Stukeley house, where my mother was often resident with her grandmother Mrs. Sturton (her husband was Private Secretary to the Marquis of Rockingham when Prime Minister and first cousin of Mary Stukeley) and my cousins the Stukeleys still live at Holbeach.  The Stukeley house has, I am sorry to say, changed hands.  Dr. William Stukeley the famous antiquarian was of the Holbeach branch and was born there.

It has always been a mystery to us what became of the other Stukeleys after leaving Holbeach, as they were supposed to be fairly well off and they seemed to have suddenly disappeared, the information contained in Mrs. Poole’s notes evidently solves the mystery.

Mary Stukeley’s (baptized at Holbeach 13 March 1744) sister Sarah married Walden Orme of Peterborough and left issue, something about them I might be able to trace.

There is a splendid old church at Holbeach where most of the Stukeleys were buried, and in it remain some of their monumental inscriptions.  I was there about 4 years ago.

As I think Mary and Sarah Stukeley were the only surviving issue (of a large family) and eventually co-heiresses of Adlard Squier Stukeley they would carry the arms of Stukeley quartering Fleet in to their husbands’ families. …it is just possible therefore that failing surviving male issue of the Burns and Gray being the descendants of Mary, your brother’s (he means Henry Poole) children may be entitled to quarter these arms with those ofPoole.

#6 – Helen Dewdney’s family history notes     c. 1950’s

Judge Peters was my grandfather.  He died when I was three years old but I remember him perfectly.  He seemed to always be in bed.  A fine-looking man with quantities of white hair.

Helen Peters in about 1895 in Charlottetown when her father Frederick Peters was premier of Prince Edward Island.

His youngest daughter Maggie – who adored him – was always fussing over him.  The old doctor was generally in attendance, but Maggie insisted on another opinion.  He was 85 – had Aunt Maggie never heard of old age?  …The judge was very fond of his dogs.  He had three of them.  One bit a grandchild and Aunt Janie was upset and said “the dog must be shot!”.  “What!”, cried the judge, “if any shooting is to be done, it won’t be a dog.”  So nothing was shot.  But I think he must have been pretty nice.

He was very fond of his daughter Carry (Caroline), and when she was going to marry a Bayfield he thought it would be a kind gesture to have the wedding in the Bayfield Church.  It was Anglican as was the Peters’ church, but very “low” whereas St. Peters was very “high”

#7 – Notes of Helen Dewdney                              c. 1970

She was apparently writing on note paper while waiting in a doctor’s office.  She had just read a book called “My First Hundred Years” (not sure of the author or date of publication, but it would be some time before she died in November 1976)

“…She called her Father ‘Papa’ and her mother ‘Mamma” just as my mother did, except my mother always referred to her mother as ‘my dear little Mamma”.  Dear little momma, my grandmother, lived in London with her father and mother in one of those old-fashioned London houses.

Her father was General Sir John Pennyfeather.  She was the only child.  I have her picture painted by a wonderful artist.  Only 16, a beautiful face, with dark curtains of hair on each side making her look about 30.  At 16 John Hamilton Gray met her and married her.  He was much older than she and an officer in the army.

He took her to various places, and she had a baby in so many different places.  I don’t think there was one born where another was.  First there was my aunt Harriet.  Later my great-grandmother Lady Pennyfeather adopted aunt Harriet and left her everything she had.  Lady P lived till she was 98.  Her eyesight and hearing were perfect, but she did admit the stairs tired her a little.  Aunt Harriet married when she was older.  I never did know what age.  When I was young it wasn’t considered quite nice.  I never knew my mother’s.  In any case she died a few months after Great-grandma, and everything went to the husband as the child died too.  So we don’t have many mementos of Great-grandma.  Well, anyway, after Aunt Harriet came Aunt Margaret who lived and died in Charlottetown– much loved and living until she was 98.

Then came Aunt Florence who married Henry Poole a mining engineer.  Six children they had – three boys and three girls.  I remember staying with them once when I was 7 or 8 along with Fritz my brother (who was) 2 years younger.  He cried so much they were obliged to send him home to theIsland(P.E.Island) where we lived.  I remember feeling it a pity he had no bravery.  Funny isn’t it… he lost his life and received the V.C. in Oran in Africa, his seventh decoration.  No bravery, eh.

Uncle Henry Poole was 6 ft 3 inches or so tall and had a beard and moustache.  I was simply terrified of him.  He was a very honorable man and brought up his six children with a very high sense of honour.  He was a very good father.  If he loved one more than another it was Edward, who was brilliantly clever.  He passed first in Kingston, became a mining engineer and went up to some lovely spot up north where almost immediately he contracted typhoid and died very quickly.  A young man he scarcely knew happened to be there.  “Stay with me,” said Edward, “till it’s over”.  It seemed so sad – so young, and he must have put so much effort in being first and all.  Just seems like wasted.  Uncle Henry was walking along in a railway station and he received this telegram: “your son is dead, what shall we do with remains?”  He fell in a dead faint.

Edward’s twin sister Dorothy was beautiful, not just pretty.  I knew her when she was 19.  She stayed with us in Victoria.  Great dark eyes and hair reddy brown wavy luxuriant.  Lucy her sister was rather plain, but if there was a crowd anywhere laughing and talking vociferously, you’d know Lucy would be in the middle.  Uncle Henry would say “The men come for Dorothy but stay for Lucy.”

After Florence, John Hamilton Gray and Susan Pennyfeather had two more daughters: Mim (who married Abbott) and Mother.

The Pooles for a while lived in Stellerton, a mining town in the East.  They also had a son Ray who had a son and daughter; Evelyn who died; Dorothy who died; Eric who died; Edward who died.  Lucy married a man called Kenneway who was quite well off and in later years became stone deaf from the guns in a war.  Someone once asked me which war was it, the first or second?  I said it was the Boer War … I forget I am so old.  The Kenneways had a son who was killed in war and a girl Monica.

…The judge (James Horsfield Peters, father of Frederick) must have been a dear, but quite an autocrat around the home and I think at times he bore down on Sarah the cook a bit.  Sarah would sniff and say she’d better be leaving , she couldn’t stay in a place where she didn’t give satisfaction.  I am sure she never would have left.   She loved Grandmama and Grandmama would slip a five dollar bill in her hand.  “Oh Sarah, pay no attention to the judge.  You know how he is.  He’s just like that.  He’ll get over it.”  And Sarah allowed herself to be comforted by just about the sweetest person who ever lived – Mary Peters, born Mary Cunard.  Granted the five dollars came easily (her father Sir Samuel Cunard died a millionaire), but the sweet and lovely way she did it to Sarah was her own.  When she died, she died in Sarah’s arms.  You can see in her photograph that she was overweight and probably no exercise – in those days they just didn’t know…

My mother used to love going over to the Peters house.  It was so different from her own.  There were always 3 puddings on the table, because Fred was so fond of one thing, and Uncle Spruce and Uncle Thom could not be without their so and so.

…The Mellish family was in Hodsock Priory, Worksop, Nottinghamshire.  There was Henry Mellish, Agnes Mellish and Evy Mellish.  The last I heard of the place it was empty.  So sad.  I always thought Cousin Aggie was so pretty.  They were Father’s relations – Cunards

Family of Frederic Thornton Peters — Part Seven: sister Violet Avis Peters

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from Nov. 14, 1905 Victoria Daily Colonist

by Sam McBride

The death of Violet Avis Peters on Saturday, November 11, 1905 was the first of several tragedies to strike the family of Frederick Peters and Bertha Gray in British Columbia.


Many years later Helen said her little sister Violet “burned to death” in a fireplace accident at the family home in Oak Bay, on the eastern outskirts of Victoria.  Their house, a large seaside bungalow, had several fireplaces for heat.  Helen was 18 at the time of the tragedy, and Fritz was 16 and training as a cadet in Britain with the Royal Navy.   Of the other brothers, Jack was 14 and Gerald and Noel were 12.

We do not have details of what happened, but it appears a spark may have landed on her dress and set it on fire.  People often died from smoke inhalation in the panic of an accident such as this.  Fire was an ongoing hazard in that era.  Helen told her children how she used gasoline to wash clothes when she was a young woman.

The Victoria Daily Colonist said she was the “dearly loved child of F. Peters, KC” and she died at St. Joseph`s Hospital in Victoria.  The newspaper spelled her middle name “Avice”, but the death registration and cemetery record have it as “Avis”.

The funeral at 11 am on November 15, 1905 started at Christ Church Cathedral, the cathedral church of the diocese of British Columbia of the Anglican Church of Canada, at Rockland Avenue and Quadra Street and went from there to burial at nearby Ross Bay Cemetery.

Fourteen years later, in early August of 1919, her father Frederick Peters was buried in a plot next to Violet`s grave.   His tombstone included plates commemorating sons Gerald and Jack who died in the First World War.  A photograph taken soon after the father`s burial shows a small stone cross beside it with the words “Baby Violet”.   Today that small stone cross has disappeared, probably sunk into the soft, wet ground over time.

Violet Peters was listed as being one year of age as of March 31, 1901 in the Canadian census.   Strangely, there is no record for her birth in British Columbia, some time in 1899.  Records at the time were not as comprehensive as they are today.   For example, we know that her sister Helen`s husband Ted Dewdney was born Dec. 26, 1880 in Victoria, but there is no record of his birth in B.C. registrations.


Family of Frederic Thornton Peters — Part Three: his sister Helen Dewdney

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by Sam McBride

clockwise, from top left: baby Helen, 1887; with her father Fred and a cat, 1889; and four images of her as a young girl in Charlottetown (McBride Collection)

Mary Helen Peters was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island on August 31, 1887.  She was always known as Helen by friends and in the family, and in later years was known as Gran to her three children and ten grandchildren and many of her younger friends.  The first of six children, she outlived all of them, including a younger sister who died in a fireplace accident, three brothers who died in the world wars, and another brother who had a mental disability.

At age eight in early 1898 she moved with her family across Canada by boat, trains and boat again to Victoria on Vancouver Island.  The sea was a constant in her youth, as she went from an Atlantic island to a Pacific island.

She went to schools in Charlottetown and Victoria, and then in 1900 went to Bedford in north London, England where she attended the Bedford School for Girls.  At the same time, her brothers Fritz and Jack attended the Bedford Grammar School.  It is likely they all stayed at the home of their mother Bertha`s stepmother, Sarah Caroline Cambridge Gray, who moved there after the death of her husband, John Hamilton Gray in 1887.  One of Helen`s memories from her time at Bedford was watching with her brothers on a London street in January 1901 as the funeral procession for Queen Victoria solemnly passed by.

clockwise, from bottom left: three images of Helen as a young lady in Victoria; with her brother Gerald in the yard of their Oak Bay home; seen with tennis friends (McBride Collection)

Helen studied piano and music at the Royal Conservatory of Music in London, and became an accomplished pianist.

One of her father`s partners in business ventures in Victoria was the Hon. Edgar Dewdney, the former trail-builder, federal cabinet minister and B.C. lieutenant governor.  Dewdney was uncle and guardian of Edgar Edwin Lawrence “Ted” Dewdney, born December 26, 1880 in Victoria.  Ted`s mother Caroline Leigh died when Ted was four and his father Walter Dewdney died when Ted was 11.  Ted lived with his uncle Edgar and aunt Jane between 1892 and 1897 at Cary Castle in Victoria when it was the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor.

Victoria newspaper report of her wedding

A  keen student of history and literature, Ted wanted to go to university, but his uncle insisted he enter the banking world at an early age.  Ted began as a clerk for the Bank of Montreal in Victoria in December 1897, and was subsequently transferred to the bank branches in New Westminster, Greenwood, Rossland and Armstrong before returning to Victoria in 1908.

Ted was athletic and an outstanding tennis player, winning the West Kootenay Tennis Championship three times in the early 1900s while residing in Rossland.  Helen was also a keen tennis player and participant in tennis-related social events in Victoria.  It is likely that the pair got to know each other in tennis activities or through the Anglican Church.

Ted and Helen married June 19, 1912 at St. Paul`s Anglican Church in Esquimalt, adjacent  to Victoria.  Her father Frederick Peters could not attend because he was tied up with his work in Prince Rupert.  He asked his cousin, Colonel James Peters, to fill in for him in “giving the bride away”.  Col. Peters had retired recently after an eventful 42-year career with the Canadian military, including many years in charge of West Coast defence.  When he arrived in Victoria in command of the first battery to defend Victoria and the Esquimalt Naval Base he was the first of the Peters clan to settle in B.C.  The wedding reception may have been something of a reunion for Col. Peters and another prominent guest, the Hon. Edgar Dewdney.  Twenty-five years earlier Dewdney was Lieutenant Governor of the Northwest Territories and Minister of Indian Affairs during the Riel Northwest Rebellion, in which Col. Peters (then a captain) was in charge of an artillery battery and was honoured with a Mention in Dispatches.  For further information on Col. Peters, see http://www.navalandmilitarymuseum.org/resource_pages/coastal_defence/james_peters.html.

from bottom left: cutting the cake; the wedding party; Helen beside Ted`s uncle, Edgar Dewdney; Helen (fourth from right) as a bridesmaid for a friend`s wedding (McBride Collection)

Ted and Helen moved to Vernon in the Okanagan region of central B.C., where Ted worked as an accountant with the Bank of Montreal.   On Dec. 6, 1913, their first child, Evelyn Mary “Eve” Dewdney was born.

They were in Vernon at the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914.

from bottom left: Helen and Ted with children Eve, Peter and Dee Dee, 1925; four images of Helen, including her costumes for local productions of Gilbert and Sullivan`s Mikado (McBride Collection)

Her brother Fritz had left the Royal Navy in 1913 after eight years of service.  With war declared, he caught a ride on a steamer going to Britain to rejoin the navy.  Her other brothers Jack, Gerald and Noel had all taken militia training in Victoria and later in Prince Rupert with the Earl Grey Rifles.  Each of them went to enlist in the army but only Jack was accepted.  Tall and thin, Gerald`s chest measurement was below army standards so he failed the physical examination.  Noel was rejected because of his mental disability, which was actually not as bad as it seemed in his appearance.  Gerald went to Montreal to try to enlist, and this time he was accepted.  Noel wasn`t accepted for service until May 1917 when he joined the Canadian Forestry Corps in Britain.  At 33, Ted Dewdney was past ideal age for enlistment, and he was supporting a wife and child, so he did enlist.  If the war had come while he was still a bachelor, he would have rushed to enlist, as he had been extremely active in the Rocky Mountain Rangers militia when he was working as a bank clerk in Rossland in the early 1900s.

In 1915 Ted the Bank of Montreal  transferred Ted to its branch in Greenwood, a small mining community near the U.S. border and on the west edge of the West Kootenay region.  This was his first appointment as branch manager.  A year later he was transferred to manage the New Denver branch in the famous Silvery Slocan district.  Housing for the manager and his family was provided in quarters above the bank, which today serves as the community`s museum.

The period from late May 1916 to late July 1916 was a time of anxiety and sorrow for the Dewdney family.  First they heard that Helen`s brother Jack was not a prisoner of war as previously reported, and was now assumed to have died in April 1915 in the Second Battle of Ypres.  A couple of weeks later they heard that Gerald was missing, and by early July it was confirmed that he had died in the Battle of Mount Sorrel.  Helen`s mother Bertha, who had been residing in England since the late spring of 1915 so as to be close to her boys, was devastated by the deaths of two sons, particularly Gerald, with whom she was particularly close.  She felt she could not return to the house in Prince Rupert with so many memories of Gerald, so she went to live with Helen`s family in New Denver.  This arrangement would continue for 30 years until Bertha`s death at age 84 in 1946.

Their first and only son, Frederic Hamilton Bruce Dewdney, was born May 2, 1917 in New Denver.  He was named after his uncle Fritz, and Fritz was his godfather.  At an early age the boy picked up the nickname “Peter”, and he was known by that name the rest of his life.  As an adult he had his name officially changed to “Frederic Hamilton Peter Dewdney”.  He went by the name “F.H. Peter Dewdney” when he was the Progressive Conservative candidate in three federal elections in the Diefenbaker era.  Each time he was defeated by the popular NDP incumbent MP, Bert Herridge.

The Dewdney family moved to Rossland in 1920 when Ted was transferred to manage the Rossland branch.  A second daughter, Rose Pamela Dewdney, was born in Rossland June 29, 1924.  She acquired the nickname “Dee Dee” and was known by that name as a teenager and throughout her adult life.

The family moved to Trail in 1927 in line with Ted`s appointment there, and then to Nelson in 1929, where Ted retired from the bank in 1940 after 42 years of service.

In each community Helen was active in organizing musical and theatrical productions using local talent.  She would direct, act and play piano; Ted would be stage manager and treasurer for the productions; and they would enlist the help of people throughout the community to participate on stage or behind the scenes.

Throughout her life Helen was an ardent bridge player.  She and her mother rated each community in the West Kootenay region by the quality of its bridge players.

from top left: with Leigh McBride at Banff Springs Hotel; with Herbert Forbes-Roberts, father of Peter`s wife Maxine; with Peter; and in California (McBride Collection)

When Ted retired, the family had to leave the Bank House in Nelson, so he purchased a house at 820 Stanley Street in Nelson.  Eve had left home in 1933 when she married Sandon, B.C.-born mining engineer Jack Fingland and moved with him to Kimberley.  In 1935 Peter began studies at the University of Alberta, where he earned a bachelor’s degree and then a law degree in 1942.

from top left: Dee Dee, Ted and Helen; Ted and Helen; Helen with baby; Helen on visit to Mexico in 1950s; Helen and Eve in the Stanley Street home in Nelson. (McBride Collection)

After graduation he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy and trained at HMS Royal Roads on Vancouver Island.  In the war Lieut. Peter Dewdney served as an officer and commander of Fairmile motor launches in anti-U-Boat operations off Canada`s east coast.

Helen with Dee Dee, granddaughter Eve and a visitor at the McBride cabin and beach at Queen`s Bay, near Balfour (McBride Collection)

Dee Dee earned a bachelor of arts degree at UBC and then a professional librarian certificate at the University of Toronto.   In 1944 Peter married Maxine Forbes-Roberts of St. John`s, Newfoundland, and in 1948 Dee Dee married Nelson lawyer Leigh McBride, who had served as a major in the Seaforth Highlander regiment of the Canadian Army in the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy.

After Ted Dewdney`s death in 1952, Helen came to live with her daughter Dee Dee McBride`s family.  Helen moved with the McBrides to nearby Trail in 1969 when Leigh began working in the law department of Cominco Ltd.

Helen with Leigh and Sam at University of Oregon graduation, 1973; Helen; Eve, Maxine, Helen and Dee Dee; Helen and Leigh with Sam and Eve; Helen in Las Vegas in early 1970s (McBride Collection)

Helen had several bouts with cancer in her last decade, and died in Trail November 27, 1976.

Family of Frederic Thornton Peters — Part One: his father, the Hon. Frederick Peters, Q.C.


by Sam McBride

Frederick Peters was born Charlottetown on April 8, 1851, the son of Judge James H. Peters of the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island, and Mary Cunard, eldest daughter of Sir Samuel Cunard. He received his early education in Charlottetown schools and at Prince of Wales College before gaining a Bachelor of Arts degree from King’s College in Nova Scotia.

Following his graduation, Peters studied law in England and later returned to Charlottetown where he set up his first law practice. He was called to the bar at the Inner Temple, London in 1876, and to the bar of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia the same year.  In England he articled under Lord Alverstone, who later said Peters was the most brilliant student he ever had.  He established a law practice in Charlottetown with his brother Arthur Peters, who followed Fred`s schooling and legal career, almost step for step.

Famous ancestors, from top left: Mary Cunard, Sir Samuel Cunard, Loyalist James Peters, Tudor secretary of state William Petre, Judge James Horsfield Peters, the Rev. Hugh Peters, (McBride Collection)

Always a supporter of the Liberal Party, Peters was first elected to the House of Assembly in 1890. One year later, after a series of by-elections, the government of Neil McLeod found itself in a minority position and Peters was asked to take over the Premiership and form a government.  He became PEI`s sixth premier since Confederation, serving also as attorney general.  He was the first Liberal to lead the province.
Perhaps the most significant act during his term as Premier of Prince Edward Island was a bill changing the form of the Island Legislature. Previous to his administration, the Legislature consisted of two houses, a Legislative Council and a House of Assembly, much the same as the Senate and the House of Commons in the federal government of today. This system became unnecessary in Prince Edward Island and abolition of the Legislative Council was seriously looked at as a solution. However, such a bill did not have a chance of passing the Upper House so Premier Peters offered a compromise by abolishing both Houses and creating a Legislative Assembly in which members were referred to as Councillors and Assemblymen.

He served as premier and attorney general until resigning in October 1897 to move to British Columbia.  He retained his seat in the Prince Edward Island legislature until 1899 despite no longer residing in the province.  His brother Arthur became premier and attorney general in 1901, serving until his death in office in 1907.

Charlottetown newspaper report of his 1886 marriage to Bertha Gray

Fred Peters was senior counsel for Great Britain against the United States of America in the Behring Sea Sealing Dispute.  Americans laid claim to all seal harvesting in the Bering Sea based on their purchase of Alaska from the Russians, but this was disputed by Britain, Canada and other countries. Peters` co-counsel was federal Conservative Marine and Fisheries Minister Charles Hibbert Tupper of Halifax. Tupper was a son of the Nova Scotia Premier and Father of Confederation Sir Charles Tupper who served briefly as Prime Minister of Canada in 1896. The August 1893 decision of an international arbitration panel solidly in favour of Britain’s position was a feather in the cap for Peters and Tupper, who was knighted.  Peters and Tupper also subsequently served as counsel in the Bering Sea Claims Commission.

In 1896 Frederick Peters attended the founding meeting of the Canadian Bar Association in Montreal and was elected as a vice president of the new organization.

While in Victoria, British Columbia for hearings in the Bering Sea sealing case, Peters and Tupper were impressed with the city`s scenery, mild weather and positive economic prospects, and vowed to move there some time in the future with their families.  Their plan to move across the continent and establish a law practice in Victoria was speeded up by excitement associated with the Klondike Gold Rush in the Yukon in the spring of 1897.  The paid wanted to get in on the prosperity of the gold rush in some way. They saw that the city of Victoria stood to gain as a supply point for people and goods going to and from the Klondike. Peters resigned as premier as of October 27, 1897.  He and Hibbert Tupper crossed Canada by train and arrived in Victoria on November 11, 1897.  Their law firm in the west coast capital was established as Tupper, Peters & Potts.

Clockwise, from top left: Fred and Bertha as a young couple, two photographs of Fred, and Fred shown in about 1889 with his daughter Helen and a cat. (McBride Collection)

Impressive homes were built on adjoining lots in 1898 for the Tupper and Peters families in the recently-developed community of Oak Bay, east of Victoria.

Peters invested heavily in mining ventures which faded away as the stampeders left the Yukon for new gold finds in Alaska. This was the start of money problems that would dog him and his family for the rest of his life. By 1902, Peters and Tupper had parted ways in their law firm.

The outcome of the Alaska Boundary Dispute in October 1903 was a huge disappointment for Canadians, especially for Peters, whose reputation suffered because of his involvement with the case as a researcher and his longtime association with Britain’s arbitrator Lord Alverstone, who stunned Canadians by casting the deciding vote for the Americans, who were still angry about losing the seal hunt arbitration a decade earlier.  U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt had threatened to send in the marines if the boundary dispute did not go his way, and Britain was not interested in battling the Americans so far away at a time when their focus was on the rising power of Germany close to home.

Peters found his law work bringing in much less income than he expected and needed, particularly as his wife Bertha wanted their children to attend private school in England.  In 1911 Peters took a job as Solicitor (lawyer) for the new city of Prince Rupert, which looked like it was about to boom as a result of the Grand Trunk Railway establishing a major port that would rival Vancouver in the extent of its business.   However, the boom never happened, and Peters found himself struggling each year to keep Prince Rupert from bankruptcy.  He took on the higher position of City Clerk in 1916.

Clockwise, from centre bottom, Fred in about 1917 visiting his wife and daughter in New Denver; the Peters home in Oak Bay named Garrison House, c. 1900; Prince Rupert newspaper announces his death; his faded tombstone at Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria in 2008; the tombstone when he was buried in 1919. (McBride Collection)

During the Great War Peters was regularly called upon to deliver speeches supporting the war effort to Prince Rupert community groups.  While he was proud of the honours won during the war by his eldest son Frederic Thornton “Fritz” Peters serving with the Royal Navy, the war hit his family hard, as son Private John Francklyn “Jack” Peters died in the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915 and son Lieutenant Gerald Hamilton Peters died a year later in the Battle of Mount Sorrel.  His wife Bertha was in England when she learned of the death of her sons.  Instead of returning to Prince Rupert, where she would be haunted by the memories of her dead sons, she chose to live with her daughter Helen Dewdney in New Denver, B.C.  Fred Peters visited his wife at least once in New Denver, and the couple got together for a short holiday in the spring of 1919, but Fred was already in ill health by then.  He died July 29, 1919 alone in Prince Rupert.  According to his wishes, his funeral was in Victoria and he was buried at historic Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria.

Ancestry of Frederic Thornton Peters, VC

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One of Canada`s greatest war heroes, Frederic Thornton “Fritz” Peters, was strongly influenced by his United Empire Loyalist roots.  Three of his four grandparents (Judge James Horsfield Peters, Mary Cunard and Col. John Hamilton Gray) were direct descendants of Loyalists who sided with King George against the colonial rebels in the American Revolutionary War.  The Loyalist ancestors were James Peters and his wife Margaret Lester of Hempstead, Long Island, New York; Col. Robert Gray of Norfolk, Virginia; and Abraham Cunard of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Loyalist James Peters in 1816 (McBride collection)

Frederic Thornton Peters ancestry chart

The fourth grandparent, Susan Bartley Pennefather (wife of John Hamilton Gray) was the daughter of Lieut. William Bartley and Margaret Carr, both of Anglo-Irish stock.  Susan was just a baby when Bartley died while serving in Jamaica.  Bartley`s commanding officer, Major Sir John Lysaght Pennefather, married Margaret and she became Lady Pennefather.

According to A Peters Lineage, this branch of the Peters originated in France and migrated through Flanders to Devon and Cornwall.  A distant ancestor, the Rev. Hugh Peters, was a Puritan who arrived in America in 1636 and was a founding governor of Harvard College.  He later returned to England and was a right-hand man of Oliver Cromwell in the English Civil War.  The first Peters ancestor to permanently settle in North America was Dr. Charles Peters from London, who arrived in New York in 1703 and married Mary Hewlett, who was a third-generation New Yorker, as her Dutch ancestry went back to when the city was known as New Amsterdam.

The most famous ancestor was Abraham Cunard`s son Sir Samuel Cunard, who pioneered steam-driven passenger service across the North Atlantic and was a major factor in the economic development of Canada`s Maritime provinces.  Fritz Peters` father Frederick Peters (who served as Premier and Attorney General of Prince Edward Island from 1891-1897) was a grandson of Sir Samuel Cunard.  The Cunard ancestors –known at the time as Kunders — were among the first Germans to settle in North America, arriving in modern-day Pennsylvania in the 1680s.  A century later, Abraham and his brother Robert stayed loyal to King George in the American Revolution, but the rest of the Cunard family sided with the rebels.

Ancestry of the Cunards in Germany goes back to Duke John of Cleves (brother of Ann of Cleves, fourth wife of England`s King Henry the Eighth) in the 1500s.

ancestors of Fritz`s father, the Hon. Frederick Peters

Cunard ancestors going back from Loyalist Abraham Cunard of Pennsylvania

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