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We are pleased to provide information related  to the various branches of the Large family of Prince Edward Island, who trace their ancestry to John Large or William and Margaret (Wright) Large, Irish colonists of Little York, (now know as York) PEI.

Attributed as being John Large
According to family tradition, John Large served as a British officer during the Napoleonic Wars. The documented evidence begins with the arrival of John Large along with his wife and several children at New London Bay, PEI on August 22, 1817.

Their voyage of 72 days from Dublin, Ireland on June 11, 1817 via Gaspe, Quebec was aboard the brig Hariot under the dictatorship of Capt. John Hannah. John Large was shocked with Capt. Hannah's behaviour and travelled to Charlottetown to make a formal statement (below) regarding the eventful voyage on August 29th before John Plaw, a Justice of the Peace.

By family tradition, John's ancestry was Huguenot, and the family name originally being DeLarge ("the great"). Leaving France in the 1600's to seek religious freedom in Ireland, the family name gradually became Large and appears in land records of 1764 in conjunction with H. Walsh of Ballykilcaven, Queens County, Ireland.

PEI, like Ireland at the same time, suffered from sectarianism and John Large found it necessary to prove that he was not a Catholic in an official document in 1819 in which he declared that "I do believe that there is not any Transubstantiation in the Sacrament of the Lords Supper or in the Elements of Bread and Wine at or after the conscreation thereof by any person whatever." It appears to be a standard statement required of public office holders prior to catholic emancipation in 1830.

Apparently the Larges and Walshes who had business connections in Ireland in the 1700's continued their business connections oceans apart, as John Large in 1818 became agent for Sir John Allan Johnson-Walsh of Ballykilcaven, for his lands on Prince Edward Island. As an absentee land owner, Sir John needed to settle his lands with tenant farmers and John Large was commissioned:

to let land to farmers for one peppercorn for seven years, by the end of that time the land was to be in a productive state and a monetary rate set. (1)
Lot 11 in western Prince Co. around Foxley River had originally been granted to Col. H. Walsh of the 28th Foot Regiment in August 1767, as part of the lottery that gave land in the colony to private developers.

Ship Portrait of the English Brig "Harriot, Commander E.N. Norley 1828"                                                                                                                                                                         

John Large passenger on Board the Hariot, John Hannah master from Dublin. Makest oath and saith that he left Dublin on the 11th of June last in the aforesaid Ship bound to Quebec, that on the 12th when off the coast of Ireland they were hailed by a Man of War Brig when an officer came on Board and entered into some conversation with Capt Hannah, then returned to his own vessel, when another officer came on Board from the Brig supposed to be the Captain, in the interval between the first officer going back to his ship and the other returning, Capt Hannah concealed two of the passengers also passing one as the Stewart of the Ship, and the other as one of the crew, this officer called out all the names of the passengers seeing if they agreed with the Muster Roll. 

The Deponent further states that nothing of consequence transpired until the Harriot entered the Gulf of St. Lawrence, when several of the passengers were taken sick with a fever. In consequence of the fever and the want of provisions and good water a number of the passengers petitioned the Capt to land them at the most convenient harbour, that some of the passengers were against the petition, Capt. Hannah then sent for the Deponent [John Large] to come into his Cabin and told him that deponent that he would wish to appear to the passengers as if he opposed the petition and desired the deponent to push him down the steps & take the vessel where they pleased.

In consequence of the disorder increasing and by the Doctors report, a second petition was sent into the Captain, where he agreed to land them at Miramachie, or the nearest port, which he promised to do in a few hours. Four days after he put in at Gaspe where he landed sixteen & hired a Schooner to take Forth eight to Quebec. The Ship then proceeded to Prince Edward Island, with three days provisions on Board for each passenger that was left. The Deponent stated that in consequence of the Captain having delayed the arrival of the Ship in Prince Edward Island by sailing up & down the Coast for upwards of two days about the Coast of Cape Breton the passengers were in great distress for Provisions an application was made to Capt Hannah by the passengers for some Provisions which he refused to give until they purchased it from him & gave the ---y money. Some that has no money offered to give their clothes which he refused, after which the deponent states that the Brig arrived off New London on Friday last the 22nd ins where she lay at anchor till abt. 1 o'[clock] Sunday following where she was [drawn] ashore in attempting to cross the Bay.

Signed John Large
Sworne before me at Charlottetown the 29th day of August 1817 signed John Plaw J.P.  (2)

  Note - in legal terms, a deponent is an individual making a deposition.

Besides administering the affairs of Sir John, on Prince Edward Island, John Large was selected to serve as a magistrate.  His attempt to protect the wreck and materials of the ship Margaret Anne, was a tale recorded within the report of Attorney General Johnston in 1827. The prisoners he arrested, in this case were eventually discharged when evidence against them was found to be insufficient. It is believed that this ship was likely the Margaret Ann of Whitby, bound for Quebec, which was wrecked on the North Cape of Prince Edward Island in a late gale, records of the Provincial Secretary's Office in Quebec, 31st May, 1827 indicates that "all on board about 20 souls are drowned. The Stockton's people buried 14 of the dead bodies."

By 1838 John had relocated to an area of rich farmland in the centre of the colony in Little York (now know as York). He was appointed Justice of the Peace in 1831, a Judge in 1834 and a Fence Viewer in 1839. John was active in the Little York Methodist Chapel. Along with his wife they raised a family of nine including:

With two Large sisters, marrying Weeks brothers, the Weeks genealogy has a double interest

Not only did the John Large's family settle in Little York but, William Large Sr., also settled in Little York in 1821 from Kilkenny, Ireland and was joined by Margaret Wright of Kilkenny in 1822. The two Large families are reputed to be closely related although the exact connection appears to have been lost through time. Their children were:

With marriages of three Large siblings to three Mabon siblings the Mabon genealogy has numerous interesting connections.

Will of William Large Sr.,
Will of William Large Jr.

A genealogy of the descendants of the two pioneer Large families was completed by Richard Large of Toronto in the 1980's covering several thousand descendants.

The book, The Valiant Connection: A History of Little York by Nelda Murray provides additional information on the York community

There is also additional information on the Walshes of Ballykilcaven to which there appears to have been an ongoing business association in Ireland and in Prince Edward Island.

A listing of historical Large references from the PEI Master Name Index is available.

Large Family Genforum , Large at RootsWeb , Rootsweb Message Board [Large] and the Large Surname List are all research tools.

(1) pg 335 The Valiant Connection: History of Little York , Nelda Murray 1993
(2) transcribed by Ian Scott from copy filed in Large Family File - Public Archives PEI, donated by Arnold Smith Oct 1984

Do you have information that could be helpful in correcting or adding to the contents of HomePort ?  We appreciate your comments, suggestions and additions.

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