Barn-raising bees were riotous affairs in the early days of Prince Edward. Each settler was licensed to have two bees a year provided he furnished a good pot pie and plenty to drink. Wrestling matches, gymnastics and feats of strength were featured entertainments, and the day always ended with a dance. If a fiddler or bag-piper was not available, the young people would sing or provided music on combs. Usually a kissing bee was held at some point during the evening. Great quantities of liquor and food were consumed. Almost invariably, fights would erupt, either after meals or during the evening’s entertainment.
One farm wife who was preparing for a barn-raising ordered her 12 year old daughter to assist her in setting up a trestle table in front of the house. The daughter demurred. “But mother,” she said,” if you put the table in the dooryard, where will the men fight?”
One barn-raising in Hillier didn’t go quite as expected. The farmer, a newcomer to the area, provided the usual quantities of rum for the workers, but was surprised when not a drop was touched. When he asked about it he was told by his Quaker workforce that no rum would be consumed that day “as this is a Christian street”. To hammer the point home, they fastened a carved wooden sign to the side of the farmer’s new barn that said “Christian St.” and the road has been known by this name ever since.
Story reprinted with permission of Author Janet Kellough from her book “The Legendary Guide to Prince Edward County”.