Samuel Prowse

Samuel Prowse (1835 - 1902)

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Hon. Samuel Prowse
Born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Islandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canadamap
Husband of — married in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canadamap
Descendants descendants
Died in Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island, Canadamap
Profile last modified | Created 20 Jun 2014
This page has been accessed 1,632 times.

Categories: Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island | Members of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island | Canadian Senators from Prince Edward Island | 52 Ancestors - 2018 Week 4 'Invite to Dinner' | 52 Ancestors - Cooper-7647.



Hon. Samuel Prowse (1835-1902) was a merchant and politician from Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island, Canada. He was a member of the PEI Legislative Assembly from 1867-1889. He was appointed to the Canadian Senate by Sir John A. MacDonald in 1889, where he served for 12 years until his death in 1902.

Early Life

Samuel Prowse was born on or about August 28, 1835[1] in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. He was the son of William Prowse and Agnes Rider, who emigrated from Devon, England between 1824 and 1828[2]. Samuel was educated in Charlottetown.

Marriage and family

On October 17, 1856, Samuel married Eliza Elizabeth Willis in Charlottetown.[3] They had two children in Charlottetown, Frederick in 1857 and Albert in 1858. In 1859, the family moved to Murray Harbour, PEI, where Samuel went into business. Samuel’s wife, Eliza, died soon after giving birth to a baby girl, Eliza Elizabeth, in Feb 1860. Tragically, the baby only lived for a few months, and Frederick died a couple of years later. [4]

Samuel Prowse then married his late wife’s older sister, Louisa Willis, on Feb. 4, 1861 in Charlottetown.[5] They had two children, William and Samuel Willis.

In 1875, Samuel had a substantial home constructed in Murray Harbour. It was built in the Second Empire style which was popular at the time. This house remains a prominent landmark in the village of Murray Harbour, and has been identified as one of Canada's Historic Places.[6]

Samuel Prowse House.


Samuel had started a business in Charlottetown with his brother (which brother? - Cooper-7647 16:37, 28 June 2014 (EDT)), but moved to Murray Harbour as he saw an opportunity to make money in the fishery.[7] In Murray Harbour, Samuel became a successful merchant, along with his fishing, farming, shipping and cabinetmaking enterprises. His son, Albert, became a partner in the business, Prowse & Son, around 1879. On January 1, 1884, his son William joined the partnership, which then became known as Prowse & Sons.[8] In addition to a General Store, Prowse & Sons exported dried fish, canned lobster and agricultural produce. The business included a starch factory, using local potatoes to produce starch, a lumberyard and a cannery, where employees made cans throughout the winter for use during the next canning season.[7]

Samuel was active in the Lobster Packers and Fishermen association. At a meeting on December 31, 1890, Hon. Senator Prowse was thanked for his “services in the interest of the packers and lobster fishermen of this Province in presenting our case to the Department at Ottawa, working indefatigably to have the Government recognize the reasonable demands of the packers and fishermen.” [9]

In addition to his business ventures, Samuel was a Director of the Merchants' Bank of Prince Edward Island.[10] In 1900, he owned 209 shares in the Bank, worth $6,780.88. His wife and sons also owned shares, for a total of 513 shares worth $16,643.94 [11]


In addition to his successful business ventures, Samuel entered politics in 1867, when we was elected as a Conservative to the PEI Legislative Assembly, representing 4th Kings. He was defeated in the 1873 election, then reelected in 1876, 1879, 1882 (defeated in the general election, elected in a bye-election the same year) and 1886. He was a Member of the Executive Council (Minister without Portfolio) from 1876 to 1878, and again from 1879 to 1889.[12]Samuel's son Albert followed in his father's footsteps and also represented 4th Kings in the Legislative Assembly.

Samuel was appointed to the Canadian Senate, as a Liberal-Conservative, on Sept 14, 1889 by Sir John A. MacDonald. He served in the Senate for 12 years and 4 months, until his death.[13]


Samuel died on January 14, 1902 and was buried in the Murray Harbour Old Cemetery.[4]


  1. As per 1901 Census. Some sources say August 23, 1835
  2. some sources say 1823, others say 1830. The earliest it could have been was 1824, as their son Joseph was born in 1824 in England. The latest it could have been was 1828, as William made a land petition in PEI in 1828, and their daughter Margaret was born that year, in PEI
  3. "Prince Edward Island, Church Records, 1777-1985," images, FamilySearch, Queens > Charlottetown > United Church of Canada Trinity United Church > Marriages 1836-1864 > image 31 of 37 - Line 291, Marriage of Samuel Prowse & Eliza Willis
  4. 4.0 4.1 I Dream of Genealogy, Edward Josey, "Murray Harbour Old Cemetery", database - Prowse
  5. "Prince Edward Island, Church Records, 1777-1985," images, FamilySearch, Queens > Charlottetown > United Church of Canada Trinity United Church > Marriages 1836-1864 > image 35 of 37 - Line 405, Marriage of Samuel Prowse & Louisa J. Willis
  6. Canada’s Historic Places – Samuel Prowse House, Murray Harbour, PEI
  7. 7.0 7.1 Island Narratives Program (CAP 615): Murray Harbour (Lot 64): The Prowse’s
  8. Vernon E. Hargrave, The Descendants of James Willis and Samuel M. Smith, 1980, pp. 10-13
  9. The Guardian, Charlottetown, December 31, 1890, Pg 2 – “Lobster Packers in Council”
  10. The Prince Edward Island Almanac and Miscellaneous Directory 1899 - Merchant Bank of PEI, Directors
  11. Island Register, Merchant Bank of PEI - List of shareholders, circa 1900
  12. Prince Edward Island Legislative Documents Online - Biography of Samuel Prowse
  13. Parliament of Canada – Hon. Samuel Prowse

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Memories: 1

On 22 Jan 2018 Leanne Cooper wrote:

I've written a blog post about Samuel Prowse for the 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks challenge. You can read it here:

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Samuel by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Samuel:

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Images: 8
Senator Samuel Prowse
Senator Samuel Prowse

Prowse & Son Balance Sheet
Prowse & Son Balance Sheet

Prowse & Sons, Jan 1, 1884
Prowse & Sons, Jan 1, 1884

Eliza and Samuel Prowse
Eliza and Samuel Prowse

Samuel Prowse - Gravestone
Samuel Prowse - Gravestone

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Samuel is 24 degrees from SJ Baty, 24 degrees from Orville Redenbacher and 20 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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