A severe rainstorm on Friday, March 16, 1890 contributed to brooks and streams across the province becoming rushing torrents of turbid water. Bradshaw’s Creek and the Dunk River at Bedeque looked like large muddy lakes with tops of haystacks on the marshes protruding from the water. The “Old Mill Bridge” or the Dunk River Bridge which joins Lower Freetown to Bedeque had water flowing over the top of the bridge. A small bridge near William Taylors at Lower Freetown was badly undermined by the flooding water. Warren’s Mill Dam at Norboro was also in a dangerous condition and was nearly all washed away.
A bridge on the Melville Road on the Desable River was carried away by the torrents of water. Dr. Johnson of Emerald was driving along the road in Melville on March 17th and noticed water flowing over the bridge, but he didn’t realize the bridge underneath the water was gone. He soon found himself struggling for his life in 6 metres of water. Fortunately, he was able to hang onto the reins of his horse which dragged him safely to dry land. He was fully attired with overcoats and unable to swim so it was thought the horse saved his life.
A dam at the mills in BayView was partially carried away during the freshet but was quickly repaired and the mill resumed operation within a few days.
Precipitation records for a meteorological station in downtown Charlottetown show that between March 12th and March 17th, 1900 a total of 50 mm of rain and 12.7 cm of snow fell. Added to this was the snow melt water from the watershed areas upstream of all these bridge locations resulting in the heavy flooding.
Sources: Guardian, March 21, 1900; Environment Canada Historical Climate Data;