Nature Trail ~ Joe Tuplin

The story of Joe Tuplin will never be forgotten in Lennox Island culture. One day in 1890, two women from Lennox Island went selling baskets in Summerside, PEI. At one house, the women were offered a baby who had been born to an unwed mother. That child was Joe Tuplin. The Lennox Island women took the boy and brought him up here. Raised in our close-knit and fairly isolated community, Joe took on the Mi’kmaq language and spoke it fluently as his first language.

He grew up to become a much respected and active member of the Lennox Island community and married a girl from Lennox Island named Mary Ann Snake (the Snake name later became Peters). He and Mary Ann raised seven children.

Joe went away to fight in WWI, where he remained for the duration of the war. He was wounded and retuned home to run his farm. His wife Mary Ann died in 1933, while only in her thirties, and many of their children went to the residential school in Schubenacadie, Nova Scotia.

Joe married again. This time to Sarah Mitchell, another Lennox Island woman, and together they raised five children. Joe continued to be a successful and hard-working farmer until 1939, when he again went to fight in the war, this time as a guard in a WWII prisoner of war camp. After the war he returned to his farm.

In 1951, after living on Lennox Island for 64 years, an amendment to the Indian Act meant that Joe was considered a non-aboriginal and he was forced to leave Lennox Island. He moved first to Rocky Point, PEI and later to Lower Montague where he spent the rest of his years with his wife. Joe died in 1983 at the age of 93.

Joe is still remembered as a kind, generous and hard-working man who served in both World Wars. On many occasions, he took produce from his farm to those who were going through hard times. The Mi’kmaq speakers remember Joe as a man who spoke eloquently and possessed many fine old words in his Mi’kmaq vocabulary. He was a man proud of his Mi’kmaq upbringing, his community and his family. Likewise, we’re proud to have him as part of our island’s story.