A tribe known as the Shell Fish Eaters, later to become the Mi'kmaq Indians, were the first inhabitants of the Morell area. The story of Morell begins in 1719 when the Isle of St. Jean was granted to Count de St. Pierre, a nobleman of the French Court, by the King of France. The Count sent three ships under the command of Sir Daniel de Gotteville de Bellisle, who was to govern the island.
In 1720, Jean Francis Morel, a native of St. Malo France, where he was born in 1697, settled at the mouth of the river, and in 1739 married Marie Josephine Lagarenne. It is to commemorate this family that the village and the river bear the name of Morell.
In 1728 he started a fishing village at St. Pierre du Nord (St. Peter's Harbour), one mile north west of present day Morell. A road from Port La Joie (Charlottetown) to Pierre du Nord was built and called St. Peter's Road. According to a report by Lord Selkirk in 1803, this was the only road on Prince Edward Island at this time. Other French settlers began to make roots in the growing community attracted by the fertile soil and an abundance of fish and wildlife.
St. Peter's Harbour was the first commercial capital and center of activity. Building of 100 ton ships to transport fish to Europe and the West Indies, was carried on here. The community was now booming and housed twelve scallop boats, three schooners, two merchants, two masters, a black smith, and a medical doctor. The population reached one hundred and sixteen, but tragically, in 1738, a disastrous fire destroyed all settlements on the north shore including the tiny village. All fishing fleets were destroyed and thirteen pioneer settlers lost their lives in an attempt to save their homes. However, even after this tragic event, more settlers came and rebuilt the village.
By 1759, Morell was the capital of PEI and an active trading partner with France. In the years that followed, the agriculture industry greatly increased in the latter part of the eighteenth century and into the nineteenth century. Cattle were raised successfully, cheese and butter were made, and sheep raising was on the rise. The settlers were able to grow sufficient produce to load ships and sail them to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. They were attracted by religious tolerance and the economic possibilities this country had to offer.
The name Morel was adopted in Place of Names of PEI in 1925. It was changed to Morell (Village) in 1946. Morell was incorporated as a Village in 1953 and later changed to Community by the Municipalities Act in 1983.
Morell is a small rural community located on the North Shore of eastern Prince Edward Island in Kings County and covers a land mass of 1.27 sq. km. with a population of approximately three hundred and fifty families. Located forty kilometers east of Charlottetown on Highway 2, the community of Morell encompasses eleven other surrouding communities including: Bangor, Bristol, Green Meadows, Lakeside, Marie, Midgell, Morell East, West St. Peters, Red Head Harbour and St. Peters' Harbour. Morell is part of the Federal electoral district of Cardigan, and the provincial District Number 2, Morell-Fortune Bay.
Although Morell is made up of many diverse industries which offers many services to its community, the main industries are fishing and agriculture.
Both currently and historically, the fishing and fish processing industry is a major employer to the Morell area, with at least 3 processing plants and 3 aquaculture farms. Together, lobster and mussels make up 99% of the total value of landings at Red Head Harbour. Red Head accounted for 4.3% of the total value of landings in PEI in 1996.
Agriculture is an important economic activity in and around Morell. Due to confidentiality constraints, agriculture data is not available for the community alone. However, the farm activity for the wider area is as follows: total number of farms are 36, acres are 15,277, and the total farm capital (according the the 1996 census) was $29.5 million. Morell also offers other employment within the community and has roughly 31 year round businesses and 10 seasonal operations.
The village is very active with volunteers forming many community organizations. Recreation involves organized and recreational sports, a park and marina, one of the most scenic sections of The Confederation Trail, snowmobiling, and of course, seasonal sport fishing.
Tourism is also an important part of Morell. Vistors and area residents can obtain information on local accomodations and events from the staff at the Morell Welcome Centre. Open June through late September, the site also features two retail outlets. Contact Wendi Kraglund-Gauthier at wgauthier@PEI.sympatico.ca during off-season for space rental or tourism related information. Just outside the eastern boundry of Morell is Canada's only five star rated golf course, The Links at Crowbush Cove, site of the the 1997 Canadian Amateur Golf Championship and the 1998 Export A Skins Game. In 2001, a full service Rodd's Crowbush Resort opened, with a view of the Links and the ocean. Other scenic tourist attractions such as Greenwich, are just minutes away.