"John Selwyn was a fine, handsome young fellow."
—Captain Jim about John Selwyn[src]

John Selwyn was a schoolmaster in Four Winds during the 1830s, the husband of Persis Leigh and the builder of the House of Dreams.


Early lifeEdit

John Selwyn was born in 1804 in England, United Kingdom. He decided to continue with his studies in order to become a teacher. At some point of his life in England, he met his future wife, Persis Leigh, and fell in love with her. In 1830, John went for a job to Prince Edward Island because there weren't many teachers those days.

"Most of them were clever, drunken critters who taught the children the three R's when they were sober, and lambasted them when they wasn't."
James Boyd

Life in Four WindsEdit

John boarded with the Boyd family and befriended the 16-year-old boy named Jim, who was ten years younger. They used to talk, walk, and read together. John knew a great deal of poetry and he often quoted it to Jim in the evenings.

In the spring of 1831, John told Jim about his sweetheart and his desire to build her a house. Carpenter Johnson was to be the builder and he finished his job on July 1, 1831. Persis left England on June 20, 1831 and it was estimated that her ship would arrive at Four Winds in the middle of July.

Persis's ship was late. It was more than seven weeks overdue and there was no word of it. By mid September everybody in Four Winds thought that she would not come. Thanks to his special gift/curse he had inherited from his great-great-grandmother, he knew that Persis was all right and she would arrive in the next morning.

"I've seen the Royal William coming around East Point. She will be here by dawn. Tomorrow night I shall sit with my bride by my own hearth-fire."
—John Selwyn about his vision.

When Persis came on land, he took her into his arms and people started to cry. John and Persis were married at the Boyds' house that night at early candle-lighting; everybody from far and near was there to see it.

One year later, Persis gave birth to their only child, Alice. She was born in the House of Dreams and became the first child who was born there.

Later lifeEdit

The Selwyn family moved to Charlottetown in 1846, fifteen years after Persis' arrival. John's wife died in 1860 and most likely he followed her a few years later.


John was a fine man. He was held in high esteem by James Boyd, as told sixty years later. John was very poetical - it is probable that his love for poetry and all things beautiful such as that was passed on to his grandson, Owen.

John had a gift or curse - he never knew which - that he had inherited from his great-great-grandmother. A witch, she had been burned at the stake for that very reason in old-century England. John often had visions - he saw his bride, on board the Royal William... and many more. John lost countless friends, dearer even than Jim due to this reason. Few believed him apart from Jim Boyd, and later, Anne Shirley.

Physical appearanceEdit


John is male given name of Hebrew origin and means God is gracious.


Book appearances

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