Thursday, January 16, 2020

New Glasgow c. 1960s

     We were into Bibles for Mission store the other day and got this great photo. We took it out of the frame and realized it was a calendar photo. Note the stooked grain in the foreground. The olde mill restaurant was beside the church and now across the road where the Olde Glasgow Mill Restaurant is today.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Webster's Mills of Marie

     I recently got a copy of the community history, Morell: Its History by the Jubilee Senior Citizens Club, 1980. I was interested to read the story about Webster's Mills of Marie - the following informations comes from Pages 46-48, written by Cuyler Dingwell.

     Edward Warrel Webster (b. 1810) was known as Edward the Miller. He married Henrietta Maria Bowley and, as a young man, established mills on the Marie River building a dam for power, possibly about the year 1835. The first lumber mill was powered by an overshot water wheel and used what is known as "up and down saws." The flour mill used stones to grind either barley or wheat into flour.
     The older sons of Edward Webster operated these mills with their father for some years; but on the death of Edward the Miller on Nov. 12, 1891, his son Robert R. Webster (1865-1956) took over their operation. Robert was married to Mary Dingwell (May) who was sister of my father, James E. Dingwell. They were the children of George H. Dingwell (postman), whose wife was Margaret Dingwell. Margaret, the daughter of Charles Dingwell and Mary Dingwell - nee Webster. She was the sister of Edward the Miller.
     After Robert took over the operation of the mills he did extensive renovations. With the lumber mill he put a modern gate type water wheel; also a rotary or circular saw and carriage; as well as adding a shingle mill. In the flour mill, the stones to be recut or sharpened at intervals. The last time this was done was by a man named MacLeod from Strathcona, who was a professional stone cutter. This information was told to me by Mr. Webster himself.
     About the year 1912, Robert bought a roller mill that had been built on the River John in Nova Scotia. he had it dismantled by a man in Nova Scotia, who re-erected it for Robert on the previous site of the flour mill, on the Marie River. Because the mill was new, the 35-horsepower water wheel did not have enough power to operate it successfully. So, R.R. as he was known, purchased a steam engine and boiler and had it installed in a shed on the side of the mill. Since it was fifty horsepower engine, it had plenty of power, but not everyone could fire the boiler properly, with the slabs from the saw mill.  I have been told that a young lad by the name of Douglas Sanderson was the only one who could do this adequately. Doug, as he is called, now lives in Cable Head. The mill operated by steam for a few years; as it became older and worn, needing less power, it was then operated by water power for it's duration.
     As well as milling, Robert Webster made brick. The last kiln of brick was moulded by Alan MacDonald, one of the "strong MacDonalds." The clay for the brick was dug just west of the mills in a field - the hollow can still be seen to this day. I cannot recall the exact number of bricks Mr. Webster told me was in the kiln, but it was up in the thousands. The bricks were baked or burned right on the site, using hardwood for fuel.
     After the war of 1914-1918, Robert's son William (1896-1969), took over the operation of the saw mills. Later, about 1930, when Robert retired from milling and moved to Midgell, Wilbur, who was married to the former Ida Jay took over the operation of the flour mills and operated them until the early 1940's. At this time, because of a failure in the wheat crops and other reasons, the flour mill never started again. Wilbur continued to operate the saw mill on a part-time basis until failing health forced his retirement in the 1960's. Somewhere around 1965, the Dept. of Highways built a new dam up stream from the old dam and put a bypass in for the fish to go from river to dam and vice-versa. About this time Wilbur's son, Garth, operated the saw mill part-time for a few years, using a gasoline engine for power. Today (1980), what was once Webster's Mills, is just a pile of rubble in the stream of Marie River.
     Part of this story are from tales my father remembered as told to me; other parts were told to me by Robert R. Webster, whom always called Uncle Rob since his wife was my Aunt May, a very dear old lady whom I will never forget. Other part are memories of my own.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Former Cutcliffe house demolished

   The former Frank and Winnifred (McDowell) Cutcliffe home at Fredericton corner was demolished on Thanksgiving Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. A young couple had purchased it a few years ago and during Hurricane Dorian it sustained too much damage. 
   The photo below was taken in the summer of 2007.

   When the Cutcliffe house was built it was the largest in the community. Frank Cutcliffe had a store between the house and the Malpeque Road (Rte.2). They were successful merchants. After the Cutcliffe's the store was operated by Martin Jorgensen and at one time the store was an antique shop.
   On Nov. 7, 1935 the Guardian newspaper report, "The members of the Pleasant Valley United Church Women (UCW) held a very successful chicken supper at the spacious home of Mr. & Mrs. Frank Cutcliffe. The ladies served supper to about 170 people. An enjoyable social evening was spent in music and games. A substantial sum was realized for the church. A hearty vote of thanks was tendered to Mr. & Mrs. Cutcliffe for their hospitality."
   In the late 1960s or early 1970s the house was bought by two couples, one by the name of Pryor from Quebec and was turned into an inn. It was famously known as the Seven-Keys Inn. The end of the house facing the road featured seven large wood keys fanned out. The seven rooms for rent were decorated differently in styles from around the world.
    Over the years many different people lived in this house. 

    The following photos were taken in the summer of 2007 when Route-2 Highway in Hunter River was widened. In the photo below the former Cutcliffe house is on the left and across the street, Fredericton Station Rd., was the old Howard Weeks home. Howard was a master carpenter and built many houses in the area in the early 1900s. The Malpeque Rd. (Rte. 2) is at the bottom of the photo. 

   That summer of 2007 many, many buildings in Fredericton along Rte. 2 highway were torn down or moved - it surely changed the look and feel of the community.
   Below the beige house was the first Fredericton School turned into a house where Whitfield and Daisy Abbott lived. To the right was the old Fredericton Hall.
Below was the Church of Christ, also torn down that summer of 2007.
   Below was the last Fredericton School converted to a house. It belonged to the MacKenzie's who moved it to the Smith Road in Pleasant Valley to a vacant lot once owned by Willa Smith.
  Below, way back the driveway was the farm of Miller and Francis (McDowell) Stevenson. The house at the top of the driveway was the former Church of Christ manse where Miller and Francis lived and their son and daughter-in-law lived in the old house. The old house was torn down to make way for a new house and the bungalow was moved to Hazel Grove. 
  Below was the old feed mill originally owned and operated by the Cutcliffe's. In later years it was owned by the MacKenzie's. It too was torn down.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Miminegash United Church closed

     I was sad to learn the last service was held in the little Miminegash United Church in early July 2019. The church is located on Route 14 in St. Lawrence in western PEI. This little church was part of the Alberton-Elmsdale Pastoral Charge.
     Though it might seem insignificant, the church had a very interesting history as outlined in a 20-page booklet celebrating their 100th anniversary in the summer of 1981.
     Below are photos I took of the church last week.
     Below is the anniversary booklet I scanned so the history may be shared.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Old Forsyth Homestead destroyed

     The old Forsyth homestead at 187 Dock Road in the community Union (between Elmsdale and Alberton) was destroyed in April 2019 by a "control burn" by the local fire department.
     I took these photos on Apr. 11, 2004 from the road before the leaves came onto the trees - the house was quite a distance from the road.
     The 1880 Meacham's Atlas of PEI shows John Forsyth Jr. living here with 104-acres.
     The 1928 Cummin's Atlas of PEI shows John W. Forsyth living here with a bit more acreage. It notes his wife, Martha Minnetta Hodgson and their four daughters: Margaret, Jean, Mary and Dorothy. (Margaret never married; Jean married Lloyd Wilkie; Mary married Russell Lockerby; and Dorothy married Leslie Hardy).
     The last person to live in this house was Margaret Forsyth. I believe she passed away in the mid-1980s. She was the secretary for the Town of Alberton for many years. No one lived here following her passing. The contents of this house were sold. By chance I found a box of 1940's Christmas cards at Riverview Antiques and bought them.   
     This house displays two eras in architectural periods and style. The original house is the kitchen wing (left) to the rear of the main house (right) and was built in the "center-dormer style" in the 1850s. The main part of the house was built later, possibly around 1900 when a new generation might have taken over the homestead.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Since 1873 the Province has lost scores of...

     It's interesting to read the lament of a Guardian correspondent 91 years ago about the loss of old buildings.

     Since 1873 the Province has lost scores of carriage-building shops and saw and grist mills, also scores of carriage-buildings, carpentering and blacksmith shops and its only woollen factory. Cutting away limited forests has made us more and more dependent upon imported coal for fuel. And we have lost our luscious and once world-famous Malpeque oysters. On the other hand we have gained a silver fox-breeding and fur-farming industry of great value, the benefits of which we are now shared by many nations.” -The Charlottetown Guardian, June 30, 1928 (

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Leard's 1888 Grist Mill

It's great to drive by Leard's Mill and see it restored. Here are a few recent photos.  The open house we held in mid October 2018 saw over 300 people come through in three hours.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018



LEARD'S MILL OPEN HOUSE, Sunday, Oct. 14th, 1-4pm.  Receipts given for donations of $20 and more.
Photo: Eric McCarthy, Journal Pioneer, Oct. 3, 2018

Monday, June 11, 2018

Reeves House, South Freetown to be demolished today

      I was notified by Jean last evening that this house was to be demolished today.  It was listed on for anyone to take windows, etc. 
     I drove by last evening and again this morning and took a few distant photos.  
     This is an impressive 3-1/2 storey farm house with an attached carriage house on a rise of land on the Nodd Road in South Freetown.  It was built by David Reeves 170 years ago.  David (1829-1912) married in 1858 to Margaret McCallum Cole (1839-1895) of Bedeque.  They had 12 children: Azzur, Hubert, Herbert, Esther, Duncan, Andrew, John, Janie, Wallace, Henry, Ada and Horatio.
     The photo below is from the ad referenced above.
     Below: map from Meacham's 1880 Atlas of PEI shows David Reeves with 396-Acres.  
Below: map from Cumin's 1928 Atlas of PEI shows this house belonging to Mrs. Picton Reeves (her husband Picton died in 1922) with 296-Acres and 100-Acres to the right belonging to her brother-in-law Hubert Reeves.  The also Atlas notes Mrs. Reeves having the following children: Margaret, Elmar, Preston and Elworth.

       Today this dairy farm is called "Blue Diamond Holsteins" with a newer home out front.

I took these photos last evening.
I took these photos this morning - that's an impressive tree in front of the house.

October 26, 1912 – The Charlottetown Guardian
     On Thursday, October 17th at Freetown there passed away one of the oldest residents in the person of David Reeves, at the good age of eighty-three years, after an illness of a few weeks caused by the general breaking up of the system.  The deceased was an honourable and upright man in all his dealing and acquired a good share of this worlds goods. 
     He leaves the following children to cherish his memory of a hind and affectionate father: - Janie and Horatio, Claremont, N.H.; Mrs. Joseph Webster, Imperial, Sask. (who arrived home shortly before her father’s death).  Davis of Seattle, Wash.; Herbert of Victoria West; Duncan of Norboro; Esther, and Hubert of Freetown and Picton at home.  The funeral on Saturday was largely attended, service was conducted at the house and grave by Rev. Mr. Morris, Kensington.  The remains were laid to rest in the Methodist Cemetery, Birch Grove, beside those of his wife, who predeceased him some years ago.  The pall bearers were – John Walker, Caleb Taylor, William Deighan, Joseph Baker, John Power, and Patrick Kielly.