Wednesday, July 25, 2012

MacDonald House, Georgetown - family donates

     This article appeared on today's Guardian Newspaper website.
Macdonald House has stood in Georgetown since 1835, and has always stayed in the family. (The Canadian Register of Historic Place)

A prominent P.E.I. family has donated a large sum of photos and diaries to the provincial archives.
The Macdonald family, originating in Scotland, moved to Panmure Island, and then to Georgetown.
There are saved diaries and photos from the mid-1800s which will be sorted and archived.
Colin Macdonald bought the land on which the home stands in 1833. The house was built for his brother, Hugh Macdonald.
In his will, Macdonald left the residence to his three nephews, the sons of Hugh Macdonald, according to The Canadian Register of Historic Places.
They were Andrew Archibald, Archibald John, and Austin Colin. All of them would go on to work in politics.
Andrew Archibald Macdonald was one of the fathers of confederation and a former lieutenant governor.
Archibald John MacDonald was also an MLA, and looked after the family store.
Isabelle Macdonald, one of the first settlers to the Island, is also an ancestor.
The original 1835 home still stands on Water Street in Georgetown, and still serves as a family home - often being passed down to female relatives.
The home was always used as a residence except for a time when a bank was located on the main floor in what is now the living room.

Piece of history

Kathleen Shouldice, 94, and her sister Constance donated the goods.
“It's interesting to be able to get so many branches of the family and have that material come together," said Jill MacMicken Wilson, an archivist for the province.
The family's Macdonald store in Georgetown kept a diary for 40 years. One entry is from 1917, the year Shouldice was born, and she says she was surprised when she was mentioned by name.
“I never thought anyone would be worried about my baptism,” she said chuckling.
Tourism Minister Rob Henderson was there to see the documents, and thank the family for their contribution to the Island's history.
"It's a very rare occasion to be able to get so many artifacts about the history, about Prince Edward Island, from that period of time," Henderson said.
The artifacts being donated today will be archived, but P.E.I. still doesn't have a provincial museum — something it promised four years ago.
"We are advocating for it, but at this particular time we haven't been able to find the resources that would fund such a facility," said Henderson.
In the meantime, the artifacts will be housed in the Coles building, and will be made available to the public.
The province was hoping it might be able to secure federal funding through the 150th celebration of the Charlottetown conference, but that hasn't happened yet.

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