Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Temperance Hall, Alberton

     The old Temperance Hall on 107 Dufferin Street in Alberton was converted into 4 apartments in 1957 by local businessman J.W. Don Campbell's.  When I was a child my grandmother Annie Jane (Cannon) Jeffery and my great-aunt Bessie (Nichols) Jeffery lived here together on the main floor north apartment  - that was in the mid 1960's.  I remember my father leaving me here with them when he went over to Western Hospital to see my mother following the birth of my 3rd brother Kerras.  At that age we were always with our parents especially after dark - so that evening my father dropped me off for them to look after me, as in those day, children under 12 were not allowed to visit in the hospital.  My grandmother and great aunt had no electricity - i still vividly remember looking at the oil lamp and thinking how strange it was as we had electricity and lights at home in Alma.  That was about April 9th, 1966 - I was 4-1/2 years old.
     The Temperance Hall was originally built at the corner of Dufferin and Church streets sometime around 1859 - it was moved to this location in 1914 when Hon. Benj. Rogers built a new house at the corner.  The Alberton Pioneer was published from here between 1876-1879 then it moved to Montague due to the outbreak of the smallpox epidemic and people were afraid to read the newspaper - later the newspaper moved to Summerside and is today known as the Journal-Pioneer.  ( information cf. Alberton and Area: A Pictorial Experience Through Time, pg.62 )

Below are my photos from a few weeks ago.  
 Above: The old Temperance Hall - southeast view - left side faces towards Church Street.
     Above: Gable Window on South side - none on north side.

     The following are excerpts from Rev. R.W. Dyer's Journals where he references the Temperance Hall and some of the goings-on there.

September 11, 1859 ( Rev. Dyer has been in western PEI for about 2 weeks )           "Sabbath Day".  After family prayer I baptised 3 children, 2 boys and one little girl, all belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Caie.  They have been waiting a long time to get them baptised by a minister of the Church of England.  This being done, they got their large room ready for Divine Service, and about 11 o'clock, the canencial hour for prayer, all the church people came.  Some of them came 5 miles, others were nearer.  Besides these there were many Presbyterians.  I preached from Chapter 2 of Col. verse 6.  They were all very attentive and, I hope, edified.  This is the first service performed by a clergyman of the Episcopal Church for some years past.  The people are delighted to have a dear Minister of their own amoung them.  They are indeed thankful to the Society and the dear Bishop for sending them one.  I have found as yet amoung all persons here unbounded kindness. Service being over, I hastened to take some dinner, and then posted off to Cascumpec, distance 10 miles, to conduct Service in the Temperance Hall (for they have yet no church).  We commenced about 4 o'clock.  I was glad to preach to such a large assembly for the place ‑ 160 ‑ though I could not reckon on all these, not a quarter of them as Episcopalians.  Yet I could safely reckon on these sinners standing in need of a Saviour, and therefore I offered the Saviour to them all, assuring them that if they came to him, He would in no wise cast them out.  I was glad to see many of the American fishermen present.  God grant that the word spoken by the mouth of His servant may be like bread cast upon the waters, seen after many days.     

December 25, 1859
Christmas Day.  Tremendously cold, blowing and drifting.  Went to the Temperance Hall, found no one there.  Set for some time till about 12 o'clock when a few, about 9, came, 2 of whom were females, Mrs. Fife and Mrs. Woodman.  Mrs. W. fainted away soon after she came in.  We sang the song of the Angles, "While shepherds."  and then had the morning prayers and lessons for the day, but no sermon.  Too cold to go to the village.  Had service at home in the afternoon with my own family.

July 21, 1861
Preached at Kildare Bridge this morning.  Had a very large congregation.  Returned to the Cross, preached at the Hall.  I am happy to report that the Sunday School which has been established in the Temperance Hall increases and goes on very pleasingly.  May the Lord bless the labour of the teachers.

March 10, 1864
Took tea this evening at Mr. Thomas D.'s and went to the Temperance Hall to a Lecture on the South by a Mr. Currie.  Doctor Young, in the Chair, who called on me to open the meeting by prayer.  Present, about 450.  There was  a great deal of discussion.

February 12, 1865
Preached at the Hall this morning, had a good congregation.  I preached form the 24th Chapter of Acts: Paul reasoned with Felix on temperance; the sermon was all on temperance.  The people, I think, liked it.  Went to the Village in the afternoon; Jane Weeks went with me.  We had a nice congregation.  Mr. and Mrs. Gorrell not present, Mrs. G. is sick.  

July 6, 1865
Attended the Bazaar in the Temperance Hall; it was a splendid sight.  It was well attended and passed off in the evening by a band of music.

October 19, 1874
In the evening we had an Entertainment at the Temperance Hall, Alberton.  I was chairman and I gave an address to the audience, to about 170 persons. It was a complete success and realized about $16.  Which sum is to be appropriate to lamps for our church.  It was very interesting, on the whole.  Persons who take part in the Entertainment were: Mrs. Stewart, Miss Hallett, Harris, the 2 Misses Fielding, the 2 Dyers, Doctor Stewart and G. Montgomery; it went off very well.

January 31, 1877
Went to call to see the child.  He is no better.  Paid a few visits today at Alberton.  Had quite a little party this afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Carr and baby Mr. Lucas, Mr. & Mrs. Joe Dyer and Elora William and the 2 Misses Humphreys.  Had quite a lively afternoon.  Had some singing and music.  Went to the License Meeting of .....  The Temperance men gained the day.  They had a majority of 8 or 10 thank God.  May the Temperance Cause prosper.  I voted and so did Mr. Carr and Mr. Lucas.

February 1, 1877
Called to see the sick child this afternoon.  Had prayers in the house present Mrs. Smallman mother and Captain Hubbard.  Captain Hubbard has cut his foot badly.  Called at another place or two and had came home.  Roads bad for walking.  Sent my last part of my Report for 1876 on Monday last the 29th ulto.  I hope that it will get home safely.  There is a Caucas meeting tonight at Mr. Rogers’ to consider the Temperance Cause to try to put down all the Taverns.  I am too tired to go.  They won’t expect me.

February 2, 1877
Champion, B., and Alden Clark round getting petitions signed to put a stop of any of the Tavern Keepers to renew their Licenses when out.  It is signed by nearly 80 which is more than 2/3 of the District.  I signed all 4 Whites, Gladneys, Tuplins, Wallaces.  A good work I hope that all Liquor Trade will be stopped at any rate it will be checked.  

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