Monday, November 4, 2013

Former Alley-Myrick Summer Home burned at Halloween

     The previous Post in this Blog tells about the Halloween fire at the former Davis Lodge at Tignish.  The lodge/house was located on the corner of the Route. 12 (shore road) and the Christopher /Tignish Shore Road.   The house was close to the bridge that crossed the Big Tignish River. 
     This was built as a summer home by John Alley and later given to James II & Sybil Myrick.
     Below are photos from The Myricks of Tignish book with the exception of Eric McCarthy's photo of Nov. 1st and the PEI Gov't website 1935 map.
Above: an early photo of the Alley-Myrick Summer Home, Tignish.
"In 1913 Uncle John Alley gave James Howe Myrick II and his wife Sybil Stone (married in 1911) this house as a wedding gift".  The stairs were built of birds-eye maple.
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     Below: the November 1, 2013 fire completely destroyed the new addition. - you can see the original house left standing.  Note the open porches had been filled-in, the gable double window with diamond pattern still remained along with the large chimney.  The entire building was knocked-down later that day.
Above Photo by Eric McCarthy. Journal-Pioneer Newspaper.  November 1, 2013.
The Myricks of Tignish
     The story of the Myrick's family is told in a book published in 1995 by Carolyn Myrick titled, The Myricks of Tignish: 1853-1969.  Below are excerpts from the book starting with the Preface...
     "Have you ever built a grand sand castle at the beach only to have it washed away at high tide?  In the century from 1850 to 1950 at the Myrick shore in Tignish a whole business community was prospering.  Twenty-one separate buildings existed where people who lived at the Shore worked and came to depend on the store, fishing, and the canning enterprise.  There were other Myrick activities around the island, but all are gone now, like a sandcastle.  But have you ever seen initials carved in a tree trunk with an old date?  The initials and the date remain as the tree grows.  So has the Myrick influence endured while the Island has grown around it.  In the early 1930s John B. Myrick was finding business at the store slipping because of competition and he saw that the fishermen needed income other than fishing.  He developed the Irish Moss industry, which is bringing prosperity to much of the West Prince area today.  Ever since I married Roger Myrick I have heard that there should be a book written about the Myricks. As the other family members died those of us left realized if it was ever to be done it should be now...After Sybl Myrick died we had her diaries, but almost ten years passed after her death before I could bring myself to read them.  Then I started in earnest and each summer while we were at the Island I did research at the Archives in Charlottetown.  The diaries have been most helpful through the years..."  Carolyn E. Myrick.  Page 11
    "Why is it called Number Three?"  I asked Rog.  "In the days when they first had telephones my Uncle Joh rigged up lines from the store at the Shore, the Tignish station store, our house, his house, Grandfather's, and Mr. McFadgen's, the Tignish store manager.  Their house was up beyond Uncle John's, down a long driveway.  Each place had a different number of rings.  The Tignish Shore store had one, the store at Tignish station two, Grandfather's three, McFadgen's four, Uncle John's fire, and our house six."  Page 15-16
Number 3
     "Number 3 was the three-storey house Merrill had built himself when he was first married in 1884.  When he built it, he told Rog, there was an open field between the house and Tignish center, so that he could sight from the foundation of the house ot Tignish church of St. Simon and St. Jude.  Rog's parents had lived on the third floor of Number 3 when they were first married.  After Rog was born they moved next door to number 6, a summer house, built by his grandfather's brother-in-law ((the Alley's)).  In 1883 the bark "Minnie Gordon" had blown ashore at North Cape loaded with lumber for England.  Rog's grandfather bought the cargo from the owner and used the lumber for building the house.  The masts and spars were of beautiful hard pine and he used them for the floor and mantelpieces.  Two large anchors from this ship were at the Shore for years.  in the Dining room stood a large table, which would seat sixteen when the five leaves were added.  Rog remembered as a child there were always interesting things around the dining room, such as birds' nests and cocoons.  Rog's grandmother was his teacher for several years.  In the large living room was a partner's desk with drawers on both sides, so that Merrill and his wife, Bessie, could work at it at the same time.  The windows had window seats, one of which contained toys for visiting children.  There was a large fireplace, well used.  The house had a coal furnace.  Upstairs were three bedrooms and bathroom.  On the third floor were three more bedrooms, one where the maids stayed, and one where Rog's folks had lived before they inherited the house next door, now David Lodge, from the Alleys. ( The Alleys were Jay's aunt and uncle, and this house was a wedding gift from them).  The third room was a spare room.  The bathroom had a tub made of sheet metal enclosed in wood.  The water had to be pumped up to a tank on the third floor.  A cistern in the ground outside the house held rain water, especially useful in the summer during dry periods.  Barrels stood at the downspouts to catch more rain water."  Pages 16-17.
     "James Howe Myrick married Mary Converse in 1854 in Dorchester, Massachusetts, where the Myricks lived in the winter.  They came down summers and stayed near the trading post at Conroy's, until they built what was known as the "Wigwam", because "they lived like Indians", Mary said.  The Wigwam was south of the group of buildings known as Myrick Shore. Page 23.
     "When Alice Bradford Hall used to go to PEI by train in the early 1900s she remembers that the kerosene lamps in the train would sway.  When she arrived at the Wigwam in Tignish her grandmother and Aunt Alice would have every window lit with candles, and even if it were 2:00 A.M., Aunt Alice would offer the weary travellers thin sugar cookies from a tine in the closet under the stairs."  Page 41.
     "Grandmother put fishnets with glass floats over the ceiling, probably to cover the cracks.  When it rained the girls ran around putting  long "snakes" made of turkey red cloth, filled with sand, in the window ledge to keep out the rain and cold.  It was very exposed there.  When the northern lights or a particular planet were visible in the sky the children would be awakened to see them, as their mother had been awakened before them."  Page 65.
Below a couple of photos from the book.
     "...The original store had been built about 1858.  Around it sprung up twenty-one building for various purposes, as ice house, can shop, blacksmith shop, bakery, boat shed, granary, and factory.  A wharf had been built with a railroad on it with horse-drawn cars to facilitate imports and exports.  Hides, canned lobsters, grain, salt fish, potatoes, and canned meats were amount the products shipped out.  The cookhouse held more than one hundred people, for that many local people were employed seasonally, and most received three meals a day.  There was a large barn built in 1911 and town down in 1982.  All these buildings are gone now, existing only in pictures and memory."  Page 22.
Below is the 1935 Aerial Photo from
     The Davis Lodge / Alley-Myrick House is located in the clearing at the upper right road intersection at the top of the map.  You can see the bridge over the Big Tignish River.   The Village of Tignish is at the middle bottom of the map.  North is towards the lower left of the map.

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