Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Green House, Alberton

     Below is the former home of Arthur and Alice (Gordon) Green, located at 398 Main Street in Alberton.  The house was recently purchased by the Week's family and nicely restored.
     Arthur was a tailor and coal dealer in Alberton.  Alice was a nurse.  In her early life she lived in western Canada where she did missionary work.  When her mother took ill she returned to Alberton and later married Arthur.  She helped him with his businesses and continued to operate them a decade past his death in 1959.  When the Maplewood Manor opened in 1968 she returned to nursing as a supervisor at the manor.  
     Today Alice is more famously known in the area as being the main writer of the book, "Footprints in the Sands of Time: A History of Alberton" with the Alberton Historical Society in 1980.  She died months after finishing the book in September 1980.     
Here's more information about Alice from the Archives Council of P.E.I.
           Alice C. Green was born in 1908 to George Campbell Gordon and Lucy A. Hunter. She had one brother named John. The family lived in Huntley, two miles from Alberton, Prince Edward Island. George died in 1916, leaving Lucy to raise their two children and run the family farm. She sold the property in 1926 and moved with Alice and John to Alberton.
            Alice graduated from the Prince County Hospital School of Nursing in 1931. She worked as a private nurse for a few years before returning to high school for one year to upgrade from Grade 10 to Grade 12. After deciding to enter missionary work, Alice spent a year in Toronto at the United Church Training School. Her first appointment was in Ethelbert, Manitoba where she served on staff at a small mission hospital working with young people in the Ukrainian Canadian community. Her next appointment was in Gypsumville, about 160 miles north of Winnipeg. During her two years at Gypsumville, Alice was in charge of a nursing hospital located fifty-six miles from a doctor and seventy miles from a hospital. In addition to her work as a nurse, Alice kept house, conducted church and funeral services, sometimes performed the duties of an undertaker, visited people's homes, participated in community activities, and kept up correspondence with the men and women from the Gypsumville community who were in the Armed Services during World War II.
            ‘When her mother fell ill, Alice left her post at Gypsumville to return home to PEI. Lucy recovered but lost her sight as a result of her illness and Alice remained in Alberton to care for her. On 26 August 1948, Alice married Arthur C. Green, a tailor and coal dealer in Alberton. This was Arthur's second marriage and Alice gained three stepchildren: Alvah, Charles T. and Arthur F.
            Arthur's health began to fail shortly after his marriage to Alice. Alice helped him with his coal business until his death in 1959 at which point she took over running the business. She continued to deal in coal until 1967. In early 1968 she returned to nursing, working as a supervisor at the Maplewood Manor.
            Alice was an active member of her church and community. She was the first woman elected to the Session of Alberton Congregation of the United Church of Canada and served as clerk for at least sixteen years. She was president of the Women's Missionary Society (WMS) for ten years and was also an active member of the United Church Women organization. She served as a voluntary part-time secretary for the Pastoral Charge. Alice also represented the Alberton congregation at the Presbytery and Conference and served as Statistical Secretary for the PEI Presbytery.
            Alice was an active member of the Alberton Women's Institute and Red Cross Society. She served as president of the Women's Institute in 1948-1950, 1955-1957, 1967-1970, and 1975-1977. She acted as secretary 1962-1964 and associate secretary 1970-71. Alice and Olive Wilkie also compiled a history of the Alberton Women's Institute entitled "Alberton Women's Institute: The First Fifty Years, 1927-1977". In 1949 Alice was appointed Red Cross Convener, a post she held continually for almost twenty years. In 1953, "Mrs. Red Cross", as she was called, initiated the Red Cross Swimming and Safety Classes, sponsored by the Alberton Women's Institute. Alice was a key player in establishing the Red Cross Blood Donor Clinic, the Mobile X-ray Clinic, and the Loan Cupboard in the Alberton area. In 1954 the Red Cross Disaster Service was organized in Alberton and Alice acted as chairman for a number of years. She was awarded a Red Cross Service Medal for her outstanding contributions over the years. In 1962 Alice introduced the United Fund to the Alberton area and chaired the campaign for four or five years. She was also president of the Alberton branch of the Association of Retarded Children.
            In addition to her many volunteer activities, Alice distinguished herself as a local writer and historian. In 1950 she began working as a Guardian correspondent. In 1974, she published "An Historical Sketch of the Prince County Exhibition at Alberton". She was also the main author of "Footprints on the Sands of Time: A History of Alberton" (1980).

            Alice died 28 September 1980 at the West Hospital in Alberton, just months after finishing her "History of Alberton".

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"The most beautiful church property on PEI"- Journal-Pioneer St. Patrick's Parish, Grand River celebrates 175th Anniversary

     The following article appeared in the Journal-Pioneer on May 22, 2014 -
GRAND RIVER -- A special Mass at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Grand River this Sunday, May 25, will celebrate the church’s 175th anniversary. Bishop Richard Grecco will preside over the 2 p.m. Mass with parish priest Fr. Albin Arsenault.
Journal-Pioneer Staff. May 22, 2014
            Often referred to as one of the most beautiful church properties in Prince Edward Island, St. Patrick’s was built on a hill overlooking the Grand River.
            According to an article by Rev. J.B. Reilly in the Sacred Heart Messenger in December, 1947, the Grand River church has the distinction of being the first church in Canada to be dedicated to St. Patrick.
            “This honor belongs to Grand River, PEI where in 1790, a band of immigrants from the highlands of Scotland, mainly the Islands of Barra, erected a log church to accommodate 20 families, dedicated to the Apostle of Aire,” he wrote.
            While the parish dates back to the 1790s, construction of the present church was started in 1836 with the actual dedication of the church to St. Patrick occurring on March 17, 1839. In 1890, William Critchlow Harris, designed the present church, which is constructed around the original church.
            Doug MacDougall, Chair of the parish’s heritage committee, noted that while St. Patrick’s is a small parish with just over 50 families, there is a tremendous outpouring of support as the church is a focal point of the community. “There is a great sense of community and parish spirit associated with the church,” he revealed.  Since 1993, there have been ongoing projects to restore and embellish some of the historic architecture of the church. Recently, the interior was painted and hard wood floors restored in the sanctuary.
            Common surnames in the parish over the generations have included Gillis, McIntyre, McLellan, Cameron, McDonald, Brown, MacKinnon. Praught, MacDougall, Trainor and McGuire.
            Following the anniversary Mass, there will be a brief ceremony in the Pioneer Cemetery, followed by fellowship in the parish hall. Parishioners, former parishioners and all interested people are welcome.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

St. Patrick's Parish Grand River celebrates 175th Anniversary

     The photo below appears on the front page of the Journal-Pioneer newspaper today.  
     The image is timely - in three days, on Sunday May 25th, St. Patrick's Parish will celebrate the 175th Anniversary of their historic church with a Mass at 2pm.  Bishop Richard Grecco will be the Main Celebrant.
PICTURE PERFECT - In a post card-like scene, not uncommon in rural P.E.I. this time of year, Colin Millar was busy tilling land recently for Arlington Farms in Grand River overlooking the St. Patricks Church. Bryan Maynard/special to the Journal Pioneer.  
cf. Journal-Pioneer website

Monday, May 19, 2014

Abandoned Homestead, Nail Pond

     Further up the road on the North Cape Coastal Drive (Rte. 14) I stopped in Nail Pond to take a photo of this abandoned homestead nicely situated with the Northumberland Strait in the background.  The farmland runs down to the shore - we Islanders call these farm fields, "shore fields".
     Every time I research a property on Prince Edward Island I take notice of the property identification number (PID) - today our PID's are six or seven digits.  Our family farm in Alma, settled in 1860, has a five digit PID - I always thought that was an old property number.  I was surprised to see the property number for this farmstead is a four digit number - this is an old property!  
     I was more interested in the old barn - possibly dating to mid-late 1800's.  The house I would guess to be in the 100 year old range.
      The barn is completely covered with cedar shingles - roof and walls.  The proportions indicate a very old barn. 
      Meachams 1880 Atlas of Prince Edward Island shows Prospere Gallant living here with 35-acres.
     Cumins 1928 Atlas of Prince Edward Island shows John DesRoches living here with 35 acres.  They list his wife as being Elizabeth with the following children:  Roderick, Gilbert, Delima, May, Nelson, Peter and Edwin.
     The current owners live nearby - they aren't Gallant or Desroches.

Skinner's Pond and Stompin' Tom Connors

     I was out for a drive along the North Cape Coastal Drive ( Route 14 ) yesterday afternoon.  Here's a few photos I took of the Stompin' Tom Connors Schoolhouse.
     Stompin' Tom renovated the old schoolhouse in 1973 to display alot of his memorabilia and opened it to the public.  In the first photo I believe the house Stompin' Tom lived in as a boy is immediately to the right of the school.
     Check-out my blog post of March 22, 2013 following his death.     
 Above: the southeast corner / Below: the front / northeast side.
     The schoolhouse is located at the corner of Rte. 14 and Stompin' Tom Connor's Road.   If you're in the area be sure to take a drive down to the harbour and beach - some say the best beach on Prince Edward Island.
Above:  Skinner's Pond Harbour

Friday, May 16, 2014

Keefe Farm, Est.1835, Kinkora

     The Keefe Farm is located on Rte. 225 beside the Confederation Trail in the rural community of Kinkora.  Parts of the house date back to the mid-1800's
The barn was built in 1964.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

200 year old house for Sale, 13 Sydney St., Charlottetown

            Heritage home on Sydney Street with an abundance of history, character and charm. This two and half story home offers hardwood floors, fine woodwork, large living room, large dining room, 3 large bedrooms, spacious kitchen, 1-3pc bath, 1-4 bath. Private driveway to a single car garage, water-views from all three levels, a terrific home as it is! With dreams the potential is endless. A one minute walk to the boardwalk. 4-5 min. to downtown Ch'town for the best in fine dining, theatre and shopping. According to family history related by W. Victor Purdie, this house was once a sail loft owned by William Douse (1800-1865). The loft was turned into a residence around 1875. Its early use as a sail loft might well explain the height of the building. William Douse was a prominent shipbuilder, land agent and Member of the Legislative Assembly. He came to Prince Edward Island from England in the early 1820s and soon became involved in farming, shipbuilding, brewing and auctioneering.
info cf.
 Above: my photo taken Feb. 12, 2013

Friday, May 9, 2014

Livingston House, Clyde River, c.1840

           Here's some information I just came across about the Livingston House located on Route #247 on the Clyde River, P.E.I.
I took the above photo on Oct. 10th , 2007
            The following info cf:  History and Stories of Clyde River – 2009. Pg. 104-107
            The Livingston House The generations of Livingstons who have lived on this property are as follows: Donald Livingston (1780-1870) married to Flora MacPhail (1781-1865), Son Archibald (1819-1909) married to Margaret Dixon (1823-1910), Grandson Boyd (1859-1932) married to Daisy Marshall (1877-1961), Great grandson Watson (1900-2000) married to Lillian Hyde (1901-1989), Great great granddaughter Wanda, born in 1928 married to Eric MacPhail, born in 1926. Present occupants in the renovated Livingston house are great great great granddaughter Ruth (Alan Nelson) and their children, Callie Angelina and Drew Watson. Eric and Wanda MacPhail received an award for their work in preserving this heritage home.
            Family history states that Donald first built a small house or cabin near the water. When they cleared more land, they built a larger house back from the river. A depression in the land shows evidence of the cellar of the second house. Wanda (Livingston) MacPhail's great great grandfather Archibald built the current house on this property in 1840, about the same time the road was built (now named the Clyde River Road). Until the mid-1900s, this house accommodated three generations. There were eight bedrooms, none too many at the time when Donald and Flora had nine children and Alexander and Margaret had five children. In 1999 Watson and Lillian Livingston's daughter Wanda and her husband Eric MacPhail undertook an extensive renovation of this house. This earned them one of that year's PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation awards (1999). This house is a historic gem according to Boyd Beck.
             The award is to recognize the work they have taken on and for the classic farm yard, and classic farm house. The giant hemlock planks that were used are a rare irreplaceable find in Island architecture.
            In an interview for The Guardian, Eric MacPhail offered this information. The 1840 house is a plank house built on a six foot foundation of dressed fieldstone. All the timber was cut on the farm. The walls are made of hemlock plank three inches thick, hand sawn in a saw pit, one man on top of the timber and one in the pit pulling and pushing the cross cut saw. The sills were eleven inches wide and eight inches thick, while the plate above was eight inches square with a three inch groove in the centre. The planks were inserted into the groove and held by two hardwood pins, one inch in diameter driven into holes bored by hand through plank and plate. The inside of the planks were strapped with three inch by one inch strapping, lathed on top and strengthened by animal hair. The cellar was hand dug. It looks like the floor boards were laid before they were completely dry. They shrank over time leaving wide gaps in the under floor. What an incredible lot of work! Wanting to preserve the integrity of the house, Wanda and Eric MacPhail had the hemlock boards removed and later reset them closer together. The mantle and the small pane windows were saved. More than 130 panes were carefully cleaned, sanded and re-puttied. Some original horse hair plaster work was repaired and the original hemlock floors were refinished. Wanda MacPhail explains: "The kitchen has seen many transformations. We even had an 'outdoor kitchen', really a living room area, tucked into a lean-to for relaxing after a day's work was done." In 1962 the extra kitchen was removed. During renovations, the MacPhails found twenty feet of stovepipe zigzagged around the joists to the brick chimney and the flue. How the flue drew is a mystery! Ruth and Alan Nelson have also done renovations and have balanced having a convenient and modern home with preserving its original special features.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

PEI Railroad Concrete Culvert

     I was out for a walk on the Confederation Trail ( formerly the PEI Railroad rail bed ) this evening and took this photograph of an old 1926 concrete culvert - it had been replaced in recent years with a better, modern drainage culvert and set aside as a little monument to the past.