Monday, September 12, 2016

Pleasant Valley Memorial Church celebrates 30th anniversary

     On Sunday, September 11, 2016 the Pleasant Valley Memorial Church (formerly Pleasant Valley Methodist Church 1876-1925 / Pleasant Valley United Church 1925-1986 ) celebrated it's 30th anniversary of being a memorial church.
     Pleasant Valley United Church was closed in 1986 to amalgamate the Breadalbane Pastoral Charge into one newly expanded church in Breadalbane.  Two churches were closed Rose Valley United Church (now used as a summer home) and the Pleasant Valley United Church (at the time had 60+ children in Sunday School).

     The following article appeared in the Guardian Newspaper on Sat., September 10, 2016.
Church holds celebration marking 30 years being closed
     "A shining white church along the busy Route 2 highway, complete with flowerbeds, is holding a celebration this weekend to mark 30 years of being closed.  It will take place this Sunday at the church, starting at 2:30pm.  There will be music from a harp and small-pipes ensemble, plus a talk about the church's history and future.
     The congregation was devastated in 1986 when the United Church decided to amalgamate churches in the Breadalbane/Cavendish pastoral charge.  
     It meant closing churches in Rose Valley and Pleasant Valley to focus on the creation of a modernized Central Trinity Church in Breadalbane.
     Not to be sidestepped by decisions on high, a local group led by Dorothy Smith went to the United Church board and asked for permission to continue caring for the Pleasant Valley property.
     After some struggle with dis-belief, the group proved it could raise money for maintenance by contacting family of former members of the congregation, mostly living away, and raised enough to meet requirements set out by the United Church administration.
     Years later, the Pleasant Valley group received a massive donation from a family estate in the U.S. to help with restoration work."

Sunday, September 11, 2016

W.H. Weeks - Well known American Architect born on P.E.I.

   The following are excerpts from the pages of a book about and Islander Will Weeks, born in 1864 in Charlottetown.  He became a well known American Architect who began his career in the 1890's.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Evolution of the Acadian Home - Georges Arsenault

    Last Thursday evening I attended a very interesting talk by Georges Arsenault at the Farmer's Bank Museum in Rustico.   The following is the promotional write-up for the talk...
"a lecture by historian Georges Arsenault, entitled “The Evolution of Acadian Homes”, will take place on Thursday, Sept. 8, at 7:30 p.m.  Arsenault’s illustrated talk will deal with the evolution of Acadian homes in Prince Edward Island over the 18th and 19th century, from the pioneer log homes to the beautiful residences of prominent Acadians. He will present numerous photos of houses from various Acadian regions of the Island and also, in some cases, photos of the people who inhabited them.  Arsenault, who has written many books on Acadian history and folklore, has received many awards over the years. On Canada Day this year, it was announced that he had been named a member of the Order of Canada. Gov.-Gen. David Johnston cited Arsenault in a news conference for his “contributions to the research, conservation and promotion of Prince Edward Island’s Acadian history, culture and traditions”.
     It was interesting to learn of a particular architectural style of expanding a home common to the Evangeline Region of the Island.  When a home owner decided to expand/ modernize his home, the house was lengthen (possibly by 12' or more), the roof pitch raised to be steeper and a steep-roofed centre gable added.  One such example was that of Cajetan Arsenault's home in St. Chrysostome. 
Cajetan Arsenault House, St. Chrysostome, built between 1834-1838.
This would be one such home expanded as illustrated above.
Photo by Carter Jeffery July 20, 2009
See also this article in this blog...

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

New Dominion Church becomes a home

     I've been waiting to hear the fate of the former New Dominion United Church since it went up for sale a year ago.  Last week the Journal Pioneer featured a front page story telling of its new purpose.  The church was moved a short distance away and will be used as a family home.  
     Below is the article along with submitted photo - further down are two photos I took a few days ago.
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Divine intervention turns PEI church into home for family of 12
Maureen Coulter / Published Journal-Pioneer on August 25, 2016
               The Able family will have a new place to call home by the end of this year as they are renovating the New Dominion United Church into a livable space. The 161-year-old church will be staying in the community as the family purchased three acres of land across the field from the old location.
            Through a chance encounter at Gass's store, New Dominion United Church will soon be new home for Able family
            As soon as Effie Able walked into the New Dominion United Church, she knew she was going to live there.
            “I walked into the foyer and I said, ‘this is it, this is home’.”
            Her intuition has proven to be bang-on, thanks to running into the right person at the right time.
            New Dominion United Church, built in 1855, was put on the real estate market after three congregations in the area merged to form West River United Church in Cornwall.
            Effie and her husband, Justin Able, decided to move back to P.E.I. in 2013 after living in Florida for a year where Justin was a pastor. Their kids were unhappy and missed their extended family and second family at Grace Christian School.
            “They wanted to move back,” said Effie, as she gazes up at what will be her new home. “They like the wholesomeness of P.E.I.”
            Effie and Justin were looking for a cost-effective home to accommodate their 10 children, who range in age from 13 to six weeks old. They also wanted something unique with a good story behind it.
            Their realtor, Jeff Newson, suggested taking a look at the New Dominion United Church, and Effie jumped at the idea.
            However, the family came close to missing the opportunity to purchase the building. Effie calls it “fate” that they went back a second time to look at the church with their children. That same day, they also stopped by Gass's Country Store where they learned from a church committee member that there was going to be a meeting that very evening about tearing down the 161-year-old church.
            “We went back to the church and called Jeff Newson right then and said, ‘Jeff, they are going to tear it down. You need to make a phone call. We are going to buy it’.”
            The family was leaving that week to do missionary work in Italy and had they not gone out that day and had they not met that committee member, they would have missed out on their dream home.
            They moved the church to three acres of land across the field from its old location, keeping it in the community. Approximately 60 people showed up on Aug. 10 to watch Moveall Structures move the church.
            The family is doing minor renovations to make it livable, but for the most part, they plan on leaving things untouched.
            The 65-foot ceiling sanctuary will become their living room. The upstairs balcony overlooking the sanctuary will be the kitchen (the church had already converted it into a kitchen several years ago).
            In the middle of the tower will be a school room with a spiral staircase leading to the top of the tower where Effie and Justin’s bedroom will be.
The basement will be turned into a boys and girls dorm with a recreational room in between.
            “Our kids like to be together. They’ve always shared bedrooms. We actually tried to separate them but they all want to sleep in the same room anyway.”
            Effie said they look forward to having lots of space and plan to have a little farm consisting of vegetables, chickens and a goat.
            “I don’t know anything about farming so I’m hoping some Islander will have pity on me,” she laughs.
            The Able family anticipates the renovations will be completed by the end of 2016.
“I hope to have it done so people in the community can come see it at Christmas,” said Effie.
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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Parish of Port Hill celebrated 175th Anniversary

     Last evening friends were telling me about the wonderful service they attended last Sunday at the Old St. Jame's Anglican Church, Port Hill.  Here's the story in the West Prince Graphic this week.
Above: Photo by C.W.Jeffery, Nov. 2099
Parish of Port Hill celebrates Milestone
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 5:00 am
     Through song, prayer and worship members of the Anglican Parish of Port Hill came together to celebrate the parish's 175th anniversary.
The hour and half combined service held on July 24 at the Old St James Church in Port Hill meant no pew was empty in the small church.
     “We are celebrating the parish and all its people down through the generations who have made this parish what it is and brought their hearts, love, compression, fun and laughter and shedding tears in time of death and mourning. It’s all those things that have come and strengthen it,” said Reverend Ann Bush, who has been leading the parish for the last four years.
     The parish is made up of three churches. While Old St James was built in 1841, known then as the Old Shipbuilders Church, and the cemetery at the church being in use at least since the 1851, the perish built the New St James Church directly across the road from the former in 1885 and now serves as the main church in the area.
     In 1851, a small church was built at Foxley River just behind where the present day St Peter’s Church was later constructed in 1914. Then after 10 years of planning and construction, St John’s Church in Ellerslie was built in 1899.
     “In this day and age where everything is instant and transiency … to think of something that’s lasted this long simply because of people’s willingness to serve and care, that’s why I think it’s important and that’s what it means to me,” said Rev Bush about the parish and its milestone.
     When concerns grew in the early 2000’s about the safety of the original church and the parish not in a financial position to do the necessary repairs, Old St James was deconsecrated as a sacred building in order to access government grants.
     Old St James Church is now run as a heritage and genealogy centre, but Rev Bush said she tries to have at least one service a year at the church.
     “People appreciate just being able to come into this church and still sing to the glory of God and feel they are sharing divine worship,” said Rev Bush.
      Among those attending the service was Marnie Noye, who has a special connection to Old St James.
     Ms Noye was born and raised in the house next door to the church and its cemetery.
     Ms Noye told the congregation when she got up with her husband Harold to play some music for everyone how she remembered the doors to the church were never locked and as a child she used to play in the building.
     “We were very dedicated members. We never miss going to church. That was just a given on Sunday morning,” said Ms Noye about her family later on, adding she only knew the old church as the place where she attended Sunday school.
      Ms Noye said the anniversary service was special.
      “Both the old and new St James are very dear to my heart,” she said.
During her reflection to her parishioners, Rev Bush expressed that churches are more than just their wooden structures.
     “Often there is a lot of worry and concern in fundraising to keep buildings maintained and we have to remember those things will rot away, but God wants us to put most of our efforts and attention building up our lives and lives of other people and the spirit will of course go on for eternity… We are the church,” explained Rev Bush after the service.

     After the service was concluded, a lunch was held outside in front of the rectory located next to the New St James Church.

Corpus Christi Church, Glenwood / MacNevin House, Brae

     I was out for a drive last week with my 97-year-old grandmother Empress MacNevin-McDowell and parents.  We drove through Milo and surrounding communities where she grew up.
     Here's a photo of the little catholic mission church on a side road in Glenwood ( between the Milo and West Point ).  I'd never been here before. 
     The following information comes from Historic Places website...
     The church is valued for its Gothic Revival design elements, for its association with the early Roman Catholic settlers of Glenwood, and for its contribution to the heritage character of the area.  Parishioners originally worshipped in the local homes of "Big Philip" Stewart in West Point and Neil MacIsaac in Glenwood. The closest churches were located at Brae and Tignish. By the early 20th century, parishioners began raising funds through community picnics and other means to construct a new church in Glenwood. It would serve the spiritual needs of parishioners from the communities of Hebron, Milburn, Glenwood, Dunblane, West Point, Brae, O'Leary, and West Cape.  By 1902, land was secured and the foundation and body of the current building was constructed by John MacIsaac. Other parishioners who assisted in the project included: Nicholas Bulger, David Stewart, Steve Stewart, Jim Stewart, Philip A. Stewart, Alexander Stewart, and James MacIsaac.  The church was completed in 1905 and by 1913 was dedicated as "Corpus Christi" to serve as a mission church in the area.  The interior of the church was completed in the 1930s by John Noble Ladner with the assistance of Harry Stewart among others.  Over the years, the church has had several improvements including the addition of electric lights and improved heating. Several stained glass windows have been added in memory of former parishioners. New pews and the tabernacle were obtained from the former Canadian Forces Air Base chapel in Summerside.  Today, the building is well maintained and is associated with St. Anthony's Parish in Bloomfield.
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     Also on our travel we went by this relatively recently abandoned home - the home of Horace Adams MacNevin.  Horace was a bachelor and the last surviving son of Alan and Lulu (Adams) MacNevin.  He died on January 1, 2013 at the age of 89.  The old farmstead is located on the corner of Rte. 15 and the Beaton Road.  

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Cape Traverse Church & Ice Boat Memorial

     I was up this way recently and took these photos of the Cape Traverse United Church and the Ice Boat Memorial across the road.   I always find it strange why the websites of the United Church on Prince Edward Island generally don't tell their history.  Anyhow, this church plaque states it was dedicated in 1890 - likely as a Presbyterian Church.
     Across the road is the Ice Boat Monument - I was last here in 1974 on a school class trip!
      Here's the monument to the "Ice Boat Service" to Prince Edward Island - the boat has been removed.
     Here is a plaque located under a tree to the right of the memorial dedicated to the "First Submarine Telegraph Cable" to Prince Edward Island. 
     I just found this photo and note on the Journal Pioneer's website from September 16, 2015 by Colin MacLean.
     Prince Edward Island’s monument to the ice boat service got some tender loving care this week. Crews working on the historic site, which is on Route 10 in Cape Traverse, said that the structure had been sinking slightly and they were in the process of righting it and installing braces.
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     Here's an image of how it originally looked from by NoWin.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Johnstone Mill, Long River - long since gone

    I just saw this image on Earles Picture Restoration Facebook page of the Long River Mill when it was called  Ye Olde Mill Museum.  When I knew this building in the late 1980s it was unused and becoming derilict - it was demolished in the late 1990s I believe.
     Arnold Smith said his grandmother May (MacLeod) Smith, of Pleasant Valley, said their family took wool here to be carded.
     The following comes from the website

Yeo's Mills, Bloomfield

     With all the talk of mills these days and possibly loosing Leard's Mill at Coleman (the last intact grist mill left on the Island) -  I was curious to know more about the mill stones at the entrance to the Bloomfield Provincial Park on the Western Road.  So, I drove in the other day to photograph the three mill stones found there.   
     These stone are always used in pairs and likely came from France as were the stones at Leard's Mill.  I'm not sure if these stones belong to this site as in Meacham's 1880 Atlas of PEI it notes a saw mill here owned by John Yeo with 135 acres surrounding the mill pond.  In Cumins 1928 Atlas of PEI it shows John Hopgood owning this 135 acre property.
     It's amazing the things we/I don't know about our local history - this park was originally named Vanier Park.  Note the following info.  Geographical Place Names of P.E.I. by Alan Rayburn, Page 126...
     "Vanier Park: Provincial park at Mill River, Lot 5. Named for Governor General Georges Vanier.  Also commonly called Bloomfield Park." 
 Above: mill stone south flanking driveway.
  Above: mill stone north flanking driveway.
 Above/Below: this stone is within the park /close-up of stone's center.

*Rev. R.W. Dyer mentions Yeo's Mill (as well as Gorrell’s, Clark’s, Haywood’s, 
Mr. Will’s, Gordon’s, Hunter Dunbar’s, and Lot 6 Mills) often in his 1859-1886 Journals.    
     Below are a few excerpts from his journals.

February 27, 1865 - Went to Yeo's Mills to see Mr. and Mrs. Gorrell.  Found Mrs. G. somewhat better; she had been very ill for some time, I was glad to find her better.  I stayed with them all day, talked with them about Church matters and after dinner we had prayers.  I returned home in the evening by the ice ‑ the same way which I went in the morning.

August 13, 1867 - Had the prayer meeting in our own house this evening. Mr. and Mrs. Weeks present, had a nice prayer meeting. I hope that it will continue to be well attended. The Lord bless us.  Went to Yeo's Mills today, in company with G. Horton.  Called at Hunter Dunbar's Mill; the foreman will cut the beams for the church.  Brought home from Yeo's Mills, 6500 laths.

March 20, 1872  - Sewing circle day.  I started for Bloomfield about noon, went up the ice from Doctor Stewart's to Yeo's Mills, found it terribly cold; I was glad to arrive at Mr. Gorrell's.  Had a good warm‑up, looked about a little, had tea and then prepared to go to the schoolroom for the Service.  We all went on the woodsled.  Had a nice assembly, preached from the words: "When the son of man shall come in his glory..." and then returned to Mr. Gorrell's to sleep.  Thank God for this day.

March 19, 1873 Started for Lot 6, - Mrs. Dyer went with me.  Called to see Mrs. Rankin, found her a little better and then went on to see Mr. and Mrs. Gorrell at Lot 6 Mills: they have left Yeo’s Mill at last.  Mr. Robert Ellis is gone there.  Stayed at Mr.  Gorrell’s to dinner and then went on to Mr. Webb’s; arrived in good time.  They were expecting Mrs. Dyer.

April 5, 1877 - Roads and ice too bad to go to the village.  It is raining too this evening.  Had a party of the young folks, the singers who I think enjoyed themselves.  About 11 o’clock this night Mr. Wiggins’.  Steam Mill (?) caught fire and was burnt to the ground in about an hour.  Loss estimated about 10 or 11, 000 dollars.  Oh it is a sad matter.  I am sorry for them and for the whole community.

**I also found this information about the Gorrill/Gorrell milling family.
John1 Gorrill, the third child and second son of JohnA Gorrill and Sarah Brooke, was baptized at Bradworthy, North Devon, 24 October 1824, according to the parish register of St. John Church. He was born 25 September of that year, according to this fact given to the 1901 census taker. His father, a cordwainer, and mother, Sarah Brooke, moved to Kilkhampton, in the northern neck of Cornwall, with him and his older brother and sister, William and Catherine.  In about 1845 he emigrated with his brothers William and Richard to Prince Edward Island. Humphrey came five years later. John became a shipyards worker and then a sawmill operator at Bideford and Port Hill. In the 1860’s he operated a circular sawmill at Bloomfield (Vanier Park) and then a water mill for John Yeo at Cascumpec, a combined saw and grist mill. This was a time when a farm had to be hacked and stumped from the virgin forest. The Meacham Atlas of 1880 shows John Gorrill owning about 130 acres in Cascumpec, Lot 6. Two years later John had to pay a school tax of $6.61 cents on his 270 acres. John died 20 October 1906.  John married Eleanor F. Ellis, known as Zena, born 28 July 1840, daughter of George Ellis and Bridget MacArthur and granddaughter of William Ellis the pioneer shipbuilder. They are buried in the cemetery of St. Luke's Anglican Church, Woodstock, PEI (Lot 6 Centre 3 Stone 4).
John1 (JohnA) Gorrill and his wife Eleanor ‘Zena’ Ellis had seven children:
       I.  Eleanor (‘Ellie’) Ellis2 Gorrill, born 28 July1860(?), baptized 17 Feb. 1860
     II.  Sarah Catherine Annie2 Gorrill, born 10 October 1862, baptized 7 Nov. 1862
   III.  Isabella Priscilla Ida2 Gorrill, born 24 December 1865, baptized 22 Feb. 1866
   IV.  Maria Lilla Normandy2 Gorrill, born at Yeo’s Mills, Western Road, Lot 5 on 1 February 1868, baptized 27 Feb. 1868
    V.  Elizabeth Lavinia (‘Rose’)2 Gorrill, born 7 February 1870, bp. 24 Mar. 1870
  VI.   John Yeo SerjeantGorrill, born 27 October, 1872, baptized 1 Nov. 1872
VII. George Richard Walter2 Gorrill, born 17 August 1875, baptized 12 Sept. 1875
All baptized by the Rev. R. W. Dyer at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Alberton

cf. The Descendants of John Gorrill 1824-1906 of Cascumpec

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

RFP issued for new addition to house Leards Mill artefacts

     The wheels are in motion to destroy Leards Mill. ...RFP for design of new facility went out yesterday...they are wasting no time to rid of our island of the last intact grist mill.
     Is this because the Donators of the mill are away with major family sickness?  That's what local folks are saying!! photo Fall 2014
 Above...from Scott Smith's book
Above...from the History of the Brae