Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Acadian home, Pointe-aux-Vieux - Archaeological Exhibit

     Here's a recent article in the Guardian Newspaper telling of an exhibit about the archaeological dig of a mid-1700's Acadian home at Pointe-aux-Vieux ( near Gillis Point, Port Hill ).
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Archaeological discoveries provide glimpse into province's Acadian history
            The find was tiny, but precious.
            A turquoise glass bead inscribed with the capital letters IHS — the Greek Catholic monogram of the name Jesus Christ.
            Along with the bead, four broken slivers from a reliquary pendant that are the size and shape of fingernail clippings now lie on a black cloth in a display case.
            Helen Kristmanson calls the piece extraordinary. She holds it among the most cherished items unearthed in her big dig.
            The person who owned it, she notes, would have been very disappointed to let it slip through her fingers.
            “It has obviously such personal meaning for whoever lost it,'' she says. “I suspect this fell between the floor boards in the house.''
            Many items were unearthed from the remnant homestead — a small rectangular house with an oven fireplace — that was home to the pendant for hundreds of years.
            Kristmanson, the provincial director of Aboriginal Affairs and Archaeology, marvels over many of the personal belongings and objects associated with an Acadian family that settled in Malpeque Bay in the early to mid-18th century.
            She and her team dug up more than 20,000 artifacts during archaeological investigations conducted between 2008 and 2011 at Pointe-aux-Vieux, a pre-Deportation Acadian site near Port Hill. Among her favourite finds are little straight pins used in sewing.
            A “wow factor'' discovery is the gun plate that has the outline of an owl with Goddess Athena on its chest. The item, likely a decorative plate, was found right at the bottom of the site.
            “A really exciting piece,'' Kristmanson enthuses.
            Another interesting discovery — there was no shortage, for sure — is a lead seal. Two discs are fused by a strip in the middle and used to clamp onto a bolt of fabric with a rampant lion carved on one side and cryptic symbols appearing on the other.
            Collectively, the dig has brought to the surface an informative and intriguing glimpse into Acadian history on Prince Edward Island.
            “It was an extraordinary dig,'' says Kristmanson.
            “I think that this site will make a valuable contribution to our knowledge of pre-deportation Acadian life in Prince Edward Island.''
            She believes one of the key messages that comes out of the archaeological record of the site is that the pre-deportation Acadians in P.E.I. enjoyed a comfortable life.
            “Their diet was varied,'' she notes.
            “They had access to utilitarian goods, some luxury items. So they were doing well there.''
            A rich faunal assemblage was unearthed at the site.
            The thousands and thousands of animal bones dug up and dusted off speak to the hearty Acadian diet.
            They were keeping livestock such as cows, pigs, sheep, chickens and goat. They supplemented their diet with game like showshoe hare. They also ate shellfish, shorebirds and other birds.
            Many of the animal bones are on display along with numerous other artifacts from the dig.
            Called Digging into the Past: An Archaeological Discovery in Malpeque Bay, the display officially opened earlier this summer at the Acadian Museum in Miscouche.
            The exhibition displays the 18th century artifacts, interpretive panels and interactive stations to immerse visitors in this important period of Island history.
            The public's response to the exhibit to date has, for Kristmanson, been quite heartwarming.
            “It's been overwhelmingly positive,'' she says.
            “The project has received such support from the Acadian community.''
            One woman from Massachusetts, who is actively involved in genealogy, told Kristmanson that the exhibit was life-changing and a highlight of her trip to P.E.I.
            When the exhibit closes in January, the artifacts will be accessioned into the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Collection.
            Kristmanson hopes to publish on her findings within the next six months.
            For now, the exhibit is one way of sharing her findings with the public.
            “This site has been a very, very special site for me — it's quite a magical place,'' she says of the dig at Pointe-aux-Vieux, which is now designated as a protected site under the Archeology Act.
            “This work feels so worthwhile,'' she adds
            “People appreciate learning about their past. They appreciate learning about their history.''      
Fast facts
            Viewing hours: The exhibition Digging into the Past: An Archaeological Discovery in Malpeque Bay will be on display at the Acadian Museum in Miscouche until January. The museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 902-432-2880.
            About the dig site: The Malpeque settlement was founded in 1728 by Pierre Arsenault II, his adult son Charles, and their companion Jean Lambert. Over a period of 30 years, other Acadian families arrived, working together to build a community. By 1752, the Malpeque settlement had grown to include over 32 households and over 200 people.
            Project support: The exhibition was sponsored by the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation with the collaboration of the Association of the Acadian Museum. Major funding was provided by P.E.I. 2014 Inc. with a contribution by Canadian Heritage as well as donations by several Islanders.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Gamester Homestead

     I've been noticing this place the past few years, first the lawns weren't cut then a window was broken and last winter a curtain waved in the wind all winter.
     This was the home of Lemuel and Janie (MacKinnon) Gamester, located on the Bungay Road (Rte. 251) in Hunter River.
     Cumins 1928 Atlas of Prince Edward Island shows Geo. Gamester living here with 97-acres of land (in two parcels of land) - it notes his wife Janie and their children, Guy, Arthur, Viola and Lemuel.
     Meachams 1880 Atlas of Prince Edward Island shows these two parcels of land belonging to Jno. Hickox and Pat Hughes.
      The house is an Island-ell style farmhouse.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bagnall House, Bell's Pond, New Glasgow

     On my way from Hunter River to New Glasgow on Route 13 yesterday I took a detour down to Bell's Pond ( often called Campbell's Pond ) - just before Rte. 224, I turned right on to Campbell's Road and drove in about a kilometer to the little one-lane bridge at Bell's Pond.  When I got over the bridge I stopped and took the photograph below of the old Bagnall House, likely built in the 1860s.  It has vinyl siding on it today, however, it retains much of its character defining elements such as its symmetry; small entry porch with eave returns; the five-bay second floor windows; the attic scotch-style dormer; and the single hung windows.
     Today I'd call this area Campbell's Pond, New Glasgow, however, in Meacham's 1880 Atlas this area is known as Clyde Mill's (on the River Clyde), Lot 23.   As late as the 1935 telephone directory lists Mrs. Mary Bagnall at Clyde Mill's. 
     It's amazing to think this view coming over the bridge is much as it would have looked 134 years ago when an illustration of it appeared in Meacham's Atlas - see that image below - this house is #9 as noted on the bottom of the illustration.
     When I got to the end of the Campbell's Road (which this property is on the corner) I turned left on to Mount Tom Road, which is very close beside this house and farmyard.  It feels as though you're in their yard but the road continues past the barns, down a little hill, then up a steep hill (probably Mount Tom) - a beautiful one-lane country road which comes out above the PEI Preserve Company on to Route 224, the New Glasgow Road.
    In Meachams' 1880 Atlas of Prince Edward Island, Page 86, it shows William and Richard Bagnall owning 100-acres here.  
    In Cumin's 1928 Atlas of Prince Edward Island it shows Mrs. R.E. Bagnall living here with her three daughter, Ella, Nettie and Blanche.  She had 126-acres.
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     The following info cf.  Lovell’s Prince Edward Island Directory, 1871
Clyde Mills:  A small village in township No. 23, parish of Grenville, county of Queen's. Population about 60. [foot note says " The post office is at New Glasgow."]
Bagnall, Richard E. - of Bagnall & Son
BAGNALL, WILLIAM - J.P., Bagnall & Son(1)
Crawford, rev. Donald - baptist
Doucet, Lemange - joiner, farmer
Doucet, Peter - farmer
Warren, John - head miller

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pleasant Valley Memorial Church - shingling complete

     The new shingles are all on the south of the church.  Note the scaffolding is still standing there - that's not part of the architectural detailing.
     Ricky Ellis of West Point has done work here for years - he specializes in Island church renovations and painting.  Below are two other churches he's carried out work on.  The first is St. Marks Anglican Church in Milton (designed by Wm. Harris) before & after- the church was completely re-shingled in 2008; the second image is of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Alma.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dundas Farm House demolished

     I was out to Spry Point last week and was surprised to see this house in Dundas gone - demolished!
See January 4, 2014 post about this house...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Pleasant Valley Memorial Church ready for new facade

     This week the Pleasant Valley Memorial Church, located on Rte. 2 in Pleasant Valley is having it's south facade re-shingled.  
     With the shingles removed you can see the outline of the original front porch/entry - similar to that of the 1864 South Granville Presbyterian Church (see photo below).  It's not known when the porch was removed and the new tower/entry built on. 
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     Below is an early 1920's photograph of Pleasant Valley hill in which you can see the Pleasant Valley Methodist Church (c. 1878) on the far left facing north; next at the bottom of the hill is the road to the community of Elliotts; up the hill on the left is the Methodist Church Manse (later home of Jennie Sharpe-Sherman); across the road is the home of Isaac and Catherine Sharpe (c. 1860/ moved 1999 nearby to Smith Rd., current home of Arnold Smith); at the bottom of the hill on the right is the Pleasant Valley School with outhouse; and coming up the hill behind the spruce tree is the Methodist Church horse barn - a safe place for your horse while you were in church.
    In the 1950's the church was moved across the road and up the hill eastward and now faces south.

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     OK - back to the existing church's facade.  There's lots to observe on these old hemlock boards - some near 17" wide, saw marks, old nails, etc.
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Here's a few photos I took around the church in September 2013.
     In 1986 the church was closed and became a memorial church - they have a summer service and occasional special services.

St. Margaret's of Scotland Parish Church

    I was to eastern Prince Edward Island earlier this week and out by St. Margaret's Parish Church, which is located in the community of St. Margarets.  The church is located on Route 16 near the intersection with Rte. 307 ( which takes you through Bear River to Rollo Bay ).
     Here's a few photos I took of the church.
 Below: Parish Hall
     Here's some history of the church from, "A Faith Walk: Diocese of Charlottetown" by Fr. Art O'Shea.  Page 82.
     "Scottish settlers came to the Naufrage (shipwreck) area in the 1770s and already there were forty families when they built their first log chapel there in 1805.  A second church followed in 1816 which with additions served the needs of the parishioners for the next forty years.  In 1857 the people erected a new and quite imposing church on high land overlooking the Gulf to accommodate the still growing Catholic population.  The first parochial house was built in 1840 and replaced by a new one in 1878.  In 1894, with the population moving farther back fro the shore, the church and other buildings were moved about a mile south to where they stand today.  Tragedy struck the parish in 1921 when a forest fire destroyed the church, parochial house and all the other buildings except the hall which became the temporary home for the pastor and a place for worship.  Strangely, this burning took place on the patronal feast of the parish, St. Margaret of Scotland.  Out of the ashes a new parochial house was built in 1922 and a new impressive church in 1926.  Both of these stand there today and come as a surprise to those travelling that generally wooded area." 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Old Barn, Harmony

     Here's an old barn located in the community of Harmony, on the Harmony Road (Rte. 128) just before you get to St. Chrysostome.  The barn is on the left side of the road by a creek just before the old store. 
     I always wondered why this community was called Harmony.  From the Geographical Place Names of Prince Edward Island by Alan Rayburn, Page-61, he explains. 
     "Harmony: 7 mi SW of Tyne Valley in Lots 13 and 14.  Selected for a school c1875 because the settlers of many nationalities - French, Irish, Scottish, English, Dutch - got along peaceably.  PE 1907-1914, Formerly called Line Road."

Tilman / Etienne Arsenault Home, St. Chrysostome

     I was up to St. Chrysostome yesterday morning and took these photos of the old Tilman Arsenault House.  The house was owned by his father Etienne Arsenault before him.  It's abandoned now - a neighbour told me this place use to be beautiful and well kept.
     This house is located in the Acadian community of St. Chrysostome on the Harmony Road (Rte. 128 / Rte. 11) on the corner at Gavin Arsenault Road.
      Meachams 1880 Atlas of PEI shows Steph. Arsenault with 45-acres living on this property.
      Cumins 1928 Atlas of PEI shows Etienne Arsenault on this property with 48-acres.  His wife's name is Pholomene and their ten children: Jos., Marie, Cyrienne, Beonie, Zeleanne, Lucille, Adrian, Emelien, Sophie, Philorome.
      The shape and style of the house would indicate it dates back to possibly the 1870s or before.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Seacow Head Lighthouse hosts successful event.

     The following appeared on the Journal-Pioneer website today...
Seacow Head Lighthouse event deemed successful.
by Colin MacLean.  August 1, 2014
Above: Journal-Pioneer Photos - "A group of concerned residents gather around Seacow Head Lighthouse recently to get a status update on their bid to take over the lighthouse from the government."

FERNWOOD– Somebody asked Thomas Sherry recently where he was hiding his ferry.
“There was just that many cars leaving that it just reminded people of the boat traffic,” laughed Sherry, sitting on a bench overlooking the Northumberland Strait.           

            Sherry is one of the organizers of “We’ll Keep the Light On,” an event meant to celebrate and contribute to the conservation of the Seacow Head lighthouse.
            The event, which is taking place next to the lighthouse, has been ongoing since July 25, with more than 20 events bringing in more than 1,600 people as of Friday. Closing ceremonies are scheduled for Monday.
            “The week so far has been unbelievable; with the crowds that we’ve been having, the people that have been showing up to volunteer, with old friends who haven’t seen one another, some of them in 60, 65 years … It’s incredible,” said Sherry.
            The event, created by the Friends of the Seacow Head Lighthouse group, has seen the likes of a retirement party of Senator Catherine Callbeck, art auctions, reunions, a supper featuring Olympian Heather Moyse, kids days and more.
            It’s been a busy week and promises to be a busy weekend, but it’s been a great event for the community, said Sherry.
            Friday was kids day at the lighthouse, and more than 100 children and their guardians came out to enjoy the fun and games.
            Tracey Nichol-MacDonald lives in Fernwood with her family and brought her boys to the lighthouse for the morning.
            “It’s a great event for family and friends. I think it’s brought the community together, showing how strong and close-knit a little community truly is,” she said.
            Saturday’s events include a sunset beach meet and greet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a community picnic and kitchen party starting at 5 p.m. Sunday’s only event is a Sherry family reunion. Monday will see a fun run start at 9 a.m., a wine and cheese social starting at 6:30 p.m. and an art show and raffle at 7:30 p.m. 

Also see previous post on this blog...