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.
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     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.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     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

Monday, June 13, 2016

Leards Mill must be torn down...headline reads

Simply...sad and stupid!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Senator Montgomery House gets new life

     Further to my post of August 21, 2012 when news was circulating of the sale and uncertain future of the Senator Donald Montgomery House (grandfather of L.M. Montgomery) - today's Journal Pioneer tells the story of his great-great-grandson Paul Montgomery plans to turn the house into a Bed & Breakfast.
     Here's my previous post...
     Here's today's post on the Journal Pioneer website...
Montgomery descendant restoring house that inspired Anne’s Ingleside
                                     © Nancy MacPhee/Journal Pioneer.  April 14, 2016
      Paul Montgomery stands outside what was the home of his great great-grandfather, Senator Donald Montgomery, who was also the grandfather to acclaimed author L.M. Montgomery. Paul and his wife, Michelle, are restoring the home, the inspiration for Anne Shirley’s marital house, Ingleside, into a bed and breakfast and country inn.

     Now, the three-storey 19th Century wooden-clad home is under renovation, its doors to open later this year to visitors and fans of Lucy Maud Montgomery.  It served as a setting in her books “Anne’s House of Dreams”, “Anne of Ingleside”, “Rainbow Valley’, and “Rilla of Ingleside.” Paul Montgomery and his wife, Michele, are renovating the home build by his great-great-grandfather, Senator Donald Montgomery, also Lucy Maud’s grandfather. They purchased the ancestral home in 2014. “It was in quite a state of disrepair,” admitted Paul. “We’ve put a new foundation in, stripped walls down right to the bare studs.” The famous author, his “first cousin twice removed,” spent a great deal of time at the home and drew inspiration from within its walls. It was on the dining room mantle, now stored until work is complete, that Gog and Magog, those green-spotted China dogs L.M. first wrote about in “Anne of the Island,” sat, peering down at guests during Sunday dinners. Paul said the home, situated near the Lake of Shining Waters in Park Corner, was considered grand in its day, taking three to four years to construct. Over the kitchen and dining room are three bedrooms that were the servants’ quarters when the senator resided in the home. The serving window, where, after Donald rang his bell, food was passed from the kitchen to the dining room, still remains and will be preserved. The home has been passed along through the family, bought and sold several times, but always staying with a Montgomery. In the 1970s it was operated as a tourist home by Paul’s grandmother. In the 1980s and ‘90s, his father, Robert, acquired the ancestral home. It was operated as Montgomery Tourist Home then Montgomery Manor with its last incarnation being the Lucy Maud Montgomery Heritage Museum. “We are going to operate it as a heritage bed and breakfast, country inn and the name of the property, when we finish, will be the Montgomery Inn at Ingleside,” said Paul. “It has been a huge undertaking.” He is amazed by the home’s structure, and how well it has stood the test of time. “Where ever there is a window there are actual six-by-six (inch) posts that go from the foundation right up to the attic,” added Paul. “When we redid the roof last year, there were boards that were 24-inches wide, hand-hewn boards.” At first glance as one walks into the door, it’s obvious a lot of work has to be done. There are holes in some walls and Gryproc replacing others. Decades, if not century-old, wallpaper — if it can’t be salvaged — must to be stripped.
Unique features, like hand-painted scrolling on wooden doors, will be preserved, and a mindful eye — and hands — used to ensure the home’s integrity maintained. Paul is confident the work will be complete by for August.  He has been posting progress updates on social media. The project is “a labour of love,” one aimed at sharing his family’s history. “Preserving the history of the site is our main goal.”

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Hunter River Royal Bank

 Above: Charlie Goodwin and Staff with the bank's dog. 1974
 Former Hunter River Royal Bank - Photos taken January 12, 2008

Owners of the Royal Bank Building:
            The Royal Bank of Canada came to Hunter River in September 1913 and operated from the house of Hedley Spence until this new building was constructed and opened in 1918.
            The Royal Bank operated at this location from 1918 to 1976.
            The bank manager had an apartment upstairs.  The last bank manager to live here was Charlie Goodwin who kept his horses in the backyard.
            The present Royal Bank of Canada opened across the street in 1976.  The new bank was built on the property of Percy & George Boyle.  The old Royal Bank building was traded for the land where the new bank sits.
            The building was rented as a commercial space housing a craft shop, etc.
            Bob Storey, Realtor purchased the property and rented it as a Constituency office to Mel Gass.
            Catherine Calbeck purchased the property and used it as a parliamentary constituency office.
            Ewen Taylor, the local pharmacist who was renting space next door from the Noye’s, moved the pharmacy to the old bank in 1988.  He rented it for three years then purchased the building in 1991.  In 2006 the pharmacy moved across the street to the new medical centre. 
            In the fall of 2006 Mr. Taylor sold it to be used as a private residence.

            Information comes from interviews as well as from the “History of Hunter River 1767-1967” by Hunter River Women’s Institute.  Page 32:  The Royal Bank of Canada.
          Well known heritage activist Mark Gallant of North Rustico gave this new bank it's title, "Bungalow Bank" - he was outraged that they tour down historic buildings, including Cardinal McGuigan's birthplace, to make way for this sleek new modern bungalow bank!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Gordon-Dunn-Holm House soon to be demolished in Alberton

     This old house is located at the corner of Main and Carroll Streets on your way from downtown Alberton to Northport - not far from Sacred Heart Catholic Church.  
     It is said to be the oldest house south of "the cross" the main intersection in Alberton.  It was most recent the home of Harvey and Sandra Holm who lived here from 1984-2004 then rented it.  They believe the house is near 200 years old.   
     The ground under this house is mostly sand, once you dig through 6" of topsoil you hit sand.  Mr. Holm's said it was great digging fence posts.   He also said he used the old stone-lined well on the property for many years - it was 16'-18' deep and in recent years had a pipe going into the house to supply water, however, when three houses were built nearby it completely dried up.  
     The Holm's bought this house from Carl Shea; before him the house was owned by Bob Dunn (m. ? Gordon) who used the workshop at the back (next to Dufferin Street) to make sleigh runner, chafes, etc.; before the Dunn's the house was owned by the Gordons.
     The house is said to have a ghost named "Rah" - the Holm's never experienced him.  See the story below from, Footprints in the Sands of Time: A History of Alberton, 1980.
   Page 265-266: "It's very rah (raw) the day," was the usual remark to fall from his Scottish tongue when he greeted an acquittance, so they called him, "Old Rah."  He lived in what is believed to be the oldest house between "The Cross" (corner of Church and Main, Alberton) and the settlement at Cascumpeque Point (Northport) - at the corner of Main and Carroll Streets.  Probably he acquired it about 1887 from James Gordon under whose name it appears in Meacham's Atlas of 1880.  One day, some years later, Old Rah dropped dead in the driveway and in 1902 his mortgaged property was sold to John Dun.  Another family moved into the house before it was purchased by Mr. Dunn and tradition says that Old Rah's ghost was seen in an upstairs bedroom.  Believers claim it was only a whitened flue, but the family left immediately.  This story was well known in the community and two of the Dunn boys, aged about then and twelve, made use of it to have some fun with their small sister on occasions when their mother was absent from home, "Old Rah will get you," they would exult as they locked her in the room where Old Rah was said to have been see, "Old Rah will get you."  The child was terrified but she dare not tell her parents lest the boy carry out threats of what they would do to her if any tales were told.  On other occasions they would tell her, "Old Rah will get you.  You just wait.  He'll reach out from behind one of those white birch trees beside the driveway and grab you.?  The little girl is a grandmother now.  She has not yet seen Old Rah but she never walks up the driveway to her old home at night without thinking of him."