Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sen. Donald Montgomery 1878 House (Museum) for Sale

     On today's news we learned the Senator Donald Montgomery house at Park Corner is for sale by his descendant Robert Montgomery.  For the past many years it has been known as the Lucy Maud Montgomery Heritage Museum.  This was the home of L.M. Montgomery's grandfather.

     Here's the article on CBC PEI webiste today:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/story/2012/08/21/pei-lucy-maud-montgomery-museum-for-sale-584.html
The 134-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery Heritage Museum has been put up for sale by one of her descendants.
The 134-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery Heritage Museum has been put up for sale by one of her descendants. (Ryan Hicks/CBC)

The Lucy Maud Montgomery Heritage Museum has been put up for sale because the owner says he's losing money on it.
Robert Montgomery is a distant relative of the beloved author of Anne of Green Gables — his great-grandfather, Senator Donald Montgomery, was Lucy Maud Montgomery's grandfather.
Now, Robert Montgomery is putting the 134-year-old house in Park Corner, about 21 km from of the Anne of Green Gables museum, up for sale.
Montgomery says he's losing money on the museum, but it's also time to let it go.
"Naturally sadness because I'm 72, I lived here till I was 22. As one woman said last year, 'I expect to meet Lucy Maud walking down the hall here,'" he said.
The museum is also known as Ingleside in some of Lucy Maud's stories, and was the model for Anne and Gilbert's home on Prince Edward Island in the Anne series of novels.
Montgomery is looking at selling the contents, which include several objects Lucy Maud wrote about in her stories, including the Rosebud Tea Set and the china dogs Gog and Magog.
He says he'd like the provincial or federal governments to consider purchasing them so they're preserved for years to come.

Below is information and photos from the LMM Heritage Museum. www.lucymaudmontgomerymuseum.com
Below: an antique within the house.
     Below is aan image from the Meecham's 1880 Atlas, page 57, showing the new house Montgomery House above - note the old house to the right of the new house. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Robertson-Ferguson House, Bonshaw

     The following is the Robertson-Ferguson house - these photos were also taken the day I photographed the two Bonshaw churches.  This house is located on the TransCanada Highway in Bonshaw, west of the former Bonshaw Presbyterian-United Church.  The front of the house faces south towards Rte. 1
    The following information about the church comes from the book, BONSHAW: A Stroll Through the Past, by Wm M. Glen CG(C) and Elizabeth A. Glen (C) 1993.  Page 89.

     "Jimmie Robertson's house was completed in March 1900 - now (1986) occupied by Blois Ferguson."
The barn is are located to the east of the property.
     Below:  On the north side of the church is this driveway which takes you up behind the barn and into the homestead yard.
Below: east side of barn, towards the United Church.

Bonshaw Presbyterian / United Church

     The same day I photographed the Bonshaw Baptist Church, I photographed the former Bonshaw Presbyterian / United Church.  
     The following information about the church comes from the book, BONSHAW: A Stroll Through the Past, by Wm M. Glen CG(C) and Elizabeth A. Glen (C) 1993.  Page 29-30.

     In 1860 Reverend William Ross was ordained and inducted into a Presbyterian charge which included Bonshaw, Bannockburn, Brookfield and Dog River (Clyde River), etc.  Bonshaw was note din 1865 as part of a charge with Brookfield and West River which was served by Reverend George Sutherland, Donald McNeil, Alexander Sutherland, Alexander Munro, Charles Ross (a Student) and others.  Later the same year Bonshaw was separated from West River and united with Tryon to form the Tryon-Bonshaw Pastoral Charge of the Presbyterian Church of the Lower Province of British North America.  It was noted that Bonshaw "greatly strengthened the Tryon" charge.  Where the congregation initially met is not clear s it was on April 3rd, 1863 that the trustees of the Presbyterian church of Bonshaw purchased a piece of land for the erection of a place of worship.  The piece of land located at the west end of the Bonshaw bridge, was purchased from Alexander Robertson for the sum of five shillings.  The first evidence of the church was the event of the first communion service which was held on May 26th, 1867.  John G. Cameron was the pastor of the charge between March 14, 1867 and 1873, so was probably the preaching minister at the first communion.
     The Islander (newspaper) of July 26, 1867 reports a "Public Tea at Bonshaw" which was used to raise money to liquidate the debt upon the Presbyterian Church.  The sum raised was 60 pounds and an elaborate description of the day's social events is found in the clipping below (not insert here).
     on June 10, 1867 the first church session was held, moderated by Revd John Cameron.  Visiting elder Mr. Henry Hyde and Revd Alex Falconer were in attendance.  Mr. James Gordon senior of Appin Road was ordained elder of the Bonshaw congregation.  
     In 1886 a lecture describing P.E.I. a hundred years previously was given in Bonshaw by Judge Alley.  The audience appreciated the lecture and the proceeds were believed to have gone to pay part of the cost of the organ for the Presbyterian  Church.
     In 1925 Bonshaw and Hampton voted for Church Union with Victoria, DeSable and Appin Road to become the Hampton Pastoral  Charge of the United Church of Canada.
     Above: the front, facing eastward.  The church is located on the northwest corner of the TransCanada Highway and Green Road, kitty corner across the highway from the Bonshaw Baptist Church.

     Below: The front door portico/porch roof support has been modified - originally there were two posts holding up the front of the roof - they were removed and replaced with these super large brackets - likely done when the former church was used as an antique shop following its closing.
 Below:  the cupola / spire-like detail was recently replaced.
     Below: today the former church is known as Bonshaw Hall where many community activities and fundraisers take place.

Bonshaw Baptist Church

     Finally, I'm posting these photos of Bonshaw Baptist Church - I took them in late April 2012.  The little church is situated at the bottom of the hill in Bonshaw between the TransCanada highway and the Bonshaw River - across the Road is the Bonshaw Provincial Park
Below: Northwest view.
Below: behind the church is a laneway to the river.
The church has beautiful cut shingle decorations of a variety of styles.
    The following information about the church comes from the book, BONSHAW: A Stroll Through the Past, by Wm M. Glen CG(C) and Elizabeth A. Glen (C) 1993.  Page 31.

    BAPTIST CHURCH:  On December 15th, 1891 a group of residents of Bonshaw met to discuss the need for a Baptist Church.  The meeting resulted in C.W. Crosby, D.A. MacLean, and Malcolm McArthur being chosen deacons with C.W. Crosby as clerk.  A letter was drawn up listing the individuals who wished to organize a new church.  This letter was submitted to the church authorities who agreed that the new church would be supported.
     January 20th, 1893 a meeting of the church elders was held and they expressed "the necessity of having a house of our own in which to worship God."  The elders unanimously agreed to proceed to build at once.  A building committee was formed with C.W. Crosby chairman, Peter Inman treasure and Nicholas McNevin, George Barrett and James Gordon as members.
     By May 1893 the building fund had reached $90.00 and the building commenced shortly thereafter.  On November 5th, the same year, the new church was dedicated.  "It was a beautiful day after a rainy night, and at 10:30am the morning service found the building filled to overflowing."  J.D. Davidson, the former pastor, came from Gibson, New Brunswick to give the dedication sermon.  Two further services were held that day in the afternoon by Pastor Higgins and Reverend Davidson again in the evening.
    The exact cost of the building is not know but the building fund had reached $104 by the time of the church opening.

Monday, August 13, 2012

la Roche & Grand Ruisseau by Georges Arsenault

     The following article appeared on the Journal-Pioneer's website today by Michael Nesbit, August 12, 2012.  http://www.journalpioneer.com/News/Local/2012-08-12/article-3051043/Big-time-celebration/1

Big time celebration
Author Georges Arsenault and Victor l’Heureux discuss the home of Manuel “La Light” Arsenault, which l’Heureux purchased to save from demolition. He is currently renovating the property, which is just one of the many illustrations and stories in “La Roche & Grand Ruisseau” history of the Evangeline region. Local resident Irene Arsenault was one of many others who took advantage of the opening of the bi-centennial ceremonies to get a signed copy from Arsenault.

By Michael Nesbit

Journal Pioneer
MONT-CARMEL – Two hundred years is certainly a big time period, and P.E.I.'s Evangeline area intends to express that as boldly as the star on its national flag.
More than 75 community members turned out Friday for the official opening of 10 days of celebration of the founding of the first homesteads in Lot 15, what is now known as the Evangeline region of the Island.
The event also served as the official launch of a book on the area's history, "La Roche & Grand Ruisseau," by celebrated historian Georges Arsenault.
Co-president of the event, Marcel Bernard, explained that the five families of Acadians settled the area in 1812, making 2012 the bi-centennial of their installation. There were two families that settled in Mont-Carmel and three in Egmont Bay.
"The whole concept behind the bicentennial is to celebrate those five families," he said.
The five families came from the Malpeque Bay area, according to Arsenault.
"They relocated in the fall of 1812. They were tenants of Col. Compton, and they were having problems with him. They thought he was charging too much rent. There was also bad relations with some of the English neighbours, so they decided to come to Lot 15.
"They knew the proprietor was not taking care of the land (following the responsibilities of Lot ownership). The Lot owner had passed away, with no descendants, so I believe they knew the government was going to seize the lot and make it Crown land."
A few years after the relocation, Lot 15 did become Crown land when most of the Island was still ruled by absentee landlords. By 1828, when the first leases were given, there were 61 families involved.
"They managed to become proprietors of their own land, some of the first Islanders to be able to do that," said Arsenault.
Acadian National Day organizers allowed the celebrations to be held in the Evangeline Region this year. The day is normally recognized in a different part of the province each year, and Souris has given up the honour for this special event.
Promotion of the bicentennial event has been sponsored in large part by the Evangeline Credit Union Central, with additional funds of $54,450 from the federal government, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Canadian Heritage, and $8,000 from the provincial Department of Tourism and Culture.
"We do understand the value of tourism to the economy here in Atlantic Canada, and the contributions the bicentennial celebrations will make, when spent through the local economy to ensure long-term prosperity," National Revenue Minister Gail Shea told the assembled audience as part of her remarks. "Events such as these also help to ensure that local attractions also benefit."
Robert Henderson, P.E.I. Minister of Tourism and Culture, brought congratulations from Premier Robert Ghiz, who was unable to attend.
"When one thinks that, after 200 years as a community, that you have evolved to the point where you are today, you can tell that people have put a lot of hard work and their efforts have paid off to have formed such a tight-knit community," Henderson said.
"The Island would simply not be the place it is today had La Roche & Grand Ruisseau not been founded 200 years ago."
Henderson added that his own area history, documented in "Along the North Shore," by Clint Morrison, is a treasured document in many households and he expects the same to be true for the Evangeline history among local families, near and far.
Arsenault humourously encouraged families to buy multiple copies so that there are no family fights over who gets to inherit it when the time comes.
Considering the abundance of descendents in the area, that may not be a bad idea. The original leaseholders include: 32 Arsenaults, 15 Gallants, four Richards, three Bernards, three Poiriers, two Downings, one Aucoin and one Cormier family.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Archaeolgical dig at Stanhope

This appeared on today's Guardian Newspaper website:
Shalen Trask, from Kensington, helps with an archaeological dig of a British 
settlement basement in the Stanhope Farmlands in the National Park.

Archaeologists continue discovering evidence in Stanhope of early British farm homestead

STANHOPE — An archaeological dig here continues to provide a window to Prince Edward Island's earliest days.

Parks Canada, together with the Stanhope Historical Society, resumed a dig that began in the park back in the summer of 2008.

The dig is taking place this week (they only dig for a week at a time every summer) on the Farmlands Trail and the public is welcome to drop by.

Archaeologists are uncovering the remnants of a British farm homestead from the late 1700s in Stanhope, the site of the first British settlement on P.E.I. Towards the end of the dig in 2010, they discovered what appeared to be a cellar.

This week they found something else.

"There's two foundation stones sitting in there,'' said John Palmer, with the historical society, pointing to a series of stones in the cellar. "We think that's a chimney base and that goes back under (the ground) but the trees have since grown in.''

A lot of trees have grown up over the past few centuries in what used to be farmland, for which the trail was named after. All that reminds people today of the old farmland is the flat terrain.

The dig aims to answer some questions about who lived there because the site has remained a mystery to Parks Canada since it acquired the land back in the 1970s. There are no historical records to indicate the presence of a structure in that particular area.

Palmer said they suspect there were two French families in the area around the 1750s, before the deportation.

So, originally we asked Parks Canada if we could do an exploratory dig to find out what was in there,'' he said.

The first dig found nothing but they're onto something with the current effort. Bits of pottery and bottles have been unearthed prior to discovering what appears to be the base of a chimney. That led experts away from the French theory.

"It was dated to the British period, around 1780 to 1790, so it wasn't French.''
Helen Kristmanson, director of aboriginal affairs and archaeology for the province, brought along four of her students to help.

"One of my main objectives is to give my students some exposure to another archaeological site. This is part of their archaeological education so we're here to assist Parks Canada in the excavations and learn from it,'' Kristmanson said.

They're learning about early British architecture on the Island and about the material culture of the period.

On Wednesday, they also found what appears to be a metal rivet and a threaded screw that seems to be attached to a piece of fabric.

"We'll have to get that back to the lab to have a better look at that,'' Kristmanson said. "We left it excavated in the soil matrix that it was in because it was very delicate. The flagstone foundation for the fireplace is very interesting.''

Archaeologists tend to work in small sections measuring one metre by one metre square. The work is slow, requires lots of patience and care.

"We're very careful that we don't step on any ground where artifacts are so we don't break them.

"We want to find everything exactly where it was left so it's very important that we don't disturb the artifacts so that's why we trowel like this so when we find an artifact it's exactly where it was deposited and we put that information together later. It will tell us what happened to the house after it was left and then, at the deeper level, what happened to the house when people were living there,'' Kristmanson said.

It's painstaking work but necessary in order to open that window into the lives of people who lived here in those early days.