The Clyde River History Committee is hosting a History Working Bee on Saturday, November 21st, 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. at the Riverview Community Centre. This event is a chance to come together to move along any history projects/activities that you may be working on.

The folks who have attended our history events over the past three years have built up a rich historical knowledge of the community. The History Committee has seen first hand that those attending our events love solving historical puzzles, whether it is identifying folks in pictures or offering background to references made in old diaries or scrapbooks. It is amazing to see how one person’s memory will spark a memory of a story that another person heard from their parents or grandparents. It’s like solving a big historical jigsaw puzzle. Each person offers one more piece. It’s satisfying and enjoyable.

We thought our audience of history enthusiasts would be a valuable resource for anyone working on a history activity. Whether you have attended one of our events or not, do you have a history project in the works or plan to this winter?

  • Are you developing a family tree and stuck on one of the branches?
  • Are you trying to identify people in a heritage family photo album and no matter how long you stare at them, you can’t figure out who they are?
  • Are you sorting through historical items or artifacts and trying to decide what to keep and what to give away?
  • Are you trying to interpret references made in old family diaries and scrapbooks?

Has your project raised more questions than answers? Well, take along your project and list of questions to the event. This is your chance to get help solving the puzzle. Even if you don’t have a history project in progress, you can still enjoy stories, conversations and refreshments with people who love history.

All are welcome to attend, whether you want to share your historical knowledge or you are seeking to learn more, you will have an enjoyable afternoon. As for our online audience living in other parts of the world, you are also welcome to participate with a question or to offer information – just contact us through this website or by emailing any of the contacts below.

If anyone has any questions in advance of the event, please connect with any member on our history committee:

Find out how much fun history can be and how it can help us get through the winter.

Clyde River in June 1The Clyde River Baptist Women’s Missionary Society wishes to invite one and all to their annual Thank Offering Service on Sunday, October 18, at 7:00 pm.

It will be held at the Clyde River United Baptist Church, 726 Clyde River Road. They are honoured this year to have Wendy DuBois from the First Baptist Church as their guest lecturer.  She will be speaking and offering a slide presentation on the trip she and seven other ladies took on a missionary trip to Cuba. Special music will be supplied by the Burnside Community Choir under the direction of Wendell Stevenson.  A light lunch will be served after the service.

Murchison Park 3We will be closing up Murchison Place Park on Saturday, October 17th, 9:00 to 12:00 noon. We invite volunteers to join us to help out and enjoy a beautiful fall day in Clyde River. Feel free to take along some bulbs for planting. We suggest you wear work gloves. Refreshments will be served. If it is raining, the close up will be the following Saturday at the same time.

A Visit to Clyde River

This writer hasn’t added anything to this blog for some time mainly because we, Vans and I, haven’t spent much time in Clyde River. However, it’s been a beautiful September and I feel a sentimental reflection might be timely for the viewers of the Clyde River site.

Recently, through the kindness of Kevin Ross, we had the opportunity to travel the beautiful West River by boat and we enjoyed the immense beauty of this river and this area. It is very peaceful to travel by boat, or to sit at the river’s edge and watch the beauty of the clear blue waters surrounded by golden fields and many shades of green.

Visiting Murchison Place Park is always a pleasure as it brings back pleasant memories as our Park Committee designed and planned this lovely quiet park. I recall, as if it was yesterday, Doreen Pound’s comment the day the gazebo arrived from Holland College’s carpentry unit, namely, “This is a dream come true.” The four Story Boards have kept well. I chuckle when I remember that we feared the pictures and wording would fade as the shade in this park helps to protect everything. It warms my heart to remember the many volunteers and hours of volunteer work that helped, and still helps, to make this park a gem for Clyde River. It obviously has been well looked after this summer and I commend the Friends of Clyde River for their continued interest and commitment.

The Clyde River Road is beautiful to drive down and new houses are showing up here and on other roads as well. The new homes are a contrast that actually enhance the lovely historic homes such as the Brown’s home and Alex and Audrey MacPhee’s farm. Both the History of Clyde River and the Landscape picture books have helped to preserve these settings and stories plus the wonderful photo collections at the Riverview Community Centre shows this community values the past while continuing to change and grow. For example, Burnside Community Care is a real asset to the community and to the residents who enjoyed this facility. Of course, the Baltic Road and its quiet beauty continues to be special to us.

It is just too easy to take this Island we live on for granted and not take the time to reflect on the luxury of living in a peaceful area with beautiful scenery and changing seasons. This year, we have volunteered as Cruise Ship Ambassadors. It has been a wonderful experience. We have greeted people from all around the world and they have many questions and offer interesting perspectives. Consistently, they comment on the pretty well kept properties, the pastoral beauty and the peacefulness of seeing animals grazing on the open fields. These comments go a long way to remind us to open our eyes and appreciate what we have on Prince Edward Island.

Our recent visit to Clyde River has been a wonderful experience for us and we are grateful to the entire Ross family for their hospitality and inspiration.

Island Connections

Kathleen MacLean, Myra MacLeod, Dalvay Murchison, Robert Matheson, Isabel Murchison, William Murchison, Ina Livingston, Ida MacLean, Tena MacKinnon – Clyde River, July 22nd, 1927 (photo provided by CraigAnn Ummel)

(Story submitted by Jane Von Bredow)

In the picture, above, which was published on November 2014, two of the girls in the boat were Ina Livingstone and Isabel Murchison. They had been school friends earlier, and were still good friends at that later date, in 1927, when the picture was taken.

It was just one year later when some very significant changes began for both of them. My mother, Isabel, married my father, Edwin Johnstone, in 1928, and went to live in Charlottetown. A few years later, Ina married Dr. Mark Inman and went to live in London, Ontario. Then in 1933, at just 30 years of age, Isabel died.

There may be some people in Clyde River who would be intrigued, as I am, at something relating to them that occurred more than 50 years later.

My son, Alex, whose home was Toronto, attended Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. In 1983, at the end of his first year there, he approached his friend, Dave, about looking for a place where they might have the experience of living on their own. Dave told him that he knew of another student who had the same idea, and suggested they look for an apartment that the three of them could share. Alex agreed to this, though he had not at the time met the other student, a friend of Dave’s named John. He had confidence in Dave’s judgment that John would be suitable and congenial.

They found a place and moved in. But it was actually not until after they were settled and had been together a while that Alex began to get acquainted with John. They had no classes together and John had come to Queens from British Columbia. While washing dishes one evening they spoke about how much travelling each had done, and concerning how much of Canada they had seen. It was in the course of that conversation they discovered that both had been to Prince Edward Island more than once because both had family connections there. They spoke of the Island, and then to their mutual surprise, they discovered that both of them had roots in a small place called Clyde River!

Alex phoned me about it, and though I was surprised at the coincidence, it was not difficult for me to establish that John was the son of Dr. Faye (Inman) Dirks, and grandson of Ina Livingstone Inman. Alex is a grandson of Isabel Murchison Johnstone.

In the years after her marriage, Ina and her family continued to visit at home in Clyde River every summer. My grandmother spoke often about her and her family whom she heard about from Ina’s mother, Daisy, (Mrs. Boyd Livingstone). There was a photograph of Ina’s daughters, the two little girls, Faye and Heather Inman, on the mantel in our parlour, but I recall meeting them only once or twice.

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 7.00.04 PMWe were school aged children when my cousin, Carl Brown, and I happened to be in Clyde River at a time when Ina and her family were at home visiting, and we went with our grandmother to visit them. It was sometime in the 1930’s and I recall only that their Uncle Watson let us have the fun of riding on a load of hay together that day! Although worth little as a picture, the snapshot taken that day records the occasion. It was almost 50 years later that Faye’s son and mine met by accident at Queens. Naturally we did not become friends on the basis of meeting so briefly as children, and in fact I did not hear anything further about the Inman girls after my grandmother’s death in 1952.

Sometime after we had established the coincidence of Alex and John living together in Kingston, Alex brought John home with him to Toronto one weekend and I was able to tell them my memories of the connection in Clyde River. I told them of going often with one of my uncles to get our butter from John’s great-grand-mother, Daisy Livingstone. The Livingstones, like many others at the time, did their own home churning, and they always made enough butter to supply our household also.

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 7.00.22 PMI was able to show Alex and John the jug that we took back and forth to get some of the buttermilk that was a welcome accompaniment, and I told them how all of the family at what is now Murchison Place welcomed the oatcakes that Daisy often gave us on those occasions. (I am not referring to an oatmeal cookie, but to real old-fashioned Scotch oatcakes that are much plainer and are eaten with jam or cheese as a snack. With cold fresh buttermilk they were a very special treat.)

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 6.59.24 PM

John Dirks (left) and Alex von Bredow (right)

The friendship that John and Alex formed so accidentally at Queens became one that they have maintained throughout the years since then. This picture of them was taken in 1991 on Alex’s wedding day, when John was his best man.

John has roots in Clyde River through both of his maternal grandparents, not just through the Livingstones. His great-grandfather, Peter Inman, father of Dr. Mark Inman, was at one time the store keeper in Clyde River. Alex, as one might guess, was named for his great-grandfather, Dr. Alexander Murchison of Murchison Place.

Editor’s note: Thank you, Jane, for this contribution to the “Capturing Collective Memories” project. One of the wonderful results of this project is to read such rich multi-generational stories that have a chance to be told.

For those of you who were not able to attend the NeuroConX public lecture hosted by the PEI BioAlliance and Neurodyn on July 12th, here is a video of Katherine’s presentation, “How Senility became a Disease: The early years”. Katherine Livingstone Bick who grew up in Clyde River was also featured in an earlier story on our site.

StrawberriesClyde River Women’s Institute will host their Strawberry Social on Wednesday, July 22nd, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Riverview Community Centre. It’s a little later than usual due to our late Spring delaying crops. We will savour the taste of the strawberries that much more.

The Social is a great homecoming occasion with neighbours, families and relations home from away.

An added highlight this year will be tours of the Emily Bryant Room where you can view a gallery of photos and display of artifacts depicting Clyde River history from the late 1800s to 1960s. This collection represents a great deal of work from a dedicated group of seniors from within and connected to the community.


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