The Old Home - Artist Audrey MacPhee

The Old Home Place – Artist Audrey MacPhee

Millie’s Marvels are a group of artists who meet weekly to paint together at the Burnside Presbyterian Church in Clyde River. Their artistic works are on display until May 8th at Cornwall Town Hall. The show is called “Beginners’ Choice”. Millie Kikkert’s budding artists are Wanda Corney, Audrey MacPhee, Phyllis Taylor, Gloria Sauvé, Betty Watts, Ada Drummond, Lois Gass, Jean Beer, and Donna Clow.

For those of us who attended Clyde River School in the late 60s-70s, we cannot let this week go by without honouring our music teacher Phyllis Newman who passed away at the age of 94. Her in memoriam highlights what an extraordinary woman she was.

Phyllis spent most of her life involved with music. She started playing piano at an early age and served as organist and choir director for over six decades at various churches including Cornwall, New Dominion, Kingston and Park Royal United Churches. In the days of one and two room rural schools, she worked as a traveling music teacher. She is remembered for organizing and participating in school and church concerts. She volunteered her talents for many charitable and fund raising efforts and played at numerous nursing and seniors’ homes. In the days before dial telephones, Phyllis operated the New Haven rural telephone exchange for The Island Telephone Co. for many years out of her home in New Haven. Phyllis and Stanley operated a tourist home and motel in New Haven for twenty years.

To the students at Clyde River School, she was Mrs. Newman, and when she arrived for music class, we did as we were told. We lined up in rows according to height and began with our scales “do re me fa so la ti do”.

With Mrs. Newman, music was not an optional, elective course; it was mandatory. We were there to learn how to sing, and sing we did, although it is possible that those who were vocally challenged learned young how to move their mouths to the music without making a sound. We prepared for upcoming school concerts held in the community hall just a short walk down the road. As the event date approached, we performed our final rehearsals in the hall…such an air of excitement among us as we summoned any God-given talent we had.

Mrs. Newman taught us how to prepare for a performance. Yes, she’d have to be strict to keep us on task and help us overcome any anxieties, but when I think back, she taught us some valuable life skills. We learned that there are times when we have to step outside our comfort zone, learn something new and stand in front of peers and community to perform. So, in order to do well (not embarrass ourselves too badly), we had to commit to the task, practice, play on the team, hold up our end, give it all we had, so on the day of the performance, we knew we had done our best. And our audience applauded us. Our parents breathed freely once again. These life skills are exactly the ones that drive people to succeed in life.

So if we have gone above and beyond at any point in our lives and we had Mrs. Newman as our music teacher in our early school years, she is one of the good people we can thank.

All residents are invited to attend Clyde River’s 41st Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, March 24th at 7:30 p.m.

The meeting takes place at the Riverview Community Centre.  If by chance there is a storm that evening, the meeting will be held the following night on the 25th, same time.

The agenda includes approval of the budget and tax rate for 2015.

Clyde River

Clyde River

The AGM for the Central Queens Branch of the PEI Wildlife Federation will be held on Saturday, March 21st at 10:00 a.m. at the Riverview Community Centre in Clyde River.

Learn about your community’s stream restoration projects taking place in addition to plans for the Bonshaw Hills Public Lands from BHPL subcommittee member Megan Harris.

This is a great opportunity to come out and meet your neighbours and friends and find out what’s happening in your watershed and how you can get involved. During the AGM, there will be an opportunity to renew memberships in the CQWF.

Capturing Collective Memories continues as Jane Von Bredow recounts childhood memories of living with her grandparents Dr. and Mrs. A.J. Murchison. This beautifully detailed account is the perfect gift of reading during this extended St. Patrick’s snow storm.

When my mother (Isabelle Murchison Johnstone) died of leukemia in 1933, I was sent to live with my grandparents, Dr. and Mrs. A.J Murchison. The house that once stood in the centre of what is now called Murchison Place Park became “home” to me for the rest of my life, even though I was later sent to school in Charlottetown. I returned home to Clyde River every weekend and holiday, and every summer until my grandmother’s death in 1952. I have many happy memories of my life there.

Murchison Home

Murchison Home

The sign boards in the park give an excellent and very comprehensive description of the house and surroundings, and they include detailed information concerning my grandfather’s life. So I feel there is little I can add, except some snippets that may give a picture of family life within the house.

The sign board refers to the attractive exterior of the house, the lawn with its flower beds, the tree-lined lane and the tennis court, and a child’s playhouse in the orchard. It is a true picture, and an idyllic source of memories for me. But at the same time, I’m afraid it may suggest something finer or more pretentious on the inside than was actually the case. It was, after all, just a comfortable home that had served a family of seven children. Continue Reading »

Table of artifactsAll are welcome to attend an Open House for the “Capturing Collective Memories” project on Saturday, March 7th, at 1:30 to 3:00 p.m., Riverview Community Centre. We have been very busy over this past year digitizing photos, collecting artifacts and organizing events where we had the opportunity to collaborate on identifying photos and artifacts. There has been a dedicated group of history enthusiasts that have attended all our events and have contributed their extensive historical knowledge. Now we want the rest of the community to join us to see what has been achieved, so we encourage all ages to attend next Saturday.

Highlights include:

  • Digital display featuring our collection of digitized photos. We have now collected over 1500 photos.
  • Slide presentation of select heritage photos
  • Table displays of artifacts
  • A selection of over 30 large canvas gallery wraps and framed prints of select heritage photos
  • Large historic maps of the area
  • Three display cases showcasing artifacts that have been donated to our museum collection to date
  • Interpretative tours of historical collection
  • Heritage celebration cake

As part of the open house, we will highlight the activities and achievements over this past year.

We encourage all that plan to attend to bring along any interesting heritage items they have in their own collection to exhibit. Extra tables will be available to display your items. This is a great way to invite others to help identify and offer more information on your heritage photos and historical treasures and mementos.

Refreshments will be served.

This project is made possible with funding from New Horizons Program, Government of Canada.

West River Pioneers

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 2.49.37 PMAs we dig ourselves out after the latest major blizzard, consider this article that appeared in The Guardian on September 13th, 1947, that describes the lives of our early ancestors, “The West River Pioneers”. It notes that the article was written by Alex C. Shaw.

West River Pioneers

The borders of West River, in the year 1800, had but few settlers. the land was covered with a heavy growth of birch, spruce, hemlock, and pine. After this date, and especially in the years 1804, 1806, 1808, and 1812, emigrants began to arrive and locate on the lands fronting on the West River and its tributary, Clyde River, then known as “Dog River”. Repeated trips of the ship Polly brought many of the emigrants from the western islands of Scotland. The same class settled the greater part of Township 65, excepting a settlement of Irish emigrants near Nine Mile Creek, Canoe Cove, Argyle Shore, and Desable were also settled by emigrants from the western part of Scotland.

Courageously facing the heavy forests, although by no means used to cutting down or hewing lumber they soon became expert and skillful lumberers. After cutting away a small space as near the river as possible, a house was erected, mostly of round logs, dovetailed at the corners, the chinks between the logs being tightly caulked with moss, the roof was covered with bark taken from fir or spruce trees or else sedge grass from the marshes, which was abundant. The floor was the ground, smoothly packed and a huge fireplace often in the centre of the floor with a hole in the roof for the exit of the smoke, constituted the pioneer dwelling. Chimneys were built as soon as possible, oysters being burned for lime, as they existed in immense quantities.

The houses were built near the shore, as there were no roads and the river was the only means of communication. The cellars of these houses can, in many cases, yet be seen, these being dug after a floor of lumber was placed in the dwellings. When a space was cut down, the wood was cut in lengths and, after being dried in sun, were piled and set fire to, being kept burning until converted into ashes.

Potatoes and grain were hoed in, all the members of the family being engaged, and the crops raised from the rich virgin soil were wonderfully large. Year by year the area for cultivation increased and the conditions of the people became better; the thrifty housewife manufacturing flax for many uses in the family, as sheep could not yet be raised or kept from bears, which were very numerous. The nearest approach to Charlottetown by land was a crossing at Bonshaw, then by a blazed footpath to Milton, then turning in a southerly direction to the town, a distance of nearly forty miles being travelled.”


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