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Invitation to Clyde River residents from The Central Queens Wildlife Federation:

Clyde River

The Central Queens Wildlife Federation (CQWF) is currently executing a multi-year restoration plan for the Clyde River watershed. To date we have focused our efforts on the West Branch (Baltic Brook) and are expanding our efforts into the main branch this year.

The decision of the Government of PEI to construct the Cornwall Bypass will have a significant impact on the Clyde River watershed. As we are currently working in the watershed, CQWF was invited by the Government to provide advice and technical support during the planning and construction phases of the bypass.

We have identified a number of potential projects to protect and enhance the habitat, and we would like to obtain input from the community on these and other ideas to develop an overall vision for the watershed.

What would the residents of the Clyde River like to see? Is there a desire to restore the Acadian forest, develop nature trails and interpretive sites, create wetlands or other ideas? 

The meeting is scheduled for Jun 8th, 7:00 PM at the Riverview Community Centre and all are welcome to attend.

We will provide a brief overview of the projects we are considering and there will be an open forum to answer any questions as well as time for informal discussion.  We hope to see you there!

As a follow-up to the story “John Beer’s Adventure off Peru during WWII“, I recently connected with the daughter of Charles Reginald Boggs, from Halifax, who was also serving on the Prince Henry at that same time in April 1941. Diane came upon my story here, and she recalled her father’s comments about the day of the burning and sinking of the two German ships. In fact, he recorded a bit of the action with his personal movie camera on 16mm film, as the crew and officers captured and took aboard the Germans from their escaping lifeboats.

Diane recalls from viewing the film that the Canadians treated the Germans well as they brought them onboard, handing them blankets, hot drinks and cigarettes. Hopefully, the Canadian Military Archives will soon be converting the reel to digital and putting it online.

Also among Reginald Boggs’ naval memorabilia was a news clipping of Messdeck News, a column in a Halifax newspaper during the war, written by Annie Coade (aka Jessie Coade). She provided the public with her own interesting naval journalism. The clipping from November 8th, 1941, features a photo of a German Shepherd dog and his new master Lieutenant W. Gage. My father also had a photo of a German Shepherd in his collection of photos. Well, we were able to solve the mystery of why this dog was on the ship. Here is an excerpt from the transcribed clipping:

Photo of Peetsa and Lieutenant W. Gage from Messdeck News

Surpassing in news importance the old “man bites dog” tale is the story of a native of Germany who not only had the run of a Canadian ship, but is the special pal of every officer and man on board. The “German” is a police dog call Peetsa who was captured along with the crew of an enemy freighter and the only one of the company to escape internment.

Peetsa was the mascot of the freighter “Hermonthis” out of Hamburg, which with three other ships of her type were lying in the harbour of Callao, seaport of Lima, Peru. A Canadian ship had a veritable “field day” when the enemy ships tried to escape the harbour, and after much excitement, a lifeboat filled with prisoners gave over its crew. Peetsa, a scared little puppy was the last aboard and, at the risk of his life, Able Seaman Ed Suffern managed to get him on board via a garbage pail.

An enemy Captain, bound for an interment camp, asked that his dog be taken care of. A dog of any country is still a dog, so the pup became mascot of the Royal Canadian Navy.

John Beer’s photo of Peetsa

Not long after when the ship was at a Canadian port, she was compared to the famous dog called Rin-tin-tin. An extraordinary chapter in the life of Peetsa brings forth the fact that she was born in Peru and her seven “babies” saw daylight when the ship touched Peru again for the first time since her arrival on board! A twenty-hour stoppage at that.

Peetsa shows her appreciation to the Canadians who adopted her by showing off a clever trick when asked – and by formally taking care of a white kitten that belonged to one of the messes. In the trick, her foster master Lieutenant William Gage places a package of cigarettes high on a shelf in the wardroom.

Peetsa is nonchalantly curled up in her chair. Suddenly Lt. Gage snaps “roust” and, in a flash, Peetsa is up over the obstacles and brings the packet, unharmed, back to her trainer. She has earned her spot on board.

Editor’s Note:

  • Thanks to Diane for connecting with us and adding more richness and insight into this piece of Canadian history. And who doesn’t like a happy story about a dog?!
  • Jessie Coade was the mother of Peter Coade, a retired meteorologist with CBC Radio One.

(Guest submission from James Ward) When my wife Carol and I began the search for my ancestors, we put visiting Prince Edward Island on our bucket list. We had three goals; find my grandfather’s farm, find some more pictures, and discover any living Ward relatives. In early 2002, I sent an email to the Public Archives in PEI and received a reply from the project archivist confirming my grandfather was from PEI. That ignited interest in researching my family tree and my wish to someday travel to PEI to research my family.

This April was our chance to visit both Nova Scotia and PEI. Carol and I spent the week at the White Point Resort and visited the Lunenburg area researching my Grandmother Effie Feener (Ward) and were able to find information at the South Shore Genealogical Society.

Vivian and James

We then journeyed to PEI for the last four days of our Canada trip and stayed at a wonderful Shipwright Inn in Charlottetown. The best part of this trip was my contact with Vivian Beer, a distant cousin by marriage. Hattie Beer married my Great Uncle Benjamin Ward. With that connection, my cousin invited us to meet her in Clyde River the next day to see what we could find. We met Vivian at the Clyde River Community Center, originally the old school where she had attended.

The Clyde River History Committee was meeting in the basement of this Community Center and she introduced us to the ladies in the group and gave us a tour of their museum collection. They are in the process of researching artifacts from the Clyde River area. One of the ladies, Hilda Colodey, recalled the Ward’s farms and location. They had old plats of Lot 31, and John Ward was listed with 50 acres on Bannockburn Road. A later plot had Benjamin Ward on John Ward’s original 50 acres and, across the road, was Benjamin’s brother, Daniel Neil Ward, with 40 acres. Vivian said she knew exactly where the property was and drove us to the location.

We found a farm house on that spot with a car in the driveway. Vivian was bolder than I and went up to the back door. I was told in PEI, if you are a preacher or police, you go to the front door. The lady, Jane Naylor, came to the door with her dog, Honey. Vivian told her that my Grandfather grew up in this house. Jane was very gracious about inviting us in to see the home. She and her husband had purchased the house and just over one acre of land in October 1978. I am still trying to trace ownership to Benjamin and his family.

While we were talking to Jane, she pointed out the house across Bannockburn Road. Peter Cairns owns it now. The house was originally built by Daniel Ward and named Montrose Farms. Coincidently, Peter was coming out of his driveway. We all flagged him down, and he was nice enough to stop and find out what we wanted. He was very friendly and told us he had purchased the farm from Milton Ward. We checked the family tree and discovered Milton was the son of Earle Ward who was the son of Daniel Neil Ward (Brother of my Grandfather, Alexander Spurgeon Ward). Jane told Peter that I was a Ward, and Peter invited us to head up to the house and he would be back in five minutes. We had a chance to tour the home and also view some old photos of the Wards.

James and Milton Ward

Peter mentioned that Milton lived nearby and gave us his phone number. Vivian called and Milton invited us to come over. We spent several hours at his home in North River and learned he had two sisters that were both deceased. Milton recounted stories of the farm and his days of driving the school bus. Peter was one of the students who rode Milton’s bus and told him that when he was ready to sell the farm to give him the first chance at buying it. Milton remembered that promise and sold the farm to Peter when he retired.

My PEI Genealogy Adventure has given me a cousin by marriage and a fourth cousin. I have learned so much more about my family. It has been truly an exciting time and a dream come true. I have confirmed several parts of my family tree and have a video of my new-found cousin I can enjoy.

All my hopes of finding my Grandfather’s farm, other pictures of the Wards, and a living Ward cousin have come true. Everyone we met in PEI was friendly and loved sharing their stories with us. My thanks to Vivian for being a fantastic tour guide and genealogist. Carol and I couldn’t have done it without her. I have made a promise to return to PEI someday to continue our Genealogy Adventure.

Editor’s notes:

  • James, it was so much fun to share your genealogical adventure. I look forward to you and Carol visiting PEI again sometime.
  • Refer to an earlier story about when the cow fell down the well at Montrose Farm here.

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(Submitted by Emily Bryant) A sunny day, willing volunteers, a park that had wintered well, and a supportive community spirit were the key ingredients for a wonderful clean-up event at Murchison Place Park on May 13th. JoAnn MacPhail did a great promotion reminding community members of the need. I, Emily Bryant, counted 35 volunteers that worked well together to get Murchison Place Park park in tip-top shape for the summer season.

The Ross family, again, would take the prize of having the most members of a family present as Kevin, Lisa, Erica, Emily and Ellen all pitched in to help. Jeff and Maggie Cameron and their two sweet little girls had four members there and the ever faithful Alan MacQuarrie was there with his two sons, Ben and J.R. Some couples find this a nice activity they can do together. For example, Angela and Brent worked hard and were able to obtain leaves to compost for their environmentally conscious garden.

Many of the helpers at the 2017 clean-up have been there every year since this park opened over a decade ago. Alex Dixon, who has been such a huge help from day one, was presented a birthday cake at this clean-up and, even though he doesn’t like being in the limelight, I could tell he was pleased. Audrey MacPhee, who always brings good cheer, might have had the honour of being the oldest helper at this clean-up, but Eric MacPhail, whose life long work habits are legendary, came from Burnside Community Care with his shovel in hand. It was nice to see Fred Beer back in Clyde River to participate in this year’s park clean-up, a park that has his father Arnold’s name attached to the front flowerbed. Rev. Steven Stead and Christine Young must have been pleased to be there and see the transformation of the park, as their homes border on this park setting. Of course, Sarah Cameron’s smile brought joy to the event.

The pictures will show that volunteers took time to chat with each other. Lisa Ross had suggested that everyone introduce themselves during our refreshment break and that proved to be a great idea as a community builder. Special thanks to all who brought or sent biscuits, muffins, cookies, etc., and to the Rosses who brought coffee and JoAnn who provided juice. Three hours is a short time but the work was pretty much all completed in that time. What a nice feeling to be part of this worthwhile community project.

Spring clean up of Murchison Place Park will take place tomorrow – Saturday, May 13th, 9:00 a.m. until noon. Take along a rake, work gloves and any other useful garden equipment e.g. wheelbarrow. Refreshments will be served.

It’s a great time to catch up and clean up.

Heads up…the latest edition of the Clyde River Newsletter will be sent out to all community households this week. Stories include details on:

  • Upcoming Spring & Summer Events:
    • Murchison Place Park Cleanup – May 13th, 9:00 to Noon
    • Canada Day Celebrations, July 1st, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. – Riverview Community Centre
    • Strawberries and Ice Cream Social, Wednesday, July 12th, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Riverview Community Centre
    • Art in the Park, Saturday, July 22, 9:00 a.m. to Noon, Murchison Place Park
  • Public Meeting to discuss Cornwall Bypass crossing Clyde River Watershed, June 8th, 7:00 p.m.
  • Youth Summer Opportunity
  • News from the Clyde River Women’s Institute
    • Roadside Cleanup, May 13th
  • Recreation and Swimming Reimbursements Available

PDF version here.

Submitted by Kathy Clow: My father, Paul McKinnon, was honoured at the Prince County Horseman’s Club Annual Banquet recently and was awarded The Lifetime Achievement Award. Of course, he did not know, and even though Mum had put out a suit for him to wear, he said, he was not wearing it as he did not need to put airs on for the Summerside Crowd. Dad always loved driving and racing in Summerside, and during his years as Director of the USTA, he helped a lot of horse people and made many lifetime friends.  CONGRATULATIONS DAD for being acknowledged for the work you did in the betterment of the Sport of Kings!

We along with many Island Horsemen and women are very pleased of this recognition for Dad. He worked extremely hard to improve the harness racing industry on Prince Edward Island.

Editor’s note: On behalf of the community, we also congratulate Paul on this wonderful achievement.