Catherine visits Clyde River

[slideshow]Catherine Hennessey had the audience of 35 people who were from as far as away as Tryon laughing along with her stories and dreams of what could be possible to celebrate the legacy of Samuel Holland. She wants to send out a letter to community representatives in all 67 lots to encourage them to think of ways to celebrate Holland’s legacy within their districts. She said that her friends think she is crazy to think you could work with a committee of 67 districts, but she asked them, who is going to decide which ones to leave out? It wouldn’t be fair.

She found out that Lieutenant-Governor Frank Lewis and his wife will be meeting with the Queen. She is thinking of suggesting to Frank when she meets him for lunch this week that if there is a lull in the conversation with the Queen, Frank should request that she return Holland’s original survey map to PEI, or least for an exhibit. After all, King George III’s wife was Charlotte for whom Charlottetown is named after. She thinks that we should at least get a copy of the map. It’s 20 feet long which poses a challenge. “You don’t exactly want to check it with your luggage at the airport,” Catherine says.

Another idea she has is to “Walk a Lot” which would involve organizing a walk around the entire perimeter of one lot. She is not sure it would work though, especially if there were too many rivers. She wants to paint the lot numbers using stencils on electrical poles as you exit one lot and enter another. She thinks there are already enough road signs, so no need for more signage. She met with John Gaudet of Maritime Electric to speak about painting the poles, and he told her he would think about it.

She left a copy of her letter with her pitch to us in Lot 31 to think about how we could commemorate the history of Holland. The Friends of Clyde River will review it at a future meeting.

Catherine’s working committee made up of Earle Lockerby, Doug Sobey, Georges Arsenault, Ed MacDonald and, recently, George Dalton and Alan Rankin would like to see the celebrations happen in 2015 which would be the 250th anniversary of the original survey. Holland arrived here in October 1764 and sent his report to London in October 1765. He divided the Island into 67 lots which were in turn given out to friends and colleagues of the King. The Island Register site lists the original proprietors here.

After the lecture, Catherine entertained questions from the audience. She told them that she is unsure she will see a provincial museum in her lifetime, but she considers it a shame to see historically valuable antiques and artifacts representing our heritage within wooden homes and buildings instead of a museum that could properly protect and display them for the enjoyment of future generations.

Catherine is trying to finish a book on the history of Island furniture that George Leard started in his lifetime and her and her friends were determined to finish in his memory. Well, she said, she is the only one left to complete it and she is not sure when she can find the time in her busy schedule.

The audience felt honoured to have Catherine as our guest in Clyde River, someone who continues to work so passionately and tirelessly for the protection of Island heritage. She complimented the community on their history book. She tries to buy every history written about PEI communities and one day she decided to measure how many Island history books she has in her book shelves. She says it’s 20 feet of books which she thought was quite an achievement for a small Island.

Thank you, Catherine, for caring so much about our Island. Your commitment is an inspiration for us all.

Our next lecture in the series is in two weeks time on Saturday, February 16th at 1:30 pm when Kirk Brown will speak about alternate energy strategies and his time as Director of the Institute of Man and Resources.

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