Clyde River History Committee Welcomes New Members
The Friends of Clyde River Historical Education Committee has expanded to welcome three new members. Since our committee was established, we have initiated and managed a number of key projects that built upon earlier community-led projects.
Friends of Clyde River – Historical Committee Projects:
- Establishment of the Clyde River lectures series that has completed its 5th year, where guest speakers present historical topics attracting record audiences of up to 100 people.
- Completion of a year-long project entitled “Capturing Collective Memories” where we digitized over 1500 photos collected from family albums, invited artifact donations and hosted special events. The result was the curation of a museum in the Riverview Committee Centre which features over 200 artifacts and a photo gallery of early life in Clyde River from 1890s to 1940s.
- A community website approaching 500 stories which has attracted visitors from across Canada, US, UK, Brazil, Australia and many other countries representing 216,000 page views.
With the large number of artifacts and materials we have accumulated, we brought in some extra talent with strong historical research and organization skills. In March, we began cataloguing artifacts and photos. Two of the new members are librarians with cataloguing experience. All three of the new members are avid genealogists, so they will be a tremendous resource that our local and online community can tap into. Together, the six members offer a complementary depth of experience in carrying out history projects. We thought we would offer a little bio on each of the committee members below:
We welcome our new members:
Jane Dyment has strong ties to the Island. She is the daughter of Earle Dyment from Northam and Margate, and Wanda Mann from Kensington. Growing up, she visited close and distant relatives on both side of the family, but didn’t pay nearly enough attention to their stories.
Jane graduated from Dalhousie with a Masters in Library Services and worked in Ottawa in the National Research Council’s library, later moving to corporate services. Upon retirement, she needed a project and decided to further research the Dyment family tree, later expanding to the Manns, Johnstones, Humphreys, Beers and McFadyens on her mother’s side. Living in Ottawa, Jane has unearthed, she believes, every possible Island source of genealogical information that can be found online. A couple of years ago, her cousin Nancy mentioned that her friend Katherine Dewar, an author and nurse, was finding it difficult to travel to Ottawa to consult Library and Archives Canada’s collection. Jane volunteered to help, and made, she hopes, a valuable contribution to the story of the nurses from PEI who served in World War 1, Those Splendid Girls. She also checked a few references for Earle Lockerby’s recent publication on Samuel Holland, and is now a volunteer on the Summerside Archives project on Prince County soldiers in C Company, 105th Battalion. Jane is married, with two adult children and a dog. She is looking forward to working with the Clyde River Historical Committee, and welcomes questions from Islanders starting a family tree, or getting over a brick wall.
Chair’s note: Jane is a descendant of Thomas and Jane Beer who settled on the Bannockburn Road in Clyde River in the 1830s. She is an exceptional genealogical researcher with intelligence, skill and speed, much better than Google! Check out her genealogical website at www.janedyment.ca and read the stories she wrote for our website, Cousins Lost and Found, part 1 and part 2.
Rowena is proud to be a Parkdale girl, who was raised and still lives there. Her roots are in Clyde River though – her Dad, Lester, was born here in 1909. There was a Hickox presence in Clyde River until the early 1940’s when Lester’s grandmother, Mary Jane Hickox Arthur, left to live with her daughter in Charlottetown.
Rowena was a teacher by profession and Teacher Librarian at Westwood Primary School from the school’s opening until 2011. She is an active member of Park Royal United Church where she and her husband, Hank sing in the choir. She has just become Treasurer of the UCW and Secretary for the Board of Stewards. She is also a member of Teachers in Harmony and Friends Choir, the Parkdale Homecoming Committee, and takes classes at Seniors College. She is seldom at home.
Rowena has been working on her family genealogy for many years, having picked up the desire to follow the trail left by her dad, who knew all the relatives and their stories. She enjoys research and the excitement of discovery, and has been rewarded by connecting with relatives from far and near who are also involved in genealogy. The Island’s history is rich, and Rowena is delighted to be asked to join the Clyde River Historical Committee. She looks forward to working with the committee and helping to discover and preserve more of this rich history.
Chair’s note: Rowena is our team leader in cataloguing the artifacts and photos in our collection, and we, her happy worker bees. We will be using the same cataloguing system as the provincial archives, so nothing but the best for Clyde River. She wrote the story The Hickox Family of Clyde River.
Joanne’s father Dingwall MacFadyen was born on the Bannockburn Road. Dingwall’s father was Norman, known as N.C. and Millar MacFadyen’s brother, see story here. As a returned war veteran, Norman was able to purchase a farm in Meadow Bank through the Veteran’s Land Act from Neil Ferguson who then bought a store in Bonshaw. Norman Campbell MacFadyen met his wife Lola Dingwell from Marie at a Presbyterian function in Morell. They moved to Meadowbank and farmed there. Their son Dingwell married Dophie MacLean and they also lived at the homeplace. Both families moved to Charlottetown for a while but they summered along with their children at the Meadowbank property even though there was no electricity or indoor plumbing. When electricity was installed, Dingwall bought the farm from his parents. Joanne attended Meadowbank School and later worked with the PEI Tourism Office and then at the Confederation Centre. She worked with the PEI Collection which was kept under lock and key, and that opportunity sparked her interest in history. She moved to Winsloe when she married. Joanne organized the 225 Dingwell reunion in 2000 in Pinette and her interest in genealogy and history continues to grow. She helped to catalogue the Winsloe United Church Cemetery. She tells us the decommissioned church was built with bricks made in Rocky Point and taken over on the ice in 1882.
Chair’s note: Joanne is also a descendent of Thomas and Jane Beer. She and Jane Dyment are descendants of their oldest daughter Mary Ann (Beer) MacFadyen. She is also the great great grand-daughter of Eliza Brown who was a descendant of those who settled on the Bannockburn Road. Each time we see Joanne at a meeting or event, she has a file folder with yet more historical papers. She has an enviable knack at sleuthing for key pieces of history which we continue to be very grateful for. We can attribute the Millar MacFadyen, The Old Homestead on the Linwood Road and The Howard Christian Cemetery in Kingston stories and the History of Meadow Bank series to her efforts.
Hilda’s Clyde River roots are deep – she grew up on land which has been farmed by the Dixon family since the 1830’s. After completing Grade 10 at Clyde River school she attended Prince of Wales College and graduated from Dalhousie University and began teaching at Charlottetown Rural High School. Along with several other “Rural” teachers she was part of the inaugural staff at Bluefield High School when it was opened. After short stays in Kingston and New Dominion, Hilda and her husband Jim moved to the Bannockburn Road in 1978.
Although she has lived her life steeped in the stories of Clyde River, Hilda’s interest in the history of the community was formalized when she was asked to join the committee that created the book The History and Stories of Clyde River, Prince Edward Island in 2009. Assisting with the production of the 2011 calendar of Clyde River Historical Homes, helping with establishing the Emily Bryant Room at the Community Centre and being involved with planning the historical lecture series have followed from this first adventure into recall, research and documentation. Exploring Clyde River’s history has assisted her in being a member of committees that have published books about the history of the P.E.I. Association of Exhibitions and the history of Old Home Week.
Hilda is an adherent of Burnside Presbyterian Church, member and chair of the Clyde River Community Council and community representative on the Atlantic Vet College Animal Care Committee. She looks forward to continuing her participation in the activities of the Historical Committee.
Chair’s note: Hilda has played key roles in Clyde River as councillor and now Chair of the Clyde River Community Council and as a member of our history committee since we were established. Hilda has the deepest knowledge of Clyde River’s history within our group, so we will continue to call on her to check facts and offer advice. And what she doesn’t know, she said her brother Alex does know. Her husband Jim is also a great helper at events.
Sandra grew up in Nine Mile Creek. She graduated from UPEI as a teacher, taught intermediate level at Englewood School in Crapaud and retired in 2007. She moved to Clyde River after marrying in 1973. She has three children. She worked on the writing of The History and Stories of Clyde River, Prince Edward Island in 2009 and also on the Clyde River Historical Homes calendar in 2011. She is a member of the Clyde River Presbyterian Church, having served for a term as an Elder. She participates in Church and Community Choirs. Sandra is a member of the Friends of Clyde River, loves history and visiting historical places, especially when it involves travel. She has been involved in multiple projects initiated by the Historical Committee including the annual lectures series.
Chair’s note: Sandra has also been on our committee since the beginning. She has a passion for Island and world history, having studied it at university, so she offers us a broader view of approaching our local history. Her strong and decisive mind and her ability to take charge of hospitality at events makes her a valuable member. Her daughter Sarah adeptly manages the front desk at our events and enjoys helping us out on projects.
Vivian Beer, Chair
Vivian grew up in Clyde River, spent 17 years in Toronto and now lives in Charlottetown, although she loves to visit the family farm in Clyde River on weekends during the summer. She is also a descendant of Thomas and Jane Beer, but, in her case, the lineage of their son James and his wife Mary Ann (Livingstone) Beer. She established the Clyde River website in 2009 at the time the History and Stories of Clyde River was launched and almost 500 stories later, she continues as writer/editor. The site has a large, loyal audience mostly from Canada and the US but also many other countries. She established the Historical Education Committee to promote the history of Clyde River and area and continues as Chair. This year was the 5th year to host the Clyde River Lecture Series which attracts large audiences. She digitized heritage photos from community family albums ranging from 1890s to 1940s. A dedicated museum room was created featuring over 200 artifacts and heritage photo gallery. Vivian has transcribed private diaries covering the years 1910 to 1926. In 2012, she photographed and wrote a book, Landscape of Memories, which features landscape and architectural photos of Clyde River along with notes on their historical significance. She takes her inspiration from her mother Hazel Beer who kept excellent scrapbooks featuring clippings of community news which was a great resource for those researching and writing the History and Stories of Clyde River.
Vivian has her own company, Merdock, where she provides marketing services. She is also Manager, HR Strategy, for the PEI BioAlliance, a bioscience cluster which employs over 1500 people.
We would like to recognize the valuable contribution that Bruce Brine has made on the committee since it was established. He is a busy administrator for the Community of Clyde River and has been an excellent resource in our initial years and, as a former Cape Bretoner, has been a great sport at diving into our local history. He will be taking a break from our committee work, but we know he will be close by if we need his superior administration and financial skills.
We have other exceptional people whose knowledge we tap into from time to time from near and far, thanks to the internet, so we have a strong team working to capture and preserve the history of Clyde River and surrounding communities. If there are others in our website audience who have an unquenchable desire for genealogy and Island history, please connect with us.
If you have any questions about the Committee’s historical work or have photo or artifact donations that you would like to offer, please contact Vivian at firstname.lastname@example.org. On behalf of our committee, thank you for being such an enthusiastic audience. Knowing how much you enjoy history keeps us motivated.