Archive for the ‘Family connections’ Category

This is the eighth excerpt form Meadow Bank W.I. Tweedsmuir History published in 1951. There are multiple family names referenced in this piece. We only highlighted a few in the title.

Click on map to enlarge

On the next farm lived the MacLeods who came out from Scotland about 1830. In this family were three sons: Alexander, Murdock and John and two daughters: Margaret, spinster; and Mrs. Robert MacMillan of Millvale. Since the death of Murdock, the farm has been owned in turn by Will Henderson, Cecil Scott, Wilfred MacLeod, Mr. Kennedy and now (1951) by John Miller who in 1928 emigrated with his wife and family of seven boys from West Calder, Scotland.

Of the farm that Norman MacFadyen now owns the first we know is that a Captain MacDonald owned it in 1840. (Captain Gore’s deed to Andrew Cody of farm to the west) then Duncan Patterson. His two sons, Duncan and Charles lived here, the former operated the farm while the latter had a blacksmith forge on the roadside. Wallace Patterson is a grandson of Duncan Senior and is now a jeweller in Charlottetown (1951). The Pattersons sold to Bob MacMillan who later sold to Neil Ferguson from when the present owner bought.

Continuing west we find that in 1840 one Captain Gore sold to Andrew Coady 100 acres for £116, 13d. He was married to Rosie McAtter, their three children were Mary Ann, Ellen and Andrew II. It was sold to Robert Boyle May 4th, 1896. In August 23rd, it was deeded to George H. Boyle, son of Robert. The farm is now owned by Gordon Boyle.

On the South side of the road some distance West of what is now called Boyle’s Creek, on a small corner of the Coady farm, lived Matthew Boylan, labourer, and his wife Mary McAtter, sister of the aforesaid Mrs. Coady. Their two sons were Patrick and Terrance, the former was a plasterer in Charlottetown, the latter moved to the Western part of the Island.

William Boyle & Ellen Farquharson

The next farm originally Capt. Gore’s Property was owned by John Boyle who for a time lived with his family at Cornwall on or near the farm now (1951) owned by Leigh Good. In John Boyle’s family were Michael and William and two daughters, Mrs. Angus MacEachern and Mrs. James MacLean. William moved to Charlottetown and operated a tannery on Spring Park Road. Michael continued to live on the old farm where he married Miss Margaret Boyle To this union were born four sons and five daughters. One son, the late William was the subsequent owner until his death in 1928 when the property was purchased by Fred Hyde of the adjoining farm for his son Stanley, the present owner.

“Edgewood”, the farm of Elmer Hyde consists of 125 acres and was purchased from George MacEachern, son of Angus, by Henry Hyde and willed to his son Frederick in 1896. The Hydes had to clear the land where the buildings now stand, the only building on the place at the time of their occupancy being the former Meadow Bank school house and now used as a workshop.

The remaining 75 acres of the MacEachern farm which contained the MacEachern dwellings was later sold to Frank Boyle, the present owner.

The Atlas of 1880 shows James MacLean to be in possession of the next 200 acres but this was soon after divided and Hammond Crosby bought the half next to the road and occupied it until his death in 1919 when it was bought by James MacPhail. It is now owned and occupied by his son Colin D. MacPhail (1951).

The remaining part of the original MacLean home has continued in the name passing from father to son. It is now in possession of Frank MacLean.

Of the adjoining farm, Mrs. Victor MacPhail writes,

“The first trace we have of our farm is that it was leased by the trustees of the Rt. Hon. Thomas Earl of Selkirk to one John Calladow in May 1825. This lease was assigned by John Calladow in August 1827 to Donald MacNeill. Donald MacNeill died in February 1848. He willed the lease to his wife Margaret and his two sons, Ewen and Neil. The MacNeills sold to Alexander MacLeod for the same of £250 in the year 1856. The holders of a lease had to pay rent and perform certain covenants. There is no mention of Alexander MacLeod. The next deed we have is one where James MacMillan paid the sum of $195.04 to the Commissioner of Public Lands for the said 84 acres in the year 1893. In March 1900, James MacMillan sold to Edwin Jones. Edwin Jones died and his widow sold to James MacPhail in 1908. The farm must have been resurveyed at this time for here it is listed as 80 4/5 acres. James MacPhail sold 10 acres of this to Frank Boyle. In 1936, Victor MacPhail (son) bought the remaining 70 4/5 acres. The first house was down near the shore.”


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This is the seventh excerpt form Meadow Bank W.I. Tweedsmuir History published in 1951.

Meadow Bank Map

Click on map to enlarge

Thomas Hyde, head of the Hyde Family, came from County Clare, Ireland in 1770 where he followed the trade of spinning and weaving, having emigrated with his parents from England some years previous. He purchased his land for the sum of £109 11s 9d. The first deed from Gov. Patterson is dated April 4th, 1786. Until this time, quit-rents were supposed to have been paid. Thomas Hyde brought with him a family of two sons and five daughters and left one daughter married in Ireland. The sons’ names were William and Thomas.

William was a captain in the militia and on two occasions served as an M.P.P. He was married to a Miss Simpson of Cavendish. To there were born a family of four sons and six daughters. The sons were William, James, Thomas and John. The daughters were Mrs. Cameron of Covehead; Mrs. Stewart of DeSable; Mrs. Todd of Arcola, Illinois; and Elinar, Jannet and Sara who were unmarried. We know that William Junior first lived on the farm now owned by Russell Hyde Senior and that during the time of his father William Hyde Senior a two-storied eight-sided house was built which contained a ballroom on the second floor. This house was the social centre at which members of parliament were often entertained. When still young, William Junior moved to the eastern half of the Hyde property later know as the “Point Farm” owned by his son Henry and grandson Harry M. until the last mentioned sold to the Alex H. MacKinnons in 1945.

Henry Hyde & his wife Isabel Adams

William Junior married Mary Braddock and to this union were born six sons: Samuel, Lemuel, William, Henry, Charles and Albert and two daughters who afterwards became Mrs. James Farquharson and Mrs. David MacEwen. Thomas Hyde moved to US, James married Bell Nelson and moved to Pictou County, N.S., John owned the mill where Harry Crosby now lives. He married a Miss MacEwen and their family consisted of seven daughters and four sons. The sons were Artemus Hyde of Clyde River, William of Halifax, Duncan who lived on the home place and John killed by accident.

Mrs. Duncan Patterson of Charlottetown and her son Wallace, the jeweller, are direct descendants of Thomas Hyde, son of the immigrant.

Here I wish again to refer to the eight-sided house which was burned, supposedly about the year 1857 at a time when two Hyde women, spinsters, were the only persons living in it. Two valuable articles of furniture saved from the flames were a sixteen-legged table made of black birch and a grandfather clock both considerable over one hundred years old. Included in the loss were several valuable papers the destruction of which severed a connecting link with relatives in the Old Land.

Sometime before 1786, one John Wilson lived on the land west of the Crosbys for we find that he bought out his land from Gov. Patterson in that year. He later sold to Williams and Webster who in the year 1852 sold to John Drake who came here from Pownal with his wife Susan Burhow of that place. They had a family of eight sons and one daughter most of whom settled here, Samuel and James H. occupying the home place which had undergone border changes, 50 acres having been sold to the Crosbys on the East and an additional 50 acres having been obtained to the West. Both brothers now owned 100 acres. These farms are now owned by Richard, son of Samuel and Lemuel H., son of James.

James Yeo lives on the farm formerly owned by Thomas Hyde (son of immigrant) and his descendants William and Joseph who in turn occupied it until 1901 when it was bought by Herbert Howard. The present owner is a veteran of World War II whose wife Dorothy Agnew came from County Monaghan, Ireland.

The next farm, as far as we know was first owned by John Small MacDonald, brother of the late Governor A.A. MacDonald. John MacDonald sold to a Mr. Cooper who later sold to the Hydes (Samuel Hyde). It was in turn sold to John Scott of Scott’s Mills for his two sons, Seymour and Peter each getting 100 acres. The former sold to Ivan Clow while the family of the latter still lives on the western half.

Editor’s Note:

Hyde & Crosby Pioneer Cemetery, click here.

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Many families in Clyde River have an ancestral connection to Colonsay, Scotland. Immigrants to Prince Edward Island in the early 1800s sailed on the Polly 1803, Dykes 1803, Oughton 1803, Spencer 1806 and settled in Belfast, Clyde River and surrounding areas, becoming part of the Selkirk Settlers. Common family names are Darrach, MacLean, MacNeil, Bell, Currie, MacPhee, MacEachern, to name a few. Here is drone footage of Colonsay. Enjoy. If you have visited here, share your experience in the comments.

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The Friends of Clyde River Historical Committee received a donation to our archives of a small trunk/sea chest with the initials H.S.B. on its lid in brass nail heads. This trunk belonged to Barbara Stewart’s great-grandmother, Helen Stewart Birnie Stewart. It probably accompanied her in 1846 when she travelled to the Island with her husband Robert Bruce Stewart and their young children. Barbara wrote the following article to provide some background. 

My great-grandmother, Helen Stewart Birnie Stewart was born in London, England, April 20, 1815 (died 1871).

Her father, George Birnie, was born in London in 1785, the son of Alexander Birnie and Anne Bayley. Alexander Birnie and his brother James were born in Aberdeen, Scotland. In London, they became ship owners and captains of whaling ships, operating in the South Pacific. James Birnie settled eventually in Australia.

George Birnie emigrated to PEI in 1809. In Charlottetown he met and married (27.12.1810) Magdalene (“Lany”) Stewart, the daughter of Captain John Stewart. Their home was at 26 Great George Street, Charlottetown. With their first three children, they returned to London in 1813. Helen and the last two children were born in London. The Birnie family firm became bankrupt in 1838, and George Birnie returned soon after to PEI.

The Birnie children remained in London with their mother. Son George Jr. emigrated to Australia where his uncle and family were established. In London, daughter Matilda married William Johnston and they, too, settled in Australia, as did the remaining Birnie daughter, Elizabeth.


Strathgartney Homestead, home of Helen and Robert Bruce Stewart in Bonshaw

In London, June 27, 1838, Helen married Robert Bruce Stewart. His father, David, and uncle Robert, natives of Scotland then living in London, were acquiring land on the colony of PEI. In 1846, with their five children Helen and Robert set out for PEI to settle on the property the Stewarts then owned here.

That same year, Magdalene Birnie returned to the Island to join husband George. They died here – George 30.10.1863, and Magdalene, 21.08.1865. Both are buried in the Old Protestant Burying Ground – photo of George Birnie grave here and photo of Magdalene’s grave here.

Helen and Robert Bruce Stewart had eleven children, eight of whom lived to adulthood. Helen died August 19, 1871. She was buried in the family cemetery at Strathgartney which her husband established upon her death. From then until 1931, several family members were buried there. The last was my grandmother, Anne Warburton Stewart, who died September 5, 1931.

The family cemetery is located in a grove of trees just in behind the Communication  Tower and several meters in from the new route of the Trans Canada Highway. The cemetery is maintained by the parish of St. John Evangelist Anglican Church of Crapaud. A path leading to the cemetery is accessible from the communication tower site.

My grandfather, Robert Bruce Stewart Jr., was the oldest son of Helen Birnie and Robert Bruce Stewart. My father, Walter Fitz-Alan Stewart, was the second of Robert Jr.’s sons.

The small trunk/sea chest, with the  initials H.S.B. on its lid in brass nail heads, belonged to my great-grandmother, Helen Stewart Birnie Stewart. It probably accompanied her in 1846 when she travelled to the Island with her husband and their young  children.

In July 2016, her trunk was given by my family to the History Committee of the Friends of Clyde River for their museum.

Barbara Stewart
Montreal, January 30, 2017

Thank you to the Stewart family for this donation which represents an important part of the history of Prince Edward Island.

Editor’s notes:

  • Island Magazine feature: Robert Bruce Stewart and the Land Question 
  • Link to Strathgartney Cemetery – Canada Historic Places here.
  • Public archives letters (George and Alexander Birnie), more info here.
  • Mount Stewart is named after Captain John Stewart.
  • Walter Fitz-Alan Stewart was a farmer, fox rancher and Liberal MLA, more info here.

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Millar’s Life Review was provided to us by Joanne (MacFadyen) Turner which was written by Norma Thomson (Millar’s niece, Norman’s daughter) in 1986 for a course she had taken on the Dynamics of Communication with the Elderly and their Families. Millar MacFadyen taught at Clyde River, Cornwall, Kingston and East Wiltshire Schools during his career. Millar would have been 87 at the time of this interview.

Millar, Eric & Norman MacFadyen

Millar, Eric & Norman MacFadyen

Millar was born at Kingston on June 13, 1898. He was the second oldest of a family of seven children. He traces his ancestry to the Argyles (Argyll) of Scotland. Millar’s mother descended from the Campbell’s of Mull and family history suggests he was a descendant of the 5th Duke of Argyle (or Argyll).

Millar and his oldest brother started to school the same year. He was only five years old and his brother was six. He told me back in those days, you could do that. He went to a one-room schoolhouse with approximately 40 pupils all taught by the same teacher from grades 1 to 10. The older pupils helped the teacher out with the younger pupils. He attended school for 14 years.

Norman MacFadyen, Millar's older brother

Norman MacFadyen, Millar’s older brother

By then, the First World War had broken out and his older brother had gone overseas. Millar stayed at home for two years and helped his father on the farm. During this time, he decided he wanted to become a teacher, so he wrote and passed the matriculation examination into Prince of Wales College where he obtained a teacher’s license.

From 1918-1922, he taught school at Cornwall. While there, he met and married Marion Lewis and they were married on December 20th, 1922.


Millar’s parents: Sarah Jane (Campbell) & John Archibald

He remembers the Christmas of 1918 as a very sad time for the family, as on December 17th, his mother passed away suddenly. She was only 48 years old. The youngest of her children were twin girls, only eight years old. The first world war was just over and they were waiting for the return of the oldest boy from the war. He wasn’t able to get home until July 1920. In 1921, Eric, a brother two years younger than Millar died of T.B. He was just 21.

After his marriage, Millar moved in with his father on the home farm in Kingston. He taught school from 1922-24. He had 51 pupils in grades 1-10. In 1924, he taught at East Wiltshire for two years and then taught at Clyde River until 1932 when he returned to Kingston School and taught until 1935. He farmed and taught school for 16 years. He would get up at 3:00 a.m. and cultivate four acres before he went to school and four more acres in the evening during the busy season.

Millar & Marion (Lewis) MacFadyen

Millar & Marion (Lewis) MacFadyen

In 1941, he obtained the position of principal at Parkdale School and was there for there for 14 years. He taught grades 7 to 10. In 1955, he received a position with the Department of Education as Director of Correspondence Study and Truant Officer of Prince Edward Island. He retired in 1972 at the age of 74 years after working 17 years at the Department of Education.

When he first started teaching, his salary was $305 a year, and, in the final year at the Department of Education, $19,000 a year. When he retired, he received a pension of $3400.

Concerts were the highlight of the school year. At these concerts, they would raise money for needed school equipment. One year, they purchased a teacher’s desk and chair. Another year, it was a bookcase, and, another year, they purchased a school organ for $75. During the depression years, there was not enough money to buy paint for the school, so they held a concert to raise money to buy paint.

In those early years, grades were not mentioned, as a child started with the first primer, second primer, book I, book II, book III, and book IV. Another highlight was the Red Cross organization. He wrote a script for radio and had several people take part. This program was well received by the radio fans, In Parkdale, he organized a program where four pupils would answer questions by one of the other pupils. They had a program every Friday. Questions were asked regarding the home, marriage, boyfriends, religion, etc. The first program lasted five minutes. The final one in June was timed and it had to be discontinued after one and a half hours.

Millar said, “The students enjoyed the program and learned a great deal about Canada, people and how to conduct themselves. It was a great asset towards discipline, and it taught each one how to express themselves without fear, because they became conversant with many topics. A great need is to show that we care for other people. It also showed children that we were interested in their welfare. This is teaching democracy and that we must have as leaders people of high moral character and integrity. We must give our children the right kind of training.”

Millar emphasized that in the old days, teachers taught and did not emphasize their salary. He said, “Today, we need good leadership and the guidance. Our forefathers have left us a good heritage. We must make changes as time passes on but let us preserve the best things of the past and make changes for improvement. Remember, without a good past, we cannot have a great future. Let us remember that the little schoolhouse has produced great leaders in the past.”

Millar attended the Presbyterian Church all his life. He became an elder in 1950 of Zion Presbyterian Church in Charlottetown. He was Clerk of Session for ten years and taught bible class for 15 years. When a charge did not have a minister, he took his turn in the pulpit. He was secretary of the Men’s Association for nine years and of Presbytery for three years.

He retired in 1972 at 74 years of age, and since that time, he has written three books of poetry and several single poems. He was a member of the Gideon Society for several years and during those years preached several sermons. He was a delegate from the Prince Edward Island Teachers’ Federation to the Canadian Teachers’ Federation twice, once in Winnipeg and once in Toronto. Millar’s first train ride was in 1941 when he travelled from Charlottetown to Winnipeg to attend the meeting.

He remembers his first car ride and that was in 1916. A friend of his was driving around and picked him up to take him for a ride. He was much older when he had his first plane trip, when he travelled from Charlottetown to Toronto for a funeral. He said, “It was necessary for me to get to my destination in a hurry, so it was my only choice to go on the plane.”

I asked Millar what his favourite word was. He said “Sui Generis” which means unique, unequalled or unparalleled.

I asked Millar if he had his life to live over again, what would he do differently. He answered, “Nothing different, I have thoroughly enjoyed my life.”

Editor and family notes:

  • Millar lived 99 years, 1 month. He died July 14th, 1997.
  • Clipping about Clyde River School examinations include a thank you letter from students, click here.
  • Millar was principal of Parkdale School during his career. When some of his former pupils had a reunion at the new Parkdale School on Confederation Street, they planted a tree and placed a plaque in the front yard for Millar. It was a very special time for him. He was very proud and overwhelmed.
  • There is a book of Millar MacFadyen’s poetry in the museum collection at the Riverview Community Centre.
  • Millar was also a descendant of Thomas and Jane Beer. Their first daughter Mary Anne (Beer) married Archibald MacFadyen. Their son John Archibald married Sarah Jane (Campbell), and their son was Archibald Millar. Refer to lineage on http://www.janedyment.ca, click here.
  • Both Joanne (MacFadyen) Turner and Jane Dyment who are members of our History Committee are descendants of Mary Anne (Beer) and Archibald MacFadyen. Joanne (MacFadyen) Turner is a descendant of Millar’s older brother Norman, making Millar her great-uncle.
  • Millar was Roger Younker’s grandfather. Roger was the News Anchor for CBC Charlottetown’s Compass program for many years.
Millar's childhood homestead, Bannockburn Road

Millar’s childhood homestead, Bannockburn Road

  • Millar’s home place was on property now owned by the Dixon family on the Bannockburn Road, just a 1/4 mile past the Kingston/Clyde River border on the right-hand side. The house is no longer there.
  • Millar’s mother’s obituary stated she “was taken suddenly ill with heart trouble.” Her children were Norman, Millar, Donald (Eric) (died of T.B. at 21 years old), Margaret (Florence), Jeannette and Alexandrena. Another of her daughters predeceased her, Rebecca Louise at 7 months, 13 days. She was the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Donald E. Campbell of Darlington. She is buried in the Clyde River Presbyterian Cemetery. More details on obituary and genealogy at www.janedyment.ca, click here.
  • When Millar’s grandparents (Campbell’s) moved to Charlottetown, they lived in a house at the corner of Kirkwood and University Avenue which is now the location of Shopper’s Drug Mart. The home was referred to as Argyle Cottage.

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Argyle - 1It’s summer in Prince Edward Island, a time when aside from all the tourism activity, Islanders travel anywhere from 2 to 30 minutes to stay at their cottages. It’s not that we don’t like our neighbours but it’s just that we have already heard all their stories over the winter and we are in desperate need of some new ones and we are drawn to the shore. We don’t want to move too far away from home because we want to make sure we actually know the characters in the stories.

I am in Argyle Shore. It’s where my parents took us to the shore as children and where my grandparents took my mother and her siblings in summers. My mother’s family went to MacDougall’s shore as they were relations. Our parents took us to Argyle Shore Provincial Park. You could park handy to the water. The Park had picnic tables, play equipment and washrooms close by. There was even a natural spring to keep soft drinks cold. We were fortunate if we didn’t have to stop at the cemetery on the way. My mother liked to walk through, linger and remember Argyle Shore people that she knew as a child.

The Selkirk Settlers’ migration extends to Argyle Shore. It’s MacPhail country for the most part. Historical ties run through communities from here to Wood Islands. In the Murray Diaries (1911-25), there is mention of family from DeSable down for a visit to Clyde River. The DeSable relatives took the Murrays for a drive in their new car in 1922. In Mary Ann MacDougall Darrach’s letters (1904-07), she wrote that she had travelled from Clyde River down to Eldon. I recall her writing how “good it was to see my people”. Grace Seller Inman-Morrison from Argyle Shore was asked what was the greatest thing that happened in her lifetime and she said it was the telephone. When she married and moved to another community, it offered her an opportunity to stay connected to her people.

I am staying on Harvey Inman’s shore, Grace’s son, right beside Argyle Shore Provincial Park. In fact, he manages the Park. On the field below his home place, he has created a small community of cottage dwellers. Many began renting a cottage from Harvey years ago and went on to purchase their own little piece of heaven. It’s a quiet place offering ample time for rest and reflection. As you travel along Route 19, you will see many similar cottage communities in DeSable, Canoe Cove, Rice Point, Nine Mile Creek, Cumberland, Fairview, New Dominion and Meadowbank where friends and relatives reconnect after long winters. There are Islanders, those married to Islanders, long-term summer residents from other parts of Canada and New Englanders for the most part.

There is little in the way of commerce here. The Blue Goose Restaurant and Bakery is in DeSable. Harvey’s store in Crapaud has the largest variety of offerings unless you want to make the trip to Cornwall. Anna’s Country Kitchen even has a drive through. Victoria offers fresh fish, theatre and artisan shops. But there is no need for much. The view of the Northumberland Strait sustains you. I recall when I stayed here years ago for the first time. Harvey told me it was so quiet you could hear the moon come up. Last night’s buck moon, the name for July’s full moon, performed a silver symphony reflected across the strait.

I enjoyed a visit with Harvey and Evelyn last evening and we talked about the Clyde River history lectures we hosted last winter. As a first cousin of Ron MacKinley, he also knows how to tell a tale and he recounted a few stories about playing hockey at North River Rink and the strict loyalties divided by the West River. He had viewed the photos on the Clyde River site and smiled when he saw the men sitting around having a good chat. He said in earlier days, they would have been fierce opponents on the ice.

That’s it for now from across the river on the shores of Argyle. I hear someone playing fiddle music in the distance. Harvey says there’s a wedding on Cranberry Lane.

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Here is a story submitted by Rowena Hickox Stinson, great granddaughter of Robert and Mary Jane Hickox (Spurgeon, grandfather; Lester, father).

John and Sara Hickox emigrated from Portsea, England (present day Portsmouth) in the early 1800’s – sometime between 1804, the last date for baptism of any of their children, and 1812, when there was a rental agreement for 100 acres of land on the Covehead Road.

John and Sara had 11 children. William, their 9th child, married Elizabeth Stead whose family had immigrated about the same time as the Hickox family had and who were probably neighbours in the Little York area.

William and Elizabeth made their home in Bungay, near Hunter River. Their son Robert married Mary Jane Andrews, in January of 1875. Mary Jane’s family had come from Suffolk in the 1840’s and settled in the Wheatley River area.

On May 28, 1878, Robert purchased an acre of land for $80 in Clyde River on the west side of the bridge from Archibald Henderson. There is no mention of a dwelling in the deed, but I suspect that the house already existed, as $80 would have been quite a bit of money for such a small piece of land at that time. Robert and Mary Jane were living at their home in Clyde River in 1879, and are mentioned on the Cornwall Church Circuit and also as a family for visitation in 1880.

They raised a family of nine children:

  1. Jane  – born Jan 20, 1876 (died Feb.)
  2. Elizabeth Jane – born Dec 30, 1877
  3. Robert Spurgeon – born May 16, 1880
  4. Sophia – born Mar 17, 1882
  5. Mary Ann Beatrice – born Mar 18, 1884
  6. Susan Leah – born Mar 12, 1886
  7. Ada Keziah – born Jan 17, 1888
  8. William Benjamin – born Mar 18, 1890
  9. Beecher – born Dec 28, 1891
  10. Sarah Mabel – born Aug 24, 1894
  11. Jessie Myrtle – born Oct 27, 1896

Robert was a butcher by trade and gives that as his occupation in his will. He was also a shoe maker. His grandson, Lester Hickox recalled seeing shoe lasts that belonged to his grandfather.

Unfortunately, Robert died at the age of forty eight, on May 13, 1897, of Bright’s Disease, a kidney disorder that today is completely curable. His daughter Ada recalled sticking needles in her father’s swollen legs to try to drain the fluid from them. She remembered her father as a very nice, gentle man and claimed that her good opinion of men came from her father.

When Robert died, he left Mary Jane all his worldly possessions – live stock, farm implements, wagons, sleighs, furniture, etc. to use as she saw fit. He also willed to her a 3/4 acre lot of land on the east side of the Clyde River with the stipulation that if at any future time his son Spurgeon wanted to build on it, he would have the privilege of doing so.

Although she inherited his estate, life for Mary Jane as a widow must have been very hard with four young children to care for, including 7-month old Myrtle. Although all the children are listed with her in the 1901 Census, by this time, at least two of the children were out of the nest. Fifteen-year-old Leah was working as a housekeeper for Hector and Bertie Murchison and their four young children (their baby was named Leah), and thirteen-year-old Ada was listed as “domestic” with the Drake family (John and Suzannah) in Pownal.

I recall Ada (Hickox) Matheson telling me that she was expected to do “hard work” even though she was really a child herself. Her first attempt at making biscuits was not successful, and she threw them into the woods so no one would know.

In October of 1905, Mary Jane married John Arthur of Mayfield. The marriage took place in her home in Clyde River, but they went to live in Mayfield. Two of the girls, Sophia and Myrtle, were living with them when the census was taken in 1911.

Mary Jane sold the Clyde River property to her son Spurgeon for $100. Two years later, he mortgaged it to Robert MacPhail. Interest was paid yearly and also an annual rent of $12. The mortgage was discharged in full, in April 1910.

John Arthur, who was 20 years older than Mary Jane, died in June of 1913 and left to his wife all his worldly possessions and monetary assets. She would have been better off than after the death of her first husband. I’m not sure exactly when, but Mary Jane moved back to Clyde River to live in the little house with her daughter Sophia who never married.

The women were active in the community and church. A report in The Guardian of December 1936 tells of a Cornwall Missionary Society meeting held at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Archie MacEachern to celebrate the 51st anniversary of the Society which honoured two of their oldest living members. One of those members was Miss Elizabeth Crosby who received a letter of appreciation and a book and the other was Mrs. John Arthur who received a Life Membership Certificate.

Mary Jane and Sophia are also mentioned in an article describing good works done by the ladies of Clyde River in collecting goods and money for the Women’s Patriotic Association during the early days of World War I, when Sophia donated $1.00 and a blanket to the effort. Her mother, Mary Jane, donated two pairs of socks, for which the soldiers in the trenches would likely have been very grateful.

Sophia was a teetotaller, and the story has been told that she would not eat rum and butter toffee because there was rum in it! When Sophia passed away in 1936, after a lengthy illness borne “with true Christian fortitude” which “beautified her soul through suffering”, her obituary also stated that she was a woman of strong Christian character, and the Clyde River Baptist Church had lost one of its’ most faithful and devoted members.

Mary Jane eventually went to live with her daughter Leah who had married Elmer MacNeill, and lived in Charlottetown on what is now Nassau Street. She passed away in 1945 at the age of eighty eight.

Robert, Mary Jane, Sophia, and Elizabeth are buried in the Cornwall United Church Cemetery. As an interesting sidebar to this, in the 1990’s when their grandson Lester Hickox wanted to buy plots in the cemetery, there were four empty graves beside the family, and so one hundred years later, he was buried right beside his grandparents.

Their son Spurgeon lived in the house for a time after his mother’s marriage to John Arthur. He had married Kate Ramsay, a Home Child from Edinburgh, Scotland. Kate had been adopted by Allan and Eliza MacLean who lived on the Meadow Bank Road. In the 1901 Census, she is listed as their adopted daughter, and the date given for her immigration is 1889, which fits with the family oral tradition that she came to Canada from Scotland when she was seven years old.

I recall her telling me when I was little about travelling with Mr. MacLean in a horse and wagon (or buggy) and being teased about her accent when she commented on the “wee block lammies” on the hillside.

The MacLeans were good to her. Mrs. MacLean recognized her musical abilities and paid for music lessons – paid by the “quarter”. These lessons stood her in good stead, and she served for many years as church organist in Bonshaw for both the Baptist and United Churches (although she was Baptist to the core!).

There is a lovely family story about Spurgeon and Kate. Spurgeon’s mother Mary Jane had been a midwife who attended the birth of one of the MacLean children – probably Catherine who was born in April of 1905.  It seems that Mary Jane left her shawl at the MacLean’s, and Kate was sent down the hill to return it. Spurgeon walked her home, and the rest as they say… but before they were married, Kate spent some time in the US and lived for a time in the unlikely place of North Dakota. It seems that she turned down the marriage proposal from a Baptist Minister and came home to Spurgeon. They married on July 1, 1908. This story of the shawl was corroborated by one of the MacLean family descendents recently.

Spurgeon and Kate must have lived in the Clyde River house for a while after their marriage, as their son (my father) Lester was born in the house in June 1909. We would say that our Dad was born in the kitchen, because there had been renovations in the house and a former bedroom became the kitchen.

Eventually, Spurgeon and Kate moved to Bonshaw, where Spurgeon operated a lumber mill on the West River. He also had a ferry service from Bonshaw to Charlottetown during the 1930s which transported passengers and freight on market days. It seems that when the Liberals were in power, Spurgeon had the contract. When the Conservatives were in power, Toff Beaton ran the ferry! Spurgeon built a lovely Arts and Crafts style house on a property near the river, off the St Catherine’s Road beside the mill, but unfortunately the house was abandoned somewhere around the 1960s and fell into disrepair – and eventually the basement.

Kate and Spurgeon were active in the Bonshaw community for many years. She organized concerts and fund raisers for the Women’s Institute and was also church organist. Spurgeon was noted as a craftsman and furniture builder, and, in later years, a builder of hand sleighs. They retired to a home in Parkdale in the 1940s where he had a workshop where he built hand sleighs and many Island children received a sled for Christmas built by Spurgeon. He never did build a house in Clyde River that his father had set aside for him.

As for the other members of the family of Robert and Mary Jane Hickox:

  • Elizabeth Jane (Libby) married her cousin George Hickox. They had twin daughters who died at birth, but they adopted two daughters later on.  Libby was living in Clyde River at the time of her marriage in 1902. She is buried in Cornwall United Church Cemetery.
  • Mary Ann Beatrice (Beatie) married Edmund Waller whose family had imigrated from Australia in 1873. They lived in Charlottetown where Edmund was employed by the Dominion Express Company and later the Canadian Express Company. (These were Bill Waller’s parents.)
  • Susan “Leah” married Elmer MacNeill from Fairview. They lived in Charlottetown on Nassau Street and raised a family of six. Elmer was a carpenter and was one of the workers who constructed the United Church in Cornwall. Leah made the best sugar cookies known to a child. (Leah’s daughter Kathleen was married to Ivan MacNevin.)
  • Ada Keziah was listed as a domestic in the 1901 Census. She had gone to live with her aunt, Margaret Heartz (sister of her father) when she was nine and lived with her for two years. She returned home for a short time and then went to live and work for her cousin, a son of Margaret Heartz, who had just gotten married. She was paid $3.00 per month, much of which went to help her mother. I recall her telling me she had to do “hard farm work”. Ada married Jack Matheson, a farmer, on June 18, 1908 and they had a large family of about fourteen children.
  • William “Benjamin” and his brother Beecher left PEI sometime after 1910 and went to the west on a Harvest Excursion. They purchased quarter sections of land there and farmed for a time near Gravelburg, Saskatchewan. Ben eventually gave up farming and became the custodian of a school in Briarcrest, about 25 miles SE of Moose Jaw. He never returned to PEI, but several years ago, his grandson Ron and his wife Bernadette came from Prince Albert to seek out some of the places his grandfather would have known.
  • Beecher went west with his brother but return to PEI and lived in Montague, where his wife Ina Halliday was a school teacher. Beecher worked as a cook on ships with the Coast Guard. He died in 1966 and is buried in Montague Community Cemetery.
  • Jessie Myrtle and her sister Sarah Mabel (Sadie) were both baptised in 1899, two years after the death of their father. She married George MacNeil and had four children. Her daughter Irene was raised by her sister Sadie, as Jessie died in 1925 of tuberculosis. (Jessie Myrtle’s daughter was Norma MacNeill Campbell, married to Heber Campbell.)
  • Sarah Mabel (Sadie) married Clint Goodall and lived in Cherryfield, NB, just outside Moncton. They had a farm and market garden, and during the Second War, Clint would take the truck into Moncton and round up service men who were there on leave and bring them back to the farm, where Sadie would have a hearty home cooked meal prepared. They were very welcoming people, and a visit to their home always began with big hugs. They had no children of their own but raised Irene MacNeil who was Sadie’s niece.

I’m not sure just when Mary Jane (Andrews Hickox) Arthur left Clyde River to retire to the home of her daughter Leah MacNeill, but I imagine it would have been some time in the early 1940s, taking away the last presence of the Hickox family in Clyde River. The family was there for perhaps close to seventy years, from the mid 1870’s to the late 1930s or early ‘40s, and from there their descendants have gone far and wide, carrying the influence of that little house with them.

The house was lived in until perhaps the mid 1970s, when it was pulled down or fell down and replaced by the bungalow that still stands on the property.

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