Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Friends of Clyde River’ Category

This Saturday is our third and final 2017 History Lecture and you won’t want to miss it. It takes a good dose of humour to get through an Island winter and Alan knows just how to make us laugh.

screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-10-56-01-am

Inevitably a photo with the Boston relatives over by the car. John Darrach, happy to have his son John with wife Beatrice and children Mary and Ted home from Boston.

Excerpt from Mary Ann Darrach’s letter to her son John and his wife Beatrice in Boston – 1907. 

This is Tuesday. Yesterday, we had a blinding snowstorm, the worst this winter, but today it is fine.

The boys are going to town with loads. The snow was about gone before this snow came, so there is not much sign of Spring here now. We are all fairly well. Hope these lines will find you all the same. Tell me when you are coming home.


Screen Shot 2017-01-02 at 10.27.33 PM.pngSaturday, February 18th, 1:30-3:30 p.m. – Alan Buchanan, Storyteller – “Home from Boston: Stories of Island Family Connections in the New England States”

Many Islanders, especially from large families, went to the Boston area in the early part of the 1900s to find work, but they would always return in summers to visit their Island siblings and cousins and enjoy their ancestral Island home. This will be an opportunity to hear Alan’s entertaining stories but also to share your own. For those Boston area cousins that follow us here on our website, we welcome you to email us your stories as well in advance of the event and we will make sure to share them.

Alan Buchanan was born and raised in Belfast, Prince Edward Island. He has had a varied career, but lately has become best known as a storyteller. His career on-stage began with the production, Belfast People, in the 1980’s. Since then, he has been a member of the award-winning group, Hedgerow, and has also been featured on local, regional, and national radio broadcasts, including the popular CBC comedy show “Madly Off in all Directions”. Several summers ago, he was a member of the cast of Story which played to sold-out audiences at the Guild in Charlottetown, and for the past two summers he has been a part of the fabulously popular Four Tellers at the King’s Playhouse in Georgetown. His hilarious stories centre on the colourful characters and cultural quirks he observed growing up in a rural community.

All are welcome to attend. Following the lectures, refreshments will be served. We invite you to take along any memorabilia or photos related to the topics. Tables will be set out to display your items. We welcome our audience to also take the time to visit our large collection of archives and heritage photos at the community centre. If you have any questions about the lectures, please contact Vivian at vivian@eastlink.ca.

Read Full Post »

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.

screen-shot-2017-02-05-at-12-23-49-pm

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.

Read Full Post »

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-10-20-09-pm

Katherine Dewar

Saturday, February 4th – 1:30-3:30 p.m. – Author of Those Splendid Girls  “The Heroic Service of Island Nurses in the Great War”

In Those Splendid Girls, author Katherine Dewar combines her love of history and knowledge of nursing to redreScreen Shot 2017-01-02 at 10.24.28 PM.pngss a 100-year-old wrong: the absence in the historical narratives of both Prince Edward Island and of Canada, of nurses’ experiences in the real War. Told through the stories of Island nurses, their experiences of mud, blood and courage reflect those of women from all provinces who served amid the horrors of WW I. Dewar identifies at least 115 Island women who answered the call to war, many of whose names have not been known until now. Granted rare access to private diaries and fragile photo albums tucked away in dusty attics, she pieces together their stories of hospitals, bombings, fear and friendships to provide this powerful new account of the war. Katherine has received several heritage awards for research and writing, most recently The PEI Museum and Heritage Award of Honour, given for an outstanding contribution to the heritage of P.E.I. over a long period of time. More info at thosesplendidgirls.ca  Books will be available for purchase ($27.95).

The lecture takes place at the Riverview Community Centre, 718 Clyde River Road. All are welcome. Refreshments will be served. We welcome our audience to also take the time to visit our large collection of archives and heritage photos at the community centre.

Read Full Post »

Our 5th Annual Clyde River Lecture Series is back after attracting record audiences in 2016. The series has become the place to be on Saturday afternoons during an Island winter, where you can enjoy entertaining stories from the past along with warm hospitality and refreshments. All are welcome to attend. We invite you to take along any memorabilia or photos related to the topics. Tables will be set out to display your items. The lectures take place at the Riverview Community Centre on Clyde River Road.

Screen Shot 2017-01-02 at 10.33.54 PM.png

Photo credit: The Guardian

Saturday, January 21st, 1:30-3:30 p.m. – Carol MacLellan – “The Attraction of Old Home Week” – depicting 125 years of the Provincial Exhibition

Everyone who grew up in PEI has great stories about Old Home Week. Carol says she had enough stories and photos for many books. This rich history covers an important part of Island culture where rural and city folks have come together since 1888 to celebrate at an agricultural fair in Charlottetown. Carol will introduce how the book came about as well as discuss the involvement of the Old Home Week Board and History Committee. She will talk about the interviews, research and how they organized and designed it to make sure they covered the many wonderful aspects of the exhibition. Books will be available for purchase at the event ($20).

Carol MacLellan is a retired teacher having taught all grades from 1-12, starting in a one room school to teaching English in High School.  She was Allied Youth Advisor to her students for 20 years and 4-H Leader including Overall Leader for 16 years with the Pleasant Valley 4-H Club. After retirement, she served for 14 years on the Provincial Board of Women’s Institute, the last three representing the National Board of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada. While she was Chair of the Women’s Institute handcrafts and Arts Show at the Provincial Exhibition, she was asked to become involved in writing the history of Old Home Week. “The Attraction of Old Home Week on Prince Edward Island,” depicting 125 years of the Provincial Exhibition.

Screen Shot 2017-01-02 at 10.20.09 PM.pngSaturday, February 4th – 1:30-3:30 p.m. – Author of Those Splendid Girls  “The Heroic Service of Island Nurses in the Great War”

In Those Splendid Girls, author Katherine Dewar combines her love of history and knowledge of nursing to redreScreen Shot 2017-01-02 at 10.24.28 PM.pngss a 100-year-old wrong: the absence in the historical narratives of both Prince Edward Island and of Canada, of nurses’ experiences in the real War. Told through the stories of Island nurses, their experiences of mud, blood and courage reflect those of women from all provinces who served amid the horrors of WW I. Dewar identifies at least 115 Island women who answered the call to war, many of whose names have not been known until now. Granted rare access to private diaries and fragile photo albums tucked away in dusty attics, she pieces together their stories of hospitals, bombings, fear and friendships to provide this powerful new account of the war. Katherine has received several heritage awards for research and writing, most recently The PEI Museum and Heritage Award of Honour, given for an outstanding contribution to the heritage of P.E.I. over a long period of time. More info at thosesplendidgirls.ca  Books will be available for purchase ($27.95).

Screen Shot 2017-01-02 at 10.27.33 PM.pngSaturday, February 18th, 1:30-3:30 p.m. – Alan Buchanan, Storyteller – “Home from Boston: Stories of Island Family Connections in the New England States”

Many Islanders, especially from large families, went to the Boston area in the early part of the 1900s to find work, but they would always return in summers to visit their Island siblings and cousins and enjoy their ancestral Island home. This will be an opportunity to hear Alan’s entertaining stories but also to share your own. For those Boston area cousins that follow us here on our website, we welcome you to email us your stories as well in advance of the event and we will make sure to share them.

Alan Buchanan was born and raised in Belfast, Prince Edward Island. He has had a varied career, but lately has become best known as a storyteller. His career on-stage began with the production, Belfast People, in the 1980’s. Since then, he has been a member of the award-winning group, Hedgerow, and has also been featured on local, regional, and national radio broadcasts, including the popular CBC comedy show “Madly Off in all Directions”. Several summers ago, he was a member of the cast of Story which played to sold-out audiences at the Guild in Charlottetown, and for the past two summers he has been a part of the fabulously popular Four Tellers at the King’s Playhouse in Georgetown. His hilarious stories centre on the colourful characters and cultural quirks he observed growing up in a rural community.

Following the lectures, refreshments will be served. We welcome our audience to also take the time to visit our large collection of archives and heritage photos at the community centre. If you have any questions about the lectures, please contact Vivian at vivian@eastlink.ca.

Read Full Post »

IMG_2760.JPGI travelled out from the city to the Strawberry Social last evening hosted by the Clyde River Women’s Institute. They had a great crowd. As folks arrive, you get a little sticker with a number which is called when seats are available. Alex Dixon says he comes at the same time each year, and this year he had a higher number, deducing there were more overall. I had a chance to sit with J’Nan and Kirk Brown to catch up on their news. They are celebrating their wedding anniversary this summer and still smiling brightly. As usual, they are expecting summer visitors. Not surprising, they live in heaven down by the river.

Sandra Cameron hosted history enthusiasts in the Emily Bryant Room during the event and she had lots of visitors. There are so many things to see. Each treasure tells a story, rather, generations of stories. I recounted one story to some visitors about the small salt dish with a pink hue on the second shelf of the display case which could easily be overlooked. The dish was Lee Darrach’s, the Lee that fought in both WW1 and WW2. He was in the Halifax Infirmary during the time of the Halifax explosion. The explosion catapulted the salt dish onto his hospital bed. He saved it as a testament to having survived once again. He passed it on to his brother Hector which was then given to his grandson and he gave it us. It sits on the same shelf as Lee’s photo in uniform and the two Christmas cards and many letters he sent to his family during the war. These were donated to us from his other grand nephew in Florida. As part of the Capturing Memories project when we invited donations of artifacts, I stopped being surprised by synchronicity. These historical items were coming home along with their stories. This is a memory room, and when we linger by each humble piece, we can remember the people who came before.

J’Nan invited me to drop down to her farm to get a dozen blue eggs from her Ameraucana hens after the social. She and Sidney Poritz who owns the adjoining property debate which of them has the more beautiful land. I am happy to stand on her front yard looking across their fields to the rivers. It’s where the West River and Clyde River meet. Sidney lives on the homestead of my great grandparents. That is where Lee Darrach was raised. I have the letters his mother wrote to her boys between 1904-07 talking about daily life. This was all Darrach property at one time. J’Nan recalls Mrs. MacNeill who lived here before she and Kirk purchased the farm. Mrs. MacNeill told her “the view sustained me”.

As I drove out the long lane from J’Nan and Kirk’s, I was struck by the sunset over Dunedin. The synchronicity of this moment was not lost. I stopped, took a few shots and emailed my favourite to J’Nan with a subject line “Sunset in Heaven”.

Editor’s note: Earlier stories were written on the Brown’s (This Old Barn has some Stories to Tell) and Poritz (Darrach-Poritz Homestead) properties.

Read Full Post »

The Friends of Clyde River invites everyone to our annual Art in the Park event on Saturday, July 16, from 8:30 a.m. until noon at Murchison Place Park. Guest artist Julia Purcell will lead an art demonstration. All are welcome to take along their art supplies to paint/sketch or, if you just want to relax and listen, that is great as well. We offer a special invitation to families to come out and paint together.

Take this opportunity to stroll through the park to see the many recent improvements that have been made which include new play and swing sets, areas landscaped and new trees added.

Art in the Park will take place in fair weather or light rain. Please check this website for details if the weather is uncertain.

Murchison Park is located on the corner of the TransCanada Hwy and the Clyde River Rd. Coffee and treats will be provided in the early morning but feel free to take along a lunch.

Read Full Post »

Ronnie MacKinley will join us in Clyde River next Saturday, February 20th at 1:30 p.m. to talk about the days when all the communities in the area went head to head in the game of hockey. All are welcome, and we extend a special invitation to those who played on the teams in the 1950s and 60s to join us. Make sure to take along any memorabilia you have to display for this occasion. We are bringing in extra chairs, as we know it will be popular. However, you may find yourself falling off your chair laughing when natural storyteller Ronnie gets wound up.

I found a feature on the Island Narratives site that talks about the interesting history and community spirit that saw the North River Rink constructed in 1949, opened in 1950 and serving the area for many years, link here.

See you next week at the Riverview Community Centre in Clyde River. Refreshments will be served.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »