Archive for the ‘History’ Category

The Clyde River History Committee is pleased to announce our 8th Annual Clyde River Lecture Series that will begin on Saturday, January 25th. Topics will cover genealogy, news media and aging. Each year, we wonder if we can find yet more topics that connect with current interests, but that’s the interesting thing about history – there are layers upon layers of subjects to pursue. We always keep our ears open for ideas, so feel free to make suggestions for future. When we pick the three topics for a series, we try to pull out an overall theme. This year, as we move into a new decade, these presentations will offer us a chance to reflect on where we come from, how we make sense of the world we live in and how we can grow old well. We welcome you to join us.


Linda Jean Nicholson (Guardian photo)

Saturday, January 25th, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. – Linda Jean Nicholson – Genealogy and Serendipity: Crossing the pond 

In September of 2019, Linda Jean travelled to England, Scotland, and Norway on a genealogical research trip. Her plan was to search for distant relatives in dusty archives and ancient cemeteries and, if time allowed, visit some local historical sites. What she also found were lovely people, beautiful scenery, and unexpected connections.  Linda Jean will share stories about her trip and the serendipity she experienced while walking where her ancestors once lived.

Linda Jean Nicholson is Executive Director of the PEI Senior Citizens’ Federation and a past President of the PEI Genealogical Society.  A certified genealogist, Linda Jean has been doing research for over 40 years and has authored several articles and books on Island history and genealogy. She was born and raised in suburban Boston, but all four of her grandparents originated from Prince Edward Island. She is currently working on her thesis for her Masters of Arts in Island Studies from UPEI on the development of the poor relief system on PEI.

Saturday, February 8th, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. – Gary MacDougall, The News Media: A work in progress

Gary MacDougall

Gary’s talk will touch on a history of the Charlottetown Guardian; the issue of fake news, then and now; and a look at the impact social media plays in our news consumption. Gary will also discuss some of the more unusual questions he fielded during his time serving as managing editor of The Guardian.

Gary MacDougall is a retired P.E.I. journalist. He had a 47-year career in the newspaper industry, with over 20 of those years serving as managing editor of the Charlottetown Guardian. In 2017, he received an Atlantic Canada Journalism Award in the Lifetime Achievement Category. In 2013, MacDougall was awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to journalism on Prince Edward Island. He has recently published his second book, “Wayne Gray: A Man of Vision.” His first book, “Forbie,” was published in 2018 and has become an Atlantic Canada best seller. MacDougall and his wife, Ola, live in Cornwall, P.E.I. They have two sons and four grandchildren.

Saturday, February 22nd, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. – Olive Bryenton, Ph.D. – Pioneers in Aging

Olive Bryanton, Ph.D. (Guardian Photo)

Combining her lifelong interest in older adults and lifelong learning, Olive graduated with her PhD in Educational Studies at UPEI in May 2019. Her study topic was “Pioneers in Aging: Women Age 85 and Older Living in Rural Prince Edward Island.” Olive will talk about the 10 women in her study and their experiences and continued contributions to rural communities. Because these women consented to participate in her study knowing they would not be anonymous, she has their permission to make them visible. By telling some of their stories we will learn why we are fortunate to have these “pioneers in aging” living in our communities and how their voices contributed to a new program for older adults living in this province.

Olive Bryanton grew up and spent the early part of her married life in Malpeque and Summerside. She spent most of her life in Hampshire, where she and her husband Harold raised their five children. Olive began her university educational journey as a mature student and continued her studies into older adulthood.

The Clyde River Lecture Series takes place at the Riverview Community Centre at 718 Clyde River Road. All presentations will be followed by refreshments and a social time. These events are a great chance to get out in the winter to learn about and discuss our interesting local history. Our museum will be open to view our collection of over 200 artifacts and heritage photos. For more information on this series, please contact Vivian Beer, vivian@eastlink.ca.

Editor’s Note: Here are links to our past 22 lectures:

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Flying into PEI on Sunday, Air Canada took a convenient flight path over Clyde River, so I took full advantage by capturing some shots of the community’s latest aerial view that feature the new bypass highway. Click to enlarge photos.


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The following story appeared on CBC Prince Edward Island site on November 11th. We have reprinted it here with their permission. We are pleased to feature this story of Jean MacLean who lived for many years in Clyde River and now lives in Meadowbank but stays very involved in our community activities. We look forward to reading the published book in 2020.

Author Katherine Dewar and Jean MacLean look through a photo album to stir memories. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

A P.E.I. author has been collecting the untold stories of Canadian women who served in the Second World War.

Katherine Dewar began working on her latest book about two years ago. While the book is still a work in progress, Dewar hopes it will preserve the legacies of the many women who were part of the war effort.

“They’ve got absolutely amazing stories, these women, and they’re all so brave, they’re all so laid-back,” Dewar said.

“I guess I know why they lived to 95 and 97. Nothing seemed to bother them. They took it in stride.”

The stories include women rescued from the Mediterranean Sea after their ship was sunk by torpedoes and women who served on the battlefields of Europe.

Among the stories Dewar has collected is that of Jean MacLean, who served in the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS or commonly referred to as “Wrens”) in Halifax.

MacLean, now 95, told Dewar she liked the camaraderie with her fellow Wrens. There were some women whose mothers had done everything for them, even washing their stockings. MacLean said the war taught them to be self-sufficient.

MacLean said her time in the military made her become used to what was available. She said they were given orders and did what they were told. When the war ended and women returned to civilian life, MacLean said it impacted how they were able to live their lives.

“They were just so used to someone telling them what to do,” MacLean said.

After meeting her husband while stationed in Halifax, MacLean moved to the island in 1945.

Jean and husband Harvey on their wedding day in Halifax. (Submitted by Katherine Dewar)

“I wasn’t used to anything with boats or fishing, or anything like that,” said MacLean, who grew up in Ontario and has lived in Meadowbank, P.E.I., since leaving the war.

Her Wrens uniform is on display in a museum in Kensington, P.E.I.

Dewar said the stories in her book have a common theme of women who weren’t afraid of adventure and didn’t seem to be rattled by what was going on around them.

One Island woman told her about living in military barracks where 60 women shared one bathroom. She said the woman told her she thought it was “paradise” because it had running water, power, a telephone and a washing machine.

“She had come from rural P.E.I. where they never had any of those things, so she thought life was good,” Dewar said.

When she began her research, Dewar was in contact with 17 women ranging in age between 95 and 104. While working on the book, she said nine have died.

Of 11 women she interviewed, she said four had boyfriends that were killed during wartime.

“Some of these stories are very, very sad, too,” Dewar said.

She hopes to have the book ready for publishing sometime in 2020.

Dewar has written other books, including Those Splendid Girls and Called to Serve: Georgina Pope, Canadian Military Nursing Heroine.

Article written by Isabella Zavarise, CBC.

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Many of you will recall last year we featured 32 transcribed letters from The Great War that former Clyde River resident Lee Grant Darrach (1882-1953) wrote to his brother in Boston. Further to publishing these documents, Alan Buchanan was engaged to read each of the letters which was recorded by Perry Williams, Virtual Studios Creative Digital Media. These recordings certainly bring to life the gripping reality of the War that Lee experienced. To listen to Alan’s reading of each of the letters, click here or on the photo, scroll down and click play on each of the 32 audio files appearing just underneath each title. You can read along as you listen. We commemorate Remembrance Day 2019 by sharing these audio letters. This project was managed and supported by the Clyde River History Committee. We once again thank the Darrach family for sharing these letters.

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Let’s take a stroll down Dog River Road

And recall the days when our ancestors came

And boats were moored along river docks

Could we have imagined the day

After the many years of a bustling highway

That we could go back to gather a glimpse

Of the peaceful life that they had once again

We’ll hear sounds of hawks on the marsh

Mooing cows up Watson’s Lane

And stop on the hill

Not to avoid a near miss

But to take in the beauty we missed.

Names are the domain of writers and poets to give them life, so this is my humble attempt as we introduce the names of the two roads (the main road and a service road) that were once the old Trans Canada Highway through the community of Clyde River. The main route was originally called Tryon Road, as that’s where it led, and later the Trans Canada Highway that ushered our youth to their destinations of dreams across our great country.

Dog River was the name of the community before 1864, and one can well imagine the conversation among families that they would maybe like a more sophisticated and romantic sounding moniker. For in those days, a dog would not have much of a life, which spawned the expression “he didn’t have the life of a dog”. But, my dear, how times have changed for dogs. That expression has no meaning now as they have become beloved family members where their every need is taken care of. The old expression “a dog’s breakfast” is no more. My dog, for one, eats a premium blend of canine cuisine with a dollop of Balkan yogurt in the morning. It is more likely now that we will be able to enjoy walking our Rover along the Dog River Road without feeling like we’re taking our life in our hands. We can stop at the bridge to give him a chance to study the marshland birds and offer up a few barks.

So for clarification, in Cornwall, they are calling their section of the former Trans Canada Highway “Main Street”. When you are winding your way up Main Street, as you reach the community of Clyde River, without making a turn, you will then be driving on Dog River Road all the way through the community until you connect via a roundabout to the new highway on the Western boundary towards New Haven.

If you do not veer to the new highway on the Western boundary and instead travel the old highway to its dead end, you will travel along a service road now called “Watson’s Lane” named after Watson Livingston a former resident/owner of the adjacent farmland. Watson and his wife Lillian (Hyde) were parents of Wanda (Livingston) MacPhail featured here. That section of land was part of the original Livingston farm first settled by Donald and Flora (MacPhail) Livingston who many in the community could claim an ancestral connection including me. They were Watson’s great grandparents and my greatx3 grandparents. The homestead that Donald’s son Archibald (married to Margaret Dixon) built is the one that Watson’s granddaughter Ruth (MacPhail) and Alan Nelson and their family live in today on the Clyde River Road. Her parents Wanda and Eric MacPhail won a PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation Award for the renovation of the homestead. JoAnn MacPhail lives on another section of the original farm.

So there you have it. We have returned to our historical roots in naming our roads. After tomorrow, we will begin to experience the community in a whole new way. It’s an opportunity for us to renew our community life and consider starting some traditions that help us reconnect with our history. And maybe instead of a car, we can enjoy a stroll or bike ride down memory lane or Dog River Road. And don’t forget to take Rover.

Historical notes from the book, History and Stories of Clyde River

  • The earliest name on record for what is now Clyde River was Oonigunsuk a Mi’kmaq name meaning Portage Place.
  • In 1765, Samuel Holland named the river Edward Creek, more popularly called Edward River.
  • Dog River appeared in Hazard’s Gazette, September 18, 1843 (Editor’s note: I have seen “Dog or Nixon River” labelling the river on farm deeds.)
  • One theory on the Dog River name was the abundance of seals swimming in the river with only their heads appearing and resembling dogs.
  • Other theories related to the many docks along the river where Dock River became Dog River and also dog sleds travelling on frozen ice.
  • Clyde River would have been chosen by Scottish Immigrants as a reminder of the famous River Clyde in Scotland. Bannockburn Road would also be reminiscent to their Scottish history and the Battle of Bannockburn.

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The Community of Clyde River is approaching another historic milestone on Monday when the new highway will open, diverting much of the traffic that previously travelled through the centre of the community. The Department of Transportation issued the following notice this week:

The new Trans-Canada Highway realignment through Cornwall and Clyde River will be fully open to traffic for Monday morning.

As contractors work to finish up the project, drivers may experience some delays on Sunday, October 20 at the North River roundabout due to required finishing work. Drivers are encouraged to take alternate routes on Sunday. If using the roundabout, slow down and follow the directions of signs and traffic control personnel.

When the new Trans-Canada Highway alignment opens Monday morning, drivers are encouraged to slow down, allow for extra time, and follow the new signs carefully.

The North River roundabout will operate differently once the alignment opens. Drivers should pay close attention to the new signage and markings.

Changes for navigating the North River roundabout when coming from Charlottetown:

  • Drivers using the outer/right lane must exit onto the new highway alignment towards Borden-Carleton
  • Drivers wishing to exit onto Main Street or York Point Road must use the inner/left lane of the roundabout
  • Choose the proper lane before entering the roundabout

Changes for navigating the North River roundabout when coming from Warren Grove:

  • Drivers using the outer/right lane must exit onto the new highway alignment towards Borden-Carleton
  • Drivers wishing to exit onto Main Street, York Point Road or to Charlottetown must use the inner/left lane of the roundabout
  • Choose the proper lane before entering the roundabout

As with all roundabouts:

  • As you approach the roundabout, slow down and yield to pedestrians
  • Yield to traffic already circulating
  • When there is a gap on your left, enter the roundabout turning right
  • Do not stop once you are inside the roundabout

All other legs of the roundabout operate the same as usual. Drivers should use extra caution when using the new alignment and the newly configured roundabout for the first time.

Some of the features of the new highway include three overpasses, two interchanges and a major bridge structure over the Clyde River. The new highway will also divert the majority of truck traffic away from Main Street in Cornwall, making Main Street safer.

Here is a video from last year featuring drone footage of construction:

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McArthur Family Cemetery

At our Cemeteries History Circle this past Saturday, the McArthur Family Cemetery in Churchill was mentioned quite a few times. Many commented that most would not know it existed. A few of us from the Clyde River History Committee decided to explore it this week and feature it on our site. We welcome anyone with knowledge of the cemetery to connect with us to ensure that this sacred space is not forgotten. As we receive more details, we will update this article. We would love to hear stories about the people buried here so we can add brief bios. Please feel free to use comments section below or email clyderiverpei@eastlink.ca.

McArthur Family Cemetery

There is no signage. It is the second laneway to the left off Peters Road in Churchill. You will know the path as there are deep tracks leading up through the forest, making it necessary to leave our vehicle and walk approx. 200 metres. We thought the cemetery would be overgrown, but we were pleased to see it was recently cleared, so we had easy access to view stones. Jean and Sharon McLean gave us a list in advance with names that they were able to identify from viewing stones a few years ago. So further to what you will find on Historic Places here, the following is the Mclean list of identified names and details. The photos are from our visit this week.

The first stone in McArthur Family Cemetery remembers Donald and Christy’s five children who died of Diphtheria

Children of Donald and Christy McArthur were the first to be buried in this cemetery. Five of their children died within 7 days with Diphtheria in 1879:

John A. died Sept 19, 1879, age 14

Nicholas, died Sept. 16, age 6

Catherine A, died Sept. 19, 1879, age 6

Donald A., died Sept. 22, age 8

Angus died Sept. 22, age 2

The remaining names appear in alphabetical order:

Cann, Mrs. Ann, died April 1, 1912, age 92; Charles McL. Cann, died April 15, 1887, age 27

MacArthur, Charles, died Dec. 30, 1894, age 47

MacArthur, Donald, died August 14, 1899, age 64; his wife Christy, died April 16, 1909 (Notes: : Christy McLean was from Clyde River. They were married Jan. 21, 1868.)

McArthur, John, died December 14, 1888, age 25; also his uncle Duncan McArthur, died March 18, 1887

McArthur John, died April 29, 1895, age 70; his children Donald, Lauchlin, Ewen, Margaret Ann, Katie, Donald, Alfred, Ethel, Marion & Christina

McArthur, John & Donald – In memory of John died March 13, 1886, age 23; Donald died Oct. 5, 1887, age 25, beloved sons of Nicholas and Maria McArthur. “God in his wisdom has recalled the boon his love had given. And though the body slumbers here the soul is safe in heaven.” (Note: Donald died of Consumption – source: http://www.islandnewspapers.ca)

McArthur, Mary E, died Dec. 28, 1891, age 27 (part of stone leaning on the base); Catherine M. died Feb. 4, 1898, age 29 (this looks like the bottom of a stone which was lying on ground) daughters of Nicholas and Maria McArthur (Notes: Their eldest daughter Ann McArthur died at 17 years on Dec. 13, 1874; confirmed Catherine M. died on Feb. 4, 1898 – source: http://www.islandnewspapers.ca)

McArthur, Nicholas, died Jan. 2, 1905, age 80; his wife Maria McLean, died Nov. 28, 1912, age 85

McArthur, Peter, died June 31, 1892, age 38

McLean, Charles, died July 16, 1881, age 65; his wife Mary McArthur, died April 1, 1906, age 85

McQuarrie, Archibald, died Dec. 5, 1891, age 48; his wife Catherine 1852-1936

Rogerson, Allan L., 1834-1918; his wife Catherine, 1842-1920; son J.A.C. Rogerson, 1868-1901; daughters Barbara Grace, 1873-1882; Ada May, wife of A.A. Pollard, 1883-1916; James D. Rogerson – 1879-1962; granddaughter Emma, 1905-1906 (Notes: Catherine Kitty Shaw born March 14, 1844 (1901 census) in Bonshaw married Allen Rogerson of Crapaud on March 26, 1862. Catherine died 1920 and Allen died 1918. They are buried in the MacArthur Cemetery, Churchill, PE. Allan was the son of John Rogerson and his wife Mary Ann Allan. He was born October 1835 in Dumfries, Scotland. They had the following children: 3 males and 8 females. Catherine Kitty Shaw was the first child and daughter of John Shaw and Margaret Isabella Matheson and granddaughter of Archibald and Catherine Bell. Source: Island Register)

Committee notes:

  • This cemetery is located on land once owned by Donald and Christy McArthur.
  • The first burial date is 1879 and the latest burial date is 1962.
  • We saw remnants of an old wooden fence in the nearby forest, so, at one time, there must have been a fence around the cemetery.
  • The cemetery has been very recently cleared – we are not sure by whom, but we would like to acknowledge their good work.
  • We acknowledge Jean and Sharon McLean for transcribing information from stones.
  • It is a very beautiful and peaceful location. There were a few tiger lilies at some of the graves.
  • The straightest headstone is the earliest one in remembrance of the five McArthur children.
  • If the deep tracks were filled in the lower part of laneway, the cemetery could be accessible by car, but it is a lovely walk.

The following is a gallery of the stones with captions of names and details (click on any photo to advance through gallery):


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