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Art in the Park: Saturday, July 22, 9:00 to Noon, Murchison Place Park (shine or light rain).
Art in the Park welcomes all levels of painters, especially the beginner. Come on out for an enjoyable morning of painting with new and old friends, under the dappled canopy of the park. We also welcome those who enjoy watching art being created.

All are invited to an optional demo and free painting lesson in Plein Air landscape painting starting at 9:30 am to 10:30 am. In a workshop style, with local artist Julia Purcell, participants will learn to develop a well-built start for their painting by creating strong compositional thumbnails through the principles of Japanese notan and by using a view finder to shape a limited focus. There will be an explanation of the three properties of color and a discussion of how to implement a color strategy by using a limited palette in landscape painting. Bring your own painting materials e.g. acrylic or watercolor paint. Please include a sketch book and soft pencil such as an 8B. Using an easel is recommended. View finders will be provided. If you plan to participate in this lesson, we ask you to pre-register by emailing juliampurcell@gmail.com. Coffee and water provided. There is a washroom on site. Murchison Place Park is located among the trees at the corner of Trans Canada Highway and Clyde River Road.

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Piper plays at summer social

The Clyde River History Committee attended a summer social at the Old Protestant Burying Ground this past Tuesday evening. We were all intrigued to attend our first social at a cemetery, and it turned out to be a wonderful exploration into the early history of Charlottetown and Prince Edward Island as a whole. Many of us never had a chance to visit this site, so we looked forward to their guided tours. The event program follows:

  • Prelude – Piper Brady Singleton, Belfast Pipe and Drum Band Confederation Players
  • Welcome – Chair, Don Patton
  • Remarks – Author George Wright, Who Departed this Life: A History of the Old Protestant Burying Ground
  • Musical Performance – Shirley Wright and players
  • Tree Planting – Reverend Dr. Gordon Matheson
  • Tour of significant sites (including military) and refreshments
  • The invitation was to come and meet your neighbours – Past and Present!

Ann (Grant) Dixon’s headstone – stone came from Nova Scotia and is the same stone used in Province House & Confederation Centre of the Arts. Click on photo to enlarge.

A few days before the event, I received a note from Hilda (Dixon) Colodey that there would be a Clyde River connection at the Old Protestant Burying Ground. Her 2x great-grandmother and my 3x great-grandmother Ann (Grant) Dixon is buried there. Here are the ancestral lines:

Dixon Line:

  • 1st generation: Ann (Grant) married to George A. Dixon
  • 2nd generation: Mackieson Dixon married Amanda Lowther
  • 3rd generation: George Dixon married Margaret MacQuarrie
  • 4th generation: Boyd Dixon married Peggy Easter
  • 5th generation: Hilda, Mack, Alex & Peter

Dixon-Beer Line:

  • 1st generation: Ann (Grant) married to George A. Dixon
  • 2nd generation: Margaret (Dixon), Mackieson’s sister, married Archibald Livingstone
  • 3rd generation: Mary Ann (Livingstone) married James Beer
  • 4th generation: Frederick Beer married Frances Darrach
  • 5th generation: John Beer married Hazel MacLean
  • 6th generation: Blois, Doreen & Vivian

Link to online Ann & George Dixon family tree: www.janedyment.ca

Ann was born in 1799. She travelled to PEI with her husband George A. Dixon in 1832 and purchased Selkirk land on the Bannockburn Road in Clyde River, then known as Dog River. They farmed and operated a mill. Ann died in 1841. Her two daughters, each named Mary Ann (first died in 1830 and second died in 1851), are buried beside her at the Old Protestant Burying Ground.

Hilda tells me that when Ann’s oldest daughter Margaret had her first daughter, she carried on the name Mary Ann.

George A. Dixon remarried Annie Atkinson and they had two more children. George and Annie are buried in the Burnside Presbyterian Cemetery in Clyde River. This cemetery was established in 1856.

A few facts about The Old Protestant Burying Ground:

  • Estimated that about 4000 people were buried here between 1784-1873. A list has been created for 3200.
  • Fell into neglect and suffered bouts of sabotage, but in 1999 a group of citizens came together to restore this important part of Island history.
  • A few of the many notable people buried here:
    • Hon. George Wright, member of legislature – his father Thomas was a surveyor for Samuel Holland.
    • Ambrose Lane, Colonial Administrator, built the stone house in Clyde River. There is also a small waterfall on the property referred to as Lane’s Rock.
    • William Douse, Earl of Selkirk’s land agent that the Dixon’s and Beers would have dealt with when they purchased their original properties. A story about a family reunion and family crypt is featured in this story in Toronto Star.
    • William Crosby – We featured an earlier story, The Crosby’s of Meadowbank, that references William Crosby.
    • Samuel Holman – the first member of the Holman family of merchants.
    • John Frederick Holland – Eldest son of Samuel Holland
    • Online biographies of many interesting people buried here.
    • Online list of all those known to be buried here.

Here is a thoughtful description written by Judy Gaudet of Charlottetown on The Old Protestant Burying Ground:

Imagine a city underground. It is the Charlotte Town that used to be. Here are many prominent people: Ambrose Lane, twice Administrator of the early colony; Hon. George Wright, Surveyor General and five times Administrator of the Colony; Condolly Rankin, High Sherifff; Peter MacGowan, Attorney General; Susan, Governor Ready’s daughter is there; and Jane, Barrister Palmer’s wife. Here are Benjamin Chappell, first postmaster of PEI, and James Coles, whose son George was a Father of Confederation. Plaw the architect, Charles Binns, the attorney. Benjamin Bremmer’s father, JS, the bookseller is here, and his mother, who ran the bookstore when JS died, until she herself was killed in a train accident in Boston.

Here’s bandleader Galbraith’s wife Susan. Here are auctioneers, wheelwrights, soldiers and blacksmiths. Theophilus Desbrisay, the first Anglican Rector, who served for 47 years, is here with his wife, children and grandchildren. Here are the joiners, carriage builders, tinsmiths, teachers and poets. John LePage’s wife and children are here. Here are butchers, bankers, stationers, milkers, masons, saddlers, and harness makers. You might think work could go ahead as usual in the city under the ground. Life and Death.

Here’s Dr. Henry Johnson, the young preacher, just come over from England, liked by everyone, died within weeks of his arrival. Frederick Goodman, Hon. George’s son drowned along with Ann Maloney when their skiff was hit by a sudden squall on their way back from St. Peter’s Island. John Ross, the publisher, lost his young son in the same year as the Charlotte Town fire took his business. Arthur Aggasiz, a young gentleman, had a seizure at the bottom of a well, where he went to retrieve a bucket and drowned despite all the servants could do; Eliza Taylor, wife of Neil Graham, the ship’s carpenter, died in childbirth. His second wife died that way, too.

Many women did. Many children died. But we all have our time. And it may that they are not in this city under the ground at all, “but amidst the stars and near the throne” as one stone claims for a lost Knight child. But should we not pay some honour to this place where they were last seen? Surely if we forget them, and their lives, their contributions and their humanity, the city above ground will be the poorer.

Please make sure to take some time to visit The Old Protestant Burying Ground at 270 University Avenue. Carl Phillis is the caretaker and he is there each week day from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. He welcomes visitors and loves to answer your questions about the cemetery.

If any of our readers have ancestral connections to those buried at the Old Protestant Burying Ground, we invite you to add information in the comments below.

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Strawberries and Ice Cream Social, Wednesday, July 12th, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Riverview Community Centre

The big summer event for Clyde River Women’s Institute is, of course, the annual Strawberries and Ice Cream Festival where young and not so young gather to enjoy the scrumptious desserts and meet friends and neighbours. Admission at the door. The museum featuring a collection of artifacts and heritage photos will be open for tours.

Art in the Park: Saturday, July 22, 9:00 to Noon, Murchison Place Park (shine or light rain).
Art in the Park welcomes all levels of painters, especially the beginner. Come on out for an enjoyable morning of painting with new and old friends, under the dappled canopy of the park. We also welcome those who enjoy watching art being created.
All are invited to an optional demo and free painting lesson in Plein Air landscape painting starting at 9:30 am to 10:30 am. In a workshop style, with local artist Julia Purcell, participants will learn to develop a well-built start for their painting by creating strong compositional thumbnails through the principles of Japanese notan and by using a view finder to shape a limited focus. There will be an explanation of the three properties of color and a discussion of how to implement a color strategy by using a limited palette in landscape painting. Bring your own painting materials e.g. acrylic or watercolor paint. Please include a sketch book and soft pencil such as an 8B. Using an easel is recommended. View finders will be provided. If you plan to participate in this lesson, we ask you to pre-register by emailing juliampurcell@gmail.com. Coffee and water provided. There is a washroom on site. Murchison Place Park is located among the trees at the corner of Trans Canada Highway and Clyde River Road.

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This month you can explore PEI’s provincial museum sites for free with a Discover PEI: Heritage Pass that can be borrowed from selected branches of the Public Library Service! With your PEI library card, borrow a Heritage Pass for one week. The Heritage Pass provides free family admission to any of the seven provincial museum sites.

  • Tour Beaconsfield History House – an elegant 1877 Victorian mansion.
  • Learn about PEI’s fisheries history at breathtaking Basin Head.
  • Immerse yourself in the activities of 1890s rural life at Orwell Corner Historic Village.
  • Dive into shipbuilding history and explore Yeo House a charming country mansion at Green Park.
  • Discover the journey of the Acadians of PEI at le Musée acadien.
  • Travel back in time at Elmira Railway Museum.
  • Visit Eptek Art & Culture Centre in Summerside to be inspired through local arts and crafts.

Passes are available at the following libraries:

  • Confederation Centre Public Library
  • Stratford Public Library
  • Summerside Rotary Library
  • Cornwall Public Library
  • Montague Rotary Library
  • Tyne Valley Public Library
  • Souris Public Library
  • Bibliothèque publique d’Abram-Village
  • Bibliothèque publique Dr.-J.-Edmond-Arsenault
  • Bibliothèque publique J.-Henri-Blanchard

You can view the PEI Museums photo gallery on Facebook, click here.

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As a follow-up to the story “John Beer’s Adventure off Peru during WWII“, I recently connected with the daughter of Charles Reginald Boggs, from Halifax, who was also serving on the Prince Henry at that same time in April 1941. Diane came upon my story here, and she recalled her father’s comments about the day of the burning and sinking of the two German ships. In fact, he recorded a bit of the action with his personal movie camera on 16mm film, as the crew and officers captured and took aboard the Germans from their escaping lifeboats.

Diane recalls from viewing the film that the Canadians treated the Germans well as they brought them onboard, handing them blankets, hot drinks and cigarettes. Hopefully, the Canadian Military Archives will soon be converting the reel to digital and putting it online.

Also among Reginald Boggs’ naval memorabilia was a news clipping of Messdeck News, a column in a Halifax newspaper during the war, written by Annie Coade (aka Jessie Coade). She provided the public with her own interesting naval journalism. The clipping from November 8th, 1941, features a photo of a German Shepherd dog and his new master Lieutenant W. Gage. My father also had a photo of a German Shepherd in his collection of photos. Well, we were able to solve the mystery of why this dog was on the ship. Here is an excerpt from the transcribed clipping:

Photo of Peetsa and Lieutenant W. Gage from Messdeck News

Surpassing in news importance the old “man bites dog” tale is the story of a native of Germany who not only had the run of a Canadian ship, but is the special pal of every officer and man on board. The “German” is a police dog call Peetsa who was captured along with the crew of an enemy freighter and the only one of the company to escape internment.

Peetsa was the mascot of the freighter “Hermonthis” out of Hamburg, which with three other ships of her type were lying in the harbour of Callao, seaport of Lima, Peru. A Canadian ship had a veritable “field day” when the enemy ships tried to escape the harbour, and after much excitement, a lifeboat filled with prisoners gave over its crew. Peetsa, a scared little puppy was the last aboard and, at the risk of his life, Able Seaman Ed Suffern managed to get him on board via a garbage pail.

An enemy Captain, bound for an interment camp, asked that his dog be taken care of. A dog of any country is still a dog, so the pup became mascot of the Royal Canadian Navy.

John Beer’s photo of Peetsa

Not long after when the ship was at a Canadian port, she was compared to the famous dog called Rin-tin-tin. An extraordinary chapter in the life of Peetsa brings forth the fact that she was born in Peru and her seven “babies” saw daylight when the ship touched Peru again for the first time since her arrival on board! A twenty-hour stoppage at that.

Peetsa shows her appreciation to the Canadians who adopted her by showing off a clever trick when asked – and by formally taking care of a white kitten that belonged to one of the messes. In the trick, her foster master Lieutenant William Gage places a package of cigarettes high on a shelf in the wardroom.

Peetsa is nonchalantly curled up in her chair. Suddenly Lt. Gage snaps “roust” and, in a flash, Peetsa is up over the obstacles and brings the packet, unharmed, back to her trainer. She has earned her spot on board.

Editor’s Note:

  • Thanks to Diane for connecting with us and adding more richness and insight into this piece of Canadian history. And who doesn’t like a happy story about a dog?!
  • Jessie Coade was the mother of Peter Coade, a retired meteorologist with CBC Radio One.

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My PEI Genealogy Adventure

(Guest submission from James Ward) When my wife Carol and I began the search for my ancestors, we put visiting Prince Edward Island on our bucket list. We had three goals; find my grandfather’s farm, find some more pictures, and discover any living Ward relatives. In early 2002, I sent an email to the Public Archives in PEI and received a reply from the project archivist confirming my grandfather was from PEI. That ignited interest in researching my family tree and my wish to someday travel to PEI to research my family.

This April was our chance to visit both Nova Scotia and PEI. Carol and I spent the week at the White Point Resort and visited the Lunenburg area researching my Grandmother Effie Feener (Ward) and were able to find information at the South Shore Genealogical Society.

Vivian and James

We then journeyed to PEI for the last four days of our Canada trip and stayed at a wonderful Shipwright Inn in Charlottetown. The best part of this trip was my contact with Vivian Beer, a distant cousin by marriage. Hattie Beer married my Great Uncle Benjamin Ward. With that connection, my cousin invited us to meet her in Clyde River the next day to see what we could find. We met Vivian at the Clyde River Community Center, originally the old school where she had attended.

The Clyde River History Committee was meeting in the basement of this Community Center and she introduced us to the ladies in the group and gave us a tour of their museum collection. They are in the process of researching artifacts from the Clyde River area. One of the ladies, Hilda Colodey, recalled the Ward’s farms and location. They had old plats of Lot 31, and John Ward was listed with 50 acres on Bannockburn Road. A later plot had Benjamin Ward on John Ward’s original 50 acres and, across the road, was Benjamin’s brother, Daniel Neil Ward, with 40 acres. Vivian said she knew exactly where the property was and drove us to the location.

We found a farm house on that spot with a car in the driveway. Vivian was bolder than I and went up to the back door. I was told in PEI, if you are a preacher or police, you go to the front door. The lady, Jane Naylor, came to the door with her dog, Honey. Vivian told her that my Grandfather grew up in this house. Jane was very gracious about inviting us in to see the home. She and her husband had purchased the house and just over one acre of land in October 1978. I am still trying to trace ownership to Benjamin and his family.

While we were talking to Jane, she pointed out the house across Bannockburn Road. Peter Cairns owns it now. The house was originally built by Daniel Ward and named Montrose Farms. Coincidently, Peter was coming out of his driveway. We all flagged him down, and he was nice enough to stop and find out what we wanted. He was very friendly and told us he had purchased the farm from Milton Ward. We checked the family tree and discovered Milton was the son of Earle Ward who was the son of Daniel Neil Ward (Brother of my Grandfather, Alexander Spurgeon Ward). Jane told Peter that I was a Ward, and Peter invited us to head up to the house and he would be back in five minutes. We had a chance to tour the home and also view some old photos of the Wards.

James and Milton Ward

Peter mentioned that Milton lived nearby and gave us his phone number. Vivian called and Milton invited us to come over. We spent several hours at his home in North River and learned he had two sisters that were both deceased. Milton recounted stories of the farm and his days of driving the school bus. Peter was one of the students who rode Milton’s bus and told him that when he was ready to sell the farm to give him the first chance at buying it. Milton remembered that promise and sold the farm to Peter when he retired.

My PEI Genealogy Adventure has given me a cousin by marriage and a fourth cousin. I have learned so much more about my family. It has been truly an exciting time and a dream come true. I have confirmed several parts of my family tree and have a video of my new-found cousin I can enjoy.

All my hopes of finding my Grandfather’s farm, other pictures of the Wards, and a living Ward cousin have come true. Everyone we met in PEI was friendly and loved sharing their stories with us. My thanks to Vivian for being a fantastic tour guide and genealogist. Carol and I couldn’t have done it without her. I have made a promise to return to PEI someday to continue our Genealogy Adventure.

Editor’s notes:

  • James, it was so much fun to share your genealogical adventure. I look forward to you and Carol visiting PEI again sometime.
  • Refer to an earlier story about when the cow fell down the well at Montrose Farm here.

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(Submitted by Emily Bryant) A sunny day, willing volunteers, a park that had wintered well, and a supportive community spirit were the key ingredients for a wonderful clean-up event at Murchison Place Park on May 13th. JoAnn MacPhail did a great promotion reminding community members of the need. I, Emily Bryant, counted 35 volunteers that worked well together to get Murchison Place Park park in tip-top shape for the summer season.

The Ross family, again, would take the prize of having the most members of a family present as Kevin, Lisa, Erica, Emily and Ellen all pitched in to help. Jeff and Maggie Cameron and their two sweet little girls had four members there and the ever faithful Alan MacQuarrie was there with his two sons, Ben and J.R. Some couples find this a nice activity they can do together. For example, Angela and Brent worked hard and were able to obtain leaves to compost for their environmentally conscious garden.

Many of the helpers at the 2017 clean-up have been there every year since this park opened over a decade ago. Alex Dixon, who has been such a huge help from day one, was presented a birthday cake at this clean-up and, even though he doesn’t like being in the limelight, I could tell he was pleased. Audrey MacPhee, who always brings good cheer, might have had the honour of being the oldest helper at this clean-up, but Eric MacPhail, whose life long work habits are legendary, came from Burnside Community Care with his shovel in hand. It was nice to see Fred Beer back in Clyde River to participate in this year’s park clean-up, a park that has his father Arnold’s name attached to the front flowerbed. Rev. Steven Stead and Christine Young must have been pleased to be there and see the transformation of the park, as their homes border on this park setting. Of course, Sarah Cameron’s smile brought joy to the event.

The pictures will show that volunteers took time to chat with each other. Lisa Ross had suggested that everyone introduce themselves during our refreshment break and that proved to be a great idea as a community builder. Special thanks to all who brought or sent biscuits, muffins, cookies, etc., and to the Rosses who brought coffee and JoAnn who provided juice. Three hours is a short time but the work was pretty much all completed in that time. What a nice feeling to be part of this worthwhile community project.

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