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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

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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The Clyde River History Committee will host a Cemeteries History Circle this coming Saturday, August 24th, 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Riverview Community Centre, 718 Clyde River Road in Clyde River.

We are focusing on cemeteries within the area that have historical connections to Clyde River. This takes in communities extending anywhere from Emyvale/Riverdale, Bonshaw/Appin Road, Argyle Shore/Canoe Cove, Nine Mile Creek/Cumberland to North River/Warren Grove and all communities in between. There were also early pioneers buried in the Old Protestant Burying Ground in Charlottetown and with ancestral connections to those buried in Belfast area cemeteries. We would also be very interested in identifying cemeteries and family names of ancestral connections buried outside of PEI e.g. Boston/Quincy area, Western Canada, New Zealand and Australia or any other areas as this helps to tell the broader story of family connections and migration.

We have identified at least 32 cemeteries in the local area that range from larger ones still in use to pioneer and family plots. We invite participants to take along any research, so we can compare notes and help each other to solve any mysteries or gaps in research.

We will provide tables to display research, photos, artifacts, and family trees. If family trees indicate where ancestors are buried, that would be even more valuable to the group.

The history circle will begin with an overview of our objectives for the afternoon which includes collaborating to increase our historical knowledge of cemeteries in the area. We will ask participants to introduce themselves and highlight their areas of knowledge/research of specific cemeteries and identify what they would like to learn from the session. For others who have not yet conducted research, they can identify those cemeteries of particular interest and any questions they would like answered. This feedback will form the discussion outline for the afternoon, beginning with topics of high interest. Those with research notes will have a chance to share their knowledge.

Following our history circle discussions, there will be an informal time where participants can chat with each other over refreshments, visit the table display and Clyde River’s museum featuring artifacts and photos.

We look forward to meeting you next week. If you have any questions in the meantime, please email vivian@eastlink.ca.

For a list of cemeteries and related stories on our site, please link to our earlier story.

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Pioneer Cemetery in Clyde River

The Clyde River History Committee will be hosting a Cemeteries History Circle on Saturday, August 24th from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Riverview Community Centre. We have chosen a summer date as we thought it would be a good time of year to also welcome those home from away who are interested in cemetery research and have local ancestral connections.

We are focusing on cemeteries within the area that have historical connections to Clyde River. This takes in communities extending anywhere from Emyvale/Riverdale, Bonshaw/Appin Road, Argyle Shore/Canoe Cove, Nine Mile Creek/Cumberland to North River/Warren Grove and all communities in between. There were also early pioneers buried in the Old Protestant Burying Ground in Charlottetown and with ancestral connections to those buried in Belfast area cemeteries. We would also be very interested in identifying cemeteries and family names of ancestral connections buried outside of PEI e.g. Boston/Quincy area, Western Canada, New Zealand and Australia or any other areas as this helps to tell the broader story of family connections and migration.

We have identified at least 32 cemeteries in the local area that range from larger ones still being used to pioneer and family plots. We invite participants to take along any research they have, so we can compare notes and help each other to solve any mysteries or gaps in research.

Our committee thought this event would be a great opportunity to broaden our network of historical enthusiasts/researchers and genealogists and to capture interesting stories about early settlers and founding families among our communities. We think it will be valuable to identify who is researching local, complementary topics, as this can ultimately help each of us gather a fuller historical picture.

We realize this is an ambitious adventure, so we will likely stay fairly high level and not delve too directly into specific family trees. However, the event will be a good opportunity for you to connect with those who are researching similar family trees which you could collaborate with after event.

We welcome you to RSVP for this event, but it’s not necessary. It would be very helpful to the committee if you could let us know you are planning to attend and what your specific interest/research is of any cemeteries in our area. It will assist us in customizing the format for the afternoon to best meet the interests of the audience. You can RSVP by adding a comment below or by emailing clyderiverpei@eastlink.ca.

We also welcome non-researchers who are interested in listening to the conversation. Sometimes we don’t realize how many stories have been passed down to us which may hold the clue to advance local historical research. That’s the fun of history. It’s like a large jigsaw puzzle and the missing pieces drive us to learn more.

For reference, here is the list of cemeteries in the area and a few stories that have been featured on our site:

  1. Appin Road Cemetery
  2. Argyle Shore Cemetery
  3. Bonshaw Pioneer Cemetery
  4. Brookfield Presbyterian Cemetery
  5. Canoe Cove Presbyterian Cemetery
  6. Old Protestant Cemetery (only aspect that connects to Clyde River ancestors) – story here
  7. Churchill Presbyterian Cemetery – story references pioneers
  8. Stewart Family Plot, Strathgartney – story references Stewart family
  9. MacArthur Family Plot, Peter’s Road
  10. Clyde River Burnside Presbyterian Cemetery – story here
  11. Clyde River Baptist Church Cemetery
  12. Clyde River Pioneer Cemetery – story listing all visible stonesstory 2, story 3
  13. West River United Church Cemetery, Cornwall
  14. Newson Pioneer Cemetery, Ferry Road
  15. Dockendorff Pioneer Cemetery. York Point Road
  16. St. Martin’s Roman Catholic Cemetery, Cumberland
  17. East Wiltshire Baptist Cemetery
  18. St. Anne Roman Catholic Cemetery, Emyvale
  19. Hampshire United Methodist Cemetery
  20. Kingston United Church Cemetery – story here
  21. Howard Christian Cemetery, Kingston – story 1story 2
  22. Long Creek United Baptist Cemetery
  23. Saint Thomas Anglican Cemetery, Long Creek
  24. Long Creek Pioneer Cemetery
  25. Hyde and Crosby Pioneer Cemetery – story on Hyde pioneers, story on Crosby pioneers
  26. St. John’s Anglican Cemetery, Miltonvale
  27. New Dominion United Church Cemetery
  28. Ladner Family/Old Garden Cemetery
  29. Port-la-Joye Cemetery, Rocky Point
  30. St. Catherine’s Pioneer Cemetery – story 1, story 2
  31. MacEachern Family Cemetery, St. Catherines
  32. James Warren Pioneer Cemetery, Warren Grove

Additional articles/sites referencing genealogical connections:

If some of the family researchers in our website audience can only connect with us virtually, we welcome you to send along any information that you think would be helpful for us in our history circle discussions and, also, feel free to send along any questions you would like us to ask the group which will assist in your own research.

It is our hope that we will develop an excellent list of contacts from this event and this initiative will add value to our individual research efforts.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, August 24th at 1:30 p.m. For more information, please contact Vivian, Chair of Clyde River History Committee at vivian@eastlink.ca. We also welcome attendees to visit our museum that features over 200 artifacts and also several heritage family photos. This history circle will take place at Riverview Community Centre at 718 Clyde River Road. Refreshments will be served.

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Aerial view of Trans Canada Highway in 2000.

As history enthusiasts, we find ourselves piecing together clues from the past to paint a picture of what life was like before our time. It’s a different challenge for us to determine what is historically significant in our own time and what we should record on it. We are now witnessing a major development in our lives with the bypass that will carve a new route through our community. I am sure many of us drive by to see construction progress and wonder how things will change this Fall when it is opened for traffic. We know how helpful it would have been if those from previous generations had recorded their observations about developments and changes within the community. Could we challenge ourselves to let future generations know about life before the bypass?

August 23, 1952

The current highway route has been such a strong presence in the history of Clyde River, it will be quite a change to see it being used predominantly by local traffic. We have seen a lot of changes over the years. My uncle recalls sledding down the hill of the main highway when he was a kid in the 1930s. I don’t think any of us would dare to do that this past winter with the volume of traffic.

We welcome your observations on life before the bypass in the comments section below.

Here are a few historical tidbits to get us started:

  • Originally, the highway was called Tryon Road and in the early 1950s became part of the Trans Canada Highway.
  • It was paved in 1952.
  • Nicknames include Main road, Trans Canada and the Highway.

 

 

A few photos of new highway construction: (click on any photo to advance through album)

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