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Archive for the ‘Meadow Bank History’ Category

Here is our third excerpt from Meadow Bank Women’s Institute Tweedsmuir History – published in 1951.

School instruction started around at houses in about the same way as church services were held. The principal courses on the curriculum being the three “R’s”. Tradition says that upon one occasion when a barn then on the property now owned by J.W. Crosby was used for a school, disobedient pupils were made to kneel and do penance on the cobble stones beside the barn.

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Meadow Bank School – received “Honourable Mention” in the School Beautification Contest in 1950

As far as we know, the first schoolhouse was built about 1830, for we find in the Campbell’s History that in that year there were on the Island three grammar school teachers, seventy-one district teachers and six Acadian teachers. The first school inspector received appointment in 1837.

The first teacher we know of in Meadow Bank was a Mr. McCarval. It was then customary for each family to take a turn at keeping the teacher who got their board in return for extra help given to pupils at home. The present school was built in 1877. The last teacher in the old school (which is now Mr. Fred Hyde’s workshop) was Miss Furness. The first teacher in the new school was Miss Bessie Gill.

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Meadow Bank School District – Meacham’s 1880 Atlas (Click on the map to enlarge)

Serving as school secretaries have been Mr. Hammond Crosby, Mr. Samuel Drake, Mr. George Boyle. The present secretary is Mr. Stanley Hyde with Mr. Robert Jewell, Mr. Stewart Drake and Mr. Victor MacPhail on the Trustee Board (1950-51).

In the minutes of the school meeting of 1897 with William Boyle as chairman and Samuel Drake, secretary, we find the sum of $30 voted for expenses and $25 for teacher’s supplement. The janitor’s pay was $6.75. Compared with this, in 1951, the teacher’s supplement is $275 and the janitor’s pay is $80.

Wood was used for fuel until 1905 when the first coal stove was purchased.

In conversation with the oldest living residents, we find that at one time, mid-week prayer meetings were held in the school, led by Mr. William Boyle. For a time, a singing school was conducted by a blind teacher, Miss Porter, who boarded at the residence of Samuel Hyde.

Since 1947, the Meadow Bank branch of Cornwall Mission Band began meeting monthly in the school with Mrs. Colin Murray. Mrs. Charles Hyde and Mrs. Sterling Clow in turn serving as leaders assisted by different women of the district.

School Organ

When Jessie MacKay was teaching in Meadow Bank, she and her pupils staged a concert in Cornwall Hall. The money earned ($25) was used to buy an organ which was originally owned by Harriet (Hyde) Howard. The organ was used for Christmas concerts, Mission Band and Sunday school meetings. The organ and other articles from the school may still be seen at Jewell’s Country Gardens.

Class of 1913: 

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Teacher: Jack Heartz  Students: Charlie Hyde, Hazel MacLean, Lottie Crosby, Charlotte Drake, Winnie MacLean, Myrtle Crosby, Marie Crosby, Lillian Hyde, Dan MacLean, Dick Drake, Cora MacLean, Helen Crosby, Ethel & Tillie Boyle, Anita Hyde, Vera Hyde, Laura Crosby.

Class of 1917: (no listing of names)

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Class of 1927 (click on photo to enlarge)

Class of 1927 (Our contribution to this story: photo gathered during Clyde River Capturing Collective Memories Project – McLean collection)

Back row: Ethel (Ling) MacPhail (teacher), Percy Boyle, Jack Crosby

Centre row: Elmer Hyde, Stewart Drake, Reigh, Ruby, Helen Scott, Freddie Scott, Hazel Boyle, Hazel MacLean, Jean MacLean, Louis MacLean (standing on own to right)

Front Row: Vernon Drake, Lulu Scott, Lloyd Scott, Louise S., Jean Boyle, Harvey MacLean, Dorothy Mac L.

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Class of 1950 (click on photo to enlarge)

Class of 1950:

Back Row: Teacher Doris (Miller) Clow Students: David MacPhail, Ruth MacPhail, Miriam yde, Blois MacPhail, Douglas Hyde, Heath MacPhail, Garth Scott

Front Row: Jean MacPhail, Vivian Drake, Eleanor Hyde, Verna MacPhail, Avard Clow, Beverley Jewell, Russel Drake, Wendall Hyde, Byron Clow.

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Class of 1952 or 53 (click on photo to enlarge)

Class of 1952 or 53: photo gathered during Clyde River Capturing Collective Memories Project – McLean collection

Back row: David MacPhail, Garth Scott, Ernest Mutch (Teacher), Miriam Hyde (Lank), Ruth MacPhail (Roggeveen), Beverley Jewell (Gillespie)

Centre Row: Eleanor Hyde (Morrison), Verna MacPhail (Clow), Wendell Hyde, Byron Clow, Jean MacPhail

Front Row: Wilma Hyde (Newson), Sharon MacLean, Doris Hyde, David Yeo

Editor’s notes:

If a family owned property in a community, they had the option to send their children to that community’s school. My mother (Hazel MacLean) Beer lived on a farm where the border of Clyde River and Meadow Bank crossed through their farm. She, her older sister Jean and their younger brother Louis went to school in Meadow Bank in the early years, as you see in the 1927 photo above. They would walk through the forest as a short cut to Meadow Bank School, but then they found there were more car rides heading to Clyde River and their close cousins lived there, so they began going to Clyde River School. The bonus in winter was crossing the ice at Clyde River which made it a short trip to school. They would go down through the fields where Lorne and Sadie MacLean live now, cross the ice and head up Murray’s field. A sled made it an even faster trip.

Watch out for our next excerpt on Meadow Bank’s History.

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Here is our second excerpt from Meadow Bank W.I. Tweedsmuir History from 1951 which talks about the establishment of the Women’s Institute in 1913 and re-establishment again in 1938. 

Meadow Bank was one of the pioneer Institutes organized on Prince Edward Island. In The Guardian of March 17th, 1913, we find the following item:

On March 14th, 1913, despite the inclemency of the weather, Mrs. A.E. Dunbrack (the organizer) had a large number of residents of Cornwall and vicinity to listen to her interesting talk on the Women’s Institute movement, after which she gave an illustrated lecture on the principles underlying the cooking of meat. Mrs. Dunbrack was given authority to announce to the government that forty-five women were anxious to organize themselves into an Institute in that section and would guarantee that the movement would have their untiring support.

Also, in The Guardian of April 8th, 1913 appeared:

Women’s Institutes were organized yesterday afternoon at Cornwall and Meadow Bank. The objective of the Institute is the improvement of the conditions of home life in our Province, and it is hoped by means of the meeting of the practical and enterprising women of each community to discuss the improvement of homes and surroundings; the condition of schoolhouses; public health, in short, anything that goes to the wellbeing of the district as well as the interchange of thought and information will bring the desired result.

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Mrs. W.W. Crosby, first president of the Meadow Bank Women’s Institute

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Mrs. Mary E. Roper, first secretary of the Meadow Bank Women’s Institute

Mrs. W.W. Crosby and Mrs. Mary E. Roper who had both attended the March 1st meeting at Cornwall were on April 7th (our official birthday) made president and secretary, respectively, of the Meadow Bank Branch and continued as such for the next six years during which time the women of the district met monthly, sometimes in the school and sometimes in the different homes.

It was the time of World War I and sewing and knitting and the packing of boxes for the boys overseas was a major project. One of the first improvements to the school was a hardwood floor which served until the year 1950 when it was overlaid with plywood and battleship linoleum.

 

With the cessation of hostilities in 1919, interest on the part of some waned and it was decided to disband. For a number of years, a few of the women joined the Cornwall-York Point Branch and this branch was gradually joined by others.

The care and management of the Cornwall Hall was given over by the shareholders to the Institutes who have made many improvements to it. Among these might be mentioned, redecorating, installing of electric lights, stage properties and a piano.

On December 7th, 1938, the Cornwall-York Point Institutes, having grown inconveniently large, members of Meadow Bank reorganized their own branch but continue to contribute one-third of the maintenance cost of the hall.

Officers since 1938 have been:

Presidents:

  • Mrs. Frank Boyle
  • Mrs. Victor MacPhail
  • Mrs. Colin MacPhail
  • Miss Laura Crosby
  • Mrs. Charles Hyde
  • Mrs. Stirling Clow
  • Mrs. Pearl Scott
  • Mrs. Victor MacPhail (2 years)
  • Mrs. Elmer Clow
  • Miss Laura Crosby (2 years)
  • Mrs. L.H. Drake
  • Mrs. Victor MacPhail (2 years)
  • Mrs. Harvey MacLean

Secretaries:

  • Mrs. Norman MacFadyen
  • Mrs. Stanley Hyde (2 years)
  • Mrs. L.H. Drake
  • Mrs. Stirling Clow
  • Mrs. Norman MacFadyen
  • Miss Laura Crosby (3 years)
  • Mrs. Harvey MacLean
  • Mrs. Charles Hyde (2 years)
  • Mrs. Sterling Clow
  • Mrs. Stanley Hyde (2 years)
  • Mrs. James Yeo

Notes:

  • On July 10th, 1950, Mrs. W.W. Crosby was honoured with a Life Membership in the Prince Edward Island Women’s Institute because of her pioneer Institute work in this Province.
  • The Meadow Bank W.I. prepared the community history from which this series of featured excerpts is taken.
  • If you have any photos of the Meadow Bank W.I., please send them to vivian@eastlink.ca and we will add them to this story.

Stay tuned for our third excerpt that talks about the establishment of a school in Meadow Bank.

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Copy of history book

Joanne (MacFadyen) Turner presented us with a copy of a brief history of Meadow Bank that was completed in 1951, given to her by her Uncle Lennis MacFadyen. The history was prepared by the Meadow Bank Women’s Institute and handwritten in beautiful penmanship by Laura Crosby. It features photos and individual histories of Meadow Bank farms and descriptions of early community life. For many years, there was only one copy of this history that passed around the community for reading. Later, there were a few photocopies produced, so we thought we would give it a broader audience on our website and feature excerpts of the history 66 years later. We invite those with further historical information to add notes in the comments’ section below or to email vivian@eastlink.ca. We will make sure that our friends in Meadow Bank receive any information or photos that you send.

They entitled the document The Meadow Bank W.I. Tweedsmuir History, as it was inspired by Lady Tweedsmuir, the wife of the former Governor General of Canada (1935-40) who promoted literacy in Canada, established the first public library at Rideau Hall and was delighted to see Women’s Institutes of Canada compiling community history books. More about Lord and Lady Tweedsmuir here. The first of our featured excerpts follows:

Introduction to Meadow Bank
(written by Lawson Drake at 20 years old before he left to attend Cambridge University in England)

Some five miles upstream from Charlottetown, on the north bank of the river Elliot, lies the rural community of Meadow Bank. To its inhabitants and to its visitors, this country settlement presents the finest scenery of which Prince Edward Island is capable. Let us look for a moment at Meadow Bank as it is today.

There are 21 farms homes with a total population of some 80 men, women and children. Of the 2,089 acres of land, a portion is under actual cultivation. The remainder is largely in the form of farm woodlots. Good quality and fine fields distinguish the farm produce in the district.

Meadow Bank is bound by Hyde Creek on the East, the Elliot River on the South, the Clyde River on the West and the districts of Cornwall and Clyde River on the North. The community is reached by a side road from Highway 2A at Cornwall. The road follows the perimeter of an imperfect square to regain the Highway 1/2 mile east of the Clyde River Bridge, the highway itself forming the fourth side of the square. The land rises in gently rolling hills to an elevation not exceeding 150 feet above sea level. The road in many places follows the height of land and from here the observer is met by a pastoral panorama unparalleled in the serenity of its beauty. Dominating all and providing a fitting backdrop for the pleasing mosaic of the lush green pastures and rich red fields is the calm blue width of the river, the sunlight gleaming and dancing on the crests of the tiny wavelets. All about one is the evidence of the husbandry of man, the well-kept fences which enclose the fields, the stacks of hay and the fields of potatoes with their long straight rows.

How different it must have been 200 years ago. The river was there with its laughing water, the Minnehaha of Mi’kmaq. But the land had yet to be cleared, the soil yet to be tilled, the homesteads yet to be built. The forest covered all.

Stay tuned for the next excerpt: History of the Meadow Bank Women’s Institute – established in 1913

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My Uncle Lorne lives on the home place where he, my mother Hazel, their sister Jean and other brother Louis grew up and at least five previous generations of MacLean’s since sometime before 1812 when they arrived from Colonsay, Scotland. The MacLean gambrel-style house is 200 years old this year. Lorne lives in Meadowbank, but he has to walk all the way to Clyde River to get his mail. It’s not as far as you might think, as the way his land lays in a North-South angle is all within Meadowbank, except most of his driveway and mailbox which are in Clyde River. If you walk about 10 steps out from the corner of his barn, you are in Clyde River. The angle of his farm slopes down to the river and actually lines up with Harvey MacQuarrie’s farm across the main highway by Clyde River bridge.

My grandfather Harry at one time owned three farms, so he paid taxes in both Clyde River and Meadowbank. When my mother and her sister Jean started school in the late 1920s, they went to Meadowbank. As Lorne says, “They took a shortcut through the woods, and when they came out on the other side, they still had a long way to go.” Eventually they started going to Clyde River because Lorne said, “There were more rides going that way.”

Lorne went to Clyde River School, and as a young boy, he and his good pal and neighbour Eric MacKinnon had their journey well planned. In winter, they would take their wooden sleigh and coast down the hill to the river. It was important to get up such a speed that you could make it down the hill and across the river on the ice without stopping. He drove me down through the fields in his truck to show me the point of lift off, and the bank, in my estimation, looked like an 8-10 foot drop, but maybe the snow softened the landing. This sleigh trip would have them arriving at school in 10 minutes. On the way home, the sleigh run would take them down Murray’s hill. He said that you had to steer with your boots, so they would wear out after a while.

Going to school in summertime, Lorne said they would walk down to the river and along through Murphy’s Hollow, below where the Mallett’s and Mervin and Joyce MacPhee now live, to the bridge and up the hill to school. It would take 25 minutes, and coming home would often take an hour and a half, because they were not in as much of a rush. He and Eric had stones lined up from Murphy’s Hollow right over to the large granite rock just behind MacKinnon’s and they were never sure where exactly this large rock came from. They had a game of running or jumping from stone to stone without touching the ground. They gathered all the stones themselves and lined them up over a half mile, so he said it was a lot of work.

For winter sport, they would run their sleighs down Clyde River hill on the main highway, which is a dangerous trip in a car these days. A few kids would be stationed to check for cars coming. There were no transfer trucks to worry about then. They would have two sleighs each with three people riding in them and the two teams would race down the hill and try to steer clear of hitting the bridge or going into the river.

For summer recreation, the MacLean kids and the neighbour MacKinnon kids walked down to the river to swim. My mother told me the ladies would wear long house dresses, and Lorne said that the boys wore overalls most of the time. There was even a sandy beach back then; however, since they built the causeway on the West River, the water never flowed as well up the Clyde River, so the marsh area has expanded significantly. When we were there, we saw a blue heron wading in the marshes; there are also osprey and wild geese and ducks.

The photos feature the beach where the kids went swimming which is all grown up with trees and marsh and further over where the winter sleigh route led across to the Murray’s.

Even though most of Uncle Lorne’s farm is planted in a crop, he has a buffer zone where he can drive his truck down to the river to tour the memories of his childhood. His wife Sadie told me that after our tour, she is afraid Lorne might consider clearing the trees and marsh grass on the beach so he can go swimming again.

Thanks Uncle Lorne for touring me along your part of the river and telling me about the childhood memories that you and my mother shared.

Note: To view photos at your own pace, hover cursor over bottom middle of photos and click on middle icon to stop, then click on either forward or backward icons to move through slide show.

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