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Archive for the ‘Schooldays’ 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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Newspaper Clipping from My Mother’s Scrapbook: Argyle Shore residents were awakened from a sleepy winter 76 years ago this week when a plane force landed in the quiet community on Tuesday, February 18th, 1941. This article was submitted to The Charlottetown Guardian and published March 4th, but the author is not identified. We do, however, have a first-hand account from Linda (Inman) MacDonald who was walking home from school along with her sister on the day the plane came down. Her account follows the story.

A Forced Landing at Argyle Shore

(RCAF photo)

(RCAF photo – Harvard)

In some lives the knock of fate is forever sounding. This time it sounded on mine, in a high pitch one, concerning an R.C.A.F. “Harvard” plane which made a forced landing near the Straits on Tuesday afternoon, February 18th, 1941.

Flying blind in a snow squall, Pilot Lee of “Summerside Air Training School” saw it was useless to regain altitude, after he had come dangerously earthward, there he cleverly grounded his plane in Mr. James Ferguson’s field, suffering a broken propeller when the heavy wheels broke through the snow, thrusting the plane on its nose.

The training school was immediately notified of the misfortune and sent out a helper plane which was found of no value being unable to land without damage. Pilot Lee then made connection with the Bombing and Gunnery School at West Royalty, explaining his plight 18 miles west of Charlottetown on the south coast of PEI.

Flying Officer Lewis and four mechanics then set out for Argyle Shore, and after a thrilling and adventurous sleigh drive under the guidance of Mr. Mathewson, all arrived safely on 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.

It is to be understood sleigh driving is a new and interesting exploit for English airmen; so for PEI Islanders, we can hardly catch the spirit of the adventure.

As nothing definite could be accomplished until daylight, Lewis stationed the men on half-hour watches to guard the ship, while the remainder partook of the cordial hospitality of Mr. Fred MacPhail, Mr. James Ferguson and Mrs. John MacPhail.

Wednesday brought new developments. Mr. Fred MacPhail retraced Mathewson’s 18 mile journey to Charlottetown for a new propeller; the old one was damaged beyond repair. During his absence, Mr. Earl Cook, under the direction of the aircraft men, forwarded eight “Shore” residents in attempting to move the plane out on the “broad-ice” of the Northumberland Strait.

J.A. McDougall, Murchison Sellar, Neil MacPhail and Waldron Sellar then began the strenuous work of rolling the plane to a suitable takeoff position. A considerable amount of snow was evacuated, wooden rollers were used on the forepart of the plane, whilst Mr. Sellar employed a wood sleigh as a means of sliding the tail portion.

In the interim, Fred McPhail had stayed Wednesday night at this brothers in Cornwall, on his return with the propeller. He was accompanied by Flying Officer Norton. The cargo arrived Thursday (2:30) where repair work was begun immediately.

Some time passed during which I have learned, began the battle between snow and plane. When nearing completion on Friday afternoon (3:30) Flying Officer Webster arrived by plane from Summerside for the purpose of flying the Harvard back to school not knowing this mission was apportioned to Flying Officer Norton.

The brother plan brought a large gathering, who witnessed with some regret the take-off of the newly arrived plane and the crippled ship (Friday 4:10).

This last act practically points the end, yet I must not overlook the fictitious. The airmen are all that is left and now that they have fulfilled their mission they await depot transportation.

In the meantime plans were running high concerning a party to be held at a nearby district that (Friday) night; when like a bolt from the blue shot a winged bird (which spelled disaster to their party) in the form of a plane piloted by Mr. Carl Burke, whose mission was to convey the remaining airmen back to the school. This being so unexpected, the airmen left with secret regret and the residents of the “Shore” considerably disappointed over their sudden departure.

At 5:30 p.m., Mr. Burke glided over the peaceful landscape. Scarcely had the hum of the motor died on the evening air; when, like an aftermath, we saw Mr. Mathewson arriving by sleigh with another Flying Officer whose intention it was to drive the crippled plane which long since had departed.

During the week of “Plane-thinking,” Argyle Shore learned a great deal about aeronautics and served their country with “John Milton’s” patriotism: “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Linda MacDonald’s first-hand account:

My sister and I were walking home from school that day when we saw a plane flying low and landing to our left over Jim Ferguson’s field, between the school and the Argyle Shore Cemetery. We hardly ever walked home from school, but we did for some reason on that particular day. I was 11 years old and my sister, 7 years old. My sister was crying, and, as her bigger sister, I was trying to be calm, but I was terribly frightened as well. I could hear other kids coming from school also crying in the distance. You see, the war was on and we didn’t get much news about the war, only a bit in the newspaper or on the evening radio broadcast. So we thought for sure the Germans were landing. Up until that day, when we thought of the war in Britain and Germany, we considered it to be very far away. I recall the pilot staying at Jim Ferguson’s, Fred MacPhail going to town to get a part for the plane and Carl Burke flying out to the shore, but my strongest memory was how frightened my sister and I were when that plane came down and the prospect of what could be happening to our lives on that walk home from school. It was a big event for Argyle Shore.

Editor’s Notes:

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Millar’s Life Review was provided to us by Joanne (MacFadyen) Turner which was written by Norma Thomson (Millar’s niece, Norman’s daughter) in 1986 for a course she had taken on the Dynamics of Communication with the Elderly and their Families. Millar MacFadyen taught at Clyde River, Cornwall, Kingston and East Wiltshire Schools during his career. Millar would have been 87 at the time of this interview.

Millar, Eric & Norman MacFadyen

Millar, Eric & Norman MacFadyen

Millar was born at Kingston on June 13, 1898. He was the second oldest of a family of seven children. He traces his ancestry to the Argyles (Argyll) of Scotland. Millar’s mother descended from the Campbell’s of Mull and family history suggests he was a descendant of the 5th Duke of Argyle (or Argyll).

Millar and his oldest brother started to school the same year. He was only five years old and his brother was six. He told me back in those days, you could do that. He went to a one-room schoolhouse with approximately 40 pupils all taught by the same teacher from grades 1 to 10. The older pupils helped the teacher out with the younger pupils. He attended school for 14 years.

Norman MacFadyen, Millar's older brother

Norman MacFadyen, Millar’s older brother

By then, the First World War had broken out and his older brother had gone overseas. Millar stayed at home for two years and helped his father on the farm. During this time, he decided he wanted to become a teacher, so he wrote and passed the matriculation examination into Prince of Wales College where he obtained a teacher’s license.

From 1918-1922, he taught school at Cornwall. While there, he met and married Marion Lewis and they were married on December 20th, 1922.

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Millar’s parents: Sarah Jane (Campbell) & John Archibald

He remembers the Christmas of 1918 as a very sad time for the family, as on December 17th, his mother passed away suddenly. She was only 48 years old. The youngest of her children were twin girls, only eight years old. The first world war was just over and they were waiting for the return of the oldest boy from the war. He wasn’t able to get home until July 1920. In 1921, Eric, a brother two years younger than Millar died of T.B. He was just 21.

After his marriage, Millar moved in with his father on the home farm in Kingston. He taught school from 1922-24. He had 51 pupils in grades 1-10. In 1924, he taught at East Wiltshire for two years and then taught at Clyde River until 1932 when he returned to Kingston School and taught until 1935. He farmed and taught school for 16 years. He would get up at 3:00 a.m. and cultivate four acres before he went to school and four more acres in the evening during the busy season.

Millar & Marion (Lewis) MacFadyen

Millar & Marion (Lewis) MacFadyen

In 1941, he obtained the position of principal at Parkdale School and was there for there for 14 years. He taught grades 7 to 10. In 1955, he received a position with the Department of Education as Director of Correspondence Study and Truant Officer of Prince Edward Island. He retired in 1972 at the age of 74 years after working 17 years at the Department of Education.

When he first started teaching, his salary was $305 a year, and, in the final year at the Department of Education, $19,000 a year. When he retired, he received a pension of $3400.

Concerts were the highlight of the school year. At these concerts, they would raise money for needed school equipment. One year, they purchased a teacher’s desk and chair. Another year, it was a bookcase, and, another year, they purchased a school organ for $75. During the depression years, there was not enough money to buy paint for the school, so they held a concert to raise money to buy paint.

In those early years, grades were not mentioned, as a child started with the first primer, second primer, book I, book II, book III, and book IV. Another highlight was the Red Cross organization. He wrote a script for radio and had several people take part. This program was well received by the radio fans, In Parkdale, he organized a program where four pupils would answer questions by one of the other pupils. They had a program every Friday. Questions were asked regarding the home, marriage, boyfriends, religion, etc. The first program lasted five minutes. The final one in June was timed and it had to be discontinued after one and a half hours.

Millar said, “The students enjoyed the program and learned a great deal about Canada, people and how to conduct themselves. It was a great asset towards discipline, and it taught each one how to express themselves without fear, because they became conversant with many topics. A great need is to show that we care for other people. It also showed children that we were interested in their welfare. This is teaching democracy and that we must have as leaders people of high moral character and integrity. We must give our children the right kind of training.”

Millar emphasized that in the old days, teachers taught and did not emphasize their salary. He said, “Today, we need good leadership and the guidance. Our forefathers have left us a good heritage. We must make changes as time passes on but let us preserve the best things of the past and make changes for improvement. Remember, without a good past, we cannot have a great future. Let us remember that the little schoolhouse has produced great leaders in the past.”

Millar attended the Presbyterian Church all his life. He became an elder in 1950 of Zion Presbyterian Church in Charlottetown. He was Clerk of Session for ten years and taught bible class for 15 years. When a charge did not have a minister, he took his turn in the pulpit. He was secretary of the Men’s Association for nine years and of Presbytery for three years.

He retired in 1972 at 74 years of age, and since that time, he has written three books of poetry and several single poems. He was a member of the Gideon Society for several years and during those years preached several sermons. He was a delegate from the Prince Edward Island Teachers’ Federation to the Canadian Teachers’ Federation twice, once in Winnipeg and once in Toronto. Millar’s first train ride was in 1941 when he travelled from Charlottetown to Winnipeg to attend the meeting.

He remembers his first car ride and that was in 1916. A friend of his was driving around and picked him up to take him for a ride. He was much older when he had his first plane trip, when he travelled from Charlottetown to Toronto for a funeral. He said, “It was necessary for me to get to my destination in a hurry, so it was my only choice to go on the plane.”

I asked Millar what his favourite word was. He said “Sui Generis” which means unique, unequalled or unparalleled.

I asked Millar if he had his life to live over again, what would he do differently. He answered, “Nothing different, I have thoroughly enjoyed my life.”

Editor and family notes:

  • Millar lived 99 years, 1 month. He died July 14th, 1997.
  • Clipping about Clyde River School examinations include a thank you letter from students, click here.
  • Millar was principal of Parkdale School during his career. When some of his former pupils had a reunion at the new Parkdale School on Confederation Street, they planted a tree and placed a plaque in the front yard for Millar. It was a very special time for him. He was very proud and overwhelmed.
  • There is a book of Millar MacFadyen’s poetry in the museum collection at the Riverview Community Centre.
  • Millar was also a descendant of Thomas and Jane Beer. Their first daughter Mary Anne (Beer) married Archibald MacFadyen. Their son John Archibald married Sarah Jane (Campbell), and their son was Archibald Millar. Refer to lineage on http://www.janedyment.ca, click here.
  • Both Joanne (MacFadyen) Turner and Jane Dyment who are members of our History Committee are descendants of Mary Anne (Beer) and Archibald MacFadyen. Joanne (MacFadyen) Turner is a descendant of Millar’s older brother Norman, making Millar her great-uncle.
  • Millar was Roger Younker’s grandfather. Roger was the News Anchor for CBC Charlottetown’s Compass program for many years.
Millar's childhood homestead, Bannockburn Road

Millar’s childhood homestead, Bannockburn Road

  • Millar’s home place was on property now owned by the Dixon family on the Bannockburn Road, just a 1/4 mile past the Kingston/Clyde River border on the right-hand side. The house is no longer there.
  • Millar’s mother’s obituary stated she “was taken suddenly ill with heart trouble.” Her children were Norman, Millar, Donald (Eric) (died of T.B. at 21 years old), Margaret (Florence), Jeannette and Alexandrena. Another of her daughters predeceased her, Rebecca Louise at 7 months, 13 days. She was the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Donald E. Campbell of Darlington. She is buried in the Clyde River Presbyterian Cemetery. More details on obituary and genealogy at www.janedyment.ca, click here.
  • When Millar’s grandparents (Campbell’s) moved to Charlottetown, they lived in a house at the corner of Kirkwood and University Avenue which is now the location of Shopper’s Drug Mart. The home was referred to as Argyle Cottage.

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In Riverview Community Centre, the old schoolhouse in Clyde River, there are books tucked away in the library whose glory is now in the past. The odd assortment ranges from the early 1900s to the last days when students crossed the threshold to the little room and the big room before school consolidation in the early 1970s when they were then bused to Cornwall and Charlottetown. These were the times of modernized education which broke off from the earlier days when one’s small community and school contributed to the education of young men and women. In those humble school rooms, where families were not too many generations from Scotland and England, literature was considered an essential part of their early and oftentimes brief education. My mother, in the last years of her long life, could still recite poems she was required to memorize in her days at Clyde River School. They were poems that she would carry through life and, at each stage of her years, the rhythm and nuance of the lines would resonate a little more deeply. Maybe it’s time to dust off those old books and peak inside to gather a glimpse of their learning.

Our first book is a MacMillan Pocket Classic featuring Longfellow’s The Courtship of Miles Standish and Minor Poems. The introduction by Dr. Will David Howe, Professor of English at Butler College, introduces us to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Henry was born in 1807 in Portland, Maine. His parents were Stephen and Zilpha (Wadsworth) Longfellow, descended from Yorkshire families who had emigrated in the later half of the seventeenth century. They named him after his uncle, a Navy Lieutenant who had died at the Battle of Tripoli three years earlier. His poetry was strongly influenced by the countryside where he grew up among beautiful views of the bay, mountains and forests. Music and reading were highly valued in their home.

Longfellow wrote a letter to his father to express his desire to pursue an education in literature of which his father was not pleased. He already knew French, but wanted to learn Italian so as to understand the language of literature. He attended Bowden College, a liberal arts college in Maine and later taught there. He travelled to Europe where he studied German, Dutch, Danish, Portuguese, Finnish and Icelandic languages. He secured a distinguished professorship of Modern Languages at Harvard. He became a full-time poet in 1853. His first wife died in childbirth in 1835, four years after they were married. He married his second wife in 1843 and they had six children, but she died tragically in 1961 when her dress caught fire despite Longfellow’s heroic attempts to save her. Longfellow never recovered from her death. He spent much of the following years translating foreign language works until his death in 1882.

Longfellow’s family history offers some familiar parallels to early settlers to North America. Children were often named after someone beloved who had an untimely death. Parents wanted desperately for their children to have a better life in a new land. He was highly influenced by the beautiful landscapes that surrounded his home, and there remained strong ties to his ancestral home. His sister died of Tuberculosis. Often wives died in childbirth, and tragedy happened leaving children without a mother and where a husband was forced to live out his days as best he could, tending to a large family.

Longfellow’s life’s desire was to promote modern literature to those beyond the highly educated elite in America. Within his lifetime, he became one of the most popular poets. For now, in the depths of February, with the hope of summer in our hearts, we will feature his poem, Woods in Winter. It was written in 1839 while he was renting accommodations at a house that was once the headquarters of George Washington, a home that he later owned and is now the Longfellow House in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Woods in Winter

When winter winds are piercing chill,
And through the hawthorn blows the gale,
With solemn feet I tread the hill,
That overgrows the lonely vale.

O’er the bare upland, and away
Through the long reach of desert woods,
The embracing sunbeams chastely play,
And gladden these deep solitudes.

Where, twisted round the barren oak,
The summer vine in beauty clung,
And summer winds the stillness broke,
The crystal icicle is hung.

Where, from their frozen urns, mute springs,
Pour out the river’s gradual tide,
Shrilly the skater’s iron rings,
And voices fill the woodland side.

Alas! how changed from the fair scene,
When birds sang out their mellow lay,
And winds were soft, and woods were green,
And the song ceased not with the day.

But still wild music is abroad,
Pale, desert woods! within the crowd;
And gathering winds, in hoarse accord,
Amid the vocal reeds pipe loud.

Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear
Has grown familiar with your song;
I hear it in the opening year,
I listen, and it cheers me long.

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