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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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