Now that the leaves have finally appeared on the trees, we are pleased to be able to get out an early summer issue of the BAHS Newsletter.
We hope you will be able to visit the Museum this summer, especially to see our new exhibits which will open shortly. There is a new display on two nursing heroines of the Great War with local connections; a display of signature quilts made in the Bedeque and Freetown areas in the early part of the twentieth century; and a new display telling the story of L. M. Montgomery’s connection with Bedeque.
Several other exhibits continue from previous years, including the ‘Bedeque Harbour Loyalists’, the ‘Borden Ferry 100’ exhibit, the Mi’kmaq Culture exhibit, the Five Objects Interactive Display, and our core displays on Callbecks Store and the Red Barn Collection of the late Howard Clark.
(A REMINDER: Memberships are renewable in July. You can renew your membership at the AGM on 22 July or by posting a cheque made out to the Bedeque Area Historical Society to the postal address on the first page of this newsletter, along with your name and contact details, including email. The annual subscription is $20 for individuals and $25 for families or households. These subscriptions are an important source of our income, enabling us to carry out our programs, and we thank you for renewing it.)
SUMMER OPENING HOURS
This summer the Museum opens to the public from Tuesday 18 June and will continue to Sunday 1 September. Our hours are the same as in previous years: Tuesday to Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, Sundays 1 pm to 5 pm (closed Mondays). The Museum will also be open on Sunday afternoons up to October 13, staffed by volunteers. The Museum can also be opened by special arrangement outside these times, and off-season, by contacting members of the Board (see below for names).
SUMMER STUDENT WORKERS
We have received government grants to enable us to employ two students to staff the Museum this summer: a provincial ‘Jobs for Youth’ grant for twelve weeks, and a federal ‘Young Canada Works’ grant also for up to twelve weeks. Callie Campbell of Central Bedeque, who has been with us for the past three summers, has come back to work for us again. However, as of the date of this Newsletter, we have not yet filled the Young Canada Works.
We have four new exhibits this summer:
TWO ISLAND NURSES OF THE GREAT WAR
A major exhibition will tell the stories of two First World War nurses both with Bedeque connections: Georgina Pope of Charlottetown whose father William Henry Pope (the Father of Confederation) was born in Bedeque, and Beatrice MacDonald of North Bedeque. Both of these highly decorated nurses served in France and Belgium. There will be extensive poster displays, with additional items relating to the War from the P.E.I. Military Museum and from the Howard Clark Collection.
The Georgina Pope exhibit is based on the book of Katherine Dewar, Called To Serve – Georgina Pope, Canadian Military Nursing Heroine. It was created by the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation and has been shown in other Island venues including Summerside and Charlottetown. It will only be with us for this summer.
The exhibit on Beatrice MacDonald has been created by the Bedeque Museum as an addition to the Pope exhibit. Beatrice was descended from a Scottish family – Gaelic-speaking and Catholic – who settled in 1792 among the English-speaking Protestant Loyalists on the northern bank of the Dunk estuary at what is now North Bedeque. Like Georgina Pope, Beatrice was trained in a New York City hospital, and she served with the American Army during the war and became the most decorated nurse to serve in the First World War.
SIGNATURE QUILTS OF THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY FROM THE BEDEQUE AND FREETOWN AREAS
This new exhibit was sparked by the publicity in 2017 about the ‘discovery’ of a quilt made in Freetown in 1928 with the names of over 160 persons embroidered into it. Since then five other local ‘signature quilts’ of about the same era have come to light. All were sewn by women from Freetown, North Bedeque, Bedeque and Chelton. They were made by local church and other women’s groups for the purpose of raising money for good causes. Every person who donated a set fee (sometimes only ten cents) had their signature sewn into the quilt, and then the quilt itself was sold, or auctioned off, to raise more money. All the names are listed in the exhibit so that visitors can check whether any of their ancestors contributed. There will also be displays mapping the homes of the signatories, and photographs of some of the persons whose names are on the quilts will be displayed.
L. M. MONTGOMERY’S SECRET BEDEQUE ROMANCE
When the first volume of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s personal journals were published in 1985, 43 years after her death, the world learned that she had had a ‘secret passion’ for Herman Leard, a young Bedeque farmer at whose home she boarded for six months in 1897-1898 when she was teaching at the Lower Bedeque School. In a new poster display we tell the story of this ‘secret romance’
A DISPLAY OF THREE LONGCASE CLOCKS
Wendell Feener of Reads Corner, an enthusiastic collector and restorer of clocks of all ages and periods has offered to display three of his antique long-case clocks, dating from the late-eighteenth to the late nineteenth centuries. Popularly known as ‘grandfather’ clocks, with smaller versions called ‘grandmother’ and ‘granddaughter’ clocks, three of these beautifully restored clocks, all in running order, can be viewed – and heard – in the museum this summer. Wendell has also repaired and restored the ‘school clock’ from our Howard Clark Collection. Wendell will be present on our free open day on July 14 to talk to visitors, and answer their questions on clock-making and repairs.
THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE NEW EXHIBITS – SATURDAY JULY 6, 10.30 am
All members and friends, as well as the general public, are invited to this free official opening. The new exhibitions have been funded in part by a grant from the P.E.I. Community Museums Association, which covered the cost of printing the new posters displayed in the exhibit.
Three of the summer talks are concerned with aspects of the exhibit: those on Mondays July 22, and August 5 and 12 (see below).
‘THE BEDEQUE HARBOUR LOYALISTS’
Our expanded exhibit on the Bedeque Harbour Loyalists of last summer continues and is now part of our permanent display on the Loyalist settlement around Bedeque Bay. The settlement included persons of the names Anderson, Darby, Green, Hooper, Lefurgey, Linkletter, MacFarlane, Murray, Robins, Schurman, Silliker, Small, Strang, Waugh and Wright. The exhibit includes maps showing where particular families settled and also offers new insights as to why they settled in the Bedeque Bay area. This summer a major addition to the display are images of historic maps from the P.E.I. Public Archives, dating from the 1780s and later, which show the location of Loyalist land grants around ‘Bedeque Harbour’ (now Summerside Harbour’). The printing of these maps was funded by a grant last year from the Community Cultural Partnership Program of the P.E.I. Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture.
We are grateful to David Schurman and his family for the continuing loan of the many items from last year’s ‘Valley Farm’ exhibit, which also continues this summer. These tell the story of Solomon and Maria Schurman and their descendants, including the tragic loss of four of their eight children to diphtheria in 1863.
‘THE BORDEN FERRY-100’ EXHIBIT
A major part of our ‘Borden Ferry-100’ exhibit continues in the Museum this summer. Ten storyboards tell the stories of the various vessels that served in the crossing and also of some of the people who worked on the ferries. Also on display are many objects connected with the ferries, loaned from private collections.
NEWSLETTER 2019 CONTINUED
AN EXHIBIT ON MI’KMAQ CULTURE AND WAY OF LIFE
Also continuing on display are three storyboards describing Mi’kmaq culture and way of life prior to the arrival of Europeans, as well as during the French Colonial Period (c. 1600 to 1758) and the British Colonial Period (1758 to c. 1900). Connected with this is a display of Mi’kmaq baskets, while several short films on Mi’kmaq heritage created by Ron Zakar for the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island are shown.
FIVE OBJECTS TELLING THE STORY OF PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
We are again continuing the ‘Five Objects Interactive Display’, though with some new items – and more than five this year. For each object there are questions on a card asking about its significance or use, with the answers given under a flap. As a starter try the one to the right: last year more than one person said it was a crow, though the bird is no bigger than a robin! The second question might be harder to answer.
Our permanent exhibit telling the story of Callbecks Store of Central Bedeque, which occupied the building that houses the Museum, from 1899 until 1993, continues.
THE HOWARD CLARK COLLECTION
Over two floors we continue to display many items from the Red Barn Museum collection of the late Howard Clark.
STRAWBERRY and ICE-CREAM SOCIAL – SUNDAY JULY 14, 2 - 4 pm
As a major fund-raising event the Bedeque Area Historical Society will be holding its second annual Strawberry and Ice-cream Social on Sunday July 14 from 2 to 4 pm in the Central Bedeque Park, opposite the Museum. Last year’s social proved to be highly successful attracting 134 persons and raising an additional $1000 in supportive donations from local businesses. Strawberries, cake and ice-cream will be served. In the event of rain, the event will be held in the Community Room of the William Callbeck Centre. Purchase of a ticket will also give free entry to the Museum.
Tickets are $6.00 for adults and $3.00 for children aged twelve and under (this includes free access to the Museum). Entertainment will be provided and there will be raffles and draws for prizes. All proceeds are in support of the Museum’s work.
A GRANT AND AWARD FROM THE P.E.I. COMMUNITY MUSEUMS ASSOCIATION
This year we received a Development Grant of $3,000 from the P.E.I. Community Museums Association to buy a new display cabinet, a new sound broadcast system for our Monday night talks, and for printing new posters for this summer’s exhibits.
Doug Sobey given the Community Museum Association Award of Merit
At their Annual General Meeting held at the Acadian Museum in Miscouche on 25 May, the Community Museums Association of the Island gave its Award of Merit to Doug Sobey, President of the Bedeque Area Museum for his volunteer work with the Museum. He has been a member of the Museum’s Board since its founding in 2010, and was chosen as President last year. He has contributed to many of the activities carried out by the Museum and especially to the creation of many of the Museum’s exhibits
A SEAFOOD RAFFLE IN SUPPORT OF THE MUSEUM
Last year’s raffle of a painting of lupines donated by artist Grace Curtis of Summerside raised over one thousand dollars in support of the Museum’s work. The draw took place on October 16 with the winning ticket being drawn by the Mayor of Bedeque, Ron Rayner. The winner of the painting was Helen Perry of St. Felix.
This year we have as raffle prizes a total of $400 worth of seafood: the first prize is a $250 voucher from Arsenault’s Fish Mart in Summerside, which can be used to buy lobster (or any seafood you wish). Second prize is $100 worth of oysters donated by Future Seafood of Fernwood; and third prize is a $50 voucher, again from Arsenault’s Fish Mart. (Arsenault’s have donated $100 towards the vouchers.) The winners do not have to purchase all of the vouchers’ value at once but can do so in instalments over the next year including into next summer (for a winner who may live off the Island). The draw will take place at the end of our open day on Sunday 25 August. If you wish to buy a ticket you can pick one up at the Museum, and we would be pleased if you also took some to sell.
THE AGM OF THE BEDEQUE AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Our tenth AGM will be held on Monday July 22 at 7 pm in the Community Room of the William Callbeck Centre. Board member and President, Doug Sobey will give an illustrated talk on ‘The Natural World of L. M. Montgomery: Montgomery as a Recorder of Nature’ (see below for details).
The Annual meeting of the Society will take place after Doug’s talk and will include the election of members of the Board. The Board is always seeking new members. If you have an interest in local history and the Bedeque Museum, consider serving on the Board. You can put your name forward at the meeting, but you may wish to discuss it in advance with any of the present Board members whose names are listed below and whose telephone numbers are in the phonebook.
The present Board members are Doug Sobey (President), Valerie Curtis (Vice-President), Don Jardine (Secretary), Susan Leard (Treasurer), Percy Affleck, Bill Callbeck, Lloyd MacCallum, Danny McLure, George Read, Tom Sherry and Earle Smith.
We were saddened at the death of Board member Peter VanIderstine last September after a brief illness. Peter was President of the Abegweit Branch of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada and had been a member of the Board of the Bedeque Area Historical Society since 2013. Peter was very proud of his Loyalist heritage: he was a descendant of Loyalist John VanIderstine who settled at Vernon River in 1785. Peter himself had been born in Belfast P.E.I. and, after serving for almost 50 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, had retired to Prince Edward Island. He played a principal role in organizing the 2016 Annual Meeting of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada which was held in Summerside and included a visit to the Bedeque Area Museum by all the delegates. He also donated a large number of Loyalist-related books to the Museum’s book collection, and as a commemoration of his contribution to the Museum the Board is placing a plaque in his memory in our Library.
TALKS AND RELATED EVENTS
Our weekly program of talks continues again this summer. They will all take place in the Community Room of the William Callbeck Centre in Central Bedeque (entry is through the Museum). All are held on Monday evenings in July and August and begin at 7 p.m. There is no admission charge but donations are welcome. We will be using for the first time our new Bose sound system, purchased with a grant from the Community Museums Association.
‘Just What Did Our Ancestors Wear?’
Monday July 8 at 7 pm – Arnold Smith of Pleasant Valley kicks off the series of talks by asking a question: ‘Just what did our ancestors wear?’ Arnold will then go on to provide answers. Over the past thirty years he has gathered extensive information on the topic and has amassed a large library of reference books and patterns along with a substantial collection of vintage and reproduction clothing. Using clothing from past periods, as well as reproductions, he will demonstrate clothing styles and materials from the past, ranging from homemade clothes to tailor-made and store-bought – hand-dyed, machine-woven, hand-sewn and machine-sewn – in linen, wool, cotton and silk. Arnold will have a ‘dress form’ that he will proceed to dress and undress to show us what exactly lay underneath all that crinoline and lace.
Loyalists, Immigration, and the Formation of British North America’
Monday July 15 at 7 pm – Dr. Lisa Chilton, an associate professor in the History Department at the University of Prince Edward Island will give a talk related to the Museum’s remit on the Loyalist settlement of Prince Edward Island. Under the title ‘Loyalists, Immigration, and the Formation of British North America’, she will describe how the settlers who came north as refugees to the remaining loyal colonies after the American Revolution played an unusually important role in how subsequent immigration would be imagined and managed by the British and colonial governments. She will also explore the ways in which Loyalists put their stamp on immigration policies and practices in the decades after their own settlement.
‘The Natural World of Lucy Maud Montgomery’
Monday July 22 at 7 pm – The AGM of the BAHS – Doug Sobey will give an illustrated talk on ‘The Natural World of Lucy Maud Montgomery – L. M. Montgomery as a Recorder of Nature’. Based on a detailed examination of the many references to trees and woods in Montgomery’s non-fictional writings (her journals and letters especially), Doug will assess the well-known Island author not as a writer of fictional novels, but as an ‘historical recorder’ of the Island’s landscape. He will describe the places and natural habitats important to Montgomery and will assess what her writings tell us about her, and especially about her relationships with trees and plants. He will also talk a little about Maud Montgomery’s time teaching
‘Downtown Freetown – in the late 1940s and early 1950s’: A Film Night
Monday July 29 at 7 pm – Last March the Bedeque Area Historical Society hosted a film night at the Freetown United Church which proved such a great success (over fifty people attended) that we have been asked to repeat it. The films were taken by Mrs. Lillian Scales with an 8-mm home-movie camera and range in date from 1946 to 1957. They were centered about the Scales home in Freetown village but extend around the whole Freetown area. The films, which are mostly in colour, show many Freetown inhabitants of the day, including children attending the old Freetown School. They also show farming activities on the Scales farm, children skating and playing in the snow, fishing in the local brooks, and the arrival of the first pavement at Freetown in 1955. There is a tour of the inside and outside the Scales home, and many other activities. Some narration of the film will be provided by Nora Scales and other Freetowners of that era. Bring along any of your photos of Freetown from the 1940s and 1950s (or before or after) for viewing by those in attendance. We will also have projection facilities for these if they are in a digital format on a memory stick.
‘Beatrice MacDonald of North Bedeque, the Most Decorated Nurse of the Great War’
Monday August 5 at 7 pm – Myrna Babineau of Charlottetown will give an illustrated talk on Beatrice Mary MacDonald of North Bedeque (born 1881, died 1969), one of the nurses featured in our exhibit ‘Two Island Nurses of the Great War’. While serving with an American medical unit (she had trained in New York) and temporarily attached to a British Casualty Clearing Station, Beatrice was the first serious American casualty of the First World War. (Beatrice was actually serving as a Canadian citizen and British subject, not taking out American citizenship until after the war.) She was also the most decorated nurse serving in any army nursing corps, from any country. Myrna is a cousin of Beatrice and has done extensive research on her renowned relative.
‘Nurse Whidden, Daughter of the Manse – North Bedeque’s Forgotten Heroine’
Monday August 12 at 7 pm – Katherine Dewar of Charlottetown, who spoke to us last summer on Georgina Pope, will give an illustrated talk this year on another nurse of the Great War who had local connections. Educated at North Bedeque, Prince of Wales College and Newport Hospital Training School for Nurses (in Rhode Island), Helen Whidden was part of a medical team sent to France by the Rockefeller Center of New York City to develop new methods of treating First World War battle wounds. The resultant Carrel-Dakin method of wound care saved thousands of lives. Whidden also pioneered the Thezac-Porsmeur method of tuberculosis treatment. Katherine will tell us all about the achievements of this forgotten heroine.
Baba’s Kitchen, Antiques and Gifts directly next door to the Museum has become a popular eating place in the area, with people coming from as far as Charlottetown to partake of its menu. The decor is traditional, with a kitchen atmosphere and the food and prices are very attractive.
When you visit the Museum, why not stop in for a meal or an ice-cream cone. It is open every day except Mondays and Tuesdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (On Saturdays it opens at 8 a.m.)