The 1863 Lake Map. Lot 3. Source: Note Centerline Road is marked "Proposed Road"

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Joseph Cyril Kinch Obituary

     At his home in Alberton on Saturday, June 21, 2014, of Joseph Cyril Kinch, formerly of Brockton, aged 79 years. 
     He was born in Alma on March 25, 1934, the son of the late Benedict and Gertrude (nee McNeill) Kinch.
     Dear brother of Jennie O'Halloran, Bloomfield, and Elizabeth McNeill, Summerside. He will be sadly missed by his many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by sisters-in-law Ruthie Kinch, Esther MacEachern, Marie Kinch and Anne Kinch. He was predeceased by siblings Laurence, Etta, George, Ben, Irving, Dave, Lucy, Everett and Wilbert.
     Resting at the West Prince Funeral Home, 522 Thompson Road, Palmer Road, for visiting hours Tuesday from 6-9 p.m. Funeral will be held Wednesday, June 25, at St Mark's Church, Burton, where funeral mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m.
     Interment in the church cemetery. Memorial donations to St. Mark’s Cemetery Fund would be greatly appreciated.

     Post-script.  The family of Benedict and Gertrude Kinch lived on the Centerline Road in Lauretta where Ricky MacLeod and his family live today.  The old house was set back on the lot, sideways across from Louis Jefferys.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Old Alma Schoolhouse

Poem written by Donna ( Barbour ) MacPhee
In the year 2006.

The old Alma Schoolhouse
sitting alone in the yard
with smashed panes in its windows
and a broken heart

Oh, what has happened
to the peace I was
I saw so many children
if only because

It was for their education
to set them free
to grow to be men and women
and independent be

My life of love was filled
with times both good and bad
but it was a learning place
that everyone had

An opportunity to become someone
to learn to read and write
oh, it wasn’t easy
it was quite a fight

I thought I’d always be
the place where the community met
but times were quickly changing
it wasn’t over yet

Every day I saw things happen
some I knew not why
there were those students
who didn’t come back
to say a simple good bye

They had moved on
they had to live
they wanted to be someone

I wept as life became harder
for the people who lived here
it was a struggle to pay
                  their taxes and bills
things were becoming dear

My walls and roof
a shelter so kind
for all who trod within
to develop their minds

I wondered why I was getting weak
my walls were bulging
my roof was sagging
                and beginning to leak

The pot bellied stove
that kept me warm
on the cold winter’s day
now had no reason for alarm
for it stood alone
in the middle of the floor
no heat in its innards
who opened the door?

It made no difference
if it was ice cold
There was no scuttle
so they’d be no coal

I wondered again
how this could be
I was only the old
               Alma Schoolhouse
and it was just me

The old pump outside
with its handle up high
would need to be primed
oh, but it was dry

The peeling paint
the shingles so rough
made me look like
I was ever so rough

I wasn’t tough
I was sad
If only I had people
It made me mad
to think that I
of all that was
of great importance
was simply alone and lost

The latch on the door
now idly hung
it didn’t need the key
the caretaker always brung

I was opened to the world
with privacy no more
if only I could...
close that door

Maybe I could
once again take control
and then the teacher’d
call the roll

The students within
my domain
would say ‘here’ or ‘present’
when hearing their name

But, I am only
old Alma School
to think I was important
would make me a fool

I am no fool
the fools are they
who thought they knew more
and needed a say

In better things
they strived to be
but left me lame
for the world to see

My only wish
is that I could be
once again who I was
not a prisoner, but free

To leave me alone
with no hope at all
made me weak and tired
would I fall?

I had no choice
but to let go
because there was no one
it was a bad show

I would have to bend
with the weight of the world
I would sag and buckle
as the destruction of
                     time unfurled

For I was lonely
as I could be
the people drove by
I could surely see

I was not blind
they thought I was
I was lonely and dejected
that I was

Would I see another year
I really didn’t care
Oh, there’s someone coming
Maybe they’ll be fair

What are they doing
I wondered to myself
as they took out their cameras
from the cases, themselves

I would be remembered
I knew how, too
I would be on paper
Oh, it was too good to be true

If I fell down
it mattered not
I was recorded in a photo
I would be – forgotten not

People would look at it
and they would say
Do you remember
the other day?

It was the other day
the one long lost
Rough times I had known
the price a high cost

If you see me on paper
you’ll never guess
that I won the battle
now I must rest

for I am
        The Old Alma Schoolhouse
* I wrote this story in 2006, knowing that the demise was near for Alma Corner.  The school would be surely gone.  The very same school – Alma School No. 43 – served the community well in many ways.  It was a place of education, community functions, school picnics and the interaction of the people on both the Western Road and the Centerline Road.  I was alway remember the old Alma Schoolhouse.
**Photos taken of Alma School in 1994 by Donna.

Alma School Teacher George Hardy resigns in 1899

The Guardian, Charlottetown, July 5, 1899  page 7

The mid-summer examination of Alma School, Lot 3, took place on Tuesday 27th inst.  The attendance of parents and visitors was quite large.  The examination which was conducted by Chas A. Hardy, Esq. And Rev. A.D. McDonald was most satisfactory throughout, proving conclusively that good and faithful work had been done both by pupils and teacher.  The whole tone of the school, intellectual and moral is healthy and hopeful indicating on the art of the teacher not only a deep knowledge of child nature, but also the possession of those rare gifts and instincts which continue to make the successful teacher.  At the close of the examination short addresses were given by Messrs. John Riley, Thos. O’Brien. Jas. B. Mountain and by the examiner, all of whom expressed themselves as being well pleased with the progress made by the children and the general condition of the school. Mr. George Hardy has been in charge of the Alma School for the last three years and now resigns his position to enter upon the study of medicine.  It is needless to say that his resignation is accepted with deep regret that he carries with him the very best wishes of the whole community upon which his noble Christian life has left a powerful impress for good.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Below is an 1897 Photo of Alma School Students
Teacher George Hardy standing on left with his bicycle.
See previous post -

Lettie Vincent Obituary

     The community of Alma was deeply saddened on Sunday afternoon, November 22nd when it was learned that death had claimed the life of Lettie Vincent, at the Provincial Sanatorium, Charlottetown, in her 51st year. Miss Vincent, who had been a patient in the Sanatorium for several years bore her sickness with patience and without complaints and always had a cheerful smile for those who called. For several years she was able to visit her home occasionally but for the past year she was unable to do so.
     She leaves to mourn one brother Guy, at home. A private service was held at the home on Tuesday afternoon. November 24th, at 2 o'clock, thence to the Anglican church, Alma, of which she was a faithful member. The service was conducted by the pastor. Rev. Michael R. Ness. The hymns which were choices of the deceased were "What a Friend: and "Breathe on Me Breath of God". Pallbearers were Jack Clark, Lorne Crockett, Kenneth Crockett, Ross Getson, Robert McAssey and Weldon Rennie Interment was in the church cemetery.
     Attending the funeral from a distance were: Mr. and Mrs. Jess Vincent, Mr. and Mrs. Austin Vincent and Eugene Vincent, Moncton, N.B. Mr. and Mrs. Amos Gallant, Summerside, Mrs. Laura Clapp and Miss Marion Ryan and several others of her nurses from the Provincial Sanatorium, Charlottetown.
cf. December 23, 1959 Journal Pioneer

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ellis Smallman - Happy 85th Birthday

     Eight-five years ago today on June 12, 1929 Ellis Smallman was born to John "Frank" Smallman (1897-1931?) and Ella Beatrice Ellis (1903-1980).  At a young age, following his father's death, he came to live with his aunt and uncle Hattie and Jimmy Dunbar on the Centerline Road in Alma.
     When Ellis and Carrie were first married they lived in the Jim Kinch House in Lauretta; then they moved to the Dunbar Homestead (where he was raised) where they lived for 30+ years and raised their family.  Ellis and Carrie moved back to the Kinch property in Lauretta in the early 1990's where they built their retirement home.
     Ellis holds the distinction of being Alma-Lauretta's oldest resident, closely followed by Wilbert Jeffery.
     Here's a great photo of Ellis with a bunch of men in front of his old barn being re-constructed.  Thanks Donna (Barbour) MacPhee for this 1964 photo.
     Happy birthday Ellis!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Wilfred Dunn moves Barn

August 3rd, 1985
The Revelations of Yesterdays 
( From the Guardian Files )
AUGUST 3, 1955
     Mr. Wilfred Dunn who recently purchased a barn from Anslem O'Brien, Summerside (formerly Centerline Road) had it moved to his farm in Alma during the past week.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Alma Farmers take Course - 1979

     Here's another clipping from Donna (Barbour) MacPhee's scrapbooks.

Alma Baptist Church Pump Organ & Pew

     My brother Kerras recently acquired the old pump organ from the Alma Baptist Church.  Here's a few photos he took.
      A year ago Kerras bought one of the old church pews from Alma Baptist Church - here's a few photos.

Retired Farmer Recalls Early Potato Equipm't. WB McLellan 1978

  Another big thanks to Donna (Barbour) MacPhee for loaning me her scrapbooks - they're a wealth of articles from bygone days - including this one of W.B. McLellan of Lauretta. 
The Shopping News.  Thurs. May 11, 1978 - 7
By Richard Wightman
     ELMSDALE-  W.B. McLellan of Elmsdale (formerly of Lauretta), recalled recently his efforts in 1919 to lessen the work involved in potato production.
     The retired farmer from the Center Line Road said they had on his farm at that time what all other farms had a plow and harrows.  The iron plow was likely made by a local blacksmith.  Some had plows from equipment makers such as Massey-Harris.
     Mr. McLellan saw the largest problem with his operation being the digging of the potatoes.  It was hard work in the fall when conditions were often poor.  He wrote letters to the major farm equipment manufacturers inquiring about their potato digging machinery.  He was told that the machinery for digging potatoes would not work well as too many weeds were allowed to grow with the potatoes which would keep the digger from working properly.  The farm equipment manufacturers told him weeds should not grow with potatoes.
     The answer the companies suggested was to get a horse hoe cultivator to turn the soil up around the potatoes and disturb the weeds between the rows.  The cultivator required straight rows that would best be achieved by using a planter to get the potato sets in the ground.
     The planter required seed that was cut in regular sections, so a seed cutter was advised.  Bugs being a problem in the fields, a mechanical sprayer was suggested to stop that problem.
     Mr. McLellan decided he would be better off buying all the machinery at one time so he purchased it through Ed MacRae in Alberton.  He recalled the seed cutter had a seat on it.  It was hand feed and operated by foot levers.  The sets then fell into a basket.
     The planter was drawn by a team of horses and would do about one acre an hour, one row at a time.  The horse hauled cultivator would make a number of trips through the fields in a season.  The sprayer also used a team of horses and as it did four rows at a time and could do about four acres an hour.  
     The elevator digger dug up the full row on a digging chain with the soil dropping through the chain and the potatoes and tops falling off the end at the back.  It required a four horse team to haul.  To help pay for the new machinery Mr. McLellan did custom work for his neighbours charging four dollars an acre for planting or for digging.
     "You could do about four acres a day with the digger," said Mr. McLellan, "but you would not stop too long at that."
     The producer said he received good service from the potato equipment which totalled $600 in cost at that time.  He was one of the larger producer in the area at the time growing about 10 acres.
     "It lightened the work and made it easier for the people involved.  I was never sorry I purchased the machinery."
     The farmer recalled he was one of the first to grow registered seed in the area.  He was able to purchase a 90 pound bag of Irish Cobblers from a shipment to a group of farmers in Lot 16.  
     One year a group of farmers went together and imported fertilizer ingredients in bulk and were able to reduce the cost to each of them by four dollars a ton.  Nitrate was shipped from Chile, potash from Germany and phosphate from the United States.  It arrived in Charlottetown and was sent out to the farms by rail where it was mixed.
     "Sometimes a late spring is not too bad a thing," said Mr. McLellan.
     The farmer who will be having his 91st birthday during the summer recalled that a researcher at the experimental station in Charlottetown had kept track of the type of spring and the resulting crop for 35 years and found that late springs were followed by betters harvests than those with early springs.
- Below is the article as it appears in Donna's scrapbook -

James Albert Gordon Obituary 1987

     Family and friends were saddened to learn of the passing of James Albert Gordon at his late residence on Saturday, January 17, 1987.
     Born at Huntley, PEI as son of the late John Owen and Grace (Riley) Gordon, James lived on the old homestead in Alma where he farmed for a number of years.
     He was a veteran of World War II.  In 1956, he and his wife moved to Summerside where he worked as a carpenter until his retirement.  After the death of his wife he resided with his daughter, Lois.
     He was respected and loved by old and young alike, mild-mannered and kind, a wonderful father and grand-father who will be greatly missed by all.
     Left to cherish his memory are his daughters, June (Mrs. Hanson Oliver), St. Eleanors; Lois (Mrs. Merle Skerry), Summerside; Ruby (Mrs. Albert Smith), Northeast Harbour, NS.; Mrs. Shirley Sanders, Willowdale, Ontario; 16 grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren; also four sisters, Hazel, (Mrs. Breton Ramsay), Huntley; Jean (Mrs. Harrison Thompson), Moncton, NB; Lilla, (Mrs. Wilfred Matthews), Moncton, NB; Dorothy (Mrs. Marshall Rayner), Summerside and a number of nieces and nephews. 
     The largely attended funeral was held from Moase Funeral Home where service was conducted by Rev. Hubert Bartlett and Rev. Roy Austin.  The organist was Mrs. Areta Burke.  Members of the Royal Canadian Legion attended in a body and formed an Honor Guard.  Pallbearers were Ronald Thompson, Mike Perry, Ray MacKinnon, Kenneth Gordon, Jack Clark and Norman Warren.  Flowerbearers were Kenny Gordon, Dean Smith, Blaine Skerry, Fenton Yeo, Barry Yeo and Ralph Yeo.