Thursday 27 August 2015

Tweedsmuir Thursday #10

The Village of Dunvegan and its Early Settlers

Taken from the Museum's collection: Dunvegan looking north, 1908
The first settlers from Scotland came in 1831 and were the MacRaes. They were followed in 1832 by the Stewarts, MacPhees, Urquharts, Chisholms, Campbells, other MacRaes, Dewars, and MacLeods. The first child born in this area was on the 9th Concession of Kenyon, near the Cotton Beaver one-room schoolhouse. His name was Donald N. MacLeod.

In the 1880’s, Dunvegan village was the only place of business in the Northern part of Glengarry. The development of the Railroad in 1880-1884 brought a lot of business activity to Dunvegan. The chief businesses included: a grist mill, tannery, asheries, saw mill, tin shop, blacksmith, shoe makers, and general stores. The first store was located in the Star Inn, here at the museum. In 1892, a fire broke out and swept through most of the industrial part of the village. The fire started on the south east corner of Main Street taking stables, a grist mill, an ashery, and a number of houses on the east side. 

The first roads were horse trails through the woods. These trails were very narrow. They were later replaced by corduroy roads and then dirt roads and then gravel. The first vehicle to travel the roads was a lumber wagon. Later came the horse cart, buckboards and then buggies.

There was no resident doctor in Dunvegan’s early days. Dr. Simpson of Alexandria often came to Dunvegan when a doctor was needed. When you went for him, the traveller took two horses, one for him. The first doctor to have an office in Dunvegan was Dr. Willie MacDiarmid. He arrived in the last quarter of the 18th century and remained in Dunvegan for a few years. He later moved to Vankleek Hill and was replaced. Dunvegan saw many different doctors in its early days.
Taken from the Museum's collection: Photograph of the log church,

The first church was built in 1840 on land donated by Norman MacLeod. It was a log building and much of the work was done by voluntary labour. The present stone church began in 1871 and the formal opening happened on Sept 9th, 1880. Before there were any church buildings, services were held under the trees. 

The first settled minister of Kenyon Church was Rev. Adam MacQueen who was a missionary here for three summers before being ordained. The first cemetery was laid out on the farm of John Campbell but it was later decided to have it on the present site as it was more central.

The nearest bank was in Montreal.

In the later 1800’s, Glengarry had a population of 26,000 and there were no policemen. To show the honesty of the early settlers, a story is told of an early settler who was sold a horse by a neighbor but had no money to pay for it. Notes became more common at this time and a note was made listing a payment due date for the buyer. 

A lot has changed in the village of Dunvegan since its early days. Although its many industries have disappeared and buildings and landmarks have changed, the Museum works to preserve their history so that it can stay alive for generations to come.

Thursday 20 August 2015

Tweedsmuir Thursday #9

Stewart's Glen School, ca. 1942
The quality of the above photo is poor however, the schools original
exposed logs are distinguishable. Ca. 1910
Back row: Morrison MacLeod, Llyod MacPhee, Ian Stewart,
Murdie Stewart, Norman MacLeod.
Front row: Romain Gravel, Allister Campbell, Neil Gravel, Duncan
Stewart, Homer MacLeod ca. 1934
1. Morrison MacLeod 2. John Cutt 3. Duncan Clark 4, Mary
Reid 5. Harriet MacKinnon (nee Stewart) 6. Catherine Clark
MacRae 7. Norman M. MacLeod 8. Murdie Stewart 9. Kay
MacNaughton 10. Margaret Stewart MacRae 11. Annabel
MacLeod 12. Ian Stewart 13. Lloyd MacPhee

In 1879, farmers in the area of Stewart’s Glen felt they needed a school in their section. They called a meeting and appointed a committee to approach the Kenyon Council. Shortly after, School Section #21 came into being and opened in January 1880.

Lumber was plentiful and with many good axemen, it did not take long to build the school. It was located on a half acre of land at the south-east corner of Lot 32, Concession 9, in Kenyon Township. The land was purchased from Donald K. MacRae. In 1907, the school trustees purchased another half-acre of land from Mr. MacRae which they called “The Crewson Park.” The original deed stated that if the site ever ceased to be used for school purposes, the land would revert back to the MacRae family.

At an annual meeting, it was decided to move the school two hundred feet back from the road. The teacher’s wages were roughly $150 dollars per year. The caretaker got a dollar per month and the cleaning was done by students.

The school closed in 1945 because of the small class size of 4 pupils. The students were moved to S.S. #3 and #4 until 1956 when S.S.#21 joined Kenyon Township. The school property was returned to the MacRae’s and Dan MacRae bought the school and turned it into a machine shed. He also bought the wood shed and moved it to the farm. The outdoor toilets were also sold. In 1975 when the MacRae farm was sold, the schoolhouse was sold to people from Montreal, who turned it into living quarters for the summer. 

Thursday 13 August 2015

Tweedsmuir Thursday #8

(Click to enlarge photos)
Picture 1: Drummers John D. MacLeod and John MacKinnon
Picture 2: Joan Clark, Dun. Clark, Mrs. MacIntosh, Mrs. MacRae, Mrs. MacNeil, Mrs. Dolphie McPhee
Picture 3: Man unknown, Donald Angus Gray, Donald MacLeod, Neil B. MacLeod, William Blythe
Picture 4: W.K MacLeod, Lawrence MacLeod, and others.
Picture 5: Pipers: John Alex Stewart, Murdoch John MacRae, Alex Stewart, other pipers unknown.
Picture 6: Ewan N.R. McLeod and Norman MacLeod

The above photographs were taken of the Orange Walk, which was considered one of the most important functions among the Orange Lodges. The Walk was part of an annual celebration of the Battle of Boyne when King William III, Prince of Orange, defeated the forces of James II in Ireland on July 12, 1690. 

Lodges in the counties of Prescott, Glengarry, and the eastern part of Stormont gathered on that day (July 12) to take part in the parade. Each lodge paraded, carrying a banner and led by a man on a white horse who symbolized King William. Pipe Bands or individual pipers usually led the parade and often played "Cock of the North" and "Highland Laddie."

The parade took place in different areas: Dunvegan, Maxville, Pine Grove, Vankleek Hill, Berwick, McAlpine, Cassburn, McCrimmon, Ottawa, etc. In July 1953, members from the Dunvegan Lodge went by bus to Ottawa where they joined other Lodges from Eastern Ontario, Western Quebec, and New York state to commemorate the                      anniversary. Over 300 Lodges took part in the parade and it was the largest Orange             Celebration ever held in Canada.

Thursday 6 August 2015

Tweedsmuir Thursday #7

The following extract was taken from the Dunvegan Tweedsmuirs …

Cyclone hits Skye Area

On June 10th, 1934, between the hours of 6:45 and 7:45p.m., a savage storm hit the Dunvegan area and caused great damage. Heavy rain, hail, and cyclone winds, accompanied the storm. Within a few minutes, barns, houses, trees, and fences were blown about with fury. Roof-tops and house frames were lifted from their foundations and went hurtling into the air, while frantic men, women, and children, sought refuge in cellars.

Trees were lifted from their roots, and carried hundreds of feet away, poles were snapped in two, and wired danced in the air like gigantic whips. It was reported that the family of John MacQueen, Skye, had the narrowest escape of all. They were eating supper, when their house shook and the roof starting falling. Fleeing into the cellar, they escaped serious injury, and waited until the storm had passed. The roof was carried away and their barns destroyed. They lost some animals who were hit by flying debris.

The cyclone lifted and passed over some of the countryside, before it came down on the village of Glen Robertson. Damage was heavy here, but luckily, no lives were lost. The cyclone was last seen speeding towards Rigaud, Quebec.

The pictures below show John A. MacQueen’s house, barn, and car that were damaged by the cyclone. 

Thursday 30 July 2015

Tweedsmuir Thursday #6

The above photograph (from the Dunvegan Tweedsmuir) was taken at Barriefield Camp in 1928. Standing at the front left in front is Pipe Major John Alex Stewart, Dunvegan
The SD&G Highlanders Pipe Band was officially established in 1905 with five pipers and three drummers under Pipe Major Sutherland. Prior to 1905, local pipers were still gathering. Many men from the Dunvegan area belonged to the SD&G Highland Regiment and every year, these men attended a summer camp at Barrifield, north of Kingston, where they received military training. Men who played the bagpipes were always in great demand. 

In 1906, Angus MacMillan Fraser was Pipe Major. In 1907, it was held by William Grey and in 1908, by J.A Stewart, who held the position until he resigned in 1936. At that time there were eight pipers and five drummers. In a few years, the band grew to twelve pipers and six drummers. In 1914, it was considered the best of four Pipe Bands attending Petawawa Camp.

In the beginning, the pipers wore green plaid trousers and red coats with white braid outlining black cuffs, stand-up collars and shoulder straps. When the band was organized in 1905, kilts of MacLennan tartan were worn with green coats, trimmed with gold braid for the Pipe Major and white braid for the pipers. Glengarry bonnets and white spats completed the outfit. Later, they wore the MacDonald tartan and then the McDonell tartan.

At one time, most of the pipers came from Dunvegan and Alexandria. The Band took part in many kinds of entertainment. They were at Morrisbourg for the hundredth Anniversary of the battle of Crysler Farm. They played twice at St. Andrew’s Concerts in Montreal. They spent a week on three different occasions at Old Boys’Reunions in Cornwall. They formed a guard of honor with their Regiment at the railway station in Cornwall, when the Duke of Connaught visited and also formed part of the guard of honor in Kingston, when the King and Queen visited in 1939. Pipe Major J.A Stewart and Piper J.A MacNaughton played at the three hundredth anniversary of the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City. Pipers Angus MacDonald, Angus Cameron, J.A MacNaughton, and Pipe Major J.A Stewart each had a trip to Banff, Alberta to compete in the yearly Caledonian Games.
In 1944, the first Battalion of the SDG Highlanders were overseas with Pipe Major MacGillivray. The second Battalion was in Cornwall with G. Montgomery as Pipe Major. At this time, Pipe Major S. MacKinnon held lessons for 40 pupils.

Today, the SD&G Highlanders continues to impress crowds throughout their travels. Be sure to look for them this weekend at the Glengarry Highland Games.

SDG Highlanders Pipe Band, 1910. Names of members from left: P/M Murdoch John MacRae, Angus McDonald, Lachlan "The Tailor" MacDonald, Tommy Gamble (Mtl), 6th man unknown, Jimmy "John R" McNaughton (Dominionville), Big Alex MacRae, Roy MacDonald (Greenfield?). Dummers: Billy Sorrs (Mtl), -- Truaxe (?)
SDG Highlanders Pipe Band, 1928. Pipers left to right: John Alex Stewart (P.M), Murdock MacRae, Jimmie John R. MacNaughton, Willie Munro, Donald John Stewart, Donald Angus Fletcher, Red Alex Stewart

The two photographs above are from the Pioneer Museum's collection.
(click photos to enlarge)

Thursday 23 July 2015

Tweedsmuir Thursday #5

Dunvegan Village School
Christmas Concert, 1918

The Dunvegan Village School (S.S#3 Kenyon) opened in 1896 replacing the existing log schoolhouse in Dunvegan, built in 1860. On March 24, 1884, a special meeting was held to decide on a site for the erection of the new school. The chosen site was across the street from Kenyon Presbyterian Church. On June 23, 1884, a meeting was held to raise money to build the school and to advertise the log school for sale. It was bought by Angus MacIntosh for $85 and was later taken to the 6th of Kenyon to serve as a farm residence. The new school was built by Angus O. MacLeod and bricked by Mr. McLaughlin from Vankleek Hill. Miss Catherine McRae was hired as the first teacher for two hundred and fifty dollars, minus the cost of kindling the fire.

On Dec 27, 1893, the trustees authorized the digging of a well on the school grounds. Kenyon Congregation planned to share the well and contributed to its cost. In 1899, the school grounds were levelled and enclosed by a fence.

Other highlights of its history: The old wood stove was discarded and an oil space heater took its place in the 1940’s. Electricity was installed in 1947. Inside toilets were installed in 1950. In 1959, the foundation and the brick wall were filled with mortar making the school much warmer. Music began to be taught in 1936. The school was also used for W.I meetings, Farm Forum gatherings, and other community activities. In 1933, the school took over the Public Library. At this time, a Health School Nurse made regular visits to the school and a clinic was held for the administration of toxoid shots.

Dunvegan Village School closed in 1965 and students were transported to Maxville Public School. In that year, it was sold to Kenyon Presbyterian Church and used as a Sunday School. In later years, the Dunvegan Recreation Society used the building for their meetings. Today, the school stands in the same place and is the home of one of the museum’s volunteers. 

Pupils taking part in a school play, ca. 1920
Stanley Morrison, Earl Taylor, Rodger Hartrick, Roddie Fletcher, Jessie MacLeod, Celina Austin,
Mary MacRae, Muriel Stewart, Irene MacLeod, Russell Morrison

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Tools and Trade Tuesday #4

Parts for a wooden pump and an 8ft auger from the mid 19th century

Before the time of metal fabrication facilities or the readily available pipe that we use today, there was once a trade directly involved in making home plumbing using large logs. One of the tools used to create wooden pipes and pumps is our focus in today’s Tool and Trades Tuesday. There were many reasons as to why a Pipe Maker would visit your home, but most often one was called so that he could install a wooden pump into a well. The process of boring a hole through the middle of a log was a very laborious task and some recounts from the 19th century go as such, “A man could bore a 5 cm diameter hole through 11.6 m of pipe per day, if it were alder or elm, but only 1.95 m of pipe per day if it was in oak”- Encyclop├ędie (1751). It was not uncommon for a man of this trade to bore through a 20 ft or 6 m log. The auger needed to be very long, thus some innovations were made to help in this process. Some Pump makers made their augers into segmented pieces that could be connected if a longer length was required, others simply used massive augers. There was a great many steps that were required when boring a log, starting with drilling the pilot hole through the center, then passing a rope from one end to the other. This rope would be held by the Pipe Makers apprentice and attached at the other end to a specially designed auger. The apprentice would pull on the rope making the boring process less labor intensive.
Some of the tools used to make wooden pipes and pumps
During the first quarter of the 20th century, the village of Dunvegan had its very own “Pump Man”. John Norman MacLeod was a well-respected pump maker who operated a thriving business in this area. John Norman out West to apprentice with another pump maker; he stayed for many years, but soon decided to move back home. Once back in Glengarry, he began to have aspirations to start a honeybee farm but was convinced otherwise by his parents - his brother took up that dream. John Norman practiced pump making for many years and had a large amount of clients to his name. The trade continued with his son Neil D. MacLeod and they are still known as the Pump Makers of Glengarry. The Glengarry Pioneer Museum has some of the MacLeod’s equipment and even some wooden pumps in various stages of completion.

Thursday 16 July 2015

Tweedsmuir Thursday #4

(click photo to enlarge)
Standing- 1st row, 1st man on right: Captain Dr. D. MacDermid, Centre: Officer Duncan McCuaig, 1st row, last man on left: Officer John McCuaigKneeling- 1st on left: Duncan MacLeod, 5th from left: Alexander MacLeodOther Names: Duncan and John McCuaig (brothers), Duncan and Alexander MacLeod (brothers), John and Sandy Stewart (son of Alex R.), Sandy Stewart (son of Norman), Alex Stewart (son of Alex A.), Murdoch Stewart (son of Peter), Thomas Campbell, Neil MacLean (Fiachaidh) Wild Neil, Farquhar MacRae, Kenneth Campbell, George Day

The above photograph was taken of the Dunvegan Volunteer Infantry Company No. 7 of the 59th Battalion, who were active in the repulsion of the Fenian Invasion of 1866-1867. The Fenians, composed largely of Irish-Americans, sought to achieve Ireland’s independence from Britain by capturing Canada as hostage.  Between 1866 and 1871, they raided Canadian territory along the borders, known as the Fenian Raids.

The Dunvegan Company of the County of Glengarry Infantry was recruited by Dr. Donald MacDermid, I. P. S., in 1868. This company was composed of three officers: Captain Dr. MacDermid, Lieutenant D.J. MacCuaig, and Ensign J.J MacCuaig. There were also three corporals and forty-nine privates.

The company’s first appearance was for the annual drill in Cornwall in 1869. Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, was visiting Cornwall at the time to inspect the 59th Battalion, known later as the 59th Regiment of Active Militia of Canada. The men of the Company were presented with white gloves to shake hands with Prince Arthur.

The following year, the Company was called to the front to act with the other volunteer militia in repelling an invasion of the country. The Fenians had assembled in large numbers at Malone, N.Y., across the St. Lawrence from Cornwall. Without the militia’s presence, there is no doubt that the Fenians would have crossed the St. Lawrence River.

The order to be in Cornwall was received at four o’clock in the afternoon, and the Company arrived at eight o’clock the next morning. The Company marched west through Stewart’s Glen, with Norman MacRae and John Stewart playing the pipes. The tune was “Gabhaidh sinn au Rathad Mor” (We will up and march away).

Tuesday 14 July 2015

Tools and Trades Tuesday #3

 Pictured Above:
Late 19th Century Automatic Corn Planter or “Corn Jobber”
Donated by G.A. Ross of Vankleek Hill
Welcome to the third edition of Tools and Trades Tuesday. Today we will be discussing the glamorous life of a farm hand and the tool that changed their life, the corn planter, also known as a “corn jobber”. Unlike many other grains of the period, corn needed to be planted one seed at a time. As you can imagine this would be a very strenuous task and would require days if not weeks to plant entire fields, and through the need to complete planting much quicker corn jobbers were invented. The first of these devices were very simplistic and the process of planting the seed was actually performed by the operator himself, but eventually progress was made and soon an automatic planter was in use, like the one pictured above. This is how the mechanism worked:
  1. The operator would hold the handle in one hand while their foot was firmly placed on the foot    hold at the bottom.
  2. The end with two blades was placed in the ground as the farmhand walked
  3. Once in the ground the device was tilted forward slightly and a piece of corn would fall down into the hole created.
  4. It was then lifted from the earth and the process could begin again.
This way of planting crops completely changed how much farmers would plant, as you could finish a field as fast as a man could walk it. This could be considered the beginning of the cash crop era. Some old texts from the period give a description of the process and dictate that the work and time of planting a field was cut down by as much as ¾. At the museum we have 3 different corn jobbers that show the progression of the complexity of this device, from the first ones that were hand operated to the final design being automatic.

Thursday 9 July 2015

Tweedsmuir Thursday #3

In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, Dunvegan was a bustling town with many lucrative businesses, tradesmen, and merchants. The construction of the C.N railroad in 1880-1884 triggered the growth of many businesses including, a gristmill, a couple tanneries and asheries, a tinsmith, a blacksmith, a shoemaker, general stores, hotels, and sawmills.

The above photographs were taken of the Dunvegan sawmill. Originally owned by Dan MacKercher of Moose Creek, it was sold in 1919 to W.A MacEwen of Maxville. Unfortunately, the Tweedsmuirs do not list the year the sawmill was established. Shortly after the sale, the mill was dismantled and resold again to Mr. W. W. (Wallie) MacKinnon and transported by horses to Dunvegan, where it was reassembled on the south side of the road beside the creek in the village. The mill was in operation again by the early 1920’s. Powered by steam, the creek supplied the water for the boiler and slabs and sawdust from the mill provided the heat source.

In the winter months, logs were brought to the lumber yard by horse and sleigh. In the early spring, sawing began with employment of approximately ten local men and a full-time fireman. The mill’s lumber was sold all over the county and throughout Ontario. Electricity had not yet arrived to rural areas and residents depended on slabs of wood that the mill delivered by horse and dump cart, to keep their stoves burning for warmth. A lot of lumber was also hauled to Greenfield and loaded on flat cars at the train station. Frank Philips was a teamster for many years and took pride in the large loads his team “Paddy and Jack” could haul. Mr. MacKinnon always kept two teams of horses.

Several times a year, there would be special orders for ash wood to be used for sporting equipment. Farmers in the St. Elmo area, who shipped milk to Montreal, came to the mill yard for sawdust to pack their ice for the summer months. Companies from Montreal and Casselman also purchased lumber from the mill. The mill also made shingles from cedar blocks and cheese boxes, which were sold to Neil Fraser of Vankleek Hill who sold cheese from his factories in wooden boxes.  

The men who worked at the mill had dinner at the MacKinnon home in town and some even stayed in the home during the workweek. It was apparently a busy household with five young children running around.

In 1942, the mill was sold to D.A Graybut. A few years later, it was resold and moved to Quebec. Although nothing remains of the sawmill on the site today, the milled lumber could possibly be found in old houses throughout the Glengarry countryside.

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Tools and Trades Tuesday #2

In our second edition of Tools and Trade Tuesday we will be exploring the crucial job of logging and one of the tools of that trade. In the long winter months, farmers were unable to till the lands and produce crops, which were required in order to not only feed their family but also provide income. To compensate, logging became a common winter profession as Canada in the early 19th century was abundant with trees. When this trade first began to blossom, there were not many rules or regulations to protect the exporter’s product and often times their timber would be stolen.  In the late 1800’s, a method of marking the timber before shipping it down the river to Montreal or Quebec City became common practice.

Now this brings us to our featured artifact, a logging stamp. These stamps were often cast from iron, which made a very sturdy and strong tool. The front face with the logo was placed against a log then was struck from the back end with another hammer, creating an imprint within the log to identify the owner and ensure proper compensation. Although many people were using this method of marking their timber, product was still being stolen and the government developed a solution. They imposed hefty fines for anyone who did not mark their logs and even larger fines if someone was caught marking someone else’s. Every year the logging company would have to re-register their logging stamp design with the government which lead to a great variety of logging stamps. Here at the museum, we currently have two on display, but that is only a fraction of the total number in the collection. In 1994 Mr. Robert Kirkpatrick of Lochiel, donated 37 different logging stamps registered to companies throughout Quebec and the Ottawa valley. The logging stamp is a fascinating tool of the lumber trade and reminder of days gone by when trees played a huge role in the lives of pioneers.

Thursday 2 July 2015

Tweedsmuir Thursday #2

This building might look familiar to many Dunvegan residents: the DRA (Dunvegan Recreational Association) Hall. The DRA Hall, like many historic buildings, has served many purposes and organizations in its lifetime.

Built in 1919, the building was constructed to replace the original Loyal Orange Lodge, erected in 1867 and used as a meeting place for Orangemen in Dunvegan. After the new Orange Lodge was built, the original was sold to Alex Urquhart who moved it across the road and used it as a private house. In 2005, it was dismantled and moved to the museum. Although talk of a new Orange Lodge began in 1914, the First World War stopped plans and no mention was made in minutes until Feb. 1919.

The new Lodge was built by Frank Schell of Maxville and constructed of cement blocks and originally two storeys high. Members of the Building Committee received $1.00 per day for their labour. Since its opening, the hall was used not only by the Orange Order but also other organizations in the community. It was used for church suppers and events, dances, etc. During WWII, it held parties for every boy that joined the Armed Services.

As time passed and talk of disbandment brewed among the few Orange Order members, they turned the hall over to the Women’s Institute for a fee of $600 in 1974. The Orange Order and W.I had a close relationship and a history of organizing events together including, an annual Turkey Supper to raise funds for both organizations.

In 1978, the hall underwent extensive renovations. The cement blocks at the top of the building were cracking and the walls were spreading apart. Members feared the hall was unsafe and Angus John MacLeod undertook the task of renovating the hall into a one-storey building and constructing a new roof.  The above photographs are some before and after shots of the building. Below is a photograph of an Orange Order meeting at the Hall in 1921. These are from two pages in the Dunvegan Tweedmuirs.