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.