Information gathered at the Heritage Centre has been displayed in several themes: Community, Shipbuilding, Military, Business, Sports, Entertainment, Farming, Railroad, and Fishing. These are brought to you by wall displays, artefact displays and binders with researched material.
Sample stories from the community booklets:
James Allan MacDonald - James Allan MacDonald was the son of John William and Amanda ( Taylor ) MacDonald of Cardigan Head. He farmed there but was best known for his long service as a rural mail carrier. He started delivering mail when he was 22 years old on April 1st, 1923 and retired on September 30 th , 1985- a total of 62 years, the longest known in Canada . He saw many changes over the years. He first delivered mail to R.R.2 (8 years) then to R.R.6 (8 years) then returned to R.R.2 until he retired. James Allan married Christina Mae Hume. Jim and Tina as they were known to their family and friends had two daughters and one son.
Letter written to James on his retirement.
“We, the box holders of Cardigan R.R.2 are very happy to visit you tonight to express our appreciation and thanks for the many years of public service you have given us. Your dedication, thoughtfulness and kindness beyond the call of duty will never be forgotten. Especially those of us who are a long distance from the highway, when many times due to drifting, snow plows and other reasons you were kind enough to leave your vehicle to deposit our mail. You didn't have to do it, but you did. You were a very important person in our daily lives. Those few days, due to holidays or storms that Jimmie Allan didn't make the scene, our daily program was incomplete. Just as the sunshine brightens our mornings, the sight of your horse, truck or car was a ray of expectation. What will Jimmie have for us today? Will it only be the newspaper, magazines, a letter from a long lost friend, a package or one of those letter with a window which does not always have cheque for curtains? Yes, your cargo was varied and valuable, and for the most part brought joy to all.
On behalf of all on Cardigan R.R.2, we ask you to accept this chair as a token of our appreciation for your many years of good service. With this chair goes our fervent wish that the good lord will continue to bless you with much happiness and good health for years to come. I recall three lines from an unknown poet, which in my mind, very appropriately sums up the characteristics of Jimmie Allan.
I quote: To think kindly is good, to speak kindly is better, to act kindly is best.
William P. Lewis -William Paterson Lewis was the third son of Thomas Lewis of Dumfries , Scotland . Mr. Lewis was born in 1829, at New Abbey, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, and emigrated to Prince Edward Island in 1853, having family (grandparents-Elizabeth and John Lewis, St. Peters) already here.
He bought land on the Cardigan River and built cloth mills on what has since been called Lewis Creek . In Lovell's Canadian Directory for 1871, he is listed as being a J.P., a farmer and a mill owner, and then in Bradstreet's Reports for 1878, he is listed as being a mill owner and having a General Store. At the same time, he is building up his business as a stone mason and with his sons David and William. A, became very well known in this industry.
Mr. Lewis took an active part in educational matters, serving as school trustee and was an active magistrate for nearly thirty years as well as collector of customs. He was well informed in literature and was able to recite many of the poets, especially Burn's masterpieces.
William Patterson Lewis died on June10 th , 1899.
Dr. Archibald A. Allan (1862-1946) - Dr. A.A. Allan was born in Covehead , PEI . He received his education at Prince of Wales College and McGill University and came to Cardigan in 1887 to minister to the physical ailments of the people of the village as well as the neighbouring areas. He was married to Anne Hughes. His sons Leigh and Emmett served in WWI. Leigh survived but Emmett was killed. Dr. Allan didn't have a telephone so messages were often delivered by members of the Scrimgeou family. Gordon Scrimgeour often drove Dr. Allan on these calls as did Linwood MacNeil.
Senator John A. Macdonald - John A. Macdonald (1874-1948) was the son of John Charles and Elizabeth Macdonald of Blooming Pt., he came to Cardigan in 1893 to work with James E. MacDonald. He began his own business of J.A. Macdonald & Co. in the early 1900's. John A. married Marie MacDonald, daughter of Captain Joe MacDonald of Cardigan in 1905. He continued his business interests of the store, shipping, and shipbuilding at the same time running for the Conservatives in the PEI legislature, the House of Commons and being appointed Senator in 1935. He was a very active member of the community, getting involved in all aspects of community life.
John and Marie had nine children: Barbara, Anna, Maggie, Charles, John, Mary (died at 16), George, Albert (died in infancy), Gertrude and David.
Captain Jack Macdonald - Captain Jack was born in Cardross to Roderick and Christina (Williams) Macdonald. In 1905, he married Mary Josephine Doyle. They had seven children- Earl, Hattie, Herb, Frank , Hilda, Norbert and Raymond. They lived in Cardross and after their house burned, they lived a winter in Birt's house at the corner, then around 1913 they moved to Cardigan near John A's store.
Captain Jack went to sea at the age of sixteen and his career included Master Mariner certificates for sailing and steam vessels. The latter years were spent on the Coast Guard ships, serving as Captain of the C.G.S. Montcalm and the C.G.S. Aranmore. Previous to that he served as Captain of the Harland, the Enterprises, and the Victory Chimes and served on the Stanley to name some of the vessels he served on.
One interesting story concerns the C.G.S. Lady Laurier, when Captain Jack as relief Captain in 1935 after righting and ice laden buoy in Musquodoboit Harbour , N.S. , on backing off struck a submerged rock which damaged the rudder. Captain Jack was suspended from his command because a survey had just been done that did not reveal any hazards. Captain Jack knew the rock was there, so he hired a diver to look. The result was a.) The diver found the rock with bits of the Laurier's rudder clinging to it b.) Captain Jack's command was resorted and c.) there were some red faces in Ottawa .
An Island Hero Father William MacKinnon - Father William MacKinnon was born at Melrose on August 1st, 1858 to Alexander MacKinnon and Mary Morrison. At the age of eighteen, he went to California on the invitation of his uncle, J.J. MacKinnon, a successful lumber merchant in San Francisco . A brilliant student, he studied classics at Santa Clara College . He then attended Ottawa University and completed his theological studies at St. Mary's seminary, Baltimore . He was ordained to the priesthood in June, 1887. For the next few years, Father MacKinnon served in an exemplary manner in parishes in the San Francisco Bat area. He was asked to accompany the first California Infantry as chaplain when the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898.
With the American forces poised to storm the city in what would be a very bloody battle, Father MacKinnon entered Manila alone, without any protection, under fire of the Spaniards in an effort to prevent bloodshed and secured the peaceful surrender of Manila . When Manila surrendered, Father MacKinnon hoisted the American flag over the city. While his army remained in the Philippines , Father MacKinnon organized a school system so the people would be able to govern themselves. Captain MacKinnon returned to California with his infantry.
He was next appointed Chaplain of the regular American army and returned to Manila where he continued his work to improve the school system. With his ability to speak Spanish and because he had the trust and respect of all sides, he gave invaluable diplomatic service to his adopted country in relations with Spain . But it was in his work as Chaplain that he endeared himself to all. He bravely went to the enemy's camp to try to induce them to respect the prisoners whom they held as hostages. As Chaplain, he comforted the sick and prepared the dying for death on the battlefields and in the hospitals. These hospitals were filled to capacity with patients suffering from dysentery, smallpox and cholera. It was his work in the hospitals which cost Father MacKinnon his life.'
Father MacKinnon died in a military hospital in Manila September 24,1902. He was 44 years old. A statue in his honour stands in Golden Gate Park , San Francisco - placed among America 's most renowned heroes.
Father MacKinnon did not forget his “roots”. He had a great love for his parents. His letters home always carried cheerful news so he would not up upset them. Once before a particularly severe battle he wrote a farewell letter in case he should be killed but he survived this ordeal. He visited his family when he could. On October 14,1900 (Sunday), “Roddy's Diary” has this notation: Large crowed to Mass. Rev.W.D MacKinnon, formerly of Melrose , now Chaplain of the U.S. Army at Manila , said Mass and preached a good sermon.
From a biographical sketch of Father W.D. Mackinnon in Santa Clara College Theatre May 26, 1904: “Father MacKinnon was a hero, he was an apostle, he was a loyal and dutiful son. These are the three characteristic virtues which should be emblazoned on his monument”.
“It remains for the people of California to erect a monument, grand and glorious, an incentive to patriotic devotion and exalted virtue, a testimony of a grateful people's veneration for this martyr of duty to God and to the Fatherland.”
Truly, Father MacKinnon was the “hero of the Philippine campaign.”
This theme brings you information on the shipbuilding story which is composed of many parts: the act of shipbuilding, ship owning, ship sailing and navigation and the business of shipping goods in the import and export trade. Each of these aspects have their own skill sets, risks and rewards. The act of shipbuilding requires the skills of a shipwright or master shipbuilder as he may be called. In that field the names of Arthur Owen, J.S. Mucklejohn, Duncan MacLaren, Angus MacDonald, Kimball Coffin span the years from 1826 to 1920. The owner would provide the materials and wages for the builders and would also look after the sale of the vessel or the arrangements needed to use it in trade. James Peake, L.C. Owen and William Welsh, James E. Macdonald , John G. Scrimgeour, Sen. John A. Macdonald were involved as owners The captains and sailors would sail the vessel to the ports as the owner required. Capt. James Mustard sailed many of the vessels built in Cardigan before losing his life at a young age to yellow fever. Sometimes the builder, owner and captain were the same person as was the case with James S. Mucklejohn. He was a skilled shipwright, captain and owner who took his skills and his family to New Zealand .
Shipbuilding artefacts at the Heritage Centre include Duncan MacLaren's tools, Capt. Mustard's log book, pictures and information on the vessels built and their stories.