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Memories - Port Mouton Island

Jordan Roy Recalls Life On The Island
From: Jacquie Holmans-Duncan, Dartmouth
I talked to Jordan Roy, re life on the island.
He is about the only one left who remembers. He will be 74 in July.
I asked him about drinking water. He said every house had a well and the water was good.
Most of the houses were two family ones, perhaps these were the first duplexes (grin) and lamps were used at night. Several families had ice houses where ice was stored in sawdust for the summer fishing season.
I believe Harry Doggett cut the ice but never lived on the island during the summer.
Jordan said his great grandfather cut the wood for the people.
Life on the island was not all that bad. The sheep kept the folks aware of any storms that were on the way. They left the side of the island they were on and went to the lea side and returned when the storm was over.
My Uncle Dick and Aunt Mary Cook decided to move to the mainland. He realized he needed a new boat.
The solution - he burnt the house down by lighting a candle and word about the island was that the insurance money bought another boat owned by Stan McLeod family.
Great grandfather Caleb Cook always rowed over to the mainland on Friday and Saturday nights.
He always dressed in his coat with long tails and one night great grandmother decided she had enough of these trips to the mainland.
She took the coat, spread it on the chopping block and chopped the tails off. My brother, Brenton, said he put the coat on and went anyway.
They held dances at Southwest Port Mouton and Jordan Cooke played the accordion.
I expect Caleb kicked up his heels in style.

Dad Lived On Island
From: Rose Mansfield
I have been reading your letters concerning Port Mouton Island and I as well would like to see it become some sort of resort or national park.
My dad lived on the island for many years with his other brothers and sisters.
There are three of them left and I am sure if any one wanted any stories about the island these people would be more than glad to tell a few.
I remember my dad telling us kids about the sheep over there and how bad some of the winters were.
I have never had the privilege of going on the island but my oldest daughter has gone camping over there with some of her friends.
She says it is a beautiful spot and it is too bad that no one has made anything out of it.
I know that there were a couple of cabins built over there with every thing you would need such as beds stoves etc. and they were vandalized by some people, which is a shame.
There is also a tin building over there as well.
I think it would make a beautiful resort and I would hate to see it bought by the wrong people considering some of our ancestors once lived there.

More About Living On Port Mouton Island
From: Rose Mansfield
Hi Mary,
I got your e-mail and rushed right to the phone to call my Aunt Ethel Whynot of Liverpool and began asking her questions about when she lived on the island.
She was the daughter of the late Althea and Clifford Roy. There were six children, Willis (my dad) Ross, Evelyn, all now deceased Ethel Whynot of Liverpool, Marion Tarr of Western Head, and Angus Roy of Ontario.
Ethel told me they used to grow gardens on the island and grew their winter supplies of vegetables such as potatoes , turnip, carrots and other vegetables.
They planted their gardens with rock weed which they would carry from the beach with a hand barrow.
She said Tuesdays and Fridays were fish nights and they would eat mostly salt fish.
They would salt cod and hang it out to dry.
They had barrels of salt pork in the cellar house.
They would raise pigs and cows but would have to trade off the cows after six months because of too much salt in the grass. They also raised hens so they could have fresh eggs every day as well.
For fun they would light fires down on the beach and bake lobsters and other shellfish. They used to play baseball as well along the beach.
They would go across to the mainland if they needed anything from the store.
The stores were Freddie Burgess' or Cliff Swain's in Southwest Port Mouton. If they needed any meat they would go across to the mainland and buy it from Cliff Smith from his meat wagon.
They had a battery operated radio and only used it when they wanted to listen to the news. They had kerosene lamps for light. They had fish houses on the island as well.
She remembers five families living on the island at the time she was there.
She tells me that she feels sad that the island is up for sale. Anyways, if I can find anything else out Mary I will pass it your way.

Mother Born On The Island
From: David Whynot, Mersey Point
I have not known a lot of history about Port Mouton Island even though my mother Evelyn (Roy) Whynot was born there and I have always wanted to know more but never seemed to get around to it.
The information I have recently learned from your site and from Tim
MacDonald has told me more about the island and my great, great grandparents
than I probably have learned in 60 years.
I want to commend you, Tim, Jordan
and everyone else on the excellent job you are doing.
You have sparked my interest enough that I will slowly find out more. I have never visited the island but without doubt this summer I will be visiting and looking around the island. Family history is something we should cherish and protect more than we sometimes take time to do.
Thank you everyone!
David Whynot, Mersey Point
(great grandson of Enos and Esther Roy)

The Reason People Lived On Port Mouton Island
From: Marie (Colp) Woodworth, Bridgewater NS
The history of Port Mouton Island is very interesting to me, having been born and spent my childhood overlooking the Harbor and the Islands of Mink, Spectacle, Massacre and Port Mouton.
There have been many stories passed
down through the years of the life and times of the many families who made Port Mouton Island home.
Some of these families were Frausel, Latham, Gardiner, Roy, Cook, and Nickerson Families.
My great-uncle James Nickerson moved from the Island in the early 1900's and built a lovely home at Bell's Point where his family lived for many years.
Young people today may wonder why so many families moved to the islands to live at that time.
It was much closer to the fishing grounds when one used sails or oars as the engines for boats were to come later.
Back in the mid-thirties my father bought a
Holstein cow Daisy from one of the Roy families who lived on Port Mouton Island and she was transported off to the mainland by boat.
That was an exciting day for us children.
There was always the stories of buried treasure on the island.
I included one in my book The Early History of Port Mouton that can be found at the Queens County Museum.
To add a bit more history of the Island taken from Perkins Diary, John Dogget died in 1772, his widow Abagail sold Port Mouton Island to Benoni Gardener, a Loyalist who had come from Shelburne (Roseway). Benoni Gardener's small daughter died on the Island in 1797 and he died in Liverpool in 1816.
Five or six generations of the Gardner family have resided in Port Mouton over the years.
If I recall correctly, there were two Roy families who were the last to leave their Island home for the mainland in the late 1930s before the Second World War.
I believe they were brothers William (Bill) and Percy.

Several Small Family Graveyards On The Island
From: Muriel M. Davidson, Brampton, ON (originally of Summerville Centre)
I am appalled to learn of the possible sale of Port Mouton Island and above all, for such an astronomical sum.
The island has served many very well for several hundred years.
The first settlement in Nova Scotia was in 1603, within sight of Port Mouton Island. Former residents are buried at Central
Port Mouton but there are several small family graveyards on the island.
There are historical societies to preserve and keep old buildings.
Other historical sites have been saved and frankly, I feel this is a disgrace to sell one of Nova Scotia's islands -- possibly for
the erection of a summer retreat!
The Doggett history began there -- it is recorded as such.
However, it is the assistance given to fishermen over the years, the Port Mouton lighthouse was visible from the home where I was born.

A Very Special Place For Family, Friends
From: Jane Stevenson, Liverpool
Since receiving the information regarding the Ebay sale of Port Mouton Island from a friend and passing it on to you, I am pleased to see so many responses.
I didn't think it would get all the attention it has received but am glad it has.
Port Mouton Island is a very special place to our family and many others. We have enjoyed the beaches for many years, picnicking and a few overnights too.
One summer we even rescued a sheep who had fallen into a hole in the rocks. I was going up the rocks to get some blueberries.
Suddenly there was a fuzzy sheep looking up at me from a hole in the rocks.
We had no idea how long he had been there but he was very glad to get the grass we offered.
My father got ropes from the boat and with the help of Tom Raddall, hooked it onto the sheep's horns and pulled him out of the hole.
The sheep walked over the rocks away from us and then turned to looked at us for a moment.
It was as if he was saying thanks for the help.
A Port Mouton Island memory I will always treasure.
It surely would have starved to death. Unfortunately, there was an individual, not native to the area, who purchased the island a few years after that.
He apparently killed off all the sheep that had adapted to life on the island and knew how to survive there.
In their place he put cattle.
When the hired hand left the island in the winter, the animals died.
We were unfortunate enough to come across a few carcasses the following summer.
Seems there are those who don't truly appreciate our land and all that goes with it.
They feel they need to make things bigger and better and line their pockets regardless of what gets damaged.
In my opinion, Port Mouton Island should become a protected island with the development of resorts, etc prohibited.
It should remain in its natural state, perhaps an extension of Kedge Adjunct, place to be visited and enjoyed just as it is.

Fond Recollections Of Blackberry Picking In An Island Pee Pot
Although I am not from Nova Scotia, I married someone whose family (Verge) were from SW Port Mouton. My first visit to Nova Scotia, was in 1973.
While there, with my wife Valerie (Verge) and my older daughter Bridgette, we were taken over to Port Mouton Island by my brother-in-law and sister-in-law Brian and Leanora (Verge) Fisher of SW Port Mouton, also along were Reid and Janie (Fisher) Roy also of SW Port Mouton. They had told us that there were nice delicious black briar berries on the Island, so the next day we were off to the Island.
We all had a great time, we found many berries, bigger than I have ever seen, and they tasted just as good as they looked.
But one thing we didn't have, and that was something to put them in, so we looked around the Island and near one of the old foundations, we found an old pee pot.
Everyone said they wouldn't put berries in it, but I convinced them that with all the years and winds and storms that it had seen, it would be ok, and it was.
We filled that up, and also our stomachs.
We all walked around the Island, and also found some sheep bones and a wooden top to a keg that was written in Russian.
I have never been to the Port Mouton Island since, but we go to Nova Scotia to visit as often as we can, we were there last year for two weeks and hope to get there this year, as we always have a great time.
Arnold Suuban Athens, New York

They WALKED To The Island
From the scrap-book of my aunt:
February 8th. 1923
This A.M. parties walked from South West Port Mouton to Port Mouton Island over the ice, distance of two miles.
This has not happened or been possible for over 70 years.
Jacquie Homans-Duncan, Dartmouth

Roots In Port Mouton
I am a native Nova Scotian, born in my home at the Fort in Liverpool just at the beginning of World War II (the hospital had not yet been built).
I not only loved Liverpool and proud of it being my 'home town' but I loved my mother's roots, which were in Central Port Mouton.
Yes, my mother and her four siblings were born and raised there by their parents, Edward and Annie (Wentzell) Gardiner.
I am familiar with the strong history of the Gardiner family and name, which, until my grandfather Edward's time, was spelled Gardner (no "i"). Since that generation, the inserted "i" has been permanent.
The history of our family began with Thomas Gardner, who was one of the original settlers from England.
He settled in Cape Ann, Massachusetts, in 1624, became known as "Governor," and moved to Salem, where he ended his days. Bartlett Gardner and his family moved to Chebogue in 1797.
He and his sons were famous ship builders, and most of those vessels were owned and sailed by the Gardners.
This was about the time when Jesse Gardner and Jane began their family, which included Benoni.
From Benoni and Sarah (Lewis), Lewis was born and from Lewis and Sadie (Harrington), my grandfather, Edward, was born.
Consequently, when I casually logged onto the website where the articles related to Port Mouton Island being for sale for just under $6 million and the uncertainty of the future of Coffin Island, as well, were noted, I became more than casually interested.
How can I play a role to ensure the preservation of these 'favorite landmarks?'
Yes, they are landmarks to the natives of the Southeast Shore, and I look forward to some viable options being offered in the near future.
Sincerely,
Susan Elaine (Wood) Lance
Daughter of Beulah E. (Gardiner) Wood and Allan Orval Wood


Ancestors Buried On Island?
Jacquie Homans-Duncan Would Like To Correspond
I would like to hear from people who have ancestors buried in the cemetery on Port Mouton Island regarding the protection of graves.
I have "Cook" ancestors buried there.
Jacquie Homans-Duncan

Lawson Roy Remembers Living On The Island
My name is Deanna Oickle. I just wanted to let you know my grandfather, Lawson Roy, also lived on Port Mouton Island.
He was born, Nov. 1, 1920, on Port Mouton Island.  He will be 86, this November.
His parents was, the late Alden and Idella (Parnell) Roy.  They raised all their children on the island. My grandfather is the only one left of the children. His other siblings were Bealah Roy, Vera Roy, Helen Roy, Dena (Roy) Ryder, and Gerald Roy.
My grandfather says he was nine years old when they moved off of the island in 1929.  They moved in Central Port Mouton, and he still resides there in that house.
He says they also raised sheep, they would round them all up for shearing day and the next day would be the marking of the lambs. He said that the sheep would have their young in the spring.
Also, they hadn't gone to school, at the time over there, because it had been condemned, and so they had a room in their house that they had been home-schooled in.
I've really enjoyed this site, and also to spend an evening with my grandfather, where we had something in common to talk about. I felt just like a kid, waiting for their bedtime story.
(August 22, 2006)

 

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