- Harvesting Time
- Experimental Farming
The community of Peters Road is
County in eastern Prince
Edward Island on the east coast of Canada. This area is approximately 10 km
east of the town of Montague, and 40 km east of Charlottetown, the Island's capital city and birthplace of Confederation.
Like other parts of Prince Edward Island, Peters Road has mild weather. The daytime temperatures
are comfortable and moderate; from the onset of spring to the end of summer,
they usually range from 8 to 30 degrees Celsius; from autumn to winter's
end, temperatures normally range from 8 to -10 degrees Celsius.
Peters Road, a small rural Prince Edward Island community, has
been slowly changing over the last hundred years.
Peters Road Presbyterian Church was built in 1884. In the background of
this photograph, notice the horse shed where the people who attended church
tethered their horse and wagon. This picture was taken in 1934
during the church's fiftieth anniversary.
At potato harvesting time in earlier days, school children were
given two weeks off from school to help with the harvesting. Potatoes were
dug by hand in the early 1900's, then a horse and plow were
used; and, eventually potato diggers and tractors. In the field, the
potatoes were bagged and placed in the cellar where they were graded and
bagged again, then hauled by horse and wagon to Cahoon's Wharf, and placed
on a vessel to be taken to Syndey, Nova Scotia. Coal for heat would be
brought back in return by the vessel. The price the farmers received for
their potatoes varied from year to year, anything from one cent to ten
cents a pound.
In the middle 1900's, there was an Experimental Farm
on Peters Road owned by Albert Hicken. The government supplied him with
seeds which he planted to see which germinated the best. He would sell them
for a reasonable price. He experimented with many different types of seeds, such as
vegetable, rye, barley, oat, hay, clover, and tree seeds. At the end of
harvest, there would be a big celebration day, in which people would come
from other communities to see what had been grown; people would make the day
into a social event. Unfortunately, the Experimental Farm closed down because
the government expanded the one in Charolottetown.
Peters Road had two post offices; one was at the old Johnston
home in the late 1800's to early 1900's. The other was at Will
Hicken's, from 1867 to 1914 at Peters Road corner. These post offices would
operate from one room in the house.
In the early 1930's, Hayden VanIderstine had the first battery
radio in Peters Road. There were numerous radio shows such as
Peper Young Family, similar to a soap opera,
also Ma Perkins, a family story, and The Guiding Light
, which was a musical. One of the most famous radio announcers was
Gaberial Heater; he was a broadcaster who told people what was going on
in the Second World War in Europe.
There were two schools on Peters Road which were about three and
half miles apart. The first school, built in 1953 was called Peters Road
East. Peters Road Alma was the second school which was built in
either 1931 or 1932. This school name had a very special meaning, as it was
named after the first school teacher.
In the education system for Peters Road, each school had a number of
trustees who were responsible for hiring and paying the teachers. The
teachers taught grades one to ten in a one room school.
There were two stores in Peters Road. The first was owned by
Archibald Johnston, who sold the store to J.L MacKinnion. In the
late 1800's, J.L MacKinnion moved the store to across the road. J.L decided
to sell the store to Guy and Betty Reid who sold many different
supplies such as men's work clothes, hardware, groceries, and of course,
candies for the children. Unfortunately the store burned down, but Guy did
not give up. He hauled a new building from Alliston and set up store again.
After Mr. Reid died, the building was moved to Cahoon's Wharf, and used as a
home. The second store was called the Club, owned and managed by Harry
Johnston in the 1820's. This store was something like a co-op; you had to be
a member to get a discount.
James MacLean owned and operated a blacksmith shop in Peters
Road in the early 1800's. James made horseshoes and anchors, and fixed
various farm machinery.
From early 1933 to 1955, Peters Road had a ship building
business, owned by Garfield Johnston who built and designed the boats.
Garfield had a number of people helping him build these boats, and his
workers usually made small fishing boats, which were sold to fishermen at
In the 1930's, Lorne Johnston owned a bus station in Peters Road,
at Hicken's Corner; his bus could hold up to seven people. The bus went to different
communities, such as Murray Harbor, Montague, and Charlottetown. Because
of the treachorous roads and stormy winters in Peters Road, the bus operated only
in the summer. Lorne Johnston later sold this bus service to Marvin Johnston.
John Lawson MacDonald owned a butcher shop in Peters Road in
the early 1920's. Mr. MacDonald would kill the animals, then peddle the meat by
horse and wagon. Later he bought a Wippett car, and put the meat in
a wooden box in the rumble seat, which is now called a trunk. This shop closed
down. There was a second butcher shop in the 1960's at Hicken's Corner, owned by Ellis MacPherson. He
peddled the meat around the community in his truck. In the early 1970's,
his shop was destroyed by fire, and was not rebuilt.
Peters Road had three canneries. The first one was built and
owned by Sam Butler in the late 1920's; he canned beef, chicken, clams, and
shell fish. The second cannery was called Clam Factory owned by Lloyd
Butler in the late 1930's and 1940's. He would take the clams to Cahoon's
Wharf where they would be shipped. The men that worked for Lloyd would work
for ten hours each day, and made seventy five cents a day. Lloyd
rarely canned beef and chicken. The third cannery was called the Meatshop
Cannery owned by Art McSwain in the early 1940's, and operated
from a little building located outside his house. Mr.McSwain would
kill the animals, and then can the meat, mostly beef and chicken.
For entertainment in the early 1900's, people in Peters Road
attended concerts. For such occasions, women would prepare a lunch for two and place it
in baskets, to be then auctioned off. Whatever man bought the basket had
to eat with the lady that made the lunch. There were also ice cream
socials to take part in; the ice cream was kept in big insulated containers.
The men had to pay so much for each dance with a lady; women
didn't have to pay. Money collected from the dances went to the organization
that sponsored the event.
Other forms of entertainment were
provided by Percy or Bruce Yeo. These men organized silent movie shows at
both Cambridge and Sturgeon Halls. It cost about twenty five cents
to get into the movies. People had to turn the wheel in order to make the
film reel move; you could get in free if you volunteered to turn the wheel.
If there were no community socials, people would have kitchen parties in
which folks from neighbouring communities would be invited to someone's
home for music, dance and lunch. Fun activities for the children included
outdoor skates on ponds or rivers in the winter. At night, the boys often
would light a small bonfire for toasting marshmallows.
I'd like to thank the following people for helping me find
information and pictures for this project. Thank you
very much to Glen Johnston, Alice Johnston, Preston Jackson, and Shirley