ABEL HAYDENSubmitted by Four Harbour‘S Branch #120, The Royal Canadian Legion.
HAYDEN, Abel Frank 1902 – 1962 WWI &WWII
Abel was born in Annapolis County, Nova Scotia in 1902. He served the Royal
Canadian Army in WWI and the Royal Canadian Navy during WWII. He also
served Convoy Duty in Halifax. He was torpedoed twice, and was Chief Stoker
aboard H.M.C.S. Champlain. Abel was awarded the following medals and
decorations: 1939-1945 Star Medal, King George, Atlantic Star, 1939, Defense
Medal 1945, Volunteer Medal, King George VI, and the Long Service Medal. He
was the first President of Four Harbour’s Branch #120. Abel passed away in 1962.
Albert Noel Howe: 1897 – 1973
Albert was born on June 18, 1897 and was the son of Joseph Howe and Jane Hammond. He grew up in Shubenacadie-Indian Brook. Albert never attended public school, and would often tell the story of going to school for one day and never to return.
On January 6, 1918 at the age of 18 he married Mary Elizabeth Paul aged 14. They moved to Elmsdale to start a family. On September 22, 1930 they moved from Elmsdale with their three children by horse and buggy to Sheet Harbour in fear that their children would be taken from them and placed in Residential School. Once in Sheet Harbour they settled in a new home on the reserve located on Church Point Road. Albert and Mary had 14 children, 4 boys and 10 girls.
It was suggested from community leaders at the time that they not speak their native language so they could “fit in”. They did as was suggested and therefore their children were never given the opportunity to learn their native language. They were the first registered Mi’kmaq to occupy the Church Point Road Reserve. On December 24, 1955 a new 2 story home replaced the old house, the home is still there and occupied by one of their many grandchildren.
Albert had worked at the pulp mill in Sheet Harbour until he became ill and could no longer work. He enjoyed hunting and fishing, telling stories of when he was young and often had a joke to tell.
Albert passed on Sept 18, 1973 at the age of 76.
Told by son James Howe and transcribed by granddaughter Dawn Howe Power.
ANNIE ELIZA MACDONALD
Annie Eliza MacDonald – July 23, 1890 -January 17, 1985
Annie Elizabeth MacDonald was born on July 23, 1890 in Sheet Harbour, NS. She was
the daughter of Angus and Mary Ann (Quillinan) MacDonald. She was educated in schools in
Chatnam, NB; Montreal, Quebec; and at Mount St. Vincent, Halifax. Her employment history
included a position in the banking industry, teaching in Bermuda and then returning home in
1920 to work for a time at the Sheet Harbour Lumber Company. She followed in her father’s
footsteps by selling insurance. This was the beginning of a 50 year career with Royal Insurance
and as an agent for several other Insurance Companies. She continued to be active in her business
until her death in 1985.
Annie Eliza, as she was affectionately known, and Dr. Duncan MacMillan played a major
role in ensuring the Eastern Shore Memorial Hospital became a reality. Rumour has it that she
and Dr. MacMillan visited the local bank and personally signed a loan to secure the funds to
move the project along. Annie E. MacDonald then served as secretary of the Hospital Board for
26 years and secretary of the Sheet Harbour Consolidated School for 23 years. She was a member
of the Halifax County Library Board and was instrumental in having a Library established in Sheet
Annie’s personal generosity is legendary. At Christmastime her nephew, Bill Henley,
remembered being asked to help her on her annual “Christmas Run”. His chore was to drive her
car and was amazed at the load of turkeys, geese, ducks and vegetables she delivered to her
friends and customers all along the Eastern Shore. She and her secretary, Myrna McLellan,
would bake 30 or 40 Christmas cakes for the Christmas Run.
In 1933, Miss MacDonald organized a women’s political organization that consisted of
350 members. The goal was to secure the election of her cousin, Angus L. MacDonald, as
Premier of Nova Scotia. The bridge that bears his name is the first bridge to be constructed over
Miss Annie E. MacDonald is a legend along the Eastern Shore. Her name being spoken still
brings forth stories of her fierce loyalty to her insurance clients and her generosity to her
community as a whole.
Written by Judy Smiley, great-niece of Annie Eliza MacDonald. “Annie E.”
David Fraser – 1828-1878
David Fraser’s grandfather Alexander moved to Nova Scotia from Lochaber, Scotland in 1735. He landed in Pictou and received a Soldier’s Grant of 200 acres (Lot 58) from the Royal Garrison and moved to Sheet Harbour. He married Sarah Currie. David, Alexander’s grandson was born in 1828 in Sheet Harbour to the son of John & Mary (Lowe).
David was a Master Mariner and shipwright. In 1873 he built the Schooner “Peerless”. David had seven children and passed away sometime after 1878. He was the first Master of the Eureka Masonic Lodge.
Courtesy of the Sheet Harbour Heritage
Photo Courtesy of Eureka Lodge
ANTHONY (BOBBY) FARRIS
Anthony George (Bobby) Farris (1933-1983)
Bobby’s obituary relates the following information.
Bobby was president and general manager of Farris Trucking Ltd., since 1960. He was a member and elder of St. James United Church, and a member of St. James Men’s Club, Eureka Masonic Lodge #42, the Sheet Harbour Lions Club and the Sheet Harbour Volunteer Fire Department. (“He was always providing free equipment for whatever was needed.” – Interview with Anthony)
(The following is an interview with Anthony Farris, son of Bobby, and Penny, daughter).
“My earliest memory is going with Dad on the truck, standing on the seat. We could be going anywhere- to a gravel pit or to the garage for repairs and maintenance. (Mom used to tell the story of Dad taking me to the garage and I fell asleep in the back window. Greg Coady called Mom and asked, “Are you missing a son?” She replied, “No, he’s with Bobby.”
Dad let me drive the front-end loader when I was 6 or 7. I had to stand up to see over the dash. He used to put me in the vehicles to steer when he was towing them up over the bank (after an accident). He had me driving anything- truck, car, machinery. I liked that.
I went to fires with Dad (had to stay in the car at Harry Hussey’s fire.) We went to Don Spears’ Lunch fire and Dad and I cut a hole in the ice of the harbour for water. Man, it was cold! I wasn’t allowed to go to the forest fire in the Liscomb Game Sanctuary, but Dad was there with his machinery and truck.
It was never beyond Dad to buy strangers’ meals or train tickets.
Dad use to pick up kids and their parents and take them to the beach or Salmon Hole for a picnic. Dad would see cyclists travelling through, and on rainy days, he would bring them up to the house, feed them and give them dry clothes. Dad would buy a 50 lb. bag of corn for a corn boil. Then he would go to pick up kids and people off the street to come.”
“He taught us how to drive snowmobiles at a young age. I remember walking back in the woods…….. I remember going on the trucks, too, for a “work day”. He liked to surprise Mom with gifts (BIG GIFTS) for special occasions, like Christmas. He took us all to MT&T, to “give the bills to Mary Faulkner.” I used to drive the car back and forth to the garage. (And I almost backed into another car- and that’s how I learned to use the mirrors.”) (Penny Farris)
Another story was told by a member of the community that Bobby and Dolores provided for a single mother when she in need.
Dennis Wayne Sharpe May 8, 1940 -2016
Born May 8, 1940 in Antigonish to Beulah (Moser) and Lewis Sharpe. Dennis got his early education in Moser River taking Grade 12 with another student at the former IOOF Hall with Marie Miller as their teacher.
Upon completing Grade 12, he went to Halifax to obtain work. He worked at Imperial Oil Ltd for six months and then found employment with the Federal Government at HMC Dockyard in Halifax. He worked at the Dockyard for 35 years retiring in 1995.
Upon retiring he moved back to Moser River where he became involved with community organizations. He was the President of Moser River and Area Historical Society, Secretary of the Moser River Board of Trade, a member of the Moser River Community Centre where he organized the parade for Moser River Days. He was a member of the Riverside Cemetery Committee and a member and Trustee for the former St. Andrews United Church. He was Secretary/Treasurer for the Moser River CAP site which operated from the back room of the Post Office for 10 years and in later years from the McMann House. He was also involved in the Wednesday night Music Night at the community Hall.
Douglas St. Clair Murphy March 16, 1920- August 10, 2010
The children of Doug Murphy nominate our father for consideration for the Sheet Harbour Heritage Project.
Doug was born, raised and lived his 90 years in Sheet Harbour. He instilled in his family the importance
of honesty, respect and the act of giving.
In 1944 Dad enlisted in the RCAF and on June 12, 1944 Cpl Douglas S Murphy left from South Hampton,
England and on June 13, 1944 he disembarked at Arramancher, France under a smoke screen and heavy
gun fire. For the following 18 months, our father along with many Nova Scotian’s and Canadians fought
so we would live in a country free of war. He was in a squadron of Spitfires the Red Indian (421)
Squadron. He was a mechanic/truck driver, responsible for ensuring the planes were prepared for flight.
He and members of his squadron would set up and take down mobile air strips, always moving. He kept
a diary of the events of those 18 months. Documenting the fear of his first night on the beach with
artillery fire all around him, writing he tucked his head under a blanket and prayed. They slept in slit
trenches and with the noise of gun fire all night it was impossible to sleep until you fell over with
exhaustion. To keep motivated he writes they practiced the old slogan” a cannuck goes to the
continent.” He travelled through France, Holland and Germany setting up and taking down the air strips.
He wrote of “driving through those great battle fields where the Canadians have written their names in
blood which the people around these parts have never forgotten.” He wrote of a visit to his field camp
by P M Churchill who spoke with the men and told them “they should be proud to come from the great
Dominion of Canada.” He was very proud of his country and community.
He returned to Nova Scotia on the Queen Elizabeth departing England December 22, 1945 to arrive in Halifax December 28, 1945. Upon his return to Sheet Harbour his commitment to others continued. He established Murphy’s Taxi as owner/operator. He provided transportation to the citizens of the Eastern Shore. He drove the doctor to the homes of the sick and dying; drove the sick to Halifax travelling in all kinds of weather, day and
He married Ruth Walsh in 1952 and moved to their home in East River. In 1957 he was given the
opportunity to work with Canada Post and was Post Master for the Sheet Harbour area until his
retirement in 1985. He never missed a day of work, walking from his home in East River to Sheet
Harbour office when roads were unfit/impassable from snow/ice.
Doug was a member of the Sheet Harbour Board of Trade from 1959-1978, acting as Secretary-Treasurer
from 1961-January 1969. He was a lifelong member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 58 and was
President from 1965-66. Lifelong member of St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, Sheet Harbour. He
volunteered his time to all three organizations. Volunteered at the Bingo, picnics, bizarre’s. He and his
wife, Ruth, faithfully volunteered at the weekly Legion Bingo, selling Bingo cards, calling Bingo. He was
the “Door Man” at the events at St. Peter’s Hall which he continued to do until his failing health would not permit this. He was a Cub Leader with Scouts Canada. He was involved in the organization of the
Olympic Torch Relay in Sheet Harbour in 1987.
Dad and Mom raised 10 children and he ensured that we all knew the importance of Community and
Volunteers. Dad loved baseball. He played as a young man and in 1957, along with Murray Cottell, he
organized the Sheet Harbour Little League, which progressed throughout the years and to this date
there is still a strong presence of baseball in the community of Sheet Harbour. This was Dad’s passion.
He taught these boys the art of the game, to be respectful to their sport and to others- on and off the
field. He was fair but strict. No fooling around on his field- safety first. Every week he would pick up
every child who wanted to play ball from East River to Sheet Harbour and drive to the ball field located
in Hail’S field and later to the Rockets Field, Church Point. His station wagon would be full and in later
years it was his van. He would coach each child, giving pointers, encouragement. It didn’t matter if you
could hit or throw you were still a part of the team. His motto was to have fun and if you won the game-
well that was an added bonus.
He coached many young men in our community and to date many of these men will speak of Dad’s contribution to their life. There’s always a “ball story”. He continued his passion as an umpire in the current co-ed league until the age of 85. When he could no longer stand that long to ump a game he handed his ball counter over to his son Doug, and he took his place sitting in his van watching every game, still giving pointers to the players who would stop by the van to say “HI”. He was proud to see his children, grandaughters, grandsons carry on his passion for the game. He was also proud to see the children of all the children he drove to the games and coached grow to be respectful human beings. It made him proud and he made us proud. He attended the games until his end which was a true dedication to community and the importance of volunteers.
Written by the children of Doug Murphy.
Duncan St. Clair Crowell January 15, 1931-November 11, 2011
Duncan was born and raised in Malay Falls. He obtained his early education in a one room school house. During his teen years Duncan was employed in the pulp wood camps and was a hunting guide, escorting hopeful hunters through the woods in Malay Falls. He moved to Dartmouth in the 1950’s and was employed with NS Power reading meters; Jacobson Clothing Store in charge of collections; and weekends and nights at Dartmouth Funeral Home. During his stay in Dartmouth he organized the first chapter of Big Brothers in Dartmouth and was the Founder and President of this organization from 1968-1969.
He returned to Sheet Harbour with his family in 1970 at which time he purchased the Funeral Home and Ambulance Service. In 1974 he obtained his Funeral Director and Embalmer license. He owned and operated DS Crowell & Son Funeral Home from 1970 until his death in 2011. He owned and operated Crowell’s Ambulance Service from 1970-1997. Duncan provided employment for many during those years. In the early years of his business his employees were young men attending school and working. His employees throughout the years were local men and women and many of them continue to be employed with EHS to date. Duncan was very hands on in his company, transporting thousands of people to hospital and by providing excellent care and support to all. He taught Standard and Emergency First Aid along the Eastern Shore for many years. He provided personal compassionate care to many families of the Eastern Shore.
Duncan was a member of the Sheet Harbour Board of Trade from 1975-2011 holding the position of
President from 1975-1980. He was a Master Mason in the Masonic Lodge, a member of the Sheet
Harbour Lions Club; an Elder in St. James United Church, Lochaber Mines; past member of the Eastern Shore Memorial Hospital, and Duncan MacMillan Nursing Home Board. He was instrumental in the organization and building of the Sheet Harbour Pool, Beaver Canoe Club and Playland Park.
He instilled in his family the importance of respect and compassion which was a part of his daily life. He led by example providing care and compassion to all the families he encountered. He supported his community both professionally and personally.
Helen Lula Phylis Pinfield February 16, 1927 -2016
Helen was born on Snow’s Island, Harrigan Cove 16th February 1927.
Helen moved away at a young age to Windsor, Ontario. She worked at Elwood casino as a waitress
and served such greats as Uberace, Dean Martin and John Wayne. Helen moved back home to Sheet
Harbour, where she enjoyed the things she loved most. She was an avid fisherwoman, and loved nothing
better than spending time along the river banks of Sheet Harbour.
Helen owned and operated the old restaurant – pool hall in Sheet Harbour. She served some of the
best food in the town. Helen enjoyed cooking and baking and gave away more than what she kept.
Helen also volunteered her time greatly to the area and never looked for anything in return. Helen was a
member of the RCL Sr. #58 Legion, Sheet Harbour and called it her branch. Helen started what the Legion calls muffin morning on Wednesday’s where members and the public could come in and enjoy her cooking and conversation. On every new years levee the Legion serves what we call Helen’s famous moose milk.
Helen was a member of the New Horizons for Seniors Sheet Harbour, where again she baked and
cooked for her members. Helen donated a lot of time to the seniors group over the years and when they
moved to the Legion she donated a stove and fridge for the kitchen. [We call it Helen kitchen.]
Helen every week would bake cookies or muffins and deliver them to the RCMP station in Sheet
Harbour something she did out of the kindness of her heart. Helen donated a lot to all of Sheet Harbour
and was a great friend to have at your side.
Howard Coady – March 10, 1912- February 2, 2002
I would like to nominate my father Howard Coady to be included in one of the volunteers honored on the banners along main street Sheet Harbour, not only because he was my father but he was truly one who gave back to his community in many ways, even though he had a busy job as a Halifax East Forest Ranger from 1947 – 1976, he found time to volunteer.
In 1935 Howard was one of the first volunteer firemen to form the Sheet Harbour Fire Department and remained a member until 1970.
Also in 1935 he was one of the first members of the Sheet Harbour Board of Trade and a past chair. He remained active until the 1980’s.
Howard was a lifelong member of the Knights of Columbus; a lifelong member of the Sheet Harbour Lions Club; past chair and volunteer with the Sheet Harbour and area Red Cross Society; and a lifelong member of St. Peters Catholic Church and he received the Archbishops medal for his service to the church. He was also a member and past chairs of the Eastern Shore Memorial Hospital board;
A member and past chair of the the Duncan MacMillan Nursing Home board; a member and past chair of the Duncan MacMillan High School Advisory council; and a member of the Sheet Harbour Boy Scout Group Committee.
Howard was a local historian who in 1988 wrote and published the book “Sheet Harbour History, from the notes of an old woodsman”.
Written by son Michael Coady
Submitted by LEA Place Women’s Resource Centre
Eastern Shore Learning Opportunities for Women, ESLOW, was established in April 1982 by a dedicated group of local women who saw and experienced the needs created by poverty and isolation. Among the founding members was Margaret “Margot” Comeau Metcalfe.
Born Marguerite Marie Comeau, in Saulnierville, Digby County, in 1923, she was a tenth generation Acadian whose ancestors settled in Port Royal in the 1630s. Her father was a prominent local businessman, and Margot grew up in a bilingual household, in a predominantly francophone community. As a young woman, she studied with ceramist Alice Hagen before taking home economics at l’Université de Montréal. In 1943, she started working for the Nova Scotia Department of Education, under Mary E. Black, to teach weaving around the province. In the course of that work she met her future husband, David Metcalfe, a native of Glace Bay, whom she married in 1946. Together they raised three children, Margot, Billy and Robin. David’s work in mining, surveying and construction kept the young family on the move, across Nova Scotia, Ontario, Massachusetts, Washington State, Newfoundland and New Brunswick. Margot worked regularly outside the home, starting in the mid 1960s. Putting to use her formal training in home economics and crafts, she quickly established herself in a number of responsible positions, teaching special-needs students in St. John’s, NL before becoming provincial director of Red Cross Youth in New Brunswick in the late 1960s, and then head of occupational therapy at the Abbie J. Lane Memorial Hospital in Halifax in the early 1970s. She left that position to follow David’s work to the Sheet Harbour area, where they lived on Sober Island before purchasing a home in Sheet Harbour Passage.
Chronic ill-health led to David’s death, at 57, in 1982. Margot was devastated by the loss. Never one to be idle, however, she practised several arts and crafts, notably sewing, crochet and rughooking; was a regular participant in the annual Topshee Conference in Antigonish; and became active in organizations concerned with the health and education needs of rural women.
In April 1984 Margot was hired and shared the responsibility of the Coordinator’s position in setting up a resource centre. On January 31, 1985 LEA Place Women’s Resource Centre was officially opened. LEA means a meadow or green pasture, a place to grow; a place for women to Learn, Enjoy and Achieve. LEA Place is a non-profit community-based organization that provides direct service and programs to women, adolescents and youth.
Over the years, Margot worked and volunteered at the Centre to provide a safe and supportive environment at the women’s centre. Margot was among the many women in the province who were involved in the founding of the Women’s Action Coalition of Nova Scotia and Women’s Centre Connect, the provincial association of women centres.
Margot’s dedication to the women’s movement helped shape and define the women’s movement in our area, especially the women who were often marginalized in our rural communities. Margot was someone who was attuned to the needs of others and helped create a vision of new hope and possibilities for the women in our community for generations to come.
Without a doubt, Margot would not have expected to be celebrated as a woman of courage and vision. Yet, she demonstrated the courage to pave new paths, to push past what was considered safe or appropriate at the time and in doing so. She created an expanded vision for the LEA Place that was possible for all of us to achieve and build upon, for which we are thankful.
Her vision was for the rights of women, believing that all human beings should be treated with equal justice and respect. Margot is remembered as an active, vibrant woman, committed to her work for women’s rights. LEA Place will treasure Margot’s memory and her dedication, not only to her tireless effort and passionate work on behalf of women, but to the dignity and hope she helped to restore to many women’s lives.
In honor of Margot’s passion for education, whether formal or informal, LEA Place Women’s Resource Centre decided to dedicate, to LEA Place’s founding mothers, the Duncan MacMillan High School Annual Bursary to a young women entering post-secondary education.
PEARL HALL LOWE
Pearl Hall (Rutledge) LowE – Born August 26, 1898 – Died January 5, 1992
Pearl was born on August 26, 1898 in Sheet Harbour to Alice (Hall) and John Rutledge. In her early years before she married she taught school in the community of Moosehead. She married William (Bill) Alexander Lowe on December 23, 1919 in the Spry Bay Anglican Church. Bill and Pearl built their house in Watt Section where the# 374 road is now. They were pioneers in the lumbering business, having a portable saw mill and over the years operated many lumbering camps employing many local people and people from overseas (Poland, Czechoslovakia, and more countries) during and after the war over the years.
Pearl was very much involved in community activities. She was organist in the Anglican Church in Watt Section for over 50 years. She gave piano lessons to many children over the years. She held the office of treasurer and secretary for the Anglican Church for many years. She also worked for the Red Cross raising money for The Hospital Auxiliary and The Nursing Home. She would sew, knit and crochet for the church picnics. She also did the cooking in the lumber camps for the men, and some winters she stayed in all winter with her children when they were young. In the spring she would bring out all the wool blankets and make a fire outside with a large pot of water and boil the blankets to clean and sterilize them for the next season which helped control diseases and viruses.
She was a long time member of The True Blue Lodge, a women’s group who did a lot of unnoticed community work. During the war a priest from Halifax called the priest in Sheet Harbour requesting homes for some British Sailors. A British ship had come in and they wanted to give the men a bit of a break while the ship was in port, and give them some home life. Pearl took several of these men over the war years, the community had dances for them and took them to Taylor’s Head for picnics, I have pictures of these sailors with Pearl. They were not allowed to tell their families where they were, however Pearl would get their wives or mother’s addresses and she would write them a
letter saying that John, or George whatever their name was and she would say that they had visited for a few days. That way the families knew that they were in Canadian waters. She heard from the men and their families for years after and they often exchanged Christmas gifts.
She also worked helping raising donations for the Home for Children, an orphanage, in Truro, I remember as ‘a small child going at Christmas time to deliver packages for the Children from the Church, but I don’t remember the name of it. She was also an avid flower gardener and she provided the community with flowers for weddings, funerals and also church supper tables.
Pearl worked for her family, the lumber business, her church and her community all of her life. I believe that these women who worked in the shadows of others deserve to be remembered and recognized for their contribution to their communities. Grandmother Pearl Hall Lowe as an unsung hero, and a woman who helped build the community of Sheet Harbour.
Written by granddaughter Sue Henry.