As Fate Would Have It

Newport General Store, King's County, PEI

Newport General Store, King's County, Prince Edward Island

"As Fate Would Have It" is a story that I have written about my great-grandfather being lost at sea...and much more. The story was recently published, along with my illustration, in the current issue of David Weale's magazine RED - The Island Storybook. Boil yourself a good pot of tea, find your favourite reading nook and settle down with a copy. There between the magazine's covers, you'll find the Island's heartbeat along with a good dose of tears and chuckles.

In a strong gale, the schooner Halcyon went down near Souris November 6th, 1907, taking with it my great-grandfather and two others. Thinking about my great-grandfather, James Stewart, his wife Elizabeth (MacLean) and their son, my grandfather, Heath Stewart, I wanted to head down east, take some photos that could accompany the story and follow my great-grandfather's footsteps that fateful day so many years ago.

On the way down to the wharf, there was once a bustling General Store (pictured above) where my grandfather Heath would treat his children to candy. Sadly, as you can see in the picture, the old place is barely standing now. The roof has caved in since I saw it last summer.

The day we went, it was quite windy and cold. So very, very cold. The farther I walked out onto the wharf, the colder I got. The colder I got, the more I thought about my great-grandfather James and the two younger men with him. I prayed that the end had been quick for I couldn't imagine how cold those waters were. Shivering, I ran back to the warmth of the car.

Newport Wharf, King's County, PEI

Newport Wharf, King's County, Prince Edward Island

From there we drove to Woodville Mills to the lot where the house that James had just finished building once stood. A Stewart cousin owns the land still and has his home beside it. Across the road there stands a lovely, large green home where Elizabeth used to visit with the Fitzpatricks. Beautiful old trees line the drive. Elizabeth, affectionately called "Lizzie" and her friend Mrs. Fitzpatrick shared the same birthday. The two women were quite isolated so on their birthday they would celebrate by take turns going to each other's house for tea - once in the morning and then again after supper!

It suddenly occured to me that I had no idea where Great-grandmother Lizzie is buried so we journeyed over to my cousin's place (Preston and Lil Stewart) in Georgetown Royalty. Preston is my grandfather's nephew and he has generously shared photos, clippings and answered questions from time to time about our Stewart family. (The alterior motive, I must confess, was to hopefully sample some of Lil's baked treats :) I learned that Lizzie has no stone so Preston showed me a photo of her final resting place. With that image in mind, we drove through a patch of snow flurries into Cardigan, I jumped out of the car, ran across the graveyard and was able to easily locate her. In the photo I took below, she is between my grand-father's half-sister Hattie (white stone on left) and his brother Horace "Leigh" (the small grey stone to the right of Hattie's). My grandparents, Heath and Wilhelmine "Billie" Stewart, who lived in Montague on the top of the Wood Island hill between Doctor MacIntyre and the Church, are laid to rest in the Community Park Cemetery in Montague (technically Brudenell, I suppose, but I've always thought of it as being in Montague).

Elizabeth (MacLean) Stewart's resting place, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Cardigan, Prince Edward Island

And finally, I'd like to share with you the illustration I did for this story. My great-grandmother Lizzie is standing in the window with my grandfather Heath as the men head down to the wharf (artistic liberty taken here for it's quite a hike to the wharf from the house and I have no photos of Lizzie or my grandfather at this age.) My grandfather is not happy and doesn't care to watch them go. That's all I can say. You will have to pick up a copy of RED - The Island Storybook to find out more ;)

A Note of Thanks - I'd like to sincerely thank David (Weale) for his encouragement and support. I'd also like to thank family members for sharing their memories, information and for their support!

Please note that all content is © StoppenLook 2013

Comments

Hi Wilna, I am so intrigued

Hi Wilna,
I am so intrigued by your historical account. The pics make it all come alive for me. I can't wait to read your story in RED. I love your illustration:)

Thank you for your comment :)

It is always so nice to hear from someone who has enjoyed that which you have put your heart into.
I hope that you enjoy the story in RED. You will find many more historical details in that account.
Best wishes,
Wilna

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