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My Prince Edward Island Family History

Until a few years ago I had never heard of Margaretta Jackson, even though she was my Great Great Grandmother. I knew nothing about my family from Prince Edward Island except that they were MacKinnons that came over from Scotland. I knew nothing of the Jacksons, Whites or Moores, or any other family names that I have since come across during my research. I have found many wonderful relatives in PEI and Canada who have given me piles of fascinating information, photos etc and this poetry has given me an insight into what life was like in the late 19th, early 20th century PEI and I felt I must share it with everyone. After reading it I really felt I actually knew Maggie even though I had never even met her and she never knew I existed despite my being eleven years old when she died. I am also extremely thankful to Harry Johnston for gathering together Maggie's poems and photographs, as without him doing so I probably would never had known her as I do now. I hope you enjoy these poems as much I have.

You Tell What You Are

You tell what you are by the friends you seek.
By the very manner in which you speak
By the way you employ your leisure time
By the use you make of your dollar and dime.

You tell what you are by the things you wear
By the spirit in which your burdens you bear
By the kind of things at which you laugh
By the records you play on the phonograph.

You tell what you are by the way you walk
By the things of which you delight to talk
By the manner in which you bear defeat
By so simple a thing as how you eat.

By the books you choose from the well filled shelf
In these ways and more you tell on your self
So there isn't really a bit of sense
In any effort of self pretence.

Today

Today I will do all I can
To make myself a better man
Ill help a neighbour on his way;
Ill do a kind deed, and ask no pay,

Today I will try to improve my living
By being tolerant, kind and forgiving:
I'll live a life that to others will be
An example of love and charity.


Today I will do all I can
To make others happy and smile again,
In helping others, I will help myself
To find a life of happiness

Cottage By The Sea

I was born in P.E. Island, the garden of the Gulf;
I played there on the seashore, a happy little elf.
But, Oh! The years fly swiftly by how well I remember the day,
When I told my loving parents that I was going away.

I went to America, as many girls had before;
I got work as a housemaid, and did the humblest chore.
I cried myself to sleep at night how lonely one can be,
When far away from the folks you love and the Cottage by the sea.

I've travelled over America, and foreign lands too;
They all have wonderful attractions which might appeal to you
But now I'm at the Island how happy I will be,
To spend my summer vacation in the Cottage by the sea.

The folks I've loved have passed away;
Strange children play on the shore they build their castles in the sand,
As oft I did before; they dream their dreams
Of many things, not knowing what the future brings.

My home is now in California, many thousands of miles away;
This is my farewell visit for, I'm eighty-two today.
So, farewell to Point Pleasant the place so dear to me,
And to all my loving memories of the cottage by the sea.

Written August 1961

Myself

I have to live with myself, and so
I want to be fit for myself to know.
I want to be able as time goes by
Always to look myself in the eye.
I don't want to stand with the setting sun
And hate myself for the things Ive done.

I don't want to hide on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself,
And fool myself as I come and go
Into thinking that no one else will know
The kind of a man I really am
I don't want to cover myself with sham.

I want to go out with my head erect
I want to deserve all men's respect.
Here in this battle for fame and pelf
I want to be able to like myself.
I don't want to look at myself and know
That I'm bluster and bluff and empty show.

For I cannot hide myself from me
Nor from my God who loveth me
And knoweth all I say and do,
So to HIM I would ere be true.
I want to live so honestly
That He will be well pleased with me.

You don't have to tell how you've lived each day,
You don't have to say if you work or play.
For a wondrous barometer serves in its place,
However you live, it will show in your face.

The sin and deceit that you wear in your heart
Will not stay inside where it first got its start.
A hypocrite's smile is a thin veil of lace;
What you have in your heart will show through your face.

If your life is unselfish, if for others you live,
Not for what you can get but what you can give,
If you live close to God in His infinite grace,
You don't have to say so it shows on your face.
in your face.

Mack's Garden

This summer on the island
it surely was a flop
It rained and rained every day
we thought it would never stop

Mack kept working in his garden
the diggin' it was slow
But he put in lots of fertilizer
as that would make it grow.

At last it was finished
and everything looked fine
Then he waited patiently
to see if the sun would shine.

Eventually the plants came up
all in a nice straight row
So he added some more fertilizer
just to help them along you know.

But when we went out next morning
it was a heart-breaking sight
The fertilizer was so strong
it burned them all that night.

So he started in next morning
and dug it over once more
Altho his hands were blistered
and his back was very sore.

Now our gardens growing
we have vegetables to eat
So all we want for dinner
is some of Ellies meat.

Mack thought his troubles were over
but oh! What a riff
When he went out next morning
everything was frozen stiff!

Today the sun is shining
but the garden is no more
So we will go back to San Diego
and buy it all in the store.

1963

The Vessel Belle

I was just a small little country girl,
From P.E. Island shore.
My Father was a Sea Captain
On the waters I adored.

So when I reached the age of ten,
My Father said to me,
"You are now a big girl, Maggie,
You may come on this trip with me."

At first my Mother hesitated,
Then said that I may go,
So I threw my arms around Daddy
Because I loved him so.

Soon we were sailing out towards the light
Oh, how I loved the ocean when no land was in sight.
Then I could stand by Daddy
And watch the waves at night.

And when we were safely into port
Once more he would say to me,
"Now get dolled up, Maggie,
And well see what we can see."

We would go to the Salvation Army
I loved the music so;
Then we might go shopping,
Or sometimes to a show.

And soon the vessel was unloaded
And loaded up once more,
And everything was ready
To start for home once more.

It was late in the season
And Christmas was very near
On that December morning
But the sky was good and clear.

Soon we were underway and sailing out once more
Thinking of all the gifts we had put in store
For Mother and the other folks
When they would meet us at the shore.

But we had not sailed very far
When the winds began to blow
And then we struck a hurricane
With hail and sleet and snow.

Soon the sails were frozen stiff,
They could not make them low
So they cut away two top sails
And also a jib or so.

The storm it raged all through the day
At evening Father came below
And put me safely in the bunk,
The vessel was rolling so.

He got a heavy blanket
And tucked me in good and tight,
Now, he said, "you go to sleep
and dont be afraid tonight."

But I stayed awake all through the night
And prayed to God that He -
Would take us safely home again,
Out of that raging sea.

My brothers feet were frozen,
And so were some of the crew;
But my Father stood behind the wheel,
To pilot the vessel through

They fought the storm all through the night
And when daybreak came once more,
We found we were entering the harbour
Near Murray River shore.

We put the flag at half-mast
So folks on shore would see
That we were having trouble
After battling the heavy sea.

Soon we saw them shove a boat
Over the ice and snow.
To get to the open water
So that they could row.

They took the frost bitten men ashore;
I also had to go,
But I did not want to leave Daddy
There in the ice and snow.

But he said, Now you just run along,
Ill be cosy as can be,
When I get the fire aburning
And have a mug of tea.

They took us to their homes that night;
I remember to this day,
How they put their feet in tubs of snow
To draw the frost away.

The next day it was nice and fine
And we set sail once more,
And soon we were safely landed
At home quite near the shore.

Mother had a big Plum pudding;
The goose was roasting slow;
She knew we would be home for Christmas
Even if the winds did blow.

They say I am a dreamer
But I can not sleep at night,
I make up these verses
Just to keep my memory bright.

But now Im on the island
I can reminisce once more
Of all the things that happened
For now Im eighty-four.

1962

Margaretta S. MacKinnon (nee Jackson)
Margaretta S. MacKinnon (nee Jackson)
Photo of Maggie sent in by Gary and Gloria Llewelyn

The Difference

I got up early one morning
And rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish
That I didn't take time to pray.

Problems just tumbling about me
And heavier came each task;
Why doesn't God help me?, I wondered.
He said, But you didn't ask.

I wanted to see the joy and beauty -
But the day toiled on grey and bleak;
I wondered why God didn't show me,
He said But you didn't seek.

I tried to come into Gods presence,
I used all my keys at the lock;
God gently and lovingly chided,
My child, you didn't knock.

I woke up early this morning
And paused before entering the day;
I had so much to accomplish
That I had to take time to pray.

Never Give Up

Never give up if it's worth the doing
Never give up if the end be right,
If it's a purpose thats worth pursuing,
Go for it, morning and noon and night.

Never give up though your best friends drop you,
Saying that only a fool keeps on.
If it be worthy, let nothing stop you
Stick to your cause till your strength is gone.

Never give up how so oft you blunder,
Failure is part of a mans career.
Sink if you must, but dont stay under,
Keep a stout heart and persevere.

Out of their failures and sharp distresses,
Out of the swamps of despair and doubt,
Brave men have come to their best successes,
Never give up while your strength holds ou

For Alice On Her Wedding Day

You were my little Granddaughter
With freckles on your face
You thought they made you homely
But remember, I said You know those are beauty spots
Theyll disappear when you grow.

And now its Graduation, you are
beautiful I know
And a little white mouse tells me
Little Alice has a beau.

Next will be your wedding, so
Ive laid this gift away
And hope you will receive it
On your wedding day.

May you both be happy
As you travel lifes pathway thru
God bless you little Alice
We all love you.

Grandma MacKinnon

A Vacation Ends

We left P.E. Island in 1962, we thought we'd stop and visit the folks as we were passing through. Soon we were across by Ferry..we drove most all day..till we came to the Inspection at a place they call Calais...When the inspection was over..We started out again..to visit my sister who lived in Robbinston, Maine...She had just moved into her new house close by her son named Pete...his wife Edna brought us nice things to eat...We stopped with Lydia overnight..next morning she said to me..I think I'll ride along with you as far as Tewksburn...We did enjoy her company and the time went by real fast so next we stopped to visit the Stewarts who lived in Beverley, Mass..We stayed with them overnight and enjoyed our visit so..then in the morning we started out once more..to visit my son in Charlotte a thousand mile or more..that night we stopped in a motel and everything was neat..but..we rode twenty miles next morning to find a place to eat..Next night we arrived at Fennells..we were getting tired and sore..it was nice to see the children and visit with them once more..Next day was Sunday so we slept rather late but we had Blanches plane which was due to arrive at eight..we brought her back to Fennells..the time went swiftly by as they talked of all their childhood days when they lived in P.E.I..Next day Blanche went to the Garden Club..and shopping with Jo..then Fennell took us to dinner and to the Cinerama show..Our next stop was Georgia..so we started out once more and arrived at the Vans house shortly after four..They have a beautiful country home..to us it was a treat..they served us Southern dinner an oh! How we did eat..Again we stopped overnight and for breakfast the next day..they served us grits and sausage cooked the good old Southern way..We enjoyed our visit and they wanted us to stay...I have another son in Florida so soon we were on our way..We enjoyed our ride that day and arrived at Als quite late..he has a lovely home and his orange grove looked great..We stopped with him for several days..they would not let us go.. There were so many things to see and we enjoyed it so..but..at last we had to leave again..I bid a fond farewell to Al and Dan and Alice and his sweet called wife called Nell..Now..home to California...at last we are on our way.. We stopped at motels overnight and rode most all the day..As there were no more folds to visit as we rode along the way..We just enjoyed the country getting closer to home each day..Finally we were through Texas and only two more days and we would be in California my daughter for me to see..She lives in beautiful Woodland Hills..how I've missed her each day..during all the long six months that we have been away..At last we are at Aretas and happy as can be as we sit around the fireplace and sip our cup of tea. Now..down to San Diego..its good to be at home once more..so..well just rest and reminisce 'till its time to go back once more.

Untitled Poem

We spent a happy summer.down at MacInnis...in dear old P.E.Island...the place I will see no more. The folks were so nice to us...and tried so hard to please...so we would have a vacation...in that cottage by the sea. They brought us jams and jellies, their cookies were a dream. They even brought us strawberries and moreover, a quart of cream! My Doctor advised me when we left...to be careful of what I ate. Not to have any pastries...for that would increase my weight. We went to a turkey dinner up at St. Peter's Bay. I wish my good Doctor could only have seen that display. There were cookies by the dozen.plus cakes and pies galore...and they kept insisting that we should have some more. When we thought we had finished...the waitress then came by...and passed us strawberry shortcake with cream piled mountain high. I faked a minute...it was our parting treat...that even good St. Peter could not refuse to eat... as we left the party...we heard the people say I hope you enjoyed your dinner...come back some other day.

The women then decided that they ...would share a social in the good old fashioned way.

They sold hot dogs by the dozens...ice cream cones by the score, and Mack and Herb cooked french fries until their arms were sore. They passed them out in paper cups...More catsup they would say...and then the music started and the dance got under way. They danced until 2 O'clock...and then I heard the holler.This will be the last dance boys...there's work to do tomorrow. Soon the dance was over...and all were on their way...to get up early in the morning...to start to mow the hay.