History of School Street House
Much of this information was derived
from the Land Registry Office, PEI Public Archives, Island Register, University of Prince Edward Island and personal interviews with long time residents, friends and family.
The Old House
Since 1874, the Chain of Title of School Street House (#54) has included the following names -- Peter Desbrisay, Francis S. Chandler, Solomon Champion, Henry H. McFarlane, David & Vesta Brown, Alfred T. Bradshaw, Vernon J. & Josie Mae Howatt, Vera & Kathleen Wisener and currently the Barnes'.
On May 1, 1874-1885, Francis Shaidlow Chandler leased plot 14 part of Common Lot 25 (original designation for #54) in Charlottetown Commons from Peter Desbrisay son of the late Thomas Desbrisay ESQ. Chandler was married to Sarah Jane Mugford and their daughter's name was Gertrude Sara Jane. He was a city collector and Police Bailiff and later moved to 71 King St.
In 1885, the property was conveyed to Solomon Champion and his wife, Elizabeth (nee Matthews.) They had one son named Merrill. The Champions owned #54 until 1895. The Champions moved to Massachusetts where Merrill eventually graduated from Harvard and went on to become a well-published Doctor of Malacology.
Henry Havelock MacFarlane (often spelled McFarlane) owned School Street House from 1895-1919. His wife, Ida MacFarlane (nee Leslie) was an Educator and Homemaker. Henry was a Retail Decorator (interior decorating/upholstering/picture framing.)
His shop, MacFarlane and Co. was located at 169 Kent St., Phone 104C. Grandson John MacFarlane Anderson, recalls spending summers in PEI and describes his Grandfather as kind and soft-spoken.
John also remembers going with Henry's hired help, on occassion, on a two wheel horse drawn dump cart to deliver coal to customers. This coal was stored in a shed/stable area in a yard behind his store.
The MacFarlane children were, William "Billy" Havelock, James, Ann "Lyle", Emily Leslie, Henry John, Constance Ida, and Dora Isabel. During restoration work conducted in 2006, the signatures of MacFarlane children were found on a plaster wall in a bedroom.
Around 1915, it is believed that Henry MacFarlane's eldest sister, Elizabeth (widow of Hon. Dr. James Robertson), moved in to help keep house. In 1919, the MacFarlanes moved to a bigger place, the next street over (#87 Upper Prince.)
Annie "Lyle" MacFarlane
Henry's eldest daughter, Annie "Lyle" MacFarlane, married Dan Anderson and had two children, Elizabeth and John. Dan was born in Kensington, PEI although the two did not meet until they attended McGill University. In 1927, Lyle was the Assistant Superintendent of Maternity at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal.
Henry's youngest daughter, Constance (Connie) MacFarlane, went on to become a distinguished Scientist. Friends say that long-time companion, Evelyn Campbell, was a strong supporter and collaborator throughout Constance's career. Dr. MacFarlane was one of the first sustainable environmental scientists, an inspirational teacher and a beloved friend with an indomitable spirit.
Between 1919-1922, David Henry Gordon Brown, then Vesta Brown (nee Crockett) had the title of #54.
From 1922-1934, The Bradshaws owned #54. Alfred T. Bradshaw & his older sister, Rebecca E. retired to Charlottetown after farming in Bedeque (Bradshaw River). They were very involved at the First Baptist Church down the street. One of the Bradshaws must’ve been a painter as young neighbour Don Wonnacott remembers looking in the front screen door and seeing a painting in progress on an easel. Lyle, the little girl next door, recalls running errands for the Bradshaws. Another little girl down the street named Sally recalls how the Bradshaws gave out little boxes of candy and fudge to the children. These little boxes were originally used for yeast.
Vernon T. & Josie Mae Howatt (nee MacNeill) bought School Street House in 1935 although they never lived there but did reside on School Street at #36.
Catherine and Daniel "Hav" Wisener
Clifton Beauregard Wisener
The Wisener family rented the home for many years, purchased it in 1972 and lived there until 2005. There were five children in the Wisener family who were named Clifton Beauregard, Aphra Vivian, Vera Elizabeth, David Ross and Kathleen Frances. Their parents names were Daniel Havelock (Hav) & Catherine Wisener (nee Ross.) Kathleen, or Kaye, was the only child to have married (m. Vincent MacKinnon) although none of the Wiseners had any children.
Vera and Kathleen Wisener
David Ross Wisener
David Ross Wisener was a horse trainer and harness racing jockey at the Charlottetown Driving Park.
Aprha Wisener working in Hughes Drugstore
Vera worked for the Island Tel phone company. Aphra worked at Hughes Drugstore, Mabon Drugstore (Montague) and later at a publishing house in Ontario although she later returned to her beloved island. Kaye worked as a switchboard operator at the provincial sanatorium. The sisters loved to spend time on the front porch with their cat, Tuff Kitty.
Tuff Kitty was very famous as the big white cat with a grey tail on Walthen Drive (1987-2003.)
School Street or Walthen Drive as it is now known is located in an historic area known as the Charlottetown Commons. Before 1961, Walthen Drive was known as School Street and was so originally named because of the school across the street.
Alma & Helen Yeo, living at #20 School Street, wished to have the name changed to Walthen Drive. The Yeos submitted a petition and without any debate the name was changed at a council meeting. The street was named after A. Walthen Gaudet who was a lawyer and mayor of Charlottetown at the time. Walthen Gaudet owned and lived in Hillhurst House for years (corner of Hillsborough & Fitzroy) down the street from Walthen Drive.
The House Next Door - 1927
In the early part of the 1900s, School Street was a neigbourhood full of friendly, interesting and talented residents.
Around 1910 to 1945, names found on School Street included Capt. M.C. Allenby (# 82), W.L. Brenton (#82), Wm. D. Gillis (#80), Sam Kennedy (#78), Mr. Justice Arsenault (#78), C.D. Davis (#76), West (#76), Harry Hyde (#74), Seale (#72), Cudmore (#66), J.A. Lawson (#62), Louise Lawson (#62), Prowse (#62), Ernie & Fanny Farquharson (#58), Gus Mitchell (#57), Turner (#57), Raymond & Norah Rowe (#55), John. K. McKenzie (#50), Perry (#50), Alfred Affleck (#48), A.L. Howatt & son, Louis. H.D. Howatt (#44), Percy J. Landrigan (#40) and Vernon T. & Josie M. Howatt (#36), Byron Bowness (#34), Yeo (#20),Samuel Smith (#16), Huestis. During that same period of time at School Street House (#54) were the McFarlanes, Bradshaws and Wiseners.
Neighbour, Gladys on Marjorie the horse with
her Uncle, Alfred Affleck. Gladys was good friends
with Constance MacFarlane from School Street
The Farquharson family lived at 58 Walthen Drive from 1914 to 1994. The father, Ernie, was a Conductor on the Murray Harbour train. He and his wife, Fanny, raised nine children in that house. One of their daughters went on to raise her four children there as well.
Four generations of Howatts, Louis H.D., Alexander L., Louis H.D. Jr. and Brian
The Howatts resided at the big house on School Street, #44. Alexander L. and his son, Louis H.D. and grandson, Louis H.D. Jr. were painters, paperers and wood grainers. A.L. Howatt was a master grainer of distinction. His work on St. Peter's Church in Charlottetown is recognized in Irene L. Roger's book, The Life in it's Buildings.
Another son of Louis H.D. Howatt resided at #36: Vernon & his wife, Josie Mae Howatt. As noted above, Vernon & Josie owned School Street House for almost 40 years although they never resided there.
Prince Street School
Prince Street School was originally known as the Wesleyan Methodist Academy. It was built of brick and stone at a cost of $25,000. The Academy was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies on the 9th January, 1871. The Rev. George S. Milligan, A.M., occupied the chair on the occasion.
The school had 14 classrooms and an attendance of 600 pupils with 2 acres of land for playground.
Louis Howatt Jr. from #44 School Street relates that sometime around 1936, the attendance grew so large that boys were transferred to West Kent School, across town, for grade 6 and on.
Mr. Gus Mitchell was the resident caretaker at Prince Street School for many years. His residence (#57) was on the premises. His son, George, married a girl who lived across the street named Mary and they went on to have 3 daughters. Later on, Mr. Turner took over as caretaker at Prince Street School.
Long time School Street resident, Robert Farquharson advised that there used to be a cinder path (of ashes) from the Prince Street School to School Street. He also remembered the Haviland House and Haviland's Pond in front of the school and an apple orchard on the north side of the school grounds. Mr. Farquharson revealed that back in the 1920s and thereabouts, School Street did have sidewalks made of wood.
Grace Methodist Church
Affiliated with the School
The Building Committee was composed
of the following gentlemen:
William E. Dawson
Geo. R. Beer
The names of the superintendents
were as follows:
1871 William C. Trowan
1874 Charles Full
1877 John Dorsey
1879 John Beer
1881 George E. Full
1883 Lewis W. Goff
1885 Bartholomew Pickard
1886 George W. Ritchie
1888 Augustus Down
The first Board of Trustees
of the Academy were:
Mr. W.W. Anderson, first principal
Miss Robertson, first preceptress
STAFF OF TEACHERS FOR 1871-2
Wm. W. Anderson, Principal
Miss French, Preceptress
Professor Earle, Music Teacher
Miss Spencer, Assistant Music Teacher
Miss Reid, Teacher of Drawing, Painting,
Miss Narraway, Girls' Intermediate Department
Mr. Dickieson, Boys' Intermediate Department
Miss Mellish, Primary Department, 2nd Division
Miss Coles, Primary Department, 1st Division
Miss Spencer, Infant Class
UPPER PRINCE STREET CHURCH
1871 Rev. Robert McArthur
1873 Rev. William Penna
1874 Rev. Robert Crisp
1876 Rev. William Fielder
1877 Rev. George Steel
1879 Rev. George M. Campbell
1880 Rev. William Tippett
1882 Rev. J. W. Wadman
1883 Rev. S. H. Rice
1886 Rev. William Harrison
Prince Street Elementary School
All the branches of the Methodist family in Canada were united in 1883. The Academy was closed in 1876. The original structure was demolished in 1961 although the new Prince Street School (elementary public school) remains in operation today on the same grounds.