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Testimonies and Secrets

Testimonies and Secrets: The Story of a Nova Scotia Family, 1844-1977

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 336
  • Book Info
    Testimonies and Secrets
    Book Description:

    A story of vivid personalities and episodes, by turns sad, conflicted, joyful, bitter, funny and reflective,Testimonies and Secretswill be read with pleasure by scholars and general readers alike.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6702-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Illustrations and Maps
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-13)

    On 17 April 1872, twenty-seven-year-old John Will Crouse worked all day in the Burnaby mill on the Medway River near Liverpool, Nova Scotia. ʺIt was very cold,ʺ he wrote in his diary, ʺthe ground was froze hard and blowed a stiff breeze from the westerd.ʺ¹ In the evening, John Will and his friends ʺwas all to meeting to here something good.ʺ The sermon, from St Paulʹs letter to the Corinthians, was encouraging: ʺTherefore, if a man become a new creature in Christ, old things haf past away and all things become new.ʺ Six weeks later, John Will purchased ʺtwo lb....

  6. Prelude: Lunenburg and ʺCrouse town Mills,ʺ 1753–1844
    (pp. 14-31)

    John Will Crouse was forty-five years old in 1889 when he wrote in his diary, ʺMay the Lord hear and bless and save whoever may see these few lines.ʺ He had lived in Crousetown, Nova Scotia, all of his life, as had his ancestors since 1797. Their lives influenced his, and for that reason alone form part of this story. Historians worry about the problem of ʺoriginsʺ – where does one start without losing readers in the long ago. In this instance, a good place to begin is with Winthrop P. BellʹsThe ʺForeign Protestantsʺ and the Settlement of Nova...

  7. Chapter One Young Man on the Rise
    (pp. 32-59)

    John Will Crouse was born into a world reverberating with change. Great Britain pushed ahead with free trade policies and, responding to Lord Durhamʹs report, began the transfer of governmental responsibilities to British North America – Upper and Lower Canada and the Maritimes. The 1840s and 1850s were decades of economic growth – the golden era of wood and sail in maritime commerce, and the early decades of railroad-centred industrialism. Britainʹs negotiation of the Reciprocity Treaty with the United States in 1854 stimulated trade through the Civil War years. Maritime timber exporters struggled somewhat because they no longer received Crown...

  8. Chapter Two John Will Crouseʹs Village, 1871–1884
    (pp. 60-105)

    Crousetown still had an unfinished look, as its roads and houses showed. Rough and dangerous thoroughfares made it hard to get from here to there. Tree stumps in the roads were being gradually lifted out and sawed for shipʹs futtocks [ribs], but every spring, pot holes boiled up with a vengeance. Periodically, the roads flooded out, especially at the Wallaceʹs Bridge and Kissing Bridge crossings.¹ Both were perilous, especially Wallaceʹs Brook, where a Vogler child drowned one day. The main road from Petite village dropped steeply as it approached the dam from the south, resulting in some spectacular accidents over...

  9. Chapter Three The Family and Its World, 1880–1900
    (pp. 106-148)

    Ernest Bucklerʹs memoir of early-twentieth-century life in the Annapolis Valley could equally well describe John Will Crouseʹs village of a generation earlier. Even in its more prosaic entries, John Willʹs diary carries a sense of being ʺexactly opposite the present moment,ʺ yet always conscious of the ʺrushing sound of time.ʺ Within his world, staying ʺintactʺ was the victory, and the laurels of battle were to be found in instances of self-recognition ʺflashing through you like a shooting star.ʺ Buckler acknowledges both the force of approaching time and the ʺdreadful stillnessʺ of the past, but he focuses on those intermittent pauses...

  10. Chapter Four John Will Crouseʹs Autumn-time, 1898–1914
    (pp. 149-168)

    Family was at the heart of the matter. Within John Willʹs household, attention centred upon their only child Elvie, the delight of their lives. Fanʹs aspirations for an Anglican presence and elevated cultural life in the village also shaped family life. At the same time, as John Will grew older and slower, there were no strong young arms to help him in the mills and fields. Fan and Elvie regarded their projects in the passionate way of the younger generation, just as John Will, firmly ensconced in the ʺpriesthoodʺ of the middle-aged, sighed ʺtwice-deepʺ as he came to see that...

  11. Interlude: Crousetown in an Era of War and Depression
    (pp. 169-190)

    John Will Crouse died on 25 May 1914, two months before the outbreak of the Great War in Europe. His diary, the principal window into his life and times, had grown faint in his last years, but new voices were rising to carry the story of the family and the place forward. The contributions of village residents are a distinguishing element of the narrative of John Willʹs descendants. Through photography, letters, and recollection they bring the local past to life and set it amidst the changes wrought by two world wars and the cultural and economic upheavals that followed. Community...

  12. Chapter Five The Eikle Family and Harold, 1909–1943
    (pp. 191-224)

    The Eikle household, like others in Crousetown, was multi-generational; unlike most, there was only one child in the home. Even more unusual was the strange distribution of the generations within the household. In 1909, the year that Elvira (Elvie) Crouse married Edwin Eikle, her father John Will turned sixty-five and her mother Fan was forty-two. The 23-year gap between John Will and Fan was approximated by the 16-year difference between Elvie, 25, and her husband Edwin, 41. All members of the family had lived in Crousetown their entire lives; thus, Fan and her son-in-law Edwin had been schoolmates in the...

  13. Chapter Six A Familyʹs End, 1943–1977
    (pp. 225-258)

    The dilemmas facing the Eikle family following Fanʹs death in 1943 had a larger context. A recent history of the Maritimes concludes with a chapter entitled ʺThe Real Golden Age?ʺ¹ The question mark signified the two faces of change in the post-war era. Better roads, expanded health care and educational opportunities, combined with the appearance of new industries and occupations, led to a rising standard of living for some. Electric appliances lightened the workload, and for better or worse, radio, television, and movie theatres brought distant worlds to remote farms and villages. Women began to achieve equality in the workplace,...

  14. Postlude: Crousetown, 2007
    (pp. 259-262)

    The trees and rocks, the rivers and streams, the hills and valleys were there first, and they remain today as they were in John Will Crouseʹs day. The landmark Enos Rock on the hill behind the Crouse / Eikle house has been obscured by trees, yet its very presence still warns of the dangers lurking in the granite-laden soil as it pushes downhill. The old houses still stand along the roads, joined by newer, more ecological homes set back in the woods. The village school and the small grocery stores are gone, although the buildings that housed them remain. The...

  15. Appendices: Genealogies
    (pp. 263-268)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 269-300)
  17. Index
    (pp. 301-319)