Life as a Student: 100 Years Ago
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Most of Violet's growing up years were spent in a single parent family. When she was 6 years old, her mother died while giving birth. The baby died three years later; and soon after that, their housekeeper died.

Although Violet was able to live a "normal" life, her younger sister was only 4 years old when her mother died. This is probably why her sister struggled with long term emotional problems, and eventually wound up living in an institution in Ponoka, Alberta.

Violet's father was a Presbyterian minister, so his family experienced regular transfers to different towns in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. While Violet grew up, she had to adjust to not having a mother, to living with a number of different housekeepers, and to moving to a different town every three years. When she got older, she attended College and then began teaching school.

family 67 kb
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This is Violet's family:
John and Mabel, with Violet sitting on the right.


Violet's diary: 1900 - 1905


We begin with Violet living at home in

Alberton, P.E.I., Canada, just before she began

teaching at Carroll’s Crossing, New Brunswick.

She is now 20 years old.


Alberton, P.E.I.:
Thursday June 7. 1900
  I came home form P. W. [Prince of Whales] College Monday. . . .   Mr. Keilly asked me among other things what I am going to do with myself now. That is more than I know . . . .

I wonder if I shall ever write the last page of this book? If so, I wonder where I will be then? God only knows.



Alberton station 76 kb
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The Alberton train station.
Violet received this photo later in life as part of a 4 page Christmas Greeting booklet.

Tuesday, July 3, 1900. Last evening there was a party at Mr. Wilkinson's, and we had a fine time. We played charades with 6 on each side. Our side went out first and we took restoration. They had to give it up. They took misunderstood. We almost had to give up. They teased us about having so many school teachers on our side. At last I thought of it. When we got home Mabel told me she had it in half the time, but would not speak out. Just like her.


Carroll's Crossing, N.B.:
Oct. 17, 1900.
After many ups and downs, I am at last in charge of a school of my own. Last Friday I found out that Miss. Mersereau wanted a substitute and I agreed to take the place. I left yesterday morning . . . .

Friday, Oct. 19, 1900. My first day’s teaching is over. I had not very many adventures. I let the fire out in the morning, and forgot to put the windows up during physical exercises and recess. Will have any amount of room for improvement if I teach for the next hundred years. Had 14 scholars present. 25 enrolled.

Wednesday, Nov. 28, 1900. Mr. and Mrs. Holmes went to Fredericton and Mr. H. came home drunk. The train men dumped him on the siding, and he was there some time before we knew it. Miss Gilts, the girl Mrs. H. left in charge, and I went down and brought him home. When we got here, we found the house full of company. We got a fire in the parlor and got the company in there. Mr. H. had a bottle of whisky with him, and I ran down the hill with it and broke it against the fence. He was cross when they first told him, but he is glad now. He feels very much ashamed of himself this morning.

Friday, Nov. 30, 1900. Yesterday was one of the most exciting days of my life. At school at recess a man came along with a dog and set him and Bingo fighting. I asked him to part them and he refused. Then I made the children go in and take their places. Several of them were crying. Then I went out and told him that if the dogs must fight they were not to do it on the school grounds. After a while he left.

Dec. 5, 1900. On Sunday the man who set the dogs fighting came and apologized to me. Someone told him that I intended taking it to law, and I was determined to do so, but of course gave it up when he apologized. He seemed very sorry for it. I went there last evening, and had a good sing over it.


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