These historical anecdotes were all submitted by Eleanor Abbey. Eleanor is a great-granddaughter of R. W. and Mary Cecilia Shepherd and sister of the Late Marg Peyton, Greenwood’s first President of the Board of Directors.
Over the course of this “history lesson”, you will learn a bit about the five generations of people who lived in Greenwood.
Jean-Baptiste Sabourin first settled the Greenwood property in 1732. The original Sabourin homestead still stands and forms part of the house. The property remained in Sabourin hands until 1820. At that time, John Mark Crank Delesderniers purchased it. He intended it to be both a residence for his son, Peter Francis Christian, and a general store and trading post. In the 1840’s, it served as the first post office in the area. Greenwood was extended eastward on two occasions, in the 1820’s and again after 1860.
Greenwood remained in the Delesderniers family until Phoebe Nobbs Hyde passed away in 1994. Some notable family ancestors include R.W. Shepherd, the co-founder of the Ottawa River Navigation Company, Dr. Francis Shepherd, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University for many years, and Percy Nobbs, one of Canada’s foremost architects. A number of Delesderniers-Shepherd descendents still live in the Hudson area and continue to be involved with Greenwood.
The Sabourin Family Homestead
Greenwood’s story starts during the French Regime, around 1732. Pierre de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil, the second seigneur of the Vaudreuil seigneury, granted lot 16 to Jean-Baptiste Sabourin, a censitaire (or habitant) from Pointe Claire.
This land was approximately two fields wide and it extended from the shoreline of Lake of Two Mountains to what is today Route 342 (Harwood).
In return for his land, and protection by the seigneur, Jean-Baptiste Sabourin, as a censitaire, owed the seigneur a substantial fee. Jean-Baptiste had to provide a corvee (three or four days a year of unpaid work, such as land clearing, building, or helping with the harvest), plus annual rent. On top of those dues, he had to share a certain portion of both wood from his land, and fish caught off his shoreline.
Jean-Baptiste’s ledger was not clear yet, however. His seigneur was also entitled to a “milling right.” This meant that 1/14th of the grain Jean-Baptiste milled at the seigneur’s Vaudreuil mill would remain there.
With the above obligations probably weighing on their minds, Jean-Baptiste and his wife, Sarah Hanson, would have cleared some land and set up their homestead. As their farm progressed, they would have kept a few animals for food and clothing purposes. Their principal crops would have been corn, wheat, barley, buckwheat and oats.
Before we move on to details about the family home, there are some interesting side notes to slip into the story at this point…
Jean-Baptiste juggled two other demanding occupations during his lifetime. He was Captain of the Militia, second in command after the seigneur, for the Vaudreuil seigneury. Jean-Baptiste was also a trader. Over the winter months, as a coureur-de-bois, he would have secured several different types of animal pelts. The beaver pelt was especially lucrative as it was very popular with the Europeans during that period.
The Ottawa River, once known as “La riviere des Algonquins” and the major thoroughfare for the canoes of Nipissings, Algonquins, Hurons and Mohawks, became the trade route for the fur trade. In fact, not far from Jean-Baptiste’s lot, further up the river near Carillon, the French explorer Samuel de Champlain would have spent the night on shore. He was searching not only for beaver pelts but also an access route to China!
Hudson is fortunate to have a reminder of an old tradition started by another one of Canada’s most well-known explorers, Jacques Cartier. When Cartier sailed to Canada, he planted five crosses, in the name of the King of France, between Gaspe (1534) and Trois-Rivieres (1536). French Canadian lumberjacks similarly put up crosses along their routes. For them, the crosses served a religious purpose, along with marking possession of a territory. The wayside cross, located opposite of Greenwood, is a replica of the original from the 1870’s (which is now part of the Centre’s collection). It used to be located further east, near the current Willow Place Inn. Watch for it the next time, you drive past Greenwood on your way to or from Hudson’s commercial centre.
Jean-Baptiste and Sarah built a simple frame building. The main floor had a large fireplace as its focal point. This hearth would have been the center of activity for the household, from heating to cooking to washing. A steep stairway led to the sleeping quarters, with an attic above it. This was home for a family of ten children: Paul, Jean-Baptiste, Marie-Anne, Catherine, Catherine Laurette, Marie Elizabeth, Charlotte, Pierre, Elisabeth and Therese Amable.
By the time all the children were married, the Sabourins were considered “people of consequence.” Jean-Baptiste’s position as Captain added to their status in the community. The Sabourins and their descendants would live in Greenwood for almost a century.
The Fireplace Kitchen
In the last section, we learned a bit about Jean-Baptiste Sabourin and his wife, Sarah Hanson. Together they cleared “Lot 16” and built a homestead for their family of eight. Their modest frame building is the oldest remaining structure from the former Vaudreuil seigniory and the original section of Greenwood. It is also the focus of this part of the story. So step inside. We’ll go directly to the room known as the “Fireplace Kitchen.”
In Jean-Baptiste’s time, this would have been the main room of his home. The wide pine flooring, the slate hearth slabs, the rough ceiling beams and the impressive stone foundation are all the originals.
Through the doorway to the basement, you can see the thickness of the uneven floorboards. The basement also shows the original post and beam construction style. A steep narrow staircase leads up to the second story, which was probably used as sleeping quarters. Windows on the north side face Lake of Two Mountains, while the south ones face what is now Main Road of Hudson.
A large stone fireplace is the focal point of the room. The iron arms now sit idle but at one point, they would have supported a range of utensils. The hearth would have been a bustling household centre. Activities would have ranged from the preparation and cooking of meals, to the washing and drying of clothes, to the family’s sole source of heat. On frigid winter evenings, I imagine that the Sabourins must have sat as close as possible to the hearth.
A cast iron heating stove was inserted into the fireplace by Phoebe at one point. This stove, c. 1810-25, was probably made at Forgerie St. Maurice. It originally heated another part of Greenwood and dates back to the time of the Delesderniers family (c. 1850).
Near the front of the fireplace is a rocking chair. Phoebe, a professional actress, would sit in this chair when she was performing her Sarah Hanson monologue. How easy it must have been for her to slip into this role. After all, this was Sarah’s fireplace, where she spent much of her waking hours!
Standing in the centre of this room, you are struck by the variety of artifacts surrounding you. Unlike many other historic homes, Greenwood does not organize its rooms by date. Greenwood reflects its many transformations over five generations… a homestead, a trading post/general store, a post office, a summer home, a year-round residence and now a “family museum.”
As your eyes wander around the room, so many beautiful articles make you pause… the pine wall-mounted cupboard, the armless red rocking chair of Amelia Delesderniers (nee Rice), the pine corner armoire, the butter paddles, the iron cauldron, the flat irons, the blue and white Wedgewood tureen, the bear paw snowshoes, the arrowhead sash, the water colour paintings of Greenwood, the sleigh bells, the nautical copper lantern, the gold-upholstered regency sofa with horse-hair stuffing and the list goes on! No wonder the Fireplace Kitchen is a favorite spot for so many visitors!
During the summer months, Greenwood hosts house tours that include tea and goodies on the screened-in porch. The Fireplace Kitchen always ignites some interesting discussions about the who/what/why/where of its different artifacts. During December, this room takes its natural warmth and beauty to a higher level during Greenwood’s annual “Old Fashion Christmas” event. Put a spectacular Christmas tree, lovely decorations, hot mulled cider, music, reading performances, and friendly people altogether in the Fireplace Kitchen and you have something magical!
At this point, we will move our time machine to 1821. John Mark Crank Delesderniers acquired the property from the Sabourins. He sold it to his son, Peter Francis Christian, to house the family trading post. Next we will find out the reason why Peter’s wife, Amelia Rice, named the house “Greenwood Cottage” when they moved in 1824.
Mary Cecilia Delesderniers Shepherd
Mary Cecilia Delesderniers was the only child of Frank and Amelia Delesderniers and was born on February 5, 1826 at Greenwood. She spent her childhood here close to many relatives in the village, grandparents at Swiss Cottage, aunts and uncles and many cousins about the same age.
When she was 10, Mary Cecilia Delesderniers (also known as Mary) was sent to Montreal to Mrs. Wray’s small private school. (Mrs.Wray was the grandmother of Mrs. Hugh Allan) While in Montreal, Mary lived with a Mr. and Mrs. Trudeau. She spent several months each year at this school until she was 15. She returned home to Greenwood for the Christmas holidays and for the summers.
There are letters at Greenwood that Mary Cecilia Delesderniers wrote to her parents from school as well as some to her from her parents. Her mother’s letters are full of the ordinary day-to-day happenings at Greenwood – visits of relatives and friends, news of Mary’s cats, talk of new clothes, as well as advice about her studies, etc.
When she was 16, Mary met her future husband, Robert Ward Shepherd, for the first time. He had been working on steamers on the Ottawa River since 1837.
Robert Ward Shepherd
In January 1843, he was invited to join a group of friends who were driving by sleigh from Montreal to Chatham, then known as Cushing, near St. Andrews East where they were to attend a party at the home of Mr. Lemuel Cushing. They left Montreal on the morning of the 12th having arranged to spend the night at Greenwood. They arrived here about 8 p.m. and received a very hearty welcome from their host and hostess, Frank and Amelia Delesderniers.
At this time Captain Shepherd was introduced to his future wife, Mary Cecilia Delesderniers. He described her as a blooming girl of 16, very shy and hard to get acquainted with.
In his reminiscences, Captain Shepherd tells us that they danced all evening at Schneider’s Inn almost next door to Greenwood. Next morning they set out for Chatham, the Delesderniers having joined the party. They had their noon dinner in St. Andrews with Amelia’s father, Dr Abner Rice, and arrived at the Cushing’s home in time for tea. The reminiscences do not mention the party they were invited for, but we do know that they all stayed at the Cushing’s for a few days.
When they left to go back to Como, Captain Shepherd had the pleasure of Mary’s company in his sleigh – much to the annoyance of the other gentlemen, he says.
On their return to Greenwood, Captain Shepherd was invited to stay on for a couple of days. He had known the family from his several visits to Schneider’s Inn but until this trip he had never actually met Mary. After this, he often met the Delesderniers, including Mary, on their trips to Montreal and Frank had kindly invited him to stay at Greenwood with them whenever he had time to spare and assured Captain Shepherd that there was plenty of stable room for his horse.
During the next winter Captain Shepherd often had to travel to Carillon to make arrangements for the wood needed by the steamers for their next season and in the course of these trips he always stayed at Greenwood, both going to Carillon and on his return.
In 1846 Captain Shepherd was able, with a few friends to buy the steamer “Oldfield” which he was then in command of and so began a new steamboat company on the river which would be known as the Ottawa River Navigation Company. Once all these business affairs were settled, he spent Christmas with the Delesderniers and he and Mary made arrangements for their wedding.
Captain Shepherd and Mary Cecilia Delesderniers were married in St. James Church on February 8, 1847 – she was 21; he was 28. Mary’s wedding dress is still preserved at Greenwood as is his wedding vest.
Writing in his memoirs some 30 years later, Captain Shepherd wrote that they had yet to have their first serious disagreement and he felt that few couples had ever lived so long together so happily. He admitted that Mary often had cause to be annoyed with him but that her amiable disposition always won the day.
Captain Shepherd and Mary Cecilia had 10 children; all but one lived to adulthood. Their eldest son, Robert Ward Jr., was born in 1848 at Greenwood where they lived while Riversmead, their future home, was being built. All the other children were born at Riversmead, the youngest in 1868.
From Captain Shepherd’s memoirs and from the many letters we have from both of them, it seems that they were seldom separated and in later life took many trips together – spending holidays on the coast of Maine and in 1882 undertaking a prolonged voyage to England, Scotland and Europe.
After Captain Shepherd died in 1895, Mary Cecilia spent the summers at Riversmead surrounded by her married children and her many grandchildren. She continued to spend her winters in their house on Dorchester Street in Montreal. Mary had been left Greenwood and the Delesderniers property on the death of her parents and by this time all her married children had summer houses on the property. When Mary Cecilia Delesderniers Shepherd died February 6, 1901, her oldest son, Robert Ward Jr. inherited Riversmead.
Robert Ward Shepherd (Captain)
Robert Ward Shepherd was born on December 15, 1819 at Sherringham, Norfolk where his father had a small farm. He was the eldest son and fourth child of John Shepherd and Esther Ward. He had three older sisters and one younger as well as four younger brothers.
(Please note… much of the information about the early life of Robert Ward Shepherd comes from his memoirs which he wrote in 1877 at the age of 58. Unfortunately they only tell the story to 1860 so that details of the next 35 years of his life are rather sketchy although we have quite a few letters both to and from his family.)
In 1830 when Robert was eleven, his family immigrated to Canada. They sailed for Quebec on July 26th, arriving there on October 8th – a 2 ½ month trip on a very uncomfortable sailing ship. Their mother who had spent weeks preparing all the food they would need on the voyage, took to her berth as the ship began to pitch and roll and remained there until they reached Quebec.
She never really recovered and died at Quebec the following summer. Robert’s father was left with nine children – the oldest a girl of fifteen and the youngest, a one-year-old baby.
After his wife’s death, John made his way to Montreal with all the children except Robert and his sister Mary who stayed with friends in Quebec for another year. In 1832, Robert Ward Shepherd joined his father in Montreal and since he was the eldest son, he was expected to work. He was not quite thirteen. For the next few years he had a variety of jobs which he describes in his memoirs.
Several of these were in different hotels in Montreal where he learnt a great deal about bookkeeping. By the time he was seventeen, he was head clerk at the Ottawa Hotel and his salary for the first year was $9. a month. The second year, it rose to $12.
It was while he was working at the Ottawa Hotel that Robert Ward Shepherd met a young man who worked on a steamer based at Lachine. The possibility of getting such a job appealed to Robert and so he applied to a forwarding company that owned 13 steamers running between Montreal and Kingston via the Ottawa River and the Rideau Canal. He was hired to work on the steamer “Ottawa” under Captain Robins of Cavagnal.
Robert was eighteen. After three years on this steamer and seeing little chance of advancement, he looked for another job and soon was hired by another company – this time to take command of one of their steamers, the “St. David”.
Ottawa River Navigation Company
Within a few years he was given command of one of their larger steamers, the “Oldfield”, and in 1846 when this company decided to move their business from the Ottawa River to the St. Lawrence, Captain Shepherd was able to buy the “Oldfield” having raised the necessary 5000 pounds. This was the beginning of the Ottawa River Navigation Company in which Captain Shepherd played such an important role.
For the next 60 years the company owned and operated about 20 steamers both passenger and freight on the Ottawa River. Until 1853 Captain Shepherd commanded one of the steamers and after retiring from active steamboating, he became General Manager of the Company and later President, a position he held until his death in 1895.
In 1847, Robert Ward Shepherd married Mary Cecilia Delesderniers, whose family had settled in Cavagnal in the early 1800’s. The Delesderniers lived in Greenwood where the young couple lived for the first year of their marriage and where their eldest son, R.W, Shepherd jr. was born. In 1848, they moved into Riversmead which Captain Shepherd had had built for their young family.
Robert became one of the leading citizens in the area. It was he who requested permission from the government of the Province of Canada to give this area a new name. It had formerly been known as Cavagnal but by the 1850’s it was known, for postal purposes, as the Ottawa Glass Works because of the glass factory here.
However, because much of the mail went to the Ottawa Gas works in Ottawa, Robert was determined to find a more suitable name. Government permission was granted and so the whole area became known as Como, a name he chose as he felt the area reminded him somewhat of Lake Como in Italy. He says in his memoirs “It was situated on a beautiful lake, though perhaps not equal to the one in Italy.”!
In 1860 when the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, was in Canada on the first ever Royal tour, he traveled up the Ottawa River on Captain Shepherd’ newest steamer the “Prince of Wales”. The 18 year old prince was here to lay the cornerstone of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, as well as to open the newly completed Victoria Bridge. Captain Shepherd was part of both these events: as owner of the steamer on which the prince traveled up the Ottawa River as well as an invited guest to the opening of the bridge.
Robert Ward Shepherd was involved in many other interesting events over the years which are described in his memoirs but it is his relationship to Greenwood that is more important here.
Later, all but one of his married children lived in Montreal and spent their summers in Como, most of them in houses built by Shepherd near Riversmead. His eldest son, Robert Ward Jr. and his family spent their summers at Greenwood for many years.
This part of Como used to be known as the Shepherd Village. Robert and his wife, living at Riversmead, were surrounded by their married children and grandchildren – they had 8 married children and 20 grandchildren.
Judging from their many letters that we have here at Greenwood, with so many affectionate references to family, it is clear that they were all very close.
Robert Ward Shepherd died at Riversmead in 1895 and is buried in Mount Royal Cemetery. Mary Cecilia died in Montreal in 1901 and is buried beside her husband.
Their eldest son, Robert Ward Shepherd Jr., inherited Riversmead and their youngest son, Del, inherited Greenwood after their mother’s death.
Mary Cecilia (Cecil) Shepherd
Mary Cecilia Shepherd, Cecil as she was called, was born to Dr. Frank Shepherd and his wife Lilias Torrance in 1881. She was named after her grandmother, Mary Cecilia Delesderniers Shepherd.
Cecil (pronounced Sissal) had an older brother Ernest, and a younger sister Dorothy. The family lived in Montreal during the winter months where their father was a renowned surgeon, a McGill professor, and the Dean of Medicine. The children also attended school there.
In the summers, the children enjoyed the delights of the Como shoreline with their many cousins from neighbouring houses… building hideaways with driftwood and even making a stone fireplace (quite against orders), where potatoes could be roasted! Nothing tasted more delicious than those potatoes with their smoky flavour, eaten beside the lapping water, away from disapproving eyes!
As the daily steamboat approached the Como Wharf, the children would row out and feel the swell of the wake under their skiff. Tugs with their barges loaded with logs and lumber might appear around Parson’s Point (today it’s known as Quarry Point). Sometimes on the foremost barge, there was a small cabin with washing hanging a line, a child or two and sometimes a dog and a smiling woman who waved to them.
Sadly Cecil’s mother died in 1892 when Cecil was only eleven years old.
In 1909, Cecil married Percy Nobbs, a Scot who was Dean of Architecture at McGill.
By the 1920’s Cecil and Percy with their two children, Phoebe and Frank, were summering in Como and renovating Greenwood. It was during these years, with Percy’s guidance, the Greenwood garden that we know today began to develop.
Cecil summered at Greenwood until her death in 1971.
Percy Nobbs (Percy Erskine Nobbs)
Percy Nobbs was born in Scotland but spent his first 12 years in St. Petersburg, Russia. (1875-1887)
Later he studied architecture in Edinburgh but really made his mark in Montreal after he was offered the Macdonald Chair of Architecture at McGill in 1903. It was through the then Dean of Medicine at McGill, Dr. Frank Shepherd, that Percy met and fell in love with Dr. Shepherd’s daughter Cecil (Mary Cecilia Shepherd) and Phoebe’s mother.
Percy soon became a prominent Montreal architect. Besides eight new buildings on the McGill Campus as well as some impressive interiors on campus, some of his better known buildings in Montreal include the Student Union building, now the McCord Museum, the University Club on Mansfield, the Drummond Medical Building and the New Birks Building.
He worked on projects in other parts of Canada too – a fine example being the plaster decoration in the University of Alberta Arts Bldg., which was done while he was in Alberta to organize the physical training and bayonet instruction for Canadians during World War I. This interior is described as most beautiful and sumptuous.
The Nobbs Room
Percy even designed the dresses and caps for Cecil’s bridesmaids at their wedding in Como in 1909!
Percy Nobbs played a role in bringing the Arts and Crafts Movement to Canada. He disliked the ugly products of industrialism and believed that new buildings should look as though they had always been there.
To accomplish this goal, he preferred to use natural materials such as wood, wrought iron and stone. The terra cotta and wrought ironwork of the Drummond Medical building is a fine example.
Percy was also an accomplished writer and artist.
His books include one on design, another on salmon fishing and one on fencing tactics. He participated in the London Olympics of 1908 (and won a silver medal as part of a fencing display event).
Percy was still fencing in his 80’s!
His paintings include the “Illuminations of the Kremlin” to celebrate the coronation of the last Czar Nicholas and the Empress Alexandra which Percy attended, and landscapes of his birthplace in Scotland, the Matane River where he salmon fished, his wife’s garden in Como and his Westmount home on Belvedere Rd.
Percy Nobbs created the Atlantic Salmon Federation located in New Brunswick, which today is still an active and important organization which funds research for salmon conservation and habits.
In 1952 he earned the Outdoor Life Conservation award as the man who contributed most to the conservation of wildlife that year.
Percy was certainly a man ahead of his times!
Phoebe Nobbs Hyde
Phoebe Nobbs Hyde, the great-granddaughter of Robert Ward Shepherd and his wife, Mary Cecilia Delesderniers Shepherd, was born in Montreal in 1910.
She and her younger brother, Frank, grew up in Westmount, spending the summers in Como with their grandfather, Dr. Frank Shepherd.
These were happy times – fishing with Grandfather as well as helping him in his garden, boating, and swimming in the Ottawa River. It was safe to swim in the river in those days. The roads were not paved, but the summer dust was kept under control as Grandfather Shepherd made sure that oil was spread in front of all the family houses.
From the age of 10 to 14, Phoebe’s summers were spent in Nova Scotia, where her father had bought property but she missed Como. Happily, summers in Como resumed for her in 1924.
How did Phoebe acquire Greenwood?
In 1901, when Mary Cecilia Shepherd died, Greenwood was left to her youngest son, Del. Del had done major renovations and additions to the old house which included the east living room, the entrance hall, the gable bedroom/porch extension and the new central stairway, all of which added greatly to the charm of the entrance hall and the house itself.
When Del died in 1924, (his wife had left him for an ‘unheard of’ Reno divorce!) he had already sold Greenwood to his sister, May Robertson, who then exchanged Greenwood with Dr. Frank Shepherd for Rose Cottage which he had acquired from his nephew a few years previously and which May coveted.
Now Dr. Shepherd gave Greenwood to his daughter Cecil, Phoebe’s mother. With the help of her husband Percy, together they turned it into a comfortable summer home. During the renovations, the family camped out and used the stone patio area as a summer kitchen, an experience that her daughter loved.
Even at the age of 14 years, Phoebe felt it her responsibility to keep the house for a family museum. Many of the old artifacts and family treasures can still be seen in the house and continue to be appreciated.
After Phoebe completed school, she was sent to finishing school in London, England. It was here that her talent for drama was recognized and encouraged.
She was 18 years old and the year was 1928. She had already met a handsome Cunard Line officer, Andrew MacKellar on her first trip to England and she was in love!
By now she had started her studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and her father insisted that she finish her course before marrying. She and Andrew were finally married when she was 24 years old.
Being married to a ship’s officer led to a different kind of life. They had an apartment in London, but Phoebe still spent her summers at Como. In summer, she only saw her husband when his ship came into Montreal which was 4-5 days a month.
It was during these Como summers, that she started to get together with friends and relations to do Shakespeare plays in the Greenwood garden. Her great-aunt May Robertson was also an enthusiast in this project and she loved acting.
For seven summers, well into the second world war, they held a “Shakespeare festival”, acted by young people and adults of the community. It was wonderful opportunity for all, as Phoebe coached them in elocution classes and in the delights of acting in Shakespearian and other plays.
Eleanor Abbey, Phoebe’s cousin, shared this feedback about the experience:
‘I was one of the lucky young people who had this experience, though it was not so appreciated at the time, being 8 – 12 years old, but looking back today, I realize how invaluable it was. We were all very fortunate to take part.’
Marjorie McMurtry Moore who was a teenager at the time gave this commentary…
‘Phoebe drew any interested person into her plays and recruited others! Aunt May Robertson was of my Grandmother’s generation and was often included. Aunt May shone as Juliet’s nurse, and was the main character in a play about a little girl whom she coached to spell a difficult word – Mississippi – in the big test. We who saw this play will never forget it.
She was very patient with our amateur attempts at acting. I think she opened for us an appreciation of Shakespeare, which has remained all our lives.’
After the war, Mrs. MacKellar returned to England and resumed a “normal” life with Andrew. There she started lecturing on Canadian and Indian folklore to women’s groups and schools, etc., as well as studying at the British Museum.
Every summer she came back to Canada and often traveled west to collect material for her Indian folklore, much appreciated in Great Britain and to squeeze in some “One Woman“ shows at the same time. This was the start of her monologues.
Around this time, her mother (Cecil) sold Greenwood to her daughter.
In 1959, Andrew MacKellar died. A memorial service was held in St. Mary’s Church and today you will see a plaque to his memory inside the church.
They had an unusual life, but Phoebe said that she would not have changed it for an ‘ordinary’ married life. Her only regret was that they did not have children.
The following year, Phoebe married Reid Hyde, her adopted uncle. He was 82 years old and she was 50.
The Reid Hydes spent the winters traveling and the summers at Greenwood which was still not winterized. At this time, they were able to buy Rose Cottage from her cousins George and Marydel Robertson. The Hydes then lived comfortably in Rose Cottage, during the winters, despite his ill-health. He died 6 years after their marriage.
During the next 30 years, Phoebe was a permanent resident of Hudson and became very involved in the community. She was President of the Hudson Historical Society and President of the Garden Club. She started the annual flower and vegetable show; she helped publish historical books as well as working for St. Mary’s Church.
This energetic woman enjoyed being busy but she also enjoyed the relaxation of swimming in her own pool which she had built in the garden.
In her will, Phoebe left Greenwood to “The Canadian Heritage of Quebec”, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of lands and buildings of beauty or historic interest in Quebec. It is her legacy to Hudson and the surrounding area. The dream of a 14-year-old girl had come true!
She also left another legacy in the written transcripts and tapes of her monologues. She portrayed many Canadian heroines: Madeleine de Vercheres, Jeanne Mance, Marguerite Bourgeoys as well as a number of United Empire monologues and others.
Her most famous monologue is that of Sarah Hansen, the wife of the first owner of Greenwood, Jean Baptiste Sabourin, who had been captured by Indians when she was 16 years old and brought to Oka. Jean Baptiste paid her ransom in order to marry her.
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