The North River General Store
The North River Store
Only a few kilometers east of the Cornwall store was another general store. It was known as the North River store, which of course operated long before the community of North River was amalgamated with Cornwall. Most residents recall the time when Donald Ramsay and his family operated the store. A small few remember that Neil Matheson operated the store before Ramsay’s and fewer still remember when Brad Webster owned the store.1 The 1881 Prince Edward Island Census lists George Dockendorff as a store keeper in North River. George Dockendorff died very suddenly on July 29, 1892.2 It is uncertain as to who may have operated the store from the time George Dockendoff to Brad Webster, but it is likely that the store operated out of the same building.
Left - photo of the Dockendorff store which appears in the Centennial issue of Meacham's Atlas. Right - A photo of Donald Ramsay's store, courtesy of Donald Ramsay. The sign on the store located on the far left of the photo says, "D.G. Ramsay General Store"
The only other hint as to who else may have operated a store in North River comes from the 1891 census which lists a Robinson Warren as a grocery store owner.3 It is uncertain as to whether Warren’s store and Dockendorff’s store were two separate entities or if Warren took over the Dockendorff store. The book called, Past and Present of Prince Edward Island: Embracing a concise review of its early settlement, development, and present conditions written in 1906 included the following information regarding Robinson Warren, “Robinson Warren received a good practical common education and upon attaining mature years followed the pursuit of agriculture until about 1885, when he engaged in a general mercantile business at North River, in which he has since continued with a gratifying degree of success. His store and residence are located on an eighth acre of land, near the North River bridge, about four and one-half miles from Charlottetown, and here he keeps a well selected general line of goods such as is demanded by local trade. Mr. Warren has served as postmaster at North River during the last twenty years and as justice of the peace for three years.”4
Altered photo of Lot 32 from Meachams Atlas 1880
Like the Cornwall store, the North River store sold everything that anyone needed including animal feed, groceries and hardware.5 Many items like Kerosene, sugar and molasses were sold in bulk. Many residents of the former York Point and North River communities recall packing crates of eggs and taking them to the store to trade for groceries. It was a busy store that was located on the corner of what is now Lakeview Drive (the road that at one time led to the North River bridge, before the causeway was built) and North Yorke River Road. Donald Ramsay operated the store for seventeen years before selling it to a minister. That man operated the store for a year or two before it was purchased by the government.6
There was a residence connected to the store in which the Ramsay family lived: the post office was located at the back of the store. Just like the at the Cornwall store, the North River store had gas pumps installed.
Ramsay's store gas pumps, photo courtesy of Marion Warren
As the mail service was discontinued in the former community of North River in 19697 that would have also been about the same time that Donald Ramsay sold the store.