Margaret "Peggy" Rattray was born on the Strathbogie Road at her grandparent’s house on December 17th, 1932 to the parents of Raymond and Florence Rattray. Margaret stayed at her grandparents with her parents as an infant for three weeks before moving back to St. Peter's with her parents. Her parents moved to Roesneath from St. Peter's for many years until Margaret was at the age of eleven and then they moved to Massachusetts. Margaret attended Medfield School in Massachusetts for two years before returning back to the Island to live with her grandfather as she did not enjoy her time there. Then, at the age of fifteen she returned and worked at a drug company for many years. Margaret remembers that at one time she was the oldest child attending Roseneath's one room schoolhouse and would travel with an old mare named Jessica that her father would hitch up to the sleigh. Margaret had to make sure she gave her books to the other children because when she turned the mare around she would have to jump off as it would start to return back in the direction of home on its own. Her father would lock the mare up in the barn and then return back to pick them up after school because the mare would not return back on its own.
Margaret attended the St. Andrews Church where she still currently attends and is an elder. Margaret can remember that she was baptized at her house where there were also other children attending in the parlor. Another memory she shared was of her and her girlfriend Alice Green. They would both take turns taking each other’s horse to attend church together. One morning they came out of the church to find that the horse had its bridle off and had trampled it into the ground. So Johnny Ployer tied it together with twine so they could get home.
Growing up with a father as a farmer had its benefits. Margaret’s father would sell his potatoes and turnips to John A. MacDonald’s store and buy the fertilizer there. On the farm there were cattle, pigs, and hens that the family used for their own meals. They would cut ice squares from dams and cover them in saw dust in order to store the meat out in the storage shed. In the storage shed they would hang a pig on a hook and her mother would go out to the barn to saw off a piece of meat and eat it as they'd go. What was left over of the pig in the spring her mother and father would salt and put in a crock pot to pickle so it would last long enough to be used up. Mother also used the head of the cow for making potted meat. Back then there was not much of an animal carcass not used in some manner. My Father had a great set up on the property as he would kill pigs for other people. In the shed there was a large boiler that held potatoes and turnips and he would make mash for the pigs. When he killed a pig he would clean out the boiler and put water in it to scald the pigs hide before cleaning it off. It was a very great setup to have and made it a lot easier.
For home mail delivery there was Jack Shepard and James Allan MacDonald. They would have to go through the fields and cut fences if they had to. They were very dedicated and loyal in getting people their mail. Jack Shepard could not read or write but still delivered mail. He had a roll with all the addresses so he would compare the address to the letters on the mail. Many people did not even realize that he could not read. She can never remember her parents or anyone else in the community talking about the mail being messed up.
Also back in the day the doctors travelled to where you were and that could be for many miles. Dr. MacIntyre was a very fine doctor, he would drop in to our house and ask my father to trade a horse many a times. He would ask “could you spare me a horse? “ and they would exchange. He would continue on his way till he went to another house where he knew the people and ask the same. You see the horse would tire as it was winter and the trip to Souris was very far away by horse. He had done wonderful things such as operating on a kitchen table. One time there was a man that lived nearby whose appendix was ready to bust. So he asked a neighbor to go take the barn door down cause it was smooth and plus the man was much too tall for the table. He operated on the man and it went fine as he never received an infection and his appendix never busted. That happened several times and was well heard of for happening. He would carry all his items with him everything he needed. Ed Munn said you would not believe how fast he performed the surgery.
Peggy knew her husband Donald (Donnie) Lamont for eight years before marrying him on March 17th, 1954 at the age of 21. The day that they got married there was a terrible storm and the minster had to travel from Murray Harbor North. He got stuck three times and each time had someone come and help him out. When he finally got there to marry them he could not stay for dinner afterwards as he was so wet and cold he left. There were three days of celebrating. The first evening was after the wedding, the second was for a wedding shower and the third was put on from the community of Heatherdale where Donald was from. Thaddeus and Mary Shepard played for entertainment for two days. We finally left for Ontario on the fourth day. While in Ontario Margaret received the Guardian and discovered that a house she had her eye on since she was a child was for sale. She mentioned it to her husband who agreed to return to the island and live in the old MacIntyres house that would be over 150 years now. Margaret and Donald returned to P.E.I. shortly after their first daughter was born. Donald renovated the place and their son Douglas lives there as of today.
Written by: Crystal Callaghan from the memories of Margaret Lamont