Alice and Frank Howard, date unknown. Photo courtesy of Alice Wilson
Although he was not a politician and did not hold any kind of high ranking position, Frank Howard had a very strong impact and left quite a legacy for the community of Cornwall. He was remembered by all as the most kindly, compassionate and generous man in the community. Frank was married to Alice and they had four children: Victor, Hazen, Cyril (who died at age 14), and Mary.15 Frank owned land in the centre of the Village of Cornwall near the west end of the Cornwall Road. Later Frank acquired some property encompassing the area around the Ferry Road and Meadowbank Road. The homestead in which they lived was adjacent to the former Cornwall School. At least three generations of Howards lived in that homestead. Unfortunately, it was demolished and a seniors living complex now sits where the homestead once stood. Almost every senior resident of the community spoke of the compassion and kindness of Frank Howard. Frank would always have candy or small change on hand to give any child that wondered passed his home. Many children would “cut through” his property on their way to and from school and always enjoyed meeting Frank along the way. He did not mind the children crossing his property in the least. The well on his property was also used by the school children for their daily supply of water.
One can tell just by the way the senior residents speak of Frank Howard that he truly was a special individual, one whose legacy and memory has lived on well past his earthly journey.
Frank’s son Hazen also made a huge impact on the community, but in a rather different way. In learning about Hazen’s life, one could say that he was “quite the entrepreneur.” Hazen operated the general store (which later included gas pumps), the post office, a power plant, and a telephone switchboard. He also raised foxes and began a trucking business. He was married Marjory Lewis, and they had three children: Arthur, Alice and Isabel. Hazen Howard operated the general store in Cornwall for a number of years, from the 1920’s to the mid 1940’s. The store was located adjacent to the Cornwall United Church. The general store is now Abegweit Outfitting Co. The general store sold everything, and even housed the post office. The post office was located in one corner of the store and was outfitted with a desk and pigeon-hole slots for the mail. However, the majority of the mail was home-delivered. The Howard children often helped out with the family business. Arthur and Alice would help out around the store, and take turns operating the switchboard for the telephone. Alice even remembers a short time when her father decided to raise foxes. They had fox pens behind the store, and on one occasion Alice had to hold the foxes as her father attempted to give them pills. She was terrified! With the demands of the store, post office and telephone switchboard, Hazen did not farm foxes for very long.
|Back row, from left to right: Ford Wilson, Alice Wilson, Hazen Howard, Marjory Howard, Frank Howard. Front row, from left to right are Ford and Alice's children; Dona, Barry, Sandra, Clifford and Wendy Wilson. Photo is courtesy of Alice Wilson|
When electricity came to Cornwall, Hazen and his father Frank had constructed a small outbuilding to house a small generator. The generator supplied electricity to the store, the Howard home, Frank Howard’s home and the Cornwall United Church. It was not uncommon for residents to bring their car batteries to be charged at the little power plant. During a time when car batteries were also used to power radios, one charge of the car battery would last three weeks when used in the radio.
|The Howard men on the Howard property. Seated is Frank Howard, behind to his right (your left) is Arthur, to his left (your right) is Hazen, and on the ground in front of Frank is Arthur's son Lloyd. Photo courtesy of Arthur Howard|
It is said that Hazen Howard also owned the first automobile in Cornwall. It seems suiting that in later years Hazen would begin a trucking company, which was taken over and further developed by his son Arthur. The company was called Howards Transfer and was based in Cornwall on the Howard property. Arthur also built a gas station on the property and rented it out to Shell. Arthur later sold his business and actually purchased the former school house building and transformed into an apartment unit. In addition to his entrepreneurial-ship, like that of his father, Arthur was also involved in municipal politics. When Cornwall was amalgamated in 1995, Arthur served as the first Deputy Mayor. Arthur continues to live in Cornwall today.
Not to be forgotten are Hazen’s daughters, Alice and Isabel. Unfortunately I did not have the privilege of getting to know Isabel as she lives out of province, however, I had the honor of befriending both Arthur and Alice. Much like the generations before her, Alice has a compassionate and kind nature and is a hard worker. Alice recounted stories of her younger years when she would drive trucks for her husband Ford. Due to a stroke, Ford was unable to drive, so the task was left to Alice who would truck and haul cattle all around the Maritimes! Eventually Alice retired from trucking in order to raise her and her husband’s five children. It seems as though entrepreneurial ship runs in the Howard family, as Alice began a bakery and restaurant which was located close to where the Cornwall Physiotherapy clinic now sits on the TransCanada Highway. Alice was also an active member of the Women’s Institute and Cornwall United Church. Alice still resides in Cornwall.
A number of children and grandchildren of Arthur and Alice live in Cornwall and the surrounding areas, and much like the generations before them are active in the community.
|Alice Wilson and Arthur Howard are presented with A Life-time Membership from The Prince Edward Island Senior Citizens' Federation Inc., Spring 2011|