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Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Lunch at Doucet House

When I first saw Doucet House in Rustico this past spring, the gray-blue sky appeared to sit on the roof of the old place. 





However on this summer day, the house, believed to be the oldest on Prince Edward Island, looks like it is smiling. And no wonder!





The old house was built in 1772 by Jean and Marguerite Doucet, an Acadian family, on a site across the bay. There they had nine children. The house stayed in the family until 1982. In 1999, the new owner donated the little house as a museum and work began to transport it across the bay to sit next to the first Credit Union in Canada. 


My husband and I couldn’t see the inside of the building in April but we could visit on this day. There are three rooms on the main floor. The largest contains the kitchen, with the stone fireplace in the center of the house, where food cooked over the open fire. 




The original walls are visible today but sometime in the life of the house, were covered with sheet rock. It was removed during restoration but leaves its trace on the old wood.





Two bedrooms complete the main floor, a smaller room 





and a larger with a double bed and a mattress filled with straw. 





There is a half story above which was used for storage.





The furniture was donated by local Acadian families and includes items such as an old butter churn 





and reminders of spinning





and weaving. 





Outside, the community oven cooked bread and other staples for all the Acadian families in the area.





The fire started at the front of the oven and the coals were pushed to the back to make room for the food to bake.





There is a shed with the usual items such as a yoke for oxen 





and a wooden seeder. An old manual washing machine, invented in the United States  in 1846 and in common use until 1927, must have been a blessing to the women who used it originally.





We had our picnic outside as we imagined the ghosts of those first Acadians going about their daily lives all around us. They were great company.


40 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Wow, they raised 9 kids in that house? Talk about cheek by jowl!

Linda d said...

How wonderful. Can you imagine raising 9 kids in there?

DJan said...

What a wonderful old artifact of days gone by. I love seeing this, Marie. Thanks for the great pictures and the story. :-)

Anvilcloud said...

Nine kids, eh? The mind boggles.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

What a fantastic old place, those walls look really solid and seem to have used up all the trees in the vicinity. Nice to see an old scythe and a milkmaid's yoke hanging on the wall - two articles that were in regular use in the village when I was a child.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

That's a lot of people in that wee house Marie. It's funny, as much as we think life must have been a lot simpler back then, it would have been a lot harder too ✨

Mage said...

My thought is that many of the kids slept up with the storage. It's charming, but aren't we all glad not to live in it.

William Kendall said...

Well worth preserving!

Debbie said...

i can't even image raising 9 kids or living in such a small house with them. it is a wonderful old house, i'm glad you were able to share pictures. there is an old village in my area (pics on my blog friday) and i am not allowed to take pictures inside!!

very cool, old artifacts!!!

Celia said...

Fun to see. That's quite a project to move that house to a new spot, a testimony to those who sturdily built it and those who moved it. Nine kids, we are so spoiled. :-)

Jenn said...

Love it! I love visiting historic places. I like the gloomier cloudy shot...it has a mood!

Goldendaze-Ginnie said...

What a sweet house. If only those walls could talk !

bill burke said...

What a beautiful and historic house. Definitely a small place to raise a big family.

Elephant's Child said...

As everyone else has said, NINE children in that confined space? Wow. Busy, busy people. How wonderful to see this restoration work, and a timely reminder of just how lucky we are.

Andrea said...

Oh my! So rugged! Living back then. I love history but I guess I'm glad (errr….lazy) I live here and now. Andrea

Ginnie said...

I love reenactments of days of yore like this, Marie. I bet we all wonder what it would be like to live that way today! I actually don't mind roughing it but I suppose even I would miss some of the "luxuries" we've gotten used to. Still, it's fun to see what living used to look like in the "good ol' days."

Retired Knitter said...

Wonderful pictures. From our 21st Century perspective it is hard to imagine a family with 9 kids surviving there. But it wasn't so unusual back then when houses were thought of as just shelter. It has stood the test of time for sure and so glad that we still have it to see how our ancestors lived AND thrived. A lesson to us all that we don't need much in our lives to really live!

Danielle L Zecher said...

The house does look much happier with the bright sky! Thanks for sharing the pictures with us. I love going to see old houses like that. Isn't it weird to think that a washing machine like that was an improvement?!? I'm thinking about the laundry I tossed in the washer before I left for work this morning, and can't imagine the time it must have taken to do laundry that way.

Barbara said...

I love it when I see old places like this that have been saved. It's funny to look at it and think that that might have been a fancy house in its day. Oh how spoiled we are.

Marie Smith said...

I know Debra. I thought exactly the same thing!

Marie Smith said...

I know Linda. I cannot imagine nine children there.

Marie Smith said...

I loved that old place Jan.

Marie Smith said...

I know AC.

Marie Smith said...

The walls were still solid John.

Marie Smith said...

I cannot imagine how the woman cooked and cleaned clothes and bodies in that tiny space Grace.

Marie Smith said...

We are glad indeed Mage.

Marie Smith said...

It really is William.

Marie Smith said...

Too bad you can’t take interior photos Debbie.

Marie Smith said...

It was a big job to move it Celia. It was in bad shape I believe.

Marie Smith said...

I love that shot too Jenn, though the blue sky is great too.

Marie Smith said...

The house has such an interesting history beyond the family too, Ginnie.

Marie Smith said...

I guess this size space was standard for most families, Bill.

Marie Smith said...

Such tremendous changes to homes in the 200+ years, EC.

Marie Smith said...

I can’t imagine how hard the women worked Andrea.

Marie Smith said...

Not so good in the ol’ days, Ginnie.

Marie Smith said...

This movement back to tiny houses might catch on RK.

Marie Smith said...

How hard life was in those days, Danielle.

Marie Smith said...

We definitely are spoiled Barbara.

Angela said...

Beautiful old house! I am glad that they preserve it so well. I also have seen an old house around ND that seemed not much bigger than my kitchen and they also raised many children there. They were Norwegian immigrants.Have a wonderful weekend!

Catarina said...

Those were hard times (from our perspective) but they were probably content, happy, not feeling the stress we feel today .