DIGBY COUNTY - A journey to a bygone era is delivered through the latest book by Donald Outhouse – Stories of the Past, from Long and Brier islands and Digby Neck.
Much of the information for the book was researched prior to 2000 for the writing of Outhouse’s first book: Glimpses of the Past from Long and Brier Islands.
Having unused material and after requests for another book, he decided to proceed. Sixteen years later, his latest was published.
Outhouse was born and raised in Tiverton, Long Island, Digby County, and says he never journeyed as far as Digby until he was 16, in 1947, to play baseball.
“I wasn’t much of a traveller,” he said with a smile.
“It was 30 miles away on dirt roads. In the spring of the year those roads were just about impassable. My father was about 30 before he got to Digby.”
Outhouse’s daughter Colleen Outhouse-Tan and her twin daughters, Carolynn and Kaitlin of Singapore, typed, edited and formatted his written notes for the book.
His research sources include the Christian Messenger (1800s) from the Atlantic Baptist Archives at Acadia University in Wolfville and information obtained through travel to Moncton, Hamilton (Bermuda), Saint John, courthouses and from deeds.
There are sea stories, shipwrecks, interviews with senior residents, village activities and more, including interesting excerpts from the lives of residents in the area.
“Sister Nellie” received a letter written by Private Harold V. Delaney (Long Island) at the battlefront during World War 1.
“I am sending you a ring that is made from a bullet fired on the battlefield. I hope you will like it. I could send you lots of things from here, but they won’t allow it,” he wrote.
There are also tales of “old salts” who found it hard to give up the fishing life in that age of wooden ships and iron men. They include Sammy Foote and Captain Lewis Frederick Barkhouse.
From the Digby Courier, there’s a July 14, 1911 description of Freeport’s popular physician, Dr. B. S. Bishop’s most recent purchase and his driving ability.
His McKay Penn 30 was manufactured by McKay Bros. of Kentville and was the only automobile on Long Island at that time.
“We also wish to state from experience that Freeport’s genial physician has his automobile under perfect control and while he makes extra good time in attending his professional calls, he is not the reckless driver that many of his friends suppose him to be.”
The book is illustrated with photos from that era.
More about the author
After working in the fishing industry for years Donald Outhouse began a career in 1960 as a fishery inspection officer for Yarmouth and Shelburne. In 1988, he retired and began researching the history of his family and community.
Now 87, Outhouse has participated in the VON Walkathon for 44 years and raised $3,125 this year for the organization.
He has published two walking tours of Tiverton (1992, 2008) and Glimpses of the Past from Long and Brier Islands (1998).
Stories of the Past, from Long and Brier islands and Digby Neck is available for $25 at: Admiral Digby Museum in Digby
Little River Trading Company (Royce Elderkin)
The Woodrow Outhouse Centre, Tiverton, NS
The Islands Historical Society, Freeport, NS
The School Street Market, Freeport, NS
The Icehouse Gift Shop, Westport, NS
From the author 902-742-3112 or 902-839-2538
Outhouse’s first book, Glimpses of the Past from Long and Brier Islands, sold out of its first printing of 300 after being published in 1998. The Islands Historical Society of Freeport, NS had the book reprinted by Sentinel Printing Ltd. with permission. Copies sell for $25 each and are available from Dorothy Outhouse, Freeport – phone 902-839-2068, 902-839-2034 or email.