BOOK ON VALLEY PIONEER COMING OCTOBER 22 (October 14/05)

He was born on a farm in Canard, left school to become a ship’s carpenter after receiving a grade 8 education and rose to become one of the most renowned builders of his time in the Annapolis Valley.

As I had written in an earlier column on Charles Hemmeon Wright, many “landmark buildings” still stand in this area as testaments to his accomplishments. Among them are churches in Wolfville and Kentville and War Memorial Gymnasium at Acadia University. In partnership with prominent Valley industrialist R. A. Jodrey, Mr. Wright also pioneered the generation of electric power in this region.

The story of Charles Wright’s rise to fame as a builder, and his tragic demise at the height of his career, has been told in a book written by his granddaughter, Daphnee Frazee of Gaspereau. Charles H. Wright, Building Memories, will be launched at the Kings County Museum on Friday, October 22. Ms. Frazee traces the career of Charles Wright whom I believe has been overlooked when it comes to recognising Valley builders and pioneering entrepreneurs. Hopefully, this work on his career will bring Wright the recognition he has long deserved.

The book launching will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. and is open to the public. Ms. Frazee will be on hand to autograph books and talk about her grandfather.

Power Pioneer

Regarding Mr. Wright as a pioneer entrepreneur, Internet historian Ivan Smith sent me an excerpt from the minutes of a 1920 meeting of Canning ratepayers which illustrates the role Wright played in bringing electricity to this area. At the meeting, the ratepayers discussed the purchasing of electric power from “Messrs Wright and Jodrey of Wolfville at their offer of five cents per kilowatt hour.”

As Ivan Smith points out ” ‘Messrs Wright and Jodrey of Wolfville’ were Roy A. Jodrey and Charles H. Wright, the controlling shareholders in Avon River Power Company Limited, Gaspereau River Light, Heat & Power Company Limited, Gaspereau Valley Electric Light Company Limited, and other companies producing and distributing electric power in Kings and Hants Counties in the early 1920s.”

Smith notes that Wright was R. A. Jodrey’s business partner from about 1910 until Wright’s death in 1929 in a railway crossing accident.

Sham Fights Explained

In last week’s column on the 1909 diary of Dimock Bowlby, I quoted an entry referring to a “sham fight” during militia training at Aldershot Camp. Gordon Hansford called to explain that militia units training before World War 1 often consisted of holding manoeuvres that were like real battles. “They did everything but carry loaded weapons and shoot at each other,” Hansford said. During the heat of the mock battle the competition between units often lead to real fights with fists, he said.

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