I’ve just returned from a week in Economy, Nova Scotia, continuing my search for the childhood of my maternal grandmother, VELMA BROWN [MOORE]. What I remember from the 2007 trip to Economy Point with my mother is that much of the landscape gave the sense of being largely unchanged since Velma was a child at the turn of the 20th century. Ten years later, this impression is unchanged. Economy Point Road, where the Moore homestead was located (2nd driveway on the left) is still unpaved. The marshland is still marsh, the meadows are still meadows, and Cove Road, the site of many Moore picnics and clamming expeditions, is still a vast wasteland of mud at low tide.
Yet Velma’s childhood was still nowhere to be found.
I’d brought my mother’s history of Velma’s life with me on the trip, and as I reread it in the evenings, still searching for clues, I began to realize that Velma’s story does not reside in her childhood in Economy Point. Velma’s story, where I will find what made her the woman she was, lies in her education. That being the case, I’m going to let my mother tell the story of Velma’s childhood, and I will develop a research plan to discover as much about Velma’s education as I can:
Velma Jane, the second child of GEORGE BAXTER and MARTHA [FAULKNER] MOORE, was born on 16 April 1897 at Economy Point, Colchester County, Province of Nova Scotia, Canada. She was named “Velma” after the heroine of a book that a neighbor was reading. Both parents are descended from some of the early settlers in Economy.
I am piecing together this narrative from Velma’s genealogy notes, Moore family trees copied from the genealogy of Eric Moore, a very distant cousin, History of Economy, N.S. by the Economy Historical Society, and other information I could find.
. . . .
Velma was the fifth Moore generation in Canada and was born in the Moore homestead. . . . [She] didn’t talk much about her childhood, but lessons learned in growing up on a farm stayed with her. She learned how to mend clothes and sheets to extend their lives and to recycle clothing by making new clothes from an old garment. She learned to work hard and preserve food for the winter.
Velma grew up surrounded by a large extended family. There were lots of aunts and uncles from Baxter’s five siblings and Martha’s eight. Velma mentioned Uncle Dan, who was DANIEL MOORE, Baxter’s uncle and son of ROBERT NOBLE MOORE. Uncle Dan made furniture, including my bed stand/sewing cabinet . . . .
. . . .
Velma grew up near the water in Minas Basin and Cobequid Bay. She liked marsh greens and always had some when we spent summers in Economy. The greens turned her teeth green. She helped [my sister] and me acquire a taste for dulse (seaweed),1 which is now too salty for me. The Point road goes out to the Cove where the family went clamming and had picnics. . . .
Velma started her schooling in the one-room school house in the Point Section of Economy. At that time, there were five schools, one in each section of Economy. I don’t know the age for starting school or the number of grades offered. Education was very important to the family. They observed what happened to girls who didn’t get additional education. They married young, had lots of babies and and lost their teeth and figures. Thus, Velma continued her schooling in Truro, which is about 34 miles from Economy. I don’t know when she went there or or how many grades she attended. I know she was there in October 1915 when her brother, Fred, wrote her from England where he was stationed in World War I. She lived with Aunt Addie during the school year and went back to Economy for the summer.2
1My mother carried on the dulse tradition when we spent vacations at my grandparents’ summer cottage in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
2Katharine Brown Gauffreau, The Ancestry and Life of Velma Jane Moore Brown (unpublished manuscript, 2013), 3.