Story #8 Norah Ring shares family stories of the Lighthouse

Story #9 Nora Ring shows us a pocket watch owned by a family member lost at sea, and talks about her family history with the lighthouse.

Story #9 in our heritage interview series. Cathy Krolikowski interviewed Nora Ring in  Point Prim PEI in 2023.

Cathy: My name’s Cathy you know me I’m angus’s granddaughter, Cathy Murchison and you are…

Nora: I’m Nora, well Leonora really but Nora I was always called Nora

Cathy: And your full name ,your full birth name?

Nora: Margaret Leonora

Cathy: Margaret Leonora Murchison  right and then you got married and it became Ring?

Nora: And she got a very simple name 

Cathy: Yes, yes, nice simple name like Ring. And you are how young?

Nora: I am, I’ll be 99 in October

Cathy: My goodness wow amazing, you look fantastic. So I just wanted to establish who you are and your relation to Angus Murchison the longest Lighthouse Keeper so he’s my grandfather and how are you related to Angus?

Nora:  He’d be my first cousin once removed he’s my father’s first cousin 

Cathy: Oh okay so you and you’ve come into possession of this amazing artifact this pocket watch, so can you explain a little bit about the story behind that and the history, of the maritime history of the Murchison family?

Nora:  Well 1881 seems to be it but I can’t remember what happened in 1881, but in 1891, this, this watch,  let me see the two brothers were drowned, one was Angus and I can’t remember the other one and my grandfather and your grandfather

Cathy: Great-grandfather 

Nora: Yeah  went and to identify the bodies and he identified his two brothers and um they were quite young I read recently I think one was 23 and one was a little older than that maybe 30 I don’t know and anyway he said but there should be a watch and this is the watch.

Cathy: And this is the watch that they recovered from the bodies 

Nora: Yes

Cathy: From the Shipwreck 

Nora: Yes 

Cathy: And so this um this these two boys were they two were they brothers then? 

Nora: They were brothers and I think as far as I know younger brothers of of Captain John J he was he was actually John John

Cathy: Because I had heard that there was sort of a um when they established the the settling here that that was kind of one of the deals is the father said he’s lost all of his sons to the Sea um and that he wanted the one to settle here and that he would help him get some land here is that is that true?

Nora: Yes I’ve heard that too 

Cathy:  Yeah, yeah

Nora: I don’t know the details of it but

Cathy:  Yeah that’s what was sort of told to me as a child when I was growing up by my dad and my grandfather that that that’s why they settled in this area was because they wanted to them to give up the sea cuz they’d lost so many of their kids to the, now now were they Sailors on that boat or were they…

Nora: Um I think there was whatever staff I don’t know how they called this staff on on ship 

Cathy:  Like a crew? they were part of the crew on that ship and where did that ship go down? uh was it in the Caribbean or over here or

Nora:  No I think it was off the coast of Newfoundland somewhere 

Cathy: Off of Newfoundland okay

Nora:  I think no, I, I wouldn’t want to be taken to jail if I’m wrong 

Cathy: We won’t do that. um so uh so this so how did you get in possession of the watch then?

Nora: Uh well I got it from through my father of course 

Cathy: Oh okay so he had it in the family history 

Nora: He had it and it was sto… he when he was in Chicago he was at Moody Bible Institute and he brought a man into his room to to explain things

Cathy: Yeah 

Nora: And he was called out and while he was out he came back the man was gone and so was the watch 

Cathy: Oh my goodness so it was stolen 

Nora: It was stolen 

Cathy: And how did you get it back then?

Nora: He went and found it in a pawn shop 

Cathy: Oh, okay

Nora: So he bought it at a, bought it at a pawn shop 

Cathy: Yes and it’s got an inscription on it doesn’t it

Nora:  Yes it has. I’ll let you read it you probably have better eyes than I have 

Cathy: Let’s see, my gosh presented to presented to Captain F Murchison of Point Prim Prince Edward Island by major Captain 

Nora: Miss Mrs Captain I think 

Cathy: Oh Murchison 

Nora: Yeah she was Captain’s

Cathy: So this was given to a Murchison by a Murchison?

Nora: Yes but but before that of course it’d been, I don’t know where what I I put down the 1881 and I don’t know what I meant. 

Cathy: Yeah yeah so this was inscribed later on then after

Nora: Then the Widow of the original owner gave it 

Cathy: Oh I see 

Nora: To to one of the brothers 

Cathy: So the Widow of the man the  Sailor that died gave it to this other Murchison, Captain M

Nora: What is it 

Cathy: Captain m, m I think m

Nora:  I wouldn’t know who that was

Cathy:  We’ll have to look at it 

Nora: Relative of our own though 

Cathy: Yes it’s amazing yeah and it’s very heavy it’s amazingly beautiful. put that back. yeah well that’s a real treasure. And do do you have any other stories that you remember about the lighthouse or about Angus or anything that you might want to share 

Nora: Probably a lot of them but they’re not coming to mind right 

Cathy:  Yeah yeah yeah

Nora: But I remember it was one of our treat’s to walk down the road which I don’t do anymore 

Cathy: Yeah well you we’ll forgive you at 98 if you can’t walk down the road some people a lot younger than you can’t do that um but you used to walk down to the lighthouse 

Nora: Yes I just just something we did you know 

Cathy: Yeah yeah 

Nora: And your your Angus was your grandfather right 

Cathy:  Yes, yes he was my grandfather 

Nora: We he would let us go up too 

Cathy:  Oh yeah see I didn’t when I was young he was not the Lighthouse Keeper anymore 

Nora: Who was? Manson? 

Cathy: No, I think at that point it had been automated because I think they automated it in ‘ 63 and I was born in ‘ 63 so we used to come visit him

Nora: And then they didn’t allow people up after that 

Cathy: No, it was all locked up 

Nora: Oh 

Cathy: Yes it was  locked up then so 

Nora: You missed out 

Cathy: Well yes I think sometimes we’d get up there on I probably shouldn’t have done that but anyway yeah yeah so um and and and tell me a little bit more about yourself and  your life and what you’ve um you know

Nora: Well I’ve told you my age

Cathy: Yes 

Nora: Most people don’t like to tell their age but I don’t mind 

Cathy: It becomes something you’re proud of after a while right 

Nora: Right I used to come here to the Point every summer.  As far as I know I don’t know about when I was an infant but I understand I came every summer 

Cathy: And  you’re from New Brunswick right 

Nora: I was born in New Brunswick 

Cathy: Yes 

Nora: And I trained in the St John Hospital and I went to a Bible School in Hampton and then I went to what was then the Nyasaland  and now is Malawi and I was there 37 years 

Cathy: As a missionary

Nora: But coming I came home the first time it was seven years and then it would be five or four 

Cathy: Wow that must have been very interesting 

Nora: And I was married there and my husband said he didn’t know the second language so he didn’t really know what he was doing cause we’re married two two weeks after he got out there we were engaged before 

Cathy: Yes

Nora: I came out and I was out almost four years before he came 

Cathy: Oh wow 

Nora: Cause he he was led to get further training so 

Cathy: Okay, so you spent most of your adult life abroad and in Africa that must have been really interesting 

Nora: Yes it was yeah 

Cathy: And then when did your husband pass away then?

Nora: Uh we were married he passed in 2-0, I think it was 2-0-5

Cathy: 2005 

Nora: Or it was I’m quite sure it was 2-0-5 

Cathy: And now you still and you still come over every summer 

Nora: Yes 

Cathy: Yeah nice 

Nora:  He, he was he wasn’t an Islander though 

Cathy:  No 

Nora: He was a St John Boy 

Cathy: Okay so you had to drag him over here did you 

Nora: No he quite liked it 

Cathy:  Good good yeah usually when you come over you you you fall in love with PEI that’s right well thanks so much for telling us the story about the watch I’m it’s really beautiful and it’s such 

Nora: It’s a Wonderful story 

Cathy:  Yeah and it’s such a treasure to have in your family it’s very lovely 

Nora:  Yeah going down the road with a horse and wagon and his kids some on the seat and some standing around and they all go down the Lighthouse for the spend the night I think when when he was keeper 

Cathy: Yes I I heard from my father that he was um uh very good at putting them to work 

Nora: Was he?

Cathy:  Yes and when we went to the archives um, Barb and I, to do some research for the lighthouse um it it actually noted in  there what a a very Immaculate lightkeeper he was and I told my father that and he quite laughed at that cause he thought yeah he used to get us to polish all the ledges

Nora:  He was  immaculate 

Cathy: He had a little army of children working there yeah anyway 

Nora: Do you remember your your grandfather 

Cathy: Oh yes I remember him very well 

Nora: and Gladys? 

Cathy: Yes um I remember Gladis not as well

Nora: She probably predeceased him did she did she die 

Cathy: Yeah she died first, and I was very young but I do remember her. I have memories of her. All my favorite memories of my childhood were all on Pei 

Nora: Were they ?

Cathy:  Yeah yeah I mean I, that’s mostly what stuck out in my mind as as 

Nora: I guess mine were too 

Cathy: Yeah it’s such a magical place here yeah yeah

yeah thank you so much Nora

Nora: Thank you