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Mary Jane (Janie) Stewart née Dumville
(c1868-1932): School Teacher

Janie Dumville was the daughter of James Dumville and Jane Ellis. When Janie's father died, her mother moved to Port Hill and took care of the house for John Yeo. Janie however always claimed to be a West Pointer and took every opportunity to make her way back there. After she graduated from Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, she became the first teacher at West Point School, West Point, Prince Edward Island. She married Captain James (Jimmy) Augustus Stewart of West Point and there they brought up their children: Angus, Jennie Irene and twins Roy and Myrtle.

Captain Jimmy Stewart was the son of Angus J. Stewart and Louise Ladner. Angus was a farmer of approximately two hundred acres on the West Point shore of the Northumberland Straight in the late 1880s. Captain Jimmy owned two or three schooners over a period of about twenty years. They were used in the commercial trades, shipping coal, lumber, farm products and other cargoes between the Canadian Maritimes and as far away as Central America. He gave up shipping after sinking and losing a ship.

In 1914 the family moved to Quincy, Massachusetts, where Janie helped with the grocery store opened by her husband. At the time of her death in 1932, she was superintendent of the Beginners' Department of the United Presbyterian Church of Quincy. She was also active in the Women's Christian Temperance Union as chairman of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Committee. It was written in the notice of her death: 'As a wife and mother, she was a splendid example of integrity and devotion.'

photograph: Mary Jane (Janie) Stewart nee Dumville (c1868-1932)
Mary Jane (Janie)
Stewart née Dumville

photograph: Captain and Crew of the Elva Mo

Captain and Crew of the Elva Mo
left: Captain Jimmy Stewart, husband of Janie Stewart née Dumville
far right: Edmund Stewart, Jimmy's younger brother

The following poem was written by the Reverend Roy Stewart (b 1894),
son of Captain Jimmy Stewart and Janie Stewart née Dumville,
and is dated 12 March 1931.

West Point Lighthouse

As a child I loved to watch it
From my window in the night,
As it flashed its lustrous beacon
Alternating red and white.

And I wondered if my father
As he sailed the ocean blue,
And caught sight of West Point Lighthouse
Knew that I was watching too.

Often when the storm clouds gathered
And the seas were lashed in foam
By the piercing blasts of autumn,
Which oft rocked our humble home

Causing every bolt and rafter
To complain with dismal creak,
Like the solemn protest offered
When the strong oppress the weak.

Have I heard my mother murmur
As the shades of night come down:
"God Bless those at sea and grant that
None in this fierce storm may drown."

She would wander to the window
And look out toward the shore,
Where the waves were breaking wildly
As they oft had done before.

Well I knew that she was thinking
Of my father far from land;
Wondering whether his frail vessel
Would the angry waves withstand.

And she always seemed contented
When the rays of red and white
From the tower of the lighthouse
Flashed their message through the night.

For it spoke to her of guidance
For the sailors in that gale
Who strove hard to make the harbor
In their ships so small and frail.

May my life be like that lighthouse
Standing firm through storm and blast;
Warning, guiding weary voyagers
Till the havenís reached at last.

The biography, the poem and photographs were provided by Jim Hocking, who is a great-grandson of Mary Jane (Janie) Stewart née Dumville. The information was gathered by him from interviews with Janie's ninety-year-old granddaughter Irene Stewart Reeves, and Edna Stewart Ellis.

See also:

Mary Jane (Janie) Stewart née Dumville: Photographs

James Henry Dumville (1776-c1850), grandfather of Mary Jane (Janie) Stewart née Dumville.