Testimonies and Secrets: The Story of a Nova Scotia Family, 1844-1977

By Robert M. Mennel

© 2013

This compelling history is drawn from the papers of the Crouse-Eikle family, discovered in their ancestral home in Crousetown on Nova Scotia’s South Shore. Millwright John Will Crouse (1844–1914) kept a meticulous diary spanning five decades. Reflective by nature, he recorded the challenges of work, pondered the intricacies of communal life, and wrote movingly of his personal and spiritual struggles. His daughter Elvira Crouse Eikle reported on village events for local newspapers, and her son, Harold Eikle (1912–1977), a gifted teacher and musician, wrote letters and family history. Harold’s correspondence celebrated the social liberations of the 1930s and beyond, but also showed their limits in the suffering he experienced as a gay man in a heterosexual world.

Using the family papers, other unpublished documents and oral history, Robert M. Mennel connects the experiences of the Crouse-Eikle family and their community to larger themes of social and cultural change in North America. A story of vivid personalities and episodes, by turns sad, conflicted, joyful, bitter, funny and reflective, Testimonies and Secrets will be read with pleasure by scholars and general readers alike.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 336 pages
  • Illustrations: 31
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 0.9in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP003649

  • PUBLISHED SEP 2013

    From: $28.46

    Regular Price: $37.95

    ISBN 9781442614789
  • PUBLISHED OCT 2013

    From: $32.26

    Regular Price: $37.95

Quick Overview

A story of vivid personalities and episodes, by turns sad, conflicted, joyful, bitter, funny and reflective, Testimonies and Secrets will be read with pleasure by scholars and general readers alike.

Testimonies and Secrets: The Story of a Nova Scotia Family, 1844-1977

By Robert M. Mennel

© 2013

This compelling history is drawn from the papers of the Crouse-Eikle family, discovered in their ancestral home in Crousetown on Nova Scotia’s South Shore. Millwright John Will Crouse (1844–1914) kept a meticulous diary spanning five decades. Reflective by nature, he recorded the challenges of work, pondered the intricacies of communal life, and wrote movingly of his personal and spiritual struggles. His daughter Elvira Crouse Eikle reported on village events for local newspapers, and her son, Harold Eikle (1912–1977), a gifted teacher and musician, wrote letters and family history. Harold’s correspondence celebrated the social liberations of the 1930s and beyond, but also showed their limits in the suffering he experienced as a gay man in a heterosexual world.

Using the family papers, other unpublished documents and oral history, Robert M. Mennel connects the experiences of the Crouse-Eikle family and their community to larger themes of social and cultural change in North America. A story of vivid personalities and episodes, by turns sad, conflicted, joyful, bitter, funny and reflective, Testimonies and Secrets will be read with pleasure by scholars and general readers alike.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 336 pages
  • Illustrations: 31
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 0.9in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    ‘Testimonies and secrets. Plenty of both in this valuable and rare snapshot of life in rural Nova Scotia. An important contribution to the field of “life writing”, accessible to general readers and local history buffs.’
    Gerald Hallowell
    Canadian Historical Review, vol 95:02:2014

    ‘Mennel successfully turned the treasure trove of the Crouse/Eikle family papers into an exploration of past lives that is highly compelling.’


    Christine Moreland
    Active History February 2015

    “Until now, there has been a dearth of studies of nineteenth-century rural Nova Scotian communities and none of Atlantic Canadian male diarists and correspondence. Testimonies and Secrets fills these gaps by providing a valuable and interesting blend of scholarly family history and an academic community study. It will appeal to social, economic, community, rural, Maritime, and LGBT historians – and, with its approachable writing style, to those with a general interest in Nova Scotia and Lunenberg County history.”

    Daniel C. Goodwin, Department of History, Crandall University
  • Author Information

    Robert M. Mennel is emeritus professor of History at the University of New Hampshire.
  • Table of contents

    Preface

    Illustrations

    Introduction

    Prologue: Lunenburg and “Crouse town Mills,” 1753-1844

    Chapter I: Young Man on the Rise

    Chapter II: John Will Crouse’s Village, 1871-1884

    Chapter III: The Family and Its World, 1880-1900

    Chapter IV: John Will Crouse’s Autumn-time, 1898-1914

    Chapter V: Descendants—the Eikle Family and Harold, 1909-1943

    Chapter VI: A Family's End, 1943-1977

    Epilogue: Crousetown, 2007

    Appendices

    Note on Sources

    Chapter Notes

    Acknowledgements

    Illustration Credits

    Index

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