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Mudoch Beaton lived on the Shore Road in Harbourview near Port Hood. He married Mary Christina MacDonell. He is remembered for his wit and talent as a storyteller.
Joe Allan was born to parents Rory MacLean and Flora Bryden, both of Rear Christmas Island. He and his brother remained on the family property until the early 1980s. Joe Allan worked as a blacksmith and amateur carpenter in Benacadie and Rear Christmas Island. Many Canadian and international folklorists have listed Joe Allan as one of the finest known Gaelic storytellers of his generation.
Joe Lawrence was the youngest child of John J. MacDonald and Margaret Gillis of Rear Beaver Cove. His father was a blacksmith who moved the family into Ironville and open a new forge. Joseph's father as well as his mother's uncle, Archie Larry Gillis both composed songs. It is said that Joe Lawrence's uncle Donald John Lachlan was one of the last people to leave Rear Beaver Cove when he went to live with the family in Ironville. Joe Lawrence credits this uncle rather than his own parents with passing on a love and knowledge of Gaelic. His parents did not speak the language to their children, whereas his uncle (although able to speak English) chose to speak only Gaelic. Joe Lawrence taught himself to read and write Gaelic.
Apart from farming and a stint working at local quarries, Joe Lawrence learned the trade of blacksmithing and continued to operate the forge following his father's death. He married Mary Bell (Isabel) MacKenzie of Christmas Island and the couple went on to have 5 children.
Joe Lawrence collected extensively for Sr. Margaret Beaton and much of his material is held at the Beaton Institute. He worked tirelessly to preserve and celebrate Gaelic language and culture in Cape Breton. A founder of the Senior Citizen's Organization of Boisdale (a club that served as a gathering point for native Gaelic speakers), he also co-founded the Gaelic Society of Cape Breton.
Dan MacKenzie was born in Christmas island to parish native John J. MacKenzie and Katie Cameron of Inverness.
Archie "Larry" Gillis was the son of Lawrence (Larry) Gillis and Ann MacDonald (Post). His father emigrated from the Isle of Barra in 1833 at the age of 10. A native of Rear Beaver Cove, he married fellow parishioner Mary MacSween and moved to North Sydney. A carpenter by trade, Gillis would eventually find work at the steel plant but always yearned to return to the calm and peace of the countryside. He composed many songs, many of them of a humorous nature.
Catherine MacNeil, also known as Catrìona Iain Ruaidh or Catrìona Bean Ruairidh, was a well-known bard who lived in the far eastern part of the Highlands, Rear Christmas Island. Catherine's father was born in South Uist and came to Cape Breton in 1822. She married Iain Ruairidh "Gilleonan" MacNeil and settled near the foot of Eskasoni Mountain in Rear Christmas Island. The couple remained childless and their life was supposedly difficult, being so far from neighbours. Catherine would later spend considerable lengths of time living with the MacLean family in Rear Christmas Island. Catherine MacNeil was illiterate but Mrs. MacLean states that she insisted in integrity of her songs being preserved by anyone who wished to sing them.
- c1860 - ?
John V. MacNeil was born in Benacadie Glen to parents Donald and Catherine (Eòin) MacNeil. His paternal grandfather, Edward had immigrated to Cape Breton from the island of Sandray, south of Barra. After teaching school in the area for a few years, he took up the trade of carpentry, moving to Boston and later, Los Angeles. While in California, John V. got involved in real estate. He is said to have been so successful that he became a millionaire. Some of John V's songs were published in The History of Christmas Island.
- c1910 - ?
Joseph MacKenzie was born in Rear Christmas Island to parents Alex Joseph and Maggie Catherine MacNeil. He moved to Boston as a young man where he met and married Mary MacKenzie MacLean, originally of Washabuck. Joseph served many years as president of the Cape Breton Gaelic club. He and his wife later retired to Waltham, Massachusetts.
Archibald J. MacKenzie was born in Rear Christmas Island to parents James and Catherine MacDougall. His father left the Isle of Barra at the age of twelve. He taught school in the area for over 30 years. In that time he composed many songs and wrote short stories in Gaelic. He wrote the first edition of The History of Christmas Island Parish, published in 1925. Archibald J.'s son Archie Alex was also a well-respected and prolific bard.
- 1921 - 2013
Born in Rear Christmas Island he was the son of the late John P. and Annie (Anna Mhìcheal Nìll Mhìcheil) MacInnis MacLean. Their home was one of the most notable cèilidh houses in that area of the country. Peter grew up in a household where Gaelic was the language of everyday life and in which Gaelic cultural expression in its many forms wove the fabric of social community interaction.
Peter worked as a carpenter starting in his teen years, learning the trade from craftsmen in the local community and going on to spend some 20 years working in the Boston area. During his stay in Boston, he was invited to join members of the North Shore Gaelic Singers to perform at the Newport Rhode Island Folk Festival, and at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
In addition to being a performer of rare ability, Peter was a mentor, a cultural icon, a friend and an inspiration to the many, many people who came to learn from him, novices and seasoned performers alike.
Anna or Annie MacLean, née MacInnis, was born in Castle Bay, N.S. She married John P. Maclean of Rear Christmas Island, where they established a homestead. Their household became one of the best-known ceilidh houses of the area, hosting many visits with Gaelic song , stories and lore being shared and enjoyed. She conducted her life and raised her children in a thoroughly Gaelic environment, passing on songs and traditions to future generations. MacLean was conscious in her effort to maintain Gaelic song tradition. She collected song clippings from newspapers and pamphlets which she kept in a large cardboard box and eventually passed on to her son, Peter Jack MacLean.
The Union of Nova Scotia Indians (UNSI) was organized in 1969 by the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia as the representative body for all of the Mi'kmaq in the province.
John (Julian) Julien was chief (fl.1779-1805) of the Mi'kmaw people living in the Miramichi region, New Brunswick.
Rev. Pierre Maillard (1710-1762) was a missionary among the Mi'kmaw people of Isle Royale. Around 1738 he composed Hieroglyphics which were then used by the Mi'kmaq for over a century.
- Jul 2. 1965
Rev. Thomas Wood became proficient in Mi'kmaq while serving as a missionary in Nova Scotia for the society for the propagation of the gospel in foreign parts. In preparing this work, he was able to use papers left by abbé Pierre Maillard, who had been a missionary to the Acadians and Mi'kmaq, 1735-1762. wood was also assisted by Jean-Baptist Roma, who had been Abbé Pierre Maillard's servant and was familiar with the abbe's handwriting.
Born on December 30, 1938 to Simon Cremo and Annie Cremo in Barra head, Cape Breton. A Mi’kmaq community which is now called Potlotek. At age 4, he moved to Eskasoni, and that’s where he spent most of his life with his wife Nelly Cremo and two children, Liz Cremo and Timothy Cremo. As a young child, he would listen to his father play, an accomplished fiddler, who later taught lee to play the fiddle at the age of 7. His talent wasn’t revealed till the age of 18, at the time him and “his father were playing for a dance in Boisdale, Lee was playing the guitar accompanying his fathers fiddle. His father took a stroke during at that location and was immediately rushed to the hospital. To save the dance, Lee picked up the fiddle and finished the dance for him”. Over the years from being taught not only his father but by Winston Fitzgerald and Dan Hughie. Lee began his journey, to becoming one of the greatest fiddlers of all time. Cremo made his living in turn as a lumberman in Maine and a bus driver in Eskasoni but he appeared at the fiddling and folk music events across the world. Lee won many competitions and awards throughout his fiddling career. He won the maritime Old Time Fiddling Contest in Dartmouth, NS, six times. A trip to the Grand Master Fiddling Championships in Nashville, which he got an award for ‘ Best Bow Arm In The World’ which is documented in the film Arm of gold (1986). He also performed at events as Expo 67 for Queen Elizabeth ll, and in 1999 the launch of the Aboriginal People’s Television Network. By 1995 he had won over 80 fiddle competitions and released The Champion Returns which was voted The Best First Nations recording at the 1996 East Coast Music Awards. Lee Cremo died on October 10, 1999 at the age of 60.
Born in Sydney N.S September 2, 1925. The daughter of Richard and Mary Rose (Christmas) Johnson, but raised by her grandmother, Julie Bernard Nevin. She was originally from Chapel Island (Potlotek) then later got moved to Membertou, where she grew up. She Married Noel R. Denny and moved to Eskasoni, where she lived for 60 years. Together they had 12 children, Mary Rose Julian, Richard Joseph Denny (Deceased), Beverly Teresa Denny (Deceased), Delena Bridget Sylliboy (Deceased), Joan Carolyn Denny-Christmas, Wilma Jean Simon, Joel Nathan Denny, Vivian Elaine Basque, Melinda Ann Young, Beverly Colleen Jeddore, Janice Amarna Paul (Deceased) and Katherine Noel Adrian. She worked as a Councilor and eventually became the very first Mi’kmaq Teacher Aid. She held a positon as an Cultural Officer/Researcher working for MACS (Mi’kmaq Association of Cultural Studies). Sarah was very traditional and strongly believed in the Mi’kmaq culture. She was known as an expert at Mi’kmaq Hymes, Native Dancing and Traditional Medicine. She loved and taught her children how to chant, sing, pray and dance in traditional ways but not only her children, she formed the Eskasoni Mi’kmaq Dancers to teach others. She also formed the Eskasoni Noel R. Denny Memorial Powwow. Sarah was present in several films, videos and radio interviews. She received many Awards over the years such as …. (Got to go see Melinda). Denny passed away with Alzheimer’s Disease on September 6, 2002
- 1920 - 1983
Born To Richard Denny and Bridget Denny March 5, 1920 – July 4, 1983, Eskasoni N.S. Married to Sarah Agnes Denny, They have 12 children together, Mary Rose Julian (Milos), Richard Joseph Denny (Deceased), Beverly Teresa Denny (Deceased), Delena Bridget Sylliboy (Deceased), Joan Carolyn Denny-Christmas, Wilma Jean Simon, Joel Nathan Denny, Vivian Elaine Basque, Melenda Ann Young, Beverly Colleen Jeddore, Janice Amarna Paul (Deceased) and Katherine Noel Adrian. He also has one more child in Afton N.S named Jessie Poulette. He strongly believed in god (don’t know how else to say it right now) and traditional cultural ways. He always read the bible to his children and brought them up to always pray for the sick. He Started the Mala Mass Feast making sure no elders are hungry.
Wilfred Prosper was a Fiddler, Born in 1927 in Barra Head, Richmond County in Cape Breton to Peter Prosper and Clara Young. Wilfred lived in chapel island until 1947 then moved to Eskasoni where he later met and married his wife Bessie Stevens. Together they raised nine daughters and six sons. He served several roles through his life. Carpentry, former Chief of Eskasoni, Spiritual Leader of the Mi’kmaq grand council and taught Mi’kmaq language, prayers and hymes.
He started out on the guitar and eventually switched to the fiddle at the age of sixteen, influenced by Simon Cremo. Who would often play at the Prosper residence for two hours for a dollar. Prosper has won many awards fiddling throughout his lifetime. He was a member of the cape Breton fiddlers association and a maritimes fiddling champion in the 1960s. he would often play with his friend, Lee Cremo. Wilfred passed away on March 25, 2005 at the age of 77.
- 1897 - 1967
MacEdward Leach (1897-1967) was one of North America's most widely respected folklorists. Among his many merits, he was scholar of literature, folklore and language. His work greatly influenced the development of folklore as an academic discipline, and introduced subsequent scholars and folk enthusiasts to the vast diversity of North American culture
Between 1949 and 1951 he took a series of trips to Cape Breton and mainland N.S to collect songs and stories from Gaelic tradition bearers.
James R. Morrison (Seumas Ruairidh Òig Choinnich Bhàin) was born in Framboise Intervale in 1883. His father Roderick Morrison had immigrated from Berneray, Harris in the 1840s. His mother, Jane Strachan was born in Framboise to immigrants who also hailed from Berneray. By his own admission, James was fond of travelling and he left Framboise for Boston at the age of seventeen. From there went to work in the copper mines of British Columbia. At the request of his parents, he returned to Framboise where he met and married Loch Lomond native Effie Morrison. James operated a store in Framboise for many years and continued to do odd jobs in the community following his retirement at the age of 80. He passed away in 1975 at the age of 92. On his tombstone the words “Gaelic Singer” can be read beneath his name.
James R. Morrison was the nephew of renowned bard Murdoch Morrison, author of Òrain Fuinn is Cladaich”. James R.’s compositions do not appear to have been published.
- 1885 - 1972
Dan Alex MacDonald was born in North Framboise. His father also hailed from North Framboise, whereas his mother, Annie Munroe, came from Canoe Lake, near Gabarus. Both of his parents were descendants of immigrants from North Uist. He ran a farm, operated a saw mill and raised a family of three boys, three girls and a foster son.
Dan Alex was a well respected bard and is best known for his song in prasie of Cape Breton, " 'Se Ceap Breatainn Tìr Mo Ghràidh".
Sam Nicolson was born on Skye Mountain and later moved to a farm in Skye Glen. He was the son of Angus Nicolson who immigrated to Cape Breton from the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Sam married Jessie MacLellan of Dunakyn.
Kate MacDougall from Ben Eoin was the daughter of Alexander MacDougall and granddaughter of Allan Og and Marie (MacAdam) MacDougall, all of Ben Eoin. Kate had one daughter, Mary Ann MacDougall who was married to Donald MacMillan, and they lived in Kate's house in Ben Eoin. Her first language was Gaelic and she was well known in the Big Pond/Ben Eoin area for her songs and stories. Joe Neil MacNeil described her as an "able girl, a strong girl, who would think nothing of going to the woods to cut her own firewood." Kate MacDougall had no formal education, and very little in the way of possessions. She maintained a treasury of local stories, songs and lore and was well respected by all in her community. More information, and a photo of Kate, can be found in Jack MacNeil's 'From the Cove to the Glen'.
- 1878 - 1980
Annabelle MacKinnon (née Gillis) was born and raised in Gillis Lake, Cape Breton County, N.S. She married Archibald MacKinnon of Boulardrie and they settled in Frenchvale. She eventually moved into the Prime Brook (Alexandra St.) area of Sydney, N.S. Annabelle was extremely knowledgeable of the genealogy and history of the Gillis Lake, and surrounding areas. She was a native speaker and maintained that she was much more proficient in her native tongue than her learned English. She had a formidable memory stretching back to the Old Country through stories told be her Grandmother, an emigrant from Uist, Scotland.
- Cape Breton
- 1880 – 1891
Alexander Donald MacNeil, (1867-1892) was born in Orangedale, Cape Breton. He was the son of the late James & Julia (MaxQuarrie) MacNeill. He received his early education in a one-room Orangedale school, attended Sydney Academy where he received a medal for excellence in literature and began writing poetry. He attended Queens University in Kingston, Ont. His education was interrupted when his mother died (1884) and while returning home he and his brother were caught in a snowstorm. He subsequently got a cold and later contracted Tuberculosis and died at age 25.
- Cape Breton Fiddler
Winston "Scotty" Fitzgerald was a well-known Cape Breton fiddler. He began playing the violin at square dances and community socials. He later joined the Maritime Merrymakers and the Cape Breton Serenaders who performed regularly on CHNS, Halifax. Fitzgerald toured the Maritimes for three years with Hank Snow and during WW2, he enlisted with the Royal Canadian Army. Following the war, his band, Winston Fitzgerald and his Radio Entertainers, were heard on CJCB Radio for years. His career spanned a 60-year period and his music influenced many local artists. Fitzgerald recorded several albums and performed on many television shows, as well as making public appearances throughout the Maritimes and New England States.
Father MacGillivray (1835-1892) had been a parish priest at St. Joseph’s and Principal of the Grammar School at St. Andrew’s (both in Antigonish County) before he was appointed Parish Priest at Arisaig in 1885. In 1890, Rev. Dr. Neil MacNeil, Editor of the Casket, asked Father MacGillivray to write a history of Antigonish County. Printed as a series of articles under the pen name “S.A.” [Sargart Arisaig], it ran from 1890 until Father MacGillivray drowned in 1892.
Captain Edward Sutherland (1794-1885) came to Sydney about 1829 as a lieutenant with the 96th Regiment of Foot (Manchester Regiment). He was Town Adjutant of Sydney 12 July 1833. He stayed until 1855 when the garrison was removed and he went to Canada. While in Cape Breton he lived in Westmount, and later moved to California where he died in 1885.
- Cape Breton Post
- 1940 - 1950
Jack Silburt was a Cartoonist who worked for the Sydney Post Record (now Cape Breton Post) during the late 1940s and early 1950s. His son Alan Silburt submitted these photocopies of his sketches in 1995.
- New York
Sid Kerner was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1920. As a young man of 17 joined a Photo League where, with other photographers, attempted to reflect the times they lived in and to document what was wrong as well as what was good about our society. He also studied Modern Dance and was associated with a Theater/Dance group appearing on TV in 1939. During World War II, he served with the 28th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron in the Pacific winding up on Okinawa. After the war, he became a documentary film camera operator. In 1953, he worked at NBC-TV as a lighting director and with the advent of videotape, left and joined ABC-TV again as a lighting director. He retired in 1991 though after retirement was an active worker on a photographic series entitled "Chelsea Document." He also taught two classes of photography in the local community centre in Chelsea, New York.
Joseph Sherman was born in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia in 1945 and raised in Sydney, Cape Breton. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of New Brunswick. He taught college English in Edmundston, New Brunswick from 1970 to 1979. Since 1979, Sherman, has been editor of Arts Atlantic at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery & Museum in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. He is married with two children.
- 1968 - 1995
Silver Donald Cameron was born on June 21, 1937 in Toronto. Cameron was raised in Vancouver. He is one of Canada's most versatile authors, who in (1995) was Dean of the School of Community Studies at the University College of Cape Breton in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Dr. Cameron's work has appeared in countless magazine articles. A former contributing editor of Weekend, he has received four National Magazine Awards. He has also written more than 50 radio dramas, many scripts for film and television, and a stage play, many of which have won awards. Silver Donald Cameron holds a B.A. from the University of British Columbia, an M.A. from the University of California, and a Ph.D. from the University of London, England. He taught at Dalhousie University, University British Columbia, and the University of New Brunswick, and was Writer-in-Residence at the University College of Cape Breton (1978-80), the University of Prince Edward Island (1985-86) and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (1987-88). He was Vice-Chairman of the Writers Union of Canada and founding Executive Director of Centre Bras d'Or in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. He is also President of Novara Software and of his own company, Paper Tiger Enterprise.
- Cape Breton
- Corporate body
At a conference held in Prince Edward Island entitled "An Island Living" where the exchange of many "Island" experiences took place, it was discussed that Cape Breton had no political autonomy and the only Island not to have its own flag. Finding this a challenge, the editors of the Cape Bretoner magazine joined forces with ATV Cape Breton, CJCB/K94, City Printers and the Lyceum Heritage Society to launch a "Great Cape Breton Flag" contest on Heritage Day, February 15. The contest turned out to be an overwhelming success with over 2,000 entries submitted. These have been compiled in binders along with the winning entry by Kelly Gooding of Sydney Mines.
- Cape Breton
- Corporate body
Centre Bras d'Or Association was formed to develop in Cape Breton an environment in which artists, craftspeople, performers, critics, scholars and others could exchange all aspects of their work with one another, with the community at large and with visitors so as to reveal and enhance the natural strengths and the diversity of environment landscape, cultural heritage and creativity for the Island to the cultural and economic benefit of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Centre Bras d'Or was inspired by the example of the Banff Centre which brings artists of various disciplines together in a physically beautiful setting. Initially, they set out to seize public attention by mounting an ambitious summer festival of the Arts: 14 days of music, literary readings, weaving, exhibits, dance & theater. The first Festival attracted 4200 people. The vigor and vision of the founding group has brought the Centre a remarkable range of support ranging from Gov't of Canada (Canada Council), Dept. of Employment & Communications, DEVCO, Gov't of Nova Scotia (Dept. of Culture & Development) as well as major national firms and local organizations.
- Nova Scotia
Harry A. Archibald was a local businessperson who operated a Taxi stand in North Sydney during the 1950's. Archibald also wrote and collected poetry. Local Poems & Old Come-All-Ye Songs - the Shores of Pottles Lake and others was a published book which sold for 50 cents. Mr. Archibald also advertised his business in prose form in various media articles.
Sid Kerner was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1920 and as a young man of 17 joined a Photo League where, with other photographers, attempted to reflect the times they lived in and to document what was wrong as well as what was good about our society. He also studied Modern Dance and was associated with a Theatre/Dance group appearing on TV in 1939. During World War II, he served with the 28th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron in the Pacific winding up on Okinawa. After the war, he became a documentary film camera operator. In 1953, he worked at NBC-TV as a lighting director and with the advent of videotape, left and joined ABC-TV again as a lighting director. He retired in 1991 but remains active working on a photographic series entitled "Chelsea Document." He also teaches two classes of photography in the local community centre in Chelsea, New York.
Lewis Parker of Toronto taught at Humber College. He is past President of the Canadian Society of Book Illustrators. Lastly, he was commissioned by Parks Canada to do murals for the Fortress of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia and Fort Beausejour, New Brunswick.
Angus MacLellan, Grand Mira, N.S, was the grandson of famed bard Dòmhnall Gobha and nephew to Vincent Maclellan, publisher of Failte Ceap Breatainn. Angus was a well respected tradition bearer and singer in the Grand Mira area and greater Cape Breton Gaelic communities.
Rita Joe was born at Whycocomagh, Nova Scotia on 15 March 1932, the daughter of Josie (Gould) Bernard and Annie Googoo. She was orphaned at the age of 5 and went to the Shubenacadie Residential School until the age of 16. She completed her education through the Eskasoni Education Program. She married Frank Joe on 16 January 1954 and they had eleven children. Rita became a writer and published several books, including Poems of Rita Joe (1979), Song of Eskasoni (1989), L'nu and Indians we're Called (1992) and Song of Rita Joe (1996). She received the Order of Canada in 1990, membership in the Privy Council in 1993 and honourary doctorates from Dalhousie University (1993), University College of Cape Breton (1997) and Mount Saint Vincent University (1998).