Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 30 > Inside Front cover - Starting with Our Cover Photograph" A Visit with Mary and William Crowdis

Inside Front cover - Starting with Our Cover Photograph" A Visit with Mary and William Crowdis

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1981/12/1 (1284 reads)
 

starting with Our Cover Photograph... A Visit with Mary and William Crowdis (Starting with the cover photograph, I went to the Margarees. I knew that George MacDermid had taken the picture--Kenneth MacKenzie had told me that. For George, photography was more of a hobby. He never had a studio or made a business of it. I took the photo to Osgood MacPherson at his store in Margaree Valley. He knew the house and sent me to Vera Fraser. She knew some of the people, yes, she had lived in that house. The man to the right wearing the cap was her husband, Ernest. But the photo was before she came into the family. Vera sent me to Mary and Wil? liam Crowdis. Mary is the little girl in front, to the left. She named everyone in the picture. Front row, from left: Mary Fraser Crowdis, Malcolm Fraser, Lil? lian Burton, John Burton. Back row, from left: Simon Fraser, Tena (Christena) Bur? ton Fraser, Verne Burton, Florence Burton and Ernest Fraser. The dog's name is Watch. The house is pictured where it now stands on the Egypt Road. It was moved there from atop Eraser's Mountain.) William Crowdis: Now lots of people think that they built it up, blocked it up, and dropped it. It came down just like this here. Let's say that my leg here was the mountain. They dug samsons. (We've also heard it called "dead men.") They dug a hole in the ground, and they buried a sam- son post there--a log that they could tie to, that would not give--and they put it on the upper end of the house--you know, that the house wouldn't tip over. It's very steep up there. They put the crop in or the hay--'twas in crop time because I was harrowing in the back field at our place. And I saw them coming down there, just coming in jerks, you know. It'd be holding and then let go and then come, but this rope, this samson--I believe the sam- son went through the house and out through a window on the opposite side. And they put a stick across the windows for strength. Otherwise, you might pull the rear-end off of it. I heard them talking that the rope went through the house and it went through a window to a stick on the opposite side. It kept it. 'Cause if it went end over end it would smash all to pieces. This French fellow had the rigging--and that's the way it came down, just head? first, like that. And to keep it from tum? bling they had this samson guide, and they had other equipment for pulling it, too. (Did they jack it up and put skids under? neath it?) Oh yes. But then they pulled it off of the foundation and brought it down with the land. Now lots of people think they blocked it up and then dropped it down--but they didn't do it that way. It came headfirst. (You mean the front of the house was facing down the hill, tilted down the hill?) Yes. And he had a winch of some kind for pulling. Now, I wasn't there, but I heard the talk. They had winches for power to pull it down, and they had this rope fastened to this samson that it wouldn't go end over end. It didn't break a pane of glass. I don't think there was a horse at all that ever I heard tell of it. There were winches. It was done by men. You know, it was a dangerous place to put horses. Men could get out of the way if anything hap? pened. But they said there wasn't a mishap in the whole thing--just as the man planned. Mary Crowdis: They split it. Took the main part first. Then took the kitchen down, William. It came down and he set it up down below there and they lived in the big part, and he went back up and he brought down the kitchen part and joined

CONTINUED ON PAGE 31 Our cover photograph is from a contact print of a glass plate.
Cape Breton's Magazine
  View this article in PDF format Print article



Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to the PDF version of this content. Click here to download and install the Acrobat plugin
Acrobat Reader Download