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> Issue 66 > Page 72 - With Jessie Morrison of Cape North - A Cape Breton to Alberta Pioneer

Page 72 - With Jessie Morrison of Cape North - A Cape Breton to Alberta Pioneer

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1994/6/1 (1277 reads)
 

was after that that Dr. L6o came in. Safe to say around the '20s. shortly after World War I was over. So he started his practice really living at Margaree Forks, and then he moved to Cheticamp. But it was nothing to see him driving from Cheti? camp to the head of Big Interval. And that was all narrow dirt roads. The commonest epidemic you had at that time was flat tires from driving all over the rocks in the roads. (Rosie: You'd call it the "rabbit road.") The rabbit road--that's exactly what it was. And Dr. L6o went through all of that. I have never yet heard a word from any? body of criticism about Dr. L6o. That is, any? thing about his personal life. As far as I'm con? cerned from what my father and mother would say and from hearing other people talking about him, he was a very moral man. I can remember a particular occasion where there was a young married lady in Northeast Margaree. She was formerly a Gillis from Southwest Margaree and she was married to David Tompkins. They have a very lovely residence in the Margaree area yet. Now, when she was in her third or fourth pregnan? cy- -I know I taught three of her children--it be? came a desperate situation. There was no hospital in Inverness at the time. It was in mid-winter, there were no snowplows on the road, and the re? sult was that the only doctor available to them was Dr. L6o LeBlanc. Now, it was during a wild stormy day with the snow up over the fences--and I'm not exaggerating that. People as old as I am in Cheticamp will tell you that that was common to drive on the highway where you couldn't see a fence, the snow would be banked up all winter. Now, somehow they got word through by phone and he started out from Cheticamp. In the meantime my neighbour, Peter Pat Coady, who would be an uncle to this sick lady's hus? band- -he had a powerful horse and he hitched up his horse and sleigh and started down north to meet Dr. L6o. Dr. L6o got as far as Margaree Har? bour when this other man met him. And it was just a matter of jumping out of one sleigh--his horse was played out by that time--into the other. And I can still see them because we were watching. I can still see Peter Coady and Dr. L6o going out by our place on this terribly cold stormy day and the horse plowing his way just like a sort of a robot through the snowbanks. He spent several hours with this lady--she died, she was still very young--but he didn't lose her through his lack of skill. He lost her as a result of the fact that he was just a little late coming there and the complications had advanced to the point where it was beyond him to save her.... The point that I'm making is that self what Dr. L6o would face. for my- It was on another call of mercy that ended his life. He was killed at East Margaree on the road that goes across to the church. Now, I cannot tell you exactly what happened, but from later stories the old Model T--or the cars that they had in those days--had a habit of, if you turned them hard enough, the steering would lock. It was direct steering, it wasn't power steering or any? thing you have now like that. I believe that that's what happened to him. He spun around--and you can see the bank as you're going down from here, the road going over to the church. And it was right coming up that hill where he lost con? trol of the car, or he made the turn too quickly or something like that. Those are some of the stories. There are others. He was a very charitable doctor. In fact, there's one story told.... You know, doctors got very poorly paid in his day. The doctors were, in some Archie Neil Chisholm, Margaree Forks cases, some of the poorest people in the world. And there's one story about him having gone into one house and instead of getting paid he left money with them to get something to eat! Our thanks to Clara Mae Samson, daughter of Dr. LeBlanc, and her daughter Georgette, for providing a rare photo of the doctor. Our thanks as well to Dr. Ken Murray who gave us the printed version of Dr. LeBlanc's story, taken from the Nova Scotia Medi? cal Journal oi-1936. Thanks also to Rosie Aucoin Grace and to Archie Neil for this additional reminiscence about Dr. Lto LeBlanc. Readers are re? minded that one of the finest Cape Breton books is Archie Neil: From the Life and Stories of Archie Nell Chisholm of Margaree Forks by Mary Ann Ducharme. Copies are available in stores, or direct from Breton Books, Wreck Cove, Nova Scotia BOC 1H0. The price is $14.95 plus 7% GST and $3.50 shipping • a total of $19.50. For credit card orders, phone 1-800-565-5140. 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