Cape Breton's Magazine

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Page 20 - Torquil MacLean & the Englishtown Ferry

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1973/1/1 (1641 reads)

TORQUIL MAC LEAN CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7 job took about three hours, and before the tar set a fine sprinkling of sand helped toughen the tar. Then the Scow would be turned right side up and the sheathing re? moved from the inside. The sheathing was one inch boards that made the Old Scow sturdier and protected the planks from the steel horseshoes. Loose tar and sand was removed, a coat of tar was applied and the sheathing was put back. New oars and sets of thole pins were made. When cars began to be ferried, two sets of planks were used, two inches by ten inches by fourteen feet long. One set was placed on board the Scow, one end on the forward thwart and the other on the stern thwart, set wide enough apart for the car- wheels. The other set was used for loading and unloading, and were set from the stern to the beach. I don't remember Torquil being sick until the time of his death. A few days before he died he came to our house and gave all the Morrisons a 25 cent paper bill (cur? rency used at that time). I believe he gave my mother five dollars. On December 28th he made his last ferry crossing. In the early afternoon he told Grandmaw he was going to lie down for a spell, and retired to his room just off the kitchen. He stretched upon the bed with his clothes on, as he very often did. A short time later he complained of heavy chest pains, and after a few hours of severe suffering he passed away. He is buried at the Eng? lishtown Cemetery, the land for which he donated. It overlooks the ferry crossing. My Uncle Allan MacLean took over the fer? ry in 1921. In 1920 he had purchased a four horsepower motor launch to tow the Old Scow. This required another hand so my brother Neil was hired. He received twenty-five dollars a month and stayed at the ferry for almost two years. The first government ferry and ferry wharfs were built in that Summer of 1921, Two wharfs were built on each side, one for high tide and the other for a low tide landing. The ferry boat was built at Bay St.'Lawrence by a Fitzgerald. She was a- bout thirty-five feet long and eleven feet wide, with a square stern. She was e'quipped with a double cylinder twelve horsepower Acadia motor and a reverse gear. She was paid for by the Provincial Government and she was able to carry one car. She was used from 1921 to 1936 and replaced by one built by Best and Hussy at Ingonish, a boat that carried two to three cars (three if they were small.) In 1952, the Highland Lass took over; she was built in North Sydney. And when the Seal Island Bridge opened, the present ferry, the Gordon S. Harrington, came to Englishtown from New Campbellton, I was hired in August, 1927. The fare at that timf was one dollar and fiftv cents The 1st motor ferry and Allan MacLean with the 2nd motor ferry docked behind him. Angel Manufacturing & Supply Co. Ltd North Sydney Cape Breton's Magazine/20 D. GOLDMAN & SONS LTD. "THE HOME OF FINE SEAFOOD" GLACE BAY
Cape Breton's Magazine
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