Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 28 > Page 18 - George Maxwell Family Stories

Page 18 - George Maxwell Family Stories

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1981/6/1 (524 reads)

ique, you had to learn Gaelic to get along. And my mother and father never spoke any English in the house. When they spoke to each other, they spoke in Gaelic. So I picked it up. I couldn't tell a big story in Gaelic, but I can talk and I know what someone's telling me. My father would tell stories in Gaelic. Now Malagawatch is about five miles from Marble Mountain, that's where I was born. And my grandfather lived on an island for awhile, a small little island--it was a real great place. You know, it was hard to get to. One way, you'd have to pull the boat over the beach. But after you got on the island, there was great soil there for growing potatoes and stuff. You know, red soil. A great place for eels and oysters and, oh, anything you wanted to get in the line of making a living. There was a cove there--I remember when I was a young fel? low- -I used to go out there, and in no time I'd get half a bushel of oysters. Big ones. That water is taken up by the Fishery De? partment now--all those places that were good for oystering, they're raising oys? ters around there now. In my day, we used to go out there and rake all kinds of oys? ters. But you can't do that now because people lease the land. We had a flatroof house--my father built it--and I guess we had about 10 acres of land. And we used to have two horses, we never had more than five cows at any time, and we used to have some sheep. But my fa? ther wasn't a big farmer--he was working in the plant all the time, where they were taking out dolomite at Marble Mountain. It was the steel plant in Sydney that was tak? ing it, using it in making steel. He worked for awhile for MacLaughlin in Mar? ble Mountain; he had a quarry and was mak? ing lime. Vessels used to come in and take all those barrels of lime--but I don't know where he sold it. My mother was beautiful. She was the best cook in the world. She came from Whycoco? magh. She was half black and half white. But I think the first Black people that were on this island were the Pringles that were at River Denys. There's none of them living now at all. My uncle was married to one of those girls. And I was often wonder? ing how those Pringles had this farm--they had the best farm in River Denys. I can't understand it. If this Black family came, in a boat, and everybody is white except them, well now, those Black people aren't going to get the best farm or the best piece of land. Or maybe at that time, they thought they were giving them land that wasn't very good--but it was the best, it was down by the river, you know, meadow land. Anyhow, we were doing some farming and fishing. We used to get all our own fish, you know. My father had nets and a boat-- used to get all our herring and all our codfish. He had a knack of salting them*. I don't think they make any men like him now. He was as tough as a boiled owl. He was never tired. He'd get up at 3 o'clock in the morning and go to the nets, and then go to work 10 hours hanging on a rope on a cliff all day in the quarry. The only time you'd see him sleeping was on Sunday--used to sleep quite a bit, Sunday. And he was quite religious, too. You couldn't take up the axe to split a stick of wood on Sunday. He'd put the kicks to you then. He didn't like that at all. He was very strict, We were Presbyterians. We had to go to church every Sunday. They were all Protestant peo? ple around there. We lived the same as the Scotch, because There's a warm welcome for you at the Nova Scotia Museum and its branches. 'ut' Ik i?:'f. -' SIbl ??S''''Si Nova Scotia Museuin p'' information call or write OO /k XTi'U ''' Nova Scotia Museum lJlf/ illV./tl 1747 Summer Street MimFITlVm Halifax, B3H 3A6 inU'g.Uin:?? Telephone: 902-429-4610 Fireplace Rosebank Cottage Ross Farm Museum c. 1817 Nova Scotia Museum History Brancii Ross Farm Museum Fisheries Museum of tiie Atlantic Wile Carding Mill Perkins House Ross-Thomson House Barrington Woolen Mill Firefighters Museum of N.S. North Hills Museum Prescott House Haliburton House Uniacke House Lawrence House Balmoral Grist Mill Sutherland Steam Mill McCulloch House Fisherman's Life Museum Sherbrooke Village Cossit House Old Meeting House Maritime Museum of the Atlantic Halifax Citadel Hill, Halifax New Ross Lunenburg Bridgewater Liverpool Shelburne Barrington Yarmouth Granville Ferry Starr':- Point Windsor Mount Uniacke Maitland Balmoral Mills Denmark Pictou Jeddore Sherbrooke Sydney Barrington Halifax (18)
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