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Page 41 - A Legend Reconsidered "Granny Ross" by Elva E. Jackson

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1984/8/1 (840 reads)

A Legend Reconsidered 'Granny Ross' by Elva E. Jackson t ''n<. THE L , f ft-E /'CMAf, HENRIETTE U JEUNE i'ii This article is 1n two parts. Part One is "The Little Wom? an: Granny Ross, Her Life and Times," written by Elva E. Jackson of North Sydney, and published in 1956 by the CAPE BRETON POST. Miss Jack? son continued her research, and Part Two is from a recent conversation regarding new information she found. The Little Woman" In 1958 we shall celebrate the bicenten? nial of the final fall of Louisbourg. Yet only two years ago I talked with Mr. Absol- am Ingraham at North East Margaree who re? membered a woman who had lived through that historic siege. Fantastic? Yes, but true. It is not often that the lives of two people who each lived over a century, should cross in a small community. In 1860 a little boy of eight knew of the death of a one hundred seventeen year old woman down the river five miles away--a woman who had become almost legend before her death. Thus one bom in 1743 was known and remembered by one still living in 1954. Can you imagine anyone living 102 years af? ter the death of her second husband? That is also true; for she, whose second hus? band was killed at Louisbourg in 1758, died at North East Margaree in 1860. My own grandfather was at her funeral, and it was from his lips that I first heard the tremendous story of his great-grandmother. Born in southern France in 1743, she was first married at thirteen and set out for Louisbourg with her husband and infant son, Eusebe. On the way out her baby died and her husband was tragically drowned. I like to imagine how she must have felt when she saw Louisbourg for the first time with its grey stone walls, its confusion of many buildings crowded together with the King's bastion towering above on that peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic. Standing there on the deck that day with the gulls circling, screaming, and swoop? ing after the galley refuse, the steely waves breaking into whitecaps and running together in great furrows of surf to be dashed in pieces on the rocks beyond the harbor shelter, and the wraiths of fog through which the city appeared as a phan? tom, I imagine she felt more alone than she ever had in her short life. It must have seemed a dream city where people seemed safe, unaware of storms and fogs and high winds, death and burial at sea-- or an enemy who was even then plotting their destruction. The long voyage, the beginning of high hopes and adventure for many, must have seemed the end of everything for her upon the deaths of her husband and child. Sor? row cannot hold youth long in its depths; so she must have landed eagerly where we imagine she was put in the care of the good sisters of the convent. At that time the Notre Dame Convent was presided over by Sister St. Gertrude, Sister St. Theda, Sister St. Vincent of Paul, and Sister St. Louis of the Angels. We know that there at Louisbourg she met and married her second husband. Captain Briand. And it was there during the terrible two-month siege during the summer of 1758 that she saw her second husband killed. After the fall of the fortress, it is told that she went with friends to Bras d'Or. Here the years went by with Itoe. Briand the nurse and midwife of the community. About this time several epidemics of small pox raged through the district. She knew the effects of vaccination and persuaded the inhabitants to allow her to vaccinate (41)
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