Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 37 > Page 49 - A Legend Reconsidered "Granny Ross" by Elva E. Jackson

Page 49 - A Legend Reconsidered "Granny Ross" by Elva E. Jackson

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1984/8/1 (378 reads)

bout the log cabin his mother and father had moved in upon their marriage. Before the roof was chinked they could lie in bed and look at the stars, making a game as to who could count the most. It was not long, however, before a frame house was built on the side of the hill overlooking the Sugar Loaf. In that year when Jane was married Granny was 98; but she was still active, hale, and hearty. With 9 other grandchildren back on the pioneer farm and her husband now dead many years, she thought nothing of walking the 6 miles to her granddaugh- ter's. Her spirit of adventure and travel had not deserted her. One day when she was well over 100 she alarmed her family by her disappearance. They found her in the evening at Jane's at Portree, having walked the many miles and waded the river as there were still no bridges. The roads were only trails through the woods through which one might walk or pass on horseback. Soon other grandchildren were marrying and bringing families into the world. Granny, however, continued with her skill as a midwife. In her later years she became blind and she could no longer walk the trails; but her families still had faith in her and she was trundled over the paths in a kind of wheelbarrow made by her son. Though James Ross was a Protestant, Granny remained a devout Roman Catholic all her life. Her daughter who had married and gone to Newfoundland had been brought up a Roman Catholic; but her son and all his descendants were brought up Protestants. When her husband died many years ahead of her, he was buried on the farm, near where the fourth dwelling, a modem home, is now located. This grave of the pioneer is well set off by concrete posts and an iron rail? ing. Granny loved to travel. In the early years of her married life with James Ross, she would walk to Bras d'Or, a distance of o- ver 60 miles, with her husband; and she would help him carry back supplies. She re? turned home to France several times. The last time she brought back her father, Di- onne LeJeune, a very old man, and also her brother. They lived with her until they died. Her father passed away in 1825. Some of her relics were preserved many years. Her musket, given to a grandson, was lost a few years ago in a fire; a sword also brought from Louisbourg has Stubberfs Convenience Stores Bras d'Or Main St., Sydney Mines Pierce St., North Sydney . Florence The Challenger Restaurant Sydney Mines Open Daily: 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fri. & Sat.; 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Comfortable Dining, and Take Out Food (736-2033) been lost. Her vaccine in a small vial sealed with beeswax was kept many years af? ter her death. Her family, fearing that some time it might cause some poison or illness, put it in a glass bottle and bur? ied it some years ago in a marked spot. The lance, however, with which she did her vaccinations is in the hands of her great- great-grandson, William Ross, at Portree. It has a 1 3/4-inch steel blade which jack- knifes into a dark tortoiseshell handle a- bout two inches long. This fits into a lit? tle case of dark brown leather. All the impressions passed down concerning this remarkable woman have been concerning her pluck, her bravery, her love of travel and adventure; but most of all, her untir? ing efforts as doctor and nurse to all who needed help in her community. Small in sta? ture with blue eyes and a dark complexion, she was endowed with almost inexhaustible energy. Her descendants through her son alone num? ber many hundreds today as they run through 6 and 7 generations; but in each family branch the story of Granny Ross has become legend. She lived so long that it must have seemed she could live forever. Then in 1850 the tiny wizened old woman passed away at the age of 117 at the home of her son. She was buried in the graveyard of St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church at North East Marga? ree. Her grave, without a fitting stone Autumn ART WORKSHOP October 9-14th 'Z-y/'y'J per person (based on double occupancy). Includes: 5 nights room, 5 dinners, breakfasts and lunches, 4 days instruction. Tax and gratuities. For Reservations and further information call or write: Keltic Lodge, Ingonish Beach, Victoria County. Nova Scotia BOC ILO (902) 285-2880 * Please reserve early as space is limited. Operated by the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism Honourable R. Fisher Hudson. Q.C.. Minister Nova Scotia Department of Tourism (49)
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