Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 39 > Page 74 - Mary Sarah MacNeil Remembers Long Island

Page 74 - Mary Sarah MacNeil Remembers Long Island

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/6/1 (1031 reads)

Mary Sarah MacNeil Remembers Long Island I was bom in Barachois Glen. And my moth? er died when I was only 5 or 6 years old. We moved to the island then, to Long Is? land. (With your father?) No, no, just the children--my two brothers and my sister. We moved over to the island with our grand? parents . Our father went out to live in Leitches Creek with other people. We moved to the island to live with our grandparents--grandmother and grandfather and two bachelor uncles. And then my grand? mother died that fall. My mother (had) died in the spring. My grandmother died that fall. My grandfather died the next spring. Well, my grandfather was miserable when we went there. But there was no other place to go. There was no other place to go. When you're dumped with 5 kids and no work, the only place to go was where there were vegetables or something to feed the kids on. So we were on our own with the two bachelor uncles. They'd be in their late 30s, I guess, early 40s, when we went with them. (Long Island--) It's 3 miles long, 3/4 of a mile wide in the widest part. On the oth? er side of the island, facing Boularderie, the land was going down right to the water. And between the island and the mainland, there was a beach on our property. And there's another beach down, we used to call the Indian Beach, They were telling us how the first settlers, they came to the island, there were Indians at the low? er end of the island. And that they killed a white man, and they left him hanging to a tree. And some other--now, this is only a story, I don't know if there's anything to it--and a white man just dug a hole, and cut the rope and dropped him in the hole, and filled him over. And that beach was always called the Indian Beach. We had a big fire there that they started accidentally. That didn't do any damage, just the woods burned. But years before that, they tell me that the whole island burned. That there was a fellow spearing eels. In the nighttime. They used to spear eels, you know, where they had the torch out in the front of the boat, like a wire basket. They'd have wood or something in it, and they'd bum it. And that would put a light so you could see down in the water in the nighttime. And that this fellow was spearing eels. And when he was passing, there was an owl up in a tree. He just put the torch up under the owl, and the owl caught fire. She flew over to the island. And she--well, I imagine died over on the island--and set fire to the whole island. The whole island went afire. Now, that was a story we were told. That was before my time. That the island burned from end to end. My great-grandparents came from Scotland, and they landed on the island. I've been told there were two Nicholsons and two O'Handleys came. There were 9 families there at one time. By the time I came there, there were only 3 families, 3 fam? ilies of Nicholsons. (Was there anybody who wrote songs or stor? ies about Long Island?) No, I don't think so. Well, it was an isolated place. And the people that were there, they weren't well known. So it was just neglected. No? body had any connections with it. So it was just ignoredo (And never really a part of any,,..) No, it was a part of nothing. It was just nowhere. (But you lived there.) Yeah, I lived there. I certainly did. CONTINUED NEXT PAGE (74)
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