Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 42 > Page 54 - "George Alfred Beckett": Story & Song

Page 54 - "George Alfred Beckett": Story & Song

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1986/6/1 (296 reads)

there's the song, "George Beckett's La? ment," and the maker of the song, Phillip Penney, a Glace Bay miner whose family called him "the Bard." We offer more about the song and its maker below. But Beckett is a story, and interesting as that. He is evidence of a man exposed and out of control. We get no sense of him as a thinker or planner. In five years in Glace Bay he'd been arrested for drunken? ness and minor brawling. Then in 1928 he robbed Jerry Cavenaugh, a person referred to as a "friend," a fellow brought up near Beckett in Newfoundland--and was sentenced to two years in Dorchester Penitentiary. Newspapers tell us he was slightly built-- about 5 feet 7 inches--and said to be some? thing of a singer. At Dorchester he sang in the prison choir. This information may have led to the story we've heard that Beckett wrote the song himself, and sold copies from his cell for cigarette money. The Sydney Post: "He came to Cape Breton in 1923, leaving his wife and two sons with his parents. He worked here as a rig? ger at the Marconi Towers and afterward as an ironworker with the Coal Company.... While here he had trouble with his wife, and she is said to have left (Newfoundland) for the United States with a daughter bom to her while her husband resided here (Cape Breton). She is now in the States." (The two sons were left with Beckett's par? ents at Old Perlican, Newfoundland.) Beckett was released from Dorchester Aug? ust 8, 1930. He was 41 years of age. He went right back to Glace Bay. From August 11 on, he boarded with Mr. and Mrs. Sam Sealey (Caledonia Crossing). Sam told the court he'd met Beckett downtown. "I worked with him before (three years at No. 2 Bankhead), and he pointed out to me that he was sleeping in the fish house down by the seashore and he had no place to go." Sam took him home. Mrs. Sealey tes? tified she heard Beckett was working fair? ly steadily, digging a sewer. Beckett went out to Marconi Towers, look? ing for work. He found none. Walking back to Glace Bay along the railroad tracks, he was hot. He took off his vest and tossed it into the bushes. It was marked as cloth? ing given to a prisoner leaving Dorchester, and would lead to his capture and death. Beckett stayed with the Sealeys and found work with Ignatius Maclntyre: August 27- 29--$9.75; September l-6--$19.50; 8-10-- $9.75; 17-19--$13.80. He was paid on Sep? tember 20--15 shifts--$52.80. By the next day, September 21, he had left the board? ing house without paying--he left his be? longings behind, and never went back. And on the same day he was begging from Jerry Cavenaugh on the street--the same Caven? augh he had assaulted and robbed in 1928, getting two years in Dorchester. This is the evening before the murder. STUBBERT'S Convenience Stores Videos * Fresh Baked Goods * Lottery Tickets Frozen Foods * Film * Magazines * Snacks OPEN DAILY: Florence and Bras d'Or OPEN 24 HOURS: 172 Main Street, Sydney Mines The Esplanade, and Cor. George & Glenwood, Sydney "We're there to serve you wherever you need us!" v/BjqW TURN OFF THE TV ... TURN ON TO A BOOK ... BRANCH AND BOOKMOBILE SERVICE TO "SSS'lao; INVERNESS, RICHMOND AND MULGftA/E.MS.! ??. • ?,?,&!?? GUYSBOROueH COUNTIES All HARBOUR HOMES Feature sci-iLjRiviArojS' IKim ICTDICC Quality Windows and Doors Because we've been building quality into our homes for more than 32 years. "They just don't build homes like they used to." How often have you, or one of your friends said something like this? You're probably right. House-building has changed ... for the better! Lighter, stronger materials. Energy- saving designs. More efficient plumbing and electrical systems. They all add up to better-built homes. If there's one thing that's lacking in many of today's homes though, it's quality. Some firms sacrifice quality for speed. It makes a certain amount of sense. The faster homes are built, the more can be built. But it's you the prospective home builder who suffers. How do you recognize a qgality-built home? It's simple. Just look for our name as the builder. At Co-op our time, expertise and experience is channeled into each home we build. And it shows! See for yourself. Visit our office. We'll show you our catalogue of fine Harbour Homes. If you wish, we'll even custom build to your specifications. We want you to be satisfied with the home you build. After ai!,.you'll be living in it for many years to come. It's got to be good. And It IS if it's built by Harbour Homes. CO-OP You've Got Expenence On Your Side SCHURMAN WINDOWS: CHECKRAIL - PICTURE CASEMENT - BASEMENT HORIZONTAL SLIDER AWNING AND ENTRANCE SYSTEMS Pointing The Way To Better Living CO-OP m'AWXX Building Supplies WmLr~u (54) KING'S ROAD, SYDNEY - 539-6410 STATION STREET, PORT HAWKESBURY - 625-2600
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