Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 49 > Page 55 - Billy James MacNamara of Evanston

Page 55 - Billy James MacNamara of Evanston

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1988/8/1 (926 reads)

Billy James MacNamara of Evanston William James MacNamara: They call me Billy- James, yeah. I was born right here at Evanston. It was called Basin River Inhabi? tants at that time. 1892--June the 23rd. (How did the MacNamaras get here?) Well, they originated from Ireland first, I guess. My great--he'd be my great-great? grandfather- -that must have been in the last of the 1700s, or around there. He im? migrated from Ireland, as far as I know, by hearing the other, older people tell. And he settled down here on the Eastern Shore-- that's between Halifax there and Canso someplace. He got married there. I think his wife's name was Home, I'm not certain. Well, he got married there, and he left there, and he went to Boston. And he settled at Charles Town, a place called Bunker Hill--there's where the big battle was fought between the British and Ameri? cans in 1776. Some of the family were born there. I know my great-grandfather over here (buried on MacNamara's Island, Cape Breton), he was born there. And then he moved back of here, and he (was) granted an island (MacNamara's Is? land) --it's about 5 miles out there, pretty near to the mouth of the bay. It was around 350-acre island. He (was) granted that. And he had a big farm there. (Just himself?) Well, I think he had several fellows work? ing with him. But he did it mostly I guess himself. When his family grew up, see-- well, they helped him too, I suppose. Like my great-grandfather, now, and his broth? ers. He had quite a family. He had a big pile of land under cultivation out there. And he died there. He died, and he's buried on that island. It's called MacNamara's Is? land. It's got that name yet, I guess. But the MacNamaras don't own it now. They owned it for years. And then some of them moved away, and it went for taxes and everything else. (Is there anyone else buried there?) Yes. I think there are--there's quite a few buried on it. The people that lived there at the time. I think my father had a sister buried there. That's about 75 or 80 years ago or more. As far as I know, there's 10 or 12 or 15 buried there. (Mostly MacNamaras?) Well, yes, but there's... a couple, I think, from Arichat, too, I believe--French names-- that's buried there. But the most of them are MacNamaras because they lived right on? to it. And see at that time there were no churches here. The one in Whiteside, I guess, was here--they were just, some kind of little church, starting it then. But the one over there on Lower River wasn't here then. At CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
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