Cape Breton's Magazine

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Page 14 - Hilda MacDonald and Glendyer Mills

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1975/12/1 (906 reads)

Hilda MacDonald and Glendyer Mills I was born right here in Glendyer on November the 9th, 1885 • the same year as the C P R was born. My grandfather (Donald MacLean MacDonald) came here from Pictou County* And his grandfather (Donald MacDonald of Kilraorack) came from Scotland on the famous ship "Hector" in 1773* I suppose he was a crofter, likely* But my grand? father • his grandson • apprenticed when he was a boy, to a miller and learned the milling business from the bottom up* At that time Cape Breton hadn't anybody to as they say "dress" their homespun* They would do the weaving but they hadn't anybody to dye the material for men's suitings and so on, or to press it* And they had to go to the mainland of Nova Scotia to get anything like that done* So they were wri? ting and beseeching the people there to find somebody who would come to Cape Bre? ton* My grandfather had apprenticed in Pictou County but he came to %??ork in Anti? gonish Ck>unty, just outside of Antigonish in a place called Trotter's Mills* Mr* Trotter had so many letters, he said to young MacDonald, "Why don't vou go to Cape Breton*" So he came here on foot, prospecting for waterpower • because it had to be waterpower* He walked all the way • crossed of course on a small boat at the Strait of Canso • walked all the way up the coast* He found sorae. power in Judique* But he decided to keep on, and he came to the mouth of Mabou Harbour and followed the river up, walking up and up and up, until he came to a division • one stream went to the right and one to the left • and he decided to follow the one to the left which brought him to what later became Glendyer* And that was in 1847* He found suitable waterpower. Next was to try to buy the land* This was dense woods here* And it was owned by a local gentleman named Mr* Smith* One of the early set? tlers. And he had a large family. He didn't want to sell really, but finally my grandfather persuaded him. He came back the next year and with him came two bache? lor brothers and an unmarried sister ("Along with his brother Hugh, his youngest brother, Walter, and his sister Marion, he sailed in a vessel to Port Hood, and from there in a boat to Mabou, up the river to what is still called 'The Landing.' From there on foot****") • and they started operations* They had to start from scratch* Absolutely. Out of the woods. They built a log house • and my grandfather used that log house until all the family were born • 6 altogether. One of them died when just a small boy. He was engaged to be married when he came • he was estab? lished in '48 and he was married in '49* That was Nancy. She was a MacDonald too. When his wife came his sister went back to her home. And I think by that tirae both brothers had gone. So it was just the young married couple • Donald MacLean MacDon? ald and his wife Nancy. Pretty much alone. I think the mill they built first was the dying mill, and in association with that there had to be a mill where woven material was put through a process of thickening • they call that "fulling" or "milling" or "waulking." That's the very same thing as a milling frolic. They'd wet the material and soap it and pound it • and it would get all thick with a nap on it. And they also did carding* People would bring their Cape Breton's Maigazine/14
Cape Breton's Magazine
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