Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 60 > Page 67 - William D. Roach, Woodcarver

Page 67 - William D. Roach, Woodcarver

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1992/6/1 (261 reads)

Not until it was too late did Maddock learn that McLeod's letter and money were missing from the mail bag. The young man had already left the district. Only Hector McDonald could help, but he showed no pity, deducting the full loss from Maddock's quarterly salary, leaving but ??2 10s for three nrxjnths' hard work. Wayfarers at the Inn Though the mail couriers were by far its nrwst frequent guests, the inn received many other travellers who stopped for a meal or a night's rest. Among them were some of the province's leading citizens. There was first the judge, John G Marshall, appointed in 1823 by Sir James Kempt to be the Chief Justice of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas at Sydney, a position he held for the ensuing eighteen years. Marshall was stoutly committed to preservation of law and order, so much so that, by his own admission, he sometimes crossed over the line between administering and enforcing the law. Antipathy toward liquor pervaded his every action both on and off the bench. Sir James required that in his travels about the island Marshall should make careful observations on the state of the roads. This drew him into close contact with many pioneer settlers, as a result of which he became an important chronicler of life on the island during his long tenure as Chief Justice. At the beginning of his term Marshall found the roads in Cape Breton either very bad or non-existent and without any "suitable inns." To? wards the end, however, things had taken a decided turn for the bet? ter. "All the principal roads in the Island of Cape Breton," he noted, "have been so improved that travelling over them could always be per? formed in carriages, and public inns have been established at suitable stages, and afford fair accommodation and comfort." His reports to Sir James Kempt, leading to the opening of many roads throughout the island, had perhaps a greater long-term impact on the lives of the set? tlers than his judicial work. His accounts of travel in Cape Breton offer a valuable insight into the conditions facing the settlers of his time. Next came the physician, Dr Andrew Madden of Arichat, born in 1782 at Dumneath, County Down, Ireland. After graduating in medicine from the University of Glasgow in 1817, Madden decided to settle at Quebec City. A twist of fate brought him to Arichat when the ship car? rying him to Quebec City, on which he was serving as surgeon, after passing through the Gut of Canso in 1817 with three hundred Irish immigrants, was forced into Pictou where its passengers were put ashore. Madden there and then abandoned plans to settle in Que? bec, and chose instead to come to Arichat where he practised his profession for the next forty years. His decision turned out to be a stroke of good fortune for the people of the district, for medical services were much needed. Although the population of the island was on the increase, very few doctors could be found among the settlers. Disease was an ever present threat. During the winter of 1800-01, for example, the island was hit by an outbreak of smallpox which, according to Dr William Stafford of Syd? ney, "greatly endangered the lives of nine-tenths of the population." Stafford carried out a general inoculation of the population, making his way "through trackless forests" in several feet of snow to har? bours and settlements within a forty mile radius of Sydney. Miracu? lously, only two out of seven hundred people died. Andrew Madden faced similar challenges in his far-flung practice, roaming about the district on horseback from his Arichat home. A man of many talents, he held such key posts as road commissioner and custos rotulorum, the ranking justice of the peace. James C McKeagney, the politician, also visited the inn. Many have represented Richmond County over the years, including the fanrx)us groundbreaker Laurence Kavanagh Jr of St Peter's, who sat in the House of Assembly at Halifax from 1823 as one of Cape Breton's representatives until his death in 1830. In the autumn of 1840 McKeagney was out on the hustings, running hard and successfully for election as the county MHA, only to be unseated the following year on a technicality. His political career in provincial and federal politics became something of a tangled web. He was born in 1815 into a Scottish family in County Tyrone, Ireland, to which place his family had moved shortly after the Battle of Cullo- den of 1746. When he was but seven years of age, the family emi? grated to Nova Scotia where he attended school at Baddeck and Hal? ifax, becoming a lawyer in 1838. At Confederation, McKeagney was elected the first member of Parliament for Cape Breton County on an anti-confederation ticket, though he had privately assured Bishop Colin MacKinnon of Arichat that he would accept the union. This North Sydney & Sydney Mines 'We're Working Together to Create the Best Place in Cape Breton to Visit, Live and Work" Sydney Mines and North Sydney Share: The Gateway to Newfoundland Marine Atlantic Ferry Terminal Mayor Michael White Waterfront Beauty Golf Courses Excellent Beach Mayor Clarence Prince The Cape Breton Exhibition Community Swimming Pool Yacht Club and Marina Facilities & a School System Committed to a Combination of Quality Vocational and Academic Education The Northside provides an ideal environment for new industrial groups to join with established local business. Sydney Mines and North Sydney jointly own the NORTHSIDE INDUSTRIAL PARK, with incubator mall and serviced lots. MOST IMPORTANT: Our strength is the people of the Northside. We're a community that welcomes the visitor and encourages those who want to productively establish here. 794-4818 Contact: Norm Smith, Executive Director NORTHSIDE INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION p. O. BOX 276, NORTH SYDNEY, NOVA SCOTIA B2A 3M3 'RAT • P; 794-5818 The Northslde's Active Core of Business and Community Welcomes the Visitor and the New Citizen Alike!
Cape Breton's Magazine
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