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Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada


Louisbourg Heritage Notes

February 1999

Louisbourg’s Landmarks - The Stella Maris Camperdown Elm

The Camperdown Elm at the old Stella Maris Cemetery is a familiar sight to those walking or driving along the north shore of the harbour. It was planted in front of the Roman Catholic glebe house in the 1930s by Matthew Doyle. Matthew Doyle was the father of the parish priest, Rev. D. H. Doyle, who was in Louisbourg from 1926 - 1950.

The Camperdown Elm survived the removal of the old church, the glebe house and the CMBA hall across the road. Over the years the tree lost its lower branches and is experiencing some rot, but otherwise seems healthy. On several occasions it has been decorated for Christmas.

Ulmus glabra "Camperdownii" or Camperdown Scotch Elm reaches heights from 6 to 15 feet. It is round headed and has weeping branches. This variety of elm originated at Camperdown House, near Dundee, Scotland. The weeping branches recall the branches of the willow tree which has long been a symbol of mourning.

There is a Camperdown Elm in the Main a Dieu cemetery. Was it planted by Matthew Doyle?

Enos Mann and Ernie Parsons

Several weeks ago Ernie Parsons came to see me about his home on Victoria Street. He said that during renovations he’d found some lumber with the name Enos Mann on it. This is what I was able to find.

Ernie and Lorraine’s house was built by Enos Mann Jr. for Captain William P. Cann. Mann started the work in December 1902 and Captain Cann and his family moved in by July 1903. Enos Mann Jr., was the son of Enos Mann (b. Gabarus, 1824-1896) and Emily Phalen (c1841-1899). The family is related to the Townsends and Bagnells. Emily Phalen would be a great aunt of Tom Bates, Sr.

Enos Mann Jr. died in Louisbourg in February 1904 after an illness of 2 months. According to the newspaper, he was 32 years old, a carpenter and a contractor. He was buried in the Methodist cemetery. The old Methodist church is now the Louisbourg library and Enos Mann’s stone is one of the two small grave markers behind the building. The additional tragedy in this story is that the young man was married for only three months to Emma MacVicar the daughter of Neil MacVicar. The stone which indicates that he was only 28 years old contains the following sentiment from his new wife. Farewell husband dear farewell. Thoust left me lonely in this world of pain. May we meet in heavenly bliss to dwell, at God’s right hand and no more to part again.

A number of years ago I wrote a small piece about the Mann family after hearing from Ruth MaGill a descendant of Enos Mann Sr. Ruth has been able to trace the Mann family to Isaac Allerton a passenger on the Mayflower.

The Louisbourg Barachois

When Helen writes her For the Birds articles for the Seagull she often mentions sightings at the Fortress, Havenside or Gerratt’s Barachois. So I though that I might write something about these interesting features of Louisbourg Harbour. According to the Dictionary of Newfoundland English (G. M. Story et al., U of T Press, 2nd ed., 1990) a barachois is a shallow estuary, lagoon or harbour, of fresh or salt water sheltered from the sea by a sand-bar or low strip of land. The first reference to this feature in Newfoundland is in 1773. There is an earlier Cape Breton reference to a barachois in a French map of Main a Dieu dated 1716.

The Fortress Barachois orTown Barachois (Old Town that is) is in the south west arm of the harbour near the Fortress and Marconi picnic site.. The French referred to it as the town barachois or Lasson’s Barachois. When the barachois is frozen it is a popular skating area. Early in the century it was the site of hockey games between the Marconi station staff and Louisbourg. Before the causeway was constructed, earlier this century, the sand bar from Garden Island stretched across the opening of the barachois except for a small passage or gut. A small bridge spanned the gap. The late Michael Pope told me how young people waited until the tide was going out to jump off the bridge and be carried a short distance out into the harbour. Does anyone out there remember doing this?

The Havenside Barachois was called Le Barachois du fond du Havre (the Barachois at the end of the harbour) by the French. This barachois has also been the scene of much skating and hockey playing in past years. For much of the year it is one of the best birding locations in Louisbourg.

Gerratt’s Barachois is towards the west end of the modern Louisbourg between the Han Beck fish plant and Gerratt Head ( Slattery’s Point). The French called it Barachois de Gennes or Barachois de Pledien. Pledien was a French settler who obtained land on the headland in 1717. It gets the name Gerratt Barachois from Elias Gerrot, a pilot with the English fleet in 1758. Gerrot owned the land into the 1770s. It has also been called Slattery’s Barachois. In 1794 Michael Slattery obtained most of the land from the barachois to the Royal Battery site. From the French period to this century this was an area set aside for ships to get fresh water. It has also been a salmon stream of some note. There is a story of the parish priest Rev. Martin Wallace , who was here from 1913-1926, crossing the bridge along Commercial Street, seeing the salmon running and wading into the water to catch one with his bare hands. The present spelling Gerratt dates to an 1897 harbour chart. It is spelled Gerald on an 1857 chart..

A fourth Louisbourg barachois no longer exists. It is what an earlier generation called Lynk’s Pond. There is a French map reference to this as Barachois de Blesy - a misspelling of the name de Mesy. The French also called it DeMesy’s Pond. By the 1760s is was called Townsend’s Pond. More recently it has been Lynk’s Pond or Sallybush Pond. Sallybush is a name for the willow tree and so there must have been willows or something reminding the early Irish settlers of willows here. It was called Lynk’s Pond because of the family living nearby. In the 1891 census we find Andrew Lynk (age 40), his wife Isabella (46) and children Thomas (15), Elizabeth (14), Frederick (9), Hugh (8) and Anthony (6). Lynk’s Pond was a favourite place for skating. The Conningtons cut ice there to sell in Louisbourg to the O’Toole and Lewis stores. The gravel bar across the pond was washed away in a storm on January 28, 1933 . Several years ago, Lynk’s Pond was where a member of the Sinclair family from Scotland hoped to locate the site of a fortified tower of Prince Henry Sinclair. There is speculation that Henry Sinclair of the Orkney Islands crossed the Atlantic in the late 1300’s. The Lynk’s Pond site was excavated by fortress archaeologists and only French artefacts were found. So there is still no evidence for Prince Henry Sinclair in Louisbourg.

I will mention more of this in future articles. I may also be able to tell you about the man from California who hopes to find a Viking site near Louisbourg.

Bill O’Shea

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