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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


Extracted from © The Seagull

Louisbourg Heritage Notes

January 2002

Information needed about Louisbourg lightkeeper - 1890

I’m trying to put some flesh and blood on keepers who worked at the 1842-1923 Louisbourg lighthouse. They included Laurence Kavanagh III, Laurence Kavanagh IV, William Burke, James P. Burke, Phillip Price and William Cameron.

I am particularly interested in William Burke who was light keeper here for about a year in 1889/90. In 1890 he returned to Main a Dieu having traded jobs with James P. Burke who was the fisheries overseer in that community.

There are a number of William Burke’s, but I don’t know which one was at the lighthouse. Can you help? My telephone number is 733-2873.

1891 Census of Main a Dieu, Family 6, p. 2

Burke, Wm 40 - Ship Master - can read and write

Wife: Ellen E. 39

Children: Rosalia 11, David J. 9, Catherine 7, Mary A. A. 5, Euphrania G. 3.

1891 Census of Main a Dieu, Family 114, p. 23

Burke, Wm Jr. 34 Fisherman - can read and write

Wife: Susan 42

Children: Catherine 5, Paul E. 2.

Birth - William Burke, born 24 April 1851, father Michael Burke, mother Honoria Flavin.

Birth - William Burke, born 19 June 1856, father Patrick Burke, mother Catherine Roach.

Birth - William David Burke, born 18 July 1862, father David Burke, mother’s name not written.

Birth - William Walter Burke, born 31 January 1861, father John Burke, mother Mary Burke.

Death - Capt. Wm Burke, 65 years old, June 1920

Years ago at the Park

By August 1962, the new road between the old Sydney Road ( Terra Nova ) and the water tower site was constructed and graded enough to let trucks place the waterline pipes alongside it.

In September 1962 work began on the watertower and by October 15 it was ready for testing. The tower was painted for the first time in the summer of 1963.

In the summer and fall of 1963 a "grizzly-type" screen was constructed at Black Rock. It was used to separate rock in the material excavated at the fortress. Today - still called the Grizzly - it is a parking lot though it was used to stockpile gravel for the waterline installation. Anyone knowing the origin of the term "grizzly" please contact me.

The 1800s in Louisbourg and Main a Dieu

Helen was working with me on a research project when she found the following information . It is from transcriptions of Cape Breton newspapers by Mildred Howard a Cape Breton genealogist. They are found in the Beaton Institute of the UCCB.

v The news item below refers to the old narrow gauge Gisborne railway which ran to Havenside between 1874 and 1883.

Coroner’s Inquest on the body of Alexander Campbell killed at Louisbourg the 15th. He came to his death by a locomotive engine while shunting car into the coal shed, the property of the Sydney & Louisbourg Railway Co. The body was caught between the coal bunker and the boiler. He was scalded by escaping steam and water and sustained fracture of the back. (North Sydney Herald, 23 May 1883 )

v Lists of District # 6, Louisbourg & District # 5, Mainadieu office holders in 1884.


Assessors: Jno. McDonald, Donald McPhee

Collector Co. Rates: George Kehoe

Inspector thistles: Hy. Diggins (Henry)

Health Wardens: Thos. F. Townsend,

Jno. Cryer

Clerk License: Michael Holland

Hog Reeve: Thos. Connington

Measurer Coal and Wood: Chas. Stacey

Pound Keeper: Lewis Baldwin

Surveyor Lumber and Timber: Chas. Stacey

Magistrate to swear District Officers:

Francis Lewis

Presiding Officer: Geo. Kehoe

Overseers Poor: Jas. Price, Jno. Gillis,

Stephen J. Murphy

Clerk: Martin LeVatte

Overseers Highways: Elias Townsend,

David Townsend, Thos. Kennedy, Jno Cryer, Chas. Townsend, Jr., S. J. Fiander,

Thos. Kelly, Michl. Holland, Richard Kelly, Jas. McLellan, Angus McInnis,

Alex Matheson

Constables: Geo. Kehoe, Michl. Holland, Robt. Ranson, Donald Townsend,

Elias Townsend, Andrew Lynk,

Laurence Price, Jas. McInnis,

Rory McDonald, Jas. McLellan, Jas. Jewel, Albert Jewel


Assessors: Danl. S. Scott, Laurence Willett

Collector Co. Rates: Jas. P. Burke

Dist Clerk: Wm. Burke

Licence Clerk: Jas. Dillon

Hog Reeve: Jas. Martell

Inspector Beef, Port and Fish: George Scott

Pound Keeper: Alex McDonald,

Thos. Martell

Surveyor Lumber & Timber: Joseph Dillon

Presiding Officer: Geo. Scott

Magistrate for Collectors Bonds: Geo. Rigby

Commissioner Streets: Capt. Jas. Farrell

Overseers Poor: Jas. Campbell, Geo. Scott,

Thos. Young

Overseers Highways: David Campbell,

Wm. Shaw, David Hart, Wm. Grandy,

Patk. Gallant, Jas. O’Donald,

( Little Lorraine) Saml. Tutty,

( Big Lorraine) Jacob Gibbs, Angus Johnson,

Jos. McLain

Overseer, Scatarie: Benjamin Wadden

Constables Scatarie: Jas. Power,

George Spencer.

Health Wardens, Scatarie: Capt. Jas. Brown,

Capt Jas. Burke

Health Wardens, Mainadieu: Jas Campbell,

Chas. Dillon

Measurer Coal and Wood: Thos. Martell

Constables: Patk. Campbell, John Brown,

J. Brown, John Bourinot, Jas. O’Donald, Thos. Peach, Jr., Geo. Tutty.

- Bill O’Shea

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