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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 

March 2000

Jean Kyte

Jean Kyte has moved from Louisbourg. She’s at Blackett’s Lake now and plans to go on to Cornwall, Ontario in the near future. Jean first moved away from Louisbourg over 55 years ago to work in Montreal and the United States. Then she went to Cornwall to care for her mother and, later, her father. The Kyte family had moved to Cornwall in 1950. When her father passed away Jean returned to Louisbourg. For 17 years she has been involved in community life as an active member of her church, a participant in many organizations and the backbone of the Louisbourg Seagull. She is on the Board of Directors of the Louisbourg Heritage Society, co-designer of the Louisbourg Tartan and a writer of historical books and leaflets. Through her active involvement in the life of the town she made some history of her own.

The Townsends and Jacqueline Bates

Jacqueline Bates of Eastern Passage has an ongoing interest in the history of the Townsends, and spends much time in the archives tracing the past of that family. Why the interest? Well, Jacqueline is the daughter in law of Tom and Lizzie Bates. Tom’s great grandmother, Sarah Townsend Bagnell Phalen (1799-1875) was the daughter of Thomas Townsend who was the son of Sgt. James Townsend, the original settler. Recently Jacqueline sent me information from the Sydney Daily Post for 1904 and 1905 that I had not seen. Of particular interest to me, given my present interest in the history of the lighthouse, was the reference to John Edward Townsend, the keeper of the storm signal station, who drowned at the entrance to Louisbourg Harbour in 1902. Jacqueline is working to sort out the early history of the Townsends, particularly the tendency to combine the stories of several men of that name who lived in Louisbourg.

The Newfoundland Connection to L. H. Cann

A while back I received a request from Bill Callahan of St. John’s. He was looking information about Newfoundlanders from the Corner Brook area who had come to Louisbourg to work at the L.H. Cann ship repair facility. His father William B. Callahan was one of these workers as were Joseph Rousseau, William Madore and Leo O’Rourke. Garf Cann, told me that he remembers these Newfoundlanders coming here to work.. Speaking of Garf, he also correctly pointed out that Peters’ Store was not located on the site of the old Irving Station on Main, but to the east of that location.

Harvey Lewis and the Toronto World of 1896

Harvey Lewis gave me a copy of an article that appeared in the Toronto World newspaper in 1896 entitled, The historic fortress as it appears today. At one point in the article, the author notes that Louisbourg is the only coaling station on the north east Atlantic seaboard and should be protected in the event of war. Referring to the French fortress and its destruction he wrote. "Whatever may have been the reasons at the time for destroying these extensive and massive fortifications, the thoughtful and contemplative visitor cannot help thinking now that there was a deplorable want of forethought, and that nothing short of criminal folly caused such a wanton destruction of the walls and ports of the famous fortress of Louisbourg. At an anniversary celebration by the Society of Colonial Wars held here last summer a monument was erected on the site of the ruins in a vain effort to perpetuate the memory of what the place once was; but how much more interesting it would have been had it been reserved in its original, even thought dismantled state, as one of hour country’s historical memorials. . . This grand old historical place and its romantic beauty should have been preserved, and if for no other reason, it really should, in some measure at least, be rehabilitated and restored, as one of the national places of interest of our too prosaic land."

Until the next time . . .  Bill O’Shea

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