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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 

September 2000


There are several anniversaries coming up that are important to the history of the community and to its ongoing life. These include the Library, the Town and Stella Maris Parish.

The Louisbourg branch of the Cape Breton District Library opened in October 1950. It was located first in the Navy League Hut on Main Street, before it was moved to the present location on Upper Warren.

The Town of Louisbourg was incorporated on January 8, 1901. I’ve heard some talk about town of having a New Year’s levee to celebrate this event.

Stella Maris Roman Catholic Parish will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2001. In December 1901, Rev. William F. Kiely came to Louisbourg as the first resident priest since the days of the French at the fortress.

The Mann Family

This past summer I met Tom Mann and his wife who were visiting from New Mexico. Tom is a grandson of W. W. Mann and great grandson of Enos Mann from Louisbourg. Enos and his wife Emily (Phalen) Mann are buried in the old Methodist cemetery adjacent to the Library.

Tom’s cousin, Ruth McGill, who lives in Georgia, is finishing a family history and is looking for a picture of Gabarus for the publication. If there is anyone out there with an old photograph of Gabarus let me know and I will put you in contact with Ruth.

The Post Office

Louisbourg’s post office has always had an important place in the town, not only as the place where the mail arrived but as a location to meet neighbours and to talk a bit. The role of the Post Office in communications was expanded last year when it installed a computer and gave everyone access to the Internet.

There are other changes in the works. The first is the new postal code system. In place of one postal code for Louisbourg, the old B0A 1M0, there are a whole raft of new codes. There are at least 2 codes for each street, giving us 70 or more codes for the town. That’s the equivalent of about 1 code for each 6 households. The rationale - as with all such changes made for our good - is greater efficiency.

Part of the change will also include Super Mail Boxes at various locations in town. I gather that there will boxes on Wolf Street, on Riverdale, on Havenside and one past the S&L for folks at the entrance to town. For the time being the rest of town will come to the Post Office for mail and everyone will come for large parcels. The suspicion is that this move represents the beginnings of phasing out the post office. And there may be more truth in that suspicion than anyone will admit to us. I’ll resurrect this column in about 5 years time and hope that the change is not for the worst.

Dan Joe Thomas

For many years Dan Joe taught Manual Training at the old school and at George D. Lewis High School. A week ago he telephoned and offered to lend me some pictures which show a few of the fellows who took the classes and some of the things that were made. I’ve put these in the Post Office for anyone who is interested. Does anyone out there have anything that they or a relative made under Dan Joe’s direction? If you do let me know - we might be able to put an interesting display together.

Vince Kennedy - Coastal Trail Idea

Vince Kennedy is eager for more development in the historic Lorraine area. In particular he is pursuing the idea of a trail along that part of the coast. If you are interested in the idea, please contact Vince.

HMCS Louisburg

Murray Knowles was a speaker at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 62 on September 9. Knowles was an officer aboard HMCS Louisburg during WWII and commanded the corvette when she returned to Quebec for decommissioning in 1945.

There were two corvettes named, Louisburg. The first was sunk in the Mediterranean in February 1943. The second survived the war ending up in the Dominican Navy until 1978. Knowles has written a book entitled Memories of HMCS Louisburg II, Corvette K401, 1943 - 1945. On September 9th he donated a copy of his book to Branch 62 with the ensign of the second Louisburg and framed photographs of both Louisburg I and II. These will be displayed in the Branch.

The Town Council adopted the second Louisburg as it had done with the first corvette. Mayor Melvin S. Huntington was asked to go to Quebec City to take part in the launching, but was unable to make the trip. Instead he asked E.G. Townsend and his wife Jessie, formerly of Louisbourg but living in Montreal, to represent the town. Mrs. Townsend christened the ship. E. G. Townsend later wrote to the mayor describing the events of the day. These included the christening of 5 ships including: HMCS Norsyd ( North Sydney), U.S. Ship Prudence, HMCS Atholl, HMCS Louisburg and HMCS Riviere du Loup. There was a reception, cocktail party and a dinner dance at the Chateau Frontenac. There were toasts proposed for each ship and a reply by the sponsor.

Huntington had asked Townsend to arrange for a silk ensign to be presented to the Louisburg. Because time was short the Manager of the Morton Engineering and Dry Dock, which built the ship, promised to have the ensign made and presented.

The following is an extract from E.G. Townsend’s reply to the toast to HMCS Louisbourg on July 31, 1943.

"This is indeed a great honour; because I feel that when the history of this war has been written, the part played by our Canadian Navy, built by Canadian(s), and manned by Canadians will be one of which every Canadian must be and will be justly proud. I also believe that this speaks volumes for our Canadian Unity, when today on the Banks of the St. Lawrence River, under the old ramparts of Quebec, we have Christened a ship LOUISBURG. For Louisburg and Quebec are closely linked in the early history of this country. When Quebec was the main fortress, defending what we might now call Central Canada - Louisburg was also a fortress, defending the out-coast of this Country, and was known as the Dunkirk of America - and the Paris of the New World. . . . we honour the 1st LOUISBURG tonight, and the gallant men that now lie with her. We also honour the survivors of the 1st LOUISBURG, and I am glad to know that there is one with us this evening, Lieut. Wright, and I trust that I will have an opportunity of shaking hands with him and congratulating him on behalf of my native town on his fortunate escape, and wish him every success for the future. . . I want at this time, on behalf of Mayor Huntington, as well as myself and my wife, to express to Mr. Morton, the Directors, and the Morton Engineering Company, our sincere thanks for the splendid evening they have given us, and I do not believe I can wish the LOUISBURG any better wish than to use toward her the words of General Montgomery to the gallant 8th army, before the Battle of EL ALEMEIN, when I say "Good Luck and Good Hunting".

If you have any comments or ideas please let me know. 

Bill O’Shea

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