Letters from P.E.I. - Rev. A. B. MacDonald, to Belle MacPhee, Nov 10 1943


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Transcribed by Paul MacDonald, paulrita2001@yahoo.com


Extract from a letter from the Rev. A.B. Macdonald, of St. Mary’s, Calgary, dated November 10, 1943.

To Belle MacPhee

As regards our historical studies, one finds it difficult to Locate a starting point. Of the McPhee family I can find very little. It was always my belief that the immigration under Capt. John Macdonald in 1772 was an entirely Catholic group. The second immigration of 1793 was the one bringing Father MacEachern, our first bishop & there was later another group. I have had the idea that there were non-Catholics among the latter settlers.

Now, my father’s family I can trace out to a certain point.

My great-grandfather was a very young boy coming to Canada in 1772. His mother was dead & his father married again & this time to a sister of the Queen of Tracadie - one of the Ghernish family. The family lived at St. Peter’s Lake & this was mother’s family - father & mother were cousins.

My great-grandfather had settled somewhere in the Morell country & thence with his boys moved east. His sons were James, John, Angus and Alexander, my grandfather whose death I can just remember - I may have been two or three years old.

‘James’ settled at Little Pond but on the north slope facing Little or Colville river. His son was known as John Jim who married a Macdonald from Tracadie. His eldest son was Angus David whom you knew or at least heard about. Two other sons were the Will & Donald Bernard of whom Miss McPhee speaks in her letter. D.B. was an insurance man in Boston & Will, at one time was captain of a steamer on the Kootenay lakes in B.C., whence he went to California. A sister of « John Jim » married Peter/ of Burnt Point & another sister was married in Vernon River to Sandy The Fork who was also a Macdonald. I do not know if there were other children.

‘John’ settled near St. Georges or, more probably, in Launching and had, as I remember three sons. There was « Jim John «  who lived near St. Georges & had a large family one of whom was Dr. E. O. who practiced for years in Glace Bay & died some years ago. He married a Miss Cameron of Mabou, a sister of Allister’s wife and left, I think, two daughter living in Montreal.  Jim John’s wife, was I believe, a sister of Father Walker of Rollo Bay. A second sun, Johnny John, resided at Launching & had two sons, of whom one died in ’97 or ’98 and the other boy Aeneas was living at home when I came away - he taught school. A third son, Peter lived also at Launching. He was married to another sister of Father Walker & had a large family whose names I do not remember except Edward and Septimus ( the 7th son). It seems to me that many of them went to the states.

‘Angus’ the third son lived next place to ours. His wife was, I think, a Macdonald from Bear River or Tracadie. His family were Angus, father of James Aeneas of Little Pond. Peter of Ottawa & Allen Of Edmonton. There were John and Peter who lived up in Souris & up the Souris River. John’s daughter was for years at the Palace in Ch-town.

‘Alexander’ was my grand-father. I do not know who his wife was; but she was a Macdonald. His sons were Angus & John who lived near Souris. Archibald who ran business at Annandale & died when quite young. His widow moved to Portland, Maine with her children, James who lived near the church at home & whose family are now in Boston. My father was Charles and you know his family. His daughters were Belle, Mrs. McPhee & your grandmother, Margaret, Mrs McCormac of Georgetown; Sophia, Mrs McIsaac of St. Peter’s Bay; Helen, who lived near home & was married to James Macdonald, one of the ‘Northpoles’ of Vernon River.

There was also one sister married to a McInnis of Souris. She had died

Before my time leaving two sons, John & Angus. John lived in Boston & Angus whose sons are yet in Ch-town. That complete the list on my Father’s side; but is not a full or complete enumeration. You may grasp something from the pages.

Now, on my mother’s side my relative were from East Point to Alberton. I knew them pretty well as far a Summerside. There were the Beatons of East Point & the Macdonald’s - Laughlin was, as you may remember In politics, There were the Macdonalds at Bear River, at Launching & the Panmure Island & Georgetown families. In Vernon River were the Macdonalds & McEachrens. Around St. Andrews they were legion—Dr. Gus of Souris, the Bambricks, the Mkenzies, the Macdonalds of Tracadie, others of Charlottetown. Mrs. Byrnes of West River; Gus Macdonald’s family of Emerald Junction, the Bedeque Macdonalds, and who knows how many more;

But the were scattered over the whole place. I knew my first cousins Fairly well and latterly I knew some of the second & third group; but Have been so long away that some are forgotten. Oh! By the way, I was Looking through the Sacred Heart Messenger a few days ago and saw the death of a James McCormac at Vernon River. It is possibly Jim of Georgetown who was married to Minnie MacDonald who used to be in Georgetown and another cousin, of course.

This gives you one side of the house & may be of some help to You. I have another history that was put together by Father Ronald of Souris, but it looks from another point of view i.e. the Rhettland family which was part and parcel of the same. I shall have it copied some day and sent to you.

-end of the Extract -


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