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Our Trip To Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
October 2007
Lu Dawn, Carol & Fred's Trip to Cape Breton!
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Cape Breton Welcome
Canso Causeway View at Mining Mountain Across The Bay

Canso CauseWay Welcome Center October 2007
View of Mining Mountain Across The Bay

Entering Cape Breton Oct 2007
Fred At 70 km /hour Sign

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
October 2007

Welcome Center Oct 2007
Carol At Welcome Center

Cape Breton Welcome Center Oct 2007
Carol Taking In The View

Cape Breton Welcome Center
Gift Shop

Cape Breton Welcome Center View
October 2007

Cape Breton Welcome Center
Canso Causeway October 2007

Cape Breton October 2007
Welcome Center Foilage

Cape Breton Welcome Center
View Across Bay Looking At Mining Mountain

Native American Totem Pole
Cape Breton Welcome Center 2007

Cape Breton Welcome Center
View Of Back Of Totem Pole

On October 20, 2007 Lu Dawn flew to Hartford Connecticut.  She was met there by her sister Carol and Carol’s husband, Fred.  Fred was a most gracious driver and drove for us throughout the entire trip!


Our first stop was overnight in Wells Beach, Maine Saturday night.  On Sunday we drove to Moncton, News Brunswick and stayed overnight at The Magnetic Hill Bed & Breakfast where we enjoyed most congenial hospitality and a great breakfast!  Thank you Dale – we had a most wonderful visit with you!


Monday morning found us on our way to Stewiacke, Hants County, Nova Scotia.  Here we located the Fort Ellis Cemetery.  We had thought we would have a most difficult time locating the cemetery; but we were surprised at how easily we located it!


October 2007
Magnetic B&B Moncton, New Brunswick

October 2007
Lu Dawn & Carol, Breakfast, Magnetic Hill B&B

October 2007
Dale, Our Gracious Host, Magnetic Hill B&B

October 2007
Fort Ellis Cemetery. Stewiake, Nova Scotia

We spent a leisurely time there at the Fort Ellis Cemetery and easily found the gravesites of our Ross Ancestors right in front along the roadside!  We took our time and copied info and data from the headstones. 

October 2007
Entrance To Fort Ellis Cemetery, Stewiacke, Nova Scotia



With our search completed at the Fort Ellis Cemetery we headed off to locate the Milford Cemetery.  This was easily located alongside the opposite side of the road.  We strolled through the Milford Cemetery copying names and dates of Ross, Tanner, Woodworth and others from headstones.  Curious enough, there were many small spiders throughout the headstones.  They seemed to be quietly sitting there, everywhere we looked; waiting for a web to be moved or jiggled.  When the web was jiggled several of the spiders would come running over to check out the cause of the jiggling.  Spooky!

October 2007
Lu Dawn & Carol, Milford Cemetery, Milford, Nova Scotia



Later we were off to locate the Elmsdale Cemetery. We stopped at a corner general store and asked a woman passing by if she knew where it was located.  She told us it was just up the road from the corner store about a mile or so; so off we went.  She was correct!  It was easily accessed to our left at a point where there is a four-way set of traffic lights.  We found a few of our Ross Ancestors and some Roulstons here at the Elmsdale Cemetery.  To exit the cemetery one must wait at a traffic light placed there in later years just for the exit from the cemetery. We chuckled at the thought of a stop light to get out of the cemetery!


October 2007
Elmsdale Cemetery, Elmsdale, Nova Scotia

Next we were off to our 2nd Bed & Breakfast at the trip at The Nelson House in Stewiake.  Here we had a most restful sleep after eating supper at a local restaurant where they were having a spaghetti dinner special.

The next morning, Tuesday, we were off for Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and the Moeller’s Lake Cottage on a peninsula across from Whycocomagh.  We stayed here at the Cottage for a week, using it as our base of operations for our genealogical quest in the Cape Breton area.  Roland & Claudia Moeller were most gracious hosts.  Roland tried to keep us in touch with the bald eagles nesting nearby his home just around the corner from our cottage!  We were given fresh eggs one day and Roland kept us supplied with wood for the wood stove.  We were never able to get up close and personal with the eagles; it was as if they knew we wanted to see them and tried their very best to keep that from happening!  We unpacked and settled-in for our stay at the cottage.  The cottage is located right near the water and Roland told us about the pilot whales that come swimming up the from the bay right in front of the cabin.


Bald Eagle's Nest Near Roadside
Moeller's Lake View Cottage October 2007

Lake View Cottage
Lu Dawn - It's Been A Busy Day

Little Boat
Whycocomagh, Cape Breton

Little Bird On Roadside
Alongside Road From Lake View Cottage

Bird At Marble Mountain Look-Off
Oct 2007

Moeller's Lake View Cottage
Roland & Claudia

Road From Moeller's Lake View Cottage
Old Tree By The Side Of The Road

Fred's Photo Taken From Lake View Cottage
Cape Breton Sunset October 2007

Canadian Sunset
Lake View Cottage October 2007

Bald Eagle's Nest
Near Roadside On Way To Lake View Cottage

One Of Roland's Elusive Bald Eagle's
In Flight Near The Lake View Cottage

We informed Roland that we had met a young man at a Antiques & Book Store on our way in and that the young man had told us of a Tracy MacLean and that we were definitely related to him.  In fact, he told us that Tracy now lives on the old home sites of our two Neil MacLeans. Roland told us he knew Tracy quite well and told us where to locate Tracy’s garage.  Tracy is an auto mechanic and his garage is in Orangedale.  He, himself, lives in Valley Mills.  More about our visit with Tracy to follow later in this story.

Tracy MacLean, Son Of Neil & Jessie MacLean
At Old Grst Mill, Valley Mills


On Wednesday we set off for our rendezvous with Frank and Catherine in Orangedale.  We passed the big white church where we were to meet and turned around at the Orangedale Railway Museum.  On our arrival to the church we passed Frank in his

‘white gig’, as he called it.  This time when we pulled up in front of the church Catherine and her niece were sitting in their blue car waiting for us!  It was quite a pleasing meeting of distant cousins to say the least.  After hugs and introductions Frank took out a pair of walkie-talkies his son had highly suggested we use during our tour of the cemeteries and around the countryside.  The walkie-talkies proved to be a valuable asset.  Frank drove his own ‘gig’, while Catherine and her niece Chris,

joined us in Fred’s car; and off we went with Frank as our tour guide!

We Want To Go To Seal Cove & Valley Mills
Turn Left TO Go To Orangedale

Orangedale October 2007
Welcome To Orangedale

Clan MacLean Orangedale Meeting Place Oct 2007
Catherine & Frank

Clan MacLean Meeting Oct 2007
Carol, Catherine, Frank, Lu Dawn, Chris

Clan MacLean Meeting October 2007
Carol, Catherine, Frank

I may have bits of the tour out of place here and there, but here goes:


We left Orangedale and headed past Tracy’s Garage.  We arrived at the site of the church that had been bought for $1.00 and moved to Iona at a cost of approximately $400,000!  We took photos of the site and the church still standing close to the site.  From here we drove to Neil and Maggies (now painted blue) house and lands, about a mile or two beyond the Monroe Bridge.  At the Monroe Bridge we noticed a set of railroad tracks and a railroad trestle across the water. We were forever trying to get a proper picture in our minds of the drawing in Great Uncle Angus’ book.  It would take us a couple more days to wrap our minds around this map and figure it out – but we finally did just that!

Site Of Malagawatch Church - Was Removed To Iona
You Can See The Other Church Through The Trees

Malagawatch Church Site - October 2007
Photo Taken From Roadside

October 2007
Malagawatch Church Site

Fulton Church
Beside Site of Malagawatch Church Site

Entering Monroe Bridge
Heading Towards Neil & Maggie's Old Home

Railroad Tracks Looking Back To Monroe Bridge
Across From Monroe Bridge

Crowdis Bridge Looking Towards Seal Cove
Taken On Valley Mills Side

Seal Cove October 2007
Neil & Maggie's Old Home

Neil & Maggie's Old Home
Note The Old Scaggly Tree

Another View Of The Driveway
Neil & Maggie's Old Home, Seal Cove

Mrs. MacAuley's House
Looking From Water's Edge Side Of The Road

Another View Of Mrs MacAuley's House
From Across The Road On Waters Edge

The next bridge we crossed is Crowdis Bridge.  It is a double bridge area.  After crossing one there is a bit of road and then another bridge area.  We were later told (by one Wayne Davis of Valley Mills) that the water to our left was salt water (sea water), while the water to our right was fresh water!  We had trouble wrapping our minds around the fact that the two did not mingle!  We were now on dirt road.  At the end of this road, shortly after crossing Crowdis Bridge, we turned right and went past a small schoolhouse (now owned by Wayne Davis) where we are told some of our ancestors attended in later years.  Driving up this dirt road Frank stopped at what he thought was the road (pathway) into the original land our J. Neil MacLean had owned and settled.  He was mistaken and drove up a bit further to a second road (pathway) and told us this was the correct one.  He said he had once walked out into the area and located a cellar hole or foundation.

View From Tracks At Monroe Bridge
Carol & Lu Dawn - More Photo Ops

Looking Towards Crowdis Bridge
From Valley Mills Side

Crowdis Bridge
Fresh Water Side

View Taken From Crowdis Bridge

Valley Mills View Taken From Site Where
Frank Showed Us Road Up To Old Maclean's Home

Monroe Bridge Is To The Right Side

We all turned around and left this Valley Mills area and drove past the old MacAuley place, mentioned by Great Uncle Angus in his book (the lady with the fancy buggy and horses and Dan Martin).

Upon leaving the Valley Mills area we passed by a good sized white house trimmed in red just down the road from where Frank had shown us the pathway in to the old J. Neil MacLean homesite.  We asked Frank if he knew who loved there and he responded that he did not. (We were later to find out that this was Tracy MacLean’s home! And more!!!)


Somewhere along our trip we stopped at the Fulton Cemetery and located several headstones of our ancestors.  It rests on a small hill and was across the road to our left.


Our next stop was the Malagawatch Cemetery where we located many headstones of our ancestors!  Chris told us that someone had visited Scotland and brought back some heather and planted it in and around the cemetery; but the groundskeepers did not like it as they said it made mowing difficult.  So, needless to say, they pulled out as much of the heather as they could.  Fortunately, there is heather making a comeback here and there throughout the cemetery grounds!  The Malagawatch Cemetery was on a road to our left and is bordered on the outer side by the waters of the Bras de Ors Lakes, as is much of the surrounding lands.  Dale MacRae-Berry will be pleased to read we took photos of her ancestors headstones found here!

The next cemetery we visited was the Stewartsdale Cemetery.  We turned off the main road to our left down a steep hill and crossed the riverbed via a small temporary military-type bridge which was never replaced with a more permanent bridge.  We drove up a steep hill directly after exiting the temporary bridge structure and near the top of the hill to our right was the Stewartsdale Cemetery where we located even more headstones of our ancestors!

Across the road, from the current Stewartsdale Cemetery, there is a sign indicating ‘The Pioneer Cemetery’.  The story goes that someone discovered that this was an old cemetery so the trees and much of the brush were cleared out.  When I walked up into this area I could not locate any grave markers or headstones.  I did locate one small (approx. 10 inches long) wooden stake painted white driven into the ground.

One is left to imagine how many of our ancestors gravesites have been lost to the overgrowth of nature here.

Our next stop was back at the white church in Orangedale.  Catherine had prepared a delicious lunch for us, sodas included.  She is a gracious lady with a most beautiful smile!  We enjoyed our sandwiches, sodas and cookies while we talked about the events of the day and got to know each other a bit better.

At some point in time, Frank left us and headed back to his home in Sydney.  He will be sorely missed as well as his wit and humor and his knowledge of our Neil and Maggie MacLean!  Here, Catherine invited us to her house for dinner on Friday!  We gladly accepted this most welcomed invitation!

Thursday found us on our own, retracing the previous days travels and still trying to wrap our minds around Great Uncle Angus’s map!  When we drove the road up to and past Neil and Maggie’s (now blue) home site, I knew we must walk the railroad tracks and prove to ourselves that they past by the back of Neil and Maggie’s home.  It was hunting season and Carol was concerned for our safety, so we tabled that plan for the time being!  We did however, return to the Monroe Bridge and the railway bridge trestle alongside it.  Up the road a short distance from the Monroe Bridge we found a road pathway into the railroad tracks.  We walked in a short distance to the tracks and walked the tracks towards Neil and Maggie’s home site for a short distance before turning back and returning to the car.  I kept pressing that we needed to walk the tracks from the railroad crossing about a half mile past Neil and Maggie’s home site.

At some point in time I tried calling Tracy via telephone.  Finally I was able to speak with his mother, Jessie MacLean.  She could not tell me much and said she did not do any genealogy.  I kept calling now and then until I finally got to speak with Tracy.  He told us that he lived on the original lands that were once owned by both our Neil MacLean’s.

Roland even spoke with Tracy and tried to set up a meeting with Tracy for that Friday or Saturday.  But we told him we were committed to dinner at Catherine’s in West Bay on Friday and we were planning to drive the Cabot Trail on Saturday weather permitting.  Thus our meeting with Tracy was going to prove a hit or miss meeting.

Friday found us driving to West Bay to visit with Catherine and her niece Chris.  Catherine prepared a feast fit for a king!  Everything was home grown but for the beef.  A delicious meal!  Chris told Carol about a MacLean Mitten pattern and how one of the brothers had found it in a boat on return from a fishing trip to the Grand Banks.  Chris had a friend that was putting together Nova Scotian Patterns to be published later.  She submitted the mittens and waited for a response.  About six months passed and Chris called to check on her mittens.  Chris was told that the committee was not certain the mittens were not from Newfoundland or Labrador and that they were not going to use them.  Her friend had worked out the pattern and finally returned the mittens to Chris.  Chris replied that the mitten pattern had been in the MacLean family for over one hundred years!  How much longer did they need them to be in the family?!  Finally her pattern was accepted and it was published in the book.  Catherine went to her kitchen pantry and pulled out her old pair of the MacLean mittens!  I took photos of the mittens and Chris gave Carol a photo copy of the knitting instructions from the book.  Carol also was fortunate to find an old bedspread knitting pattern which Aunt Kitty (Fred’s Aunt) had been working on.  Carol copied that also!  What a find!  Catherine played the organ for us later and showed us photos of her husband.  She had a photo of herself at the age of seventeen; what a fine young lady!

We toured her farm and she showed us the small red house where she and her husband lived when they were first married.  It sits just behind and a bit to the left of their second home; the house Catherine is currently living in.  We met a couple of her steers, chickens and guinea hens.  Time permitting we would have gladly played a game of scrabble with her!  Catherine is a darts champion and enjoys playing scrabble.


Saturday found us heading up the Cabot Trail, counterclockwise.  We left the Lake Cottage shortly after right in the morning.  It was a leisurely trip; one in which we stopped wherever we wanted; at gift shops and for photo op all along the way!  I must tell you that when we stopped at a general grocery store-type place in Wreck Cove, we mentioned our MacLean Genealogical Quest and our cousin that was ninety years young and new computers and digital cameras!  Well, there were five or six men sitting at a table sipping coffee.  A couple of minutes later one of these men asked:  “That wouldn’t be Catherine Urguart of West Bay now would it?”  We replied a gleeful yes and then a second man at the table told us: “I was just up to Catherine’s home about a week ago for dinner.  Do you know that everything she puts on the table is grown right there on the farm?”  It turns out that these two men are brothers and we quickly realized we were on an Island where most everyone knows everyone!  The second man chatted a while with us outside and told us he had known Catherine’s husband for many a year.

We found the Tartan Shop on the Cabot Trail and had fun looking at all the Tartans found there.  We also bought a few items.  When the woman assisting us with our selections placed our wool tartan blankets on the glass counter top, she had just turned the lights on in the display cases under the glass countertop.  It took just a few minutes for the cold blankets to mix with the heat from the lights before the glass suddenly cracked with a loud snap!  I bought two blankets both MacLean, a MacRae Tam and Scarf and a green Hunting Ross.  Carol bought me a Red Ross, Modern scarf.  I even got a Ross mouse pad and a couple of stickers for the rear window of my SUV!


We traveled North and then West over the top of the Cabot Trail.  We made several photo op stops and enjoyed the trip even though we were about a week ot two late for the showy foliage of fall.  The views were fantastic even though they lacked the colorful beauty of the full fall foliage.  We highly recommend the Cabot Trail!  Traveling counter clockwise is preferred as we found out, as the sun is not directly effecting the driver as it would be on the clockwise drive.

There was one point where I decided to walk down on the rocks and get a photo of these two big boulders on the waters edge.  On one of the top steps leading downward I noticed fresh animal scat on the second or third step.  Fred told us that he thought is was at least one day old scat and that it seemed to be Moose scat.  I found what appeared to be the bones of the lower leg of a moose, gleaming white with some tendons on one end holding them together.  It was then that I heard something running off under the growth of brush just a couple of feet in front of me.  I turned and looked for a quick way out. The only quick way out for me was to scamper up a pile of rocks with over growth on them.  Just as I started to step up and over these rocks I noticed that there were open places in this pile of rocks where wildlife could hide or live!  But I was now committed and I stepped up my pace, hopping up and over the rocks and scampering to the top as quickly as I could.  Once on top, I regained my senses and slowed my pace, allowing me to get a grip on where I needed to go to get up and out of there as quickly as possible.

This was a most beautiful sight. I wished I had not run out of there so quickly; but I am glad that I did, as I do not know what type of animal it was that had run from me in the opposite direction!


We had used much of our daylight hours for photo ops and thus found we had little to no time for the scenic nature walk near Cheticamp Roland highly recommended we do.  Sorry Roland, perhaps another day – hope, hope, hope!

Sunday found us attempting to locate Tracy again and driving up to what we thought to be his house in Valley Mills.  We drove into and up the driveway and found who we thought was Tracy behind the house with a truck and a trailer attached to it.  I asked “Did we catch you at home?”  The man replied a gleeful “No”.  I then asked “Are you Tracy?” and the reply was another gleeful “No”.  As we walked to meet each other the man said, “You asked me two questions and I said No to both.  This is not my home and I am not Tracy.”  He sported a broad smile upon his face.  This man turned out to be Wayne Davis.  Wayne now owns the old school house down around the corner from Tracy’s home and just across the road from the exit from Crowdis Bridge.

Wayne took us back to his property and the old school.  I called it the old tyvek schoolhouse, as it was covered in tyvek, awaiting the finishing touches.  Wayne took us inside and we took photos of the old hand craved beams in the basement.  Later he brought out a couple of the beams some the students had written their names on in pencil..  It was difficult to read the names as the pencil writing was fading! 


Wayne showed me where there is three wells set in the ground by a bubbly brook not far behind and in from the old schoolhouse.  I was able to get a few photos of these wells, the middle well being the original well used by the children attending the school so many years ago!

While we were there at Wayne’s, Tracy blew by speeding home.  We waved and Wayne shouted at him to stop, but Tracy did not even slow down. We drove up to Tracy’s home and when he opened the door he explained that he had been in a rush to get to the house at the end of a long drive.  Tracy was a hospitable host.  He immediately took us up the hill behind the house and into the woods just a short distance showing us the old cellar hole he says is the original site of the first J. Niel’s log cabin!  Over to the left of where we were standing he showed us the little brook making its way down from the mountain top.  He showed us what he believes to be an old dump site for the family not far further in from the brook.  Tracy stated that his water supply comes from the same brook stream.  I leaned on a small tree and when I did I put my hand directly on some tree pitch.  I asked if it was spruce pitch and Tracy replied that it was indeed.  I pulled some off and started to chew it remembering the spruce gum story Great Uncle Angus had written about!  I must say it was quite tasty.  I offered some to Carol but she declined.


Tracy also told us he had a tape recording of Collie Neil.  Tracy tried to locate the tape but was unable to find it that evening.  He showed us an old wooden peg taken out of the old schoolhouse that Wayne now owns.  Tracy also showed us an old wooden chair with tiny little wooden pegs in it.  Tracy told us it came from the old log cabin site up on the hill and that it once belonged to one of our grandfathers!  Carol tells that the little chair called to her to sit in it but that she thought better of it and simply pretended to sit on it for just a second or two!  Tracy insists that he is related to us and that Collie Neil says so on his tape.  The tape is a story all its own!  Tracy says he has been interested in genealogy from a very young age and that in the 11th grade, he and four girls had the assignment of interviewing several of the local ‘old timers’.  All but one of the five to be interviewed fervently declined being tape recorded.  They were old fashioned and did not take kindly to having their voices recorded.  Tracy tells what a waste this was as one was a boat maker and the stories he told were invaluable.  All that they have left of the old interviews is the tape of Collie Neil.   Needless to say, I wish I could return and spend a week or so there at Tracy’s copying information and photos!  Oh well, that is for another day and time!  Tracy’s parents are Neillie and Jessie MacLean of Maple Street, Oranedale, Cape Breton.  I believe I am correct in say8ing that Jessie used to run the Orangedale Railway Museum.  Tracy allowed me take his vanilla folder back to Lake Cottage with me to caopy its contents.  I promised we would return it the next day, Monday.


Time was running short and our visit to Cape Breton would be ending quickly come Tuesday morning.  Monday found us packing and making preparations to leave the Island of our Ancestors.  In the early afternoon, we found Tracy at his garage in Orangedale and I returned his paper work to him.  He stopped working on the muffler system he had been working on when we arrived at his garage and then told us, “I found the tape.  I couldn’t let it go.”  He rushed into the garage and starting playing the tape for us.  As we listened to this wonderful voice with accent and all, I become melancholy at the thought that this may not be our ancestor.  During the interview with Collie Neil Tracy had run the tape recorder while his mother carried out the interview.  Tracy tells that Collie Neil thought the recording was a great idea and he was more then pleased to carry out the interview.  Tracy states that the tape is one and a half hours long!  During the part of the tape we were listening to, Tracy’s mother, Jessie, asks Collie Neil about his parents – his father.  Collie Neil replied that his father was Neil the Widow and went on to say Black Neil.  That is when I became tearful and tapped Carol on the arm saying “That’s Uncle Colin, Grandmother MacKay’s brother!”  What a find!  Tracy promised us he would get a copy of the tape made and send it to me.  Tracy also gave me permission to put the tape recording into print and publish it to our website!  Tracy does have a computer and internet, but Roland tells us that Tracy does not use his email much.  Roland told us that if we wish to communicate with Tracy we should simply email him, Roland, and he will get it to Tracy in person!  I also have Tracy’s telephone number as well as that of his parents.


I must add here that there was no television at the Lake Cottage.  The World Series was on and we listened to the Red Sox games via a radio in the cottage.  Each evening we ended the day by playing a game or two of Up Words.  Carol won most of the games.  Fred and I won our share but she remains the Up Words Champion of our Nova Scotia Trip 2007.


Tuesday morning we bade Cape Breton a good bye with mixed emotions and started our trip back to the USA.

We had with us a collection of rocks and railroad spikes.  The spikes came from the railroad tracks out behind Neil and Maggie’s Seal Cove home!  They were all over the tracks, some here and others there!  Catherine told us she thinks the train runs about once or twice each week.  The tracks tell us that a train does come through now and then.  I did pick up some small chunks of coal I found alongside those same tracks!  When my daughter Gayle looked at them, she said “Well, I guess I know I’m getting a sock full of coal for Christmas!” 


I am so glad we did walk those tracks around behind Neil and Maggie’s old home.  We figure that we walk in a bit further than 3/5’s of a mile before we found ourselves behind the house!  There is a railroad trestle there leading out to the waters of the lake from a small pond-like area down the bottom of the steep bank from the old house.  Fred wanted to go down in there and take a photo from the house side.  Carol told him an emphatic “No!”  But as we all know, Fred was not to be held back.  As Carol and I walked the tracks back towards the road, she asked where Fred was.  I told her, “He went down there”, motioned with my hands, down under!  She replied, “No. I told him not to do that!”  I yelled back at Fred and could hear his reply far in the distance.  I asked if he was all right and he replied he would be right there.  He did get a beautiful photo of the railway bridge!  Thank you Fred!

 We were at long last, able to wrap our minds around Grat Uncle Angus's map of Seal Cove!  We could not have done this without the walk

along the railraod tracks!

Take a walk with us as we walk the railroad tracks from about 1/2 mile up the road from Neil & Maggie's Home.  We will take you around the back of the house for some great photos of the house, the water, the railroad trestle and more.....This walk follows below.....Enjoy!

(Later walk with us as we visit with Tracy MacLean and visited with him at his home in Valley Mills, and enjoy our visit with Wayne Davis as he shared his little schoolhouse treasures with us.  These follow our Walk Behind Neil & Maggie's Home.)

Monroe Bridge
Looking From Seal Cove Side Back To The Bridge

The Railray Bridge 1/2 Mile From House
Alongside of Monroe Bridge

Neil & Maggie's Home
Mail Box View

Neil & Maggie's Home
From Driveway

That Old Scaggly Tree
Neil & Maggie's Home

Looking At The Old Home
From The Driveway

Fantastic Stick Bridge Up Road From House
Near The Railroad Crossing Where We Walked In

Rounding The Curve Behind The House
Engineer - Blow That Whisle!

Foilage Alongside The Railroad Tracks
Behind The House

Behind Neil & Maggie's Home
Note The Ladder On The Roof

Looking At Neil & Maggie's House Through
The Trees From Railray Trestle Behind The Home

Looking OVer Side Of Railray Trestle
Behind Neil & Maggie's Home

Railway Trestle Behind House - Thanks Fred!
View as Neil & Maggie Knew It!

So much to do with so little time!
Would love to make another trip!

Our Visit With Tracy MacLean
Info & Data Obtained From Tracy MacLean, Valley Mills/Orangedale,
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
October 2007
Tracey tells us that he lives on the land where our two Neils settled and lived and states that we are related!
We managed to catch Tracy at home on Sunday before ending our trip two days later on Tuesday!  Tracy was a most gracious host and immediately took us for a hike up the mountain behind his home in Valley Mills to the site of the old log cabin foundation - said to be the original settlement place of our J. Neil MacLean!  Just to the left of this site is a small stream which supplies Tracy with his water supply to this day.  A bit furthur in is what Tracy believes is the site of the old family dump.  He dug around quickly and handed me a shard of glass with writing imprinted upon it! 
Carol examined the foundation area and lifting up a thick bunch of moss growth, revealed the old foundation stones underneath!
Tracy states that the old road path extends about a mile up to the top of the mountain and circles back around, down and around the old cabin site. 
We spent some time there at an area of large stones, or as we from New Hampshire would call them, small boulders.  They were moss covered and just right for an afternoon rest not far in front of the old cabin site.  During this time I leaned on a tree and found it to be covered with pitch.  I pulled off a bunch of pitch and asked Tracy if it was a spruce tree.  He relied an affirmative nod and said, "Yes it is."  I chewed on the spruce pitch and enjoyed a taste of Great Uncle Angus's Spruce Gum!
I offered some to Carol but she declined.  It was delicious!
We later walked back down the mountain road towards the house and stopped in front of the barn.  Tracy showed us an old wooden chair he states is from the old log cabin home site!  It has small, tiny little wooden pegs in it.  There has been some attempts to repair the chair as there are several small nails holding the seat area in place.
While Carol and I were examining and admiring this little chair, Tracy took Fred into the barn where Fred took photos of some of the old carriages, buggies and wagons made by the Hectors.  Tracy said that our Hector MacLean taught the carraige building trade to his Hector! 
Next we were led around to the front of his home and there he showed us the front door step - the old hearthstone from the old log cabin!  How unique!
He also has a second, newer hearthstone by the barn.  I need to confirm who this second hearthstone belonged to, as well as the names of Tracy's grandparents and greatgrandparents!
Tracy states he has been interested in genealogy from a very early age.  When he was in the 11th grade, he and about four girls, took on the assignment of interviewing elders in the area.  But there was a serious problem - all but one agreed to be taped!  He said this was such a great loss to historians as one was a 104 year old boat maker!  Those four stories/interviews had to be handwritten!
BUT, the one that agreed to be taped and most happy to do so belongs to Tracy.  The tape is about 1 1/2 hours in length.  Tracy was not aboe to locate the tape that day.
The next day we returned Tracy's papers to him at his automotive garage in Orangedale and found him working there.  He had located the tape recording of Collie Neil and immediately proceeded to play the tape.  We stood there inside the garage listening to the tape with great interests.  Tracy's mother, Jessie MacLean, was the interviewer.  At one point Jessie asked Collie Neal about his parents and who his father was.  Collie Neil replied that his father was known as 'Neil the Widow, and 'Black Neil'.  I got teary eyed and looking at Carol said, "That's Colin, grandmother MacKay's brother!."
The man on the tape had a wonderfully entertaining Highland brougue! 
Tracy promised he would copy the tape and send it to me!  I can hardly wait to get it and listen to it!
Tracy is the keeper of things as my sister calls it!  The following is info & data I copied from Tracy's folder.
Donald Murdock Campbell born Isle of North Uist, Scotland
1805 - 1876 78 years Come to Canada ? 1831.  He married in Whycocomagh to Mary MacKinnon born Isle of Monk 1812, died 1874 at 62 years.
Their children:
-Donald 1837 m. Ann MacLean
-John 1839 moved to USA
-Ann 1847 never married
-Isobel m. Malcolm MacDonald and had Mary (Smith), Maggie, Lenie (McLean), Murdena, Rebecca and Neillie.
-Alexander m. Isobel MacLean
Margaret March 18_7 m. Angus MacLean and had
-Twins: Hector 12/16/1867 and Murdoch d. 6/041875.
-Annie 7/28/1869
Donald 6/19/1875
-Mary Ann 7/11/1877
-John Edward 6/15/1879
-Alexander (Sandy) 10/09/1881
-Angus 10/04/1884
-Isobel (Bella) 1/18/1888
-James 3/01/1890
-Malcolm 9/29/1893
Hector Mac Lean Born Isle of Coll
Ann Mac Lean Born Isle of Coll
(Both landed in Valley Mills in 1826.)
-Effie b. 1820 Isle of Coll
-Flora b. 1824 Isle of Coll
-Ann b. 8/25/1827 Valley Mills
-Donald b. 7/10/1829 Valley Mills
-Angus b. 1831 Valley Mills
-Mary b. 1834 Valley Mills
-John b. 1835 Valley Mills, died 5/13/1887
-Hugh b. 1836 Valley Mills
Angus Mac Lean's Brother:
Mc Lean, John, (?) d. at 52 yrs of age
In Memory of
John Mc Lean
May 18, 1887
His Wife
Apr. 18, 1923
Asleep in Jesus
Hugh Neil
April, 1883
April 1883
Gone But Not
Effie Mc Lean
Nov. 8, 1892
Flora Mc Lean
Apr. 19, 1908
At Rest
Ranold Mac Donald b. Tyree, Argylshire, Scotland
-Moved to Ashfield in the 1830's married:
1st wife:  Sarah Mac Donald
-Neil b. 2/16/1840
-Hugh b. 11/19/1841
-Flora b. 1/16/1844
-Malcolm b. 2/15/1846
-Alexander b. 5/01/1848
-Mary A. b. 8/19/1850
-Sarah b. 4/18/1853
2nd married: Sarah Mac Kinnon
-Donald b. 1/18/1859 d. 1961 never married
-Mary K. b. 5/30/1862 d. 1948
-John B. b. 6/14/1863 d. 1921
-Daniel b. 9/03/1866 d. June 1904 Crushed in train accident at River Deny's Station.
-Ranold b. 7/27/1869 was a cop in Sydney
Hand Written Letter:
From M. Huddleston of Cobble Hill, BC, CA to Mr. & Mrs. Neil MacLean of Orangedale, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
(Note:  Most of the info & data from this letter in found in the info & data above.  i have included below the different & additional info found in this letter:
John B. was married to Bessy Ann MacDonald, a daughter of Neil (Neill Mor) MacDonald, East Anislee, a sister to Dr. Hugh M (?N) (Dr. Hudy) MacDonald.
John B. died Nov. 15, 1921.
Bessie Anne died April1, 1906 - Not Married.
Thier family:
-Ranold Spet 23, 1894 died in Cobalt, June 15, 1915.
-Mary Jane March 8, 1897 married Hugh Fred MacKinnon June 21, 1921, died March 9, 1996.
Mary Jane and Hugh Fred adopted Eva & Harlee.
-Sarah Mary (your grandmother) March 20, 1898 married Murdoch MacLean November 21, 1916, died 1959.  Sarah Mary & Murdock you know their family.
-Neil Allan July 2, 1899 married Jessie Campbell, Iron Mills, April 9, 1931.  Died 1972.  Jessie died in 1983.  Neil Allan & Jessie adopted one girl, Moreen.
-Isobelle Bradalbane (my mother) Jan. 2, 1901, married John Dan MacKinnon June 21, 1926, died Oct. 3, 1938.  Belle & John Dan had Bessie Christina, Hugh Dan (Dan Hughie0, Frederick & Charlie.
-Robert Hugh April 1, 1902 married Janet MacLeod June 20, 1939, died Juny 2, 1972.
-Hugh Dan Nov. 11, 1903,
 never married, died 1926.  Robbie & Janet adopted Brian.
-Charles Lauchlin May 18, 1905 married Sarah MacKinnon June 29, 1941.  Died Spet 22, 1986.
-John Angus March 31, 1906
died August 1907.  Lauchie & Sarah had:
Elizabeth Mary  born March 19, 1943 married Richard Bridges Aug 30, 1970 and had two boys:  Richard Walter b. Sept 30, 1973 and Christopher Robert born Jan 10, 1978.
John Lauchie April 18, 1944 married April 8, 1978 to Ria VanHees and had 2 boys- Rory Charles July 18, 1980 and Neil Allan Feb. 3, 1982.
End of Letter.
Valley Mills Land Grants/Plots on map from Tracy:
Originally to Neil MacLean
Bk 17 P. 184
100 a (acres)
Secondly to Daneil Hugh Mac Lean
Thirdly to Jessie MacLean

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