Interview with Marjorie Johnson MacLeod (Diddy) - Formerly from Framboise May 28/19 -For the Website
The people who worked at the mine
JEANETTE: Diddy has given me a list of names of people who worked over the mine and we are reading from that list.
JEANETTE: You were saying, there was Fox MacDonald and Kay Fox (Morrison MacDonald). They worked at Morrison’s store.
DIDDY: They owned it.
Jeanette: Did that belong to her father?
JEANETTE: Willie D (Morrison), right?
JEANETTE: And then Frankie Boudreau. You said he worked there.
DIDDY: He was their right-hand guy, Yes.
JEANETTE: Yes, because Kay would often be up in St Peter’s dealing with the store up there.
JEANETTE: So, he ordered everything I guess. And waited on people?
Diddy: Yes, delivered.
JEANETTE: What kind of things did they have at that store?
Diddy: It was just a general store. They had every other thing in it. Nothing different, mostly groceries.
JEANETTE: There was Dr Mitchell. That was Jim, right?
DIDDY: I don’t know if he was a real doctor.
JEANETTE: Some people called him the medic and some people called him a nurse, others called him “the first aid guy”.
DIDDY: That was more like it.
DIDDY: He lived out that road (Five Island Lake road) toward Murdock Dan’s (MacLeod). He built a place there and after the mine closed he went down to Gabarus.
JEANETTE: Do you know where he was from, before he came to Stirling?
DIDDY: Indeed, I don’t.
JEANETTE: Then Enos Sampson. He was the gate keeper, right?
JEANETTE: He had a log cabin over there by the Medic, right? Up on the hill. There were about five houses up there.
JEANETTE: Then there was Dan MacDonald. Oh yes, he was Kilowatt Dan.
JEANETTE: And Angus MacDonald. He was from Gabarus, right?
DIDDY: He would be Anne’s father.
JEANETTE: He had a brother Donald.
JEANETTE: So, you have here that he was a trucker. Did he drive the truck in the mine?
DIDDY: No. He took the ore. I don’t know where they went with it.
JEANETTE: St Peter’s.
JEANETTE: Was it?
JEANETTE: Yes. Malcolm S MacDonald had the contract for the trucking, so, he must have worked for him.
DIDDY: I’m not aware of that. I knew Malcolm S like the back of my hand, but I didn’t know that.
JEANETTE: Apparently, they were the main contractor for hauling the ore out of there.
JEANETTE: Maybe the mine had some trucks of their own.
DIDDY: Yes, I’m pretty sure that’s what he was driving.
Note: See Murdock’s Morrison Interview. He notes the mine had two trucks and Malcolm S had 5 trucks hauling ore to St Peters.
JEANETTE: (Continuing to read from Diddie’s list). Then Harry Taylor. That would have been Jean’s Husband (son)?
JEANETTE: Do you know what he did there?
DIDDIE: No. I don’t know. I think he was in the machine shop or something like that. I’m not sure.
JEANETTE: And Jean Taylor.
DIDDY: She was a teacher there. She was also…
JEANETTE: A telegraph operator?
DIDDY: I don’t know.
DIDDY: Also, the guy that was at the gate...
JEANETTE: Yes Enos.
JEANETTE: There was another guy there too. Was it Kenny MacDonald?
DIDDY: Gee, I forgot to put Kenny down there. It was “Big Jim” MacDonald.
JEANETTE: I have his name written down on my list, Jim MacDonald.
JEANETTE: So, the guy at the gate what did he have to do with Jean Taylor.
DIDDY: His daughter was a teacher too. Marie MacDonald.
JEANETTE: And did she teach there very long?
DIDDY: A few years I think.
JEANETTE: Then there was Norman Johnson. He worked at the machine shop.
DIDDY: He drove a big crane.
JEANETTE: Oh, did he? And what did he do with that crane?
DIDDY: Yes, they were working around the mine and doing things like that.
JEANETTE: And Eddie Murrin?
DIDDY: He was from Glace Bay. He was sort of into sports a lot.
JEANETTE: Was he a recreation director or something?
DIDDY: I think that’s what you would call it.
Note: I found a recent Obit of an Ed Murrin formerly from Glace Bay. This may be the man Diddy is talking about. I plan to follow up with his family in regard. JS.
JEANETTE: Ok. And wouldn’t they have a recreation centre.
JEANETTE: On the other side of the mine?
DIDDY: Yes, they did.
DIDDY: And they’d have a baseball field. They had it all there.
JEANETTE: And some people tell me they had a hall there. And they had dances there.
JEANETTE: And they had events there.
JEANETTE: The dance hall would have been
DIDDY: A way up. Yes, a way up.
JEANETTE: Now Eddie Murrin. How old a man would he be now?
DIDDY: Oh, gosh, I don’t have a clue.
JEANETTE: Would he have been older than you at the time?
DIDDY: No, I would have been older than him.
JEANETTE: And Joe Pottie. He was one of the fellows that was up...
DIDDY: Yes, where Enos (Sampson) was.
JEANETTE: And Johnny Martell
DIDDY: He was from L’Ardoise.
JEANETTE: And Mabbie Landry? Where would he be from?
DIDDY: He’d be from L’Ardoise.
JEANETTE: What did Johnny Martell do, and Mabbie?
DIDDY: I would say most of them that I’m saying, were in the mine - miners.
JEANETTE: You have a note here saying people would be from Mabou, Gabarus, Judique and L’Ardoise, and Inverness and other surroundings – Grand River, L’Ardoise.
DIDDY: The majority as I said were either from Mabou, Judique, inverness, L’Ardoise, Louisdale.
DIDDY: Sampsonville, Gabarus. I don’t know how many were from Framboise. I don’t think there was that many.
JEANETTE: Probably not. There probably weren’t that many people there at the time.
JEANETTE: And Johnny Martell, I believe he had a little house there across from Dogpatch.
DIDDY: He did but more toward where Dena lived (Barkers Corner). It was down in the gully there.
JEANETTE: There was a little clump of houses there. John Archie and Elsie (Monroe); They had a little place close to there.
JEANETTE: And the man that got killed in the mine, Howard Burns, he and his father and mother, Danny and Adele (Burns).
DIDDY: I think there was another fellow who got killed in the mine. His name was Bennie Laforte. Did you ever come across that?
JEANETTE: No, but Bessie said a Bedard Fellow (from Quebec) but nobody else (I interviewed so far) knew of any others.
JEANETTE: Actually, Angus MacLeod did but he didn’t know his name. He said he was in a certain area and he was hitting the bucket up against the wall and then a big rock fell down on top of him.
DIDDY: And I’m just wondering there was a young fellow who got drowned down there by the lake. He was a MacDougall but his father - I’m not sure what his name was. It was a very sad thing.
JEANETTE: I remember my brother (Donald and Bessie) telling me about that. That was at MacLean’s lake. There was a diving board there. He jumped off and got under the diving board and he couldn’t get out of there.
JEANETTE: MacDougall. I thought he was associated with one of the mine managers.
DIDDY: No. He just worked at the mine.
Where people lived
JEANETTE: Mary Ann MacIntosh; Her father was White Angus right? He was from Framboise.
DIDDY: She lived at the end of it at John G’s (the little house in behind John G’s house).
JEANETTE: So, Donny Shaw; He lived over Stirling? (See the map of Stirling - currently under development)
DIDDY: Yes, he was - where the water house was.
JEANETTE: The pumphouse. I remember where the foundation of the pumphouse was. That’s where we swam as kids over at Stirling Lake.
JEANETTE: Do you remember behind the pumphouse, there was a dam there.
JEANETTE: then there was Neilly Hector MacAskill.
DIDDY: Do you know where Norman (her brother) lived in Stirling.
JEANETTE: I have an idea.
DIDDY: He was right behind him. So was Kilowatt Dan – we called him.
DIDDY: And that’s Kenny, Mary Maggie’s son.
JEANETTE: Kenny John (Strachan).
JEANETTE: He and Annie had a little place
DIDDY: Below Angus Archie’s (MacQueen).
JEANETTE: I have a little map here. We’re looking at where Kilowatt Dan would have been. They were up on a hill?
DIDDY: Norman was there and Neilly Hector was behind Norman. Kilowatt Dan was up a little farther. Towards the woods more. Then come back down Donnie Shaw. And there was an Angus MacDonald who is in Big Pond now.
JEANETTE: So, Donnie Shaw would have been on that same road that goes up?
DIDDY: Yes. There was Norman, Donny Shaw and the (main) road.
JEANETTE: Ok there was Norman on the left and Donnie Shaw on the right and a road in between them
DIDDY: Yes, in between the houses.
JEANETTE: And then you were saying there was somebody else next to them. Is that where Lily and Angus (MacLeod) were then?
DIDDY: No Lily and Angus were on the right-hand side of Norman. It was Kenny MacDonald who built the house. She and Angus bought it or something. Note Pearl MacLeod MacDonald told me that this house was later sold to Roddie MacLeod and it was moved to Loch Lomond. And that was heading over then toward Harry Taylor. And then you’d go a little farther and you’d hit John G’s.
JEANETTE: They’re all on the same side of the road.
JEANETTE: And where Jean Taylor was, she was almost across from the road going down around the Stirling Lake road.
DIDDY: Like I said where Norman was and then where Angus was, you’d go up a little field -up a little way and there was a house and that’s where Harry Taylor and Jean lived.
JEANETTE: And then you’re on the right side of the road (Going to Framboise) you’re going to make a turn onto the five Island lake road.
DIDDY: Yes. Mamie lived there (Angus Morrison’s daughter) and (her brother) Dan.
JEANETTE: On the left
DIDDY: That’s right.
JEANETTE: Someone said there was a house on the Five Island Lake road and there were apartments in it. Do you remember anything about that?
JEANETTE: Donald Morrison said there were apartments in the school and that Kenny Morrison was one of the teachers there and he lived up above.
DIDDY: When you’d go upstairs there was just a big wide room because I stayed one night with Marie. I wouldn’t call it an apartment.
JEANETTE: Then you’d be going down the road around the lake that’s where Enos Sampson and Martin Sampson, maybe the Farrells.
DIDDY: Yes, yes
JEANETTE: Joe Pottie
DIDDY: Yes, yes
JEANETTE: The Carpenters
DIDDY: Yes. They had a little village up there.
JEANETTE: Yeah, up on the hill.
JEANETTE: Now I’m thinking when you are over the other side of the lake at Angus Archie’s you can see a big hill across the lake and there is a new house on it. I wonder if that’s the same hill. That’s quite a hill.
DIDDY: It could be. You said it’s new. I’m not familiar with that.
Note This has been confirmed by Chrissy and Duncan. See their upcoming interview.
JEANETTE: And then there was a family named Fanning.
JEANETTE: They would be the only family on the left side of the road (past Angus Morrison's) - I’m just going by what others have told me because I don’t remember that - just before where the Lake is on your left-hand side. Then Jim Mitchell was along there on the right and Joe Carter and Bella. Do you remember them?
DIDDY: Gee, I was forgetting some people.
JEANETTE: And then George Angus (Strachan) was just on the corner, I believe
DIDDY: Yes, your uncle.
JEANETTE: Then there was Murdock Dan’s (MacLeod’s)
JEANETTE: Patterson’s and then the MacDonald’s across the road from them.
DIDDY: Yes, Mary MacDonald, she worked at the cookhouse. And Bella (Annabel) worked there. Dolena—Patterson?, maybe. She worked there.
JEANETTE: So, she would have been a Patterson then. They (MacDonald’s) lived over here (the right) and the Patterson’s lived over there (on the left).
DIDDY: Yes, they would have been in quite a piece in the road.
JEANETTE: So, she worked at the cook house too.
JEANETTE: And then when you left Morrison’s (store) there were three houses on the hill on the right-hand side and there was a man (who lived) there. He was a Dutchman. Do you remember him?
JEANETTE: There were three houses on that little hill. He was one of them.
JEANETTE: Then across the way that’s where I was getting a little mixed up that (would be) Dan Alex and Adelaide Burns
JEANETTE: They were next to Elsie (Monroe). They were close to the Dogpatch. I don’t know if you would know this piece as Dogpatch.
DIDDY: Ok. Yes. There was a big area there with a lot of different people from Mabou and what not. Alex MacDonnell was there. There was a MacLean – Joe Maclean I think. There was Patriquin.
JEANETTE: Do you know what his first name was
DIDDY: No, I don’t.
JEANETTE: Do you remember a man called the Cowboy?
JEANETTE: He lived up there somewhere.
JEANETTE: And across the road were these other houses. Elsie and John Archie Munroe. And then John Martell. He’s the man you were telling me about. He and his wife were there. And Roddie John Alex MacLeod was there.
JEANETTE: And then Angus MacLeod told me they had a log cabin along there somewhere. He and Lawrence Morrison and a bunch of guys built it and it was down in a hollow on the left-hand side (going toward Framboise). It’s very deep there. Anyways he said it was Bessie’s land and she said they could build something there. And the same with Elsie. It was Bessie’s land there.
JEANETTE: And over there on the corner (Barker’s) there where Dena was - there was a schoolteacher there (Aucoin).
JEANETTE: And then heading down the North Framboise Road there was Mary and Bernie Gillis. Do you remember them - Mary MacPhee (and Bernie) from French Road?
DIDDY: I know who you mean.
Where Diddy worked
JEANETTE: So, Spinner’s- it used to be John G’s store. There was a sign that said J.G. MacLeod (See Photo). Did they put a new sign up there saying Spinner’s?
DIDDY: I don’t think.
JEANETTE: I had asked you on the phone how long you had worked at Spinner’s, it was probably for a few years, right?
DIDDY: Oh, I don’t think I was there that long.
JEANETTE: Spinner’s - they had men’s clothing?
DIDDY: All men’s clothing – a little bit of women’s.
JEANETTE: And Elsie was saying they had fine clothes there, you know like the best.
DIDDY: Well it was a Sydney store. They had a store in Sydney.
JEANETTE: I think that store (in Sydney) is still going.
DIDDY: Well you never know. If you dropped in there you’d get a hold of Earl.
JEANETTE: Earl: Is that the guy that owned it?.
DIDDY: He’s the one who ran the one(branch) out there. There was another brother, but Earl was down from him. It was him (Earl) who hired me there.
JEANETTE: Was his last name Spinner?
JEANETTE: Would he have been your age at the time?
DIDDY: I wouldn’t say so.
JEANETTE: A lot older? Then he wouldn’t be around anymore, I wouldn’t say.
JEANETTE: So, Earl Spinner, did he hang around there? Would he drop in once a week?
DIDDY: He would stay here all week until Wednesday afternoon, then he’d go to Sydney.
JEANETTE: So, you helped him out and he waited on Customer’s too.
DIDDY: Yes. I was mostly in the post office.
JEANETTE: Would the mine people be sending/receiving a lot of mail?
DIDDY: No, I think they must have – I was wondering about that - They must have transacted their business in another angle.
JEANETTE: They didn’t bring anything to be mailed.
JEANETTE: Dolena (MacLeod MacLean) said they made up all the checks for other people who worked at the mine, but they (the office staff and managers) didn’t get paid that way. Somehow they got paid another way like by mail. So, you don’t remember them having (mail)?
JEANETTE: It was like an exciting place, right. When you worked there; How many people would you say would be coming and going? About 300 people?
DIDDY: I have no clue. See I was in the post office, like I said, a lot of them weren’t getting mail because they were going home on the weekends.
JEANETTE: Would people get things from Sears Catalogue and Eaton’s Catalogue?
JEANETTE: So, was it busy at the post office?
DIDDY: Yes, there was always someone in or out. It wasn’t crowded. There wouldn’t be anyone in line or anything.
JEANETTE: Is there anything outstanding in your mind about people going to the post office- any interesting parcels that may have come -or something somebody was sending away?
DIDDY: I remember one fellow. He used to come up for Spinner when Spinner would go away on business. He’d send somebody from the Sydney store up and this fellow loved to put the little fire plate on, put a doughnut in it and then fry it and then put ice cream on it.
JEANETTE: Where did he get the ice cream – at Morrison’s?
DIDDY: Yes, at Morrison’s.
JEANETTE: So, he probably liked coming up. Would he stay overnight, this guy.
DIDDY: Yes, he’d stay at John G’s. Earl was staying there too at John G’s
JEANETT: OK. All week long and then on the weekend he’d go home.
JEANETTE: Would the store be open on the weekend?
JEANETTE: Was the Post Office Monday-Friday 8:30 -4:30?
JEANETTE: Where was the post office located in the store.
DIDDY: This is going into the store (doorway was in the middle of the building). The ladies wear was mostly there (to the left) and the men’s wear was there (to the right). In the back was a little room with a door cut off and in there was the post office.
JEANETTE: Would it have been approx. 6’x6”.
DIDDY: Yes, something like that.
JEANETTE: Would you be in that room all the time?
DIDDY: No, I’d roam out, tidy up, do something, wait on somebody.
DIDDY: I liked it. I was working at the Metropolitan (In Sydney) and he came in one day (Mr. Spinner) and I said, “Any work up that way. “Well”, he said, “I could use you in the Post Office”. I was gone.
JEANETTE: And then you went up (to Stirling) and stayed with your brother. He was working there.
JEANETTE: So, you weren’t from that area, right? You were from Sydney.
JEANETTE: And that’s how you got a job there at Spinner’s, and how you met Ramsey probably.
JEANETTE: Do you know what Ramsey did at the mine. Was he a miner?
DIDDY: A miner.
JEANETTE: Was there anything about Spinner’s that you can remember besides the fact that they had men’s clothing. Was there anyone special that went there and bought lots of clothes or …
DIDDY: I remember picking on Johnny MacMaster, Mamie’s husband. I tried to sell him a suit. I said to him, “You have to have a suit, Johnny (for his wedding). That’s a good price you know”. We used to have some laughs over that.
JEANETTE: Did he buy the suit?
DIDDY: He bought the suit.
JEANETTE: Where was he from?
DIDDIE: It was either Port Hood or Judique. I don’t think it was Mabou.
JEANETTE: So, after that, I guess they left and went out to Ontario. Where did they live after they got married or was it near the end?
DIDDY: You know, that’s a good question. It must have been near the end because there’s a lot of spots I’m not familiar with.
Heading down the mine Road
JEANETTE: Am I right in that there was a little corner house, the Babcock’s?
DIDDY: It was Hughie, Buddy, and May (MacDonald). They lived there. Right on, actually, the corner.
DIDDY: And then there was Buddy. He was a young fellow then. He worked with Mamie and Bessie and Leonard Burke and …
JEANETTE: I don’t know if I have Buddy down here (on the list of names).
JEANETTE: Was Buddy Hughie and May’s son?
DIDDY: I don’t know. I think he’s more related to Hughie.
JEANETTE: And would he stay at that house too.
JEANETTE: So, there’s Charlie Hooper’s store. And Danny Shaw’s and Morrison’s. They were all the same kind of store right?
DIDDY: Danny’s was a little small store. With this that and the other thing. They sort of seemed to come there a lot. Of course, a lot went to Morrison’s store as it was a bigger store.
JEANETTE: So, a lot went to Danny Shaw’s.
JEANETTE: What about Charlie Hooper. Someone said he sold TV’s and Guns and stuff like that.
DIDDY: I don’t know. I wasn’t in there too often.
JEANETTE: He might have been more of an outfitter or something like that.
JEANETTE: And Tom's Tea Room (aka - the Chinese restaurant). Did you ever have anything to eat there?
JEANETTE: Then across from there was the movie theatre.
JEANETTE: Did you know - that movie theatre- Dianne MacLeod Thercuff said that her father (Dan Norman MacLeod) said that building that was down by his place – that long building- He said that was a movie house
DIDDY: Tar papered, I think
JEANETTE: It is like a grey color now.
JEANETTE: Would you say that was the movie theatare?
JEANETTE: Then after that you would probably come to the gate.
DIDDY: No, there was a road going up between there (on the left). And that was going up to Barswick’s home.
JEANETTE: And Angus (MacLeod) said that that road kind of went up and around and behind the bunkhouses.
DIDDY: Oh, Maybe. I’d only been up at Barswick’s and through there, you’d see, like on a hill.
JEANETTE: All the mine?
DIDDY: Oh, Yeah.
JEANETTE: So, it was probably up behind (the bunkhouses).Then you came to the gate.
JEANETTE: Would they have a little house there?
DIDDY: Yes, a little gatehouse.
JEANETTE: So, Buddy MacDonald, he worked in the Assay office?
DIDDY: Yes, he and Leonard Burke were always buddies. He was there and of course Mamie and Bessie.
JEANETTE: Bessie was in the main office. But Mamie was in the Assay office. That’s what my understanding (from Bessie) was.
List of names
JEANETTE: Here’s a list of the names of the people I have so far. There are more names, but I haven’t written them down yet.
DIDDY: Merciful heavens.
DIDDY: I remember him.
DIDDY: Gerry Ames. He was in the little house beside the Chinese restaurant there.
DIDDY: Archie MacDonnell was from over Mabou.
JEANETTE: There were Bushnicks.
DIDDY: I heard of Bushnicks.
Jeanette: Jessie Savoie - She was a clerk at Danny Shaw’s store. Did you know her? She was from Soldier’s Cove.
DIDDY: Yes. She would be (working there) but so would Sadie MacDonald. She, more or less, ran it at the last. Sadie Little Kenny (Loch Lomond).
Jeanette showing the little house in the picture. That’s probably Gerry Ame’s little house (see photo #2, first little house on the right before the gate).
DIDDY: I think so.
How Diddy met Ramsey
JEANETTE: So how did you meet Ramsey?
DIDDY: I met Ramsey in Chan’s restaurant. I was looking at books there one night. I was going to a show. And he popped in and I could tell, you know, through the corner of my eye, and from there on…We went to the show and that was it.
JEANETTE: So, he went with you to the show?
JEANETTE: Do you remember what show it was?
JEANETTE: Do you remember any of those shows, the names of them?
JEANETTE: In that theatre were there…
DIDDY: Just benches.
JEANETTE: So, they didn’t have any back on them?
JEANETTE: How many would fit in there?
DIDDY: There would be a fair amount go in there.
DIDDY: They would come down from the mine and just pop in there.
JEANETTE: Do you remember how much you had to pay?
JEANETTE: So, you really liked working over at the mine.
DIDDY: Yes. I left there, I guess when I got married and that was it.