Tom Longfellow of Maple Brook very kindly sent these emails and photographs. I am very grateful for his generosity.
From: Thomas Longfellow
Bob: There’s seems to be lots of info on your Nana, I have a home in Glendale/Kingsville/Maple Brook. I see a bunch of local folks responded on your web site. Give Alec Hughie MacInnis a call sometime, he’s known locally as the foreman and is a wonderful man and he has tons of info that he loves to share.
My mother in law, Katie Ellen MacDonald, would have known your Nana, she also went up to the Boston States at a young age, my people are MacKays from Grand River. Alex Francis MacKay is still with us and likes to visit and would have been a neighbor to your mother. You’ll probably hear from his daughter, Mary Jane, sometime along the way. She’s great and a walking historian of the area.
Attached are a couple of pics, the one of the cows is down town Maple Brook, the other is the Glendale/Kingsville (my house in the background) valley taken from one of the Maple Brook hills.
Also, the pic of the valley, the river is just behind the house. Also near your family place is a killer set of falls, swimmin’ hole. Just show up and you’ll be home
Alec Hughie’s family farm was real close to your family place. Take a trip up, sounds like people want to see you, you’d be welcome to stay at my place. Call Alec Hughie, the guy’s a giant.
I asked Tom in a follow up email if he might know where the Gillis family house was located …
Bob: I know about where it is, but Alec will know exactly where it is, maybe he’d google earth for you, or I know he’d love to take you there. Another person that may have known your Nana is Katherine Boyd, she lives directly across from the church in Glendale, she lived for years in Boston.
And I asked him about Alec Hughie …
Living Saint, big man, big heart, grew up at Maple Brook, as I write this he’s probably cutting wood up there or attending to cows in the community pasture. Does not like to cross the Causeway. Big garden in the summer, where everyone is welcome to pick (you should go up this summer). Maintains order at the dances, runs the cultural center and maintains the church and rectory. AKA, The Foreman, problem with a house, plumbing, electrical, oil burner, call Alec.
Questions re. old deeds, property lines or who’s related to whom, where are the trout/salmon, what’s that fiddle tune, etc etc., call Alec.
Meetings with remarkable men, he’s in the top five. His son Danny is one of my best friends, he’s the next generation’s Foreman. Alec is a retired millright, ain’t nothin’ he can’t make or fix. I’m also friendly with his other kids, Mo, Sandy, Donnie, Mary Anne, Cecila, Mary. He would love to go exploring cellar holes with you. That’s part of his SOP.
He’d love to talk to you. His people were some of the first families to settle this area of Cape Breton. Also there’s another person that probably knew your Nana, Katherine Boyd, lives across from the church, in her 80’s, went down to Boston and lived for year, I think she lived in Quincy, she’s my wife’s cousin.