In August of 1999, I went on a trip to Nova Scotia with my Dad, my sister Mary and my niece Jamie. This journal is intended to keep the cherished memories of our ancestors and the beauty of Nova Scotia fresh in our minds. I dedicate this log to my Father, and to our future generations to help find out who we are from our family background.
The beginning of our journey from Detroit to Nova Scotia is with my father Donald "Bud" DeLorey, my sister Mary Anne DeLorey Ferguson and my niece Jamie Lynn Ferguson; we are rising early on the morning of August 14th, 1999. I am your tour guide and scribe Patrick. We awoke at 4:15 to a variety of alarms, carefully set the evening before, checked and rechecked before we all slept at the home of Dad and Mom DeLorey. The alarms were not needed Mom woke at 3:15 to visit the necessary room and Dad could not go back to sleep. We cleaned, ate, drank tea and coffee and quickly left by 4:45 with a fond farewell to Mom.
We avoided the Gods and Goddesses of the Subterranean; in other words we took the Ambassador Bridge and not the tunnel. This seemed an especially appropriate method since Grandpa Ben DeLorey initially came to Detroit in 1925 to work on the construction of the bridge. Canadian Customs quickly passed us through, fittingly we had all carefully packed copies of birth certificates, social security cards, baptismal certificates, etc. at the direction of Mom, who worries about these things to no end. Leaving the Customs, we missed the quick right turn that takes us to the Detroit River. A U-turn, a left and two right turns quickly put on track! During this chicane I was reminded that we are smart to take the train for this journey. This reminder came as we watched several semis go through red lights, the second one was red for at least ten seconds! Little traffic at 5:03 AM in Windsor so this isnít really so bad.
While traveling down Riverside Drive towards the VIA station, I spotted a medium sized ore carrier going downriver. This could have been the same ship I saw passing under the Mackinac Bridge as I crossed the Straights. A nice coincidence. We also enjoyed the majestic skyline of Detroit all in lights. Flood lights, spotlights and decorative lights that define the structures all twice called out for attention. Once tall and straight and once again in reflection of the flowing river. But holding my eye longest and with fondest memory was the Renaissance Center. Nestled closest to the river and rising tallest, I am proud to have been a part of the hundreds of people that toiled there during construction years of 1974 and 1975. I hope my children and theirs will think of me when they see the Renaissance Center 75 years from then...just as I think of the work Grandpa Ben did just a few miles downstream on the beautiful bridge. I also think of my Grandma Winifred DeLorey putting her foot down to Ben that they had to settle down and set some roots now that they have five kids with the birth of my Uncle Larry in their Elswood Avenue (Detroit) home.
Back to the trip! We left the station exactly on time-6:00AM. still in the quiet of darkness. We were soon treated to a bright sunrise as we sped east to Chatham, Glencoe, London, Ingersall and Woodstock. During this part we passed flat lands tall in still rows of corn and almost flat fields of trees and scrub. We saw Lake St. Clair, a large limestone quarry and then a modestly rolling region where the train runs on a ridge a hundred feet above homes to the immediate north with a parallel ridge with limestone outcrops further to the north. The tracks are well kept with speed up to 65 miles per hour or 100 kph.
Dad and I played cribbage on the train and later during the stay at the Harbour Lights Bed and Breakfast in Havre Boucher, NS. Mary studied her genealogical notes and Jamie read her books to pass the time. We came into Aldershot Station at 9:50 AM headed towards Toronto.
A side note is that I read a book "To Die in Provence" while we traveled. I was fondly reminded of my train trip through France with Karen and Peter last year. Karen kept a journal during that trip and I hope that others enjoy this journal as much as we enjoyed Karenís.
The conductor came by to let us know that we must relocate two cars back when we arrive in Toronto in order to continue on to Nova Scotia. I wonder where we would go if we stayed on this car?
At 11:30 we left Toronto amid partly sunny skies and good cheer among our family. I made a brief tour of the downtown station. Impressions: clean, busy, varied food shops and hundred of people in line to purchase tickets! I wonder why? East side of Toronto featured many new and newer high rise apartments. The CN Tower still protects the port from pirates and helps recall memories of the past when brave claustrophobes scaled the Tower on the elevator on a day when the clouds half covered it. No wonder I had to leave the tent on Isle Royale two weeks past during an attack of the Claustrophobes. I battled the feeling from 2:00 to 3:00 AM but left eventually to scan the moonlit skies for trailing clouds of the nightís storm. Open flaps scared away the Big C and I enjoyed the breezes and fell asleep while peering into the infinity of northern night skies. Someday, Big C will leave and never return.
Many nice homes with narrow and deep lots adjoin the tracks in the suburbs of Toronto. Grass and fields were green- no drought here this year.
A brief stop in Oshawa exchanged a handful of passengers. This is still metropolitan Toronto as we passed through nicer and lesser residential, commercial and industrial areas. Again, I smiled as we passed several miles of backed up traffic on the Highway 401. Could we have survived the 1350 miles in a car? Of course, but it would not have been fun at all.
We arrived at Cornwall Station at 4:00 PM. The past hours have been through mostly rural areas with only a few stops. Skies turned sour, however. I notified Dad that fishing without a license is illegal. This is my response to political bait cast out to sea, mostly at me. He has been chumming with a variety of political pokes. So far the swords have remained in their scabbards.
We changed trains in Montreal and spent an hour or so in the station. Saw the roiling St. Lawrence River coming into and leaving the station at night. We had dinner in the dining car and finished the night playing cribbage, tied after twelve games. We went to our berths at midnight. While the berths were comfortable, it was a challenge to me because of the motion- back and forth, and the sound- clickety-clicking along at sixty-five miles per hour at times. I awoke for good at 5:30 AM EDST, which was 6:30 in New Brunswick, our location. Dad and I had breakfast in the dining car and I enjoyed the sunrise and the scenery, which were both beautiful. Mountains across the water to the north and trees and rolling hills and more trees to the south of the tracks were nice to see. And did I mention trees? "Tree huggers" was the political bait served after breakfast, but no nibbles taken. Nixonís "I am not a liar" was trumped by Clintonís "I did not have sex with that woman." Breakfast was very good with fruit, eggs, scones, Canadian bacon and muffins for me. Sugar in several shapes and consistencies for Dad. I think sugar with tea flavoring was his favorite. Even the attendant smiled and commented on the twelve spent cartridges of sugar. We ate with a gentleman who had been born in Copenhagen in 1941, had lived in Windsor and now lives in Halifax, NS. He does human resources for a mining company developing a lead mine near Rhinelander, WI. He spoke of the NATO bombing and subsequent liberation of Sweden in 1945. How fortunate I am to remember being loved by my family when I was four.
We arrived in Moncton, NB at about 11:00 amid sunny skies. The area is not very picturesque, I am afraid. I looked for the Irving Paper plant but it hid from my view. I did some consulting work for them in about 1989 when I was with CPR Engineering. Noel Tilly was their project contact. I wonder where he is now? He looked and sounded just like Denny Bolger, a Canadian mining engineer and fellow graduate of MTU. Since we are in New Brunswick, I wonder if it is right to have an ian or an ien for a resident of Canada? Leaving Moncton we saw a few more trees, but the tree hugger bait is too old to throw out so it is left unsaid. Slightly rolling terrain, then woven farmerís fields of hay dominate the scenery. The "Diamond A" farm has seven cylinders of hay on the ground, each a hundred yards long! I think they have a few cows, too.
Passed another woven or corduroy field with a hundred squat rolls of hay. This brought us to a strange stop "in the Boonies", according to Dad. Six head of cattle settled down and three more with their fly swatters running at full speed to provide an action shot for movie camera-philes. Radio Canada has thirteen small towers on the West Side of the tracks. No triskadecaphobes allowed here! We crossed a rather ugly brown river several times and remained on a very flat plain for more than ten miles. Later found this to be a tidal river connected to the Bay of Fundy.
We arrived in Truro at 3:15 PM, all in all a nice thirty-five hour trip. We rented a car and left Truro with Mary driving and me navigating. I had us in the wrong direction as soon as we left town. Quickly correcting us, Mary had us on eastbound 104 towards New Glasgow.
A brief stop at a tourist information building gave us the idea to take the Sunrise Trail around Cape George. This was a beautiful trip of about two hours with stops at Arisaig, a west shore fishing village, and at the Cape George Lighthouse on a high rise at the north end of the cape. Pictures of boats and us were taken at Arisaig, one of only a few places where there is access to the shore. The shores of Cape George are very hilly with high bluffs of stone sloping sharply down to the ocean- too sharp for people to walk on.
We made it into Antigonish at 7:00 PM and made a quick tour to scout out the best seafood restaurants in town. We agreed on the Main Street Cafe, across from a newly remodeled B & B that was previously the Bishopís residence. Mary and I each ordered a meal with lobster and asparagus in a sauce on bread. Tres Bien! Dad had fish and chips and Jamie had chicken fingers. Then off to our B & B in Havre Boucher, where we met Rose and Carl Mossberg, our hosts.
On Wednesday we awoke and had breakfast cooked by Rose and served by Carl. Rose is from Cape Breton which can be seen towards the east of Havre Boucher. Carl was born in Stockholm, Sweden, which we cannot quite see. Carl is a retired engineer from Sandwell Engineering and they traveled Canada, USA and Brazil working on papermill projects. Small world as I see it as that has been my profession for fifteen years. Rose spoke of a friend, Evelyn De Coste, who studies and writes about genealogy of families in the region. Rose contacted Evelyn about a trip later that day.
At the crack of 11:00, we left bound for Tracadie, which is only ten miles away as the crow flies. Since the crows were nested and I was driving, it was closer to thirty miles. We spent several hours checking headstones at the St. Peterís Church Cemetery. More than 75 DeLorey, Delorey and DesLauriers headstones were found and photographed on a warm and mostly sunny day. St Peterís Catholic Church is white, well kept, and sits on a beautiful location above the water of Tracadie Harbor. It has a single monument in the front- DesLauriers Family! We are walking on the ground of our ancestors of over 200 years. Tracadie is a small village overlooking Tracadie Harbor to the north, population two hundred-fifty people. Like most rural areas the homes are very well kept, if simple.
Jamie confirmed my suspicions that we have set an entirely new scale of boredom with Mary and I painstakingly looking at each tombstone and photographing each one that we think could be related. Dad, of course, pegged his boredom meter much earlier than Jamie. He held up well except for a few spastic motions in his tv clicker hand. Lunch location was chosen by Jamie- McDonalds of course. So we went back to Antigonish. Mary and I tried the McLobster sandwich, which I admit was a serious mistake. My friends know that I seldom admit to a mistake so take this to mean that the food was terrible! Fasting would have been a big improvement. Jamie and Dad had the taste and aftertaste known around the world, burgers, McNuggets and fries.
We left lunch and Tracadie and traveled to visit Evelyn and Francis De Coste on Cape Jack Road in Cape Jack. What a nice couple! We talked several hours and found much in common including a DesLauriers relationship through Thomas DesLauriers, Jr. and Felicite Gautreau. Evelyn has written three books chronicling the history and heritage of Cape Jack and Harbor Boucher. Francis and Evelyn are retired teachers. She has a beautiful Acadian accent and it is a pleasure to hear her talk. She has a sister in Mt. Clemens, MI so they have visited Michigan. We left there with new friends.
Evelyn and Francis recommended a restaurant in Aulds Cove that serves authentic Acadian cuisine. Mary and I talked Dad and Jamie into trying it but we accidentally went to a different one right across a small part of the causeway. The food was excellent and the service was good. I had a seafood shishkabob with halibut, shrimp, scallops, tomatoes, fries and steamed beans on the side. Tres Bien! We returned well after sunset and retired for the evening after a game or two of cribbage.
One of the highlights of mine was meeting relatives and the friendship and love given by them. On Thursday, we met Mary Delorey and her son Henry through a chance discussion with Tony Kennedy who serves as a museum guide at the Augustine Monastery in Monastery, NS. Tony asked us our purpose in visiting the Monastery and Mary told him that we were looking for connections to our family, which invoked him to ask which family we were. When she told him DeLorey, he said, "Well, Iím a DeLorey!" Tony is our cousin and a fine young man. He told us about his Grandmother Mary (Petipas) Delorey and insisted she would be happy to meet us and called her to let her know we would be contacting her. Later, Mary called and we went to visit her at her home in Heatherton.
Mary with Tony Kennedy at the Augustine Monastery Museum
Visiting Mary and Henry Delorey was truly special! Both Mary, my sister and Mary my Great Grand Aunt are the genealogists of our collective DesLauriers families and much information was passed regarding the two branches. Mary Delorey was pleasantly surprised to see certain documents and maps from my sister about Rouen, Normandy, France where our ancestor Thomas Jacquet dit DesLauriers was baptized and lived before coming to the new world in the mid 1700ís. We learned that the Delorey spelling is English Protestant and DesLauriers is French Catholic. Mary is eighty-seven years and her father is Jeremiah Petipas and her mother is Margaret Johnston who passed away at twenty-five years when Mary was only three. Margaretís mother was a Boudreau. Mary was a teacher before marriage and then the postmistress of Merland later in life.
Henry knows where the DesLauriers first settled after coming off DesLauriers Island; he took Mary and I there near dusk. A beautiful site located a mile or two up from Tracadie Harbor with trees and farmland sloping slightly to the north allowing a grand view of our ancestral island and the harbor. I will always remember walking this ground where our forefathers walked! It is a more powerful feeling than I can write into words, but it has to do with connections to real people that we are beginning to know and the lives they lived. To get to the site, go out Merland Road from Tracadie two miles to the southwest. The first home was Beloni Deloreyís homestead- he was Henryís great-grandfather. The old homestead (founded ca. 1787!) of John Baptiste DesLauriers was up about three blocks between TCH and Tracadie Harbor. No road in Tracadie County runs straight so a map is necessary to find these plots of land. All the buildings are gone but we took pictures in fading light and light rain. Lighthouses at Cape George and Cape Hood are clearly visible to the north. We celebrated a bicentennial of life.
Henry is retired and lives in Truro with Jane, where we met them for lunch on are last day in Nova Scotia. He is Grandpa Ben DeLoreyís first cousin. He later gave us a tape done by the family a few years prior which gives much genealogical information and is narrated by Mary in her very quaint, beautiful voice. He worked as an operating engineer in various parts of Canada but is now retired. He has had three pacemakers. Oh, my! His brother Charlie has family photographs and I know my sister has received some of these. I have attached names of Maryís children at the end of this story.
Louise Landry and Veronica Brow are daughters of "Willie Bill" William Delorey, son of William Delorey. They used to sell paintings at Karenís Place Restaurant in Havre Boucher where we had lunch today.
Mary and I bid farewell after five hours of closely connecting to Mary and Henry Delorey, our heritage, walking on the family farm and homestead.
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