Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Bit of Family History

I found a small notebook yesterday that I had carried in my purse when Lloyd and I, my sister Wendy and her husband Randy, went to Nova Scotia to visit Mum back in 2005.   In this notebook I had made notes on a visit we made to Taylor Head Provincial Park.  Then I put it away and forgot about it.   Just a couple of days ago Lloyd and I were talking about that trip and wondering what the name of the man was that we met at the family homestead there.  This notebook provided that information, as well as other tidbits that I had forgotten.

For years Dad would take us to the Taylor Head beach (before it became a provincial park) to swim and visit the old McCarthy homestead (I'm a McCarthy). 

The McCarthy houses, from the beach
There are two houses there, built in 1838 built by Dad's grandfather.  My grandfather and his twin brother were born in the white house. 

Both houses are still used today as summer homes for various members of the extended McCarthy clan.  The day we went to visit, one of Dad's cousins' sons was there painting and fixing up the yellow house.  Dad's cousin, Vera, was also there staying in her cottage further off from the original houses.

Wendy, Mum, Gerald, Me, Vera

I think in almost every family there's one person (at least) who is the keeper of the family history...either officially or unofficially.  For the McCarthys, it is Vera amazing woman who loves having family stop by for a visit. I never knew my grandfather - he died when Dad was only 10 years old, but Vera knows enough stories about him to make him come alive for us. Although they've never met, her nephew, Jim, and my oldest daughter have been corresponding via email for years now, comparing notes and family history information.

Vera gave us some neat tidbits of history.  For instance, I've always loved lighthouses, but until that visit I didn't know that my grandfather had, at one tme, been the keeper of the Sheet Harbour Light, not far from Taylor Head.  And it had been one of my Dad's dreams to retire to a lighthouse.

Sheet Harbour Light with seagulls roosting

After Taylor Head was made into a Provincial Park, the government allowed the McCarthys to keep their homestead and the two additional cottages they had built for summer visiting, and the beach in front of the family's homestead as the only privately owned land in the park. There's a small access road, called McCarthy Road,  leading to the homestead.

The McCarthy Girls - Wendy, Pat and Meta - 2005
I love the beach there.  It's in a sheltered cove with lots of soft sane and rocks perfect for climbing on jutting into the ocean.  I've been homesick for the ocean these past few weeks and I'm afraid that going back and looking through these pictures has made me want to go back even more.  Lloyd and I are going to have to plan on making another trip back 'home'.  It's only a three day drive if we drive all night the first night and don't stop too much!

The boardwalk down to the beach

Lloyd and Me in 2005

Looking out from the houses - Psyche Island in the middle of the picture.
Nobody lived on it but the McCarthy's used to graze sheep on it until
it was sold to the Provincial Government in the late 1990s.

So that's where my roots are and where I want to go back to - for a visit.  No matter where I live I think I'll be a Bluenoser forever!

Take a minute if you'd like and listen to the anthem of all displaced Bluenosers - Farewell to Nova Scotia.  It's an old folk song about a young man who is leaving Nova Scotia to go to war. The video scenery is nice as well.



What wonderful family history. The pictures are beautiful. The fact that those houses still exist today is utterly amazing. And that the government saw the wisdom in letting the McCarthy legacy live on when the PARK was established is a miracle indeed. If the ocean is calling you, you should go. ENJOY! Take care.

Magpie said...

An amazing story! Family roots are so interesting to explore. I would love to see that part of the world.

Thisisme. said...

Those little houses are just so cute, and how wonderful to have a house almost on the beach like that. There must be lots of happy family memories tied up in that place. Loved the little lighthouse as well! Also loved the photo of you and Lloyd sat on the beach with the heart drawn in the sand. Aaaaw! Great post!

Granny Annie said...

What a fortunate family to be able to visit your heritage in such a manner.

Anonymous said...

Love this post Mom! I would love a copy of you and Dad on the beach. I've seen it before but I would frame it here as well. I'm so glad you took me all of these places in '07. Thanks a million :) - Mary

RoeH said...

Love this post!

Haf Dozen Reasons....... said...

Awesome family post!! How cool is that to have a street named after your own family??

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

Thank you for your great thumbs-up for Nova Scotia. I haven't been to Sheet Harbour for many, many years and had no idea that the beach and boardwalk was there. Perhaps I'll check it out this summer.

PS - What community was your family from? We might be relatives as my husbands family were from Jeddore.

Ellie said...

Wbat a great post - it's nice to look back at old pictures isn't it. I love the one of you and your hubby on the beach. Looks like a nice place to visit too.

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