Keepers of the light

Online First Pictou Island Memories

I have previously written a story about Jack (Happy) and Margaret MacDonald. As I had stated, they were the last keepers of the Pictou Island West End lighthouse. Pictou Island also had a lighthouse on its East End. The last keepers of the East lighthouse were Archie and Charlotte MacDonald.

Archie (1897-1969) was born on Pictou Island to Alexander and Margaret MacDonald. Besides being the lighthouse keeper, Archie MacDonald also made his livelihood from farming the fertile soil and fishing the waters around Pictou Island. There were approximately 120 people plus living on the island at this time. As like Jack Happy MacDonald who found his ultimate partner with Margaret, Archie also found his lifelong love on Pictou Island. Charlotte MacLean was a beautiful young Pictou Island girl who caught Archie’s eye and the rest is history.

Charlotte was born on Pictou Island in 1901 to Torquil and Bell MacLean. Archie married Charlotte sometime around 1918. It is not certain when Archie and his wife Charlotte became the East End lighthouse keepers but I believe he took over this task from Andrew MacFarlane. I remember the old lighthouses on Pictou Island as being large homes with the light structure itself attached to one end off the house. A spiral stairway led to the upper floor where a clock for the light would have to be regularly wound. Some years later, the clock was replaced with an oil lantern that was brighter and easier for seafarers to see. Technology in later years has brought about the disappearance of most lighthouses. They have been replaced with steel towers that have automatic beacon lights revolving on top. These signal lights require little maintenance and the coastguard will periodically check them.

While residing at the East End Lighthouse, Archie and Charlotte raised a family of one girl and three boys.

They named their boys Henry  (Bush), 1923-1988. Frank 1924-1988, and Logan 1926-1991. Their only daughter Lexie was born in 1920 and at present time resides in a senior complex on the Little Harbor Road. Lexie married John Harris MacDonald who from 1949-1953 taught in the Pictou Island School.

Henry, Frank and Logan made their homes on Pictou Island. They also made their livelihood from farming the islands fertile soil and fishing the waters around Pictou Island. To the best off my knowledge Bush never married. Frank married Annabel MacLean and they had three children, Janice, Wayne and Alice. Yet another beautiful island lady, Hazel Hooper, captured Logan’s heart. They married Sept. 16th 1960. Logan’s parents Archie and Charlotte celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary on that same day. Logan and Hazel raised a family off two girls, Wendy and Brendaand one son Brian. As did his father before him, Brian now fishes the waters of the Northumberland Strait around Pictou Island.

Jim Turple