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Search for the Old House


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The Mystery of the Picture of Mom and the Old House on Isle Madame
All I knew was that this was a picture of my mother next to a house on Isle Madame, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. It was in or near the town of D’Escousse, where she was born. Taken around 1915, when she would have been 11 years old, I thought it might be a picture the home of a member of the Kavanagh family, my grandmother’s maiden name. I spent three days on the island in early September 1999 and could not seem to locate it, but on the last day, Vic Dawson and I went to visit with Val Poirier, my 2nd cousin and closest relative still on the island.

Val told us quite a few stories about the people on the island. I asked where the Kavanagh family lived and he said that it was just down the road, but that house had burned down in the 60s and possibly not by accident as there was a dispute over ownership. This was a disappointment and it looked like I was not going to see the old house.

Then I showed Val the picture of the house with my mother standing outside. Val knew it well... Click on the play button below the picture to hear his response.

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Val attested to all the changes that had taken place in the past 84 years since my mother stood outside: the windows and the mud room have been moved, the dormer and cellar doors added. This is the oldest, continuously occupied house on the island, built over 200 years ago and has remained in the Poirier family ever since! Below is the view out the front door.

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In April of 2009, my cousin, Val Poirier, pictured above, passed away. The home was kept in the Poirier family and was beautifully renovated as a summer rental by Wayne & Cecilia Poirier. Photos and more information may be seen HERE.

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