In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

teen age graffiti artists at Cape Roseway

Here are a few of the inscriptions you can find up at Cape Roseway Lighthouse. I've added whatever I was able to find about these names, mostly by going to the Vital Statistics at the NSARM, which is a fabulous resource. I think that most of these particular inscriptions were made by students at Alexander Hood Cocken's school. Cocken, the second lighthouse keeper, retired in 1860. So the graffiti artists would have been hanging out at the rocks during recess, chiselling away, before that. A few of their inscriptions are dated.
J. Locke, 1856. The Locke family was very connected to McNutt's Island. In the early nineteenth century at least two inter-related Locke households were on the island, among its very first settlers, when they brought their children for baptism at the Anglican Church in Shelburne. Mostly the Lockes lived around and in nearby Lockeport and Ragged Islands, with easy access to McNutt's Island by water, just as it is today.
Robert Miller was likely a son of The Rev. George Miller (an important Methodist preacher of the era, mostly connected with the church in Halifax) and Alexander Hood Cocken's sister Frances Cocken Miller. He would have been Alexander Hood Cocken's nephew.

John Alexander Fraser Purney was born about 1845, son of a Shelburne merchant and his wife. He married Angela Muir in 1872 and became a physician in Shelburne.
J.B. Vernon.Vernon is a significant name on McNutt's Island. Captain Nathaniel Vernon of Tarleton's Legion bought the old McNutt property at the northern end of the island, as well as other lots around the island. This may be the son of Nathaniel's son, Augustus Vernon.

I haven't found anything about J.T. Morrow, though he certainly did a nice job with his name.
J.Gibbons, 1856. There is a John Gibbons who was born in Sandy Point and was a schoolteacher, married to an Annie Perry, and living at the village of Roseway, on the western shore of Shelburne Harbour directly across the False Passage from McNutt's, in 1864.
Joseph Homer, a sea captain, was born about 1842, and married in Barrington in 1870. If he was a student at Alexander Hood Cocken's school at the lighthouse, he would have inscribed his name in the late 1850s.Tottie is a well-known name in Shelburne, because of Tottie's Store, which remains on Dock Street.

You can find more graffiti here, here, and here. I have always wanted to make a map of the rocks, showing where all the inscriptions are located. But I have not gotten around to it.


Janet said...

These photos are remarkable - thanks for your research and posting regarding this graffiti. As almost every small rural school along the coast taught navigation at that time, I'm sure it was high on the list of subjects taught at the lighthouse. Thanks for continuing to extend our knowledge of McNutt's.

Sybil said...

I wonder how long it took to carve their names so beautifully into the rock.

This reminds me of a really touching carved love message on the rocks at Hartlen Point here in the Passage.

Perhaps it deserves a post ... hmmmm.

Eastern Passage, NS

Margie said...

Such an interesting post!
I do so enjoy your blog.

I was born in Nova Scotia and love it there.
Have lots of family still there.


BumbleVee said...

I think they all did wonderful jobs inscribing their names...nobody today would have such wonderful lettering... nor take the time and effort to do it with such detail.... how amazing....