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Description McIvor Genealogy

Daniel McLean And His Wife Sarah Jane Simpson, a narrative written by Hazel J MacIvor

Daniel McLean, son of Andrew McLean and his wife, Catherine McLeod, was born in Hopewell, Pictou County, Nova Scotia, on the 31 July 1846.  According to his son, Henry Duby MacLean, he attended school in Hopewell and at River John.  The Census records of Pictou County for 1851 shows Andrew and his wife, Catherine, in residence in Hopewell when Daniel was five years old.  By the 5th of January 1856, when Daniel was a nine and a half year old boy, his parents had moved to the Cariboo area.  So sometime between July 1851 and January 1856 the family had removed from the area where Daniel's paternal grandparents, Hector MacLean and his wife, Isabelle MacIntosh, had settled in the late 1700s.

Hopewell, where three generations of the McLeans had lived, was originally known as Milltown.  About 1852 the name was changed to Hopewell.  Alexander McIntosh, Hector McLean and other veterans of the British regiments that had fought in the American Revolutionary War, had received confirmation of their grants in present day Hopewell on the 18th December 1797.  This village on the West Branch of the East River was largely an agricultural area when Daniel was born there in 1846.  Janet Bain, in her book, The History of Hopewell, Nova Scotia, described the village when the first six houses stood there.  She stated that the oldest house was that of Hugh McLeod, who kept a store and later taught school in the little red school house near Mrs. Jessie Gray's house.  It is possible this Hugh McLeod was the progenitor of Catherine McLeod, Daniel's mother.  Research is ongoing in this respect.  At the road leading to the underpass just south of the Village there was an old red house occupied by Hector McLean who was know as "Big Hector."  Uncle Henry Duby MacLean thought this Hector MacLean to be the son of Hector MacLean, the first of the McLeans in Hopewell, and Daniel's Uncle Hector.

Since Daniel stated to his children that he went to school in Hopewell, it would be well to look at the history of the schools there.  Miss Bain stated in her book that in 1814 a rude school was opened in one end of Donald MacKay's home.  In 1818, the first school house was erected on the property of Donald McIntosh.  A school for Hopewell Village was built near Gunn's in 1825.  Peter Ross, Esq. was the teacher there from 1825 until 1827.  Peter Ross was Daniel's uncle; he married Daniel's Aunt Catherine McLean.  The next school to be built was on the flat below the present school in 1839.  This school building known as the "red school house" was where Daniel, no doubt, attended classes.  The school at Cariboo, where his father gave as his place of residence in deeds and mortgages made there in 1856, was built in 1818 in the Cariboo Harbour area.  Another school was built on the Lower Cariboo River in 1871, so it was most likely the school built in 1818 that Daniel attended.  Wherever he attended, it appears he learned his lessons well.  He wrote a beautiful script as is attested to by the entries he made in his family Bible.

Daniel was forty-three years old when his son, Henry Duby, was born.  Henry Duby was forty years old when his father, Daniel, died.  He remembers his father as being six feet two inches in height, with a large boned frame and not an ounce of spare flesh upon him.  When Henry Duby came to know him as a young boy, he had auburn hair that shone like gold in the sunlight and blue eyes.   He wore a mustache, side whiskers and a beard.  He had a high forehead, wide set eyes and aqualine nose.  He had wide cheek bones and a square set jaw.

He worked as a miner all of his life, first at Albion Mines, later in life at the Drummond Mines in Westville.  He retired from the mines when he was seventy-eight years old and spent the last six years of his life at leisure.  When the mines were he worked exploded in 1873, he was lucky as he was on the nightshift.  Eighty-eight men were killed in that accident. In politics he was a strong liberal.  He was proud to say he never voted the Tory ticket a single time.  He worked all of his life for the liberal party and loved it.  Politics was a favorite point of conversation when he was with his friends and relatives.  

He was a very religious man who read his Bible every day without fail. He prayed every evening before he retired and never took a bite of food until grace was said.  His church was the Sharon Presbyterian in Stellarton when he lived there and Carmel Presbyterian his church in Westville.  

Though he and his wife, Sarah, owned but one acre, Daniel made a garden every year.   He had a horse, two cows, chickens and he fattened a pig every summer for slaughter in the autumn.  They kept eggs all winter by storing them in a crock.  They salted the bottom of the crock, then a layer of eggs big side down - then a layer of salt and so on until the crock was full.

Henry Duby recalls that when he was a young boy living at home, prices were lower - this was in 1908:

  • Lard - .15 per pound
  • Milk - .04 a quart
  • Flour - $1.25 for 96 pounds

The family's grocery bill was $12.00 a fortnight.  His favorite foods were oatcake, if he could get it, and he doted on fish of any kind.

Christmases were very quiet in those days.  They had a tree decorated with twisted red and green papers and had little homemade candles.  The children hung their stockings on the tree and came down Christmas morning to find them filled with apples, an orange and nuts.  Christmas dinner always saw a turkey on the table.  Mrs. Sutherland, from Millbrook, always brought it down.  It cost .40 per pound.

Daniel McLean was well-loved and respected in his community.  He passed away quietly after a long, hard, but happy and peaceful life.  

Sarah Jane McLean, nee Simpson, as recalled by her son, Henry Duby McLean, was a petite, little woman, barely five feet tall, slight of build, with light brown hair and very blue eyes.   Her people, the Simpsons, called her "Sadie" but her husband, Daniel, called her Sarah.

She was a very industrious person who was described by her great-niece, Mrs. Lillian Simms, as being "hipped on cleanliness as were most of the Simpsons."  She did everything according to a rigid schedule:  Washed on Monday; ironed on Tuesday; mended on Wednesday; cleaned the upstairs rooms on Thursday; cleaned the downstairs rooms on Friday; baked bread, pies, cookies and made Sunday dinner on Saturday and on Sunday went to church and after dinner, stacked the dirty dishes leaving them to be washed on Monday morning.  Her hands were never idle.  She spun all her own thread, wove the cloth, cut out the garments and sewed them "making every stitch of the family's clothes."

In the evening she would sit by the lamp listening to Daniel read the Bible, while she knitted socks, scarves, and mittens or darned the old ones.  She and Daniel bought an organ which cost $80.00.  Sunday evenings they all gathered around Sarah and had a song fest.  Her favorite hym was "Nearer My God to Thee."  Her son, Henry Duby said, "She could sing beautifully!"

She often fixed "pounded potatoes with curds and butter" for her family as they were he favorite food.  Today we call these mashed potatoes and cottage cheese.

She was a highly moral, deeply religious, exceptionally clean person in her person and in her home.  She "was every ready to do every good work" and was a comfort and blessing to her husband, children, family and friends.

She, too, as had her husband, Daniel, lived a long, hard but happy life and went to her rest fully assured she had met all her responsibilities in life.


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