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Service - May 2007

(The following is the welcoming address given by Bill McLachlan)


My Lochaber commenced when Robert McLachlan (1800-1894) married Mary McDonald (1798-1879) on January 20th 1823 at Kilfinchen on the Isle of Mull Scotland. James Lamb (1828-1914) married Sarah Ann Baker (1835-1914) came from Sterling Scotland. They are all buried here.

The back gravel road, in my memory, started at the west end with Jim Angus living there. He married a Mary McLachlan and later Annie Coyle. Jim was a great supporter of renovations here in the fifties.

Next to him lived Adelbert MacLachalan, father of Bruce, Alberta and the distinguished Doctor Pete: he was a great physician and surgeon who will forever be remembered.

Next was the home of the blind boys, Bob and Donald. I knew Bob who married Kate Willcox who came from Wales as a house keeper. One time Bob was anxious to show me his prize cattle and when he reached out his hand to touch the animal he found it was lying down and so he kicked it and up it got! He had a great way with animals who apparently sensed he was blind.

Living next was Rory McLachlan who had three daughters: Eleanor, Laurie and Ester and one son John who was a fighter pilot in Africa in WWII. I remember him playing a violin - goodness knows how he learned!

Fletcher McEachern and Lila lived on the hill overlooking Lochaber where Sam and Grace lived and at times Gerald Cochrane.

The Nesbitts lived next where Ken, Hugh and Robert lived with their sisters Mabel and Isabel. We used to go swimming in the bay most Sunday mornings in season.

One year the little Presbyterian church burnt down and the organ, which was saved, was put in the school house which I bought in 1952.

I remember George and Kate MacCallum who lived across from the cemetery. Brother Tom owned a thrashing machine and a put-put tractor. He was busy each fall with thrashing and corn cutting.

Brothers Malcom and Arthur donated the property for the extension of the cemetery. Mac was it's caretaker unpaid for many years.

Just past the cemetery, on the same side of the road, was the Lamb farm. Dora Lamb, my grandfather's sister, lived with nephews Percy and James Campbell. Percy was the farmer - he had beautiful horse and he loved animals.

Occasionally, Dora's brother Peter worked the farm. He was gored by a bull when Percy was away.

My grandfather was killed at the age of 30. Aunt Lou, Harold Scott's mother, was widowed at a young age but later married John Hewes of Thurso. The Lamb family sure had their griefs however I spent many an enjoyable holiday at the Lamb home!

We attended the Thurso Baptist church down the road.

At the cross-roads lived J. C. MacCallum. He had a bee farm and was called Honey Johney. His daughter Laura married Stuart Willard and they lived in New Port News, Virginia USA. Laura visited Marion MacLachlan most summers. They have a daughter Christine Dexter. Laura passed away January 19th 2006 and her ashes will be interred here.

On the highway towards Thurso, Saul and Mary Devoney lived with their children Jean and Boy Kirk. At the train station was the home of Bob Ival with his family Grace, Norman, Cecil and Loyd. Across the road was the Cresswell home with daughter Effie (Mrs Norman Ival) who passed from this earth Oct. 9th 2006.

Further down the road to the wast was the Molson Club where the caretaker was Russel Johnson and wife Alice. I remember sons Russel and Bruce, who was a vice president of the cemetery. I also remember the two daughters, Audrey and Terry. They were all great supporters of the cemetery!

The next farm was that of Tom and Willie Angus who was the father of Douglas and Betty. They later moved to Winchester Ontario. Doug stared Angus Motors there.

Jean Deseleuve and his mother lived next on the next farm to the west. I believe the father was a soldier of France in WWI.

The MacDermid place was vacant but later occupied by Hextor Bedard. Jean and Gilbert Bedard were another family who lived at the river-side.

On the north side of the railway tracks was the home of R.N., my dad's brother. He and Eva had Angus who was in the Canadian army during WWII. He authored the book "Lochaber Bay, My Well Loved Country Home". Everyone new sister Marion, the school teacher at Lochaber and Lachute. She received "The order of scholastic merit" from the Quebec Protestant Teachers Association.

Malcom, who everyone called Mike, was the last in my memory to live in Lochaber. He was a great friend to young people.

The last farm west was that of J.P.. Jack is my father. He moved the family to Ottawa in 1924 and was a building contractor there and in Edmonton Alberta. In 1928 he developed a brain tumor and was operated on by the world's best neurosurgeon Dr. Wilder Penfield at the new McGill facility in Montreal. Success was not to be and he passed away in February 1929.

The Depression then came and we knew it well. Brother Donald served in Italy and was wounded, Harold served in Newfoundland, Evelyn kept mother Pearle Lamb company, William W was a Sargent in the air-force, Malcom, Ted was the man of the house for the war years.

R. N. was our court appointed guardian and thus we all visited Marion and Mike frequently. On Dominion day July the first all of Lochaber met each year during the late twenties and thirties. We played games, had three leg races, egg and spoon races and sack races. With all the horses and carriages, the area next to the cemetery was buzzing with activity. Frequently a representative of the experimental farm in Ottawa would be met at the Lochaber train station and would be the guest speaker after lunch - and what a lunch! - a home-cooked meal fit for a king! We all longed for the dessert, pie and ice-cream - WOW. It all ended with God save the King!

Other memories are:

About 1957, when a new committee was formed, I became Treasurer and Angus MacLachlan was President. Marion MacLachlan and Alberta Lamb wrote to descendants of those interned here, along with anyone they considered interested in providing funds to upgrade the grounds. It was necessary to enlarge the cemetery as no plots were available, and with out this, interest would be limited and neglect would surely follow. Money flowed in and we were able to proceed.

I, along with Russel MacCallum and a number of others removed the old hedge, installed ranch style fence on the road side, extended the rear by seven feet so a new hedge would not interfere with the grave-stones, painted the wire fence and the shed. I contracted Claude Clement to haul truck-loads of sand from MacCallum's across the road to build-up the west extension level with the existing grounds. We spend two-thousand dollars on this phase.

Pipes for the front fence where donated by Hurd of Thurso Pulp and Paper. My brother Ted was very involved at this stage and was invaluable. Spruce planks were purchased, painted and bolted in place. I had a trench dug and with the help of many, cedar trees were donated by Archie MacDermid of Silver Creek and dug by many, transported by trucks and planted by many. We had a great number of willing workers! Russel and I were very pleased with the success!

A memorial service was help, flowers were placed on each grace, Piper-Major John MacKenzie of the RCAF played "Lochaber No More", Ann Lamb and Linda MacCallum dressed in highland costume and took up collection. Mrs Kay Evans sang "Our Years Are Like The Shadows On Sunny Hills That Lie". Reverend Creelman of Presbyterian Church in Ottawa spoke of the faith of God and themselves, in the freedom of education, the pioneers and our forefathers who faced the worst that nature could throw at them and built a civilization of which we are the benefactors. With the benediction and God Save the Queen, the first of many memorial services concluded.

The first extension provided fifty-one sites which were soon bought up, so a second grant by the MacCallum's provided a large area, some of which necessitated the leveling with truckloads of sand from Norm Riley's sand pit. Several of Clement's trucks hauled all day. Then a new hedge was installed at the cost of one thousand dollars. When Alice Johnson was interred, the family paid for it.

This concluded my involvement, which for a time was capably administered by Duncan Lamb and Treasurer Dr. Ann Lamb.

Let us pray:

Our Heavenly Father, we honour You at this time for providing us this opportunity to remember and pay homage to our forefathers who provided us with the knowledge of your grace. We believe the manner in which these hollowed grounds are maintained are a testament of our sincere love of our fellow men, and that of your Son Jesus Christ.
May God bless you all.

Thank you,
Bill McLachlan

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