Ruby M. Cusack
McLeod Brook Farm, Penobsquis, sometime before 1926.
This farm has been
in the family of William McLeod II and his descendants over 200 years.
While William began to clear land and build the first homestead, he and
his wife Mary
lived in a wigwam on the property.
The Descendants of William McLeod I
The only radio in our home was in the living
room, thus it was necessary to turn it up to full blast so it could be
heard in the kitchen. When Mum cooked pancakes for breakfast, she
listened to the Country Western music on CFNB but this morning all was
A wind storm during the night had damaged the antenna, which was a wire
going from above the living room window to a pole on the woodshed.
Dad assured Mum he would have it fixed in time for her to listen to Ma Perkins.
When Cliff and I came home from school, we spotted two ladders, a roll
of wire, pliers and a hammer on the ground, plus a strange car in the
Upon entering the outside kitchen we could hear loud voices coming from the kitchen, with bursts of laughter,
Through the partially opened door, I peeked into the room and saw four
men talking to Dad. One fellow was way over weight and wore wide braces.
The tall thin man had bib overalls on and was wearing rubber boots
which had the telltale signs of having been recently in a cow barn. The
man with gray hair, suit, vest, tie, polished shoes and balancing his
felt hat on his knee seemed to be doing more listening than talking. The
fourth guy, was short, bald, with a pot belly, a really loud voice and
had a very red face and was wearing a cardigan sweater.
When Mum came in with a basket of eggs, I inquired about Dad’s guests.
She laughed and said, “Those men think they are boys again and are
reliving the days of their youth by telling stories, the relationship to
others, who married who, and the lumber camps and the tricks they
played”. “You might call it a reunion since they have not spent time
together for quite some time”.
By the way, in the fall of 2015 a McLeod Reunion Committee was formed in
order to organize a reunion for 2016 in Penobsquis. The committee also
oversaw the preparation of an updated edition of a history called "The
Descendants of William McLeod I" of 2005.
The history grew beyond all expectations to 880 pages. The largest part
is a genealogy of 10,000 descendants and spouses, often including their
photos and biographies. However the really interesting part of the
history is without a doubt the 46 chapters filled with human interest
stories ... such as: In 1905, Amelia Linden, the granddaughter-in-law of
William McLeod I and her sister, Susan Teakles, both in their sixties,
lost their lives while attempting to rescue a horse from a burning barn
caused by a raging grass fire in Urney.
Several McLeod descendants lived past the one hundred year mark,
including Susie Elizabeth Bragg (nee Washburn) who lived until108 years.
She spent her married life in North Range, Nova Scotia. Writing poetry
was one of her passions. She worked in the North Range post office and
was a correspondent for The Digby Courier for 32 years.
Bessie Elsie Rutherford (nee Branscombe) was 104 years old when she
departed this Earth. She grew up in Cornhill, New Brunswick. She
went to Normal School and in 1910 took up teaching in Manitoba. In 1915
she married Lorne Rutherford of Waskada, where they farmed until 1918.
Bessie's spare time was filled by writing poetry for every occasion,
including a birthday wish she wrote to her family upon turning 100. A
collection of her poems was published in 1978.
Some other McLeod descendants who were centenarians are Louise Hunter
(nee Gorham) Rochester, New Hampshire; Gladys Lucy Cester (nee Kimball)
Minnehaha, South Dakota and Baja, California; Frank McCully, Essex,
Massachusetts; Catherine Mabel "Carrie" McLeod, Sussex, NB; Eva Ann
Bauslaugh (nee Rand), Ontario; Llewella Victoria Rand, Ontario, and
Helen Mabel Robinson (nee Dobson) Sussex
Charlotte McLeod was born in the Parish of Studholm, Kings County, New
Brunswick and grew up there. She graduated in 1891 from Waltham Training
School in Massachusetts and became
the first superintendent of the Victoria Order of Nurses. Florence
Nightingale arranged for her to be welcomed in the best hospitals in
London and Edinburgh. She was a lady on the go and held many important
Evlyn Fenwick Ferris (nee Keirstead) was a lifelong advocate for the
rights of women to an education and the first woman anywhere in Canada
to sit on the Board of Governors of a university which she was appointed
to in 1917 by the University of British Columbia, a position she held
for twenty-five years.
In 1853 Rev. Ezekiel McLeod established the Religious Intelligencer -
considered to be the most outspoken Protestant newspaper in New
Rev. Dr. Frederic William Patterson was President of Acadia University
in Wolfville, Nova Scotia for twenty-five years. He had an excellent
memory and could remember the names of his students and even their
There's a spot along the road between Penobsquis and Sussex called Ghost
Hollow, near where the potash mine is now. Apparently there was a
peddler who sold pots and pans door to door, who left Penobsquis one day
headed for Sussex. He didn't show up until his bones were found the
following year, and that spot became known as Ghost Hollow. Heber
McQuinn rode by Ghost Hollow one night on his black horse, on the way
home from courting a lady. He looked to the side and saw the apparition
of a man without a head moving alongside him. He was so afraid, he raced
home as fast as the horse could travel. He lost sight of his ghostly
companion about the time he passed Pioneer Cemetery, but he raced on.
When he reached home the horse was in a foamy lather, so much so that
his mother Naomi called it the night a black horse turned white
There are many stories of the McLeod Family with tales of romance, San
Francisco earthquake survivors, the Prohibition campaign in New
Brunswick, two brothers, Evans and Howard Hunt, whose paths
miraculously crossed for a few precious minutes in Holland during WWII,
an assassination in the Middle East, a dedicated Boston physician who
narrowly escaped a wrongful conviction for complicity in murder and
dismemberment of an actress and more.
The reunion committee donated printed and digital copies of the McLeod
history to the New Brunswick Genealogical Society, which is accessible
at the Saint John Regional Library, the New Brunswick Museum, Provincial
Archives of New Brunswick, Kings County Museum, Queens County Museum,
and the Sussex Library.
With the help of modern technology, this history was compiled by five
collaborators, ranging from Doug McQuinn, Ruth McQuinn, and Nancy Adams
in New Brunswick, Ellen Davis in Kakabeka Falls, Ontario, and Bill Cole
in Gold River, California. It also includes at least 36 other McLeod
descendants who contributed family tree information, photos, and
stories. Special recognition should also be given to the late Irene
McLeod and the late Fred Rayner for their contributions to the 2005
“The Descendants of William McLeod I”, is an everlasting
tribute to a pioneer family, who carved a farm out of the Kings County,
New Brunswick wilderness.