Ju­bilee In Those Days in Vic­to­ria County

The Victoria Standard - - Culture / Heritage - JIM ST. CLAIR

What com­mu­nity in Vic­to­ria County has a name which is one of the most an­cient ref­er­ences of any his­tor­i­cal name in Cape Bre­ton? What lo­ca­tion re­calls the cel­e­bra­tion of the sec­ond long­est reign­ing Bri­tish monarch? Where has a ge­o­log­i­cal study re­vealed a con­sid­er­able de­posit of zinc and lead? Where can a set­tle­ment be found at which im­mi­grants found land for them­selves af­ter leav­ing the same place in Scot­land from which the mother of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump em­i­grated?

“Ju­bilee, Vic­to­ria County” is the an­swer to each one of those ques­tions. Where is Ju­bilee? At the south­ern edge of Vic­to­ria County, Ju­bilee is on the in­ner high­lands about four miles from Lit­tle Nar­rows on a road which stretches from the ferry across coun­try to Mckin­non’s Har­bour.

Ju­bilee was set­tled in the 1820s and 1830s by Ma­cleods and Ma­caulays and Mathesons, some of whom came from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer He­brides. The Ma­cleods may be of the same group of Ma­cleods from whom Mary Ann Ma­cleod Trump, the mother of Pres­i­dent Trump, is de­scended.

In the early 1900s, eight house­holds resided there with forty-six peo­ple among the fam­i­lies with sur­names of Ma­cleod, Mathe­son, Ross, and Mor­ri­son. The oc­cu­pa­tion of most of them was farm­ing, al­though sev­eral worked on the rail­way which went along the Bras d’or Lake sev­eral miles away. As well, Cather­ine Wil­son is listed as the teacher in the one room school house in that year.

In re­sponse to a pe­ti­tion from the peo­ple of the area, a post of­fice was es­tab­lished in May of 1896 with Mal­colm Mcleod as post­mas­ter. The of­fice was at his house. An of­fice con­tin­ued un­til 1965 with Neil Mcleod as the postal em­ployee at the time of clo­sure. The name “Ju­bilee” was cho­sen as the name for the post of­fice and thus also the com­mu­nity. It was the only place in Canada with that postal des­ig­na­tion. Why the name “Ju­bilee”?

Peo­ple in Cape Bre­ton were very aware of the long reign of Queen Vic­to­ria from ac­counts of her and her fam­ily pub­lished in news­pa­pers, par­tic­u­larly in the “Fam­ily Her­ald.” Many house­holds cher­ished a pho­to­graph of the Queen which was of­ten framed and placed on the wall of the par­lour in a place of hon­our.

In 1887, the Queen cel­e­brated fifty years on the throne with a great cel­e­bra­tion, in­clud­ing a large ban­quet to which fifty Kings and Queens, many of them rel­a­tives, were in­vited. The cer­e­monies and pa­rades were well doc­u­mented in the me­dia of the day. The event was ti­tled “Golden Ju­bilee.” Ten years later, a sec­ond Ju­bilee, the “Di­a­mond Ju­bilee” was pro­claimed through­out the var­i­ous lo­ca­tions of the Bri­tish Em­pire and Do­min­ions.

The word “Ju­bilee” with its con­no­ta­tions of cel­e­bra­tion ap­par­ently ap­pealed to the peo­ple of the area. They rec­om­mended to the postal au­thor­i­ties its des­ig­na­tion for their new of­fice. It iden­ti­fied their ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the Queen and her long and much re­spected reign.

Only Queen El­iz­a­beth II has oc­cu­pied the throne longer than her an­ces­tor, Queen Vic­to­ria. Queen El­iz­a­beth en­joyed her six­ti­eth an­niver­sary in 2012 and has thus now served longer than the noted monarch whose name is still found in “Vic­to­ria County.”

What is the an­cient ori­gin of the word “Ju­bilee"?

As far back as the sixth cen­tury, the He­brew peo­ple es­tab­lished a spe­cial event to be held ev­ery fifty years. The word has seen much al­ter­ation as it has gone from an­cient He­brew through Clas­si­cal Greek and Latin in var­i­ous trans­la­tions of the Book of Leviti­cus in the Old Tes­ta­ment.

“Ju­bilee” ap­par­ently goes back to a He­brew word for “trum­pet,” the in­stru­ment used to an­nounce the time of Ju­bi­la­tion – a year dur­ing which peo­ple re­turned to the area where their an­ces­tors of the of the Twelve Tribes of Is­rael had once lived.

Dur­ing the year, all debts were for­given and peo­ple re­frained from ac­tive cul­ti­va­tion of the land. There were times of danc­ing, singing, feast­ing and spe­cial wor­ship ser­vices. So, the word took on a con­no­ta­tion of joy­ful cel­e­bra­tion.

The Ju­bilee Year has not been ob­served for many cen­turies. While the word is still found in the scrip­tures (Leviti­cus, 35: 8-13), it has taken on a life of its own. It is now used to iden­tify a spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion, par­tic­u­larly fol­low­ing a lengthy pe­riod of ser­vice or just a joy­ful time.

What are the re­sults of ge­o­log­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tion?

The Murex Gold Com­pany drilled holes in twelve sep­a­rate places in 1907. Their find­ings re­vealed a long stra­tum of both zinc and lead deep un­der­ground be­tween Lit­tle Nar­rows and Mckin­non’s Har­bour. Ge­o­log­i­cal maps showed the min­er­als were lo­cated be­neath the area of Ju­bilee.

Fur­ther drilling was car­ried out by ge­ol­o­gists, Graves and Ruff­man. Ref­er­ences may be found on page 135 of the pub­li­ca­tion ti­tled “Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey of Canada”, pub­lished in 1988. No min­ing has been un­der­taken but one of the se­crets of Ju­bilee is what lies

Queen Vic­to­ria, Queen of the United King­dom of Great Bri­tain and Ire­land. The Golden Ju­bilee of Queen Vic­to­ria was cel­e­brated on June 20, 1887 to cel­e­brate her 50 year reign. A Di­a­mond Ju­bilee was held 10 years later to cel­e­brate 60 years on the throne.

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