Sabots and slippers

Title: Sabots and slippers
Author: Mackenzie, Kenneth F.
Publication date: 1954
Publisher: [Toronto : K.F. Mackenzie]
Digitizing Sponsor: Family Search
Contributor: Family Search
Repository:Internet Archive

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Sabots and slippers title page
Sabots and slippers table of contents

As it is unlikely that any publisher’s blurb will present me to the reading public, but possible that a stranger’s eyes may see these pages, I feel that I must introduce myself, as I am the knot that ties together the various strands gathered here. It would be foolish to deny that what chiefly interests me in my forebears is what I have inherited from them.

My father was the son of Joseph Mackenzie and Esther Bruce his wife, immigrants from the far North of the Scottish Highlands to Earltown, he born in Strathhalladale and she in Rogart. His descent traces back to a Hector Mackenzie of Gairloch. Of my father’s family only he and Uncle William survived into my time.

My mother, Jean Walker Blanchard, was the daughter of Jonathan Blanchard of Truro, sometime ( 1854-6 ) head (“Chief Clerk” ) of the financial department of the Provincial Government, and his wife Sarah A. Story. Sarah A. Story never belonged to Truro. She lived and married ( May 21, 1848) and died in Halifax ( June 21, 1857 ). Jonathan moved back to Truro with his three young children, the eldest just seven, to the family farm on Bible Hill, where they grew up. Whether this was by reason of the death of his wife, or crippling “rheumatism”, or inheriting his father’s farm, I don’t know. He was the only one of my grandparents I ever saw.

Aunt Alice, the eldest, married her cousin Aubrey, son of the Judge, George Augustus Blanchard. Uncle Aubrey practiced law with his Uncle Henry in Windsor, making the firm of H. & A. Blanchard to which Hugh Mackenzie was articled. The Blanchard firm was then riding high. Even ten years later I remember an aura of prosperity — I recall Aunt Alice taking me into the garden to gather strawberries, and one too large to go into a teacup. But within a few years their youngest child Charles, aged 8, was drowned, the business of the firm declined, and Uncle Aubrey suffered a stroke which completely incapacitated him. So she pulled up stakes in Windsor and moved to Truro, where she supported herself, her children and her patient husband, by running what would now be called a guest house. For various periods the Mackenzies dined there — at six o’clock — and the food was the best. When Aunt Alice rested she read, and when she read she knitted rapidly.

Uncle Prescott ( universally known as “C. P.” to distinguish him from C. M., John’s son, the merchant of Blanchard Bentley & Co. ) was brought up and lived his long life on the family homestead. Unfortunately, although his three eldest children were the closest I came to having sisters and brother, C. P. and I never seemed to hit it off.

Jonathan Blanchard was the third son and sixth child of Edward Sherburne Blanchard and Jean Archibald (five daughters and seven sons ).

Edward Sherburne Blanchard was the son of Colonel Jonathan Blanchard and Elizabeth Treadwell, born in Peterborough, N.H., in 1778, and brought to Nova Scotia by his father in 1785.

Jean Archibald was the daughter of Matthew Archibald and Janet Fisher. Matthew was born in 1745 in Londonderry, Ireland, brought to Londonderry, N.H., in 1757, and to Truro in 1762. Janet Fisher was a daughter of Samuel Fisher and Agnes Taylor; she was born in 1750, came to Truro as a bride in 1767, died in 1843 leaving 328 living descendants. I’ve already mentioned a book about her and them.

So there you are — Mackenzies, Blanchards, Archibalds, Taylors, Fishers. The Blanchards were the first of these to come to America. And this book is primarily the story of that family from sabots to slippers.

This story ends in 1911 when the Blanchard fortunes had ebbed like a Fundy tide from the high of the seventies. But you never can be sure about the life of a family, for it’s like a grass fire. Along the front it gets stamped down and seems to be dead; but over where it has been creeping along the ground a breeze of life stirs it again into a bright flame and when you dash to that spot ( which might be Victoria) another flame bursts out behind you ( which might be Halifax). Time will tell.

Notes About Sabots and slippers

  • 131 p. : 23 cm
  • Limited ed. of 300 copies

Surnames found in Sabots and slippers

Mackenzie, Blanchard, Archibald, Dickson, Taylor, and Fisher.

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