A look at Springhill’s black heritage

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Heritage Corner with Pat Crowe

This being Black Heritage Month I thought this would be a great time to pay tribute to the Afro-Canadians who have lived in Springhill almost from the start.

Moses, George was the first to move to Springhill but unfortunately no information can be found on him.

Izzard, John – was the next Afro-Canadian and like Mr. Moses there is no more information on him. We do know that George Izzard who was born in Guysboro, lived in Amherst and worked as a pipefitter, had daughters who married into the Gabriel Family of Springhill.  It is not known if George was related to John Izzard.

Gabriel, Israel I. – came to Springhill about the same time as Mr. Izzard.  He moved here from Dorchester.  It is believed that Israel was born into slavery. He was a mason by trade and worked on a number of houses in Springhill.  He married Mary Elizabeth Halfkenny, the daughter of Samuel and Matilda Halfkenny of Grand Anse, N.B.  Israel and Mary had the following children: John, Mary, William, Alexander, Annie, Thomas, Bessie, Harry, Arthur, George, Sarah, Charles, Albert and James. Many of Israel and Mary’s descendants still live in Springhill.

Martin, Edgar – After Israel’s death in 1912 Mary later married Joseph Edgar Martin, who was a miner living in Joggins, N.S. Edgar was born in Westmorland Point, N.B. the son of Hansford and Louisa (Cook) Martin.  During WW1 Edgar was noted for his boxing.  He went from middleweight to lightweight and fought in France against the best of the allied boxers.  Edgar and Mary had no children.

Martin, Archie – was born in Aulac, N.B. the son of Burton and Minnie (Sharp) Martin.  He moved to Springhill and married Alberta Gabriel, (daughter of Israel and Mary). They remained in Springhill where he worked as a miner and raised their children here. Their son still lives here.

Cain, James – was the son of William and Mary Cain and was born in Halifax, N.S. He married Annie Gabriel who was the daughter of Israel and Mary Gabriel of Springhill. They had the following children: James Henry, David, Wylie, Blanche, Bessie, Violet and Madeline. 

Parris, James – was born in Guysboro, N.S. he married Annie (Gabriel) Cain the widow of James Cain in 1919.

Parris, Seldon Thomas – was born in Truro but lived in Springhill. He was the son of Alex and Margaret Parris. He was married to Loretta. Seldon and Loretta had a daughter June who passed away Oct. 27, 1950.

Silvea, Harry – was born in Sandy Point, N.S. He was married to Lillian Morris of Mulgrave.  They had the following sons: Henry, Robert, Lloyd.

Silvea, Wesley – was the sonof Harry Izzard and Jean Silvea. He was raised by Harry Silvea.

Many of the Silvea family still reside in Springhill.

Ashe, Charles John – was born in Monastry, N.S., the son of Charles and Sarah Ashe.  He married Viola Silvea. They had the following sons Raymond and Irvin. Some of the Ashe family still lives in Springhill.

Allen, Fidele – was born in St. Norbert, N.B. the son of Clement and Henrietta (Jaillet) Allen.  He married Edna Burke and had son Fidele. The son Fidele married Sadie Ashe. He was killed in the 1958 Bump. His wife still lives in Springhill.

Allen, Joseph – was also born in N.B. the son of Clement and Henrietta Allen. He married Mary Leger.

Dorrington, George E. – son of Louis Dorrington married Dora Jackson and they had the following children Florence, Rita, Douglas and Lewis. Douglas was Missing In Action during the Second World War and is buried in France. Lewis married Elizabeth Martin.

Clyke, Joseph – was born in Goldenville, N.S. the son of Martin and Eliza (Gero) Clyke.  Joseph married Eliza Cook.

Ruddick, George Ernest – was born in Joggins and married Esther Izzard. They had son Maurice who married Norma Reid. A number of Maurice and Norma’s family still live in Springhill.

Gumm, James – and his wife lived on the Athol Road. I know he worked in the mines but have no further information on him.

My apologies if I have left the names of any families out.

 

 

Geographic location: Springhill, Israel, Guysboro Joggins Amherst France Dorchester Westmorland Point Aulac Halifax Truro Sandy Point Monastry Goldenville Athol Road

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  • Sandra
    February 20, 2014 - 08:28

    Do you have birth and/or death dates for these early people?