March 1903 – A Month in the Life of Angella Riordan

Submitted by Donna Hicks


This is just an excerpt of the diary. The full diary will be published in hard copy at a later date. To correspond with me regarding the diary, or to ask about anything you see here in this excerpt, please e-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Angella Riordan was born Oct. 24, 1880, in North Teteagouche, New Brunswick. When first settled by the Irish, the community was called Kinsale. Her father was Daniel Riordan and her mother was Mary-Ann Hall (there were relatives in the town of Bathurst). The house that she grew up in still stands in the Upper Settlement. It was built in 1857 (a stamp of the year can be seen on one of the roof beams).

The house is occupied by one of Dan and Mary’s grandsons, Jim Boyle. The homestead of the Halls still stands as well, up the road from Boyle’s. It is a working farm, and is owned by Margie and Peter DeGraaf. Judging by the style of the construction, this house is likely the oldest of three in Teteagouche, the second-oldest being Powercroft, the original homestead of the Powers. Angella Riordan married Alexander Kelley (Kelly now) whose family lived in the lower settlement. She married him a few years after the diary was written and by that time, being around the ripe old age of 25 or more, was considered an old maid in the standard of the day.

The Kellys lived in the part of Kinsale that some of us still refer to as Kelly’s Hill. When Sandy’s father and grandfather first settled, it was in a dirt-floored log cabin at the foot of the hill, close by a spring , but not on the bank of the river where the Mic’Macq usually had their cabins at various locations spread out up and down the river. The Kellys had walked up from the Miramichi to reach their land grant, with one son already born. The Boyles had disembarked in Caraquet, having sailed from Sligo, in either 1837 or 1947. The Halls were United Empire Loyalists from Saint John. To have been able to build a cabin in time for winter’s arrival was not a ‘luxury’ that all the settlers had. The O’Connels were taken in by the French in Petit Rocher in order to survive and one of the Wheltons recounts a story of how his ancestors had to turn the root end of a spruce blowdown into a shelter at Black Rock or thereabouts, in what is referred to as the Downshore area on the Baie de Chaleurs. A few of the names found in the areas on and around our Bay are matches for names that can be found in County Cork: Kinsale, Bandon, Youghall, Black River, Canobie.

This diary excerpt is from 1903, when Angella was 22 years old:


March 1st Sunday: A wild gale blew last night but it must have been very soft wind for the snow looked scarcer this morning. The roads are too soft to go to Mass. Water came into the cellar and caused quite a disturbance. Bob came down this evening for a while. Not a very suitable evening for a drive.

March 2nd Mon.: Election day. Amos and Father went down. I sent for some lemons and candy. Weather cold again and roads bad being broken up where soft. Still knitting.

March 3rd, Tuesday: The most important news today informs us that the election of the old members and the most important event is the arrival of Bill Ford. We were so well entertained that we almost forgot to go to bed.

March 4th, Wed.: We spent quite a pleasant day listening to accounts of old times. Bob came down in the morning. I went down the road with Wm in the afternoon to Dan’s and to John Murphy’s. Dan came up in the evening.

March 5th, Thursday: I got up early this morning but still did not get much knitting done to-day. Ma (?) is getting tired of it. M(?)A Boyle came down this evening and stayed for tea. Ed. And Bob came for her. Mr Ford was away all day came back at night.

March 6th, Friday: We had two calls from Bob to-day. Amos went to town and brought home candy & so forth for Mr. Ford’s cold. He made some calls but was home early.

March 7th, Satur.: The quilt is finished or at least the knitting is done but it still has to be sewed together. Amos was down again to-day. Mike O’Kane came up to tell us it was his birthday. Ed. Boyle came down and took Mr. Ford up home.

March 8th, Sunday: Another soft day. Amos and Maggie went to Mass. Mr. Ford came home in the evening. Later Mr. K called. Was up to Mary’s today and saw a nice piece of carpenters work.

March 9th, Monday: Amos and Mr. Ford left us today to go to Clifton. A beautiful soft day. Maggie went to Boyle’s to stay all night with Mary as Bill is away to Peter’s River for sand. Bill arrived home later and so did Maggie.

March 10th, Tues.: J.P. called this afternoon with wood that her papa wished to see me. Maggie went up with me in the evening. We get a drive from Mary’s up with Bob. Saw some pretty fancy work and settled my account for teaching. Amos has not returned yet.

March 11th, Wednes.: Amos and Mr. F came home to day and got pretty wet on the road. It rained quite hard. Dan Ford came up and brought the handsled.

March 12th, Thurs.: I went to Boyle’s this morning accompanied by Wm and stayed till afternoon. Amos went to Peter’s River for sand with Ed. Bob came down in the evening. They piled the boards that were in the kitchen on sleds to take down in the morning. This is the night Uncle Tom’s cabin is to be played in town & I almost regret having refused an offer to go. The night is perfectly bright and beautiful.

March 15th, Sun.: I had enough outing today to make up for the winter. First I went to church (most important event was death of Ed. Boyle) then up to Mary’s afterwards back to the brook on the crust and last but not least I went driving with Mr. K, Amos & B.F. Went to Alexander’s.

March 16th, Mon.: I began a mat today after washing was done. Mrs. B Power & Janie came in the morning. B.F. went down to Dempsey’s & Dan drove him home in the evening. Dan Ford was in too but I was away. Mary & I went to see Mar B And Maggie kept house.

March 17th, Tuesday: Spent the day hooking a mat. Mr. Ford left us this morning. Amos took him to town and went to mass also. No callers to-day.

March 18th, Wed.: Amos went to town again this morning & brought Bart down to spend the day. Mrs. F Roy and Libby M. Call in the afternoon. Nellie Bee & Zita Power at night but I missed the pleasure of their company as I was up at Mary’s. This is her birthday I offered her a present but she refused it though she accepted Amos’ – a pair of kid gloves. We made some fudge.

March 19th, Thurs.: Amos went for sand again. We finished a mat (with the leaves and sticks on it). Dan Ford called.

March 20th, Friday: Some snow fell today but not very much. Still soft weather. Amos brought another load of sand. Dan arrived home this afternoon from the woods looking and feeling well. I made a shirt and trimmed part of my quilt.

March 21st, Satur.: Maggie went for the mail when Amos went for sand but got only Good Liter. Mother put another mat in the frames to-day. Dan Ford came up in the evening.

March 22nd, Sun.: Amos and Dan went to church to-day. I went up to Mary’s in the morning and stayed till after dinner. I was just ready for home when Bob arrived. When I got home I found we had visitors. Mrs. Kelley & Ed. They stayed for tea and afforded much pleasure. Later A. Kelley called and we had some private conversation.

March 23rd, M.: Amos began to take logs to Alex’s mill to-day. I startled Mary by a very early call this morning. I went for a bar of soap for washing. It is snowing this evening.

March 24th, Tues.: There was not much snow fell but it is still wet and dirty. We worked at the mat all day. Mary Kane called or was sent for certain patterns. Dan went up to Boyles to-night.

March 25th, Wed.: Dan went to town this morning with Bill Boyle to get his money and bought a pair of rubbers. Saw John Maloney who had just come home. Also F. Hegg. And P. Burke. We heard today that Bishop Rogers had died on the 21st. Dan Ford was in to-night. We finished the 2nd mat and began the 3rd today.

March 26th, Thur.: Nothing worth recording.

March 27th, Friday: Finished another mat today. Went up to Mary’s in the evening to engage passage to town tomorrow. Bob & Mary are at the house when I come home. Bob leaves his sled and takes our sleigh.

March 28th, Satur.: The boys started off very early this morning to the mill and I prepared to go to town. Started about noon. I bought some red velvet for a waist-cloth for a skirt sateen and several other things. Spent $9.00 in all. Mary & I spent the night at Uncle Edward’s & went to first mass in the town in the morning.

March 29th, Sun: Wil Hall came over to our church with us this morning. Father was down. In the afternoon we were coasting and again in the evening with Bridget Annie and Jor Boyle. Bob was in too.

March 30th, Mon.: Mother and Amos went to town today. Ma went to see Sister Martina. Bob was in for a while. Dan went back with logs and Maggie took Bert up to see his relations.

March 31st, Tues.: We washed to-day and I got a toothache. I might have gone to Dempsey’s but for the. Guss Calnan Came with the tickets.

Further Notes

Patrick’s Landing was the name of upper South Teteagouche at the time. Other place names in the diary are Clifton and Stonehaven (downshore), Belledune (upshore, where there may have been hall relatives)). Spelling of last names is flexible, for example: Doran/Durane; Meighen/Miahen/Meahen; Kelley (which shifted to Kelly); Doust (Doucet, Doucett); Hashey/Hachey; Malowney/Maloney; Kane/O’Kane. There are names of people in the diary who do not live in the community, such as the doctor, the Bishop (Rogers), the agent, Mr. Branch, Maggie Hall(lived in town), Sister Philomene, Sister Martina, Miss McKenna, Kent, Eddy (also a family of Irish immigrants), Mrs. Kearney, S. Williamson.

Branscombe, Hinton and McIntyre. With some of the names one cannot tell if they lived in Kinsale or not: Mrs. Melvin, for example. With the French neighbours, they may have been on some of the back lots or in some of the very nearby communities of Lugar, Ste. Louise, Dunlop. I do not know where Sadie Wells (who marries Nick Hashey) came from. P. Foley comes from across the river where the Foleys ancestors settled.

The descendants of Angella Riordan and Alexander (Sandy) Kelly are spread far and wide, from New York State, California, London (England), British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia and PEI. In New Brunswick there remains only 5: two Hickses (Debbie Sisk, in Miramichi and her two sons), Donna Hicks (Bathurst-North Teteagouche), Tim Kelly (Beresford), Stephen Kelly (South Teteagouche), and John Kelly (North Teteagouche). Those far-flung ones join the ranks of earlier generations of the family who also left North Teteagouche (for example, all of Sandy’s brothers and sisters, most of whom went to the States, Ohio, Boston, etc.) Very few of those Irish names that were found up and down the settlement of Kinsale are to be found there now . Still, there are Heggartys, Powers, Boyles, and Kellys.