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Michael Jack MacNeil
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 Benacadie Glen, Cape Breton County  Birth Place
Michael Jack MacNeil
Micheal Jack Mhìcheil Dhòmhnaill Ìomhair
Benacadie Glen, Cape Breton County

When Michael Jack attended school in Benacadie Glen, Gaelic conversations predominated the schoolyard. Born in a glen ascribed to his great-great grandfather in Gaelic song, MacNeil was raised in a farming community strongly connected to the language and heritage of its early settlers. In the evenings, he and his siblings would wait anxiously for visitors to walk up the driveway - and the the card games, Gaelic songs and fiddle music that so often followed. After working for the highway and railroad for several years around Christmas Island, MacNeil moved to Sydney. There he found work at the steelplant, with a collections agency and in the grocery business. The area where he was raised - and which had supported five generations of his family - was never far from his mind however. When the time was right, Michael Jack moved back home and took a job delivering the mail. A long-time volunteer, MacNeil is a former chief of the volunteer fire department, current president of the Cape Breton Gaelic Society and a longtime supporter of Clan MacNeil activities. - Shamus

Interviewed by Hector MacNeil
Camera operated by Ray J. MacLellan
March 07, 2008

Disc One
Total Play Time: 50:35

4:07 Michael introduces himself, where he was raised; life on the homestead
07:10 leaving the farm to go to work on the railroad, in the steel plant
09:46 he sold coal in Sydney
13:42 sloinneadh; his brother went to California.
16:19-19:50 history of Benachadie Glen; the first house View | Listen
20:00 his mother's family
21:25-25:11 farming; draw knife used to make boats; his people made boats View | Listen
25:20-29:41 livestock; butter; curds; cream. His father died at age 44 View | Listen
31:20 Michael married 1952; they kept a store; his wife died in 1995
35:14 how he met his second wife
36:00 travelling in Vegas and Alaska
40:12-46:17 planting potatoes; use for different types of manure View | Listen
47:00 planting turnips and potatoes
49:50 buying seeds at the Co-op

Disc Two
Total Play Time: 24:34

04:15-05:28 going visiting View | Listen
06:28-14:34 his father played the fiddle; remembering his grandfather; playing his father's fiddle, his grandmother praying; wake houses View | Listen
14:48-20:34:18 making and selling butter, making leather View | Listen

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