Excerpts from the Diary of Patrick James Dillon
-Lighthouse keeper at Whitehead

Contibuted by Judith Giffin

The excerpts from this diary contain only entries where Caseys
are mentioned.


Sep 8    A.Chip Giffin, Stephen Giffin and Jas. Henderson came here to see about establishing a factory at Raspberry.

Sep 9    We went to Raspberry. Selected a site and got a lease from the Caseys to James Henderson & Stephen Giffin for 10 years at $20. pr.year.

Sep 18    [Sunday] Boys and myself over at Caseys.

Oct. 18   [Tuesday] Katie left this morning for Guysboro with Ehler. I
came down harbor with Steph. Giffin and Jas. Casey.

Nov 25 [Friday] Landed brick and other material out of Schr. "two brothers". John, Jerry & Pat Casey helped me get sand from Whale Island, from 2 P.M. to 6 P.M.

Nov 28 4 Caseys and John & Jim carrying brick and sand. Jerry C. and J.A.D. went up harbor to mail letters and send telegram for pump & pipe.

Nov 30 [Wednesday] Went out to the S.E. in the flat. Spotted the Sch. "Ida M." of Ch'towne, P.E.I. The four Caseys and Jim at work carrying. John and Stephen Giffin went up harbor to get mail Dec 1 John & Jerry C., and Jim, John & myself carrying.

Dec 2 John, Jerry & Pat Casey, and Jim, John & myself carrying.  


Mar 6 Up Harbor John & I. Met School Inspector at Valentines. Jennet came to the island with us. Tom Munroe's son sick diptheria. John & wife and Pat Casey here today. Mar 9 Henry Linden here to get a letter wrote. John McPhie & John Casey here for nails.

Mar 17 [Saturday] Jerry Casey brought my mail. Letter from Kate and from Capt. I.P. Giffin.

Nov 23 [Friday] Blowing and cold. Too much for Myers to go home. They helped in getting flour, meal, molasses, Beef and coal from the Cove. In evening Schr. "Hope" came in from Canso with flag at half mast, having the remains of poor Mike McDonald on board. He and his two boys (Malcolm and John) drowned off Canso yesterday by the upsetting and sinking of their boat just after starting from the fishing ground. The 2 boys sunk with boat. Antony Conway recovered the body of the father just as it was about sinking.

Nov 24 [Saturday] Went up harbor in the morning after Mary. Met her coming down board Schr. "Our Hope." Vessel on her way to Canso again.called at Mike McDonald's to see his remains. A sad house of mourning.

Nov 25 [Sunday] John & I went up to the funeral. Remained at Haulover till the corpse was taken away then came home. Got a tow from James Feltmate to the mouth of Yankee Cove. Jim Casey with us. We landed him at Fairweather harbor.

Dec 1 [Saturday] John Casey & Albert Feltmate here enquiring about money.


Feb 16 [Saturday] Willie McDonald & Alonzo Munroe came down on thursday and remained till today. John & I went to Raspberry. Caseys & Grants also sick as we are here.

Feb 18 My throat getting quite sore, [Thursday] Wm. Wells started in "Bessie N. Wells" for banks with the wind North. Wind died out until evening & then sprung up to S.E. He turned back and came in Harbor. We also got our mail from the Casey boys. 1 paper and one letter.

Mar 1 [Friday] The boys went to Raspberry and Mary Jane came over with them.

Mar 2 [Saturday] They went up harbor. Landed M.J. home and Pat Casey went up with them. Ice coming in from East.

Mar 4 [Monday] After passing a miserable night the new swelling broke at 5 A.M. discharging therefrom some matter and immediately after she coughed and vomitted up clotted blood phlegm etc. which quite alarmed us. Ice in harbor to the gap & Three Top. Wind North very light. Ice moving out slowly. Clear enough at noon to get a boat from Back Cove. Hailed a boat out gunning to take a letter to send for doctor. Took no notice of us. We then hailed Raspberry and subsequently we shoved our own boat out of Back Cove and rowed up towards Calais Cove. Met Sam Grant & Jerry Casey coming to us. Gave them a letter to V. McDonald with one inside addressed to Rev. Jas. Scott. We returned home and the ice closed in again all around the island.


Jan 25 [Saturday] John & I went over to Raspberry. John Casey had been very sick and others of them sick with cold but now better. This evening I felt cold in my lungs. hoarseness, etc. Sunday still somewhat hoarse but not having taken stuff during night to prevent it. Monday not worse. Monday night felt cold in my head in addition to feeling the cold slightly on my lungs. First part of night had drink ginger tea and afterwards had tea and after going to bed got into a great perspiration, even so much had to change my shirt before daylight.

[There is now a period of about six month during which there are no diary entries, followed by the undated entry below, and then a hiatus of nearly two years.]

"The first week in May, 1890 James P. got a cold, got better and on the 6th he caught a relapse and began to be confined to the house, continuously so till the 16 July when he took a turn and we thought he was going to die. Up to this time he had been visited by Mr. Scott twice and Dr. Brine twice. Fever on the 16th apparently all left him and having taken a dose of purging medicine when gripping pains recurred he got weak and spent the time from 5 P.M. till midnight apparently to die at any time. For 3 hours of this time he could not speak to us. We kept giving him wine etc. and finally he became restored to speech and a little stronger. 3 men Jim Casey, Joe Casey & Tom Roberts went up harbor to let the people know of his trouble."


Feb 1 [Friday] Joe, Jerry & Jim Casey up hr. in my small flat. Opened barrel flour in cove. Not to use till tomorrow. After men came down, Joe took them over and he returned and Free. with him at nearly 9 P.M.

Feb 4 [Monday] Wind N.E. in morn. S.E. later. Joe went up harbour after landing Free. home. He got back home about 2 P.M. Jerry Casey rowed down the same time. After night wind increased to a furious gale and continued all night. Tremendous sea rising. Seven or eight Schooners passed going West during day. They must have had a dreadful night. Joe brought me no letters.
Feb 12 [Tuesday] A fine day. Wind from N.W. to S.W. moderate and after night N.W. again. Joe Casey went to Raspberry this morn in my old flat and from thence up harbor with his uncle Jerry & Jim & Sam Grant. Jerry and Jim brought my papers and a letter from home. Moderate during night.

Feb 16 [Saturday] Moderate forenoon. Breezy in afternoon. Jerry Casey & his son here for hay. Got 2 Bndls. 76 & 86 - Mrs. Grant came here in A.M.

Feb 18 [Monday] Jerry, Pat & John Casey called here and I went up harbor with them. They landed me back again about noon. I got a good many papers & three letters viz. 1 Fr. Tompkins, 1 A.H. McGillivray, 1 from home, Mary & Eva. Dan Casey came with the others in morning to stop for awhile. First time I was up harbr. since I came from Guysboro' in January.

Feb 19 [Tuesday] Cldy. Snowy and then foggy. Dan & I hauled home 4 cases oil.

Feb 20 [Wednesday] Rather stormy with snow but wind moderate. Dan & I brought home 6 cases oil. During the night snowed quite a depth.

Feb 24 [Sunday] Breeze Norwesterly & West. In evening John & Jerry Casey over, with clothes to Dan. A Schr. well off working westerly. I forgot to mention in notes for last Sunday of two steamers in sight that day. One going east in forenoon. One west in afternoon.

Mar 1 [Friday] Jeremiah and Jas. Casey came here in morn and Dan went with them up harbor. Brought Bedstead, 3 chairs, 2 gall. molasses, Beans & Rice, and my mail. A letter that Mary Jane brought from Mary and another that came by mail and one from John A.D. And Mary Jane also came down harbor in boat.

Mar 3 [Sunday] After Dinner Dan & I went to Raspberry. Wind N.E. & E. snowing. A small Schr. came from West and passed out to east of island. Had dorys on deck. Sunday continued. I heard at James Casey's today that Joe Casey after he left here and went home reported that he got hurt here working hard. He or others must be telling lies or very little work must be injurious to him.

Mar 6 [Wednesday] At about half past eleven A.M. Jerry & Jim Casey came to help get up 13 Brls. Coal. About 3 1/4 hours work to get them to hill, 2 of them home.

Mar 11 [Monday] Wind N.W. clear in afternoon. Jerry Casey and his little boy Den and John's Mike over here. Dan went home with them and before leaving they helped me haul 2 cases of oil up.

Mar 21 [Thursday] Moderate breeze W.N.W. & N. and at 9 P.M. calm, but a light breeze after during night. Jerry Casey and his son called at Cove on their way up harbor and as John was there they went on.

Apr 2 [Tuesday] A fine day. Light wind S. Westerly. John went up to mail letter home. He brought no letters. George Myers down here for the 1st time this season. Sam Grant & son called here, also Jas. Casey & Free. and after them Dan Casey for 2 lb. Catch. John got home from Harbor about 3:30 P.M.

Apr 9 [Tuesday] Wind S.S.W. & S. moderate. John beat down harbor in afternoon. Brot my Chk. dated Mar 25th Ottawa. James Casey here this morning and Free. Jim got my big flat for the Springs fishing. During night blew fresh with rain. Heavy sea. Raining.

Apr 14 [Sunday] Wind southerly, moderate. John & I went to Raspberry. In afternoon when returning Pat Casey's wife and Jim's wife came over with us. John landed them over again. Came on stormy during night. Wind E.S.E. with snow and rain.

Apr 19 [Friday] Andrew brought me receipt for reg. letter. Joe Casey here & got a barrel of herring. Weather quite fine, wind from N. to S.E. light. John & Norman Munroe got stove at Jim Caseys.  

Apr 25 [Thursday] Jerry Casey & his son here for bundle of hay about 100 lbs. In afternoon John came down harbor. Hauled his traps and went away again about 4 P.M. Steve & another man landed at cove. They had been out gunning in to the ledges in Pat Casey's new flat. I cleaned up lantern early and then got breakfast, and after Jerry Casey left I cleared up the yard at Cove. And after that cleaned up all about the yard at house and got house paints & began to mix. Night foggy.

Apr 28 [Sunday] Foggy in morning, calm clear & fine during day. In evening light wind S.W. John got home late in evening. Brought letter from home Guys. A little before he came Mrs. Casey went to Raspberry with Dan Casey & 3 girls. Saw a man haul traps at Gap.

Apr 29 [Monday] Wind S.W. clear. One of the cutters came in by house about noon. Mrs. Casey came home from Raspberry about 4 P.M  

May 26 [Sunday] A fine day. None of us away from island today. Mrs. Casey, Alf & I here all day.

Jun 13 [Thursday] Alf & I brought nets in. Had only 12 mackerel. Alf said he saw a phantom last night. John went up harbor and Alf and I took Brl. flour to Pat Casey's. John got home from harbor in evening. I saw Mr. Andrews at Jim Hartling's store.

Jun 16 [Sunday] Breezy North in afternoon. I called at all the Caseys & at the Cookhouse. We came home about 5 P.M. About 9 P.M. John came, walked from Yankee Cove to Raspberry. Stmr. "Ghent" came in from east about 5 P.M. Mr. Andrews went up harbor to go in her. A boy on board from Canso to me.


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