Charles Maloney Oral History

The following is from the (unpublished) nine-page, printed recollections of John Henry Maloney, M.D. (1918-2001):

"Charles,1 farmer, fisherman, carpenter, shipbuilder, became more and more impatient with life in Barachois and decided to migrate to the North Shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. He took his wife and at least ten of his thirteen children, his tools, and their possessions, packed them all in his little schooner and set out for Mingan, then a fishing port and Hudson Bay post.

"In the next few years information was scarce, though three messages were received.

  1. He could fish salmon off his veranda.

  2. The local Montagnais, unable to agree upon a chief, had elected Charles.

  3. He would be sending one or more boys back for schooling."

Quoted with the permission of the family of Dr. John Henry Maloney.

The following is from William Ashley Anderson, Angel of Hudson Bay: The True Story of Maud Watt (Toronto; Clarke, Irwin and Company, Limited, 1961):

"Maud was the tenth child of Charles Maloney a fisherman from Cork who had come to La Gaspésie when Ireland was undergoing one of its periodic crop failures; and he had four more children after her. Four of Maloney's children were born du premier lit; and his second wife, Elizabeth Poirier, a convent-bred young French Gaspésienne twenty-two years younger than he, added ten children; so that, with the parents, there were sixteen in all, of whom eight were male and eight female."2


Yes, it is the same Charles Maloney, who is being introduced as the father of Maud Watt, whose life story is the subject of the book.

As Dr. Maloney's reminiscence showed, Charles loved telling tall tales. Perhaps Charles (or his family) conned the gullible American author into believing a version of his origins3 which belied Charles's being a third generation Canadian, with German and French, as well as Irish ancestry. Or, perhaps, for his own reasons, Anderson chose deliberately to change the historical record. Or, maybe, Anderson just did not ask enough questions while doing his research.

In any case, both these excerpts tell us part of the story of Charles Maloney and his family.

1Charles "Charlie" Maloney (1843-1925).
2Angel of Hudson Bay, p. 21.
3See Angel of Hudson Bay, p. 23: "every drop in him was Irish"; and note the affectation, "the Maloney" (pp. 23, 24, 26. 27, 41, 42, 46, 47).

Last Updated: 2014-07-10
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