Lame Angus MacEachern (1899-1984), Pleasant Valley, Antigonish County, 1943. He shot a bear that had got into his moonshine and then took his trophy into town for several days. Courtesy of Antigonish Heritage Museum. Restoration: Betty Cameron.
The October 2011 edition of The Old Train Station includes a present-day photo of Lame Angus’ farm and dates the story of killing the bear to 1943, an event of such importance that it figures in his obituary in 1984.
Mary MacDonald still remembers that event. The year was 1943, to be exact, because Angus arrived at the “Big Allan” house on the day of her sister’s wedding. They had a platform set up for dancing when he landed to show off the bear.
The part of the story that must be told is the fact that the bear hadn’t been too difficult to capture. Truth be told, Angus had an affinity for the bottle and kept a couple of stills in the woods around his property. It so happens that the bear discovered one of these stills and enjoyed the contents so immensely that he was left quite inebriated. What most folks didn’t know was that Angus had killed the bear with a crowbar.
We also learn more about Lame Angus the man:
Lame Angus is gone but his memory clearly lives on. His nickname is self explanatory but the details of his condition want explaining. The story goes that Angus was kicked by a horse when he was just a little boy. This injury left him with one leg shorter than the other and, apparently, an open sore on his hip. Angus’ schooling was short lived because of this injury and the cruelty of other children. On his first day of school, kids teased him and he never went back. Still, Charlie says, Angus was a smart fellow who could trace his people back to Scotland. His disabilities certainly didn’t prevent him from owning a vehicle. “He couldn’t drive worth a sh-t but he always had an old vehicle.”
Marie MacLellan, who wrote a history of Pleasant Valley, recalls how their mother, a nurse, was often called to deliver babies and to check in on those in the area who were known to imbibe a tad more than necessary. On occasion she was called to check Angus’ pulse too. Yet, more often than not, it was Angus who was lending a helping hand. All who gathered agreed that Angus had a sixth sense for knowing just when someone needed help. “If a woman was all alone and going to have a baby, he’d land in the yard to help or he’d run get help.”