Matilda (Syliboy) Paul’s extended family, including foster children. Back row: John R. Prosper & Patsy Paul; Middle L-R: Ben and Matilda Paul, Phyllis Prosper (nee Francis); Front: Mary Freda Paul. Courtesy of John R. Prosper, Paqtnkek First Nation, Family Album.
Paula Paul told us that the new bridge going up in Heatherton is right by the site of Matildas’s house (now long gone). Ben Paul was a master carver and a fiddler. He made handles for farm tools, such as axes, hoes, and rakes. Paula’s colleague Agnes Kennedy remembers Ben Paul delivering axe handles to her home in Merlin.
“The Mi’kmaq supported themselves as coopers, basket makers, fishers, and trappers and manufactured lobster hoops, butter tubs, buoys, pick handles and axehandles, and moccasins. Both men and women showed great skill I their fancy beadwork” (Stanley-Blackwell & MacLean, 2004, p. 77).
Paula Paul, email message of June 26, 2014:
Matilda’s primary foster children were Phyllis Prosper (nee Francis), David Francis (for a shorter time), Delores Paul, John Wayne Paul and Mary Ann Paul (nee Dort). She had other children in her home for shorter periods and she also raised some of her grandchildren.
Jocelyn Gillis, Curator, Antigonish Heritage Museum, knew Matilda as the last person living who could remember the Mi’kmaq seasonal encampments to Antigonish Landing. She passed away a few years ago.