Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Oliver Amirault - He Died Where?!? (52 Ancesters - #15)

"He died where?!?" Was my initial thoughts and maybe (ok definitely) a few chuckles. This sad tragedy got me thinking about my family whom I've always had the impression that they were perfect.  Every last one of them.  Since starting my exploration of my family history and some more reflection, I've decided that yes, indeed, my family is perfect because they are my family.  Events that happened in the past, such as unwed mothers or alcoholics, were simply hidden or not talked about in the family.  Someone who was close to the family probably didn't know what I know today as hindsight is 20/20. These same unfortunate situations now have more acceptance today as well as social support.  We are so lucky to live in today's day and age in many ways.  We are also fortunate to know the person behind these unfortunate situations was really a good person.

With all this said, my 1st cousin (x2 removed) Oliver Joseph MALONE Amirault was one of those unfortunate souls and I would like to honor him by writing his story. As you can see from his photo he looked quite distinguished and handsome.

Oliver Joseph MALONE Amirault
courtesy of Lea d'Entremont 

Oliver was born October 21st, 1894 in Pubnico, Nova Scotia. As you may recall from my previous posts, Pubnico is a very small fishing village about 25 miles from Yarmouth. It is my understanding that there were many dirt roads up that way up until the late 1920s. My mom and aunts remember visiting there many summers as children during the 1940s. Many families had their own cows, pigs and chickens.  If nature called, my mom said she would have to brave her way through the barn yard animals to get to the smelly outhouse. On Sunday one of the villagers would put wooden benches in the back of their truck and drive around the village collecting a coin to drop them safely at Immaculate Conception Church which was located on the east side of Pubnico.

Most of my Canadian family were called by their middle names, however, friends and family called Oliver by his nick name, MALONE.  In looking back at the name for that era, I'm thinking maybe he was good at playing baseball as a youngster and was named after a famous baseball player of the 1920s? 

In 1915 he traveled to the U.S., according to border-crossing documents, and lived in Boston for some time.  As of, June, 1917, he listed himself as short and slender with blue eyes and brown hair when he registered for the WWI draft.  He listed his occupation as "painter".  I'm not sure if it was while he was in the "States" or when he returned to Pubnico, that he took a liking to his moonshine. 

According to his niece, Lea d'Entremont (who helped me last week with Laurie Amirault)
"Uncle Malone was somewhat of an alcoholic and he was living in the homestead with Ernest [his brother] and Alma [his sister-in-law] and of course Alma was always growling at him because of his drinking. One day he was at a store and this lady asked about Alma and he answered "if ever she gets ill and asks for a drink, she'll be mighty thirsty before I bring her a drink!"  He drank but he was not always 'drunk' and I guess he was very comical. I just remember seeing him a couple of times before he left Pubnico. One of those times was one Easter day.  Mom looked out the window and said to dad, 'here comes Oliver and he seems to be sober.' He [Oliver] came inside and after they talked a bit dad offered him a drink!! I'll never understand that move as long as I live, to me it didn't make any sense at all and it still doesn't. I was only 4 or five at that time but I remember it very well." Lea goes on to write that "After he left Pubnico he worked in the Annapolis Valley as a painter for years and never came back home."

According to his death certificate he was missing from May 14th, 1955 until they found him on May 25th, 1955.  The excerpt below, from his death certificate states "This man disappeared May 14/55.  Found dead in a water closet May 25/55.  No evidence of external injury.  Death due to 1. coronary thrombosis [heart blockage], 2 or cerebral hemorrhage [bleed in brain], 3 or subarachnoid hemorrhage [bleed in spine?]."  Yes, my cousin died in an outhouse and was there 11 days before anyone found the chap.  Poor Oliver was brought back home to Pubnico to be buried but it was a closed casket. 
So this is Oliver's story.  He traveled, worked, was a funny guy, never married but had lots of family as well as a sad alcohol addiction.  Oliver will be remembered and appreciated just because he was my cousin and he was perfect in my book!

NOTE: Thank you again to Lea d'Entremont for her contributions to Oliver's story and the photo of her Uncle "Malone".  Oliver never married and I wonder if he had married if maybe he would have avoided the hooch and may have been found in the outhouse sooner.  If AA was available to him maybe this unfortunate ending could have been avoided?? 


  1. poor chap. Alone in the loo. Except at that time, the WC would have been inside the home, not an "outhouse," right?

  2. Hi Cindy, According to Lea, her words were the "out house"