MacDougall, Christina

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                    102 - Black River Bridge Woman born in 1886
                                    By Cathy Carnahan

Christina MacDougall marked a rare milestone on Saturday. The Black River Bridge woman turned 105. She was born on Dec. 14, 1886. MacDougall has been in Hotel Dieu Hospital for the last six months, but her appetite is good and so is her overall health. “There is a little bit of a memory lapse, but she has a wonderful sense of humour,” said Margaret Manderson looking at the tiny lady and smiling. Manderson is the head nurse on floor 2R and says she and the other staff members enjoy MacDougall’s company. “She‘s just a sweet little old lady and everybody loves her, She’s everybody’s ideal ol’ granny.”

MacDougall sat quietly and contented in a wheelchair nearby. Her hearing isn’t what it used to be but she smiles and her blue eyes twinkle when the nurses speak to her. She is a celebrity.

John Godfrey has a special fondness for her, too. He has known her and loved her all of his 79 years. MacDougall is his mother. “I always stayed with my grandparents and I was always called Godfrey,” he said, explaining why his surname is different from his mother’s.

Her father, Richard Godfrey was born in Black River Bridge and he went to Nova Scotia to work and he met Liza Shirley. Then they got married and lived there for a time. “My mother and (her brother) Bob was born there in Nova Scotia, and maybe their brother Ernest too. I don’t know, I never saw him, “Godfrey said. “They came back to Black River Bridge. My great-grandfather sent for him to come back and he did. He came back to live with his parents,” he said.

Christina MacDougall wasn’t very old at the time, so she always considered Black River Bridge her home. When she later married Hugh MacDougall they built a house in Black River Bridge and had five children – John, Freddie, Mildred, Jim and Robert. Her husband died several years ago and so did her sons, Freddie and Jim. John lives in the old Godfrey homestead where he grew up. He wife died in 1950, but he has two sons, one of whom live with him.

Christina MacDougall is a special lady in all of their lives. John Godfrey says she hasn’t changed as long as he knew her. “She was always happy and as far as I know, pretty well liked. She never talked about anybody and always minded her own business.

Never Complained

“She was always a kind person and liked to help people. She never complained about anything and I don’t know if that’s way she lived so long or what,” he said smiling. Up until a year ago, she’d get forgetful by times but she always knew us all. “I remember the first time when I went in and she asked me who I was. There’s an awful feeling goes over you,” he said sadly, shaking his head.

He and his family recall when the same little gray-haired lady used to be active and well. They recall when she was a member of the Women’s Institute at St. Stephen’s United Church and a member of the Victoria Knitting Club. Some of those club members visit her regularly and take her goodies. They also donate quilts and nightgowns to the hospital, which Manderson says are greatly appreciated. MacDougall wore one of the special nighties on Thursday for picture taking. She also had on a beautiful white shawl and had a cozy quilt over her lap. They, too, were given to her by the knitting club.

Saturday, the nursing staff and MacDougall’s family held a small celebration for her.

Source: Miramichi Leader – December 18, 1991

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