McLean John


by Margaret (McLean) Fayant and brother Lloyd

Our father, John McLean, always told us that he was born at Whitemud Creek near Edmonton, Alberta in 1888. Our grandfather's name was Donald McLean; he was Scottish. Grandmother McLean's name was Melanie (Cardinal). Mother's maiden name was Mary Ladroute; she was born in 1894 at St. Albert, also near Edmonton. Grandfather, Joseph Ladroute, married Josephine Callioux. They were French-Canadian; grandmother was also part Iroquois.

Daddy came to St. Paul, Alberta when he was twenty- one. His main source of income was hunting and trapping. He loved outdoors and never cared for town life, although he did enjoy playing pool. In fact he was something of a gambler. He also went out surveying. It was in St. Paul that he and mother met and were married in 1917. His birthday was on January 15th and hers the 16th. He filed on a homestead around Three Mile Lake, south of St. Paul. That is where all of us children were born, and all except Big John and I, Margaret, went to Many Lakes School.

In October 1937 Daddy decided to leave the homestead to live at Fishing Lake Colony, so he came down and built a house and stable; then came for the rest of us. We traveled by team and sleigh with a hayrack. Daddy set up a tent inside the rack and put an air-tight heater in it so we didn't suffer, although it was cold. Another team with a hayrack load of household effects and farm equipment followed, trailed by several head of cattle. It took three or four days to make the sixty-odd mile trip.

After we got settled we had time to see our neighbors; some we had known in St. Paul, and some new, who soon became our friends. We had to travel to Frog Lake post office for mail, and the store where we bought supplies was just up the hill, across the road from the post office. This was about twelve miles from home. Big John and I went to the Fishing Lake School which, at that time, was inspected by the St. Paul School Division Inspector, Mr. Gibeau. Later it became Northland School Division No. 61. Not very long after we came our seventeen year old brother Lawrence was drowned in Fishing Lake.

Daddy used to set out nets in the lake and traded fish to the farmers in the outlying districts for potatoes and other supplies. We older boys went out to work. In 1965 we hooked onto Canadian Utilities power. We really appreciated the convenience of electricity. Meantime we had both grown up and married; I to Irvin Fayant, son of Mr. and Mrs. Pete Fayant of Fishing Lake, and Lloyd to Elsie Granger, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Abe Granger of Frog Lake. I remember the day in June when the A.G.T. workers came and installed the phone for Irvin and I, at eleven o'clock in the morning, when we were rushing around getting the family ready to go to the Lea Park Rodeo which always started promptly at one o'clock.

Mother passed away on September 18, 1959 and we laid her to rest in St. Eugene Cemetery at Fishing Lake. Daddy has his own little house in the Colony. Now at eighty-eight years his health is failing but he says he is going to spend the rest of his life right here. Of their children, Alice never came to Fishing Lake with us but has lived all her life in St. Paul. She married Harry Laboucane and they have nine children. Archie and his wife Helen (Smith) lived in Brosseau, Alberta until two years before he passed away in 1973. There are two children. Before his passing his last words were asking that he be buried beside Mother. Elizabeth, whom we always called Daisy, married Alex Flamand and raised eight children. Alex passed away about six years ago and Daisy is now the wife of Henry Stark and lives at St. Paul. Big John married Bertha Gladue, has two children and lives at Edmonton. Elsie and I live at Whitecourt, Alberta; we have seven children. Margaret and Irvin are living at Fishing Lake and have a family of six.