In my last post, I mentioned Ottillie Caddell as one of my grandmother Velma Jane Moore’s friends at Dalhousie University. I had first learned of Ottillie in the Moore family history my mother wrote for our family in 2013:
[Velma] had a very good friend, [O]tillie Caddell, while at college and kept in touch with her for years. [O]ttille visited the Moores in Economy, where she had her picture taken with them.1
The photograph my mother is referring to is below. Having been to Economy Point this past summer, I can attest to how beautiful the landscape of the farm would have been on that day. Sepia tones don’t do it justice.
I expect that being invited to travel with Velma from Halifax to the Economy Point farm would have meant something to Ottillie, and it would have meant something to Velma for her family to welcome her close friend into their home. The fact that the visit was documented with a photograph of the four women suggests that it was a special day. (The fourth woman in the photograph is Ida Cross Moore, the wife of Velma’s older brother Fred Lawrence Moore.)
There is something I find very appealing about this photograph. When I first encountered it, my eye was immediately drawn to the woman in the dark dress, my great-grandmother Martha Faulkner Moore. Seen here in the prime of her life, she was quite a beautiful woman. (She and later Velma both went gray prematurely.) Her demeanor strikes me as serene. I’m also struck by the fact that Ottillie has one arm around Ida’s waist and the other around Velma’s shoulder. This was not at all a typical pose for my family.
Once I became keeper of the Family Archives, I discovered a second photograph taken on the day of that visit, which shows Velma and Ottillie wading in the Bay of Fundy. I am particularly fond of this one as well. Velma’s sleeves are rolled up, her dress is hiked up, and her hair is disheveled. This is a very, very different image of her from the one I remember growing up. (I recall her wearing a gossamer-fine hairnet on special occasions to keep her hair in place.)
Issues of the Dalhousie Gazette from 1917-1919 yielded a brief but telling description of Ottillie as possessing a “poignant tilt of the head, and a voice as rippling as a silver bell.”2 Her class critique describes her as perhaps not the scholar that her friend Velma was but someone others would be drawn to:
Ott[i]llie was the backbone of any enterprise undertaken by any college society. Clever and energetic, Ott[i]llie was an all round college girl in every sense of the word, and Dalhousie will sadly miss her presence.3
Some of that energy was expended on the basketball court, where Ottillie played guard on the girls’ basketball team.4
Given Ottillie’s unusual name, I did a little digging to see if I could find out any more about her life. The Dalhousie Archives yielded a 1971 notice of her bequest to the University upon her death:5
With Ottillie’s married name, I learned from the vital records section of the Nova Scotia Archives website that Ottillie Law Caddell married Charles William MacAloney on September 30, 1924.6 The groom is listed as 37 years old with the occupation civil engineer.7 The bride is listed as 32 years old and a school teacher.8 Charles MacAloney’s death record indicates that he died on May 27, 1963.9
I have been unable to find a death record for Ottillie, and I think I’ll stop looking. I’d like to leave her rippling silver voice to join the fine china timbre of Velma’s that I remember from my childhood. May their voices continue to echo and resound with the people who knew them and loved them, until our own voices are stilled.
1Katharine Brown Gauffreau, The Ancestry and Life of Velma Jane Moore Brown (unpublished manuscript, 2013), 25.
2McKay, John, “Prophesy,” The Dalhousie Gazette L, no. 10-12 (July 11, 1919): 9.
3″Critique.,” The Dalhousie Gazette L, no. 10-12 (July 11, 1919): 8.
4“Basket Ball.,” The Dalhousie Gazette XLIX, no. 10 (December 3, 1917): 8.
5 Dalhousie University, “Royal Chair Donated,” University News (Halifax, Nova Scotia), April 17, 1971, General, 7.
6“Province of Nova Scotia Marriage Register, Registered No. 1835,” Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics: Births, Marriages, Deaths, https://www.novascotiagenealogy.com/ItemView.aspx?ImageFile=20-728&Event=marriage&ID=150814.
7“Province of Nova Scotia Marriage Record.”
8“Province of Nova Scotia Marriage Record.”
9“Province of Nova Scotia–Registration of Death, 02-003555,” Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics: Births, Marriages, Deaths, https://www.novascotiagenealogy.com/ItemView.aspx?ImageFile=1963-3555&Event=death&ID=444127.
10Province of Nova Scotia, “Woolford’s Surveys: The Roads from Halifax to Windsor and Truro, 1817-18,” Nova Scotia Archives, accessed March 11, 2018, https://novascotia.ca/archives/woolford/archives.asp?ID=28.
Bright Shiny Object Note: If you’re interested in a BSO detour, you can find information about the Duke of Kent’s Lodge at Memory NS. (Given that the Duke of Kent’s Lodge was in ruins by 1838,10 I suspect that the 19th century Chippendale chair Ottillie bequeathed was actually 18th century.) The Nova Scotia Archives website includes images of paintings of Prince’s Lodge when it was in use and after it had fallen into disrepair.
3 thoughts on “Ottillie with the Rippling Voice”
Wonderful photographs! I also enjoyed the BSO tour. One of my distant Casbon cousins in England married a woman named Ottillie from Germany right after WWII.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks, Jon! Just out of curiosity, I Googled the name “Ottillie.” Apparently, it’s a French derivative of the German name “Otto.”
LikeLiked by 1 person
My mother, Christine Anna May MacKinnon, was a Dalhousie 1918 classmate and friend, and often spoke of Velma. I will search for correspondence Please send contact info to:
360 943 3105
LikeLiked by 1 person