The Burke Family of River Bourgeois

Follow these links to see the ancestry of the Burke family, and the Burke family's Acadian roots...

For information on Celeste Anne Burke and descendants, please see below...

Note: much of the information (and several of the photos) has been provided by Anne Landry, granddaughter of Celeste Anne, daughter of Leo Landry and Theresa Mary Burke.


Celeste Anne Burke

Celeste Anne Burke was born in River Bourgeois, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, on February 3, 1900. She was the second child of Eugenie Landry and Damien Burke. Celeste Anne's only sibling was Abraham Alfred Damien Burke. She and her family are descended fom Antoine Bourg and Antoinette Landry, and are historically Acadian.

From the transcribed River Bourgeois church records... (This link was found by searching for RBParish.html. Should it change, try the search.)

Born : Burke, Celeste Anne, Feb 3, 1900, to Damien Burke & Eugenie Landry

Celeste Anne's godparents were Cyprien Burke and Susie Thibeau.

Note : a somewhat common name in Acadian records was "Celestin", from which the name "Celeste Anne" may have evolved.

Note: when hearing Celeste Anne's name pronounced, the last syllable sounded like "stan". When neice Theresa Longhurst pronounced it, it sounded like "Stella-Stan" to me, probably because Stella (Welch) was a family friend and I was trying yto make sense of the name. Celeste Anne's granddaughter thought it sounded like "Selestan".


Census records...

This is a snippet from the 1911 Census. Entries are for Damien, Eugenie, Ann, Fred D. and his wife Ellen Jane, and their daughters Lillian and Angela. Note: "Cannes" is a municipal division of River Bourgeois, on the south side.


On January 15, 1917, young Celeste Anne married Peter Abraham Landry (born October 14, 1892, son of Lamond (Armand) Landry and Sarah Richard). Follow this link to see more details on the ancestry of Peter Landry.

Celeste Anne and Peter had nine childen: Clarence, Arthur, Leo, Mary, Helen, Jean, Lorraine, Stephen, and Edmond.

Peter worked as a carpenter in Boston when his children were young, and on the famous Keltic Lodge in the highlands of Cape Breton. Peter was a fisherman in the 1940's and 1960's, with son Leo, until Peter retired (when first eligible for Canada's Old Age Pension, at age 70, in 1962).

The Sea Vamp, Peter and Leo's first boat.

The Skeeter, Peter and Leo's second boat.

Anne Landry comments... In 1945, my Dad came back from the war and started fishing with Peter, his father, on the Sea Vamp. A few years later they built the Skeeter together, which they put it in service around 1948-1949. They had extended the boat shed in the yard at our house so they'd have room to build the boat inside. They fished together during lobster/mackerel/cod season (May/June). Don't know (what to call) the style but the Skeeter had a boat house they put on the front when they went for overnight fishing trips. I remember seeing the boat house in the field when not in use and us getting scolded for climbing on it.

Peter Landry loading lobster traps on the Skeeter.

Peter Landry mending fishing nets.

Anne's story about the Skeeter... "Dad was telling us about one time when he and grandpa had fished off Cheticamp and the buyers wouldn't buy their catch of cod at the wharves until all the regular fleet was in and had sold all theirs (they didn't like other people fishing off their waters). Anyway, grandpa got angry and left the wharf at 5:00 p.m. because they needed a few hours before dark to make it around Inverness and through the causeway. Everyone told them they should hold up in port because there was a bad storm approaching but grandpa figured they'd get in ahead of the storm, so he decided to leave anyway since they couldn't sell their catch. They'd try pulling into Port Hood to see if they could sell their fish there. Well the storm blew in before they got to Port Hood and they had a wild trip to reach there by nightfall. Dad said they took on lots of water before they reached the harbour. The "packing box" had come loose so they had to bail out and repair that. During a calm in the weather, grandpa decided to head out again for River Bourgeois. Apparently the storm wasn't done yet and by the time they reached Port Hawkesbury it was pretty nasty. He wasn't too sure they'd make it either, but grandpa was a tough old fisherman and 'stubborn' too... He remembers it was early morning by the time they finally reached River Bourgeois. They heard later that apparently one of the buyers' trucks had stopped in Port Hood asking if they'd seen grandpa and dad since they felt sure they'd perish in that storm."

Anne Landry remembers... "I have memories of watching him (Peter) and Dad (Leo) at the fish filleting table and being amazed at how fast and accurate he could fillet hundreds of mackerel without cutting his fingers."

Peter decided to invest in the River Bourgeois Mutual Telephone Company. He became a shareholder and supplied the wood for the telephone poles along the south side so they could get the phones connected. His was one of the first families in River Bourgeois to have a phone.

Theresa (Celeste Anne's neice) remembers... "Uncle Peter had a boat and would give Lou and I rides in it when we were young (even though our mother forbid it)."


This period photo (left) shows part of the propertry belonging to Peter and Celeste Anne on the South Side. Click on it to see it enlarged. A rustic setting with a view of the North Side in the distance.

The second photo (right) is described by Anne Landry as..."Celeste Anne and (her son) Clarence...the old hen house and woodpile. Dad's boatshed is behind the henhouse."


Celeste Anne worked at this lobster canning factory located at the end of the southside road just past her' and Peter's house. Granddaughter Anne: "She didn't have far to walk to get to work but they did long hours for ten cents (an hour). My grandfather (maternal side, Joseph P. Burke) worked there, too, one winter and bought himself a winter jacket with his earnings. That was big money in those days."

Lobster canning factory behind schooner (unidentified).

N.S. Archives... Links to image source.
N.S. Archives... Links to image source.

Anne Landry comments... The three large warehouses across the harbour from the lobster canning factory were built by George Edward Bissett in the days when River Bourgeois was a thriving center of commerce. George had earlier bought the land and buildings of a pre-established fishing business from Queen Victoria in 1837.


Celeste Anne Burke


Peter and Celeste Anne, 60th wedding anniversary, 1977. Then, Celeste Anne at a granddaughter's wedding in 1981.

Celeste Anne, 90th birthday February 3, 1990. The cake, decorated by Don Eisenhaur, has a replica of their house in River Bourgeois.

At age 96 and 97, respectively.


This file last modified 2/21/2016...

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