Baltimore's Mansion introduces us to the Johnstons of Ferryland, a Catholic colony founded by Lord Baltimore in the 1620s on the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland, and centres on three generations of fathers and sons. Filled with heart-stopping description and a cast of stubborn, acerbic, yet utterly irresistible family members, it is an evocation of a time and a place reminiscent of Wayne Johnston's best fiction. (From Vintage Canada)
I am foreborn of spud runts who fled the famines of Ireland in the 1830s, not a man or woman among them more than five foot two, leaving behind a life of beggarment and setting sail for what since Malory were called the Happy Isles to take up unadvertised positions as servants in the underclass of Newfoundland.
Having worked off their indenture, they who had been sea-fearing farmers became seafaring fishermen and learned some truck-augmenting trade or craft that they practised during the part of the year or day when they could not fish.
In reverse order: Johnston. Johnson. Jonson. Jenson...MacKeown. "Mac" in Gaelic meaning "son" and Keown "John."
From Baltimore's Mansion by Wayne Johnston ©1999. Published by Vintage Canada.