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George E Riley - A Quick Summary on His Life


·         George’s date of birth is taken as June 21, 1874, the birth day coming from the birth day on his death certificate, while the birth year was taken from an affidavit signed by his mother Mary Jane and is consistent with a number of other sources. George’s death certificate gives his date of birth as June 21, 1872 a date prior to his parents marriage; the date ascribed in the 1901 census is November 14, 1874.


·          George is shown as a 7 year old with his family on Hessian Line in the 1881 census, and as a 16 year old in the same circumstances in 1891.


·         In 1901 George appears to be living in Grand Pre, Kings County where he is listed as a 26 year old “domestic” in the household of one John Martin. To date he has not been located in the 1911 census.


·         The factual detail of George’s life is not well known:

    • Jennie Fahie, George’s niece, who as a teenager/young woman knew George personally, indicated he “never got along with the girls”; this would be consistent with the “single” designation on his death certificate. 
    • According to Jennie George’s vocation was that of peddler with a focus on vegetables and fish.
    • Jennie’s sister R Kathy Bradley recalled in 2000 that George had “scary eyes”.  
    • Although brothers George and Boyd sometimes lived as adults at their Mother's house at the same time, Jennie Fahie related in 2005 that they never spoke and were “afraid of each other” to the point of sleeping in same room with loaded guns for "protection".
    • George lived in the Bridgetown-Kentville area later in life; he was apparently living in the Paradise, NS area at the time of his mother’s death in 1939.
    • George apparently owned a horse which was trained to get him home from practically anywhere. The horse came in particularly handy when he had had too much to drink.
    • Jennie Fahie in 2005 related that George drank a lot and at one point apparently chased a “fat Annapolis lawyer” with whom he was doing business up the town street with a gun!

·         George died in a cabin fire at Mount Hanley on the North Mountain; the fire was interpreted as an accident by the police/coroner. Jennie Fahie indicated that her father identified the body and that the body apparently displayed bullet holes attributed to a box of exploding shells on the windowsill; brother Bill believed he was murdered. There was no reference to shells or bullet holes in the Coroner's Report, nor in the media report.


·         From the Bridgetown Monitor, Wednesday, April 2, 1947:   Found Dead in Cabin


Charred Body of George Riley - Last Seen Alive March 13 - No Present Clue as to Cause of Fatality

      This afternoon the charred remains of the body of George Riley were found in the same lonely cabin in which he has been living south of Elliott Lake, which is a few miles northeast of Clarence in the North Mountain. Identity was established from the fact he had been known to be living there alone for some time back and also from the presence of a few watches in the cabin which he was in the habit of taking there from time to time to make repairs.

      The exact circumstances and the time of his death are not known, but he was last seen in that vicinity previous to March 13. The body was found a few feet from where the bunk in which he slept was located. No money except some small change was found in the cabin. The bills, if he had any, were gone and very likely burned up when the blaze consumed his clothes and other belongings which he had with him.

      Wednesday a constable Manlows and another constable accompanied Dr. L. B. Braine of Annapolis Royal (county coroner), to the place and with them went the deceased's brother William Riley of Beaconsfield and a number of others including Chester Barteaux and C. Wilson, Clarence.

      There appeared to be nothing as far as we can learn at present which would throw any real light on the time of his death or by just what means it occurred. The cabin where the body was found was only about 10 by 12 feet before the fire destroyed it.


·         George’s remains were reported to have been buried in Pine Grove cemetery, Middleton, NS.


RAR - 17.03.08

Updated - 15.02.13