Joseph MacInnis (1890-1928)

"Made One Tune in His Life"

Although his life was tragically cut short, Joe MacInnis left a lasting impression on his community of Port Hood for his natural gifts in singing and music.

Joseph MacInnis (1890-1928) was the son of Catherine Ann (Campbell) and Ronald MacInnis. He was a talented musician, well remembered for his legendary voice. The Antigonish “Casket” referred to him as having “unusual musical attainments…While still a shy little lad, singing in the choir of his native parish of St. Peter’s, Port Hood, it was recognized that he possessed a voice of rare merit. This voice was later to become the pride and delight of his parish and prove an 'open sesame' to the home and hearts of good people wherever he went.”

Joseph died tragically in New Brunswick on January 25, 1928 where he worked as a Construction Foreman. On January 21, he was called out to supervise maintenance work. He found conditions very bad owing to the large amount of gas that had accumulated but he stayed at his post until his shift ended. After reaching his boarding house, he became seriously ill and was taken to hospital. The "Port Hood Greetings" contained the following news of his death:

Seldom have the people of Port Hood received news as sad as that carried over the wire on Wednesday of last week, announcing the death of Joseph MacInnis of Port Hood at Grand Falls, NB. Only a few short weeks ago, the late Mr. MacInnis was home on a visit. The cause of death was due to gas poisoning which he received while at work at the Hydro Electric Plant at Grand Falls. He was placed in the hospital at Grand Falls on Sunday evening and on Wednesday morning passed away, fortified by the last Sacrament of the Catholic Church. 

The late deceased was one of the most popular young men of Port Hood. Besides his likeable disposition and strength of character, he was possessed of natural gifts in singing and music much above the average. His powerful voice so often heard in song, coupled with his splendid character had gained for him hosts of friends wherever he went. This was strongly testified to by the expressions of sympathy and last tributes to the dead given by the people of Grand Falls and by the large number of friends in his hometown and throughout the County who assembled to pay their last respects to his memory. [...]

After a Requiem Mass sung in the church which his voice had been so often heard as a member of the choir, he was followed to the graveside by many friends gathered to say a last farewell.

Joe MacInnis recorded a fiddle tune, which appeared on John Allan Cameron’s first album, “Here Comes John Allan Cameron.” While little is known about the tune and how Joe came to record it, the liner notes contain the following reference, “Joe MacInnis was a singer from Port Hood who, according to Donald Angus Beaton, made one tune in his life.”



The approximate of Joseph MacInnis' headstone in the Old St. Peter’s Parish Cemetery, Port Hood