CelticGenealogy- From Scotland- To Canada
A Tale of Two Families - Adoption and Birth Rights, Secrets and Death.
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Hugh Gillis


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Generation: 1

  1. 1.  Hugh Gillis (son of John Dan Gillis and Mary Catherine Gillis).

Generation: 2

  1. 2.  John Dan Gillis

    John married Mary Catherine Gillis. Mary (daughter of Malcolm Hugh Gillis and Mary MacFarlane) was born 28 Sep 1888. [Group Sheet]

  2. 3.  Mary Catherine Gillis was born 28 Sep 1888 (daughter of Malcolm Hugh Gillis and Mary MacFarlane).
    1. Angus Gillis
    2. John Gillis
    3. 1. Hugh Gillis
    4. Mary Gillis
    5. Michael Gillis

Generation: 3

  1. 6.  Malcolm Hugh Gillis was born 5 Sep 1856 (son of Hugh Bridge Gillis and Mary Gillis); died 23 Sep 1929.

    Other Events:

    • Count of Children: 18
    • Count of Children: 18
    • Count of Marriages: 2
    • Count of Marriages: 2
    • Occupation: Teacher
    • Occupation: Teacher
    • Census: 4 Apr 1881, Young's Bridge, Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada
    • Census: 4 Apr 1881, Young's Bridge, Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada


    He was a composer, of celtic music, poet and teacher. He was a Gaelic poet in that resided with his family at SouthWest Margaree Cape Breton Nova Scotia. He was known as The Bard of Margaree for his many musical compositions and poems. Malcolm was born at SouthWest Margaree, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada and died on the farm on which he was born in his 73rd year. He fathered 17 children and was married twice. He is buried in South West Margaree St Joseph's Cemetery. In 1978 a cairn was erected at the foot of the Gillis family farm paying tribute to his life. Two Canadian musical artists are currently performing two of his most famous compositions. They are Nighean Donn A'Chuil Reidh (Brown Haired Maiden of The Smooth Tresses) and Bal Na H-Aibhne Deas (Ball at Southwest Margaree). He was proficient playing the bagpipes, piano/organ, but is most noted for his playing of the violin. Two silver cups awarded to him from a fiddle contest in the United States and is a testament to his playing ability. Alexander MacLaren & Sons, Glasgow, Scotland published a book of his work ‘Smeorach Nan Cnoc's Nan Gleann' in 1939. A new book ‘The Songster of the Hills and the Glens' was published in 2004 that contains additional works and family history not included in the original 1939 book. In 1978 on a BBC broadcast program of Cape Breton Culture, Professor Norman MacDonald of Celtic Studies at the University College of Cape Breton, Sydney, Nova Scotia noted that, "Gillis deserves wider recognition as by far the best nature poet writing anywhere in Gaelic between 1830 and 1930."



    Malcolm Gillis - Obituary "The Casket" (Antigonish, Nova Scotia) 10 October, 1929. September 23, 1929 Gillis - Sad was the news spread around the morning of Sept. 23, 1929, that Malcolm H. Gillis, Upper Margaree, was dying. Father Chisholm was soon at his bedside, administered the last rites of the Church, and he died a few hours later in his 73rd year. He had a light attack of paralysis a year ago, from the effects of which he never completely recovered. Mr. Gillis began teaching school when quite young, and followed it up, though not continuously, for some forty years, when he was put on the pension list. At the same time he had charge of the homestead, which he managed skillfully, making considerable improvements thereon until failing health obliged him to retire from active work. He ranked high as a musician, his performances on the violin being exceptionally good, often winning prizes at competitions all over the country. He-was church organist for many years, often making great sacrifices in order to teach sacred music to young people in the parish. He composed many songs of considerable merit, in both English and Gaelic. He immortalized his native district in "Cnoic us Glinn a Bhraighe", a song that is very popular wherever the Gaelic language is spoken. Many a gathering he enlivened and cheered with music and song, and his company was always sought after. He was hardly ever heard uttering a cross or an offensive word, and he made hosts of friends wherever he moved. He was twice married, first to Mary McFarlane, issue one daughter Catherine, Mrs. John Dan Gillis, Upper Margaree. His second wife, who survives him, is Margaret McFarlane, issue 17 children, two of whom died in infancy. Minnie and Dougald died of the "flu"; John Joe of pneumonia; and the following are living: Mrs. John Alex McFarlane, Upper Margaree; Mrs. William Cocker, Framingham; Mrs. AJ. MacIntyre, Boston; Hugh, in New Bedford, Mass.; Alex, in Boston; Annie, Agnes, James, Malcolm, Ambrose, John A, and Angus B. at home (the last two arriving from Boston and New York one day late for the funeral). One brother Angus in Allston, Mass.; and one sister, Maggie, at home also survive. The funeral cortege was a large one, many people coming from far and near to pay their last respect to their departed friend. The mournful strains of the piobmhor (Great Highland Pipes) on the shoulders of Allan MacFarlane reverberated among the hills that he loved so dearly, as the procession wended its way from his home to the church. Requiem high mass was celebrated by Rev. R.H. MacDougall, Margaree Forks, while in the sanctuary were seated Father Chisholm, Pastor, and Father MacKeough, Tracadie, while Father Cormier, Margaree, ably assisted the choir. Father Dougald McEachern, Arisaig, was obliged to return home the day before. The death of Malcolm Gillis has left his friends the poorer, and his place is hard to fill. May his soul rest in peace.

    Malcolm married Mary MacFarlane. Mary died 28 Sep 1888; was buried Sep 1888, St. Joseph's Church Cemetery, South West Margaree, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. [Group Sheet]

  2. 7.  Mary MacFarlane died 28 Sep 1888; was buried Sep 1888, St. Joseph's Church Cemetery, South West Margaree, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada.


    Malcolm's first wife. She died following the birth of Mary Catherineon Sept 28, 1888

    1. 3. Mary Catherine Gillis was born 28 Sep 1888.

Generation: 4

  1. 12.  Hugh Bridge Gillis was born 12 Nov 1818 (son of Angus Gillis and Margaret Gillis).


    Hugh was 5 years old in 1823 when he came to S.W Margaree Cape Breton,NS. He and his family came over from Morar Scotland in 1821 to NS.

    1881 CENSUS
    Birth Year <1818> Birthplace Scotland Age 63 Occupation Farmer Marital Status M Ethnic Origin Scottish Head of Household Hugh GILLIS Religion Catholic

    Hugh married Mary Gillis. Mary was born 1825; died 1864. [Group Sheet]

  2. 13.  Mary Gillis was born 1825; died 1864.
    1. Angus Gillis
    2. Margaret Gillis
    3. 6. Malcolm Hugh Gillis was born 5 Sep 1856; died 23 Sep 1929.
    4. Catherine Gillis was born 15 Aug 1859; died 26 May 1885.
    5. Angus Gillis was born 7 Feb 1861.