MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada

Will O'Brien of Cape Broyle

Will O'Brien is listed in Leach's notebooks as being 75 in 1950. Census data suggests he may be either of the following individuals:

William O'Brien was a fisherman. He and his wife Mary were both born in 1874. Their sons Alphonsus and Basil were both fishermen and were born in 1906 and 1916 respectively. Daughter Bridget was born in 1911.

The other possibility was a fisherman also named William O'Brien who was born in 1875. His wife Sarah, a homemaker, was born in 1881. Their son Michael, also a fisherman, was born in 1915. Thomas was born in 1919, Hilda in 1921, and Olive in 1925. Daughter Catherine, born in 1912, married a Duggan, and had a daughter, Ellen, in 1935.

Leach collected five songs from Will: "Henry Green," "The Dying Ranger," "Charles O'Neil," "Sweet Gertie," and "Patrick's Day,"