John MacLennan Jr.
- Born: 13 Mar 1863, Dorchester, Canada
- Marriage (1): Margaret Ann Gibbs in 1887 in Port Huron, Michigan
- Died: 1 Dec 1925, St. Joseph Hospital, Flint, Michigan at age 62
- Buried: Lake View Cemetery, Port Huron, Michigan
Notes by Ken Miller, August, 1995.
I never knew my Grandfather MacLennan, as he died before I was born.
He was Canadian, and I don't know if he ever became an American citizen after moving to Michigan. He worked for the Grand Trunk Railroad, and lost an arm in a switching accident. After that he became a crossing watchman. This used to be pretty common occupation, as the tracks would cross city streets at grade level. The watchman would be in an elevated house to give him a good view, and when trains approached he would actuate the mechanism to lower the barrier arms, and sound the warning alarm.
Sometime later, I believe he became a railroad telegrapher. We used to have two of his telegraphers sets around the house. Each set was mounted on an oak base, and had a key and an electromagnetic coil. When the key was closed the coil woud pick up a hinged metal plate, causing a click. When the key was opened, the plate would return to its original position. The Morse code dots and dashes were really the intervals between clicks. As the sets were wired in parallel, each key would actuate both sets simultaneously.
Jack and I would periodically run wires up and down the stairs, hook up a dry cell, and send messages to each other. So we learned Morse code at a fairly early age.
One of the guns we always had around the house was a single-shot 12 ga. Ithaca shotgun. This had been Grandfather MacClennan's gun, and I'm told he used to hunt quail and partridge with it, and successfully. With one arm, this had to be quite a trick.
We always had his gold railroad watch around the house, and I wound up with it after my parents died. It still keeps excellent time.
John married Margaret Ann Gibbs in 1887 in Port Huron, Michigan. (Margaret Ann Gibbs was born on 2 Apr 1863 in Canada, died on 27 Jul 1916 in Ray Street, Flint, Michigan and was buried in Lake View Cemetery, Port Huron, Michigan.)