CANISTEO — This scribbler’s den is walled with ancestral artifacts that tell the story of a nautical family from maritime Canada whose members have since the 1700s sailed blue water frequently in wooden schooners crafted in the family shipyard.

Two old sepia-toned photographs have particular relevance on those Southern Tier walls, because the two three-masted schooners portrayed sliding into Shelburne Harbour around 1915 had as a cabin boy on those maiden voyages this writer’s dad, A. Walter Bruce.

The shipyard founder was Alfred D. Bruce, captain of each vessel and the man for whom this writer was named.

The scenes are typically nautical, with greased parallel ways that speeded the craft into the cold water for a half-day sail to test every caulked seam and wrought iron hook turned into solid Nova Scotia oak or imported oriental teak.

The tall masts were shaped from native pine that shipbuilders have used since before the 1700s, when this author’s forefathers left the highlands of Scotland to live in a new world nautical settlement with colonists loyal to George III.

Europeans who arrived before United Kingdom, Brits were labeled Acadians in the era preceding the American Revolution.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem Evangeline describes the betrothal of the fictional Acadian girl Evangeline Bellefontaine to her beloved, Gabriel Lajeunesse, and their separation as the British deported more than 10,000 citizens from Acadia, the French label for Nova Scotia (New Scotland in Latin) to the United States and what eventually became Louisiana. Today those descendants are called Cajuns.

The poem follows Evangeline across the American colonies as she spends years searching for her fiancé and sometimes was near Gabriel without realizing it.

Finally she settled in Philadelphia and, as an old woman, worked among the poor. While tending the dying during an epidemic she found among the ill the sick Gabriel, who died in her arms.

My Dad remembered vividly the shakedown cruises from his father’s shipyard around maritime Canada (Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island) and the rugged but enchanting life aboard wooden ships in the early 20th century. Most cabin boys didn’t enjoy the lofty excesses that the shipyard’s youngest son naively enjoyed each time he went to sea aboard his father’s vessels.

Faces of grandparents reaching back to the 1700s show a pictorial history of decades of Bruces who lived in inhospitable surroundings on a province that many people accurately call Canada’s most impoverished.

Other Spectator columns of type have described a diploma from a Nova Scotia university that startled long-time friends of this columnist because it was granted to my grandfather, the ancestor for whom I was named. Too many of those wits have suggested the certificate is chronically accurate and assumes that I died sometime in the 1800s, as the diploma certifies.

A slightly more sinister tombstone from the Shelburne Anglican cemetery features Grandfather’s and my name in shocking clarity, especially outrageous if you‘re still alive.

Columnist Al Bruce covers education news for The Spectator.