Historical Notes

The last village constable

One of the more colourful of Jean Goyetche's descendants was Guillaume C. (Billy) Goyetche, born in 1882, who served as the police constable in St. Peters, Nova Scotia. The following is from a newspaper article published on August 13, 1980. In earlier times every small community had its local characters and one of the fondest in St. Peters memories was the last village constable, Billy Goyetche. Billy's main occupation was the hauling of freight in his horse-drawn freight wagon from the railway station to the local merchants, moving household goods from one house to another, and so on. He was also the driver of the village hearse, which he referred to as the Thingamajig. This old hearse, which is still in the possession of Alex and Ruth Morrison, had several secret compartments known to Billy as the 'for'ard hatch' and the 'after hatch'. Originally designed to carry necessary gear, Billy was in the habit of using them as hidden storage compartments for his wine. As village constable, Billy had a paddy wagon which was actually a small dump cart. And as a drinking man, he sometimes tended to become more exuberant in the exercise of his duties after a glass or two. On one occasion, while carting Bill Kelly to the local lock-up, Billy was less than gentle with his prisoner. He more or less tossed Kelly into the paddy wagon so that Kelly's head was hanging over one side and bumping against the wheel. But each time Kelly would try to sit up, Billy pushed him back down. So that by the time Kelly arrived at the lock-up, there was a patch of hair worn right off his head. One of Billy's jobs as constable was to keep people lined up and orderly while waiting for the distribution of the local mail. Some say his job was made more difficult because the sorting and handing out of the mail took such a long time, supposedly because the staff felt obliged to read each and every letter before handing it on. Billy was well liked by the local youngsters but Halloween is Halloween. Billy was assigned to guard the fence near the Cosy Corner when he had the urge to quench his thirst. When he returned from his visit to the for'ard hatch what was blocking his way but the very fence he was supposed to be guarding. In exasperation at one year's collection of pranksters. Billy fired several rounds into the air from his .38 revolver. Rumor had it that he was just using blanks but according to one of the pranksters several bullets were later found in the shingles of the showhouse. Near the end of his reign, as the horse was beginning to give way to the automobile, a large car was seen speeding toward the canter of the village. Billy, dressed in his working clothes, spotted the car and was waiting in the middle of the village when it arrived. Billy waved the car down and proceeded to lecture the driver on the necessity of driving at a safe and reasonable speed through St. Peters. "And who are you?" the well-dressed woman behind the wheel asked saucily. Billy reached up to the strap of his overalls, turned it outward so that the driver could see his badge, and warned: "Beware of the man in the overhauls."
The Goyetche Family Genealogy

Billy and Thingamajig