Private road name change for veterans decided by South Algonquin

SOUTH ALGONQUIN - It started off on social media as a way to recognize the contribution of an Algonquin First Nation family to the Canadian military. At a time of truth and reconciliation, it became an issue that divided a township. Six Jocko brothers from the village of Madawaska joined the Canadian military. Five of them served in the Second World War: Peter, James, Leo, Matt and Patrick. James had a 35-year career with the military. A sixth son, William served in Korea as a peacekeeper. The brothers were the children of Paul Jocko and Mary (nee LeValley). There were three sisters too, Margaret, Katie and Cecilia. They all grew up on the Jocko homestead in the village of Madawaska, close to the Madawaska River, about a hundred metres off Highway 60, close to where the old Owen Sound to Ottawa railway ran. One of the couple’s granddaughters, Katie’s daughter, Jane Ann Chartrand said, when the boys came home on leave, they would bring their friends. These would be high times of music and shared food. There is a recollection, shared within the family, of the boys in their uniforms standing outside the homestead, waiting to return to their units, when James said, “Muster up boys, muster up.” They all stood to attention facing their mother and saluted. She faced them, dressed in a coat and hat the boys had given her, tears running down her cheeks. Jane Ann said her grandmother was not crying, but her tears revealed her inward emotions. The brothers marched down a laneway, to the railway. They walked west along the rail bed to the station in Madawaska village. The boys boarded the train heading eastwards, back past their homestead. Members of their family looked into the carriages to see the brothers one last time, but it was hard to see through the windows. The brothers might have looked up that laneway to take a last memory of their family before going overseas. Jane Ann said that laneway was known as Jocko Road, it went to their homestead once owned by Paul Jocko. That, said Jane Ann, would have been how it was known in the village, the road to the Jocko homestead. It would have been the road home for the boys when they returned from the Second World War, where they served in the army. At that time, First Nations people were not allowed in the Air Force or Navy. Paul Jocko was born in 1867 and was given the 100 acre land grant in Madawaska and built the homestead in 1916. It was unusual for First Nations to be given land grants, Jane Ann said. To read the full story, pick up a copy of the July 18 paper.