of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Chapter XI - River Inhabitants
This district is old, solid
and strong. It is a rural community of the good natural type. The rugged
and racial qualities of the people would seem to be a reflex of the stern,
impressive, landscape. Looking towards the North you imagine the bold
mountains of River Dennis are gazing down upon you with lofty disdain.
Towards the South and Southeast there are vistas of virgin woods and wild
spaces awaiting the sealed orders of the future. On the low-lying levels
the mighty river, from which the district takes its name, is speeding
along with the irresistible dash of a young and proud democracy going to
vote. All along this river (you fall) now and anon, upon large areas of
productive meadow lands. Even the uplands here are heavy and fertile.
Given suitable markets and transportation here, we can see no reason why
the farmers should worry. The settlements adjoining the river, and those
within easy distance thereof, are comparatively prosperous, and very
The inhabitants are all, or
nearly all, of Scottish descent. They are physically strong and utterly
fitted to the burdens of their lot. The language, customs and traditions,
of the ancient Sireland are dear to them still, as evidenced by their
fondness of Gaelic, Highland Games and Ghost stories. To their matured and
trained legendary min ds, such a Ghost as "the innocent Ellen of
Antigonish" would not be worth wintering.
The MacGregors of Askilton,
C.B. were early pioneers from Loch Torridon, Scotland. The father and
mother passed away many years ago. John, Roderick, Anne, Jessie, Jane,
Kate and Maggie were well known to many of the past generation. Maggie was
married to John Gillis, W. Bay Points. Her son Alexander Gillies is now on
the old homestead, and his daughter, Barbara Jane is Mrs. David M.
MacPherson on the adjoining farm. Alexander Gillies had two sons and three
MACPHERSONS, ASKILTON, C.B.
Alexander MacPherson came
from Caithness, Scotland to Cape Breton among the early pioneers. He was
the father of Adam Macpherson and grandfather of the late David, Roderick
and William MacPherson, of the same place. Great grandsons of Alexander
are on the old homestead now.
children: Adam, David, Alexander, Adam lived at Askilton, David at
Sunnyside, C.B.; Alex. at Manchester, Guysboro Co.; J. D. MacPherson, Port
Hawkesbury is a son of James son of David.
DOWLINGS, RIVER INHABITANTS.
Patrick Dowling from
Ulster, Ireland settled at N. W. Arm, River Inhabitants, sometime before
1800. He received a letter from the Old Country in the old days with a
charge for postage of three shillings and six pence! This was via Plaster
Cove. Another letter about the same time was in care of Mr. Bellam,
Merchant, Arichat. This Patrick was supposed to be lost at sea near
Scatterie, C.B., coming from Newfoundland with Capt. Landry in the great
gale of 1811.
His son, John, was about
six months old and Alex. about seven years when their father was lost.
Their mother and Mrs. Captain Landry were left widows at the same time.
Mrs. Landry had two sons, Simon and Abram and lived in Arichat.
Patrick Dowlings' wife was
Isabella daughter of Alexander MacPherson of Caithness, Scotland, who made
his home at River Inhabitants.
John Dowling, Patrick's
son, married Betsey MacIntyre, River Denys, Children: Dan, Peter,
Archibald, Alex. John L., D. B., Wm. (a sea Captain), Isabel, Margaret and
Mary Ann married Scott
Heughan Port Hastings and left one daughter, Bessie, who lives with her
father at the old Heughan home on the Hawkesbury Road.
Alexander Dowling, pioneer
Patrick's son, married Annie MacIntyre, River Denys and made his home at
Riverside. Children: Peter, James, David, Archie, and Donald John, and a
daughter, Mrs. Wm. MacPherson, Askilton; David still lives at Riverside.
John L. Dowling and Peter
L., N. W. Arm had their father's homestead.
There are Catholics and
Protestants in this district, the former, we are advised, predominating
numerically. We are not aware that there is a Protestant minister within
the district, but we know some of the non-Catholics there and can vouch
for their average intelligence and respectability. We presume they are
affiliated with some neighboring congregations who are fortunate enough to
have a resident Pastor. We regard it as a great loss to any body of
Christians to be without the light and leading of an interested and
resident spiritual guide.
There is a fine Catholic Church and presbytery
at Glendale, together with a valuable glebe farm, all of which is very
creditable to the Catholics there. Before Glendale was erected into a
separate and independent ecclesiastical division, it had to be served by
priests from other parishes, as the R. C. churches at Princeville and the
Basin are still served. In the year 1874 Glendale was made and constituted
into a distinct mission by itself, and given the Reverend Donald MacIsaac
as its first resident parish priest in 1875. The present church edifice in
Glendale was built in 1877, and the present presbytery in 1890 under the
direction and administration of Reverend Donald MacIsaac,. a native of our
county, and a holy priest now deceased. Before coming here Father MacIsaac
was parish priest at Ingonish for a short period, and for a long term of
years at the Grand Narrows.
He remained and labored at Glendale
continuously from 1875 to 1901 or until his health got so impaired that he
was obliged to retire from the official service of the ministry. Then, he
returned to his people and built for himself on the farm formerly owned by
his father, a beautiful house in which he died. He was the first person
that was buried in the cemetery of Stella Maris at Inverness. That
cemetery is a part of the farm which was originally his father's, and on
which he was born. Upon that same farm are built and situated the Catholic
church building (Stella Maris), the Glebe House, the Convent, the two
large Convent Schools, the Public Building (comprising the Post Office,
Custom House and Telegraph Office) all the plant of the Inverness Ry. and
Coal Company at No. 1, and a large section of the town of Inverness, and
all within sight of good Father Donald's grave.
Father MacIsaac was succeeded at Glendale by
Reverend Donald MacPherson, a young priest of remarkable zeal and energy,
who is now in charge of the parish of Port Hood. At the beginning of the
horrid war in 1914, Fr. MacPherson was one of the very first of the
Catholic clergy of Nova Scotia to offer his services as Chaplain to the
noble young forces, who were hurriedly and peremptorily called out to
defend the Sovereignty of our common Empire. He faced that terrible
conflict in its worst climes and conditions, and has bravely earned the
best that can be given him. A serious token of more serious service are,
in his mouth, the words. Pro Deo et Rege.
It was after Fr. MacPherson had enlisted in
the biggest crusade of civilized humanity that the present pastor,
Reverend John MacLennan, was designated as a parish priest for Glendale.
He is a native of Broad Cove in this county, and a worthy one. We have had
the privilege- of a brief acquaintance with him, and the great pleasure of
sharing his fine Celtic hospitality; but we had longer and more intimate
acquaintance with the good old people of whom he comes. We are not,
therefore, surprised to learn that he is highly appreciated by the
fortunate flock whom he is commissioned to serve. He is, perhaps, too
young yet, and too keenly alive, to be put away in history; but if the
beginning of his priestly career be an index of what is to follow, he is
destined to command some space in the annals of the time to come.
In 1819 four brothers-stalwart Lochaber
Highlanders - Hugh, Angus, John and Donald sons of Donald MacMaster
(Duncan) settled at Queensville. They were known as "Ridges". (1) Hugh's
wife was Isabel Cameron of Lochaber. They had issue (a) Donald who for
over forty years conducted a mercantile business at Princeville. His wife
was Jessie daughter of Ronald MacEachern (Duncan). She was a sister of
"Wild Archie" and of Big Duncan MacEachern. It is generally thought in
Inverness County that "Big Duncan" was turbulent and aggressive. He was
altogether the reverse. He was never known to seek a quarrel but woe to
him on whom his wrath descended once a quarrel was begun. Donald's family
were Angus, Allan, Daniel, Hugh. Ronald, Duncan, Andrew, Isabel, Margaret,
Mary and Catherine. Angus resides at Port Hood. His first wife was Flora
daughter of Alexander MacDonald (Red Sandy) Judique Ponds. He married
secondly Catherine daughter of Archy son of Donald son of Donald Ban
MacDonald, S. W. Mabou. (b) John married Margaret Chisholm with issue:
Hugh, Jessie and Catherine.. (c) Angus married Margaret MacEachen, Judique,
with issue: Hugh, Angus, Alex. Jessie, Catherine Anne (wife of Daniel
MacIsaac, Port Hood). (d) Duncan married Miss MacEachen, Creignish, and
had three sons and seven daughters. (e) Catherine married Angus MacIsaac,
Creignish Ponds, with issue: five sons and three daughters. (f) Mary
married Donald MacEachen son of John son of Peter MacEachen (Ban) and had
three sons and two daughters. (g) Anne married Angus MacEachen, Glendale,
with issue three sons and two daughters. (2) Angus (Pioneer) married a
Miss MacEachen, Creignish, and had six sons and four daughters none of
whom left issue excepting James (Orangedale), Isabel wife of Captain Angus
MacFarlane and Catherine wife of Angus MacEachen (Archy) River
Inhabitants. (3) John (Pioneer) married a Miss MacDonald, Rear Creignish,
with issue: Hugh (whose son John is a merchant at Queensville), John,
Angus, Alex. Donald and two daughters. (4) Donald Pioneer married Mary
MacDonald of Antigonish with issue: Hugh, Duncan, Alex. Angus, Donald,
Samuel, Anne (Mrs. John MacDonnell, Farquhar) and Jessie (Mrs. Hector
MacDonald);. Alex's daughter Mary MacMaster is proprietress of the
travellers' haven "The Farquhar Hotel", in the charming town of Port
MacEACHERN (GILLESBEAG BAN).
One of the first settlers of Glendale was
Archibald MacEachern-Gillesbeag Ban. He was married twice. By his first
wife, who was a Gillis woman from Antignish and a grand-aunt of Dr. Hugh
MacPherson's of St. F. X. College, he had six sons and two daughters. From
this family are descended all the MacEacherns in around and Glendale.
After the death of his first wife, Gillesbeag Ban got married again to the
widow of Donald Shaw. This widow had by her first husband two little
children named John and Sarah. The mother and two children were staunch
Presbyterians; Gillesbeag Ban and his eight children were strong
Catholics. A conference concerning Home Rule was in order, and duly held.
The result was that the widow and two children embraced the Catholic
religion. The little boy (John Shaw) afterwards became a respected
Catholic Priest in this Diocese. He had charge of the following parishes
in the order named; Cape North, Glace Bay, New Glasgow, and Lakevale. In
the last named parish he crowned a good life by dying the death of the
family deserving of notice here was that of Hugh, MacEachern who came from
Arisaig, Scotland. Three of his sons Alexander, Allan and Ronald, came
with him to River Inhabitants Another son, Reverend Donald MacEachern, a
priest, remained in Glasgow, and never came out to this country. The
maternal uncle of these three sons, Alexander, Allan and Ronald, was the
late Father Allan MacLean P.P. of Judique. Like their celebrated uncle,
both Allan and Ronald MacEachern, could, and did, compose some lilting
Gaelic songs of distinct merit. Some of these songs are still sung with
relish in this district. The lore, wit and song, of these two MacEachern
brothers were much in demand at all the Scottish gatherings of the olden
times. All of that generation have passed away.
Of Alexander's family we have Hugh E.
MacEachern of North Sydney and his sister Sarah in Boston. Allan's family
are dead, save one daughter, Mrs. Luffey of Alliston, Massachusetts, and
"she is a hostess in herself. A visitor to her beautiful home in Alliston
is sure to meet a happy, Highland, welcome. Not a word of English will be
spoken if Mrs. Luffey can have her way.
Patrick MacEachen (Padruig
Ban) was one of the first freeholders at Upper River Inhabitants. He was a
Highland immigrant, was married to a Boyd woman, and had a family of two
sons and five daughters. The names of the sons were John and Donald. John
was a man of immense size and power. He was married to Margaret MacMaster
of Judique, and had five sons and four daughters. It were difficult to
find, even in the days of giants, a family of such physical size and
strength as the family of lain Mac Phadruig. The names of the sons were:
Peter (Padruig Mor), Angus, Donald, Charles and Ronald,-all magnificent
types of the best old Highlanders. And the beauty of it all was that every
one of these men took pains to show that his special strength and power
were given him to help, rather than to hurt, the neighbors. No rowdyism
for them: they were the friends of honor and good conduct.
Donald, the second son of Padriug Ban, was
married to a Mac-Donnell woman, and had four sons and four daughters. And
like unto the family last described, this family of Donalds were, also,
noted for their strength, stature, and fine qualities. The women in these
two families were just as large and noble in soul and body as were the
men. A grandson of Iain MacPhadruig is the Reverend Donald C. MacKay, the
present parish priest of Brook Village.
Among the. early settlers of some of the shore
districts of this county, a group of MacEacherns came to Creignish. (See
sketch of Creignish). Some of these moved later on into other districts.
The Alexander noted above went from Creignish to River Inhabit-ants, and
settled down on a Five Hundred acre farm which his father had secured for
him by Grant. We understand this is the farm now owned and occupied at
Kingsville by John B. MacLellan Esquire.
This Alexander MacEachren was familiarly known
and described as, Allisdair Mac Dhonnachaidh ic lain ic Aillein. He was
married to Sarah MacInnes by whom he had eleven children, namely: John,
Donald, Angus, Archie, Alexander, Duncan, Annie, Jessie, Maggie, Mary and
Katie. He worked hard and got along well on his farm at River Inhabitants.
He used to keep eighteen milch cows, and a proportionate stock of horses,
swine and sheep. All his daughters got married except Jessie.
The daughter, Annie was married to Dongald
Smith, a school teacher, who lived at Glendale, with issue, three sons and
was married to Hugh MacEachern of Glendale and had three sons and four
married to Alex MacEachern of Glendale and had three boys and one girl;
Katie was married to Samuel MacDonald of River Dennis Road, with issue
four sons and four daughters.
Of the sons of Alexander MacEachern four were
married and two, Alexander and Archie, remained single. Alexander Jr.
taught school for quite a number of years, and Archie went to sea in his
was married to a Miss MacDonald and had four sons and four daughters, to
wit; Mrs. Alexander MacDonald of Princeville; Annie, who was married in
Gloucester, Mass.; Katie, married in Boston; and Jessie, single;
Alexander, Allan, Duncan and Angus.
Donald was married to Catherine MacEachern and
had a family of five sons and two daughters, namely; Mary who was married
to Mr. Landry of Gloucester, Mass.; and Sarah married to Hugh MacEachern
of Queensville; Donald of Montana, U.S.A.; Duncan of Gloucester; Angus who
is dead; Captain Alexander of Gloucester, who was well to do and is now
dead; and Johnnie, who was a successful manufacturer in Gloucester, and
died there, leaving quite an estate to his brothers and sisters.
John, son of Alexander Senior, took up 200
acres of land on the rear of Kingsville, now called Maple Brook, which he
converted into a fine, productive farm. He was married to Mary MacInnes
and had three daughters and five sons namely: Jessie, who was drowned in
the river at the age of two years; Sarah, who died at the age of three
years; Jessie, who is still living unmarried at an advanced age; John,
Robert, Hugh, Alexander and Donald.
John died unmarried at the age of 35.
Robert took up 200 acres adjoining his
father's lot and made a good home for himself and family. He was married
to Margaret MacDougall of North Highlands, with issue: three sons and
three daughters namely: Mary who is Mrs. Wentzell of Gloucester; Maggie,
who is Mrs. Hugh MacEachern of Port Hawkesbury; and Jessie of Boston. The
boys were Duncan, John and Dougald. The son John, who was employed as
shot-firer at Marble Mountain was accidentally killed there on the 11th of
August 1910. He was not married. Duncan is on a part of the old homestead,
married to Sarah MacNeil with issue: Neil, Robert, Alex. D, Maggie Bell
and Elizabeth. Dougald resides on another part of his father's property,
and is married to Katie MacEachern with issue: Margaret Marie, Mary, Sarah
Ann, Jessie May and John Robert.
Alexander, brother of Robert Senior was killed
by falling from a building in Boston.
Donald and Hugh got their father's property
and resided thereon. Hugh a plasterer was married to Isabel O. Henly with
issue: John, Angus, Duncan, Bella and Mary Ann. Donald was married to Kate
Chisholm and had John Hugh, John A., Archie, Donald A., Duncan, Mary,
Katie, Mary K., Jane, Jessie and Lizzie.
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