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History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Chapter XIII - District of Strathlorne


The name of Strathlorne was conferred by an Act of the provincial legislature, and was first intended to apply to the valley formerly called Broad Cove Intervale. Now the statutory appellation is extended to the whole municipal district. The territory consists, however, of several distinct sections whose baptismal names defy all changes. We have Black Glen, Strathlorne, North Ainslie, Loch Ban, Campbellton, Black River, North Highlands, Sight Point, Broad Cove Banks and Inverness town.

Along the coast this district runs from the Northeastern boundary of Poplar Grove at Sight Point to the Southwestern boundary of Broad Cove Marsh at Deepdale. It is essentially a Highland district. Nowadays we do not hear so many of the mountain melodies "When the kye comes hame", nevertheless, the succulence of the Gaelic mouthful has not all disappeared. Nor will it, if we are true to type. Otherwise, we shall have our deserts.

There is a Protestant church and a resident minister at Inverness and at Strathlorne. The new Catholic parish of Inverness comprises all of this district except Campbellton and Loch Ban. Studied harmony exists between the different denominations. In numbers the Catholics preponderate, but the majority is not large. There is no sectarian striving for such majorities here. You will hear the church bells of Inverness at Strathlorne, and those of Strathlorne at Inverness, and they sound so much alike that you cannot tell the difference. No jar, no break, no discord. Picture to yourself the delight, on a fine Sunday morning, of hearing this tolling testimony of peace and concord, borne upon the balmy breezes from the valley to the sea. These people are more than Catholics or Protestants; they are Christians all. If exceptions there be, they are so few and ill-advised that good men are ashamed to notice them.

The common schools of this district are not, we regret to say, a shining success. The schools of Inverness town are, of course, an exception. These always maintain a high standard of efficiency. But there are ten rural schools and school sections within this district, not one of which can be called a sparkling institution. Fifty years ago we could find here and there in the rural communities, a clever and creditable school, conducted by a smart and competent young man in the heyday of his ambition. No such thing today. All the country schools of the present day would seem to be of a kind; and over them all, or the most of them, there would seem to hang the chilling spectre of mediocrity, gaunt, grey and hopeless. For this deplorable state of things there are three main causes: 1st, all our young men of talent and education have totally abandoned the teaching profession in this County; 2nd, the pecuniary support provided for our schools is. woefully inadequate; 3rd, there is a marked apathy and indifference among trustees, parents and people, towards our country schools and school children. Woe unto posterity, if these things do not change.

Nearly all the people of this district are farmers who own the land they till. Those who live near the shore, also, engage in fishing at certain seasons. In recent years the young folk have taken to mining at Inverness where there are excellent deposits of bituminous coal. Farms are looking up here, and will continue so to do if care and prudence hold sway. In years gone by the farms here suffered by reason of the exodus of the young people who had to go abroad for employment. The reason for that exodus has ceased to exist, but the call for efficient service at home has grown, and is growing. We trust our sensible farmers, as well as our laborers will realize the opportunities that have come to them. We trust both farmers and laborers will realize that their strength and hope are wrapped up in their fidelity to their own vocational work.

No matter what class we belong to, we are all Canadian citizens. We cannot make national progress except by uniting, and not dividing. The duties that face us, and the burdens that bear us down, are towering and terrible; but if we work loyally together we shall overcome them all; if we work apart, never. Love and labor will conquer all things, if we exercise patience and perseverance, and keep united. Our disunion comes from individual selfishness. Read this from Henry Bordeaux, one of the intellectual "immortals" of France:

"There is no lofty individual destiny. There is no grandeur except in service. One serves his family, his country,. God, art, science, an ideal. Shame be unto him who serves only himself. Man's, honor consists in accepting his subordination."

Listen, also, to another French Philosopher, Brunetiere:-

"If we have suffered from a malady for the past hundred years, it is from the inability to escape from ourselves, to subordinate ourselves to considerations, exigencies, and interests that are supreme. It is from this that we are suffering; and unless we take care, it is from this that we shall die."

GLENVILLE (formerly Black Glen.)

The former name of this place would now be quite misleading. Instead of being "black" this section today is bright with life and prosperity. It is also picturesque and pretty. Not often can one see a more comfortable and contented group of farmers than are the owners and residents of this glen.

The first white man to raise a smoke here was an able Scotsman by the name of Archibald Kennedy. He came from the Island of Canna, Scotland, in 1819 and settled down with his family at Black Glen in 1920. They crossed the ocean in a ship with the ominous name "Victory", landed at Pictou, and spent the first year among friends in Antigonish and Inverness. The family consisted of five sons and one daughter, namely: Ronald, Alexander, John, who was a tailor and never married, Donald, John (Og) and Jane.

Ronald married Margaret McIsaac, daughter of Allan McIsaac of Broad Cove shore with issue: Allan, John, Donald (died in infancy); Archibald, Alexander and Ann.

Alexander was married to Catherine Gillis, sister of Angus the tailor, with issue: John, Donald, John Jr. (died in infancy), Angus, Archibald, Mary and Ann.

Donald was married to Kate, daughter of Hector McKinnon of Big River with issue: John, Archibald, Hector, and Sandy (who died in youth), Angus and John Jr.

None of these Kennedys or their descendants now reside in Glenville except Archibald, son of Donald, who has now reached a round, respectable age, and lives on his father's old farm with the widow and some of the family of John Jr., Donald's son. Angus, son of Donald, who was a blacksmith, is still living in San Francisco, California. All of Ronald's family are dead. Two sons of Alexander, Angus and Archibald, with their families, are still living in Minnesota.

The second man to settle in Black Glen was John McLellan, from Morar, Scotland, and was married coming here. He had the following family, namely: John, Donald, Archibald, Allan, Ronald, Mary, Katie and Margaret. The estate of this John McLellan, the second settler at Black Glen, is now owned and occupied by two of his grandsons, Joseph, son of Allan, and Allan, son of Donald.

The third man to settle at Black Glen was John McLellan (Red). He was married twice before he came here from Morar, Scotland. By the first marriage he had two sons, Donald and Farquhar, who made their homes at Rear Broad Cove Marsh, and had large families. By the second marriage Red John had the following family; Angus, Archibald, John, Ronald, Allan, Margaret, Sarah, Ann and Flora. Angus and Allan remained on the homestead; Ronald was doing business first at Broad Cove Marsh, and afterwards at Strathlorne, where he bought a farm on which he lived and died; Archibald bought a farm in Creignish where he lived and raised a respectable family, .John lived in Judique, and was the father of the late Allan McLellan, High Sheriff of Inverness County, and of R. G. McLellan who was for many years County Clerk of Inverness.

The next to settle in Glenville was another John McLellan from Morar, who came here in or about the year 1822. He was married coming here, and had two sons, John and Donald, and six daughters. 'The son Donald was the father of Andrew McLellan and the late D. D. McLellan. One of the six daughters married the late John Gillis (Red), another the fate Murdock Kennedy of Loch Ban, one married Godfrey Jamieson, and another was married to Donald McKenzie, Brook Village, one to John Campbell of Mull River, one to Hector Campbell of Rear Loch Ban, and the sixth to Allan McIsaac of Foot Cape Strathlorne.

The next and last McLellan to come was Donald McLellan from Morar, familiarly called, DOMHNULL MAC ILLEASBEG. He was married to Flora Gillis and had the following family, namely: Archibald, who died young, John, William and Catherine.

The last to come of Black Glen's old settlers was Angus Gillis, tailor. He was married to a MacDougall woman of South West Margaree by whom he had the following sons and daughters, namely: John, Donald, Alexander, Katie, Flora, Margaret and Sarah. All the daughters died unmarried except Katie who was married to Ronald McArthur of North Cape Mabou. Donald also died unmarried. John and Alexander were married and left large families, some of whom are still doing business at the old, old stand.

STRATHLORNE (formerly B. C. Intervale).

The valley of Strathlorne is a poem of the gods. In the flush of the summer the vale is a dream. Nature planned a master- stroke, when she gifted and gave forth this unique retreat for the weary well minded.

See it in July in all the glory of its green, when the flowers, and plants, the orchards, the trees, the fields and the gardens are offering up their incense to the Great Author. Sit you down outside of a fine evening, when your aching bones are crying for a respite from the heat and rush of existence, when the cooling zephers of the night are playing on your fevered brow like the cosmic "Balm of Gilead", when a calm, clear beneficent sky, effulgent in the lights of heaven, is pouring down its benisons on your devoted head. 7 hen, if you like not your lot or surroundings,-well, you better keep moving.

The first men to settle in the valley of Strathlorne were John McLean (Ban) and his brother, Charles McLean. The two brothers located on farms side by side, at the upper part of the valley adjoining Black Glen, each holding two hundred acres. In after years John (Ban) bought two hundred acres more on which his son Duncan lived.

These two brothers were sons of Roderick McLean who came from the Isle of Rum, Scotland, in 1810, and after a short stay in Prince Edward Island, settled down at Broad Cove shore where now stands the town of Inverness, having acquired four hundred acres of land there. This Roderick McLean was married to Ann McIsaac (sister to Angus McIsaac and Allan McIsaac, two brothers who came from Canna, Scotland, to Broad Cove shore, about the same time) with issue: William, who was for some time in the army, married a Miss McKay and took up two hundred acres of land at Chimney Corner; John and Charles who settled at Broad Cove Intervale; Murdoch, who had served seven years in the Navy, married Mary McGregor, and took up a farm at Port Ban, afterwards sold to Donald Beaton; Neil settled on a farm at Broad Cove Banks where some of his descendants now hold forth; Allan and Donald who became owners of the four hundred acre lot at Broad Cove shore. There were also four daughters, three of whom were married.

Charles McLean of Broad Cove Intervale was married to Sarah McLean of the Isle of Muck with issue; John, Donald, Mary, Catherine, Peggy, and Ann.

John McLean (Ban) was married to Margaret McDougall of the Broad Cove Banks Macdougalls, with issue: Murdoch, Duncan, Charles, John (and two boys who died in infancy and were buried at Broad Cove Chapel), Catherine, Ann, Mary and Margaret.

Murdoch, son of John Ban, was never married and died while visiting relatives in the province of Quebec.
Duncan was married to Rosa Lavery of Lachine, Quebec, with issue: Murdock, John, Charles, Alexander and Neil (all dead); Rosa Jane, married to Donald McLean, Catherine to Wm. P. Fynn, Mary
married Angus McDonald of Boston, and Maggie married Angus McInnis of Boston.

Charles (son of John Ban) was married twice, had one daughter by first and no issue by second wife, spent a large part of his life in Quebec and Ontario, but died in Antigonish.

John (son of John Ban) was married to Margaret McDonald, with issue: Murdoch, Reverend J. Maurice, and John Gunn (who died in the West at the age of eighteen), Annie, married to A. D. McLean, Mary married to A. D. Falconer, Christina, married to J. M. Black, Eva to Walter S. Laurence, Ida married to John MacKinnon, and Rosa to Rev. Alexander Ferguson. Of this interesting family three are dead. Murdoch, as good a son as ever lived, died in the prime of life unmarried; John Gunn died in Colorado at the beginning of a promising young life, and Ida died of diphtheria, leaving a husband and two young children to mourn the loss of a dutiful wife and mother. The old couple are still living, hale and hearty at ninety years. The Reverend Maurice, who had a charge in Chatham, N.B., returned to his parents when they were left alone, and is now directing the operations of Strathlorne's first farm. The old gentleman, in the enjoyment of all his faculties, still delights to work and watch on the homestead of a century. The old lady equally retains her interest in a home of many memories. At the last County Exhibition held at Port Hood on 21st and 22nd of September, 1920, she exhibited a blanket produced wholly by herself. By her own hands, in her ninetieth year, the wool was shorn of the sheep, picked and washed, carded, spun and woven, into a prize blanket. That is the kind of an aged young housewife we can show down here in Inverness. Old John MacLean died since writing above.

The next man to settle at Broad Cove Intervale was John McIsaac, son of Allan of Broad Cove shore already referred to. He took up a vast tract of land here, and was married to Sarah Beaton, and had a family of six sons and five daughters. The sons were Angus, John, Alexander, Donald, Allen and Neil. One of the five daughters was married to Donald McLellan, blacksmith, and had a large family. Another was married to Alexander McIsaac, son, of Murdoch, and had a large family. A third daughter was married .to John Gillis, shoemaker, and had a family. A fourth daughter was married to "Little" John McIsaac, and had one daughter, and the fifth was not married. None of the family of this John Mclsaac is now living. They were a good, interesting and intelligent family. The son Alexander was the late Very Reverend Canon McIsaac of Halifax, who was the first native of Cape Breton Island to be raised to the Catholic priesthood. Several young men entered upon ecclesiastical studies before Fr. Mclsaac, but none got through successfully. This gave rise to an old tradition that no son of Cape Breton was destined to, become a priest. When Father McIsaac was ordained he humorously wrote home to one of his relatives, saying: "the spell is broken, Cape Breton has a priest." The farm of these McIsaacs was very valuable, and its value was enhanced by the erection thereon of a grist mill,, carding mill, and saw mill.

The next settler at Broad Cove Intervale was Murdock McIsaac who, with his three brothers, Alexander, Donald and Angus, appropriated unto themselves all the remainder of the valley of Broad Cove, Intervale. Some of the descendants of Murdoch still occupy a portion of his estate. Some of the heirs or assigns of Donald still hold a portion of his farm, but not a trace now remains of the brother Angus or Alexander. Their properties were bought by Duncan Boyle, Archibald Boyle and Neil McKinnon. The sons and heirs of those purchasers are now in possession, enjoying a happy, prosperous, pastoral life. In fact the home of Mrs. Neil MacKinnon is one of the most comfortable and independent farm homes of this county. Mrs. MacKinnon lives with an only son and daughter both, industrious and thrifty. If you want a practical illustration of honest, human, kindness go to Widow Jessie's. She dispenses her kindness on fundamental principles of religion, and has the wherewith to be kind.

The family of Murdoch MacIsaac noted above became a fixture in Strathlorne, and consisted of two sons and four daughters. One of the daughters was married to Allan McInnis of Rear Loch Ban and had a large family; another was married to James MacDonald (Seumas MacAllisdair) who subsequently moved to the West Coast of Newfoundland; a third daughter, Margaret, was, married first to Angus McIsaac, son of John (Allan) mentioned above, by whom she had one daughter - Red Mary. After the death of her first husband, this Margaret was again married to Alexander MacDougall, Carpenter, of Broad Cove Banks, and had a family elsewhere described. The fourth daughter Isabella was never married, but lived on the old homestead until she reached the age of 97 years.

The sons of Murdoch McIsaac were Angus and Alexander, who shared the parental property in two equal parts. Alexander was married to a daughter of John McIsaac (Allan) and had a large family. He sold his property to Murdoch MacDonald, carpenter of Black River. After a few years MacDonald sold it to D. A. Campbell.

Mr. Campbell built upon it and lived there; but after the death of his first wife, he sold it to Murdoch McLean (Beech Hill), the present occupant.

The son Angus was married to Mary Smith of Broad Cove Chapel with issue:-Mary, Katie, Murdoch, James, John, Hugh, Angus and John Lauchie. The old homestead is now held in severalty by the sons Murdoch and Angus, both of whom have fine families. Murdoch was unfortunate enough to lose by death all his family but one - a very nice daughter Annie. Yet, our friend Murdoch is still the most cheerful man in Strathlorne.

John Kennedy, son of Archibald of Black Glen, acquired a two hundred acre farm at Broad Cove Intervale, and afterwards lived and died thereon. He was a blunt, honest, rough-and-ready gentleman. of the old school. He was married first to Mary McIsaac, daughter of Angus Mclsaac No. 1, Broad Cove shore, with issue: James,. John, Mary and Catherine. Poor Mary! she lingered long with; us as a happy link between the old order and the new. The second time Mr. Kennedy was married to Margaret McKinnon by whom he had Archibald, Angus, Donald, Murdoch and Mary, all of whom died young. Mary was the first wife of our friend, John Walker, the poet of West Lake; we fain would wish that he and we were as young and happy today as he was when he married her. There is none of these Kennedys here now, and the farm has passed into other hands.

Only one of the valley farms remains to be mentioned,-that which was owned and occupied by Hugh McLean, commonly called "Ewin Beag". Little Hughie was one of the wags of the early days, and his droll pleasantries are still remembered, and quoted. He had two sons Allan and Malcolm. The former was married, had a free tongue with an assertive temper, and died away from home. Malcolm spent his life on the homestead, was an industrious farmer and a faultless citizen, and never got married. Hughie had several fine, thrifty and intelligent daughters, one of whom was married to that kind and noble soul, Big Charlie McKinnon, the Blacksmith. The farm is now in the hands of a capable grandson, locally known as "Allan Malcolm."

No history of Strathlorne would be either considerate or complete without some description of some of the men who formerly did business here. We use the word "business" in a wide sense, as an expression of various kinds of public service. In those times people had to be their own artisans; but the most proficient among them were chosen for the service of the community.

Old Archy McIntyre was the chief cooper of the district. He made barrels, firkins, tubs, coolers, churns and coggies. It would be difficult to find a more pleasant and reliable workman. We are quite sure that America never had a cooper who could match him in the force and beauty of his Gaelic speech. Get him in good cheer, and ask him for some of the old Scottish stories. There would be silence and satisfaction, when Archy cleared his throat, and uttered his wonted preliminary observation: "Ah 'a Chial, innsidh mise sin dhuibhse." Wilson's "Tales of the Borders" were not a circumstance to Archy's lore of the hills and Isles, especially when he had a bowl of tea or a glass of grog in him.

Our toiling forbears did not import their boots and shoes in paper boxes. Edward McQuarrie of North Cape was the leading boot and shoe factory in this district. Nothing like his output was seen since he died. His work was as nearly perfect as the work of man can be. Some of the people would not wear any foot-gear that was not made by big Edward. And the good man did not make his millions either.

An itinerant little man by the name of Angus Macaulay was the general threshing mill for the region of Broad Cove Intervale. Poor Angus was dilligent and true, but not forceful. It was hard to get him up in the morning. When the good housewife had breakfast ready she modestly asked "Are you awake Angus?" Drowsily came the reply: "Nae, nae, I canne wake for a mortal oor?" "Oh, you're asleep." "Yea, yea, am having a bonnie snooze."

One of the old-time Blacksmiths here was William McQuarrie, a hard worker who raised a fine family of sons and daughters. No farming implements were imported then. William had to make them. He mounted the ploughs, carts and harrows, made all the hoes, and lots of other gear, and also, shod all the horses. In addition to all this work he operated a farm and did some fishing. Good old William had his full share of the duties and responsibilities of the formative period in the County of Inverness.

There was another Blacksmith of a later day who will always be kindly remembered in Strathlorne. We refer to the late Roderick McKinnon whom we had the privilege of knowing very well. He was a citizen with a message, and a man with a soul. He was married to Sarah McLean, daughter of Allan McLean of North Lake, a worthy woman, and an ideal wife and mother. They had the following family, namely: Malcolm, William, Allan, John, Hector, Jessie, Maggie and Bella. The mother is yet living at a very advanced age.

The first man to start merchandizing on any considerable scale was the late Isaac McLeod, Esquire. Other shopkeepers there were at Strathlorne before Mr. McLeod, such as Donald Kennedy, Allan Campbell and Donald Campbell, but their business was quite small, and their tenure of commercial life very short. Mr. McLeod was the first to develop any staying power. He was born at St. Ann's in the County of Victoria. The fates allowed him a special chance of education before he left home. After coming as a young man of evident taste and talent to the County of Inverness, he taught school for two years at Hillsborough. He married one of the daughters of Sheriff Laurence, and entered into the business world at Broad Cove Shore, where the town of Inverness is now built. After a year or so he moved further inland to Broad Cove Intervale, where he commenced and conducted for more than a quarter of a century, a business that was considered large and successful for the time and place. In his advanced years his health gave way, and the business was taken over and continued by his son George D., who made an admitted success of it.

Mr. Isaac McLeod's family consisted of two sons and three daughters, namely: Clement H., late of McGill University, and more particularly described in previous pages, George D., who always stuck to his home and old business, and is now living, in honor and abundance, in the bosom of his family; Helen, who was married to Donald E. McKay and died in Boston; Jemima, who was married to the late Doctor John C. Macdougall of Truro, and had a singularly talented family; Euphemia, who was married to Henry Ladd of Inverness, is still living in Inverness, in her own cosy home, with some of her smart young daughters and her son Gordon, as good a boy as ever loved a mother.

The next man to take up mercantile business at Strathlorne was the late Alexander Campbell, Ex. M. P. P. He set up near the Southern, while Mr. McLeod was located near the Northern, end of the valley. Mr. Campbell continued in business as long as he lived. We have already given a sketch of Mr. Campbell, and all that is necessary now is to make a brief reference to his family, some of whom are dead. We mentioned on previous pages that Mr. Campbell was married twice, and to whom. By the first marriage he had two sons and two daughters, namely: Dan, Murdoch, Catherine, Margaret; by the second marriage he had one daughter, May, who is married to Peter McDonald, son of the late Honourable James Macdonald of West Bay.

The son Murdoch and the daughter Margaret are both dead. The former died unmarried on the threshold of a promising manhood. The latter, who was the first wife of Dr. Robert G. Gunn, had an interesting family, and died of a lingering illness in mid-life. The daughter Catherine was married to the late Malcolm McFadyen whom many of our readers knew and respected. Mr. McFadyen was for many years a prosperous merchant and a member of the legislature in Prince Edward Island, and afterwards conducted a fish business in Mabou. Later on he and his family moved to Edmonton, in the Province of Alberta, where he recently died. He was a native of Inverness and a worthy one.

The son Dan with his second wife and only son, now occupies the ancestral homestead. At present he is the Inspector of weights and Measures for Eastern Nova Scotia. He represented this district for many years in the Municipal Council, where he always made his presence felt. The present Mrs. Dan Campbell, who is a trained nurse, has given more help to the sick of this District than any other woman ever did-and usually gratis.

The next man to take up commercial business in this section was Ronald McLellan (Big). He had been for some years previously doing business at Broad Cove Marsh. He was one of the McLellans of Black Glen, and the call of the farm appealed to him. Consequently in a short time, he bought a fine farm at Strathlorne on which he afterwards lived and died. He was married to Jessie McLennan of Broad Cove Marsh by whom he had four sons and three daughters. The two youngest sons Allan and Joseph are now living together on the farm, the two oldest are in Boston, and all the daughters are well married.

Duncan Boyle was engaged in business at Strathlorne for quite a few years. He was an honest man that received and deserved patronage: but as with Ronald McLellan, the call of the farm sounded good to him. He was too happy minded to enjoy the business world, so he bought a farm and went back to the land. You could never see Duncan Boyle without a smile on his face. On the day of his death his brother Archibald told us he never saw Duncan angry with any one. Fortunate man.

"Laugh, and the world laughs with you,
"Weep and you weep alone,
"For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
"But has sorrows enough of its own."


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