of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Chapter XIII - District of
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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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