of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Chapter XVII - West Margaree
This district is situate on
the coast between the district line of Broad Cove Marsh at St. Rose and
Margaree Harbour. The place is well adapted to farming and fishing. The
front farms lie between a range of heights on the rear and the glistening
waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It is a pretty shore, affording
unfailing chances for fishing salmon, cod, herring, mackerel, and
lobsters. And the men are here, able and willing, to prosecute these
callings of the sea.
The great lack here as
elsewhere on the Inverness coast, is reasonable transportation facilities
for the products of the sea, the farm and the mine. The soil on these
shores is capable of large production, the harvest of the sea is at hand
and boundless, there are two tested deposits of bituminous coal within
five miles of each other, one at St. Rose, and the other at Chimney
Corner; but none of these great natural resources can be properly
developed, because there is no way of getting their products to market.
There is no incentive to produce.
The harbour of Cheticamp
could be made a good shipping port, in summer, provided the so-called
Inverness Railway was extended from the town of Inverness to Eastern
Harbour. We can see no hope of such railway extension in this county,
until the national Government takes over the existing line between Point
Tupper and Inverness town; or, until some powerful Corporation acquires
the right to several, if not all, of our coastal coal areas, with a view
to active operations under one management. Either of these alternatives,
could give us the necessary means of transportation. Is either of them
attainable? If not, a vast amount of national wealth and fuel will be lost
forever to the great Canadian public. As to the estimated quantity of coal
in our various areas along the coast,see treatise on previous pages
entitled "Notes on Geology".
The people of West Margaree
are a mixed body of Protestants and Catholics, peaceful and fraternal in
spirit, and all of them sound and loyal citizens of Canada. They come
honestly by these ennobling qualities: their forefathers were rich in
them. Nearly all the present settlers of this division are of Scottish
descent. North of Margaree Harbour the inhabitants are practically all
French, and further on we hope to be able to sketch the pioneers, in this
region, of that noble and interesting race.
At Margaree Harbour, on the
West side, there is a neat Presbyterian Church and a resident minister;
also, a modern school house, a Custom House, a Post Office and Telegraph
office, a very commodious Hotel, and several strong business houses. In
the olden times there was a fleet of trading schooners owned here; but
lately the scientific use of steam has driven this sailing craft clean off
the seas. In this connection Margaree has lost seriously, inasmuch as the
harbour has never been fitted to the needs of the steamship service.
A very pretty little place
is Margaree Harbour. The natural scenery is uplifting. The roads are
straight, clean and level. The little village, in its modesty, would seem
to be hiding its face from you. On the one side are the placid waters of
the harbour, reflecting the varied hues, tints and topography, of the bold
surrounding heights; on the other side are the rich slopes of Whale Cove,
gorging you with the spirituality of man's natural calling; in front of
you is the beautiful beach and the grand curve of the Gulf of St.
Lawrence, infusing into your being the wholesome tang of the salt sea, and
from the rear there comes to you, down the glens and rivers, the gentle
zephyrs of a land breeze laden with the bracing breath of the pines.
Altogether, it is one of those places where you are constrained, nolens
volens, to praise God in his works.
The principal business men
of this district have been Henry Taylor, hereafter referred to, Samuel
Lawrence, Alfred Taylor, John P. MacFarlane and A. W. Chisholm, all of
whom are dead except the genial John P., who has long since retired from
mercantile pursuits. The oldest of the present merchants of the Harbour is
John Munro, who is also probably the strongest merchant in Inverness.
JOHN MacDONALD (LORD).
This man emigrated from
Lochaber, Scotland, in 1818. He was of the Slioch-an-Taighe branch of the
Keppoch MacDonalds and also a descendant of the Glendale MacDonalds. He
was a man of some ability and education. He had been an hotel-keeper and a
dry goods dealer in the Sireland. Coming to America with five hundred
pounds Sterling, he, in 1824, acquired by purchase the fine farm at
Margaree which afterwards was known as the "John Lord Farm". He was
married to Mary McIntosh of Lochaber with issue: John, Donald, Angus
Margaret, Mary and Jessie.
The daughter Margaret was
married to Alexander MacDonald (Killiechonate) of S. E. Mabou, (see
Glencoe); the daughter Mary to Donald Campbell of Black River (see
Hillsborough), and the daughter Jessie remained unmarried. The three sons
lived, laboured and died on the good old homestead. The comfortable home
of "John the Lord" at Margaree was very widely known. It was a favorite
place of call for the Scottish wayfarers of the olden times, particularly
for the early Bishops and Catholic clergymen, who had occasion to visit
Northern Inverness. No gentleman, rich or poor, lettered or unlettered,
was ever sorry for calling.
THE MacNEILS OF SCOTCH HILL.
Murdoch MacNeil, the first
of that name to settle at Scotch Hill, was a native of Barra, Scotland. He
purchased the farm on which he located here. Before leaving Barra he was
married to Catherine MacNeil by whom he had four sons, namely: Roderick,
Malcolm, John and James.
The son Roderick married a
daughter of James MacDonnell (Ban) with issue: one son, Lauchlin, who
remained on the homestead, and seven daughters, namely: Mary, who was
married to the late Alexander MacDougall, Postmaster, of the Forks; Maggie
to Hugh M. Coady of the Forks; Katie, who was the third wife of the late
Dr. MacLennan, M.P., and lives in the town of Inverness, and Flora, who
resides on the homestead with her brother.
Malcolm, (son of Murdoch)
was married to a daughter of John Gillis (Gobha) of Margaree Forks, with
issue, two sons and four daughters, namely: John on the farm, Roderick in
the United States, Christy married to M. A. Dunn of Margaree Harbour;
Maggie, married in Digby County to a Mr. Meallet; Annie married to a Mr.
MacNeil of Sydney, and Mary at home.
John, son of Murdoch, was
married to a Miss Fleming of N. E. Margaree, with issue: John, Murdoch and
James, son of Murdoch, was,
we think, the first native son of this county to qualify for the medical
profession. In his day this Dr. James MacNeil was highly thought of as
man, citizen and physician. He practised in his native district of
Margaree, where he died unmarried in 1865.
THE MacLEANS OF WHALE COVE.
The first MacLean to settle
at Whale Cove was Hector, who was born in the Isle of Rum, Scotland. He
was married in Scotland to Mary McIntosh and had a family of seven, all of
whom came here with their parents, except one daughter who went to
Australia. Hector (the father) purchased 347 acres of land at Whale Cove
which he divided among his three sons, John, Donald and Kenneth. He bought
another adjacent lot for his fourth son, Charles.
John, the first son of
Hector, was locally known as "The Banker" on account of his notable thrift
and his rare knack of saving money. He was married to a daughter of
Alexander MacLean who came from Scotland to Whale Cove in 1830the second
settler there of whom further on.
"The Banker" had a family
of eight children, namely: Allan, Alexander, Norman, Hector, Kenneth,
Christina, Mary Ann and Mary. The daughter Christina was married to Henry
Cranton of North East Margaree, Mary Ann died young, and Mary lived and
remained to a good round age on the homestead. She was not married.
The oldest son, Allan,
studied medicine and was one of the most neatly developed men we ever had
in this County. He graduated from Harvard in the early seventies, after
which he practised for several years in Port Hood in partnership with the
late Honourable Doctor Campbell. In 1875 he went to his native district of
Margaree where he practised till 1887 when he removed to West Bay which
was then without a resident medical doctor. Here he remained, and
practised acceptably, for the balance of his life. His death at a
comparatively early age was a social and intellectual loss to Inverness
Alexander, the second son
of "John the Banker" was married to Sarah MacLean, daughter of Charles
MacLean, with issue, two sons and four daughters, namely: Dan and John
living on the farm at Whale Cove, three daughters married in Boston, and
the fourth married to Alexander MacLean of Whale Cove.
Norman, son of John the
Banker, still lives on the old parental homestead, is married to Elizabeth
MacLeod of N. E. Margaree, and had a family of five sons and two
Hector, fourth son of the
Banker, was married twice,first to a Miss Cranton by whom he had a
family, and second to a Mrs. Neil MacKay of Scotsville, without issue. He
died some years ago.
Kenneth, son of the first
settler, was married to Ann McLeod of Middle River, Victoria County, with
issue, three sons and five daughters. The eldest son, Hector, resides at
Margaree Harbour, is married to Isabel Farquharson, daughter of the late
Rev. Mr. Farquharson of Middle River, and has a family of two sons and
John, son of Kenneth,
resides at Whale Cove, is married to Sarah Hart of North East Margaree,
with issue, five sons and three daughters.
Charles, son of Hector the
first settler, was married to Mary MacLean of Black River, with issue, two
sons, Hector and Donald, and eight daughters. The son Donald, better known
as "Donald Charlie" was married to Sarah MacLean of Black River, and had a
son Charlie who lives on the homestead. Hector died some years ago. All
the daughters of Charles are well married.
Donald, fourth son of the
original Hector, died at Middle River. He was married to Elizabeth
MacLeod, and had six sons and five daughters. Rev. H. R. MacLean, who died
not many years ago, was a son of this Donald. Another son was Peter
MacLean, carriage builder, who lived for years at Whycocomagh.
Alexander MacLean, a
brother of the original Hector, came, as above stated, to Whale Cove in
1830. He was married in the old country, and had a family of three sons
and seven daughters. The sons were: Donald, Norman and Charles.
The daughter Flora married
Alexander McIntosh, lived at Rear Chimney Corner, had a family of four,
all of whom are dead, except Kenneth, who lives at Chimney Corner.
Catherine, married John
MacLean "Banker" as stated above.
Christy married Henry
Taylor of Margaree Harbour and had four sons and one daughter. The sons
were: Henry, Kenneth, Robert and Alfred, all of whom are dead except Henry
Jr., the oldest of the four brothers. The daughter was married to James
Ross of Margaree. This Henry Taylor, Senior, came to Margaree from
Scotland, and entered into the mercantile business, at Margaree Harbour,
which, in a short time, assumed large porportions. Mr. Taylor was
evidently adapted to his calling, for he prospered from the start. He died
a comparatively young man. Subsequently the widow married their chief
clerk, Samuel Lawrence, who continued the business with great energy until
his death. After Mr. Lawrence's death the business was taken over by Mrs.
Taylor's youngest son, Alfred, who is now dead, but well and favourably
remembered by the older portion of our readers in Northern Inverness.
A fourth daughter of
Alexander MacLean's was married to William Crowdis of Baddeck, and a fifth
to Kenneth MacLeod of Middle River. Jessie and Mary, the sixth and seventh
daughters always lived at home unmarried.
Allan MacLean, another
brother of the original Hector, came out from Scotland with his family in
1830. He bought a farm in the district of Port Hastings where some of his
descendants are still to be found.
OTHER FAMILIES OF WEST
The family of old John
MacKay of Chimney Corner was one of the most thrifty and respected
families in this district. John MacKay had several able and intelligent
sons, among whom were John J., Hector, Donald and William, all of whom had
large respectable families. All these MacKays possessed the same generous,
kind and hospitable qualities of their race, but seemed to be more
provident and prosperous than the generality of pioneer farmers. When
money was practically an unknown quantity among our early settlers, the
Mac-Kays would have wads of it. It is on their old farm that the coal mine
of Chimney Corner is located.
Other fine old landmarks of
West Margaree were the families of John and Neil McKinnon, of Alexander
MacNeil (Saor) and John MacNeil, of big Donald MacLellann and big John
MacLellan. The most of these people were men of large stature and distinct
racial prowess. With one or two exceptions, their homes and farms are
still in the hands of their direct descendants. This locality was formerly
called "The Ponds", it is now called "St. Rose". There was a prominent
family of MacLeods among the old settlers here, but we have dealt with
them elsewhere (see R. C. Marsh). There were also, a few families here
who, although, not first settlers, were prominent men and citizens of the
district for many years. Among these were the families of William MacRae,
Alexander MacRae and Donald J. Gillis. It would not be easy to find among
ordinary people three other men of finer mental gifts.
All the early men of this
shorethose whom we have named, and those whom we have failed to
findshared alike the same habits, the same history, the same hardships,
the same allegiance to truth and moral principles which we see and admire
in the lives of our pristine fathers. God bless them all!
This comment system requires
you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an
account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or
Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these
companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All
comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator
has approved your comment.