Margaree Forks and vicinity
used to be a component part of the district of S. W. Margaree, but is now
a separate and distinct political division. The name of "The Forks" comes
from the fact that it is here the North East and South West branches of
the Margaree River meet and embrace on their joyful way to the salt sea.
The sea is nine miles distant from the "Forks", and it is the combined
volume of those two river branches that gives unto this favored place its
everlasting health and hope.
The Forks will strike a
stranger like an oasis in the desert. He does not expect it; but it holds
him charmed. Below the green heights on either side lies the peaceful and
productive meadow, dominated by the strength and beauty of the "Golden
Grove". As a getter of intrinsic wealth and comfort, the Golden Fleece of
Jason was not a circumstance to the "Golden Grove" of Tom MacDonald. Among
the other agreeable features of the Forks, it is a happy hunting ground
for salmon spies. They come from all directions. They rest and read, spend
money and enjoy life; but ever and anon they fish, or think they do,but
tell a fishy story, never!
Another peculiar mark of
the "Forks" is that its earlier settlers, and the most of its present
inhabitants; were and are peaceable Irishmen fugitives from a loved land
of oppression. It pains us to acknowledge that the political union of
England and Ireland has never been a "holy alliance". From first to last,
that ill-starred compact has been a bond of prejudice and mistrust.
Verily, it is time for a change. The sufferings of the Irish under English
rule are not to be denied. It boots not now to ask whose fault it was. The
world stands aghast at the amazing spectacle.
Such of the Irish race as
came to America were obliged to come, in quest of the simple right to live
at peace with God and man In America they found the right they sought, and
at once became loyal, peaceable and progressive citizens, But could they
forget the older history, the higher civilization, and the gaping modern
wounds of their native lands?
"Let fate do her worst,
there are relics of joy,
"Bright dreams of the past, which she cannot destroy!
"Which come in the night-time of sorrow and care,
"And bring back the features that joy used to wear'
"Long, long be my heart
with such memories fill'd,
"Like the vase in which roses have once been distill'd;
"You may break, you may ruin the vase if you will,
"But the scent of the roses will hang round it still".
The first Irishman to
settle at the Forks of Margaree was Myles McDaniel, who came in 1815.
Finding that the land on which he first located here was an Indian
Reserve, he bought a farm further up the river towards the North East of
Margaree. That farm is now in possession of his grandson, John J.
MacDaniel. Myles was married to Rebecca Smith of the old Smiths of Mabou.
Hence it comes that in every household around the Forks, down to this day,
the tired and thirsty traveller, will meet a kind, gentle and sympathetic
"Rebecca with her water pitcher".
Harry McDaniel, brother of
the above named Myles, settled at Lake O'Law as did, also, James Fortune
and his brother Walter Fortune, with their two sisters Sarah and Mary.
In 1828 three Tompkins
brothers, Nicholas, Patrick James and Michael with their sister Mary, came
and settled at Big Brook. From these are descended all the Tompkins of
Inverness County. About the same time James Doyle, with his son John, and
two daughters, Mary and Ann, came and set up at Lake O'Law. In 1830 Thomas
Coakly came from Ireland, was married to Ann Doyle, daughter of James just
noted, and pitched his tent at Lake O'Law.
Dennis McGarry, the
progenitor of all the McGarries of this County, came to America in 1830.
The ship in which he crossed was wrecked off Cape North, C. B. Thence
McGarry was compelled to walk along the northern shore till he reached the
hospitable home of John McLeod of B. C. Ponds, now St. Rose. Here he
stayed for several years, and learned to talk Gaelic and sing Gaelic
songs. He subsequently removed to Lake O'Law where he married Mary Doyle,
the grandmother of Dr. M. E. McGarry of Margaree Forks; Dr. P. P. McGarry
of Canso, and the late Dr. M. R. McGarry of Florence, C. B. This Mrs.
Dennis McGarry was the mother of Rev. Dr. Moses McGarry, C.S.C. of St.
Laurent College, Montreal, and grandmother of Rev. John McGarry, St.
Cecelia Church, Boston; Rev. Francis McGarry, C.S.C. of Notre Dame,
Indiana, and Rev. B. McGarry of Kansas City, Kansas. Also the grandmother
of Mother Mary Camilla, Superioress, formerly of Woburn Mass, now of
Philadelphia, Pa. Such are a few of the offspring of this wonderful Irish
immigrant. And you will persist in telling me that his name was Dennis.
In 1826 James Carroll came
from the Isle of Saints to the County of Antigonish and a few years later
removed to the South West of Margaree in the County of Inverness. Wm. F.
Carroll, Esquire, Barrister of Sydney, C. B. and the late James Carroll of
S. W. Margaree, teacher, were grandsons of James Carroll above mentioned.
In former times we knew those grandsons very well, and they would be
excellent evidence of a fine ancestry. Both were capital teachers in their
young years; both were trained and talented; both were honest and
honourable; and both were natural gentlemen, woof and warp.
In 1830 three Coady
brothers, John, Martin and Peter, settled at S. W. Margaree, and their
descendants are still found around the Fork and S.W. River. Some years
afterwards those three sturdy brothers met a tragic death together. While
poling up the river at a point where the current was swift and strong,
their canoe was upset, and the three men fell into the stream and were
James Coady (son of Martin)
was married to Sarah, daughter Moses Doyle. She was the mother of the late
Father Moses Coady P.P. of Reserve, C.B., and of Dr. P. Coady of Newton,
Massachusett and also the grandmother of Rev. Dr. M.M. Coady of St. F.X.
The late Rev. Michael
Tompkins who was parish priest of Guysborough for forty years, was a son
of Patrick and Bridget Tompkins of Big Brook, Margaree. This Fr. Tompkins
was among the early native priests of Inverness. He and Fr. Donald McIsaac,
and Father John McDougall made their theological studies in Antigonish, as
did, also, Fr. Archd. MacKenzie and the late Bishop Ronald MacDonald of
Harbour Grace (Nfld.). All were priests of the best type. Fr. Michael
Tompkins spent his whole working life in the one parish, and was highly
respected by all creeds and classes. Rev. Maurice J. Tompkins, the present
P. P. of Guysborough, is a son of Patrick James Tompkins of Big Brook.
Moses Doyle was the second
Irish settler right at the Forks, coming next after Myles McDaniel, of
whom he was an uncle. He came in 1824, and settled down on the West side
above the actual Forks. where now stands Doyle's Bridge. In 1828 his wife,
whose maiden name was Mary Ann Lawlor, his son James, and his youngest
daughter Sarah, came here to join the husband and father. James married
Margaret Murphy, daughter of Michael Murphy of Lake O'Law, with issue,
nine sons and three daughters.
The oldest son, Moses,
married Mary Dulhanty of Mabou. The Rev. M. M. Doyle, former pastor of
Harbour au Boucher, was their son, and Sister St. Genivieve of Whitney
Pier and Sister St. Mary Edward of St. John, N. B., were two of their
daughters. The son James Jr., who removed to Newfoundland many years ago
was married to Bridget Kiley of Baddeck, and one of his daughters belongs
to a Religious Order in St. John's, Newfoundland. The son Myles married
Mary Delahanty. They were the parents of two Nuns, Sister St. George, and
Sister St. Mary AnseIm. The son Daniel married Henrietta Lafford of
Richmond County and they had two Nuns, Sister M. Lucine and Sister M.
Edith. The son Mathew was married to Annie Jane Lafford of Richmond
County. The late Rev. John O'Neil Doyle, who has been parish priest at Hot
Springs, Arkansas, and is now deceased, was a son of Mathew. Another son
of his is Rev. Daniel Doyle, Curate of Sacred Heart Church, Sydney, C.B.
Two of Mathew's daughters were in religious orders, namely: Sister St.
Michael of Hotel Dieu, Chatham, N. B., and Sr. Mary St. Columbia, of the
Good Shepherd at Halifax, N. S.
Mary Ann Doyle, daughter of
James Sr. was married to Patrick Tompkins, and was the mother of Dr. M. G.
Tompkins of Dominion No. 1. Cape Breton County. Sarah Doyle married
Nicholas Tompkins, and was the mother of Rev. Myles Tompkins, who was
Chaplain and Major in the 85th Battalion in the recent world war.
It is a recognized fact in
Inverness County that those Irish families of Margaree have always been
contributing, at least, their full quota, to the requirements of Church
and State. Reverend J. J. Tompkins of St. Francis Xavier University at
Antigonish is of those Tomkinses of the Margarees. His services to this
young University of the East, during the past seventeen years have been
constant and important. He is young and active yet, and would not thank us
if he saw us making a move to wrap him up in history. But good men and
good works ought to be appreciated and encouraged, before they become
history. We wish this Reverend Doctor strength and length of days to
continue his noble and noiseless work in our fertile fields of education.
THE CHISHOLMS OF THE FORKS.
In 1809 Archibald Chisholm
(An Gobhain Glasrach), a native of Strathglass, Scotland, and his son
John, came from Antigonish, and opened a Blacksmith shop at Margaree
Forks. Next year he brought his wife and the rest of his family. This
Archibald was the son of Donald Chisholm (Gobha) who died in Antigonish
before Arch'd's family moved to Margaree. Donald (Gobha) it is said was
the author of some spirited Gaelic songs, and had other sons besides
Archibald, namely: Father William, Alexander, John, and probably one or
two more. Archibald was married to Jessie Chisholm also of Strathglass, a
half sister to John Chisholm (Big) of Harbour au Boucher. Their family
were: John, William, Donald, Margaret, Catherine, Ann and Jessie.
John married Christy
Cameron, (daughter of Archd.) of Margaree Forks, with issue:William,
Archy, Dan, Patrick, John, Archy and Alexander, Margaret, Mary, Ann and
William married Mary
Chisholm (Donald) of Heatherton, with issue: Archy, Alex, Martin, Patrick
and Christy. The Alex of this family is now Dr. A. W. Chisholm, M. P.
Dan, this William's
brother, studied medicine and went West to stay.
Patrick married Margaret
Gillis, with issue: John, D., Andrew, Archy and Christy.
Archy Ban married Johanna
Wall, with issue: John P., Minnie, Mary and Kate.
Alex, went West when quite
young. Margaret married William Chisholm (Donald) of Heatherton. Catherine
married John Wall, with issue: Mary H. and Tina. The rest remained
William Chisholm (Archd's
son) married Jessie MacDonnell (Jim Ban) with issue: Alex, Archy, James,
Patrick, Donald, Mary, Flora, Margaret, Jessie, Christy and Catherine.
Alex, James and Patrick,
went West long ago. Archy, Dan and Catherine are at home. Mary married
Angus McLellan, S. W. Margaree; Margaret is married to Archy MacDonnell,
Margaree Harbour; Jessie to Dan MacEachen, miller, of Broad Cove Chapel,
and Christy to Donald MacEachern, Hawkesbury.
Donald (son of Archd.)
married Ellen MacInnis (Donald Rob) of Judique with issue: William,
Christie, Margaret (Mrs. Patterson) and Jessie (Mrs. Cameron).
Margaret (daughter of
Archibald) was married to Donald Cameron, of the Forks, with issue: John,
William, Archy, Mary and Isabel.
Catherine was married to
Angus Cameron, with issue: John, Archy William, Mary, Ann and Margaret.
Ann married Dougald Cameron
with issue: Archy, Michael, Mary (Mrs. MacKenzie and Margaret.
Jessie married John
MacKinnon (Stephen) Rear Forks, with issue: Ann, Margaret and Betsy (Mrs.
THE CAMPBELL FAMILY.
In 1803 Samuel Campbell,
with two sons and two daughters, emigrated from Tulloch, Lochaber,
Scotland, and settled at South West Mabou. Another son, Donald, who at
that time, was working in a cotton factory in Glasgow, came and took up a
farm at S. W. Mabou, seven years after his father came. This Donald was
born at Lochaber in 1780, and died at South West Mabou in 1872. He
(Donald) was married first at Glasgow to Effie MacCallum, daughter of
Dougald of Mull, who became a convert to the Catholic faith, and by whom
he had Samuel, Dougald and Jane. This Samuel was about four years of age
when he came to America. He had a smart way with him, even in his youth,
and did a little business for himself at S. W. Mabou when quite a young
man. In 1836 he moved to Margaree Forks where he continued mercantile
business for some years, and afterwards became widely known as one of the
finest farmers of Inverness County. He was married first to Ann MacDonald,
Sister of Duncan MacDonald of Golden Grove, secondly to Miss MacDonald,
daughter of John MacDonald (Baron) of South East Mabou. He had no issue by
the second marriage. His family by the first marriage were: Donald, Duncan
J., Dougald, Colin, Katie, Euphemia and Mary Ann. The Duncan J. of this
family was the late Hon. Dr. Campbell of Port Hood, than whom no man in
this County was ever better known or better liked.