of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Chapter XXXVIII - The Marshes,
West Bay District
Four miles from West Bay,
on the way to Marble Mountain, is the place known as "The Marshes." The
first settler who came there was Alexander Ross, who came in 1817 from the
eastern side of Scotland near the town of "Tain." He saw two inducements
to settle here; there was a brook for water power, and "a marsh" yielding
quite a quantity of hay. This "marsh" has since been worn out of existence
by the waters of the Bay, now replacing it. Trout and eels are now fished
where hay was once mowed and made.
Alexander Ross was married
in 1820 to Isabel McLeod daughter of John MacLeod, who with his wife came
from Eriboll, Parish of Durness, Sutherlandshire, Scotland, and settled
opposite the marshes on the other side of the Bay. His family consisted of
three sons and one daughter. The daughter got married and lived on the
South side of River Dennis Basin. One of the sons named John was killed in
a grist mill in 1851. The oldest boy Angus settled on a farm on the
opposite side of the Bay. The place is now called St. George's Channel.
The youngest son, George, settled on the homestead and erected a new Grist
mill in 1861.
The next settler towards
Lime Hill was John MacLeod from the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. He was
married to a MacLean woman from Cape Dauphin, Victoria County, and had
three sons and four daughters. This family was neat and industrious and
made a comfortable living. They bought a farm for the oldest son, the
youngest son, Norman, remaining on the homestead. The other son died in
In 1827 several families
came from Harris, Scotland, and settled in this vicinity. There were
MacCuspies, Campbells and a Shaw family.
Rory MacCuspic was married
to a MacPhail woman from Sporting Mountain, and had one son and six
daughters. The daughters were all married in the neighborhood except one
who went to the United States and is the only one of the six now living.
The son was married without issue, both himself and wife are dead, and the
place is now vacant.
Archibald Campbell was
married to Margaret MacLean with issue: five boys and five girls, all of
whom moved to the United States, except two sons on the old homestead
John MacCuspic came from
Scotland in 1827, took up a farm and was married to Effie McCuish of Grand
River, with issue: four boys and one girl. The girl was married, had a
family, and died three years ago. Her husband and family predeceased her.
The youngest boy, whose name was Malcolm, is still living on the old
homestead. He was married to Christy MacIntyre with issue: four sons and
five daughters. One of these sons remained with his parents on the
homestead, two are dead, and the rest of Malcolm's family are in the
Donald MacCuspic lived on
the Rear of the Marshes, was married twice and had three sons and three
daughters by the first marriage which took place in Scotland. By his
second marriage which took place here, he had one son and three daughters.
The son in this family is still living in Pictou County.
Another early settler on
the Rearlands here was Donald Campbell from Coll. After clearing quite a
piece of ground where he located he sold his claim to John MacLeod of
River Inhabitants for eight Pounds, and moved to South side of River
Malcolm MacCuspic (Ronald)
was married coming from Scotland and had two sons and three daughters. The
boys died in young manhood. One of them, Finlay, was a wit and very
popular. Two of the daughters of Malcolm were married, one of them to
Alexander MacAskill whose family live between here and Big Brook. The old
farm of Malcolm MacCuspic is now vacant.
John McInnis and wife came
from the Isle of Skye, and had three sons and two daughters. They were all
thrifty and industrious and never in want. Two of the sons moved to P.E.I,
where they took up farms and got along well. One of these sons took his
unmarried sister with him to P.E.I, after the death of the old couple.
Another sister is in the United States. The youngest son of John MacInnis
went to Western Canada, and was lost in the North West Rebellion.
John Shaw was married in
Scotland to Christina MacCuspic, daughter of Donald, and had four sons and
four daughters. His oldest son John Jr. was married to Flora MacLeod of
Marble Mountain, and, after farming for a time at Malagawatch, went to
Boston where he died. Three of the daughters and the youngest son are
married in the United States. One of the sons was lost in the explosion of
the Drummond Colliery. The son, Kenneth, is on the old homestead married
to one of the MacAskill woman.
John Campbell from the Isle of Lewis was married to a sister of Donald and
Rory MacCuspic, and had three sons and two daughters. The oldest son,
Murdoch, left home in the early Fifties and never was heard from
afterwards. The next son, Donald, was married to a Macintosh woman from
Macintosh's Mountain where he was killed in a row on Christmas Eve 1873.
The son, Angus, lived on the old stand until his death a few years ago.
One of the daughters was married and died at Malagawatch, the other died
unmarried at Marble Mountain. Early in the thirties Wm. MacPherson, who
was born in Pictou, settled on these shores, but afterwards moved back to
the Rear of the District. He had a family of five sons and one daughter.
They were a careful family, and hard workers. The son John took another
farm for himself in the neighborhood, was married to a Calder woman from
Malagawatch, with issue; six daughters and one son.
Sometime in the middle Forties Robert Calder
from South Mun-tain bought the old MacPherson farm, and came to reside on
it. His first wife was Mary MacLeod by whom he had one son, John, who
turned out to be a man of uncommon mental gifts. Early in his school days
this John displayed a high order of talent and industry. Nothing seemed
too hard for him to learn, and what he did learn, he learned once for all.
His memory was unerring and unfailing. No ordinary institution of learning
could stand him long. He studied law at Mc-Gills' University in Montreal,
married a clever French Canadian lady was admitted to the Bar of Quebec,
and began the practice of his profession in that vast centre of commerce
and culture the historic city of Mount Royal. He was a devouring
student. It is said that he could speak with ease in thirteen languages.
But, alas, death cut short a career that was likely to be famous. We were
but a mere kid when we read with emotion, in a Montreal newspaper of
character these remarkable words: "The Bar of Quebec has lost one of its
most learned members in the death of Mr. Calder."
Robert Calder was married a second time to a
daughter of John MacRae, Tailor, who lived on an Island in the Bay about a
mile from North Mountain. By this marriage he had James, Alexander,
Donald, John, Fred, Mary and Margaret. This family was, also, noted for
their industry and good lives, and especially for their rare qualities of
daughter Mary was married to Captain John Maclnnes of West Bay, the
daughter Margaret to Reverend John MacFarlane now of Loch Lomond. The son
James was a walking store of information and talents, and died
comparatively young. He had been, in turn, school teacher, stone-cutter
and farmer. The son Alexander was attracted by the noise of the great
Canadian Northlands. He went into the Yukon territory when the rush for
gold was "catching", was as sociated with Alexander MacDonald, "the
Klondike King", acquired some wealth, decided to come home on a visit, got
married on the Pacific coast on the way coming, spent a pleasant holiday
with the friends at home, and, returning, died at Fort Selkirk where he is
buried. The son Donald always stayed with the good old farm, and was
beloved of the Country side. He died six years ago. The son John became a
Presbyterian Minister of splendid education and eminent parts, was married
to Emma Smith, daughter of Mrs. J. W. Smith of Port Hood, and died in the
prime of life. The youngest son, Fred, studied law, was admitted to the
Bar of Nova Scotia, practised for a time at Port Hood, married Rachael
Smith, sister to the Rev. John's wife, went out into the wide West, and is
now a Judge of one of the superior courts of British Columbia. Wondrous
MacDonald, who came from Rear Hastings, was an old settler on the
rearlands here. He was married to Mary MacKenzie and had a family of two
sons and two daughters. Shortly after the birth of the youngest of the
children Mr. MacDonald died while visiting his people at Christmas time. A
violent snow storm of unusual duration followed, and it was a fortnight
afterwards the news of his death reached the lonely wife with the helpless
little ones. The wife was a good woman of exceptional fortitude, and bore
up bravely under the terrible trial. Later on her two boys were drowned,
the daughter that was home with the mother died, and the other daughter
was in the United States. Still the mother held fast. Putting her trust in
her Maker, she resolved to carry on and win an honest living from the
farm. She did it.
history of this portion of the district of West Bay, for the most part is
the story of the Scotch people who migrated from the highlands and Islands
of Scotland, and to which this description is almost wholly confined. In a
special issue of the Richmond County Record by special request, Kenneth
Macintosh gives by way of strong circumstantial evidence, almost
conclusive proof that at the head of West Bay now the seat of that village
was once the site of a ship building plant, that the French had, prior to
the Highland Settlement. He describes about the finding of tools of that
trade which were of French design, by people who unearthed them while
cultivating the soil. There are other indications also, too long to take
up space here, proving that the above is true. In a letter written by Rev.
Murdoch Stewart to his friend Rev. Mr. Farquharson, Rev. Stewart says:
"The first settler, arrived in West Bay in 1813. They were but few in
number, and came one or two families at a time, not directly from
Scotland; but from Pictou, where some of them lived for a year or two. No
doubt all had privations to meet with, on their first arrival, especially
the trials of few settlers. One of the greatest hardships, he continues
was the difficulty of conveying potatoes (the only food to be had) from
the earlier settlements, to the new homes of their owner.
I heard some reference to that he says: "Such
as, that one of the first settlers in West Bay carrying on his back,thru
the pathless forest bags of potatoes from River Inhabitants to Black River
a distance of nine or ten miles. His plan was when he brought, his first
load to the height of land between the two places (now West Bay'
Highlands) to leave it there, and return for a second load, thus securing
a rest while he walked back without a load. On coming to the same place
again with the second load, he rested a while, proceeded then with one
load and returning later for the other load."
It is related too that the early settlers in
this Section of Country suffered much in the matter of clothing and shoes.
When it is considered the state of poverty in which many of the first
settlers came, how soon their stock of clothing would be worn out, and how
long it would be before they could provide clothing from their own sheep
and leather from cattle that they could spare to kill. Well, it resolved
into this: that many of the first children reared here wore wooden shoes.
It can only be imagined how they must have suffered during the long cold
Cape Breton winters.
The heavy forests of hardwood and pine on some of the lots of settlers and
hardwood and hemlock on others that clothed the lands around the Bras D'Or
Lake in the early years of 1800, was almost discouraging to the Highland
immigrants. Before land could be cleared and crops grown, a great amount
of hard labor had to be performed. The Scotch settler had no knowledge of
people that settled in this district were all Presbyterians, They came
from many different places in Scotland, as we will note in this sketch
hereinafter. For many years at different periods no clergyman was
stationed here; but the spark of Christianity never went out. In a book
written by Rev. John Murray we find in 1818 Rev. Dr. MacGregor paid a
short visit to this place. In 1824 to 1826 Donald MacDonald conducted
considerable service. In 1828 and 1829 Aeneas MacLean and Alexander
Farquharson paid visits here. In 1827 Revs. John MacLennan and Donald
Allan Fraser spent some time in the congregation. Apart from the foregoing
no permanent pastor was here until 1835 when Rev. John Stewart became a
settled minister for the West Bay Congregation. In 1843 Rev. Murdoch
Stewart became the second stationed minister. He remained until 1867. He
lived at Black River. His sons Dr. Thomas Stewart and Dr. John Stewart
both of Halifax were born at Black River. There are many more ministers
after this date but they are yet within memory of most of us.
In this particular section, the portion of
land covered by this sketch, we find two men who taught the Scriptures and
offered prayers, namely: John Campbell (Lewis) and John Shaw (Tailor) both
pioneers, John Campbell being mentioned again in the particular
descriptions of Settlers. These men carried on this work in the absence of
clergymen. Today Gaelic services are conducted on several Sabbaths of the
Summer months and the familiar Scottish airs of the Pio-neers are still
sung. A number of singers called "presenters" are available for these
Gaelic services. The open air communion is still in vogue in West Bay
Congregation. The largest perhaps due to its fine location is at Black
River, held annually in the month of July. Three hills descending to a
common base where the tent from which the clergymen preach and communion
tables are situated form a natural amphitheatre at the bank of the basin
of Black River. Tall trees of spruce are trimmed to a height of about
fifteen feet, yet affording perfect shade. Here the Services are in gaelic
and the spectator almost feels himself antiquated fifty years.
Education The first settlers as a rule had
some education, some had considerable; but all appear to have had some. Of
course the first teachers were those who came from Scotland. At or near
the head of the Bay the names of the old Country teachers were: John
MacDonald and John Anderson also one Cameron, his christian name not
known, but called in gaelic (Little Cameron). Of these, Cameron and
Anderson left this Country; but MacDonald located in Grandance, Co. of
Richmond where he took up land. The first native teachers were: William
MacKenzie and Robert Calder.
William MacKenzie was a son of John MacKenzie
an early settler on MacKenzie's Point, described later. Robert Calder was
a son of James Calder a pioneer at South Mountain (West Bay). For many
years after coming to this district the Settlers had school but a few
months at a time and sometimes years elapsing without any school whatever;
again schools at that time served for so many miles, that attendance was
impossible for some, thus we find often, that the first children born in
these early settlements had little or no education whatever.
The years following 1813 saw many immigrants
come to Saint Georges Channel Shores (now West Bay) from Scotland. Some of
these people came willingly, they wanted to better their conditions and
left Scotland with no sadness. Others however left Scotland with the
greatest reluctance, to whom love of country and home was a passion. They
had no desire to leave the land of their fathers, the Familiar hills and
green slopes. The Highland Settlements in fact throughout Cape Breton
dates to the time when large estates in Scotland were turned to sheep and
cattle ranches, which was more profitable to land Lords than tenants, so,
many of our Scotch immigrants were nothing short of being deported to Cape
Breton, then a colony of Britain. The settlers around our shores in their
adopted land could still boast of their physical surroundings, beauty of
landscape, and mountain scenery as well as the uniqueness of its lakes.
These people altho they did not make fortunes, made comfortable homes,
provided with all necessaries; but few of the luxuries of life. One thing
they prized, they owned their own land.
Now we come to the settlers themselves and as
far as we can glean, give some brief account of their coming into the
district; whence they came and the naming of their descendants some of
whom we know more than others; but the amount we say about one more than
another, only often indicates lack of knowledge rather than, that one
merits more space than an other. Hence beginning at River Inhabitants
boundary line we will take up each settler one by one as they adjoined
each other, so we thus often describe a more recent settler before
describing an early one, and starting at West end of district we will
Alexander Graham and his wife Maggie MacDonald settled in this district in
the year 1820. They had a family of seven boys and two girls. Lossiemouth,
County of Elgin, Scotland is the place from whence the family came. They
settled on a two hundred acre lot second range of lots from Shores of
bay, on the watershed between River Inhabitants and Bras d'Or Lake, now
known as Highlands West Bay. The land was not granted until one of the
sons got a grant in 1854 (a son, Alexander was the one). The names of the
family a are: John, Donald, Malcolm, Angus, Duncan, Alexander, Annie and
Mary, one boy died as a minor. None of the boys married; but both of the
girls married. Mary married John MacPherson, the following are the names
of their children: Alexander, John, Bell, Maggie,Mary Anne,and one infant
who died. Annie married, Hugh MacPherson a brother of her sister's husband
and the names of their family are Alex-ander, John, Bell, Maggie, and
Annie, one more died when an infant. The two sisters married two brothers
they had six children each and five in each family came to maturity and
their families' names were the same except that in one family there was a
Mary Anne and in the other an Annie only; but its said both were called
Annie. These MacPhersons migrated to the New England States many years
All the Graham
family are dead since several years, the name of this branch of the family
The pioneer of this family is Donald Gray and is the one who took up the
land along side of the Graham family to the north of same and also
situated in second range of lots from shore. Donald Gray came here in the
year 1829. His father, Peter Gray came with him, also his mother, a
brother named Robert;, his sister-in-law, Rachel MacMillan, and his wife
MacMillan. He had one sister Minnie, the wife of John Cameron, "Keper" who
was an earlier settler, described hereinafter.
Donald Gray was a native of Lochaber,
Scotland, but the immediate years of his life before coming to Cape
Breton, were spent in Glasgow, where he and his wife, then his housekeeper
ran the hotel known as "Londen House". Donald Gray it is asserted, was
well educated; in this country he served as a Magistrate and also as a
land surveyor, altho not licensed perhaps. The following are the names of
Donald Gray's family: Robert and John, Robert died when a young man. He
died in Sydney. John married Mary MacLachlan and occupied the homestead
that his father took up. The names of John and Mary Gray's family are:
Minnie, Donald and Robert.
Hugh MacKinnon This pioneer occupied the
land adjacent to Donald Gray and on the north side of Gray's lot. This
settler came quite early, as none of the family are living we can only
assume from outside circumstances about at what time Hugh MacKinnon
The first settler in this case is a woman, Mrs. Donald MacLachlan,
before her marriage her name was Mary Cameron. They belonged to
Ardnamurchan on the borders of Inverness and Argyle shires Scotland. A
place near by is called Glen Lauchlan, evidently where many of this clan
were settled. This couple on coming to America first settled in Prince
Edward Island at Wood Islands and it would appear stayed there some time.
Donald MacLachlan having died, his wife with her young sons and daughters
came to Cape Breton. She was bent on acquiring a home. So she took up land
and some years later had a grant procured from the early seat of
government at Sydney. How she got along we know not; but she surely acted
the heroine. The names of the family are: sons, Alexander, Donald Senior,
Donald Junior, and Dougald and daughters: Isabel and Margaret.
Alexander married Heneritta MacKenzie of St.
George's Channel. The following are the names of their family: John,
Donald, William, Dougald, George, Mary, Elizabeth, Margaret, Katherine,
Annie and Heneritta.
Donald, Senior married Katherine Cameron. The names of their family are:
Archie, Donald, Allan, Dougald, Duncan, Jane, Mary, Annie, Margaret and
Junior was a ship carpenter having participated in building a vessel at
West Bay before he went away. He went away quite young and was married
married, Margaret MacKenzie daughter of John MacKenzie (The Point). The
names of their children were: John, Donald, (a Methodist minister)
William, Dougald, Mary, Jane, Catherine and Isabell.
Isabell married Alex. MacLellan and Margaret married Angus Matheson.
Murdoch MacLean This man first settled in
Baddeck; but shortly after he married Katherine MacAskill of River
Inhabitants he was persuaded to come to West Bay,so just on the west end
of this district as did Mrs. Mary MacLachlan he took up a lot of land and
along side of the MacLachlan lot. The names of their family are: Annie
senior, Annie junior, Margaret, Christy, Bella, Jane Sarah, Katherine,
Mary and Donald. Only one member of this family married Katherine, she
married Hugh MacLeod, their family comprise the following Katie Bell, Iena,
Cameron "Keper" This settler was one of the first permanent settlers at
the head of West Bay. The probable date of his arrival is either 1815 or
1816. He came from Lochaber, Invernessshire, Scotland. His wife was Minnie
Gray. They were married before coming to Cape Breton. During his first
years spent here, correspondence coming to him from Scotland was coming
addressed to Loch End, Cape Breton. Loch End it appears then, was the
first name given to the present site of West Bay. John Cameron first
settled on the front portion of a lot owned by Angus MacKinnon. MacKinnon
being on the rear of his lot. When the matter was adjusted John Cameron
took up the land alongside MacKinnon and retained it. He and his sons
afterwards acquired several hundred acres where his sons settled. The
following are the names of his family: Peter, Senior, John, Peter, Junior,
Donald, Robert, Flora, Margaret, Jessie, Annie, Mary, and one other
daughter the wife of George Dorey a Jerseyman.
Peter Senior married Effie Calder of
Malagawatch. The following are the names of their family: John, William
Young, Peter, Mary and Hugh.
John married Isabell MacCall of West Bay. The
following are the names of family: Dan, Hugh and John.
Peter Junior, married Effie Calder of Saint
George's Channel. The names are as follows: Minnie, Maggie and James.
Robert married Katherine MacLeod. The
following are the names of their family: Minnie, Donald, and John.
Flora married George MacKenzie, Malagawach.
John Cameron (Captain) came into this district
and settled here in 1817. He was a native of Moidart, Invernessshire,
Scotland. He did not come direct from Scotland but from Prince Edward
Island, where he spent the best part of a decade. He was situated at Bell
Creek on the South Coast where he did a lumber business. After his
retirement from the army he got a grant of one thousand acres of land at
Bell Creek. At West Bay he granted two hundred acres himself; but got
another thousand acres at River Inhabitants gratis. His wife was Mary
Maclsaac. Several of their family were born in Prince Ed-Ward Island. The
following are the names of family: Duncan, John, Katherine, Mary,
Margaret. Duncan was married twice first to Maggie MacDonald secondly to
Janie McDonald. The following are the names of his family: John, Alex,
Catherine, Annie, Caroline, and Margaret. John was married to Jessie
Cameron. The following are the names of family: John, Duncan, Donald,
Thomas, Alexander, Mary, Annie, and Flora. Katherine married Kenneth
McKenzie, Stewiacke. The names of family are: Katie, Kenneth and Isabel.
Mary married Alex Morrison. The names of family are: Mary, Christy,
Isabel, Margaret, Annie, Kate, John, Alex., Dan, Angus and James. Margaret
married Donald MacDonald. The names of their family are: Rory, Donald, and
MacKillop and his wife Jane MacPhail settled quite early in the district
of West Bay. The date of arrival can not be ascertained. None of the
children or grandchildren are in Cape Breton now. This couple came from
Oban, Argyleshire, and were married before coming. The following are the
names of their family: John, Robert, Dan, Hector, Jessie, Helen, Sarah and
It is of note
that their son Dan came to his death in L'Ardoise, County of Richmond in
1847 at the time of the general election of that year. This young man of
about seventeen years, had gone to meet his brother who was employed by
Creighton a Merchant of Arichat, Creighton was an election officer,
probably returning officer for the County so he brought out from Arichat
on election day Dan MacKillop's brother to whom Dan was bringing some
effects on that day. It is asserted, disputes arose over religious and
political matters. At this election all denominations elected were allowed
to sit in Parliament. Creighton's men and some of the electorate of that
poll disagreed, the outcome of which was that Dan MacKillop was murdered
secretly in the forest. Whatever blame is attached to Creighton's
following, it is related that young MacKillop was innocent. His remains
were brought home by Alexander Maclnnis and Donald MacKenzie nearby
neighbors of the MacKillop family. These men went by boat to St. Peters,
hauled the boat across the present site of the canal, thence along the
coast to L'Ardoise returning by same route.
John MacKillop married Sarah MacKinnon of
Whycocomagh. The following are the names of their children: Kenneth, John,
Archie, Robena and Hannah.
Peter MacFarlane This settler came to this
district in 1835. He was a native of the Isle of Mull Scotland but settled
in Mabou this County for nine years before coming to West Bay Mull
River, South of Mabou proper, was probably the place where he was located.
A brother named Pharlane MacFarlane remained in Mabou (the Grandfather of
late the James MacFarlane of Orangedale) Peter MacFarlane bought his land
from a Morrison family, that came a year or two prior. Before Morrisons
came, this land was occupied by MacIntosh, an ancestor of the Macintosh's
of Macintosh Mountain. Peter MacFarlane remained here. His wife was, Sarah
Buchanan of Oban, Argyleshire. They were married many years before coming
to Cape Breton their family being grown up before migrating. They had
two children a daughter and a son namely: Euphemia and Peter. Euphemia
married, Alexander MacInnis (next settler described) Peter married Isabell
MacKenzie. The following are the names of their family: Duncan, John,
James, Dan, Peter, Alexander, Mary, Katie and Sarah.
Alexander MacInnis. This settler came into
the district the same year as did Peter MacFarlane his father in-law and
came likewise from Mabou to West Bay in 1835. Alexander MacInnis however
did not come to Cape Breton as early as the MacFarlanes.
Alexander MacInnis, belonged to the Isle of
Skye altho he did not leave Scotland from that point. At West Bay he
bought his land from a blacksmith called Farquhar, who acquired the land
one year before Alexander MacInnis' arrival. This settler was allured to
West Bay on account of it being a later settlement and he would procure
more work in the way of building bridges over rivers and larger streams at
which work he had knowledge before leaving Scotland,it being remembered
Mabou was settled largely between 1802 and 1810 and a few families arrived
there in the late seventeen hundreds according to N.S. Historical Society.
Alexander MacInnis, married Euphemia MacFarlane in Scotland before coming
to Mabou, where the MacFarlanes were before them i.e. her parents and one
brother. The following are the names of their family: Mary, Neil, Dan,
John, Peter and Angus Mary was born in Mabou all the rest were born in
West Bay. Peter the second youngest son retained the old Peter homestead.
William MacLean This pioneer came to West
Bay in 1832. He came from, Point West Bay, County of Richmond where his
Father Donald MacLean was one of the very first settlers around the Bay.
William MacLean took up two hundred acres of land and proceeded to turn
some from forest to a cultivated place. He married Katherine Logan a
native of Sutherlandshire, Scotland. MacLean hailed from the Isle of
Lewis. They got married at The Points, West Bay and immediately after
their marriage settled at West Bay. The names of their family are: Dan,
John, Alexander, Hugh, James, William, Robert, Mary, Hennie, Annie,
Catherine and Christy. Alexander retained the homestead.
Dougald Cameron and his wife Mary Murray who
located on land joining William MacLean between the years 1835 to 1872
reared a family whose names are: Dougald, Annie, Mary, Dan, Allan, Maggie,
Sarah and Katie. This family left in 1872 (all of them).
John MacKenzie (Point) This pioneer came
into West Bay district about 1819. He came from Sutherlandshire, Scotland
via Pictou also his brother came to St. George's Channel at the same time
(William) the grandfather of principal George MacKenzie, Dr. John
MacKenzie and Rev. William J MacKenzie, missionary to Korea. Well, John
MacKenzie and his sons possessed and granted in all over six hundred acres
of land called MacKenzie Point, a peninsula of West Bay Waters. He was
married to Katherine Calder a sister of James Calder (next settler taken
up). The following are the names of their family: Donald, Robert, William,
Alexander, John Robert, James, John William, Margaret, Hennie, Isabell and
Margaret. Marriages of the latter and names of their children. Donald
married Flora Cameron the following are names of their family: John J.,
Alexander, Maggie, Annie, Mary, Jane, Catherine Bell and James. Robert
married Catherine Campbell, their family are: John Robert, Euphemia,
James, John William, Alexander, Donald, George, Bella, Annie, Catherine.
William married Bell Cameron, their family are: Nehemiah, Mary Jane, Kate.
Maggie Jane, John James and Joseph. Alexander married Miss Blaude a woman
of dutch descent they had a family of two boys: John and George. Margaret
married, Dougald MacLachlan see names of their family in Sketch of
MacLachlan family. Hennie married John Johnstone of Lake Ainslie, the
names of their family are: Annie, Katherine, Phemie, Maggie, Katie,
Louise, John and Norman. Isabell married Peter MacFarlane see names of
their family in description of MacFarlane's.
James Calder. This settler came to St.
Georges Channel about the year 1819. He came from Sutherlandshire,
Scotland. He landed in Pictou where he remained a short time, before
coming to Cape Breton. His wife was Margaret MacKay also of
Sutherlandshire. Their children were Margaret and Robert. Margaret was
born in Pictou, Robert at St. George's Channel, Co. Richmond. James Calder
was married a second time to Barbara MacKenzie, names of their family are:
William, Donald, Hugh, Maggie, Euphemia and Bell, James Calder went to St.
Anne's Victoria County to join Rev. Norman MacLeod to Australia in 1851;
but died at St. Anne's before the expedition started.
Robert Calder married Mary MacLeod. They had
one son John (Barrister at Law, Montreal). His second marriage was to
Katherine MacRae. The following are the names of their family: James,
Alex. Donald, John (Presbyterian Minister), Fred (Lawyer, now Judge), Mary
and Maggie. Robert Calder came into this district about the year 1850 and
settled at Marshes West Bay. He bought land from MacPhersons a family in
MacLeod (Marshes). This pioneer's, date of arrival is not exactly known,
however he was the first settler by a few years in that locality. In Rev.
John Murray's History of the Presbyterian Church in Cape Breton, we find
where John MacLeod, conveyed Rev. Dr. MacGregor a part of the way to
Strait of Canso when MacGregor had finished his tour of River Inhabitants
and West Bay(St.George's Channel) in the year 1818. The Ross family came
into this district in 1817; but John MacLeod was here some time previous.
John MacLeod and his sons took up eight hundred acres of land in one
block. MacLeod himself settling at Marshes proper a large tract of
exceedingly level land at shore between two streams. John MacLeod was a
native of the Isle of Lewis. He married Katherine MacLeod. It is asserted
they got married in Pictou where they first landed after coming to Nova
Scotia. The following are the names of their family: John, Angus, Donald,
Philip, Margaret, Katherine, Mary, Sarah, Annie and Christy. John married
Maggie MacDonald issue: Philip, John, Donald, Euphemia, Annie, Peggie, and
Mary. Angus married, Mary MacDonald, issue: Dan, John Dan, Maggie, Sarah,
Mary, Isabell, Christy and Katherine. Donald, married Christy MacPhie,
issue: Kenneth, Catherine, Philip, Angus, Dan, John, Alex Mary, John Sr.
and Philip Sr. Philip married Mary Ross, issue: Alex, John Dan, Mary, John
Jr., Annie, James, Katie and Philip John Jr., Dan Jr., Alex. Malcolm,
Angus, Katie and Kenneth. Mary married Robert Calder already mentioned.
Katherine married James MacPherson.
Philip the youngest son of John MacLeod
retained the old homestead.
John Campbell (Lewis) This settler as the
suffix to his name (and by which he was always called in gaelic) suggests,
came from the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. He was a Sailor by profession and
made several trips to Nova Scotia before he settled here. He was engaged
as a sailor on immigrant ships. Finally he made up his mind to settle in
Cape Breton. At Lime Hill this district he chose a site but found the
place so rocky that he abandoned it. Next he came on what was afterwards
called Ballams Grant, adjoining John MacLeod's property, but on being
advised by MacLeod that one Cameron had a lease on that property for salt,
he decided not to be an encumberance there, so John MacLeod advised him to
settle at the west end of his property which he did. He remained here. He
married Maggie MacUspie The following are the names of John Campbell's
family: Murdoch, Donald, Angus, Christy, and Maggie. Donald married, Kate
Macintosh, Angus married Annie Macintosh and Christy married Donald
Hugh MacKinnon came into the district of West
Bay in 1816 or earlier. He came from the Ilse of Tiree Scotland. He took
up about two hundred acres of land; but did not grant it. His wife was
Jessie Campbell of Grandance, Co. Richmond. The following are the names of
their family: Ellen, Mary, Malcolm, Archie and Alex. Archie married
Rebecca Stevens, issue: Robert, John, Maggie and Minnie. Alex, married:
Katie MacLeod issue nine daughters (names not known now) Angus MacKinnon
came into West Bay in 1816 or earlier (at same time as his brother Hugh
McKinnon) He came from Tiree, Scotland. He acquired about two hundred
acres of land. He married Kate Campbell. The following are the names of
all his family: Mary, Annie Maggie, Bell, John, Malcolm, Kenneth and
Alexander (This family left here about 60 yrs. ago).
Hector MacInnis and John MacInnis (brother's)
operated and founded a Wood Working Factory, employing many men in their
forge and carriage business. They did business under the name of H. & J.
MacInnis. These men came to West Bay when young, from district of Sunny
Brae, Pictou County. They also did a general Merchandise business. Daniel
Forbes like the MacInnis' came from Pictou, a wheelwright by trade and
remained here permanently since, and has been connected with West Bays'
industries right thru the whole Chapter. Angus MacPhie a blacksmith by
trade also a native of Pictou County district of Sunny Brae, first
settled at Black River,later he located at West Bay where he operated a
forge, a carriage shop, fulling Mill and Saw Mill. He also started the
Tanning business afterwards bought by The Leonards and for many years
maintained by them. Hon. James MacDonald, formerly of Whycocomagh this
County did, it is supposed, the largest retail business in rural Cape
Breton at West Bay. Hector MacLean, a native of Port Hastings district,
this County bought out a tanning business started a few years before
MacLeans' coming here. Hector McLean remained permanently doing business
for many years.
Captain John MacInnis a native of this place, son of Alexander MacInnis, a
pioneer already described. Capt. John MacInnis carried on a general
business after his retirement from sea.
Thomas M. Leonard and Sons did a tanning
business for many years. Thomas M. Leonard was a native of North Sydney.
His sons: Charles and Herbert were his partners.
Today in 1922 there are not any indications of
any of these business enterprises ever having existed. They all went down,
without a single exception. The causes in some are understood. In others
the change of conditions of manufacturing explains a whole lot, why all
went down cannot be comprehended.
So, now West Bay is nothing more than a rural
Settlement of average circumstances. There are yet hopes that she may come
up, her geographic situation at head of Bras d'Or Lakes is good and in
close proximity to Railway.
(The foregoing pages of an excellent sketch of
the west end of the W. B. District was kindly contributed by A. A.
MacInnis, Esq. a worthy native of the place. Ed.)
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