of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Chapter XL - Creignish
This district lies on the
coast between the district of Port Hastings and that of Judique. A bold
and bleak looking country this, reminding one at once of Scott's
"Caledonia, stern and wild". It is hard, hilly and rocky, but far from
being repulsive in its frowning glories. From all its various parts, and
especially from the elevated heights behind it, there is a wide view of
the sea which, in summer, is satisfying and grand. When the stones and
boulders are removed, the soil is good; but so difficult of cultivation
that only the Highland "hearts of oak" would be willing to try it.
Comfortable subsistence among these "crags and peaks" would scarcely be
possible by means of farming alone. Consequently, from the time of the
earliest settlements, the strong young men of this place "went down to the
sea in ships". Thus the sea and its perilous pursuits became a charm for
the doughty and dauntless sons of Creignish. In the years of their prime
physical strength it was their lot to have
"A house upon the ocean wave,
"A home on the rolling deep."
They fished at home and abroad, along the
local shores, in the Bay, on the coast of the New England States, or on
the treacherous Grand Banks of Newfoundland. In all their marine
experience they were obliged to live and work with all classes and
conditions of associates. They followed their fare to the markets of
Gloucester, where they usually spent their idle winters. They were among
the very ablest men this province ever produced. Some of them acquired the
name of being famous fighters. It could not well be otherwise, in such
environments. We are told that, "when we are in Rome, we must do as the
Romans do". Far more domineering and insistent are the driving desperation
of the winds, and the wild welter of the waters. Yes; those redoubtable
men of Creignish had the reputation of being wild. But that was when they
lived in the storms, and mingled with the minions of disorder. The true
test of their character is found in their subsequent lives, after the
storms had ceased and a calm had fallen on their path. They, then, settled
down into homes of peace and good will. In these homes they found fresh
air for their souls; they found rest and human sympathy, they found
themselves, these noble natives of Creignish. There was love in those
Duncan MacEachern (Donnachadh Mac Iain ic Allein) came from Moidart,
Scotland to Pictou, Nova Scotia. He took up a lot of land in Pictou
County, but his stay there was brief. Mr. MacEachern was a Catholic, and
there was no Catholic Church or priest at that time in Pictou County. The
immigrant felt the inconvenience of the situation,and was advised by Fr.
MacEachern of P.E.I. (afterwards Bishop) to move further East down the
Gulf shore. Accordingly, he left Pictou and went to Malignant Brook, in
the County of Antigonish, where he took up a lot of land and remained a
few years. In 1798 he crossed over to Cape Breton and settled permanently
MacEachern was married in Scotland to Jessie McDonald, daughter of Allan
of Moidart, with issue: John, Allan, Donald, Alexander, Angus, Ronald,
Archibald, Flora and Mary. All of these children except Ronald and
Archibald were born in the Old Country. Ronald was born in Pictou and
Archibald at Malignant Brook in the County of Antigonish. The tract of
land on which Duncan MacEachern settled in Creignish was Lot 49,
consisting of Five hundred acres, more or less. All of Duncan's children
were married and each of them had a family.
John, son of Duncan, took up a farm for
himself at Long Point, and was married to Margaret MacInnis, daughter of
Robert MacInnis, mason, and a niece of Bishop MacEachern. Their son,
Robert MacEachern, was the first ecclesiastical student sent to Rome from
Cape Breton. He was sent by Bishop MacEachern in 1828, and died before his
course was finished.
Donald, son of Duncan, settled at River Inhabitants, at a place called
Kingsville, and was married to Annie MacMaster, daughter of Angus
MacMaster of Judique. Alexander, son of Duncan, also settled at
Kingsville, and was married to Sarah MacInnis, sister of Alexander
MacInnis of Creignish. The place on which Alexander MacEachern lived at
Kingsville is now owned and occupied by John B. McLellan, Esquire. Allan,
son of Duncan, also located at Kingsville, was married to Jessie
MacDonnell, daughter of Allan Ban MacDonnell of Judique. Malcolm
MacEachern, merchant of Judique is a grandson. Flora, daughter of Duncan,
was married to Neil MacDougall of Judique Intervale, from whom are
descended all the MacDougall of that settlement.
Mary, daughter of Duncan, was married to
Alexander MacInnis, son of Robert the Mason of Judique.
Angus, son of Duncan, located on the North
side of Lot 49 owned by his father. He was married twice, firstly, to
Margaret MacEachern, daughter of Donald MacEachern of Creignish. She died
leaving a family of three sons and five daughters: secondly, he got
married to Annie MacEachern, John's daughter, of West River, Antigonish,
by whom he had four sons and one daughter.
Ronald, son of Duncan, remained on the
Southern side of Lot 49, which was formerly owned by his father. He was
married to Isabel MacEachern, a sister to his brother Angus' first wife,
and had a large family well known in Inverness County. His two sons, Big
Duncan and "Wild Archie", who died at their homes in Creignish, and
another son Donald, who died in California, were well known far and near
for their uncommon strength and prowess.
Archibald, son of Duncan, stayed with his
father on the central portion of the old homestead. He was married to Mary
MacEachern, daughter of Ewen MacEachern and a niece of Bishop MacEachern.
This Ewen MacEachern lived for a while in Judique and obtained a grant of
six hundred acres of land at Indian Point. He sold out this granted lot to
a MacDonnell, and returned to Prince Edward Island where his brother the
MacEachern the first settler of Creignish had a brother in P.E.I. Another
brother served under General Wolfe in the taking of Quebec. His friends
have had no trace of him since. We understand there are old MacEachern
families in the Province of Quebec and they may be descendants of that
the year 1801 Donald MacEachern from Moidart came to Creignish and settled
on Lot 50. He was married to Jessie MacVarish, and had a family of four
sons and three daughters. While a comparatively young man this Donald,
with his two young sons, Donald and Alexander, was drowned returning from
Port Mulgrave to Creignish. Two of his daughters, Margaret and Isabella,
were married respectively to Angus MacEachern and Ronald MacEachern of
Queensville. His two surviving sons, Hugh and Angus, settled down upon
their father's farm.
Hugh was married to Sarah MacLean, daughter of Hugh Ban MacLean of Judique
Intervale, and had a large family of sons and daughters. His oldest son,
Donald, remained on the homestead, was married to Mary, daughter of
Dougald Smith of Glendale and had a large family. Dougald, of this last
family, now occupies the place.
Angus, son of Donald, commonly known as "Big
Angus" was married to Annie MacDonald, daughter of Rory MacDonald of Rear
Judique Intervale. Two of his sons, John and Angus B., remained on the
place; another son, Robert, now lives in the town of Antigonish. At one
time there were five MacEachern families settled here side by side. In
these five families there were thirty-two husky sons, only two of whom are
now living, Robert in Antigonish, and Dan at Port Mulgrave.
DONALD MACDONALD, SON OF RORY.
This Donald MacDonald was the third pioneer
settler at Creignish, and he appropriated unto himself Lots 51 and 52. He
was married in Scotland to a MacInnis woman, a sister to the first
Alexander MacInnis of Creignish, with issue: Archy, John, James, Donald,
Rory, Angus, Annie and Catherine. After the death of his first wife he was
married again to a daughter of Duncan MacDonald (Ban) of Judique Banks,
with issue: Duncan and Mary.
This last named son, Duncan, settled down on
the homestead, and was married at the age of seventy-four years to Annie
McLellan of Broad Cove. He died at the age of ninety-four years, and his
place is now in possession of Allan Gillis. The daughter, Mary was married
to Hugh MacInnis of Rear Judique Invervale. Donald and Annie by the first
marriage were the only two of the first family that remained on the old
homestead till their death at a very old age.
Archy, son of Donald Rory, settled at Glendale
and was married to Annie MacEachern, daughter of Peter. Their
grandchildren reside there now.
John, son of Donald Rory, was married to
Catherine McDonald, a native of Prince Edward Island. They lived for a
time at Port Mulgrave, and afterwards moved to Gloucester, Mass. They had
a large family. One of the sons, Roderick, lived at Port Mulgrave. Another
son, Captain Angus, married an American woman, and settled at Bay View
Maine, where he died without issue. Four daughters were married in
Gloucester. The daughter Annie was married to Archy MacDonald known as
"Handsome Archy" and lived at 20 Shepherd St. where their only daughter,
Mary Louise, now resides. Mary was twice married, first to John Cameron of
River Inhabitants, by whom she had Mary Ann, now Mrs. Capt. J. A.
MacDonald of 80 Duncan St., Gloucester; second to Patrick MacAulay of
P.E.I. by whom she had another daughter.
James, son of Donald Rory, settled at Red
Head, Guysborough County. Angus married Catherine Gillis, sister of Donald
Gillis, Alexander's son. Catherine married Alexander MacDonald of East
Harbour au Bouche. The late Dr. P. A. MacDonald of Port Hawkesbury was a
son. Rory, son of Donald, settled on Lot 51, was married to Mary
MacEachern and had one son, Dan.
THE MACINNIS FAMILY.
The family of John MacInnis of Moidart,
Scotland, consisted of several sons and daughters, who helped to swell the
early settlers of Creignish. Some of the daughters were married in
Scotland. One of them was the first wife of Donald McDonald (Rory) whom we
have just described. Another was married to Alexander MacEachern of
Kingsville, River Inhabitants/and a third to Allan MacDonald of Judique
Banks (Allein Mac Alasdair). One of the sons acquired some land and made
his home at Rear Creignish, another at River Inhabitants, and the son
Alexander settled on Lot 53 at Creignish. This Alexander was married to
Flora MacLean of Long Point, with issue: John, Angus, Dan, Alexander,
Duncan, Katie, Mary and Maggie.
Katie was married to a Mr. Gillis of Port
Hood; Mary to Angus MacMaster first Postmaster at Low Point; Maggie to
Duncan MacEachern of Judique Banks; Donald and Alexander were drowned in
the North Bay; Duncan settled in P. E. I.; John and Angus remained on Lot
53 at Creignish. John was married to Jessie MacEachern of Kingsville,
Angus to Rebecca MacDougall of MacDougall's Mountain, but neither of them
had any family. Their home, however, was a marked place of call for the
travelling public. Gillean Alasdair had a wide circle of acquaintances
throughout the County of Inverness. Before there was a church or priest in
Creignish, mass was often celebrated by visiting clergymen in Gillian
Allasdair's barn, it being a larger edifice than any of the neighboring
buildings. They were strong in the faith these early Catholics of
Creignish. For many years they had to walk seven miles every Sunday to
hear mass in Judique. There was no road except the beach, of the shore
which was rough in many places. There were also several brooks and streams
to be crossed without boat or bridge. Yet, all would have to attend mass,
even all the women. The latter carried their new boots and stockings
wrapped in a handkerchief till they got within sight of the church. Then
they put them on; and put them off again at the same place returning.
JOHN CAMERON'S FAMILY.
Lot 54 in the district of Creignish was
assigned to John Cameron an ex-soldier. The following is a copy of his
seventy-first Regiment of Foot
"Whereof Major General Tho' Sterling is Colonel:
"These are to certify that the bearer hereof
"John Cameron in Captain Campbell's Company of the
"aforesaid Regiment. Born in the Parish of Kilmorick,
"in or near the Market Town of Fort William in the County
"of Inverness, aged thirty-six years, and by trade a Tailor,
"Hath served honestly and faithfully in the said Regiment
"eight years; but by having served his time is hereby dis-
"charged he having first received all just demands of pay
"and clothing from his entry into the said Regiment to
"the date of his discharge, as appears by his receipt on
"the back thereof.
"Given under my hand and the seal of the Regiment at
"Brooklyn, Long Island this 21st day of October 1782.
"N. B. The seat of the Regiment is supposed to be at
"Jamaica, West Indies."
John Cameron, Tailor, was
married twice. His first wife was Ella Muller, by whom he had three
children, Colin, Jessie and Maggie. He married his second wife, Mary
Campbell, in New York, after which he went to Prince Edward Island. In
1800 he came to Creignish. By his second marriage he had a family of six
sons and four daughters, namely: Alexander, Donald, Angus, Hugh, Duncan,
John, Katie, Maggie, Jane and Annie.
Alexander married Flora MacMaster of Judique,
sister of Big Hugh MacMaster, by whom he had five sons and one daughter.
He settled at River Inhabitants.
Donald stayed on the Creignish homestead, and
married Ann MacDonald, daughter of Dougald of Low Point. He left six of a
family. His daughter Catherine is living yet on the old homestead, and
busy weaving on the old hand loom at the age of ninety-one years.
Angus, also, remained on the homestead, was
married to Mary MacDougall, daughter of Archibald of Rear Creignish, and
had two sons.
married Samuel Cameron of River Dennis, with issue, one son and two
daughters. The other daughters died at home unmarried.
Hugh went to the States; Duncan to Ontario;
and John was drowned going to Mirimachi.
Colin was a seaman, and was married in England
to Mary Ann Gardner, who went to sea with him for a while. They afterwards
settled at River Inhabitants, and had a family of two sons and four
Cameron, Ex Councillor, and his young old aunt Catherine, already referred
to, are the only two of this Cameron family now living in Creignish.
John McMaster (Iain Mac Ewen ic Iain) commonly
known as "Iain Ruadh'", came, with his first cousin, Donald MacMaster,
"Weaver", from Moidart, Scotland, to Antigonish in the year 1801. After a
brief sojourn in Antigonish both came to Cape Breton, and settled down,
side by side, in the district of Creignish. As a matter of course, their
first dwellings here were two of the rude, little, log cabins of the
period. Eventually, Iain Ruadh built for himself a substantial stone
house, which is still doing duty for his grandson Dan MacMaster. If these
century old houses of the pioneers could talk in any modern language, what
a story would be theirs?
John MacMaster was married in Antigonish to
Mary MacIsaac, whose brother John MacIsaac afterwards settled at Low
Point. The issue of that marriage was a family of five sons and seven
daughters, namely: John, Duncan, Angus, Hugh, Dan, Catherine, Mary,
Maggie, Eliza, Sarah, Annie and Jessie.
John Jr. bought the farm formerly owned by
John MacInnis, married Jessie, daughter of Angus MacEachern (Aonghneas Mac
Dhonnochadh) and had a large family. The oldest son, Hugh, was a
prosperous merchant at Creignish and Long Point for many years. His
brother Archy is doing business there now.
Duncan, son of Red John, was married to
Cecilia MacEachern, daughter of Iain Mac Dhonnachadh of Long Point. She is
now living in the old stone house at the age of ninety-eight years.
Angus, son of Red John, bought a lot of land
from Allan MacDonald (Allein Dubh) of Low Point, and married Mary MacInnis
of Creignish. He became the first Postmaster of the district, and the
present Post Office is held by his son, Alexander.
Hugh, son of Red John, settled on the Rear of
Creignish, in a locality now called Rodena. He was married to Maggie
MacIsaac of Rear Port Hastings and had a family. His sons Angus and Hugh
lived at Newtown, near Port Hastings.
Dan, son of Red John, lived in Mulgrave, and
was married to Mary MacDonald of Harbour au Bouche.
The daughter Catherine (of Red John) was
married to William MacDonald of Judique. D. J. MacDonald (merchant) is a
grandson. Mary was married to Archy Mclsaac of Rear Port Hastings; Maggie
to Donald MacDonald of Low Point; Eliza to Hugh McInnis of Rear Creignish
(Essex); Sarah to Donald MacDonald, Centennial, first, and second to
Lauchlin McInnis; Annie to Hugh MacDonald, Low Point, and Jessie to John
MacEachern, Donald's son, River Inhabitants. All had families.
DONALD MacMASTER (WEAVER).
In 1801 the above named Donald MacMaster came
to Creignish from Moidart, Scotland, and settled next to John MacMaster
just described. He was married in Moidart to Catherine MacEachern (Ni-ghean
Aonghneas ic Tearleach) with issue: Angus, John, Duncan, Charles, Jane,
Annie and Mary.
stayed on the homestead, and married Annie Cameron daughter of Alexander
Cameron, River Dennis; Angus married Jessie MacInnis, Judique Intervale;
Duncan married Mary MacEachern (Nighean Aonghneas Duibh)", Rear Judique
Intervale. The Mac-Masters of Hillsdale are descendants. Charlie died
married to John MacInnis formerly of Creignish:the MacMasters have the
farm now. Annie was married to John MacDonald (Iain Mac Ruaridh) of Rear
Judique Intervale, and Mary to Hector MacNeil of Rear Creignish. At
present there are five Mac-Master families at Creignish, one at Long
Point, and one at Sunnyside, near Point Tupper, all lineal descendants of
Iain Ruadh and Donald the Weaver.
This Allan MacDonald, who was married to a
Catherine MacLean was a native of Uist, Scotland, and an early settler
here. He had spent some time in Prince Edward Island before coming here.
The Cove at Low Point known as "Cove Allein" used to be a rendezvous for
the fishermen of Inverness and Richmond when the fall school of herring
was passing. Allan's family became well known for its hospitality. A
grandson, Hector MacDonald, was for a term or two the Municipal Councillor
for Creignish. For the rest, this family shared the fortunes of its
intimated that the background of this district was made of hills and
mountains, rising high above the sea level. The blast of the North
proceeding from the seas, strikes this coast with force and fury; but the
terror of all storms here is the mountain hurricane, roaring seaward down
the slopes. The dwellers on these slopes must select the site of their
house, and it must not be "a house of cards." There is, also a possible
peril of landslides and avalanches.
In 1870 Donald MacEachern, who was a native of
Creignish and married to Elizabeth Murphy of Port Hood, came from
Gloucester, Mass., and built a small sized house on his father's farm. In
the month of February there was an unusually heavy fall of snow, followed
by equally heavy rains. Mrs. MacEachern was preparing dinner, husband was
in with their five little children, the youngest a baby in the cradle. All
of a sudden comes a darkness, and a noise. The woman fell on the stove,
burning and bruising herself. The house was struck and carried down hill,
with all that family, and a mass of snow, ice, water and wreckage. Right
at the bank of the shore the occupants were spilt out, and the building
carried out on the big ice. The husband and children escaped without a
scratch, the baby remained in the cradle sound asleep, the woman's
injuries were not serious. The dog and cat were killed by shock. Some of
the family are living yet, but not in Creignish.
HECTOR CAMERON FAMILY.
Hector Cameron and his wife Catherine
MacDonell emigrated from Glenmoriston, Scotland, in 1801 in the ship
"Golden Tent of Aberdeen". Lochaber was the home of Cameron's forbears.
Mrs. Cameron was a near relative of Father Alexander McDonell, P. P.
Judique. They settled at Creignish. Hector's family were John, Allan,
Donald, Duncan, Hector and Margaret.
(1) John married Jessie Beaton, Mabou, with
issue Hector, Angus, Donald, John, Allan, Catherine, Charlotte, Mary Anne
married Catherine Kennedy daughter of Angus Kennedy and his wife Jessie
MacDonald (Taillear Abrach's daughter, Antigonish) and had issue, (a)
Hector, who married Anne Gillis (Donald) Judique with issue three sons and
one daughter. (b) Duncan who married Catherine, daughter of Donald
MacMaster "Ridge" River Inhabitants, issue five sons and five daughters.
Duncan is a merchant at Craigmore. He represented Judique District in the
Municipal Council for a number of terms. (c) Catherine who married Donald
Chisholm (Big John), (d) Jessie, who married Hugh Gillis (Donald), (e)
Christie Anne, who married Alexander MacDonald (James Ronald).
(3) Donald, Duncan and Hector, sons of Hector
Cameron, left no issue: Hector Junior was a merchant at Creignish. He and
Alexander Grant were drowned on their way home from Port Hastings in
(4) Margaret married John
MacDonald, Judique, with issue: three sons and two daughters.
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