Pictonians at Home and Abroad
The Pioneers of Pictou
hearts that crossed estranging seas,
And broke the hush of the primeval wood,
Who lit their candles in the solitude,
And met the saffron morn upon their knees– What though
their homes were void of luxuries,
Learning ne'er begged, nor altars smokeless stood,
Nor Cheer nor Friendship lacked the joys their rude,
Kind, log-heaped hearths could give,–It is to these
I bare my head! They wrought without the aid
Invention brings, ere smoke of Industry
Hung o'er these hills and vales; with care they made
This place a garden of the mind; and we,
Cradled in comfort, now bid Mem'ry hold
The fragrance of their lives in jars of gold.
THE "HOPE" PEOPLE
THE beginnings of
history-making in Pictou were modest; but they were highly promising if
there is aught of force in the adage which says that well begun is half
done. There was good augury in the very name of the brig "Hope," the first
immigrant vessel which dropped anchor in the Harbor. Yet the future
importance of Pictou was probably not even dreamed of by those connected
with the little brig. At that time the enterprise doubtless looked hopeful
mainly from a land-speculator's
point of view.
The "Hope," bearing
officers of the Philadelphia Company, so-called, and the families of half
a dozen intending settlers, arrived at Pictou from Philadelphia, on June
10, 1767. The Company had obtained a Royal grant of 180,000 acres of land
in the district. To this grant were attached the usual stringent
settlement conditions. It was in compliance with those conditions that the
expedition had been sent out. The families who came by the "Hope,"
according to Dr. Patterson, were: Dr. John Harris, agent of the Company
and his wife; Robert Patterson, the Company's surveyor, his wife and five
children; James McCabe, his wife and six children; John Rogers, his wife
and four children; Henry Cumminger, his wife and four or five children;
and a sixth family of unknown name–it may have been Hand. There is on
record in the Pictou Registry, a deed to Recompense Hand of land adjoining
that originally taken up by John Rogers.
Of these pioneers the only
name which has remained continuously prominent in the County, is that of
Harris. J. Sim. Harris, the High Sheriff, is a lineal descendant, in the
fourth generation, of Dr. John Harris. He is the fourth Sheriff in
succession in that family. None but a Harris has ever been Sheriff of
No descendant of Robert
Patterson, bearing his name is now resident within the County, although
his blood runs in the veins of a number of well-known Pictou families. A
few of McCabe's descendants bearing his name are to be found in the
County. John Rogers gave his name to the district since known as Rogers
Hill. His descendants are few, the most distinguished of them being Rev.
Anderson Rogers of Halifax, late Moderator of the Presbyterian Synod of
the Maritime Provinces. The Cumminger name early disappeared from the
The courageous little
band which carne in the "Hope" had to encounter the usual trials and
difficulties of pioneer settlers in a densely wooded country, remote from
human neighborhood. But they had plentiful supplies; were busy making
improvements, and were cheered from time to time by the arrival of other
families and individuals to join their settlement. Of the early followers
of the "Hope" from Philadelphia the most important were Rev. James Lyon, a
large shareholder of the Company, and Matthew Hams, an elder brother of
Dr. John, who settled on the Davidson farm at West River, above the Saw
Additional settlers came
from Truro. Of these the most noteworthy was William Kennedy, who located
at the mouth of what has since been known as Saw Mill Brook, where he
erected, in 1769, the mill from which the stream took its name. This mill
was the first frame building erected in the County.
Up to the 1st of January
1770, there had been 61 arrivals and four births at Pictou. But 36 had
removed or died, and the total population was 84. The first census, then
taken, sets forth that the settlement possessed 6 horses, 16 oxen, 16
cows, 16 young cattle. 37 sheep and 10 swine. Dr. Harris is credited with
the ownership of a fishing, boat and a small vessel, the pioneer of
Pictou's subsequent extensive mercantile fleet. The settlers had that year
harvested 64 bushels of wheat and 60 of oats.
The heads of families
were: John Harris, Robert Patterson, Robert McFadden, Henry Cumminger,
James McCabe, Nathan Smith, Rev. James Lyon, Barnabas McGee, William
Kennedy, Moses Blaisdell, William Aiken, George Oughterson, Thomas Skead,
Matthew Harris, Barnett McNutt, James Archibald, Charles McKay and Robert
The "town" or centre of
the settlement, was located opposite Brown's Point, at the mouth of
Haliburton Creek, since generally known as the "Town Gut." This most
unsuitable site had tq be accepted because when the Philadelphia settlers
arrived, Colonel McNutt, that notorious Nova Scotia land-grabber, had
secured a grant of all the shore lands from Brown's Point to the mouth of
Pictou Harbor, and thence around the coast to Cariboo Harbor. It was not
until the escheating of McNutt's grant that the Harbor front was made
available for settlement. After that, a village sprang up at Norway House
Point. But it was only at a considerably later date that the present Town
site began to be occupied.
The nearest settlement
to Pictou was at the head of Cobequid Bay, near what is now, the town of
Truro.' It was imperative that a safe means of access to this settlement,
then known as Cobequid, should be immediately opened up. Accordingly, one
of the first cares of the "Hope" settlers was to have a trail laid out
between the two places. This path, known as the "Cobequid Road," was in no
true sense of the word a road; but it. served most useful purposes. It was
free from dangerous obstructions; was clear-cut and direct, and could be
easily traversed on foot or horseback.
It seems rather singular
that exact knowledge of the location of this most important land route
should so soon have perished. Even Dr. Patterson appears to have been able
to secure only vague information as to the location of parts of it. But it
can be clearly traced through the land Registry office. The Cobequid Road
followed the line of the present West River Road from the Town Gut to
"Belmont," the Evans farm. Thence it ran along the West River "old road"
to a point near Leithead's stone house. Thence it struck across the face
of the hill back of Durham, following exactly the south-west line of James
D. Maclellan's lands, and came out near the late Robert Patterson's house.
Thence, following the same direction, it crossed Auchincairn to the Four
Mile Brook Road, a short distance from the house of the late Thomas
Rogers, Postmaster. Thence it followed the present Brook Roads to Mount
Thorn, over the top of which it passed, and thence down the Salmon River
to Cobequid, now Lower Truro. The complete oblivion into which the very
existence of this road had fallen, even among the grand-children of the
settlers to whom it had been so important, was curiously illustrated some
forty years ago when a rusted cannon ball was picked up in the woods at
Auchincairn. There was much speculation in the district at the time, as to
how this old round shot could possibly have come there. It was not until
long afterwards that recovered knowledge of the actual course of the
Cobequid Road suggested a partial, but only a partial, explanation of the
mystery. By whom or for what purpose such a piece of property as a cannon
ball was being transported through the woods between Truro and Pictou,
over the Cobequid Road, and how it came to be dropped in such a spot,
cannot even be guessed. The Cobequid Road is said to- have been laid out
by Thomas Archibald and John Otterson of Truro assisted by John Rogers.
The "Hope" pioneers with
the exception of Rogers' family, and possibly one other family, were all
located (. along the north side of the West River estuary, from the Town
Gut to the "Harbor Head," when the ship "Hector" with her contingent
The Truro settlers had
been advised of the coming of the "Hope," and had sent a delegation to
meet and welcome those on board. The delegation consisted of Samuel
Archibald, father of the afterwards famous S. G. W. Archibald, John
Otterson, Thomas Troop and Ephraim Howard. Tradition says that the two
last-mentioned bestowed their names as they passed on the outstanding
hills still known as Mount Thorn and Mount Ephraim .
The whole County was
densely wooded at that time. On the shores of the Harbor, extending up the
river valleys and clothing the hills were magnificent growths of pine,
almost every tree a gigantic model of its kind. The grove which covered
the present site of the town is said to have been notably fine. To the
north, more particularly around the shores of Cariboo, there were splendid
stretches of oakland. The coast-waters and streams were overflowing with
fish, the woods with game. With shelter, fuel and food thus at hand in
richest abundance, the original pioneer band and the succeeding parties of
settlers can scarcely have suffered the harrowing experiences which later
imaginations have conjured up. No doubt they endured certain trials, and
privations, like all pioneers. But they were young and vigorous; and their
healthy joys must have far more than counterbalanced their troubles. The
physical delights of pioneering are too often overlooked in listening to
the reminiscences of old men and women regarding their youthful days in
One thing is certain-the
children of the pioneers never ceased to regret the good old times, "the
golden age" of their youth, when they and their neighbors' young folk
gathered in the evenings, around blazing wood fires in wide, hospitable,
log-cabin chimney places, and when social intercourse had a peculiar
freedom and charm, which was sadly missed in later and supposedly more
happy years, of greater seeming comfort.
The "Hope" settlers had
completed the political organization of the Pictou district, and their
members had been materially increased from other sources before the next
large band of immigrants joined them) six years later. These are facts
which should be duly kept in mind, because they suggest a very different
idea of the relative importance of the two first bands of pioneers than
that generally entertained. They also' shed valuable light on the real
condition of the Pictou settlement when the ship "Hector" arrived in 1773.
government had, at that date, been established. The following is a list of
its officials in February, 1775:
John Harris. . . . . . . .
. . . Clerk of District
John Harris. . . . . . . .
. . . Overseers of Poor
William Kennedy. . . . . .
. . . Surveyors of Lumber
William Aiken. . . . . . .
. . . . Constable
James Fulton. . . . . . .
. . . . Clerk of Market
Abraham Slater. . . . . .
. . . . Culler of Fish
Before the "Hector"
arrived, McNutt's grant had been, in 1770, escheated to the Crown. The
whole Harbor front and Cariboo shore were thus thrown open to settlement.
The "Hector" reached Pictou on September 15, 1773. Some forty or more
years ago this date was arbitrarily selected as Pictou's "Natal Day," a
selection made for purely temporary purposes, which has been largely
responsible for the popular modern belief that the real history of Pictou
began with the coming of the "Hector." But the truth is, that September 15
was chosen because June 10, the "Hope" day was past at the time when it
became desirable to hold a public picnic for a charitable purpose.
THE "HECTOR" PEOPLE
Those who reached Pictou
by the "Hector," on September 15, 1773, numbered, according to one
statement, 189; according to another, 179. On January 1, 1770, there were
84 in the Pictou settlement. Probably a good many others had arrived in
the intervening three years; so that had the whole "Hector" contingent
remained in the County they would scarcely have outnumbered those already
in the settlement. But it appears from the list given by Dr. Patterson,
which was compiled by William Mackenzie, who ultimately settled at Loch
Broom, and was admittedly the only specially educated member of the party,
that of 57 heads of families or single men who came by the "Hector," only
27 remained in Pictou. Thirty almost immediately left for other parts of
the Province. Even of the 27 who found ultimate resting-place in Pictou.
several at first went elsewhere; and they or their children only returned
at later dates, when the settlement had been very materially increased by
immigration from various other sources. These facts indicate that the
"Hope" settlement was far from being submerged or eclipsed by the "Hector"
party. It seems unlikely that those from the "Hector" who actually settled
in the County numbered as many as the "Hope" people whom they found in
original possession. Moreover, the "Hector" element was much weakened in
influence by two special causes.
With the exception of
William MacKenzie, Alexander Cameron, George McConnell, Alexander Fraser
and John Patterson, not many of its members could speak English at all
fluently; and they scattered themselves over the County, while the "Hope"
people were compactly settled together on the Harbor front. It was the
descendants of the "Hector" people rather than the first-comers of them
who made their influence felt in the District. But there were certain
marked exceptions to this which will be duly noted.
The party had been
recruited from many parts of the North of Scotland. Of those who shipped
at Glasgow, John Patterson settled at Pictou; and George McConnell,
great-grandfather of the late Robert McConnell, the well known journalist,
at West River. Of those from Invernesshire, William McKay settled on the
East River, near Stellarton along with Roderick McKay, Colin McKay, Donald
Cameron and Donald McKay; Hugh Fraser settled at McLennan's Brook; Donald
McDonald at Middle River; Colin Douglas at Middle River; Hugh Fraser at
Twelve Mile House, West River; Alexander Fraser, at Middle River; James
Grant, settled first in King's County but returned to upper East River;
Alexander Cameron settled at Loch Broom; Alexander Ross, at Middle River;
Colin McKenzie at East River, near New Glasgow; William MacKenzie at Loch
Broom; John McLennan at the mouth of McLennan's Brook; William McLennan,
his relative on the east side of West River; above Durham; Alexander
Falconer, near Hopewell. Of those from Southerlandshire, Kenneth Fraser,
after first settling at Londonderry returned and settled at Middle River,
back of Green Hill; Walter Murray settled at Merigomish; James McLeod, at
Middle River; Hugh McLeod at West River; William Matheson settled first at
Londonderry, but returned to Rogers Hill. Of those above-named, the
following impressed themselves specially on the history of the County:–
William McKay, who
settled at East River became a Justice of the Peace; and exercised much
influence in his day. One of his sons, William, prepared a map of Nova
Scotia, which was published in London and was regarded as authoritative
for many years. Another son, Alexander, owned the town site of New
Roderick McKay of
Beauly, Invernesshire, also settled at East River. One of his daughters
was married to Rev. Dr. McGregor, the pioneer Presbyterian clergyman of
the County, and was the grandmother of James D. McGregor the present
Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. Another of Roderick McKay's daughters
was the mother of the late J. D. B. Fraser, of Pictou, who, besides being
prominent in business, was a distinguished leader in the early temperance
movement. R. P. Fraser, Esq., Collector of Customs at Pictou, is his son.
Roderick McKay's son, the late Robert McKay, Esq., was long Keeper of the
Rolls of the County. His grandson, John U. Ross, K. C., is Chairman of the
Nova Scotia Public Utilities Commission.
settled at Loch Broom which was so named because of its resemblance, from
the Harbor approaches, to Loch Broom in Invernesshire. He was of notable
family, being a near relative of Cameron of Lochiel, who figured so
prominently at the battle of Culloden, which young Alexander Cameron
witnessed as a runaway boy of fifteen. Many distinguished Pictou County
names are in his line of descent. Among them, Rev. Alexander Blaikie, D.
D., long a leading clergyman of Boston; Thomas Fraser, a Californian
Senator, and Alexander Fraser, his brother who constructed the first ship
railway across the Isthmus of Panama; the late E. M. Macdonald, M.P., a
prominent journalist and at the time of his death Collector of Customs at
Halifax; his brother A. C. Macdonald of Pictou, barrister, at one time
Speaker of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly and father of the late C. D.
Macdonald, barrister, of Arthur C. Macdonald, a prominent Consulting
Engineer and capitalist of London, England, and of Mrs. James Primrose of
Pictou; John D. Macdonald, late Treasurer of the County of Pictou and his
sons, E. M. Macdonald, K. C., M. P., barrister, at present representing
the County in the Dominion Parliament, Rev. Peter M. Macdonald, a leading
clergyman and literary man of Toronto, and John D. Macdonald, editor and
proprietor of the Pictou "Advocate"; the late Hon. W. D. R. Cameron,
formerly of Durham, Member for Guysborough County of the Legislative
Council of Nova Scotia; William Cameron, ex-M. P. P., at present Municipal
Treasurer of the County, and-Mrs. W. E. Maclellan of Halifax. This partial
list of Alexander Cameron's better-known descendants furnishes striking
evidence of the possible -value of one good settler to a new country.
settled at Middle River. He also was of excellent birth. He was an
immediate descendant of the Frasers, Lords Lovat. Along with the noble
head of that House he was deeply involved in the "Forty-Five." Two of his
brothers were slain at Culloden. His wife was Marion Campbell, youngest
daughter of the Laird of Skreigh, Invernesshire, who had raised a troop
for Prince Charlie, and was wounded at Culloden. A son of this couple was
the first native-born Pictonian. From them descended the Rocklin Frasers,
so prominent in the industria1life of the County. John Fraser of Hopewell,
is a grandson. His son, Thomas, the "Beachcomber" of the Morning Chronicle
and formerly editor of the Halifax "Daily Echo," is at present a leading
citizen of Saskatoon. Mrs. J. P. Esdaile of Halifax is Alexander Fraser's
great granddaughter. Dr. Patterson states that Fraser was in most
"comfortable circumstances" when he left Scotland.
ultimately settled at Loch Broom, beside his particular friend and
associate, Alexander Cameron, after having spent some years at Liverpool"
Nova Scotia, where he married a daughter of one of the pioneer settlers of
that place, a lineal descendant of one of the "Pilgrim Fathers," who came
to Massachusetts Bay in the "Mayflower," in 1621. William MacKenzie also
was of good family. His father was a gentleman of title and a scion of the
Seaforth MacKenzie family. Young MacKenzie was a student of eighteen, when
he left Scotland. He engaged himself as schoolmaster to the "Hector" party
in a spirit of youthful adventure, but pressed also, no doubt, by the
necessities of the times. The party broke up at Pictou, and he was never
required to exercise his assumed vocation; but he became, which was of
much more importance, the historian of the party. It was from his
memoranda and diaries that Dr. Patterson obtained most of his definite
authentic information concerning the "Hector" party. He had only one son,
and nearly all of his grandchildren removed to the United States where,
without exception, they prospered in business or industry. Only two of his
lineal descendants are now in Nova Scotia–Mrs. W. E. Maclellan of Halifax
and Mrs. John Carson of Pictou.
He was known in his day
as the "Peacemaker." It was he who donated the site of the first church
erected in Pictou County, which was situated at Loch Broom, close to the
east shore of the West River estuary, on lands latterly owned by the late
grandfather of the late Rev. Dr. Patterson, the painstaking and talented
historian of the County, settled near the future town, where he became a
prosperous business man, a Justice of the Peace and a leading citizen.
Several of his descendants, besides the late Dr. Patterson have been
prominent as public and business men in Colchester and other counties of
the Province. His Honor, Judge Patterson, of the County Court, New
Glasgow, is a son of Dr. Patterson and a great grandson of John Patterson
of the "Hector".
Alexander Falconer, who
settled near Hopewell, was the grandfather of the late Rev. Dr. Falconer,
a few years ago Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian
Church in Canada, whose two talented and highly distinguished sons are Dr.
R: A. Falconer, President of the University of Toronto, and Dr. James W.
Falconer, of the Presbyterian College, Halifax, William Matheson who
settled at Rogers Hill was the father of the late William Matheson, of
Durham, grandfather of the late David Matheson, barrister of Pictou, and
great grandfather of E. S. Matheson Town Engineer, Yarmouth.
Should it seem
surprising to any that so many men of good birth came to Pictou among the
pioneers, it is only necessary to point out that the same thing is now
happening iri the Northwest. Sons of some of the best families in the
United Kingdom are at present homesteaders and working farmers on the
Canadian prairies. A few years ago the titled head of one of the oldest
Baronetcies in Ireland died as a billiard-marker in a Winnipeg Saloon; and
he was no scapegrace. He had gone to the West in the hope of restoring the
fallen family fortunes, and had accepted the first employment available.
It was only after his death that his identity was disclosed, although
without proclaiming his title he had Hot changed his name.
Speaking of the times
when Pictou was first settled, in connection with the fact that a noble
Lord, a member of the Scottish House of Peers and the representative of
one of the oldest families in Scotland was a glover in Edinburgh, Burke,
compiler of "Burke's Peerage" and "Landed Gentry", in his "Vicissitudes of
Families" states that a Nobleman, one of whose family afterwards settled
in Pictou County, "used to stand for years in the Old Town, Edinburgh,
selling gloves to those present; for, according to the fashion of the
time, a new pair was required for every dance. The only occasion in which
he was absent from his post was at the ball following the election of a
representative Peer, when he appeared in full dress, and joined with those
present in the dance. It may be added that sons of the best families in
Scotland are often found at trades in these times, arising from the
difficulty of being provided for."
The great disadvantage
under which most of the "Hector" settlers labored was lack of means. The
fact that they were able to emigrate at all, at their own charge in those
days of "hard times" is proof positive that they were the most prosperous
and enterprising of their contemporaries, and that they were much better
off than the average of their countrymen at that time. Scotland was then
in a state of extreme financial and industrial depression. With reference
to that period the latter half of the eighteenth century–Lord Rosebery, in
addressing the annual meeting of the Edinburgh Savings Bank, in 1909,
stated that "there was not then more than two or three hundred thousand
pounds of current money in all Scotland," whereas at the date of his
speech there were "over fourteen million pounds of deposits in the two
savings Banks of Edinburgh and Glasgow alone." Lord Rosebery said, and his
words are well worth pondering by all 'who would form just conceptions of
the character of the "Hector" settlers in Pictou,–"Our great
grandfathers-my great grandfather, at any rate–was living at that time.
Our great grandfathers did great things in those days on a mess of
pottage–they had no more, but with it they helped to mould the Empire.
They maintained their poor without legal compulsion. They sought nothing
from external help; and they laid, in their nakedness, and barrenness, the
foundations of the prosperity which reigns in Scotland at this moment.
None of us would care to live as they did. Some of the poorest in our
country at present would shrink from the manner of life which was endured
by some of the noblest in those days. We should not care to share their
privations; but we should not be unwilling to be convinced that we possess
their independence, their self-reliance, their self-respect; and I regard
that as the greatest blessing resulting out of thrift-independence of
character. Whether Scottish pride arose out of Scottish thrift, or whether
Scottish thrift arose out of Scottish pride, I really cannot decide; but
they are closely intertwined so closely that you cannot perhaps separate
them. But, at any rate, the combination produced a character which has
governed the country."
These are striking
facts, vouched for by a very great and reliable man. Dr. Patterson's
invaluable history of Pictou County makes it clear beyond dispute that the
"Hector" settlers possessed "the thrift" and "the pride" of their country
in the highest degree. The subsequent lives of them and their descendants
have demonstrated beyond question that they possessed· also the "governing
At the close of 1773,
there were thus in Pictou County, two very distinct pioneer strains,
almost equal in numbers-the "Hope" settlers of mixed American, English,
South of Scotland and North of Ireland origin, who had been some years in
the country; and the "Hector" settlers, of north of Scotland extraction,
newly arrived and, for the immediate time being, a charge rather than a
help to the struggling settlement, although they contributed so materially
to its development and progress in later years.
THE SOUTH OF SCOTLAND
A year and a half after
the arrival of the "Hector" came the third and last band of those who may
properly be called the pioneers of Pictou. These were the south of
Scotland people, sometimes erroneously spoken of as the "Dumfries
Their party was
organized to take up lands in Prince Edward Island. They chartered their
own vessel; sailed from the port of Annan, in Dumfriesshire, and arrived
at Georgetown in the spring of 1773. Although exceptionally well
outfitted, they were immediately overtaken by bad luck.
A great plague of mice
destroyed their first season's crop. The following spring they procured
seed from Nova Scotia, and re-planted; but the mice ate the very seed in
the ground. That autumn, to crown their misfortunes, supplies which they
had brought from Scotland and stored at Georgetown Harbor were plundered
by riotous New England sailors and fishermen, who were ashore on a drunken
orgie on the eve of sailing for their homes. The settlers were left in
dire straits for food; and suffered intensely during the succeeding
winter. In the following spring, 1775, they removed in a body to Pictou.
There were thirteen families and one single man in the party. With one
exception they settled permanently in Pictou County.
Seven of the party
located at West River. These were Anthony Mclellan, William Clark, David
Stewart, William Smith, Joseph Richards, John McLean and Charles Blaikie.
Four settled on the Middle River, namely, John Crockett, Robert Marshall,
Robert Brydone and John Smith. Two, Thomas Turnbull and Anthony Culton,
went to the East River. One, Wellwood Waugh, remained in Pictou for a
time, but later removed to Colchester County where he gave his name to
Waugh's River. His half brother, William Campbell, the bachelor of the
party, settled at the Beaches, a mile below the present Town of Pictou.
The members of this
party added a new and specially valuable element to the primitive Pictou
settlement. They came from one of the best agricultural districts in
Scotland. They had been closely associated with the land all their lives.
Several of them were sons of landowners; others had been tenant farmers.
They knew how best to deal with the soil, and they had the means to enable
them to put their knowledge into practice. They lost no time in getting to
work. Most of them prospered from the beginning. This party, more than any
of its predecessors, directly and indirectly influenced the future of
Pictou. They seem to have been well satisfied with their new home; and at
once, by means of letters to those whom they had left behind, became the
most effective of immigration agents. Through their representations their
relatives and acquaintances in the South of Scotland were directed to
Pictou; and continued coming in increasing numbers, for many years.
The original members of
the party were mostly from Galloway, that famous, old Principality in the
extreme southwest of Scotland, made up of the Shires of Kirkcudbright and
Wigton; but a few of them were from Dumfriesshire and Ayr, or had
connections in those counties. A glance at the names of those most
prominent in the early commercial, industrial and political life of Pictou
will show that a large proportion of them were from one or other of the
south Scottish counties above mentioned. The monuments in the old Cemetery
of Pictou, and the still older Durham Cemetery reveal an overwhelming
preponderance of Galloway, Dumfries and Ayrshire names.
These south of Scotland
settlers imported live-stock, seeds and fruit-trees from the land of their
birth. At West River traces of the famous black cattle of Galloway were
distinctly discernible not many years ago; and quite possibly are yet to
be found. The sturdy Galloway breed of horses, too, left its mark in the
county. But the Galloway people made a far deeper and infinitely more
valuable impress on the social life of the county. From them, to mention
an outstanding name, came Rev. Thomas McCulloch, the founder of Pictou
Academy, who, although himself a native of Renfrewshire, was the
descendant of one of the oldest and most honorable of the baronial
families of Kirkcudbrightshire, with a history dating back almost to the
Norman invasion. The names of Thomas, Michael and William McCulloch, so
familiar in Pictou history, are distinctly traceable through hundreds of
years of the annals of Galloway. John Dawson, another of Pictou's worthy
early settlers, who; following the southern pioneers, came to Pictou in
1791, and whose great grandson Mr. Bonar Law is now leader of the
Conservative party in Great Britain, was also a Galloway man, a native of
the Parish of Irongray in Kirkcudbrightshire.
Of the members of the
south of Scotland party, Wellwood Waugh, as already stated, did not remain
long in Pictou. He was of the Waughs, Lairds of Barnbarroch,
Kirkcudbrightshire. His father had married a daughter of Dr. Wellwood, of
London, hence the name "Wellwood." After the death of her first husband,
Mrs. Waugh married a Mr. Campbell, and had a son, William Campbell, who
came to Pictou with his half-brother Waugh, and settled at the Beaches.
His sons, in after years, went to TataImagouche where they entered into
commercial and shipbuilding enterprises, and became prominently identified
with the public life of Colchester County. Mrs. Patterson and Mrs. John S.
Maclean of Halifax are William Campbell's granddaughters, as was also the
late Mrs. Howard Primrose, Pictou.
Of the two members of
this party, Thomas Turnbull, and Anthony Culton, who settled on the East
River, there are few descendants bearing their names in the County. Dr.
Albert Culton of Cumberland County is a great grandson of Anthony Culton.
Of the four who settled
on the Middle River, John Smith early lost his life by drowning. His
descendants if any are unknown. John Crockett's descendants are still to
be found, on the Middle River and a number of them in Upper Stewiacke,
Colchester County, to which place one of his sons removed. Most of Robert
Marshall's descendants bearing his name, have removed to the United
States. David Marshall and Robert Brown, merchants of Pictou, are his
great grandsons. There are few of the Brydone's name now left in the
County, but a large number of Robert Brydone's descendants remain; among
them have been two clergymen, three lawyers and four physicians.
Of those who went to the
West River, Anthony Maclellan settled at Durham where he purchased a large
block of land on the west side of the River. In addition, he owned lands
purchased from one of the Blaikies on the east-side of the River opposite
Durham, which were reconveyed by his son Anthony Maclellan, junior, to
James Blaikie by deed dated February 23, 1800. It was out of this lot that
Anthony Maclellan set aside the site of the old West River Church and of
the older part of the West River Cemetery in which he was the first man
buried, in the year 1786. A Mrs. Gerard was interred there a year earlier.
With this exception, Anthony Maclellan's is the oldest marked grave in
His eldest son James,
was killed in 1793, by falling from a building which was being erected
near the Ten Mile bridge. His remaining son, Anthony, succeeded to his
property. Of his three daughters, Ann, was married first to William Smith
and after his death to Donald McLeod; Catherine, to Joseph Richards,
grandfather of the late Rev. John Richards; and Janet to John Collie;
whose grandson is Dr. J. R. Collie, of River John and great grandson Dr.
J. R. M. Collie of London, England. A somewhat striking incident, in this
connection, was the marriage, at the same place and date, of the widowed
Mrs. Smith and her daughter to Donald McLeod and his son, who by these
marriages became respectively the forefathers of Judge John D. McLeod of
Pictou and Rev. John M. McLeod, formerly of Charlottetown, and later of
Vancouver, B. C.
Anthony Maclellan was of
the Maclellans of Bombie, Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway. He was born in
1720 and was fifty-three years of age when he left Scotland. In the list
of his descendants are to be found the names of thirteen clergymen, six
barristers, seven physicians, one member of the Dominion Parliament, many
successful business men, among them the late John S. Maclean of Halifax,
the late Daniel Macdonald, Collector of Customs, Pictou, the late Robert
McConnell of the Finance Department, Ottawa, W. E. Maclellan of Halifax,
Post Office Inspector for Nova Scotia, and, last but not least, Robert
Maclellan, LL.D., the present honored Principal of Pictou Academy.
On the east side of the
River, opposite to Anthony Maclellan settled Charles Blaikie. His lands
were extensive, including at one time or another all those now or lately
occupied by his descendants on Green Hill, and all of the David Matheson
farm, opposite Durham, now owned by Mr. Hamblin. Charles Blaikie, too, was
in very comfortable circumstances on his arrival. He was a skillful
farmer, and the family have always been prosperous. One of his early
descendants was the late Rev. Alexander Blaikie, D.D., long a prominent
Clergyman in Boston. Another is Mr. Blaikie of Londonderry, a wealthy
retired merchant, at one time a business partner of the late A. W. McLelan,
Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia.
Next above Anthony
Maclellan, on the west side of the River, settled William Clark on lands
all of which have ever since been continuously held by his descendants. No
farmers in the County have been more enterprising and successful than
they. Among the descendants of William Clark have been three clergymen of
the Presbyterian Church.
Next above William Clark
settled David Stewart on lands which are now in the possession of his
great grandson, Robert Stewart. The Stewart name has at all times been
synonymous with integrity. Among Robert Stewart's descendants are the two
Drs. Collie above named.
Next above Robert
Stewart settled William Smith, where his grandson Wilson Smith, now
resides. He was descended from a Dumfriesshire land-owning family, members
of which had borne titles of honor. He too was possessed of considerable
means. A milling industry was early established at his place, which proved
highly successful and was of great benefit to the surrounding country.
His son, the late Anthony Smith, father of Wilson Smith and grandfather of
James W. Smith of Pictou, head of the Atlantic Milling Company, was long a
prominent and active member of the old Court of Sessions for Pictou
County. This family too, has contributed most generously to the
professional as well as to the business life of the Province. Among
William Smith's descendants have been one member of the Dominion
Parliament, six clergymen and three prominent barristers.
Next above William Smith
settled Joseph Richards, on the lands occupied by his descendants until
Robert Richards removed some thirty years ago to Manitopa, where he and
his family now reside. A brother of his, Rev. John Richards, a
Presbyterian clergyman, was called to Ontario, where he passed his life.
Above Joseph Richards
settled John Maclean, the farthest south of the members of this party. He
was of Dumfriesshire family. Rev. John Maclean of Richibucto, N. B., the
father of the late John S. Maclean of Halifax, was his grandson. John
Maclean, arriving in July, 1775, was one of the first-chosen elders of the
first Presbyterian congregation organized in Pictou County, to which Rev.
Dr. McGregor was called to minister in the autumn of 1786. The family have
ever since been prominent in Church work. The late Howard MaClean, of
Halifax, one of the most promising young barristers in Nova Scotia
when his untimely death
occurred was a great grandson of John Maclean, as was also the late J. J.
Maclean of Hopewell. Mrs. George Arthur Bayne of Winnipeg is a great
With such settlers on
its banks it is not surprising that the West River should so long have
been the ecclesiastical and educational centre of the County. To Durham
was early moved the first Presbyterian Church, located originally at Loch
Broom. Durham did not receive its present name until the time of the late
Lord Durham in Canada. The name was the suggestion of the late William
Graham, merchant, and was confirmed at a public meeting held for the
purpose. The late Miss Margaret Cameron of Durham distinctly remembered
the meeting, and that it was on Mr. Graham's motion that the name Durham
was chosen. At the West River church all those settled around the Harbor,
including the people of the Town, continued to worship until Rev. Thomas
McCulloch arrived in 1803 when a separate congregation was organized in
Pictou. In Durham Cemetery most of the pioneer settlers of West Pictou are
buried. To Durham, at a later date, the Presbyterian Theological Seminary
for Nova Scotia was removed, and there established and conducted for a
number of years.
But Durham, as a
village, did not start until 1822. The first lot was sold on March 19, of
that year, by Anthony Maclellan, junior, to John Henderson, shoemaker. It
was the half-acre lot; at the lower end of the village, on which Waller's
blacksmith shop stands. The price paid was 14 pounds, 10 shillings-not a
bad price for a beginning. But on April 13, 1824, two years later,
Henderson bought the adjacent half-acre lot, for which he paid 25 pounds.
Henderson must have been prospering, for on June 14, 1826, he bought 30
acres of land in the rear of his first two purchases for which he paid 100
pounds. Durham seems to have been experiencing a "boom" at this time. On
May 16, 1830, Alexander MacDonald blacksmith, bought an acre lot adjoining
Henderson's lots, price 50 pounds. Two years later, on August 15, 1832, a
large lot, in the southern angle of the Rogers Hill road was sold for 125
pounds. The following day it was resold to J. R. Ritchie for 175 pounds.
From this time on,
during a number of years, Durham grew and prospered greatly, owing to the
development of the timber trade
of which it was a large purchasing centre. Atone time it had four
inns-three of them "licensed," and many places of general business. It had
mechanical establishments of almost every kind; two churches, and the
Presbyterian Seminary. In 1849, Durham Post Office ranked fifth in the
Province in revenue collected, being, in this respect, at that time ahead
of New Glasgow. The Post Offices, with a larger revenue than that of
Durham were Halifax, Yarmouth, Truro and Pictou. With the decay of the
timber trade Durham fell into rapid decline. But the surrounding country
has lost none of its solid and long-established prosperity.
THE EARLY SETTLERS OF THE EAST RIVER
The East River is well known for the variety
and the beauty of its scenery. On its banks are Springville, Bridgeville,
and Sunny Brae, villages of abundant peace and plenty. It is well known
for its rich deposits of iron and lime; its vales and hills, its towering
elms and winding river, but it is still more famous for the men and women
it has produced; for the district from Churchville to Kerrowgare, a
distance of about fifteen miles, has given thirtyfive clergymen to the
Presbyterian Church, a Governor, a Chief Justice and a Premier to the
What a community produces along educational
and religious lines depends not a little upon its antecedents. The early
settlers of the East River were a sturdy stock, a sober, stalwart
worshipping set of men and women, with iron in their blood, and a burning
love in their hearts for the Church and the School. They yoked education
and religion together, and the combination produced a fine type of men and
moralities. The writer, thirty years ago, taught the Shorter Catechism in
the public school, at Sunny Brae.
As far as can be ascertained, the first
settler in Churchville was John Robertson. He emigrated from the Highlands
of Scotland and arrived in 1784, in Pictou. He was a brother-in-law of
Roderick McKay, who was one of the first settlers on the East River. The
first clearing Robertson made in Churchville was where John Robertson,
miller, once resided.
John Fraser was among the first settlers of
Springville. To distinguish him from others of the same clan he was called
lain Ruaidh, or Red John. He settled about 140 years ago on the place now
known as the Holmes Farm, where he built the first frame house in
Springville. It is still standing. Later, the property was bought by
Senator Holmes and here he always lived and ended his days. The house is
low, but comfortable, reminding one of "the lowroofed house of Socrates."
Here the Han. Simon H. Holmes, once Premier of the Province, was born and
bred. John Fraser, Red, had three sons James, Donald and William who
settled in the community. One of his daughters married Simon Fraser,
Basin: she was the mother of Thomas Fraser, Foreman, and consequently,
grandmother of Graham Fraser, the Iron King of New Glasgow. Another
daughter, married Mr. Fraser of McLennans Mountain and was the mother of
William Fraser, Postmaster, New Glasgow.
James, his eldest son, always called Seumas
lain Ruaidh, was a devout man and well known for his honesty. He raised a
large family, who were all of an intellectual turn. It was James Fraser
who gave the name Springville to the place from the many sparkling streams
in the vicinity.
John Fraser, eldest son of James Fraser, who
went always by the name of "Catach" was quite a celebrity in his day. His
second son, Donald was the geologist of the East River. His second
daughter was mother of James A. Fraser, Editor of the Eastern Chronicle.
James lain Ruaidh and David McLean were near
neighbors and each had an inexhaustible lime quarry on his farm. In 1836,
three thousand bushels of lime were manufactured and sold at the Albion
Mines. In the same year twenty-five hundred tons of square timber were
rafted down the river by the athletic sons of Sunny Brae–he Chisholms,
Kennedys, Thomsons, McDonalds and McIntoshes. David McLean was the father
of the Rev. James Maclean D. D., and Dr. Duncan Maclean, both settled for'
a long tithe in Shubenacadie; N. S.
James Grant, one of the passengers on the
Hector settled first in King's Co., N. S. He came from Glen Urquhart,
Scotland. He was married and some of his children were born in the old
country. He moved from King's Co. to Cariboo, Pictou Co., and lived there
for some years. Before coming to this country he gained some knowledge of
milling. By this time the Upper Settlement people began to raise
considerable quantities of grain, especially wheat, but they had no mill
to convert it into flour. So they persuaded James Grant to leave Cariboo
and move to the East River. This he did, and settled at Millstream in
1790. He erected a mill on a stream issuing from Grant's Lake, on a site
some twenty rods further down than the one now occupied by Grant's Mill.
This was the first regular gristmill on the East River.
James Grant died in February, 1822, age
ninety-seven. He is described as a quiet, peaceful man. He lived for some
years before his death on a farm subsequently owned by Duncan McPhie. When
James Grant died, there were twelve families in Millstream and Lime Brook:
Duncan Grant, James Grant, dyer, Alexander Grant, miller, Robert Grant,
elder, John Fraser, James Fraser, David McLean, Donald Fraser, Duncan
McPhie, Donald Mor Fraser, David McIntosh, and Donald Cameron.
James Grant had four sons and two or three
daughters. One of his sons, Duncan, died in 1847 and was buried at
Springville Bridge, and was either the first or one of the first buried
there. He once owned the farm on which the Rev. Angus McGillivray lived
His sons, Alexander and
Robert were men of influence and note and had much to do with the making
of the life and the growth of the community. They succeeded their father
in the milling business and were leaders in the Church and the State.
Alexander Grant was married to Nellie McKay. The Rev. Robert Grant, the
historian of the East River was their son. James, eldest son of Alexander
Grant and Nellie McKay, was known as the Dyer. He owned woolen mills near
Springville. His sons Alexander, John Walter, Hugh and Robert succeeded
Robert Grant was married
to Mary, daughter of James Robertson. He had three sons; James, who owned
a saw mill at the head of Grant's Lake and was for many years an elder
under the Rev. Mr. McGillivray; Alexander Robert, who owned a gristmill on
Millstream; and Dr. William R. Grant, a distinguished professor in
Pennsylvania Medical College. One of his daughters, married John Fraser,
Basin. Another was the wife of Colin Robertson, Churchville.
In 1784, a settlement of
disbanded soldiers was made further up the river. They came to Pictou at
the close of the American War. They were originally, from the Highlands of
The first who came was
James Fraser, Big James, who in company with Donald McKay, elder, settled
on the intervale a little below where St. Paul's Church now stands. He and
fifteen others took up a tract of over three thousand acres, extending up
to Samuel Cameron's on the east side of the river, and to James Fraser's,
Culloden, on the west side. They were a sober and industrious class of
people and endured great hardship. But they endured it with characteristic
Scottish tenacity and in the belief that the future had much in store for
them. A few years rolled by and they had made homes for their families and
laid the foundations for a God-fearing and prosperous community. To ponder
over the hazards and hardships they faced with such optimistic heroism, is
but to admire and pay them a justly earned tribute.
The names of these first
settlers were: Donald Cameron, his brothers Samuel and Finlay, Alexander
Cameron, Robert Clark, Peter Grant, first elder in the settlement, James
McDonald, ,Hugh McDonald on the east side of the river. James Fraser,
Duncan McDonald, John McDonald, brother of James, John Chisholm, drowned
at the Narrows with Finlay Cameron, John McDonald. 2d, John Chisholm, Jr.
John McDonald was born
at Glen Urquhart. and belonged to the Glencoe McDonalds. At the time of
the Glencoe Massacre, 1692, one of the McDonalds fled to Glen Urquhart and
settled there. John McDonald was a grandson or great grandson of that man.
He was about eight years in the Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment, and
three of his sons fought with him in the Revolutionary War on the
Loyalists' side. He was married twice. By his first wife. he had Duncan,
Alexander, Mary and Christy. By his second wife, Margaret Grant, he had
James, Ewen, Ann and Ellen. Ann was married to Thomas Fraser, Basin. Ellen
was married to James Robertson. The well known Deacon Robertson,
Churchville, was their son. Duncan, eldest son of John McDonald, was
married to Catherine Fraser. James, their third son, was born about 1759.
He was a Corporal in the 84th regiment. He married about 1782, Mary
Forbes, by whom he had Alexander, Edward and other sons.
He left East River about
1834, and settled in Upper Canada where he died in 1857. He was an elder
under Dr. McGregor and a very prominent man on the East River in his day.
Alexander McDonald, his fifth son, settled near Bridgeville and was the
father of Hon. James McDonald, Chief Justice of Nova Scotia.
Edward, second son of
James McDonald, had a: son John A. McDonald, who left the East River and
settled in Ontario. John A. was the father of James A. MacDonald, LL.D.,
editor of the Toronto Globe and one of the best political writers in
Canada. He is a Presbyterian minister and still preaches occasionally.
Ontario claims ,the honor of being his birthplace, but the East River is
entitled to some recognition in any reference to his parentage for both
his parents were born there.
James Fraser, Culloden,
married Ann Robertson, Churchville, and had John, Catherine, Margaret,
Alexander and James. Alexander married Catherine Rankine, of Merigomish.
The late Rev. James W. Fraser, of Scotsburn, was their son.
settled on the first lot above Culloden. Donald Cameron with his brother
Samuel were natives of Glen Urquhart. Donald served eight years in the
army. He was settled on the saddle lot. It is said that the price given
for it was a saddle. Thomas Fraser, who lived in Springville, purchased it
from Donald Cameron and settled on it about 1815. He married Janet Fraser,
widow of Hector Thompson. He left the lot to Simon and Donald Thompson,
sons of his wife by her first husband. Duncan, son of Donald Cameron, was
an elder in Dr. McGregor's time.
John Campbell, son of
James and Elizabeth Campbell was born at Garabeg, Glen Urquhart, July 24,
1790. He entered the army in 1812. He married Janet, daughter of Archibald
Fraser, in 1812. He came to Pictou in October 1818. Peter G. was his
eldest son. He married Elizabeth Kennedy, a sister of Donald Kennedy,
Sunny Brae. His son, Donald K., is a minister in Illinois. One of his sons
is a physician in Illinois.
Donald, son of Charles
McIntosh, settled on the lot above Donald McDonald, Roy. He lived there
for a few years and then sold to William Ciuin McDonald and removed to Fox
Brook. William Ciuin was a teacher but gave it up for other pursuits. In
the course of time he started a store in New Glasgow. He put up a frame
house on his lot, boarded it, but never shingled it. Donald McDonald, Roy,
bought a piece of land near New Glasgow from Dr. Skinner. He exchanged it
with William Ciuin for the lot in the Upper Settlement and gave it to his
son, John McDonald, Roy. John finished the frame house which William Ciuin
had begun and lived in it. It is a question who had the honor of living in
the first frame house above Springville. It may have been an honor, but
what of it ? Were not the men who were born in log houses as strong, as
wise and good as the men born in frame houses?
David McIntosh, son of
Charles McIntosh, settled a short distance above his brother, Donald
McIntosh. David was born in Inverness, Scotland, and married Christie
Chisholm. James McIntosh, his son, Island, East River, married Catherine
Grant. Two of their sons, David C. and Finlay G., entered the ministry.
Hugh, another son of David McIntosh, married Isabel Polson and gave that
man of weight and wisdom, Rev. Charles D. McIntosh to the ministry. Two
other sons entered the medical profession.
Alexander McDonald, Roy,
was a native of Glen Urquhart, came to Pictou in 1803, and settled at
Sunny Brae. He married Christy Fraser and had four sons and four
daughters. Squire McDonald of Springville was his second son. Alexander,
his third son, was well known in Sunny Brae for many years. The Rev.
Finlay R. McDonald, a minister in Scotland, was the youngest son of Squire
John Thompson and his
son Alexander settled at Sunny Brae in 1801. Alexander married Bella
McIntosh, by whom he had John, Andrew, Alexander, William, James, Finlay,
Christy, Janet and Mary. John Thompson had a brother Donald who settled at
Nine Mile River. Rev. James Thomson of the West River was his grandson.
Angus McPhie, in Glen
Urquhart married Christy, daughter of John Thompson and had Duncan,
Christy, John, Ewen, Alexander, Mary and James. He came to Pictou in the
ship Aurora in 1803. Duncan, his eldest, son, settled at Springville and
was an elder in Rev. Angus McGillivray's day. His son, John McPhie, was
one of the old Pictou magistrates. He died in May 1912 in the ninety-sixth
year of his age.
The first settlers in
Sunny Brae were: Robert McIntosh, Donald Kennedy, James Chisholm, John
Grant, Duncan McDonald, John Thompson, John McDonald, Peter Cruikshank and
John McGregor. They came to Pictou in 1801 and settled in Sunny Brae in
Peter Cruikshank was a
native of Strathspey, and came to , Pictou in 1789. In 1792 he had two
hundred acres of land and a cow. He was married and had Elizabeth,
William, John, Alexander, Marjorie and Peter.
Robert McIntosh married
Jessie, daughter of John Thompson, and had John, William, Jessie and
others. Finlay, his son settled on Blanchard Road. He married Catherine
Fraser. John Robert McIntosh, his son, married Margaret, daughter of
Donald McDonald, blacksmith. Their son Finlay H. is pastor in Sydney, C.
John McGregor was a man
of great strength. When they were making the Big Miller's dam, he stood
before a log that was rolling down the bank to stop it, but the log went
over him and killed him. The Big Miller's dam was built about the year
Donald McDonald, Breac,
came from Kerrowgare, Scotland, in 1802. He was an intelligent man, and
was an elder under Dr. McGregor. In 1811 he had four hundred acres of
land, two cows and eight sheep. He had eight children. Finlay settled in
Caledonia; Donald, his eldest son, settled in Sherbrooke, and was a
His son, James McDonald,
was born in Scotland in 1801. He was a tailor but gave up the tailoring
business for farming. He married Catherine, daughter of Alexander Fraser,
Downie. He was ordained to the Eldership by the Rev. D. B. Blair and fully
adorned his office. He was succeeded on his farm by his son, the late John
A. McDonald, Kerrowgare. James A., his son, is a minister in the United
Donald Ross, was born in
Eddrachillis, in Sutherlandshire. He came to Nova Scotia in 1816. He lived
for one year on Irish Mountain, but removed to Iron Ore, and settled back
of Alexander McDonald's place. He lived there twenty-two years. He then
purchased the farm of James McIntosh and occupied it. He had eight
children. Jessie was married to Kenneth McKenzie, elder, Churchville.
Jane, who was born at
Irish Mountain was married to James Cumming, elder, of Sunny Brae.
William, his eldest son married Mary, daughter of William Cumming, and had
by her, Donald, William, Peter, Hugh and John who settled in Ontario.
Donald, his eldest son, has lived in New Glasgow for many years where he
is greatly beloved. He has been an honored elder in St. Andrew's Church
for nearly half a century.
Hugh Ross was an elder
in the United Church, New Glasgow, and died some years ago. William Ross
was an elder in Sunny Brae Church. He was married to Christy, daughter of
Robert Grant, Finlay's brother. He had a large family, who were all
actively identified with the church. Two of his sons, William and Robert
D., entered the ministry.
John Grant was born in
Glen Urquhart and came to Pictou in 1801 and settled at Sunny Brae. He
married Margaret McIntosh, and had by her Peter, William, Robert,
Catherine, and Finlay. Robert was three years old when he came to Pictou.
He married Mary McDonald, and had five sons, John, Alexander, Peter,
William and Duncan.
A son of Duncan Grant,
William M., is a minister in Ontario. William, who settled in Providence,
R. I., married Jessie McDougall, a sister of Roderick McDougall of
Westville. One of his sons became a physician, another a lawyer, and two
daughters are teachers in the Grammar schools, Providence. Marjorie,
daughter, of Robert Grant, married Joseph McKay; two of their sons William
R. and Robert G., are clergymen. Catherine, a sister of Finlay Grant,
married Duncan McPhie, Springville. They had John, Christy, Alexander,
Jessie, Margaret, Mary, Angus and Peter. Their youngest son, Peter McPhie,
married Isabella Cruikshank. Their two sons, John P. and Duncan A.,
entered the ministry.
Finlay Grant was born in
1800 and was one year old when he came to Pictou. He married in 1827, Ann,
daughter of Alexander Fraser, Downie, and had Alexander, a merchant in New
Glasgow and elder in the United Church. John, an elder in Sunny Brae
church who gave two sons Robert J. and William P., to the ministry;
William, who entered the ministry, gave two of his sons to the church,
Melville and Clarence. The latter died while a catechist. Finlay Grant was
ordained to the eldership by the Rev. John Macrae in 1834. He was a
clear-headed, well-read and useful man.
The descendants of John
Grant who came to Sunny Brae in 1801 were numerous and took a leading part
in the activities of the Church. Fifteen of them entered the Christian
ministry and fourteen were regularly ordained elders in the church. This
is perhaps as many or more than was given by any other family in the
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