THE first practicing
lawyer in the County, as far as is known, was Nicholas Purdue Olding. For
many years he was not only the father but the grandfather of the Bar. Born
in England, 1751; educated at Oxford; his friends intended him for the
Church, but on completing his course, he turned his attention to law.
Having finished his law course, he came to America at the time of the
American Revolution and took arms in defence of the mother country. At the
close of the war, he came to Halifax with his wife and two children.
In 1784 he was admitted
to the Bar, and entered upon the practice of his profession with great
promise. But he had received a wound in the head, which rendered him unfit
for the excitement of the Bar and the social habits of the time. About
1797 he received a grant of land at Merigomish from Governor Wentworth.
Soon afterwards he moved there and settled on Point Betty Island, where he
lived the remainder of his life.
He did not regularly
practice as a barrister, but did considerable law business, writing deeds
and issuing legal documents. He generally attended the court at Pictou
until near the close of his life. Though brought up in the Church of
England, he joined the Presbyterian Church, under Dr. McGregor's ministry.
His wife died in 1841 in the 87th year of her age, and he in 1845, in his
ninety-fifth year. They had lived together for the long period of
sixty-four years. Mr. OIding was well educated, had a high sense of honor,
and maintained throughout his life a reputation for integrity and justice.
Among the early members
of the legal profession in the county were: Robert Hatton, who came from
Ireland in 1813; Thomas Dickson, who
was a Colchester man; Henry Blackadar of Halifax, who represented the
district in the legislature for nearly a dozen years; Martin I. Wilkins,
born at Windsor, practiced law in Pictou, and afterwards became
Prothonotary of Supreme Court in Halifax, which office he held up to time
of his death. He was a Barrister of marked ability, but was rather
eccentric ill his manner. Daniel Dickson, born at Truro, N. S., died
December 27, 1878, was father of Wm. A. Dickson of Pictou. A. C. McDonald
the second son of George McDonald was born at the West River in 1821.
Having been admitted to the Bar, he entered into partnership with Daniel
Dickson for the practice of law, In 1853 he married Sarah Brown DeWolfe of
Pugwash. He died in 1869, in the forty-eighth year of his age. He was a
man of good judgment; and fair dealing characterized his legal career.
John MacKinlay, son of
Rev. John MacKinlay at one time pastor of Prince St. Church, practiced law
in Pictou town for many years and died there December 1888. James Fogo,
was born in Glasgow, came to Pictou when a lad, was educated at Pictou
Academy, studied law in the office of Jotham Blanchard, was admitted to
the bar in 1837, became Judge of Probate 1850. He died in 1897, Edward
Roach was a native of Cumberland County and practiced in New Glasgow.
David Matheson was born at West River and died September 1886. For the
last twenty-five years of his life he was Prothonotary and Clerk to County
Court at Pictou.
One of the best known of
the earlier members of the bar, was Jotham Blanchard. He was, by birth, a
New Englander, but by education and residence a Pictonian. Inasmuch as his
whole public life was spent in Pictou, the County can fairly claim him as
one of her sons. Mr. Blanchard was born at Peterboro, N. H., in 1800. He
was the eldest son of Jonathan Blanchard. When he was
fifteen months old, his
parents removed with him to Truro, A few years later the family removed to
West River, Pictou, where his father bought George McConnell's farm and
built what was known as the Ten Mile House.
Afterwards they removed
to Pictou Town, where Jotham studied at Pictou Academy, being one of the
first class of students in that institution. He studied law in the office
of Thomas Dickson, and was admitted to the Bar in 1821. He soon became one
of the most eminent practitioners in Eastern Nova Scotia. His time and
energies were largely devoted to fearless advocacy of popular rights and
to support of Pictou Academy and higher education.
Mr. Blanchard was an
able lawyer, a keen debater, a forceful writer; and he used his powers
unstintedIy for the best interests of the country. He ended his brilliant
career in 1840-in the fortieth year of his age and it is not to the credit
of his fellow countrymen, that his grave lies unmarked in the Old Cemetery
Hon. Hiram Blanchard was
born in Pictou, in 1820, educated at Pictou Academy, and called to the bar
of Nova Scotia in 1843, when only twenty-three years of age. He practiced
law for some years in Halifax. He represented the County of Inverness in
the Legislature for several years, and was for a short time Premier of the
Province. He died in 1874.
Sir Charles Townsend,
Chief Justice of Nova Scotia says: "Hiram Blanchard was at one time
regarded as one of the best and most successful lawyers in the Province.
While he could not be called a well-read and diligent student of the law,
yet he possessed in an eminent degree, the faculty of quickly absorbing
all the facts, and the law bearing thereon in the case in hand." He was a
brother of Jotham Blanchard.
A well-known name of
later years, was that of Hon. James McDonald, who was born at Bridgeville,
East River, July 1, 1828, He was
familiarly known and honored by his generation in Pictou County as "Jim"
McDonald. His family was among the first Scottish Highlanders who came to
Nova Scotia and settled on the East River. His grandfather, James
Macdonald, known as "The Deacon," was one of the founders of the
Anti-Burgher Church, and, like all the family was in politics a strong
Radical. His father settled in New Glasgow where his son was educated.
Some of the older people still remember him as the bright, active lad, who
without any advantages, got himself an education and fought his way up to
the high position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. He
studied law in the office of the well-known Hon. Martin I. Wilkins and was
admitted to the Bar when only twenty-three years of age.
He practiced law first
in Pictou for twelve years, and in 1863 removed to Halifax where he was
conspicuous among the leaders of the Bar. In 1878 he was made Minister of
Justice in the Sir John Macdonald's Government, He was appointed Chief
Justice of Nova Scotia in 1881; retiring on a pension in 1904, he was
presented with a handsome piece of silver by the bar of Nova Scotia as a
testimonial. He declined the honor of Knighthood, and passed the closing
days of his life at "Blink Bonnie" on the Northwest Arm, where he died
October 3, 1912, in the 85th year of his age. Almost his entire life was
spent in his native province.
He was married, in 1856,
to Jane Mortimer of Pictou, by whom he had a large family. Two of his sons
are in the legal profession; Wallace McDonald at Edmonton, Alta., and
James A. McDonald at Halifax. One of his daughters is married to Sir
Hibbert Tupper, Victoria, B. C., and another to Mr. Stuart Tupper,
Winnipeg, Man., both sons of Sir Charles Tupper, a third is married to the
Rev. L. H. Jordan, D.D., Oxford, England. In that great historic debate of
giants in what is known as the Pacific Railway Scandal, in 1873, the palm
was unanimously awarded to Hon. James McDonald, for
his aggressive debating power and skill in defence. At that time Sir John
A. Macdonald said of him, "As true as steel; and is, I think, the ablest
man in the House of Commons."
On the first day of
October, 1845, there was born at East River another lad, who afterwards
became one of Pictou's most popular sons-Duncan C. Fraser. He too, was
without material advantages; but he was of good Scottish ancestry. By push
and perseverance he worked his way up until he attained the Governorship
of the Province.
He received his
education in the common schools, and later at the Normal School, Truro.
After graduating with a B.A. degree from Dalhousie College, he taught
school for some time before being called to the bar in 1873. He had a
strong instinct for political life, and was a popular debater. Local
politics paved the way for his career at Ottawa, where he represented the
County of Guysboro for many years. He occupied a seat on the Bench of the
Supreme Court of Nova Scotia for a few years, but gave it up to take the
Lieutenant Governorship of Nova Scotia. His appointment was received with
acclamation, and he was very popular with the people.
Governor Fraser had a
notable career in Parliament, at the Bar, and on the Bench. His influence
was widely felt throughout the country. He was one of the best stump
speakers of his day, a rare story-teller, and a genial companion. Because
of his ready wit and powers of oratory he stood out prominently in the
public life of his time.
He received the degree
of LL.D., from Dalhousie College, and D.C.L., from St, Francis Xavier and
King's Colleges. He died in 1910. In 1878 he married Bessie G. Graham of
New Glasgow. One of his sons, Alister Fraser, is practicing law at Moose
Hon. James G. Forbes, has
for nineteen years been County Court Judge of St. John, N. B., and a
pillar of the Presbyterian Church of
that city. For many years he has been connected with the Canadian Bible
Society and the Lord's Day Alliance and also with the British and Foreign
Society of London, of which he is one of the Vice Presidents.
He is a brother of the
Revs, John F. and Adam G. Forbes and a native of the County, born in 1838.
He took a course in law at Harvard University, and was admitted to the bar
in 1865. He was long a successful practitioner in St. John where he has
resided for over half a century.
Hon. Angus McGillivray
was admitted to the bar in 1874, practiced in Antigonish, and was retained
in many important cases, civil and criminal. He was appointed Judge of the
County Court in 1902 and was Speaker of the House of Assembly in 1883, He
resides at Antigonish, N. S.
East River has the
distinction of having given to Canada, three political leaders, Hon. James
McDonald, Hon. D. C. Fraser, and Hon. Simon H. Holmes, Mr. Holmes was born
at Springville, in 1831, a son of Hon. John Holmes, Senator. He was
admitted to the bar, and practiced successfully in Pictou for many years,
devoting part of his time to journalism, For four years he was Premier of
the Province. He resides at Halifax where he has been Prothonotary of the
Supreme Court for thirty-two years.
John D. McLeod is at
present, Judge of Probate for the County of Pictou, a position he has held
for a number of years. He was born at West River, being descended from an
old Highland family, was educated at Pictou Academy, studied law, and was
admitted as a barrister in 1866.
Charles D. Macdonald,
B.A., son of A. C. Macdonald, was born in Pictou in 1854. He entered
Dalhousie College in 1869 when only 15 years of age. At 21 he was admitted
to the bar. He practiced in his native place until 1890, when he removed
to Halifax. In 1897 he located in Edmonton, Alta., where he died some
years later. He was a brilliant linguist,
For several years he was editor of the Pictou News.
Hon, George Geddie
Patterson was born at Green Hill, and is a son of the late Rev. George
Patterson, D.D, He is a graduate of Dalhousie University and Law School,
and practiced in New Glasgow, where he now resides. He was appointed Judge
of the County Court in 1907.
Macdonald, was born in 1865. Educated at Pictou Academy and Dalhousie
University, he was admitted to the bar in 1887. He has successfully
practiced his profession at Pictou, where he is head of the firm of
Macdonald, lves and Chipman. He has represented the County of Pictou in
Parliament since 1897. Mr. Macdonald has always taken an active part in
political matters and is today one of the most influential leaders and
supporters of the Liberal Party.
The leader of the
Conservative party in the Local House, Halifax, is Charles E. Tanner, also
a lawyer and a native of Pictou town, born there in 1857. In 1888 he was
appointed Recorder and Stipendiary Magistrate for the Town and still holds
The list below gives 63
names who entered the legal profession from the County. The place of birth
and present location is given.
BELL, ISAAC, New Glasgow;
Son of late Hon. A.
BLANCHARD, HIRAM, Hon.,
Pictou; Died 1874.
Premier for the
BROWNRIGG, WM. H., Pictou;
CAMERON, JOHN McKINLAY,
Scotch Hill; Calgary, Alta.
DICKSON, WM. A., K.C.,
Pictou; Pictou, N. S.
DOUGLAS, JOHN C., B.A.,
LL.B., Stellarton; Glace Bay, C. B.
Member of the
DOULL, JOHN, LL.B., New
Glasgow; New Glasgow, N. S.
ELLIOTT, GEO. H., Pictou;
Mr. Elliott was the
son of the Rev. Charles Elliott, the first Episcopal minister in Pictou. Born in 1842, admitted to the bar in 1868, died in 1904.
He practiced law in Pictou.
FITZPATRICK, H. K., B,A.,
LL,B., Scotsburn; New Glasgow, N. S.
Brother of Rev. Jas.
Fitzpatrick, New Annan, N. S.
FOGO, JAMES, HON., Pictou;
Judge of Probate.
FORBES, JAMES G., HON.,
Blue Mountain; St. John, N. B.
Judge of the County
FRASER, ALISTER, B.A.,
LL.B., New Glasgow; Moose Jaw, Sask.
FRASER, DUNCAN C., HON.
B.A., LL.D., Churchville; Died 1910.
of the Province.
FRASER, JAMES A., New
FRASER, JAMES H., B.A.
Harvard Univ., Alma; Toronto, Ont.
FRASER, THOMAS M., LL.B.,
Hopewell; Saskatoon, Sask.
GRAHAM, ROBERT H., B.A.,
K.C., New Glasgow; New Glasgow, N. S.
GRAHAM, RODERICK D., New
Glasgow; Graduated, 1914.
Brother of Robt. H.
GRAY, WM. S., B.A., LL,B.,
Hopewell; MacLeod, Alberta.
GUNN, ALEX. D., LL,B.,
East River, St. Mary's; Sydney, C. B.
Mayor of Sydney,
HOLMES, SIMON H., HON.,
K.C., Springville; Halifax, N.S.
HUGGAN, M., IRA, Avondale;
IVES, WELSFORD B., LL.B.,
Pictou; Pictou, N. S.
LANE, CHARLES W., Pictou;
Lunenburg, N. S.
LANGILLE, ROBERT M., M.A.,
LL.B., River John; Sydney, C. B.
MacDONALD, ALVIN F., B.A.,
LL,B., Hopewell; Halifax, N. S.
MacDONALD, CHAS. D., B.A.,
Pictou; Died in 1908.
MacDONALD, DONALD D.,
Grad. of Law School,
MacDONALD, EDWARD M., KC.,
M.P., Pictou; Pictou, N. S.
MacDONALD, JOHN W., B.A.,
Son of E.M.
MacDONALD, WILLIAM C.,
B.A., Bailey's Brook; Halifax, N. S.
Wm. C., and D. D.
Macdonald are sons of late D. D, Macdonald, Bailey's Brook.
McDONALD, A. C., West
River; Died in 1869.
McDONALD, A.J., Lismore;
Died at Mabou, C. B.
McDONALD, JAMES, HON.,
Bridgeville; Died in 1912.
Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.
McDONALD, WILLIAM, Pictou;
Pictou, N. S.
McGILLIVRAY, ANGUS, HON.,
Bailey's Brook; Antigonish, N. S.
Judge of the County
McLennan's Brook; Died in 1901.
Born April 2, 1847.
Educated at Dal. College. Began the practice of law in New
McINNES, HECTOR, K.C,.
Lyon's Brook; Halifax, N. S.
Lecturer on the
Practice and Procedure of Law, Dalhousie University, Halifax:. Firm McInnes, Mellish, Fulton & Kenny.
MacKAY, ADAMS A., K.C.,
River John, Halifax, N. S.
MacKAY, ALEX. T., B.A.,
Grad. Halifax Law
MacKAY, IRA W., M.A.,
Ph.D., Scotsbum; Saskatoon, Sask.
Economy, Univ. of Saskatchewan.
MacKAY, HARRY B., LL.B.,
Scotsburn; Westville, N, S.
McKAY, NEIL F., West
River; Kaslo, B, C.
McKAY, RODERICK G., LL.B.,
East River, St. Mary's; New Glasgow, N. S.
McKINLAY, JOHN, Pictou;
Died in 1888.
McKENZIE, GEO, A., Four
Mile Brook; Deceased.
Rev. Chas. E.
Mackenzie, Galliopolis, Ohio, and A. Stanley
Mackenzie, President of Dal., University, Halifax, are sons of late
Geo. A, Mackenzie,
MacLELLAN, R. W., B.A.,
Mr. Maclellan was a
son of W. E. Maclellan, Post Office Inspector, Halifax. He was seriously
injured in a game of football, from which he died November 10,
1910, at the age of 23. He was a young man of great promise,
clever, manly, and to all appearances had a brilliant career before
MacLELLAN, W. E., LL.B.,
Durham; Halifax, N. S.
Inspector for Nova Scotia.
McLEOD, JOHN D., K.C.,
West River; Pictou, N. S.
Judge of Probate.
MADDIN, JAS. W., LL.B.,
Westville; Sydney, C. B.
MARTIN, JOHN J., B.A.,
LL.B., Stellarton; Cranbrook, B. C.
MATHESON, DAVID, West
River; Died 1886.
MUNRO, HENRY T., B,A.,
Pictou; Cambridge, Mass.
International Law, Harvard University.
PATTERSON, GEO. G., HON.,
M,A., LL,B., Green Hill; New Glasgow, N.S.
Judge of the County
Court and Lecturer on evidence at Dalhousie University, Halifax, N. S.
POWER, JOHN J., M.A.,
K.C., Pictou; Halifax, N. S.
ROSS, JOHN U., K.C.,
Pictou; Pictou, N. S.
SINCLAIR, DONALD C., B.A.,
LL,B., New Glasgow; New Glasgow, N, S.
STEWART, JAMES MCGREGOR,
Grad. Halifax Law
school, 1914, He is a son of James McGregor Stewart, who took his degree
of B.A., from Dalhousie in 1876: afterwards practiced
law in Pictou. Dr. John Stewart, Halifax, and Rev. Thos. Stewart D.D.,
Presbyterian College, are brothers of the last named. Their
father was Rev. Murdoch Stewart, Whycocomagh, C. B.
TANNER, CHAS. E. K.C.,
M.P.P., Pictou; Pictou, N. S.
Leader of the
opposition in the House of Assembly, Halifax, N. S.
TURNER, J. W. M.,
Merigomish; Died ill California.
TWEEDIE, T. M., LL,B.,
Stellarton; Calgary, Alta.
Harvard Law School,
Member Legislative Assembly,
VAIR, JAMES D., B.A.,
Grad. Halifax Law
PICTOU'S OLD ACADEMY
Perchance some scoffing passer-by may smile
In wonder at thy frame, so quaint and crude,
Considering not, through ignorance, the brood
That found thee wondrous kind and wise. the while
Outstretched, thy wings protected them from guile:
and nurtured them to war with rude
Strong error, rooted in the multitude
And for the heraldings that reconcile.
Commerce and Culture felt thy fine foresight;
Altar and Court-room, Science, Arts of Skill,
Drew from thy sons safe leaders, and the State
Enlisted many a stalwart potentate,
Made fit in thee to sense the people's will
Yet strong to boldly dare and do the right.
Peter M. MacDonald