PICTOU County might be called the Home
of Educators. It has given eight college Presidents to Canada many more
than any other single county in the Dominion has contributed. Although
only a few of its educators have attained great eminence, a large number
have made a commanding place for themselves in the educational, literary
and scientific world. The county was predestined to become an educational
centre, for, from its earliest days, its Scottish settlers, resolved that,
whatever the superstructure might be, education and religion should form
the corner stone and the foundation of their community.
It was Pictou's good fortune, at the
beginning of its history, to have as leaders men of decided scholarship
and marked ability, who were firmly convinced that education necessarily
went hand in hand with morality and civilization. Others followed them so
that there has never been a decade in its history in which a number of men
have not stood out as leaders in the cause of education. Dr. McGregor, the
first minister in Pictou County, was a man of much natural ability. He
had, moreover, enjoyed the benefits of a thorough College training, and
was an excellent scholar. From the beginning of his work he made the
establishing of schools and the education of the people second only to the
preaching of the Gospel. He was ably assisted by his colleague, Rev.
Duncan Ross, who was also a university graduate. In 1803, a third minister
arrived in the field; and it may safely be said of him that no man ever
lived in Nova Scotia who has exercised a more potent influence on
education. Thomas McCulloch was a student, a scholar, and a born teacher.
From the day of his arrival he became a power in educational
matters. He was the founder of Pictou Academy, and the influence of Pictou
County on the intellectual life of Canada has been largely concentrated in
Pictou Academy ever since.
The pioneers realized that education
was a better heritage for their children than gold. Their well-organized
public schools were proof of this; but it was particularly reflected in
the sacrifices which made Pictou Academy possible. It afterwards became
more or less articulated with the common school system, and the question
in every household having sons and daughters was: "Which one shall we send
to the Academy?" The home was back of it. No wonder that from such soil
sprang such a crop of college Presidents, Professors and Teachers.
The first schoolmaster was James
Davidson, a native of Edinburgh. He came to Pictou about 1772, and taught
school at Lyon's Brook. He returned to Truro, in 1776, and spent the rest
of his days there. The first teacher in Pictou town was Peter Grant, who
came from Halifax in 1793; he opened a school and taught for six years. S.
L. Newcomb took up the work in 1802. He married the daughter of Matthew
Harris, and had a family of children, several of whose names became
well-known in later years. George Glennie, a graduate of Aberdeen College,
succeeded him. He was an excellent teacher and scholar, and left his
impress upon the youth of that generation.
First upon the list of Pictou's eminent
educators and College presidents, stands the name of Sir J. W. Dawson, LL.
D., F. R. S. His life-work extended over a long period of years, and he is
the most widely known of all Canadian educationists and scientists. John
William Dawson was born at Pictou, on the 13th of October, 1820. While at
school in Pictou he developed a love for natural science, inherited from
his father, James Dawson; and made a large collection of fossils from the
coal measures so well exposed
in the County. When only sixteen years of
age, and still attending the Pictou Academy, he read before the local
Natural History Society his first paper–"On the Structure and History of
the Earth." He graduated from the University of Edinburgh, at the age of
twenty-two; and returned to Nova Scotia in company with Sir Charles Lyell
who began his geological explorations in the Province in 1842. Mr. Dawson
was then appointed to direct a geological survey of the coal fields.
In 1850 he became the first
Superintendent of Education for Nova Scotia; and did the pioneer work
which resulted in the founding of the Provincial Normal School in Truro,
in 1854, and the passing of the Free School Act of 1864. In 1855, he was
appointed to the Principalship of the McGill University, Montreal. McGill
rapidly developed under his guidance. He gave course of lectures in
chemistry, botany, zoology and geology. His "Acadian Geology" was
published in 1855. But from 1842 up to that event, no less than thirty-two
papers were published by him, including three Annual Education Reports,
1851-3, a geography and a text book on Agriculture. From this time his
published works increased in number, until, up to 1901, his bibliography
numbered 551 titles of papers, pamphlets and books. His earlier papers on
geological subjects had reference chiefly to the coal formation of Nova
Scotia; and to his discoveries of the earliest known reptiles of that age.
He also had the opportunity of studying along the St. Lawrence, the
earliest Geological deposits, and this, with the investigation of Indian
remains before the advent of the white man in Canada, gave him a broad
outlook on the question of primitive man in relation to geology. So he was
enabled to express in his books, sound and we11founded views regarding
primitive man and his first surroundings.
Dawson's influence great as it was in
field of Education swept yet a broader horizon in the field of letters. As
a Bible student and expositor, Sir
William stood high. He ploughed deep in the books of Holy Writ; and
subjected those writings to the same keen, critical analysis to which he
referred various other problems in the scientific world. He brought out
many hidden truths from the Word of God, which had been hitherto obscure.
"Egypt and the Holy Land, their geology and natural resources." "Eden Lost
and Won," "Archaia," "The Mosaic Cosmogony," "Modern Science in Bible
Lands," "The Origin of the World, According to Revelation and Science,"
form part of a series of writings of an apologetic character, which in his
day, Sir William Dawson deemed necessary to combat certain views that were
thrust upon the more or less observant and thinking world, regarding the
origin of man as well as of other species living upon this planet.
As a writer, who sought to present in
popular form the results of geological science to a larger audience than
greeted him on the college benches, he was eminently successful. Among the
most conspicuous of his popular writings, in which the relations existing
between science and revelation usually formed a portion of his theme, the
following may be mentioned; "The Story of the Earth and Man," "Facts and
Fancies in Modern Science," "Fossil Men and their Modern Representatives,"
"Modern Ideas of Evolution," "The Meeting Place of Geology and History."
The many editions through which these various writings have passed, and
their ready sale on both sides of the Atlantic, testify to their
popularity. In the English-speaking world his name became a household
word, and a letter of introduction from him was a passport throughout
The phenomenal expansion of McGill
University, as well as the character of his own scientific work, made him
the recipient of honor after honor. In 1854 he was made a Fellow of the
Geological Society; in 1862, a Fellow of the Royal Society; in 1881 a C.
M. G.; in 1882 the first President of the Royal Society of
Canada. In 1884 he received the honor of Knighthood from Queen Victoria.
He was a "man of quiet geniality, gentle and courtly in manner, but
decided in opinion and firm in action. The pre-eminent note of his
character was sincerity and singleness of purpose." In 1847 he married
Margaret, daughter of George Mercer of Edinburgh. He had five children,
the eldest being late George M. Dawson, C. M. G., the second son, William
B. Dawson, D. Sc., Ottawa, Can. Dr. Rankine Dawson, the youngest of the
three sons, is now practicing medicine in London, England. The two
daughters are Mrs. J. B. Harrington, wife of the Professor of Chemistry at
McGill University, and Mrs. Pope T. Atkin of Birkenhead, England.
Sir Wm. Dawson was a Presbyterian of an
advanced type when his "Archaia" was published, in 1860, describing the
evolutionary origin of the world as in agreement with the account in
Genesis. But his non-acceptance of the evolutionary development of man
left him among conservative theologians at the time of his death. He died
at Montreal, on the 18th of November, 1899, in the eightieth year of his
age, full of honors as of days, with the most distinguished record as a
scientist of any Canadian, past or present. In no part of Canada has the
career of Sir Wm. Dawson been more closely followed than in the Provinces
by the sea. Here he was born; here he was inspired with the spirit of
scientific research. His earliest educational and scientific efforts were
made here; here were laid the foundations of his subsequent great
achievements. And, while he left Pictou for wider fields of labor, he
never forgot his native place. His life will continue to be an inspiration
to many, as the stream of years flows on.
The following characteristic incident
is well worth recording here; Over sixty years ago, a college student was
appointed to survey a tract of "crown land" in eastern Nova Scotia, a
barren region about fifty miles in length and thirty in width, which at that time
had within its bounds just twenty-six persons. The whole district was
strewn with granite boulders; had no roads, and was traversable only on
foot or horse back. There was no likelihood that the young surveyors'
measurements would ever be tested, or his lines run over again, for the
soil was poor, the timber small and unmarketable. But that student handled
his chain and compass as under the eye of omniscience.
Some forty years afterward, gold was
discovered there; the "leads" were vertical, and fortunes depended upon
the accuracy of the student's work. Experts were sent by the Government to
re-survey the whole territory. They could not find a single flaw in his
work. Peter Grant, a Halifax merchant, a stock-holder in one of the mining
companies said, that after all their tracing and computing the
Government's most accurate surveyor gave at last the full meed of praise
to the college student; and, in every instance pronounced his lines exact.
That young student was none other than he who was afterwards the
distinguished Sir William Dawson.
Rev. George Munro Grant, D. D., C. M.
G., was one of Pictou's worthiest sons. The name Grant is one of the most
celebrated in the annals of Scottish achievement, as well as in Canada. It
is not necessary to prove this by any such method as a member of the Grant
Clan is said to have taken to prove the antiquity of his family. The
ambitious Grant referred to had a Bible with small print, and in one of
the earlier chapters in Genesis discovered an indistinctness in one of the
letters of which he took advantage and read it: "There were Grant's
(giants) on the earth in those days." The clan which has given a President
to the United States, one Principal to Edinburgh University, and another
to Queen's University has no occasion to resort to such means to establish
the worth of its blood. George M. Grant was born at Stellarton,
December 22, 1835. He was educated at Pictou Academy, West River Seminary,
and Glasgow University. He soon became a striking figure at the
University, and that, too, when James Bryce and a host of other great men
were his fellow students.
On his return to Canada in 1860, he was
ordained and placed in charge of the mission at River John. His energy
led his parishioners to build a church for themselves, which they named
St. George's Church, after him. In 1863, he was called to the pastorate of
St. Matthew's Church, Halifax. Here he gave fourteen years of faithful and
brilliant service. But such an active mind was not to be held within the
limits of mere congregational work. Grant was too great for that, and ever
took his part in the leading issues of the day; and in those days great
issues were at stake; Free schools, Union of the Provinces, and Church
Union among the Presbyterians were questions threshed out and settled
during those fourteen years. Into these struggles Grant flung himself with
all the strength of his energetic nature.
A three months' trip, from Halifax to
Victoria, was taken with Sir Sanford Fleming in 1872. At that time Western
Canada was little known. An account of his journey was published, under
the title, "From Ocean to Ocean," which revealed the marvelous resources
of the West and the great future in store for Canada. Sir W. Robertson
Nicoll, in the British Weekly, February, 1911, says, "Dr. Grant was the
first author who understood the tremendous possibilities of Canada, and
brought them home to a great public. He was an able and far-sighted man, a
Canadian through and through, and one of the greatest of Canada's sons. He
is destined to hold a permanent place in her history."
In 1877, he was appointed principal of
Queen's University, to the interests of which he devoted himself with
untiring zeal for a quarter of a century.
His admirable educational equipment, his strong, keen intellect, his
far-reaching vision, his commanding presence and voice, his great tenacity
of purpose, would have gained for him eminence in any community or
calling. In the diversity of his gifts, Grant was a Julius Caesar. Every
public question claimed his attention; and he rendered signal service, not
only to the Church, but to the public life of Canada. In 1889, he was
Moderator of the General Assembly. He died in 1902.
It was naturally to be expected that
Dr. Grant's alert mind would seek expression through literary channels.
His successful advocacy of provincial federation doubtless prompted the
optimistic views on Imperial unity which he expressed in his "Advantages
of Imperial Federation." His equally broad views on the subject of
comparative religion, are mirrored in his work on "The Religions of the
World in Relation to Christianity." Not to mention his share in that
monumental work, "Picturesque Canada," his "From Ocean to Ocean," was
epoch making in its influence. It, more than any other one thing, perhaps,
opened the eyes of Canadians to the wealth of their national heritage;
stirred in them the pulsations of a new and broader patriotism, and
prepared the way for the recent development of Canada. His work is being
worthily carried on by his son and biographer, W. L. Grant, Prof. of
Colonial and Canadian History, in Queen's University, Canada. Rev. James Ross, D. D., LL. D., was a
well-known educationist and scholar, and rendered distinguished service to
the cause of education in Nova Scotia.
The life-work of a successful Christian
educationist is one which might well inspire the most ambitious, as being
one of the noblest and most beneficent careers open to human choice. Dr.
Ross was a Christian educationist in the highest sense. He had the joy of
gateways of knowledge to hundreds of
young men whose influence is still felt throughout the land. He will be
remembered as one of the "Fathers" of the Presbyterian Church. He was son
of the late Rev. Duncan Ross, one of the two pioneer ministers of Pictou.
He was born at West River, in 1811. He was ordained in 1835, succeeding
his father as minister of the West River Church. Dr. Ross married a
daughter of the late William Matheson, Esq., of West River; and it was
through Dr. Ross' zeal in the interest of higher education that Mr.
Matheson was led to donate the sum of $35,000 to that cause in connection
with the Presbyterian Church.
In 1848 he was called to take charge of
the West River Seminary. In 1864 he was appointed Principal of Dalhousie
College. Whatever he undertook, he performed with conscientious fidelity,
sparing neither time nor strength. For forty years he served the Church in
its educational sphere, in West River, Truro, and Halifax; and thus left a
deep impress upon the educational life of his time. His last illness was
brief. On Monday evening, March eighth, while engaged in secret prayer
before retiring to rest, he was stricken with paralysis, and died at noon
the following Monday, March 15, 1886. His was a splendid life, unselfish
in all its aims and purposes. Dr. Ross was unsparing in his efforts to
advance the interests of his fellow citizens and of humanity in general,
exercising withal, a high degree of power and influence for the moral good
and uplift of his native Province. In the language of Socrates, regarding
a well-spent life, it may truly be said of his: "For noble is the prize,
and the hope is great."
Rev. Daniel M. Gordon, D. D., LL. D.,
was born in Pictou, 1845. He entered Glasgow University when only
fourteen; graduated, Master of Arts at eighteen, and Bachelor of Divinity
at twenty-one. Returning to Canada, he entered the Presbyterian ministry,
and was settled at Truro, Winnipeg, St. Andrew's Church, Ottawa, and St. Andrew's Church, Halifax. Prom this
last ministry he was appointed to the Chair of Systematic Theology in the
Presbyterian College, Halifax. On the death of Principal Grant he was
elevated to the Presidency of Queen's University where he has been
eminently successful. He was Moderator of General Assembly in 1896. His
son, the Rev. A. M. Gordon, B. D., is assistant to Rev. Dr. Herridge,
Rev. Donald Macrae, M. A., (Aberdeen)
D.D., (Queen's) was born at Hopewell, 1834, where his father, Rev. John
Macrae, was minister. He graduated in Arts and Theology from the
University of Aberdeen, and was ordained by the Presbytery of Edinburgh,
in 1856. Dr. Macrae was a notable figure in the work of the Church in
Canada, and held an eminent place as a preacher, being a most energetic
worker. As minister in charge of his father's former congregation at
Hopewell, N. S., as pastor in St. John's, Newfoundland, and in St. John,
N. B.; as leader in connection with home mission work in the Presbytery of
St. John; and later, as Principal of Morrin College. Quebec, he did most
excellent and effective work, never grudging time or strength in the
service of the Church or in the interests of the cause of righteousness in
the land. He was the sixth Moderator of the General Assembly, held in
Montreal, in 1880. He died at the home of his son, Rev. A. O. Macrae, Ph.
D., Calgary, Alta., November 24, 1909. Another son, Rev. D. N. MacRae, Ph.
D., is minister in Mitchell, Ontario.
Rev. John Forrest, D. D., LL.D., was
born in New Glasgow, 1842. He is a son of the late Alexander Forrest, M.
D. He was educated at the Presbyterian College, Truro and Halifax, and was
ordained and inducted into the ministerial charge of St. John's Church,
Halifax, in 1866. He succeeded Principal Ross at Dalhousie College. The
growth and prosperity of Dalhousie during his presidency is sufficient
evidence of his wise administration.
Dr. Forrest, for many years, has been a
leader in the courts of the Presbyterian Church. At the General Assembly
of 1910, he was elected Moderator. He retired from the Principalship of
Dalhousie in 1911, having well earned the right to a period of rest in the
evening of his life.
A. Stanley Mackenzie, Ph. D., F. R. S.
C., born at Pictou in 1865, was appointed to the presidency of Dalhousie
University on the retirement of Dr. Forrest. He took his preparatory
course at Pictou Academy; in 1885 he graduated with high honors from
Dalhousie University. He received his Ph. D., degree from Johns Hopkins
University, and later studied in Germany and England. After graduating be
was appointed tutor of Mathematics, and in 1905 Prof. of Physics.
Rev. Clarence Mackinnon, M. A., D. D.,
was born at Hopewell, N. S., in 1868. He is a son of the late Rev. John
Mackinnon, a minister of the village for many years. His mother was
Margaret Tait of Edinburgh. He received his degree of M. A., from
Edinburgh University in 1889; his degree of B. D., from the New College,
Edinburgh, 1896. He has ministered to congregations in Middle Stewiacke,
N. S.; Park St. Church, Halifax; St. Andrew's Church, Sydney, and
Westminister Church, Winnipeg. Since 1909 he has been the esteemed
Principal of the Presbyterian College, Halifax, and Prof. of Systematic
Theology. He is a very popular and effective preacher and lecturer.
The story of Messrs. McKenzie, Bayne,
McGregor and Purves, the first of Nova Scotian students to take a
postgraduate course in Germany, is one of peculiar interest to all. They
crossed the Atlantic together in 1874. John J. McKenzie, the first
mentioned, was Professor of Physics in Dalhousie College, Halifax, when he
died, in the thirty-second year of his age. To go back to his earlier
years, he was born at Green Hill, Pictou County, in 1847. He took his arts
course at Halifax, winning the master's degree in 1872. Two years later he went to Germany
with his fellow students; and, after a distinguished course in the
University of Leipsic, received the honorable distinction, Doctor of
Philosophy in 1877. On his return from Germany, he was appointed to the
Chair of Physics in Dalhousie College, which he occupied less than two
years, when he was stricken down in the prime of his young manhood.
In addition to the regular work of the
College, he delivered a series of popular lectures on scientific subjects
before the citizens of Halifax, and was an active promoter of the
Technical Institute. His devotion to science was the immediate cause of
his death, which took place, February 2, 1879. Dr. Bayne, who was his
constant companion for nearly half his life, was with him the night he
died. He was buried, amid the regrets of students and friends, at his old
home, Green Hill. In his death Nova Scotia lost an accomplished student of
Science and a splendid specimen of manhood.
Herbert A. Bayne, his life-long friend,
was a son of Rev. James Bayne D. D., Pictou. He was born in 1846, and
graduated from Dalhousie College in 1871. For several years he was
principal of Pictou Academy. In 1874 he went to Germany to take a
post-graduate course in Chemistry, first at Leipsic University. He took
his degree at Heidelburg. Here he studied under the eminent chemist,
Bunsen; and received his degree cum multa laude, in 1876. On his return to
Nova Scotia, he was appointed Principal of the High School, Halifax.
Resigning from this position, he was appointed Professor of Chemistry in
the Royal Military College, Kingston, Ont., where he endeared himself to
faculty and students by his many manly qualities. Ill-health compelled him
to resign, and he died in Pictou, September 18, 1886, in the fortieth year
of his age.
Archibald Purves never became a
professor, but would not doubtless have done so had he lived, for he was
highly skilled in many languages. When J. J.
McKenzie and Herbert A. Bayne. decided to go to Germany to study, he
thought it might he good for him to go also. McKenzie and Bayne were well
grounded in German with the assistance of General Oscar Malmross, at that
time American Consul in Pictou. He was a German by birth, and well
educated. The three fellow students went to Leipsic first. Purves
afterwards went to Edinburgh, and spent some time there. He feared he
could not become a fluent enough speaker for the ministry, and decided to
study languages. He continued his studies in Edinburgh during the winters,
and in Germany in summer time. It was at the latter place that he had an
attack of pleurisy. Before he was convalescent he gave up his room to a
student who had engaged it for the new term, and went to another boarding
house. He caught cold in moving, and "lung fever" as the Germans call it,
set in. He went to Leipsic to consult a doctor whom he knew. He was
ordered to Davos in the Alps, a resort for those with weak lungs. There he
lingered during the winter, and died in March, 1878, while his brother,
Mr. David H. Purves. was on his way to be with him at the end. His brother
bought a lot in the cemetery, and buried him in Davos.
A noteworthy coincidence in this
connection was J. Gordon McGregor's strong desire to accompany the three
to Leipsic. When he first crossed the Atlantic, as a Gilchrist Scholar, he
was hardly expected to survive the voyage. His heart action was so weak
that he was compelled to rest for a year with friends in Edinburgh. He
recovered, and afterwards had a distinguished and brilliant career; as a
graduate student in Great Britain and in Germany; as Professor of Physics
in Dalhousie, succeeding his fellow student, Dr. McKenzie, and as
successor to Professor Tait, in the chair of Natural Philosophy at
Professor McGregor was born in Halifax,
and was the son of a well-known Presbyterian clergyman, Rev. P. G. McGregor, D. D. He took his arts course
in Dalhousie, where he earned a first class in every subject of his
course, and where he afterwards taught for twenty-two years, closing his
career by giving twelve years of eminent service to the Edinburgh
University. The end came to him with startling suddeness. On the morning
of May 21, 1913, he arose, to all appearances in his ordinary health. He
had his bath, and returned to his room to dress. There he was taken
suddenly ill; called in his son, and died almost immediately afterwards.
Thus ended the chequered career of this quartette of students who crossed
the Atlantic together to pursue their studies abroad.
It is distressing to think of these
hard-working and promising young men thus falling by the way prematurely,
– McKenzie from inhaling gas during an experiment; Bayne from cancer of the
stomach, Purves from rapid consumption and McGregor from heart failure. It
is interesting to conjecture what they might have accomplished had their
lives been spared, for they were all men of fine ability, ambition and
The following list, though far from
complete, gives the names of some of those who have been leaders in the
educational life of Canada, as well as, of those who now uphold the
prestige of their native County.
BAYNE, HERBERT A., Heidelberg, (Ph. D.,
Professor of Chemistry, Royal
Military College, Kingston, Can. Died 1886.
CAMERON, JAMES S., M.Sc., McGill
A member of the staff of the
Technical Institute, Montreal. His home was Stellarton.
CAMPBELL, DONALD F., M.A., Ph.D.
Son of George and Ellen (Gunn)
Cameron; born in 1867; Educated Dal. Univ., (B.A., 1890, and
Harvard Univ., Ph.D., 1898), married Miss Lou R. Bates, Davidson,
Conn., 1906; Instructor in mathematics, Lawrence Science
School of Harvard Univ.,
1897-1901; Prof. of mathematics and
head of the Mathematical Department in the Armour Institute of
Technology, Chicago, Ill., since 1903; Author of a text-book
on mathematics, extensively used in the Colleges.
CAMPBELL, WILLIAM R, A.M., Dal. Univ.,
Principal Truro Academy, 1887-1907.
Inspector of Schools for Colchester Co., since 1907. In
1908 he was appointed lecturer in English in the Agricultural
College, Truro, N. S. The Campbell Bros. were born at East River,
St. Mary's, Pictou Co.
CREIGHTON, JAMES E., Ph.D., LL.D.
Born West River, 1861; attended Pictou Academy two years; taught schools for three years, was
graduated from Dalhousie College in 1887; pursued post
graduate studies in Cornell University and in Germany; married Miss
Katherine F. McLean, in 1892. He is now professor of Logie and
Metaphysics in Cornell University; editor of The Philosophical
Review, and American editor of the Kant-Studien. Published a
monograph on the "Will and its Functions," and "An Introductory
Logic," 3d edition 1910 (Macmillan and Co.). Contributor of many papers to
philosophical journals; received the degree of A. B., at
Dalhousie, in 1887, that of Ph.D., from Cornell in 1892, LL.D.,
from Queen's Univ., in 1903, and Dal. Univ., 1914. Brother of William O.
Creighton, West River.
CREIGHTON, GRAHAM, B. A., Dal. Univ.,
Born at West River; Inspector of
Schools for Halifax Co.
CONNOLLY, CORNELIUS J., Ph.D., (Munich).
Professor of Biology, St. Francis
Xavier's College, Antigonish.
CUMMIlNG, MELVILLE, B.A., B.S.A.
Principal, Agricultural College,
Truro. The college was formerly opened in 1905. Principal Cumming is
a native of Pictou County, a graduate of Dal. Univ., and of the
Agricultural College, Guelph, Onto. He is a son of Rev. Thos.
DAWSON, A. S.
Chief Engineer of the Department of
Natural Resources, Calgary, Alberta; a native of Pictou, grand nephew of
Sir William Dawson.
DAWSON, GEORGE MERCER, C.M.G., LL.D.,
Mr. Dawson was born in Pictou in
1849. He was the eldest son of Sir William Dawson, the well known
Principal of McGill Univ. He took a course in the Royal
School of Mines, London, where he not only graduated with honors
but took the Duke of Cornwall scholarship and the Edward
Forbes prize. Returning to Canada, he began original researches
in geology. In 1873 he was appointed geologist and botanist of
the British North American Boundary Commission; and his
report is one of the classics of Canadian geology. In
1875, he was appointed to the staff of the Canadian Geological
Survey; and entered on a remarkable career of exploration of
northwestern North America. In 1891 he became a fellow of the
Royal Society of England. During the same year received
the Bigsby medal for eminent researches in geology. In 1892 he
was decorated with the order of Companion of St. Michael and St.
George. In 1893, he was elected President of the Royal Society of
Canada, and in 1895 Director of the Geological Survey. It falls to few men to have so many
high honors and grave responsibilities thrust on them in
so short a life; the succession is probably without parallel
in Canada's history: yet it is the common judgment that the honors
were fully merited, the responsibilities born
in such manner as to add renown to
the country and the Crown. Dr. Dawson's career was a credit to
Canada, and an elequent testimony to the wisdom of the nation in
recognizing and utilizing the talents of her sons. He died in 1901,
in his 52d year, after an illness of but a few hours.
DAWSON, WILLIAM BELL, D.Se., F.R.S.C.
The second Son of Sir
Wm. Dawson-was born in Pictou, 1854. Mr. Dawson is a graduate
of McGill Univ., in Arts and Engineering. In 1875, he won the Degree
of Bachelor of Applied Science, with certificate
of special merit in Engineering, which is the highest
distinction in that course of study. In November, 1875 he studied in
Paris – the highest School of Engineering in France, and one of
the first in Europe. The course of study extends over three years.
He passed as the first of his class, in 1878. On returning to Canada,
Mr. Dawson entered upon professional business in
Montreal. In 1881 he undertook a survey of a part of the Gold Fields in
Nova Scotia; was next in the employ of the Dominion Bridge
Company, the most important of his designs being the
Cantilever Bridge Over the St. John River. For nine years he was
assistant engineer on the Canada Pacific Railway. Since 1893 he
has been Supt. of the Survey of Tides and Currents, Department of
Marine, Canada. Both of Dr. Dawson's sons inherited much of the
intellectual power and industry of their distinguished father.
FINLAYSON, JOHN N., M.Sc., McGill Univ.
Was born at Merigomish. He was
educated at Pictou Academy and the School of Applied Science,
McGill Univ., and took his degree in 1905. He was appointed
Professor of Civil Engineering, Dal. Univ., Halifax, 1913.
FRASER, ALEXANDER D., M.A. (DaU Ph.D.,
Graduated from Dal. Univ., in 1910.
with High Honors in classics, and took a post graduate course at Johns
Hopkins and Harvard. Substituting in classics at Pictou and Halifax
Academies. He is the son of the late Rev. J. W. Fraser
FRASER, JAMES W., M.Sc., McGill Univ.,
Was born Bridgeville, 1874; married
Miss Annie L. McGillivray; instructor Electrical
Engineering McGill Univ., 1899-1901: Assistant Chief Engineer Southern
Power Co., Charlotte, N. C., since 1905; Contributor to the
Studied in Dal. College. For forty
years teacher in Scotsburn District. Among the clergymen taught by
him were John McMIillan, George Murray, Kenneth McKay, John
Murray, James Murray and James Fitzpatrick. Other well known teachers
were Alexander Grant, Roderick McLean, Alexander Ross and
FRASER, WILLIAM A., Poet and Novelist.
Born and educated in Pictou County;
spent his youth in New York and Boston. When quite young he went to
India where he remained seven years; had five years' experience
in the Canadian Northwest; some of his tales are connected with these
Eastern and Western Lands. He has written many short stories,
these appearing in the leading American and English
Magazines. The following is a list of his publications in book
form:–"The Eye of a God," "Mooswa and Others of the
Boundaries,” "The Outcasts," "Brave Hearts'" "Thirteen Men," "The Lone
Furrow," (1907); wrote a national song entitled "Canada, God and Our
Land." He is a master of the short story, and is sometimes called
"The Canadian Kipling." He resides at Georgetown, Onto.
FRASER, WILLIAM P., M.A.
Professor in Biology, McDonald
College, St. Anne's, Que. Mr. Fraser was born at French River. He
was a former member of the Pictou Academy Stall. from 1908-1910 he was literary and
musical critic of the Toronto Sunday World. Since then he has been on
the editorial staff of the Toronto News. He is author of a
number of books and of articles on Philosophy, Literature and Art.
Author: "Preludes, Sonnets and other Verses," "Songs of the Makers of
Canada," with an introductory critical essay on Canadian poetry.
McBAIN, ALEXANDER ROSS, B.A., (Dal M.A.,
Professor in the Protestant High
School, Montreal, Can.
Is a son of the late Jeffrey McColl, of New Glasgow; born there, 1866. Graduated from the Royal
Military College, Kingston, 1886: from 1904 to 1913 was Provincial
Engineer for the Province, with headquarters at
Halifax, N. S. His brother Archibald McColl is
Secretary and Chief Accountant for the Nova Scotia Steel Works, New Glasgow.
McCULLOCH, MICHAEL, Educationist.
A son of Dr. McCulloch, came to Pictou with his father at about three years of age. He was one of
the first class which passed through the Academy. In 1824 he was
appointed his father's successor, teaching Classics and Mathematics. After
the institution closed he taught a private school in Pictou and was
afterwards Principal of the Yarmouth Academy. He died in his eighty-third
year. Mr. McCulloch was a man of strong powers of mind and accurate
McCULLOCH, THOMAS, Professor in Dalhousie
Was a son of Dr. McCulloch of the
Academy, and was appointed to aid Prof. Ross in the Classical
and Philosophical Departments in the West River and Truro Seminaries.
When Dalhousie College was reorganized, in 1863, he was transferred from
Truro to Halifax to form a part of the Dalhousie Faculty. Both sons of Dr.
McCulloch spent their lives in the work of higher education, and were
thus worthy sons of a worthy sire.
MacDONALD, ARTHUR C., C. E.
Is a member of the firm MacDonald
and Gibbs, with offices at London, England and Chili, South America.
The Chilian Northern Railway, which runs through the Chilian Desert,
was built by him. It is 430 miles long, and cost $15,000,000. He also
built the Bolivia Railway. This road is 823 ft., above the sea level
and is said to be one of the highest points ever in Biology, in 1880, from the Univ.
of Halifax. The Degree of LL.D., was conferred upon him by Dal. Univ., in 1892. He married Maud A., daughter of the late Dr.
G. M. Johnstone, Pictou, 1882. He was Principal of Pictou Academy for sixteen years, (1873-1899); Halifax Academy
(1889-1890); since then Supt. of Education for Nova Scotia. He
organized the Summer School of Science for the Atlantic
Provinces, and assisted in the founding of the
Educational Review, St.
JOHN, N. B.
He is a Governor of Dal. Univ., and was a delegate to the Conference on Education,
London, England. 1907. Dr. MacKay is one of Canada's foremost
Educationists and Scientists.
MacKAY, EBENEZER, B.A.,(Dal,) Ph.D.,
McLeod Professor of Chemistry Dal.
Univ., graduated from Dal. Univ., in 1886, with first class honors
in Experimental Physics and Chemistry and the
Mackenzie Gold Medal, and from Johns Hopkins Univ., Ph.D., 1896;
Special Studies at Harvard Univ.; Principal of New Glasgow High
School for six years; McLeod Prof. of Chemistry and Mineralogy
at Dal. Univ., since 1896. Prof. MacKay is a native of Plainfield,
where he was born in 1864.
MacKAY, HENRY MARTYN, B.A., (DaI.), M.Sc.
Professor of Civil Engineering,
McGill Univ., is a brother of Prof. Ebenezer MacKay, and was born in
1868. Educated in Pictou Academy and Dal. Univ.; B.A., with
honors in pure and applied Mathematics, 1888, and
B.Sc., with Governor General's medal for highest general standing
1894; married, 1910, Lillian Norton Evans, Montreal; Mathematical
Master, Pictou Academy, for five years; in 1908 was made Professor and
head of the Civil Engineering Dept., McGill Univ., Montreal, where
he is acknowledged to be a high authority in his
MacKAY, IRA ALLAN, B.A., LL.B.
Professor of Philosophy and
Political Science, Univ., of Saskatchewan,
Saskatoon, Sask., is the eldest son of Robert MacKay, Millsville; B.A., Dal.
Univ., with honors in Philosophy, 1897; M.A., 1898; LL.B., 1905;
Ph.D., Cornell Univ., 1901; called to Bar 1895; Successfully practiced
his profession in Halifax and Winnipeg for several years. Since
1910 has been connected with the Univ., of Saskatchewan. Dr.
MacKay was a well known scholar and an author of some note,
publishing, "Canadian Nationality" in 1907.
MacKAY, KENNETH G., M.Sc.
Was born at Scotsburn; educated at
the Agricultural College. Guelph, Ont., and the Moody Institute,
Chicago; graduated B.Sc., Toronto Univ., 1906, and B.Sc., Iowa
State College, U. S. A., 1913. He is now assistant Dairy
Commissioner for the Province of Saskatchewan with headquarters at
MacKAY, NORMAN C., B.Sc., Toronto Univ.,
Brother of Kenneth G. MacKay;
Lecturer on Agriculture for the Ontario Government.
MacLELLAN, ROBERT, LL.D., Principal of
Is the second son of the late John Maclellan, Esq., of Durham. His early education was received at the
Grammar School, Durham and at Pictou Academy. He entered Dal.,
College in 1870, and led his classes at the end of the term in
Mathematics and English and divided honors in Classics;
married Miss Martha M. Fraser. Took charge of the Preparatory Department
of Pictou Academy, 1873; appointed English and Classical Master in
1877; Government Inspector of Schools for the Counties of Pictou and So. Colchester, 1883; called to the Principalship of
Pictou Academy on the retirement of Dr. Mac· Kay, 1889, in which position
he is now completing his twenty-fifth year–one fourth of the whole
lifetime of the Academy. In addition he taught Classics, as a
colleague of Dr. MacKay, for six years. In 1908, the Senate of Dal.
Univ., conferred on him the honorary degree of LL.D. In presenting him
Prof. Murray, Dean of the Senate said: "Pictou Academy has been
singularly fortunate in having at its head a long line of men who have
earned distinction both as teachers and leaders in the
educational world, and among these our distinguished Alumnus,
Robert Maclellan, holds a high and honorable place. In recognition
of the high character of his work as a teacher and of the eminent
success of his Principalship, I ask you, Mr. President in the name of
the Senate of this University to confer the degree of Doctor of Laws,
honoris causa, on Robert Maclellan."
MacLEOD, JAMES D., B.A., (Dal.),
Professor of Mathematics, Westem
Canada College, Calgary, is the son of Mr. William Macleod, Scotsburn. He was educated at Pictou Academy and Dal. Univ.,
Halifax, where he won the North British Society Bursary. For
two years he was Principal of the Public Schools of Westville, and
for two years Mathematical Master at Pictou and Sydney Academies.
MACLEOD, JOHN W., M.A.
Professor of Mathematics, St.
Francis Xavier's College Antigonish, was born at Scotsburn,
educated at Pictou Academy, St. Francis Xavier's College and
McGill Univ., Montreal. For four years he was Principal of the
Public Schools of the town of Stellarton, and three years Prof. of
Mathematics, St. Francis Xavier's College. A member of the
engineering staff of The Halifax Ocean Terminals. A sister, Anna
Elizabeth Macleod, graduated from Dal. Univ., in 1906 with "Great
Distinction." For five years she was Principal of the Protestant
Schools of Antigonish. She is married to Rev. A. A.
Macleod, B. D., Trenton.
McLEOD, DONALD F.
Graduated from Cornell College of
Civil Engineering in the class of 1907. He is a native of
Middle River, and was for some time Principal of the Trenton Schools.
He is now located in Florida.
McLEOD, FRANK THOMAS, B.A., (DaI.),
High School Teacher, Victoria, B.
McLEOD, JOHN W., B.A., Univ. of London,
Principal of the High School, New
Glasgow, N. S.
MacKENZIE, WILLIAM B., Canadian Railway
Born at Kenzieville, 1848; entered
the Railway Service, 1872; since 1897 has been chief engineer of
the Intercolonial Railway with offices at Moncton, N. B.
MacKENZIE, WILLIAM R., B.A., (DaI.),
Professor of English Literature in
Washington Univ., St. Louis, Mo. His brother Thomas E.
Mackenzie, B.A., is a mining engineer in Mexico; both arc sons of
Archibald Mackenzie, Esq., River John.
McKENZIE, JOHN JAMES, M.A., (DaI.) ,
Ph.D., Univ. of Leipsic, 1877.
Died 1879. Professor of Physics, Dal. Univ.
McLEAN, HERBERT B., M.A., Ph.D., (McGill
Professor in the Technical High
School, Montreal. His brother W. B. McLean, B.Sc., is a
consulting Engineer in Montreal. The McLean brothers are sons of
James McLean, Postmaster, Pictou.
McKIMMIE, ANDERSON, B.A., (Princeton
Assistant Professor in French,
Mass. Agricultural College, Amherst, Mass., is a great
grandson of the late Rev. Duncan Ross, of West River, and a grand
nephew of the late Principal Ross of Dalhousie College.
MATHESON, HOWARD W., B.Sc., (DaJ.) ,
Was born at Lime Rock: received his
Master's Degree at McGill Univ., and was awarded the Governor
General's Medal for Graduate Research. In 1911 he accepted a
position on the Chemical staff of the Du Port Powder Co., Wilmington, Del.
MATHESON, ROBERT, B.Sc., Ph.D.,
Son of Walter Matheson, Lime Rock;
he was Professor of Entomology in the State College of Agriculture,
So. Dakota, 1907-1909; Provincial Entomologist, Agricultural College,
Truro 1912-1913; appointed for Research Work, Cornell Univ.,
MURRAY, DANIEL A., B.A., (Dal.) Ph.D.,
Is the son of the late Angus
Murray, Scotsbum, a community which has produced some of the
best men in the Province. The family moved to Truro when Mr. Murray was
a boy of six years. He graduated with honors from Dal.,
College in 1884: studied at Johns Hopkins, Berlin and Paris;
married Alice M. Malloch, Hamilton, Ont., in 1906. Professor of
Mathematics in the University of New York and Dalhousie; since 1907 has
been Professor of Applied Mathematics in McGill Univ.
He is the author of several Mathematical Text Books adopted by many
colleges and High Schools, among them "Differential Equations,"
"Integral Calculus," "Plane Trigonometry," "Infinitesimal
Calculus." President Schurman says of him: "He is a man of the
highest abilities." He has two brothers practising
medicine; Dr. H. V. Murray, Honolulu, and Dr. L. N.
MURRAY, EBENEZER H., B.A., Ph.B., Univ.
Supt. of Schools, Montana, is a
native of Plainfield, and a brother of Dr. D. Murray, Campbellton, N.
B., and Murdoch Murray, General Secterary, Y. M.
C. A., Hyde Park, Mass.
MURRAY, HOWARD, B.A., (Lond.) LL.D.,
McLeod Professor of Classics,
Dalhousie, Univ. Mr. Murray is a son of the late Dr.
George Murray and was born at New Glasgow, 1859. was Canadian
Gilchrist Scholar in 1881, B.A .. Univ. of London, England;
studied in Edinburgh, Univ.; married, Janet, daughter of the late
George Hattie, Halifax, 1890; successively teacher in Guysboro
Academy, New Glasgow High School and Halifax Academy; Professor of
Classics in Dal. Univ,.since 1894 and Dean of the College
since 1901; He is the author of a book on "Classics. Their Use and
Future Prospects." As a classical authority, his reputation stands
PATTERSON. GEORGE, D.D., LL.D.
Was born at Pictou, I824, and died
at his home in New Glasgow 1897, in the seventy-fourth year of his age.
He was educated at Pictou Academy and the U. P. Theological
Hall. Edinburgh. On his return to Nova Scotia, in 1849. he was
inducted minister, at Green Hill where he labored for
twenty-seven years. He then resigned and moved to New Glasgow
where he resided until his death. In the Presbyterian Church, Dr.
Patterson was recognized as a man of prominence and usefulness.
He was an authority in Ecclesiastical law, and procedure. Though
not settled as a minister, in charge, for over twenty-one years,
he went far and wide, supplying vacant churches,
organizing Home Mission Stations, and at the same time taking a most
lively interest in the Courts of the church. Probably there is no man
now living who has traversed the Maritime Provinces as
thoroughly, or known so much of the past and present of every
section. Dr. Patterson was a devoted friend of Foreign Missions and of Public Education. He was one of the founders of the
Widows and Orphans Fund and for many years its manager. He was a
prolific writer; his Life of his grandfather, Dr. McGregor is a most
readable biography. His Life of Dr. Geddie, and a companion volume on
Matheson and his wife, and S. F. Johnston, are excellent
missionary books. His history of Pictou Co., is a work
which involved an immense amount of care and pains and is of the
highest value in many respects. His work on the Trinity is an able
discussion of a difficult theme. Highly noteworthy are his scientific and
historical papers, read before various societies-papers that
are of permanent value. His son, Hon. George Geddie Patterson, Judge of
the County Court, resides in the old home in New Glasgow,N. S.
POOLE, HENRY S., M.A., Kings College.
Windsor, D.Sc. London, F.R.S.
Was born at Stellarton, 1844:
educated Kings College and Royal School of Mines, London, Eng.;
Inspector of Coal Mines for Nova Scotia, 1872-1878; subsequently
general Manager Acadia Coal Co., Stellarton, retiring in 1901. He is
now a resident in England.
Was for fifty years in the service
of the Intercolonial Railway; was born in Pictou, in 18013; entered the
Railway Service: as clerk in 1863; chief Supt. of the Intercolonial
from 1879.1892; General Manager Canadian Government
Railways, 1892-l904; since then has been a member of the Railway
Managing Board. Mr. Pottinger has had an honorable career and is
a thoroughly practical railway man.
ROBINSON, CHARLES B., M.A., (DaI.).
Was the only son of C. B. Robinson
of Pictou. He graduated at Dalhousie College in the
class of 1892, winning the Univ. Medal, and taught the Science
Departments for several years in the Academies of Kentville and
Pictou. His bent as a naturalist was strong, and after having
familiarized himself with the botany of Eastern Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and the Lower St.
Lawrence, he spent some years at Cambridge Univ., England, one of
the great botany schools of the world. Association with a party of
field workers in Pictou County sent out by Columbia Univ., N. Y., led
to his being invited to take up work at the Bronx Museum, New
York, about ten years ago, subsequent to which he received an
appointment, under the United States Government, to
classify the Bora of the Philippines. After two years spent in
the Islands, he returned to New York leaving for Manila, in September, 1912. On the 21st of December, 1913, he was killed by natives of Amboyna Island, Malay Archipelago, where he had
undertaken an expedition for the study of the Bora of the Island. He
was forty-one years of age and unmarried. He was a young man
of fine natural ability and attained high rank as a botanist.
ROSS, WILLIAM R., B.Sc., (DaI.) Ph.D.,
Was appointed to the position of
Soil Chemistry in the U. S. Department of Agriculture,
Washington, D. C. He is a native of River John, and a graduate of
Dalhousie Univ., where he was nominated to the Science Research
Scholarship in 19001. The line of work which he is taking up consists of an
endeavor to find some economical method for the extraction of potash
from feldspar. This compound is used as one of the principal
constituents of artificial fertilizers, and is at present imported
from Germany to a large extent. He is assistant editor of "Chemical
Abstracts," one of the largest Scientific Journals published.
ROSS, ALEXANDER, B.A., (Dal.) 1867.
Was born at Scotsburn. Teacher and
Educator; Principal of High School, Dalhousie, N. B. Retired and
residing in Halifax.
STRAMBURG, HECTOR M., B.A., (Dal.) 1875.
Principal of the High School, New
Westminster, B. C., is a native of River John.
SULLIVAN, CHARLES, B.A., (Dal.) Ph.D.,
(Chicago), M.Sc., McGill.
Assistant Professor Mathematics,
McGill Univ., was born and educated in New Glasgow,
and is assistant to Prof. D. A. Murray.
TAIT, WILLIAM D., B.A., (DaI.) Ph.D.,
Assistant Professor of Experimental
Psychology, McGill Univ., was born at Hopewell, 1879, and is of
Scottish origin. He won honors in Philosophy in Dalhousie, and
pursued a thorough course of study at Harvard, receiving his degree
in 1909. He married Mary Alice, daughter of the late
Edward Maxwell, Halifax, 1909. Dr. Tait, in his department,
has carried on original research which bas been highly commended
by the Univ., authorities.
Was born in New Glasgow in 1877. He
early exhibited a talent for sculpture; studied under Bela Pratt and Henry
Kitson of Boston, has executed several commissions very
successfully, including Soldiers Monument at Brownfield, Me.,
Firemen's Monument at Forest Hills Cemetery, Boston. He conducts a
school of sculpture at Boston.
A nation is rich indeed which has such
men as those above named among its assets. For they were, first of all,
men. One does not have to apologize for blots and stains in their lives,
as an American must do for Poe, an Englishman for Byron, or a Scotsman for
Burns. Pictou County is justly proud of having given birth to these
moulders of thought. Through them, it has made a monumental contribution
to the ultimate history of this still young nation–it has put something of
the touch of sublimity into the morning of our national life. Canada occupies the
latitude whence sprang the greatest nations of history; no better or more
promising people than hers ever broke virgin sod; she has a high destiny
to idealize and realize; these worthies of Pictou County are among the
best of the first fruits; they afford a cheering assurance that our
Dominion's destiny is to excel in all which makes a nation's truest
life–purposeful culture, guided by sanctified conscience.