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Settlements of Scotch Highlanders in America
Chapter 10
Highland Settlement in Pictou, Nova Scotia


"What noble courage must their hearts have fired,
How great the ardor which their souls inspired,
Who leaving far beyond their native plain
Have sought a home beyond the western main;
And braved the perils of
tile stormy seas
In search of wealth, of freedom, and of ease.
Oh, none can tell, but those who sadly share,
The bosom’s anguish, and its wild despair,
What (lire distress awaits the hardy bands,
That venture first on bleak and desert lands;
How great the pain, the danger and the toil
Which mark the first rude culture of the soil.
When looking round, the lonely settler sees
His home amid a wilderness of trees;
How sinks his heart in those deep solitudes,
Where not a voice upon his ear intrudes:
Where solemn silence all the waste pervades,
Heightening the horror of its gloomy shades;
Save where tile sturdy woodman’s strokes resound
That strew the fallen forest on the ground."
—H. Glodsmith.

The second settlement of Highlanders in British America was at Pictou, Nova Scotia. The stream of Scottish emigration which flowed in after years, not only over the county of Pictou, but also over the greater portion of eastern Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island, and even the upper provinces of Canada, was largely due to this settlement; for these emigrants, in after years, communicated with their friends and induced them to take up their abode in the new country. The stream once started did not take long to deepen and widen.

A company of gentlemen, the majority of whom lived in Philadelphia, received a grant of land in Nova Scotia. Some of the shares passed into the hands of the celebrated Dr. John Witherspoon and John Pagan, a merchant of Greenock, Scotland. These two men appear to have jointly been engaged in promoting emigration to the older colonies. Pagan owned a ship called Hector, which was engaged in carrying passengers across the Atlantic. In 1770 she landed Scottish emigrants in Boston. In order to carry out the original obligations of the grant, the proprietors offered liberal inducements for the settlement of it. An agent, named John Ross, was employed, with whom it was agreed that each settler should have a free passage from Scotland, a farm, and a year’s free provisions. Ross sailed for Scotland on board the Hector, and on his arrival proceeded to the Highlands, where he painted in glowing colors a picture of the land and the advantages offered. The Highlanders knew nothing of the difficulties awaiting them in a land covered over with a dense unbroken forest, and, tempted by the prospect of owning splendid farms, they were imposed upon, and many agreed to cast their lot on the western side of the Atlantic. The Hector was the vessel that should convey them, with John Spears as master, James Orr being first mate, and John Anderson second. The vessel called first at Greenock, where three families and five young men were taken on board. From there she sailed for Lochbroom, in Ross-shire, where she received thirty-three families and twenty-five single men, having all told about two hundred souls.

On July 1, 1773, this band bade adieu to friends, home, and country and started for a land they knew naught of. But few had ever crossed the ocean. Just as the ship was starting a piper named John McKay came on board who had not paid his passage; the captain ordered him ashore, but the strains of the national instrument so affected those on board that they interceded to have him allowed to accompany them, and offered to share their own rations with him, in exchange for his music, during the passage. Their request was granted, and his performance aided in no small degree to cheer the pilgrims in their long voyage of eleven weeks, in a miserable hulk, across the Atlantic. The band of emigrants kept up their spirits, as best they could, by song, pipe music, dancing, wrestling, and other amusements, during the long and painful voyage. The Hector was an old Dutch ship, and a slow sailer. It was so rotten that the passengers could pick the wood out of the sides with their fingers. They met with a severe gale off the Newfoundland coast, and were driven back so far that it required two weeks to recover the lost distance. The accommodations on board were wretched and the provisions of inferior quality. Small-pox and dysentery broke out among the passengers. Eighteen, most of whom were children, died and were committed to the deep. The former disease was brought on board by a mother and child, both of whom lived to an advanced age. Owing to the voyage being prolonged, the stock of provisions and water became low; the remnant of food left consisted mostly of salt meat, which, with the scarcity of water, added greatly to their sufferings. The oatcake, carried by them, became mould, so that much of it was thrown away before they thought such a long passage was before them; but, fortunately for them, Hugh Macleod, more prudent than the rest, gathered into a bag these despised scraps, and during the last few days of the voyage, all were glad to avail themselves of this refuse food.

At last, all the troubles and dangers of the voyage having been surmounted, on September 15th, the Hector dropped anchor, opposite where the town of Pictou now stands. Previous to the arrival of the vessel, the sparsely inhabited country had been somewhat disturbed by the Indians. Word had been received that the Hector was on the way to that region with Highland emigrants. The whites warned the Indians that the Highlanders were coming—the same men they had seen at the taking of Quebec. When the Hector appeared, according to the fashion of that time, her sides were painted in imitation of gunports, which induced the impression that she was a man-of-war. Though the Highland dress was then proscribed at home, this emigrant band, carefully preserving and fondly cherising the national costume, carried it along with them, and, in celebration of their arrival, many of the younger men donned themselves in their kilts, with Sgian Dubh and the claymore. Just as the vessel dropped anchor, the piper blew up his pipes with might and main, and its thrilling sounds then first startling the denizens of the endless forest, caused the Indians to fly in terror, and were not again seen there for quite an interval. After the terror of the Indians had subsided, they returned to cultivate the friendship of the Highlanders, and proved to be of great assistance. From them they learned to make and use snowshoes, to call moose, and acquired the art of woodcraft. Often too from them they received provisions. They never gave them any trouble, and generally showed real kindness.

The first care of the emigrants was to provide for the sick. The wife of Hugh Macleod had just died of smallpox, and the body was sent ashore and buried. Several were sick, and others dying. The resident settlers did all within their power to alleviate the sufferers; and with the supply of fresh provisions most of the sick rapidly recovered, but some died on board the vessel.

However great may have been the expectation of these poor creatures on the eve of their leaving Scotland, their hopes almost deserted them by the sight that met their view as they crowded on the deck of the vessel to see their future homes. The primeval forest before them was unbroken, save a few patches on the shore between Brown’s Point and the head of the harbor, which had been cleared by the few people who had preceded them. They were landed without the provisions promised them, and without shelter of any kind, and were only able, with the help of the earlier settlers, to erect camps of the rudest and most primitive description, to shelter their sick, their wives and children from the elements. Their feelings of disappointment were most bitter, when they compared the actual facts with the free farms and the comfort promised them by the emigration agent. Although glad to be freed from the pest-house of the ship, yet they were so overcome by their disappointment that many of them sat down and wept bitterly. The previous settlers could not promise food for one-third of those who had arrived on board the Hector, and what provisions were there soon became exhausted, and the season was too late to raise another crop. To make matters still worse, they were sent three miles into the forest, so that they could not even take advantage, with the same ease, of any fish that might be caught in the harbor. These men were unskilled, and the work of cutting down the gigantic trees, and clearing up the land appeared to them to be a hopeless task. They were naturally afraid of the Indians and the wild beasts; and without roads or paths through the forest, they were frightened to move, doubtful about being lost in the wilderness.

Under circumstances, such as above narrated, it is not surprising that the people refused to settle on the company’s land. In consequence of this, when the supplies did arrive, the agents refused to give them any. To add still further to the difficulties, there arose a jealously between them and the older settlers; Ross quarrelled with the company, and ultimately he left the new-comers to their fate. The few who had a little money with them bought food of the agents, while others, less fortunate, exchanged clothing for provisions; but the majority had absolutely nothing to buy with ; and what little the others could purchase was soon devoured. Driven to extremity they insisted on having the supplies that had been sent to them. They were positively refused, and now determined on force in order to save the colony from starvation. Donald McDonald and Colin Douglass went to the store seized the agents, tied them, took their guns from them, which they hid at a distance. Then they carefully measured the articles, took account of what each man received, that the same might be paid for, in case they should ever become able. They then left, leaving behind them Roderick McKay, a man of great energy and determination, a leader among them, who was to liberate the agents—Robert Patterson and Dr. Harris—as soon as the others could get to a safe distance, when he released them and informed them where their guns might be found, and then got out of the way himself.

Intelligence was at once dispatched to Halifax that the Highlanders were in rebellion, from whence orders were sent to Captain Thomas Archibald of Truro, to march his company of militia to Pictou to suppress and pacify the rebels; but to his honor, be it said, he pointedly refused, and made reply, I will do no such thing; I know the Highlanders, and if they are fairly treated there will be no trouble with them." Correct representations of the case were sent to Halifax, and as lord William Campbell, whose term as governor had just expired, was still there, and interesting himself on behalf of the colony as his countrymen, he secured orders for the provisions. Robert Patterson, in after years, admitted that the Highlanders, who had arrived in poverty, paid him every farthing with which he had trusted them, notwithstanding the fact that they had been so badly treated.

Difficulties hemming them in on every hand, with rigorous winter approaching, the majority removed to Truro, and places adjacent, to obtain by their labor food for their families. A few settled at Londonderry, some went to Halifax, and still others to Windsor and Cornwallis. In, these settlements, the fathers mothers, and even the children were forced to bind themselves, virtually as slaves, that they might have subsistence. Those who remained,—seventy in number—lived in small huts, covered over only with the bark and branches of trees to shelter them from the bitter cold of winter, enduring incredible hardships. To procure food for their families, they must trudge eighty miles to Truro, through cold and snow and a trackless forest, and there obtaining a bushel or two of potatoes, and a little flour, in exchange for their labor, they had to return, carrying the supply either on their backs, or else dragging it behind them on handsleds. The way was beset with dangers such as the climbing of steep hills, the descending of high banks, crossing of brooks on the trunk of a single tree, the sinking in wet or boggy ground, and the camping out at night without shelter. Even the potatoes with which they were supplied were of an inferior grade, being soft, and such as is usually fed to cattle. Sometimes the cold was so piercing that the potatoes froze to their backs.

Many instances have been related of the privations of this period, some of which are here subjoined. Hugh Fraser, after having exhausted every means of procuring food for his family, resorted to the expedient of cutting down a birch tree and boiling the buds, which he gave them to eat. He then went to a heap, where one of the first settlers had buried some potatoes, and took out some, intending to inform the owner. Before he did so, some of the neighbors maliciously reported him, but the proprietor simply remarked that he thanked God he had them there for the poor old man’s family. On another occasion when the father and eldest son had gone to Truro for provisions, everything in the shape of food being exhausted, except an old hen, which the mother finally killed, for the younger children. She boiled it in salt water for the benefit of the salt, with a quantity of herbs, the nature of which she was totally ignorant. A few days later the hen’s nest was found with ten eggs in it. Two young men set off for Halifax, so weak from want of food, that they could scarcely travel, and when they reached Gay’s River, were nearly ready to give up. However they saw there a fine lot of trout, hanging by a on a bush. They hesitated to take them, thinking they might belong to the Indians who would overtake and kill them. They therefore left them, but returned, when the pains of hunger prevailed. Afterwards they discovered that they had been caught by two sportsmen, neither of whom would carry them. Alexander Fraser, then only sixteen, carried his sister on his back to Truro, while the only food he had for the whole journey was the tale of an eel. On another occasion the supply of potatoes, which had been brought a long distance for seed and planted, were dug up by the family and some of the splits eaten. The remembrance of these days sank deep into the minds of that generation, and long after, the narration of the scenes and cruel hardships through which they had to pass, beguiled the winter’s night as they sat by their comfortable firesides.

During the first winter, the first death among the emigrants was a child of Donald McDonald, and the first birth was a son of Alexander Fraser, named David, afterwards Captain Fraser. When the following spring opened they set to work to improve their condition. They sought out suitable spots on which to settle, judging the land by the kind and variety of trees produced. They explored the different rivers, and finding the soil near their banks to be the most fertile, and capable of being more easily improved than the higher lands, they settled upon it. Difficulties were thrown in the way of getting their grant. The first grant obtained was to Donald Cameron, who had been a soldier in the Fraser Highlanders at the taking of Quebec. His lot was situated at the Albion Mines. This grant is dated February 8, 1775, and besides the condition of the king’s quit rent, contains the following:

"That the grantee, his heirs or assigns, shall clear and work within three years, three acres for every fifty granted, in that part of the land which he shall judge most convenient and advantageous, or clear and drain three acres of swampy or sunken ground, or drain three acres of marsh, if any such be within the bounds of this grant, or put and keep on his lands, within three years from the date hereof, three neat cattle, to be continued upon the land until three acres for every fifty be fully cleared and improved. But if no part of the said tract be fit for present cultivation, without manuring and improving the same, then this grantee, his heirs and assigns shall be obliged, within three years from the date hereof, to erect on some part of said land a dwelling house, to contain twenty feet in length by sixteen feet in breadth, and to put on said land three neat cattle for every fifty acres, or if the said grantee, his heirs or assigns, shall, within three years, after the passing of this grant, begin to employ thereon, and so continue to work for three years then next ensuing, in digging any stone quarry or any other mine, one good and able hand for every one hundred acres of such tract, it shall be accounted a sufficient seeding, planting, cultivation and improvement, and every three acres which shall be cleared and worked as aforesaid; and every three acres which shall be cleared and drained as aforesaid, shall be accounted a sufficient seeding, planting cultivation and improvement, to save for ever from forfeiture fifty acres in every part of the tract hereby granted."

All were not so fortunate as to secure their grants early. As late as January 22, 1781, in a petition to the government, they complained that a grant had been often promised but never received; but finally, on August 26, 1783, the promise was fulfilled. It contains the names of forty-four persons, some of whom were not passengers on board the Hector; conveying the lands on which they were located, the size of the lots being regulated by the number in the family. The following is a list of grantees, with the number of acres received and notices of situation of their lots:

ON WEST RIVER: David Stewart, 300 acres; John McKen zie, 500 Hugh Fraser, 400; William McLellan, —; James McDonald, 200 James McLellan, 100; Charles Blaikie, 300, and in another division 250 acres, 550 in all; Robert Patterson, 300, and in an after division 500 in all; James McCabe, 300; Alex. Cameron, —.

ON MIDDLE RIVER, EAST SIDE: Alex. Fraser, 100 acres; Alex. Ross, Jr., 100; John Smith, 350; Robert Marshall, 350; James McCulloch, 240; Alex, Ross, 300; Alex. Fraser, Jr., 100; John Crockett, 500; Simon Fraser, 500; Donald McDonald, 350; David Urquhart, 250; Kenneth Fraser,45o; James McLeod, 150.

ON EAST RIVER, EAST SIDE: Walter Murray, 280 acres, and 70 acres in after division; James McKay, 70; Donald McKay, Jr., 80; John Sutherland, 180, and 70 in after division; Rod. McKay, Sr., 300, and in after division, 50; James Hays, —; Hugh McKay, 100; Alex. McKay, 100; Heirs of Donald McLellan, 260; Hugh Fraser, 400, and in after division, 100; Wm. McLeod, 80; John McLellan, 200; Thomas Turnbull, 220, in after division, 180; Wm. McLeod, 210, and in after division, 60; Alex. McLean, —; Colin McKenzie, 370.

ON EAST RIVER, WEST SIDE: Donald Cameron, 100 acres; James Grant, 400; Colin McKay, 400; Wm. McKay, 550; Donald Cameron, 100; Donald McKay, Sr., 450; Donald Cameron, a gore lot; Anthony Culton, 500.

The following is a list of passengers that arrived on board the Hector, originally drawn up, about 1837, by William McKenzie, Loch Broom, Novia Scotia:

SHIPPED AT GLASGOW: a Mr. Scott and family; George Morrison and family, from Banff, settled on west side of Barnys River; John Patterson, prominent in the settlement; George McConnell, settled on West River; Andrew Main and family, settled at Noel; Andrew Wesley; Charles Fraser, settled at Cornwallis; John Stewart.

FROM INVERNESSHIRE: William McKay, wife and four children, settled on East River; Roderick McKay, wife and daughter, settled on East River; Colin McKay and family, on East River; Hugh Fraser, wife and three children, on McLellans Brook; Donald Cameron and family, on East River; Donald McDonald, wife and two children, on Middle River; Colin Douglass, wife and three children, two of the latter lost on the Hector, on Middle River; Hugh Fraser and family, on West River; Alex. Fraser, wife and five children; James Grant and family, East River; Donald Munroe, settled in Halifax, and Donald Mc—.

FROM LOCH BROOM: John Ross, Agent, history unknown; Alexander Cameron, wife and two children, settled at Loch Broom; Alex. Ross and wife, advanced in life; Alex Ross and Family, on Middle River; Colin McKenzie and Family, on East River; John Munroe and family; Kenneth McRitchie and family; William McKenzie, at Loch Broom; John McGregor; John McLellan, on McLellans Brook; William McLellan, on West River; Alexander McLean, East River; Alexander Falconer, Hopewell; Donald McKay, East River; Archibald Chisholm, East River; Charles Matheson; Robert Sim, removed to New Brunswick; Alexander McKenzie and Thomas Fraser, From Sutherlandshire; Kenneth Fraser and family, Middle River; William Fraser and family; James Murray and family, Londonderry; David Urquhart and family, Londonderry; Walter Murray and family, Merigomish; James McLeod and wife, Middle River; Hugh McLeod, wife, and three daughters, the wife died as the vessel arrived, West River; Alexander McLeod, wife, and three sons, one of the last died in the harbor, and the father drowned in the Shubenacadie; John McKay and family, Schubenacadie; Philip McLeod and family; Donald McKenzie and family, Shubenacadie(?) Alexander McKenzie and family; John Sutherland and family; William Matheson, wife and son, first settled at Londonderry, then at Rogers Hill; Donald Grant; Donald Graham; John McKay, piper; William McKay, worked for an old settler named McCabe, and took his name; John Sutherland, first at Windsor, and then on Sutherland river; Angus McKenzie, first at Windsor, and finally on Green Hill.

Some interesting facts have been gathered concerning the history of these emigrants, Roderick McKay, who took up land on the East River, was born in Beauly, and before leaving his native country gained a local admiration by rescuing some whiskey from the officers who had seized it, and for the offence was lodged in jail in Inverness. He soon ingratiated himself into the good graces of the jailer, and had no difficulty in sending him for some ale and whiskey. The jailer returning, advanced into the cell with both hands full. Roderick stepped behind him, passed out the door, locked it, and brought off the key. In Halifax he added to his reputation. An officer was paying some attention to a female inmate of his house which did not meet the approbation of Roderick, and meeting them together upbraided him for his conduct, when the latter drew his sword and struck him a cruel blow on the head. Telling the officer he would meet him within an hour, he had his wound dressed, and securing a stick stood before his antagonist. The officer again drew his sword and in the melee, Roderick disarmed him and well repaid him for his cowardly assault. Alexander Fraser, who settled on Middle River, although too young to serve in the Rising of the Forty Five had three brothers at Culloden, of whom two were killed. He was in comfortable circumstances, when he left what he thought was a Saxon oppression, which determined him to seek freedom in America. His horses and cart were seized by guagers, with some whiskey which they were carrying, and taken to Inverness. During the night, the stable boy, a relative of Fraser, took out the horses and cart, and driving across country delivered them to the owner, who lost no time in taking them to another part of the country and disposed of them. He was the last to engage a passage in the Hector. Alexander Cameron who gave the name to Loch Broom, after that of his native parish was not quite eighteen at the Rising of the Forty Five. His brothers followed prince Charles, and he was drawn by the crowd that followed the prince to Culloden. When he returned to his charge, it was to meet an angry master who attempted to chastize him. Cameron ran with his master in pursuit. The latter finding him too nimble, stooped down to pick up a stone to throw at him, and in doing so wounded himself with his dirk in the leg, so that he was obliged to remain some time in hiding, lest he should be taken as having been at Culloden, by the soldiers who were scouring the country, killing any wounded stragglers from the field. The eldest son of James Grant who settled on East River, did not emigrate with the family, but is believed to have emigrated afterwards, and was the grandfather of General U. S. Grant.

As has already been intimated, amidst all the discouragements and disappointments, the Highlanders used every means in their power to supply the wants of their families. They rapidly learned from the Indians and their neighbors. The former taught them the secrets of the forests and they soon became skilled in hunting the moose, and from the latter they became adepts in making staves, which were sent in small vessels to the older colonies, and in exchange were supplied with necessaries. But the population rather decreased, for a return made January 1, 1775, showed the entire population to be but seventy-eight, consisting of twenty-three men, fourteen women, twenty-one boys and twenty-girls. The produce raised in 1775, was two hundred and sixty-nine bushels of wheat, thirteen of rye, fifty-six of peas, thirty-six of barley, one hundred of oats, and three hundred and forty pounds of flax. The farm stock consisted of thirteen oxen, thirteen cows, fifteen young neat cattle, twenty-five sheep and one swine. They manufactured seventeen thousand feet of boards. While the improvement was somewhat marked, the supply was not sufficient; and the same weary journeys must be taken to Truro for necessaries. The moose, and the fish in the rivers, gave them a supply of meat, and they soon learned to make sugar from the sap of the maple tree. They learned to dig a large supply of clams in the autumn, heap the same on the shore, and cover with sand.

Scarcely had these people become able to supply themselves, when they were again tried by the arrival of a class poorer than themselves. Inducements having been held out by the proprietors of Prince Edward Island to parties in Scotland, to settle their land, John Smith and Wellwood Waugh, living at Lockerbie, in Dumfriesshire, sold out their property and chartered a small vessel to carry thither their families, and all others that would accompany them. They arrived at Three Rivers, in the year followed by others a few months later. They commenced operations on the Island with fair prospects of success, when they were almost over-whelmed by a plague of mice. These animals swarmed everywhere, consuming everything eatable, even to the potatoes in the ground; and for eighteen months the settlers experinced all the miseries of a famine, having for several months only what lobsters or shell-fish they could gather on the sea-shore. The winter brought them to such a state of weakness that they were unable to convey food a reasonable distance, even when they had means to buy it. In this pitiable condition they heard that the Pictou people were beginning to prosper and had provisions to spare. They sent one of their number David Stewart to make inquiry. One of the settlers, who had come from one of the older colonies, brought with him some negro slaves, and when the messenger arrived had just returned from Truro to sell one of them, and brought home with him some provisions, the proceeds of the sale of the negro. The agent was cheerful in spite of his troubles; and withal was something of a wag. On his return to the Island the people gathered around him to hear the news. "What kind of a place is Pictou?" inquired one. "Oh, an awful place. Why, I was staying with a man who was just eating the last of his nigger;" and as the people were reduced themselves they did not hesitate to believe the tale. Receiving correct information, fifteen of the families went to Pictou, where, for a time, they fared little better, but afterwards became prosperous and happy. Had it not been for a French settlement a few miles distant the people of Lockerbie would have perished during the winter. For supplies, principally of potatoes, they exchanged the clothing they had brought from Scotland, until they barely had enough for themselves. John Smith who was one of the leaders removed to Truro, and Waugh left the Island for Pictou, having only a bucket of clams to support his family on the way.

The American Revolution effected that distant colony. The people had received most of the supplies from the States, which was paid for in fish, fur, and lumber. This trade was at once cut off and the people, at first, felt it severely. Even salt could only be obtained by boiling down sea water. The selection of Halifax as the chief depot for the British navy promoted the business interests for that region of country. As large sums of money were expended there, the district shared in the prosperity. While prices for various kinds of lumber rapidly increased, and the Pictou colony was greatly advantaged thereby, still they found it difficult to obtain British goods, of which they were in need until 1779, when John Patterson went to Scotland and purchased a supply. The War had the effect to divide the colony of Pictou. Not only the Highlanders but all others from Scotland were loyally attached to the British government; while the earlier settlers, who were from the States, were loyally attached to the American cause, with the exception of Robert Patterson. Although the Americans were so situated as to be unable to take up arms, yet they manifested their sympathy in harmless ways, as in the refusal of tea, and the more permanent method of naming their sons after those who were prominent in the theatre of war. At times the feeling became quite violent, in so much so that the circular addressed to the magistrates in the Province was sent to Pictou, requiring these officers "to be watchful and attentive to the behaviour of the people in your county, and that you will apprehend any person or persons who shall be guilty of any opposition to the King’s authority and Government, and send them properly guarded to Halifax." The inhabitants were not only required to take the oath of allegiance, but the magistrates were compelled to send a list of all who so complied as well as those who refused. Robert Patterson, who had been made a magistrate in 1774, was very zealous in carrying out this order. He even started for Halifax, intending to get copies of the oath required, for the purpose of imposing it on the inhabitants. When he reached Truro one of the Archibalds discovered his mission and presenting a pistol, used its persuasive influence to induce him immediately to return home. So officious did Patterson become that his sons several times were obliged to hide him in the woods, taking him to Fraser’s Point for that purpose.

Many occurrences relating to the War effected the Province, the County of Pictou, and indirectly the Highlanders, though not in a marked degree. The first special occurrence, was probably during the spring of 1776, when an American privateer captured a vessel at Merigomish, loaded with a valuable cargo of West India produce. The vessel was immediately got to sea. The news of the capture was immediately circulated, and presuming the privateer would enter the harbor of Pictou, the inhabitants collected with every old musket and fowling piece to resist the enemy.

The next incident was the capture of Captain Lowden’s vessel in the harbor in 1777, variously reported to have been the work of Americans from Machias, Maine, and also by Americans from Pictou and Truro. In all probability the latter were in the plot. The vessel had been loading with timber for the British market. The captain was invited to the house of Wellwood Waugh, and went without suspicion, leaving the vessel in charge of the mate. During the visit he was surrounded and informed that he was a prisoner, and commanded to deliver up his arms. In the meantime an armed party proceeded to the vessel, which was easily secured. As the crew came on deck they were made prisoners and confined in the forecastle. Some of the captors took a boat belonging to the ship and went to the shop of Roderick McKay some distance up East River, and plundered it of tools, iron, &c. In the meantime Roderick and his brother Donald had boarded the vessel and were also made prisoners. When night came the captors celebrated the event by a carousal. When well under the influence of liquor, Roderick proposed to his brother to take the ship, the plan being to make a sudden rush up the cabin stairs to the deck; that he would seize the sentry and pitch him overboard, while Donald should stand with an axe over the companionway and not allow any of them to come up. Donald was a quiet, peaceable man, and opposed to the effusion of blood and refused to take part in the scheme. The McKays were released and the vessel sailed for Bay Verte, not knowing that the Americans had retired from the place. The vessel fell into the hands of a man-of-war, and the captors took to the woods, where, it is supposed, many of them perished. All of Waugh’s goods were seized, by the officers of the war-vessel, and sold, and he was forced to leave. This affair caused the American sympathizers to leave the settlement moving eastward, and without selling their farms.

American privateers were frequently off the coast, but had little effect on Pictou. One of the passengers of the Hector who had removed to Halifax and there married, came to Pictou by land, but sent his baggage on a vessel. She was captured and he lost all. A privateer came into the harbor, the alarm was given, and the people assembled to repel the invader. An American living in the settlement, went on board the vessel and urged the commander to leave because there were only a few Scotch settlers commencing in the woods, and not yet possessing anything worth taking away. In consequence of his representations the vessel put out to sea.— The wreck of the Malignant excited some attention at Pictou, near the close of the war. She was a man-of-war bound to Quebec, and late in the fall was wrecked at a place since known as Malignant Cove. The crew came to Pictou and staid through the winter, being provided for through the efforts of Robert Patterson.

The cause of the greatest alarm during the War was a large gathering of Indians at Fraser’s Point in 1779. In that year some Indians, in the interest of the Americans, having plundered the inhabitants at Miramichi, a British man-of-war seized sixteen of them of whom twelve were carried to Quebec as hostages, and from there, afterwards, brought to Halifax. Several hundred Indians, for quite a number of days were in council, the design of which was believed to join in the war against the English. The settlers were greatly alarmed, but the Indians quietly dispersed. Most of the Highlanders that emigrated on board the Hector were very ignorant. Only a few could read and books among them were unknown. The Lockerbie settlers were much more intelligent in religion and in everything else. They brought with them from Scotland a few religious books, some of which were lost on Prince Edward Island, but those preserved were carefully read. In 1779 John Patterson brought a supply of books from Scotland, among which was a lot of the New England Primer, which was distributed among the young.

The people were all religiously inclined, and some very devout. All were desirous of religious ordinances. They would meet at the regular hour on the Sabbath, Robert Marshall holding what was called a religious teaching for the English, and Colin Douglass doing the same in Gaelic. The exercises consisted of praise, prayer and the reading of the Scriptures and religious books. They were visited once or twice by Reverend David Smith of Londonderry, and Reverend Daniel Cock of Truro came among them several times. As the people considered themselves under the ministry of the latter, they went on foot to Truro to be present at his communions, and carried their children thither on their backs to be baptized by him. These people had so little English that they could scarcely understand any sermon in that language. This may be judged from an incident that occurred some years later. A Highlander, living in Truro, attended Mr. Cock’s service. The latter one day took for his text the words, "Fools make a mock of sin." The former bore the sermon patiently, but said afterward, "Mr. Cock’s needn’t have talked so about moccasins; Mr. McGregor wore them many a time."

The people were also visited by itinerant preachers, the most important of whom was Henry Alline. In his journal, under date of July 25, 1782, he says:

"Got to a place called Picto, where I had no thought of making any stay, but finding the spirit to attend my preaching, I staid there thirteen days and preached in all the different parts of the settlement, I found four Christians in this place, who were greatly revived and rejoiced that the Gospel was sent among them."— Reverend James Bennet, missionary of the Church of England, in 1775, visited the eastern borders of the Province, and in 1780 visited Pictou and Tatamagouche, and on his return lost his way in the woods.

The Peace of 1783 brought in an influx of settlers mostly from the Highlands, with some who had served in the Revolution against the Americans. This added strength gave more solidity to the settlement. Although considerable prosperity had been attained the added numbers brought increased wealth. Among the fresh arrivals came Reverend James McGregor, in 1786, and under his administration the religious tone was developed, and the state of society enhanced.


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