As summer was almost over
when the settlers landed they erected at once rude cabins to shelter them
from the bitter cold of winter then approaching. These were built of logs
squared and dovetailed at the ends. The spaces between were filled with
moss or clay. The seams were covered with birch bark. Over all a ply of
boards was nailed. The roof was covered with pine shingles. The nails used
in this work were of iron, made by a blacksmith in the settlement. The
windows in these little cabins were few and small as glass was dear. It
took iron courage to face the first winter in this inhospitable climate,
and until the harvest was garnered next autumn their minds were harassed
often by the grim spectre of want hovering about their kitchen door.
Entering the humble cottage
of the early settler one found an abode of Arcadian simplicity. If at meal
time, there might be half a dozen healthy blue-eyed children, with their
parents, seated on planks around the rough board table. The simple fare
consisted of potatoes and pickled herring or dried salt cod. Oatmeal
porridge was the staple breakfast dish. It was many years later before
wheat flour was used daily. In the meantime, barley and buckwheat varied
the oatmeal diet. Many meals were partaken without forks and knives, and
those in use were made generally of horn. The teapot was always on the
hearth. The Scots were inordinately fond of tea and drank copious
quantities of that beverage. As soon as a caller entered the house the
kindly housewife, with unbounded hospitality, proffered a cup.
Of adornments there were
none. The walls and ceilings were of untouched native wood. Later it was
customary to whitewash the whole interior with slaked lime. This sanitary
practice continued until wallpaper was introduced.
The bedstead consisted of a
rough hewn frame on which lay a huge home-made linen tick, filled with
grass, and in later years the choicest oat chaff. This made a warm, clean
and comfortable resting place. At least once a year, at threshing, it was
emptied and refilled. As a supply of chaff for ticks was stored in the
barns they could be changed whenever the housewife so desired.
As domestic geese were
raised in large numbers, feather ticks became common and the guest chamber
was generally equipped with one. The houses were cold. The open chimney,
although healthful, allowed most of the heat to pass off without tempering
the air in the chilly rooms. Beside the fireplace hung the boot-jack,
fashioned from the crotch of birch or maple, while over it rested an old
Queen Anne rifle. Newspapers were unknown. Other books were rare, but the
Gaelic Bible was in every home. By the fitful glow of the pine knot on the
fireplace, the father read the nightly lesson from its sacred pages. All
were warmly clothed. The men wore natural grey homespun, the women drugget.
Their shoes were made in neighboring homes from cowhide tanned in the
settlement. Well rubbed with warm sheep's tallow, they were impervious to
The settlers started at
once cutting down the forest. "How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy
stroke." They reserved all marketable timber to be floated to the
nearest shipping point for export the following summer, or to be converted
and Irish lacked the Englishman's deep appreciation of the beauty of the
forest. In their eagerness to clear the land they swept everything bare,
in many cases leaving neither hedges nor even shelters about their homes.
The English settler, with an eye trained to the beauty of landscape,
frequently brought acorns and shrubbery with him, and today one finds well
laid out grounds that testify to the forethought and taste of these
farseeing English pioneers. The Goff homestead at Woodville, Cardigan, is
an example. Only in the past generation have the Scots made consistent
efforts to beautify their homesteads by planting trees, and laying out
their grounds in an orderly manner.
Not being experienced woodsmen the task of
clearing the forest was very laborious and dangerous, occasionally
resulting in serious injury and even death. But with experience they
gained knowledge, and within a few years the young men became skilled in
all the arts of woodcraft. Lumbering was the chief industry for many
years. The choicest timber was used in shipbuilding. In every harbor along
the coast were built ships, which, manned by daring seamen, brought fame
to their native isle in every leading seaport throughout the world. As
early as 1825 large numbers were launched, and in that year forty vessels
of 8,409 tons were built. The shipwrights' hours of labor were long.
Frequently several miles intervened between the shipyard and the workman's
home. One lady recently told of her father, over seventy years ago,
walking daily, six miles to and from his work at Davies' shipyard. His
honesty, so characteristic of the times, was such that on one occasion,
finding a few iron spikes in his pocket when he got home, he insisted on
bringing them back next day, for, as he said, if he did not do so they
might be in his coffin.
Occasional trees, especially pine, were of
imposing size. On each farm, for many years after the forest was cleared,
isolated stumps stood in the cultivated fields, silent reminders of the
venerable monarchs that once looked down from imposing heights upon the
meaner growth of maple, spruce, birch, beech and fir around them. On one
of these farms, near a grateful spring, stood a notable stump, six feet in
diameter. This remnant of a lordly pine withstood decay for over half a
century. Finally, about 1900, it succumbed to the annual attacks of fire
with one eye, were planted in groups of three or four and lightly covered
with the rich soil and ash from the recent fire. After the young plant
showed above the ground it was "killed." As there were no pests (the
Colorado beetle or "potato bug" attacked them first about 1895), and but
few weeds, they were not touched again. They yielded about twenty-fold
next fall. Whent, oats and barley, which were sewn among the stumps
broadcast also gave bountiful yields.
Until the land was stumped all grain was cut
with reaping hooks. When the clearing was large enough, the back-breaking
cradle was used. This instrument consisted of an iron blade or scythe and
cradle with four hardwood fingers, adjusted to the handle. The grain fell
across the fingers. The cradler strove to lay the grain in an even swath
on the highest stubble to lighten the work of the binder, who followed
with a hand rake. While binding the sheaf the harvester rested the handle
on his shoulder. In this spot the skin was soon calloused. It is reported
of one Neil Campbell, of Peel County, Ontario, that he took a swath eleven
feet wide and cut eleven acres in a day. Five acres was considered a good
day's cradling in average grain not broken or tangled. Cutting started
before the grain was ripe. Ripened straw became so brittle in the hot sun
that sometimes it could not be used for bands. In such cases binding was
done in the evening and morning, when the straw was softened by the dew.
Women cut much grain with the sickle, but
rarely with the cradle. "Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield." They
bound, after the cradle, though hampered by their long skirts and often
barefoot. The torture caused by the sharp stubble and prickly thistles,
was almost unbearable.
The reaper, drawn by two or three horses,
displaced the cradle. A man, standing on the machine, raked the grain off
the table. Later a revolving rake, set on a stand, swept the bundle from
the table onto the ground. It could be adjusted so that, instead of every
fourth rake carrying off the grain, the driver tripped it at will and made
the sheaf the size desired.
Those who, under a burning sun, have bound grain infested with Canada
thistle, will vividly recall the hardship of it. Even horny hands did not
escape festering sores. Each year as the seeded acreage increased the
burden grew heavier. Finally the self-binder brought relief from the cruel
task. To the inventor of this useful machine the grain grower will ever
these tasks the women shared equally with the men. They helped to gather
the stumps, and to burn the piles. They bound, stooked, and stacked grain.
They sheared the sheep and washed the wool beside those pleasant little
brooks, that ran through almost every farm. The water used was warmed in
iron boilers brought from Scotland.
For many years threshing was done with the
flail. This instrument consisted of two hardwood bars loosely tied
together at the ends by a thong, preferably of buckskin. The handle was
longer than the swingle to prevent the latter hitting the hand clasping
the handle. Two parallel rows of six sheaves each, were laid on the barn
floor with heads together and bands uncut. These were beaten with the
flail until the straw began to curl. Then they were turned over with the
flail, and the same punishment administered to the other side. The straw
was stored for fodder and bedding. The grain was thrown into the air to
separate it from the chaff. The lightest and cleanest chaff was carefully
preserved to fill the home-made linen ticks on which the hard worked
pioneers spent their all-too-few hours of hard earned rest.
The horse tread-mill consigned the flail to
museum walls. The open cylinders first used were studded with hardwood
teeth. The straw was passed back with hand rakes and forks and stored in
the loft. After the evening meal was over the threshers returned to the
barn. In an atmosphere clogged with dust, they put through the fanners all
grain threshed that day. There seems to have been less opposition to the
introduction of the fanners into Belfast than into Peel County, Ontario,
where a certain lady tried to expel from the church a neighbor who had
brought into the district one of those "wind machines."
Persistent cropping without rotation, soon
impoverished the soil to such an extent that the yield was reduced by
half. To restore fertility, farmers within a radius of several miles
hauled "mussel mud" from Orwell River. This was thrown in small heaps over
the field and in summer scattered in a thin layer. The digger was set up
on the ice over an oyster bed. Those engaged were protected from the
bitter winter winds by spruce trees planted in the ice, about the machine.
An iron shovel worked by horse capstan, was lowered through an opening in
the ice to scoop up and deposit in the sleigh the slimy mass of shells. To
the humble oyster much of the prosperity and consequent happiness of the
Island is due. Among the many resources with which it is so bountifully
blessed this inconspicuous bivalve will ever hold an honored place.
Wooden ploughs with wrought iron mould-board,
share, and colter, were long in use. In the earliest models the share and
mould-board were in one piece. These were later made of cast iron in
Stump fences were never a distinctive feature of Island landscape. Soft
fir and spruce grew in abundance, and as they were easily cut the fences
were made of them. The rails, or "longers" as they were known, were
generally twelve feet long. These fences were built five rails high, then
staked. A rider was placed over the stakes.
The wedding was often a day of jollification.
The men present engaged in feats of physical prowess, running, jumping,
throwing the heavy hammer, shooting at targets, and other Highland games.
It was customary for her parents to tocher the
bride with a milk cow, a few sheep, and bedding for one bed. In the
evening dancing was continued until, with great show and much burlesque,
the assembled guests assisted the newly wedded pair to bed.
As the evening wore to its close a group of
young men from the neighborhood armed with shot guns, tin pans, circular
saws, horns, bugles, and other noise producing instruments, gathered
outside the wedding house for the charivari. Here they kept up a continual
din until, spent with their exertions, they accepted the invitation of the
kindly host to share in the good things on the banquet table, or received
from the groom a gift of money, which, as sometimes happened, they spent
at the nearest tavern before going home.
Dances were usually held in the winter. A
favorite time was at "house warmings," and sometimes at weddings. The
Plain Quadrille, Scotch Reel, Step Dance, and Highland Schottische were
the favorites. Another favorite was Sir Roger De Coverly, also known as
the Virginia Reel.
The musical instrument generally used was the fiddle, gut in default of it
the mouth organ and jews-harp were sometimes used. One talented old lady
with an ear for music, delighted her audience with strains from a
coarse-tooth comb covered with thin paper. She used to be in great demand
at these dances.
of the enjoyment at these gatherings was due to the "caller off." He was
responsible for the movement of the various figures, and was often chosen
because of special capacity to provoke merriment. In loud tones heard
above the hum of conversation and the noise of shuffling feet, he called
off the well remembered litany:
Salute your partner -
corner lady -
First four right and left -
Balance four -
Turn partners -
Ladies, chain -
Chain back and half promenade -
Half right and left to place -
It sometimes happened that
the young men and women were present in unequal numbers. The genial
caller-off, or perhaps some wag, to add a note of mirth, often varied the
ritual by calling "swing or cheat." At this some hapless swain quickly
stepped between a dancing lady and her partner and cheated him out of his
swing. This sometimes provoked a jealous suitor to reprisals. On one
occasion an aspiring youth tried to cheat, but for his pains his ears were
boxed soundly by the indignant young lady who would have nothing to do
Alexander Gillis of Kinross, was born on the farm of her father, Donald
Ban Oig MacLeod, beside the Orwell Head church, over eighty years ago.
When recently questioned about amusements in the Orwell district of her
youth, she declared without hesitation that, while geese raffles and other
gatherings provided much fun for the young people, the wauking, or
"thickening frolic" was the happiest day of the year.
These frolics were common in the winter time.
When the web of cloth, containing generally from fifteen to thirty yards,
according to the needs of the family, was ready for thickening word was
sent through the settlement. When those who wished to do so had assembled,
the web, which had been soaking for some time in soap and water, was
"wrung out" by hand. It was then placed on a long table improvised from
boards placed on barrels. The young women lining each side of the table
then grasped the cloth in their hands, at the same time giving a kneading
movement as they advanced along and around it. This was accompanied by a
Gaelic song, the rhythm of which lent itself to the movement. The hilarity
produced by the singing robbed the task of any appearance or sense of
labor. After repeated manipulations the cloth became quite thick. It was
then rolled tightly on a wooden roller and allowed to stand for a few
days. From this it was rolled off onto another roller and allowed to stand
for a short time. When removed it was perfectly smooth and ready to be
tailored by the women or by the community tailor, who was recognized as an
important personage in the district. He went from house to house as his
work called him.
Following the thickening, the evening was spent in step dancing and reels.
When instrumental music was lacking a jigger chanted his wavering melody
to the amusement and great delight of the whole party. Some of these
jiggers had a ready fund of humorous anecdotes and an uncanny gift of
mimicry. They were always welcome guests and did much to improve an
early period the reel and step dance were the only ones she ever saw. Mrs.
Gillis believes that for the first generation the Belfast people never
danced the quadrille. It came into favor later.
The Gaelic songs most often sung around the
thickening table were:
Mo Roighinn s'mo Run
(The Choice of My Heart).
Thainig An Gille Dubh (My Laddie Came to This Town).
Oran Luaigh (Wauking Song).
Songs were composed to
commemorate striking events in the district. Some were in Gaelic, others
in English. One of the most popular of the latter was "The Belfast Riot."
The authorship is in doubt, but it gives a fairly complete history of that
exciting event. It consisted of twelve stanzas. The first two were:-
THE BELFAST RIOT
"Come, brethren all, lend an ear to my story,
And naught but the truth unto you will I tell,
Concerning a fight that's recorded in story,
And of that brave hero who on that day fell.
Yon place in Belfast, with lilt and claymore
The old sons of Scotia in plenty were found,
With thistle and lion and bright banner flying,
And piper's long streamer and pibrochs resound.
"The first of March was the day of election,
And the year forty-seven I heard them all say,
The Irish assembled from every direction,
Each one with his weapon concealed in his sleigh,
To drive from the hustings with cudgel well shapen
All who for brave Donald should vote on that day,
But that day, three to one, they were sadly mistaken
Our noble Scotch heroes made them all run away."
During the long winter evenings young and old
gathered in neighboring homes to "ceilidh," drawn by the genial atmosphere
that pervades certain homes in every community. There they told stories
and sang folk-songs. These were in Gaelic, and among them, according to
Roderick C. MacLeod, the Gaelic scholar of Dundee, the favorites, all
brought from the Homeland, were:
Fhir A' Bhata (O, My
Cabar Feidh (Clan Song of Seaforth Mackenzies).
An Gleann' San Robh Mi'og (The Glen Where I was Young).
Oidhche Mhath Leibh (Good Night-Parting Song).
Posadh Puithir Ian Bhain (Highland Wedding Song).
Horo Mo Nighean Donn Ohoidheach (My Nut-Brown Maiden).
Bu Chaomh Leum Bhi Mirreadh (My Young Brunette).
Bha Mi'n Raoir An Coille Chaoil (Last Night in the Hazel Wood) .
Mo Run Geal Dileas (My Faithful Fair One).
Cumha Mhic Criomain (MacCrimmon's Lament).
Between 1827, when Dr.
Macauley died, and 1840, when Donald Munro, of Alberry Plains, arrived
from Skye, there was no one in the district trained in medicine. During
that period each district had one or more unselfish neighbors of practical
skill, who prescribed simple remedies for the various ailments. Through
their intelligent interest and devoted care many lives were saved, but the
death toll from tuberculosis, diphtheria, scarlet fever, croup, pneumonia,
and epidemics that frequently swept over the country, was heavy. These men
did valuable work, but the midwives of Belfast exhibited a skill beyond
all praise. They were equal to every emergency. They never turned a deaf
ear to a call for help and without thought of reward they braved miles of
miserable roads and bitter storms. Finally, when they made way for the
modern practitioner, they left behind a record of unselfish care and
skill, rarely, if ever, equalled under similar circumstances.
To every school boy the sea captain is a hero.
In the fall of the year the docks were lined with ships loading cargoes of
the famed McIntyre potatoes, or the equally famed black oats. The summit
of the young boy's desire was gratified if permitted to bring a discarded
whisky bottle full of milk to proffer the captain for the privilege of
inspecting the hidden mysteries of the ocean Leviathan. Returning home,
the assembled family heard of the wonders seen - the captain's cabin with
its reeky lamp, the tiny sweating forecastle, and the cavernous hold in
which was spied the dripping puncheon of Barbadoes molasses, nectar
destined for the children's daily porridge.
These sailors were courageous, stern men.
Inured to hardship and facing danger as their daily lot, they were
disciplined and self controlled. If, in moments of dire peril, the mate's
voice boomed above the fury of the storm, it was not a characteristic of
the sailor. The same man, especially if a Highland Scot, was urbane
ashore, speaking in that quiet undertone that is recognized as a
characteristic peculiar to all sailors, and also one marking the speech of
all the inhabitants of that beloved isle.
For the first sixty or seventy years of the
settlement's existence there were notable fishing grounds stocked with a
plentiful supply of cod, herring and mackerel within a few miles of their
homes. To these grounds the young men used frequently to go for a few
weeks, each summer. Erecting huts on St. Peter's Island they made it their
headquarters, and did a thriving business with American shipowners who
used to buy their catch. Unfortunately, these grounds no longer provide
this near source of pleasure and profit to the people.
Among the few Lowland families who settled
among the Highlanders, and taught them improved methods of farming, were
the Andersons of Orwell Cove, who emigrated from Perth, Scotland, in 1808
to New Perth, P.E.I., and settled in Orwell Cove about 1819. They were,
like most Lowlanders, more thrifty than the Highlanders. About 1842 or
1843 Alexander Anderson II built up-to-date mills on the Newtown River to
which people carried grain from long distances.
The first iron plough in the district was
brought from Scotland by Alexander Anderson I. He also brought the first
cart wheels, and gig, and what did even more for the prosperity of the
community, the famous black oats. All he grew for years was sold to the
neighbors for seed. The daughters in this splendid family were equally as
notable as the sons. Their skill in husbandry and in the domestic arts,
made them outstanding women. The heckle they brought from Scotland, was
the first used in Orwell Cove. They taught their neighboring Highland
women not only how to use it, but also how to plant and harvest the flax
on which to use it.
Another Lowland family of unusual parts was the Irving family of Vernon
River. From the first they exhibited those sterling qualities of thrift,
industry and originality that inspired others and made them leaders in the
district since first they entered it.
THE FIRST MILL IN BELFAST
The mills were among the most important
factors ministering to the comfort of the early settlers. Each favorable
stream had one or more. The first mill in Belfast was built by Lord
Selkirk on the Pinette River near the church. Various parties operated it
until finally, in 1839, John Douse sold it to Alexander Dixon, a miller
from Bowport, Northumberland, England, whose grandson, Joseph Dixon, owns
and operates it today in keeping with the fine tradition handed down
through succeeding generations of that worthy family.
Oatmeal was ground in it for several years
before the first wheat flour was made. In addition to the grist and
saw-mill originally built, both carding and shingle mills were added at an
early date. Prior to the installation of the carding mill, probably by Mr.
Dixon, wool was carded in the settlers homes by small wooden cards studded
with iron bristles. Holding the handle of the card, which was about five
inches by eight inches or ten inches„ in each hand the wool was pulled and
rolled into the required form for spinning.
The First Church
The Belfast settlers, like their kinsmen of
the Red River Settlement, for many years were without a settled minister.
They regarded this as a heavy cross, but bore it with patience. They
longed to have observed, in the form they loved, the sacred rite of
baptism, of marriage, and the final rites at death. They looked forward
eagerly to the day when, in Gaelic, they might hear in their own church
the voice of their own minister. For this day many waited in vain. At last
in 1823 there was sent to minister to them the much revered John MacLennan.
In the meantime the observance: of religion was not neglected, and nothing
shows more clearly their reverence for the Sabbath than their strict
observance of that day.
The church was the lodestone around which
centred the life of the people. Young and old alike presented themselves
at divine service clothed in their best, and comported themselves in a
manner befitting the sacred nature of the service. There was no endowment,
but all reasonable demands were met. The people contributed willingly of
what they had. The minister's stipend may seem trifling today, but it was
adequate at that time. He was easily able to support himself and family in
a manner befitting his station. No one was rich and it was proper that he
should not have luxuries while his parishioners dined on humble fare.
There was thus complete fellowship in the community.
There is a tradition in Belfast that John
Gillis, a Skye-man who settled in Orwell Cove in 1803, built a log
structure near the French cemetery, probably in 1804, which for years was
used both for church and for school. It is believed that Dr. Aeneas
Macaulay, who had been an army chaplain before studying medicine,
frequently conducted religious service during the early years of the
settlement in that building, and also in private homes.
The church records seem to indicate that the
present church was erected in 1823, where it now stands, near Pinette
River, on land granted for the purpose by Selkirk; but it is held by some
that it was built in 1824. It is an imposing and beautiful structure, a
tribute alike to the high value put upon spiritual things by the early
settlers, and to their unbounded confidence in the future of their
settlement. They had early taken firm root in the new land. With the
speedy improvement in their financial condition their contentment grew
apace, and no regrets were felt over their migration from the home of
The building is sixty feet long by forty-two feet wide. The Wren steeple
is composed of a tower fourteen feet wide by sixteen feet long, surmounted
by a spire of unusual beauty eighty-five feet high. The spire was built by
the two brothers, Neil MacLeod and Malcolm MacLeod (father of Donald Mor
MacLeod of Orwell). They had both worked in the U.S.A., and after
returning to their old home at Murray Harbor Road, about 1860, erected the
spire. There is a gallery on both sides and one end.
to the time the church was built and for a couple of generations later,
shingles were made by hand from the choicest wood, free from knots. The
instrument used in making them - the "frow" - had a wedge-shaped iron blade
about a foot long attached to which was a short stout handle. The block of
wood was stood on end and the "frow" driven by a wooden mallet into the
end of the block so as to give the shingle, or barrel stave, as the case
might be, the required thickness. With the block braced against the knee,
the handle was then pulled sideways and the required piece split off. The
piece thus severed followed the grain of the wood.
This was then planed by hand. The result was a
shingle which endured until completely worn off by the elements. The
shingles now on the churches at Belfast, Orwell and Orwell Head are of
this variety. In the former case, although exposed to the elements for
almost three quarters of a century, they are still sound.
It is not known when the first bell was hung,
but it was cracked in the collapse of the belfry, and sent to England to
be recast. The one now in the tower is inscribed "St. John's Church,
1834." Whether it was paid for by the parishioners or not is uncertain,
but there is a tradition among the older living residents that one of the
early governors had something to do with it. The site is one of surpassing
beauty. On a high hill, surrounded by a grove of beautiful maples, the
church, which has stood for over one hundred years, commands one of the
finest prospects in the whole province. It is a constant reminder to those
who worship in it, of the discernment and discretion of those farseeing
ancestors who chose the spot, so many years ago, and who now, their life
work ended, sleep in hallowed peace in the little graveyard surrounding it
on all sides. Perhaps no church in the whole province has so much of
interesting history and romance enshrined in its annals as the famous old
Belfast church. Ministering to a congregation extending around it to a
distance of five or six miles, it has known over a century of active
prosperity and of inestimable usefulness.
In a copy of the Monthly Record of the Church
of Scotland in Nova Scotia, and the adjoining Provinces, for October, A.D.
1864, in the possession of Miss Bella Macdonald, postmistress, Eldon,
Belfast, appears the following, written no doubt by the minister:
"ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, BELFAST"
"This church, one of the oldest buildings
among our places of worship, is now undergoing a thorough renovation. At a
meeting of the Congregation held a few weeks ago, it was resolved to make
extensive repairs, so as to secure comfort and the respectability of
appearance which should distinguish everywhere the House of God. A large
and very liberal subscription was made on the spot, and although but a few
weeks have passed since the work was resolved on, a large portion of it
has already been accomplished. Before the end of October the whole will be
finished, and it includes, besides other necessary repairs and changes,
the shingling and plastering of the whole building, with the addition of a
church, when originally built about forty years ago, was one of the best
of the Protestant churches in the Island. It is now again about to resume
its original position, and to become what the church occupied by a
congregation like that of Belfast should be. In the meantime, and for some
weeks to come, public worship must be held in the open air, which,
although not always very comfortable, is cheerfully submitted to by pastor
and people, from the pleasure and comfort anticipated when again permitted
to occupy the sacred building. To complete these extensive repairs will
require an amount of upwards of £250. A short time ago, another church was
erected at Orwell, for the accommodation of that section of the
congregation residing there, at a cost exceeding £300. This has been done
amid difficulties caused by an almost entire failure in the crops. For two
successive seasons they were subjected to this severe trial, and the debts
then incurred in providing food for themselves and families still continue
to embarrass many of them. The efforts which, in these circumstances, have
thus been made, and the vigour with which especially this last one is
being carried on, speak well for our people, and afford some evidence that
they value the means of grace."
(Signed) A Belfaster.
Following the above article is an account of a
presentation to Rev. Alexander Maclean, the able and highly respected
minister of the Belfast congregation, of a set of silver mounted harness
and whip, gift of a number of gentlemen of the congregation. The address
is reproduced. It is signed by the following committee on behalf of the
James Nicholson, Elder.
Daniel Fraser, Major.
Joseph M. Dixon.
George Young, Junior.
The minister's lengthy
reply, dated August 22nd, 1864, is also given.
The Belfast church was thoroughly repaired
again in 1922. Mr. R. E. Macdonald, of Pinette, Secretary-Treasurer of the
congregation, in a letter dated May 21, 1927, reports as follows:
"The first foundation of the Belfast church
was stone blocks, which, after ninety-nine years of service, were, in
1922, as good as new, but not high enough for present needs. We raised the
whole building twenty-eight inches, and replaced the stone blocks with
concrete, enlarged the cellar, built a new vestry, replaced the two small
windows in the east end with one large one, installed two new pipeless
furnaces, shingled one side of roof with cedar, and affixed new eaves to
the main building. Many people considered it impossible to raise this
building, it was done in three hours by forty-eight men, and an equal
number of jack screws and several other helpers. It was a memorable day to
see this beautiful and historic building with its high tower and two large
chimneys raised so easily without crack or break of any kind. The jacks
cost 50 cents each per day, and the men $2.00 per day.
"The total cost of the work was $3,856.01. Of
this sum $3,161.49 was paid out in cash, whilst $694.52 was given in
the summer of 1926 we painted the whole structure and attached new eaves
on the tower at a cost of about $550.00.
"The cemetery, which was heretofore managed by
a Committee, is now under the control of the Board of Trustees, who are
going to make an effort to maintain the sacred spot in that degree of
respectability pleasing to all who have loved ones interred in it."