MacDonald (Pioneer) was born in the 1740’s probably of a Moidart family.
He was the son of Domhnuill mhic
Raonuill mhic Uillean mhic Calum of the Clanranald MacDonalds.
He lived on the island of Eigg in the Hebrides from where he is supposed
to have emigrated to Nova Scotia.
married Effie MacDonald of Glencoe, Scotland about 1770. He may have
joined an overseas regiment for service in North America during the
American Revolution about 1780 (possibly the 82nd Hamilton) and
received a grant of land in Nova Scotia near Pictou. John emigrated to
Pictou about 1791. He brought Effie and his young children there and they
began to clear land at Fisher’s Grant (this land was part of the allotment
given to disbanded soldiers of the 82nd Hamilton Regiment.)
Effie died here in the 1790’s and John left his farm in the hands of
Donald Ruadh, his eldest.
to Arisaid, Antigonish County where he met and married Annie Flora
MacKinnon. John and his new wife moved across to Cape Breton in 1798 and
took up 323 acres of land at Little Judique ponds. He and his wife had
three more children and about 1809/10 John died. His wife remained in
possession of the property.
first family gave up the farm near Pictou and joined their father at
Judique in 1798 where Donald Ruadh took up a grant of 380 acres on the
South side of Little Judique Harbour. He built a one-room log cabin just
above the shore (where the Lower Shore Road turns towards the wharf) in
that year and married Mary MacDonald, daughter of Alasdair (son of James
of Baillie). After an initial period of settlement, Donald Ruadh would
have grown some corps and also fished out of Little Judique Harbour.
known as an industrious man. When his children were quite small, his wife
was alone in their cabin and some Micmacs came to pay a visit (the Indians
often can to camp above the harbour in the summer). According to oral
tradition, when the Indians spied a barrel of potatoes near the door, they
picked them up and wondered at what they were. After puzzling over this a
minute, they began flinging them at one another which apparently terrified
Mary and her small children.
family grew rapidly and soon he built a second house (probably of framed
lumber) above the bank near the shore where the small ponds are. A number
of years later, the family moved into a bigger house closer to the present
Lower Shore Road (none of these early houses stands today but their
foundations can still be found). He was known to have gone spearing eels
every year at Livingstone Pond and would salt the eels in large barrels
for the winter. No doubt, his family’s reputation as the “bogainn’s”
meant that he had many skills as a fisherman.
1830’s he began to divide up his land among his three sons, having deeds
drawn up and giving each son an equal share. By this time, he was
probably retiring from full-time farming. Donald Ruadh lived to be a very
old man and when he was dying, his daughter-in-law Anne (wife of John Jr.)
sent for the priest, Father Kenneth MacDonald. When the priest arrived,
the “dying man” got up to greet the priest who exclaimed in surprise, “A
n’e seo an duine tinn?” (Is this the sick man?) Despite this,
however, Donald Ruadh took the sacrament of the dying and not long after
this, he died. Thus were all of Pioneer John’s family re-united at
Information taken from pages 43 & 44 from the
book, Fair is the Place which was written and compiled by John
Colin and Mildred MacDonald and Catherine MacDonald of Little Judique,
Inverness County, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Copyright 1985, 2nd Edition
ISBN – 0-9692277-0-1