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History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Chapter XVIII - Margaree Forks


Margaree Forks and vicinity used to be a component part of the district of S. W. Margaree, but is now a separate and distinct political division. The name of "The Forks" comes from the fact that it is here the North East and South West branches of the Margaree River meet and embrace on their joyful way to the salt sea. The sea is nine miles distant from the "Forks", and it is the combined volume of those two river branches that gives unto this favored place its everlasting health and hope.

The Forks will strike a stranger like an oasis in the desert. He does not expect it; but it holds him charmed. Below the green heights on either side lies the peaceful and productive meadow, dominated by the strength and beauty of the "Golden Grove". As a getter of intrinsic wealth and comfort, the Golden Fleece of Jason was not a circumstance to the "Golden Grove" of Tom MacDonald. Among the other agreeable features of the Forks, it is a happy hunting ground for salmon spies. They come from all directions. They rest and read, spend money and enjoy life; but ever and anon they fish, or think they do,—but tell a fishy story, never!

Another peculiar mark of the "Forks" is that its earlier settlers, and the most of its present inhabitants; were and are peaceable Irishmen — fugitives from a loved land of oppression. It pains us to acknowledge that the political union of England and Ireland has never been a "holy alliance". From first to last, that ill-starred compact has been a bond of prejudice and mistrust. Verily, it is time for a change. The sufferings of the Irish under English rule are not to be denied. It boots not now to ask whose fault it was. The world stands aghast at the amazing spectacle.

Such of the Irish race as came to America were obliged to come, in quest of the simple right to live at peace with God and man In America they found the right they sought, and at once became loyal, peaceable and progressive citizens, But could they forget the older history, the higher civilization, and the gaping modern wounds of their native lands?

"Let fate do her worst, there are relics of joy,
"Bright dreams of the past, which she cannot destroy!
"Which come in the night-time of sorrow and care,
"And bring back the features that joy used to wear'

"Long, long be my heart with such memories fill'd,
"Like the vase in which roses have once been distill'd;
"You may break, you may ruin the vase if you will,
"But the scent of the roses will hang round it still".

The first Irishman to settle at the Forks of Margaree was Myles McDaniel, who came in 1815. Finding that the land on which he first located here was an Indian Reserve, he bought a farm further up the river towards the North East of Margaree. That farm is now in possession of his grandson, John J. MacDaniel. Myles was married to Rebecca Smith of the old Smiths of Mabou. Hence it comes that in every household around the Forks, down to this day, the tired and thirsty traveller, will meet a kind, gentle and sympathetic "Rebecca with her water pitcher".

Harry McDaniel, brother of the above named Myles, settled at Lake O'Law as did, also, James Fortune and his brother Walter Fortune, with their two sisters Sarah and Mary.

In 1828 three Tompkins brothers, Nicholas, Patrick James and Michael with their sister Mary, came and settled at Big Brook. From these are descended all the Tompkins of Inverness County. About the same time James Doyle, with his son John, and two daughters, Mary and Ann, came and set up at Lake O'Law. In 1830 Thomas Coakly came from Ireland, was married to Ann Doyle, daughter of James just noted, and pitched his tent at Lake O'Law.

Dennis McGarry, the progenitor of all the McGarries of this County, came to America in 1830. The ship in which he crossed was wrecked off Cape North, C. B. Thence McGarry was compelled to walk along the northern shore till he reached the hospitable home of John McLeod of B. C. Ponds, now St. Rose. Here he stayed for several years, and learned to talk Gaelic and sing Gaelic songs. He subsequently removed to Lake O'Law where he married Mary Doyle, the grandmother of Dr. M. E. McGarry of Margaree Forks; Dr. P. P. McGarry of Canso, and the late Dr. M. R. McGarry of Florence, C. B. This Mrs. Dennis McGarry was the mother of Rev. Dr. Moses McGarry, C.S.C. of St. Laurent College, Montreal, and grandmother of Rev. John McGarry, St. Cecelia Church, Boston; Rev. Francis McGarry, C.S.C. of Notre Dame, Indiana, and Rev. B. McGarry of Kansas City, Kansas. Also the grandmother of Mother Mary Camilla, Superioress, formerly of Woburn Mass, now of Philadelphia, Pa. Such are a few of the offspring of this wonderful Irish immigrant. And you will persist in telling me that his name was Dennis.

In 1826 James Carroll came from the Isle of Saints to the County of Antigonish and a few years later removed to the South West of Margaree in the County of Inverness. Wm. F. Carroll, Esquire, Barrister of Sydney, C. B. and the late James Carroll of S. W. Margaree, teacher, were grandsons of James Carroll above mentioned. In former times we knew those grandsons very well, and they would be excellent evidence of a fine ancestry. Both were capital teachers in their young years; both were trained and talented; both were honest and honourable; and both were natural gentlemen, woof and warp.

In 1830 three Coady brothers, John, Martin and Peter, settled at S. W. Margaree, and their descendants are still found around the Fork and S.W. River. Some years afterwards those three sturdy brothers met a tragic death together. While poling up the river at a point where the current was swift and strong, their canoe was upset, and the three men fell into the stream and were drowned.

James Coady (son of Martin) was married to Sarah, daughter Moses Doyle. She was the mother of the late Father Moses Coady P.P. of Reserve, C.B., and of Dr. P. Coady of Newton, Massachusett and also the grandmother of Rev. Dr. M.M. Coady of St. F.X. College.

The late Rev. Michael Tompkins who was parish priest of Guysborough for forty years, was a son of Patrick and Bridget Tompkins of Big Brook, Margaree. This Fr. Tompkins was among the early native priests of Inverness. He and Fr. Donald McIsaac, and Father John McDougall made their theological studies in Antigonish, as did, also, Fr. Archd. MacKenzie and the late Bishop Ronald MacDonald of Harbour Grace (Nfld.). All were priests of the best type. Fr. Michael Tompkins spent his whole working life in the one parish, and was highly respected by all creeds and classes. Rev. Maurice J. Tompkins, the present P. P. of Guysborough, is a son of Patrick James Tompkins of Big Brook.

Moses Doyle was the second Irish settler right at the Forks, coming next after Myles McDaniel, of whom he was an uncle. He came in 1824, and settled down on the West side above the actual Forks. where now stands Doyle's Bridge. In 1828 his wife, whose maiden name was Mary Ann Lawlor, his son James, and his youngest daughter Sarah, came here to join the husband and father. James married Margaret Murphy, daughter of Michael Murphy of Lake O'Law, with issue, nine sons and three daughters.

The oldest son, Moses, married Mary Dulhanty of Mabou. The Rev. M. M. Doyle, former pastor of Harbour au Boucher, was their son, and Sister St. Genivieve of Whitney Pier and Sister St. Mary Edward of St. John, N. B., were two of their daughters. The son James Jr., who removed to Newfoundland many years ago was married to Bridget Kiley of Baddeck, and one of his daughters belongs to a Religious Order in St. John's, Newfoundland. The son Myles married Mary Delahanty. They were the parents of two Nuns, Sister St. George, and Sister St. Mary AnseIm. The son Daniel married Henrietta Lafford of Richmond County and they had two Nuns, Sister M. Lucine and Sister M. Edith. The son Mathew was married to Annie Jane Lafford of Richmond County. The late Rev. John O'Neil Doyle, who has been parish priest at Hot Springs, Arkansas, and is now deceased, was a son of Mathew. Another son of his is Rev. Daniel Doyle, Curate of Sacred Heart Church, Sydney, C.B. Two of Mathew's• daughters were in religious orders, namely: Sister St. Michael of Hotel Dieu, Chatham, N. B., and Sr. Mary St. Columbia, of the Good Shepherd at Halifax, N. S.

Mary Ann Doyle, daughter of James Sr. was married to Patrick Tompkins, and was the mother of Dr. M. G. Tompkins of Dominion No. 1. Cape Breton County. Sarah Doyle married Nicholas Tompkins, and was the mother of Rev. Myles Tompkins, who was Chaplain and Major in the 85th Battalion in the recent world war.

It is a recognized fact in Inverness County that those Irish families of Margaree have always been contributing, at least, their full quota, to the requirements of Church and State. Reverend J. J. Tompkins of St. Francis Xavier University at Antigonish is of those Tomkinses of the Margarees. His services to this young University of the East, during the past seventeen years have been constant and important. He is young and active yet, and would not thank us if he saw us making a move to wrap him up in history. But good men and good works ought to be appreciated and encouraged, before they become history. We wish this Reverend Doctor strength and length of days to continue his noble and noiseless work in our fertile fields of education.


In 1809 Archibald Chisholm (An Gobhain Glasrach), a native of Strathglass, Scotland, and his son John, came from Antigonish, and opened a Blacksmith shop at Margaree Forks. Next year he brought his wife and the rest of his family. This Archibald was the son of Donald Chisholm (Gobha) who died in Antigonish before Arch'd's family moved to Margaree. Donald (Gobha) it is said was the author of some spirited Gaelic songs, and had other sons besides Archibald, namely: Father William, Alexander, John, and probably one or two more. Archibald was married to Jessie Chisholm also of Strathglass, a half sister to John Chisholm (Big) of Harbour au Boucher. Their family were: John, William, Donald, Margaret, Catherine, Ann and Jessie.

John married Christy Cameron, (daughter of Archd.) of Margaree Forks, with issue:—William, Archy, Dan, Patrick, John, Archy and Alexander, Margaret, Mary, Ann and Catherine.

William married Mary Chisholm (Donald) of Heatherton, with issue: Archy, Alex, Martin, Patrick and Christy. The Alex of this family is now Dr. A. W. Chisholm, M. P.

Dan, this William's brother, studied medicine and went West to stay.

Patrick married Margaret Gillis, with issue: John, D., Andrew, Archy and Christy.

Archy Ban married Johanna Wall, with issue: John P., Minnie, Mary and Kate.

Alex, went West when quite young. Margaret married William Chisholm (Donald) of Heatherton. Catherine married John Wall, with issue: Mary H. and Tina. The rest remained unmarried.

William Chisholm (Archd's son) married Jessie MacDonnell (Jim Ban) with issue: Alex, Archy, James, Patrick, Donald, Mary, Flora, Margaret, Jessie, Christy and Catherine.

Alex, James and Patrick, went West long ago. Archy, Dan and Catherine are at home. Mary married Angus McLellan, S. W. Margaree; Margaret is married to Archy MacDonnell, Margaree Harbour; Jessie to Dan MacEachen, miller, of Broad Cove Chapel, and Christy to Donald MacEachern, Hawkesbury.

Donald (son of Archd.) married Ellen MacInnis (Donald Rob) of Judique with issue: William, Christie, Margaret (Mrs. Patterson) and Jessie (Mrs. Cameron).

Margaret (daughter of Archibald) was married to Donald Cameron, of the Forks, with issue: John, William, Archy, Mary and Isabel.

Catherine was married to Angus Cameron, with issue: John, Archy William, Mary, Ann and Margaret.

Ann married Dougald Cameron with issue: Archy, Michael, Mary (Mrs. MacKenzie and Margaret.

Jessie married John MacKinnon (Stephen) Rear Forks, with issue: Ann, Margaret and Betsy (Mrs. James Macdougall).


In 1803 Samuel Campbell, with two sons and two daughters, emigrated from Tulloch, Lochaber, Scotland, and settled at South West Mabou. Another son, Donald, who at that time, was working in a cotton factory in Glasgow, came and took up a farm at S. W. Mabou, seven years after his father came. This Donald was born at Lochaber in 1780, and died at South West Mabou in 1872. He (Donald) was married first at Glasgow to Effie MacCallum, daughter of Dougald of Mull, who became a convert to the Catholic faith, and by whom he had Samuel, Dougald and Jane. This Samuel was about four years of age when he came to America. He had a smart way with him, even in his youth, and did a little business for himself at S. W. Mabou when quite a young man. In 1836 he moved to Margaree Forks where he continued mercantile business for some years, and afterwards became widely known as one of the finest farmers of Inverness County. He was married first to Ann MacDonald, Sister of Duncan MacDonald of Golden Grove, secondly to Miss MacDonald, daughter of John MacDonald (Baron) of South East Mabou. He had no issue by the second marriage. His family by the first marriage were: Donald, Duncan J., Dougald, Colin, Katie, Euphemia and Mary Ann. The Duncan J. of this family was the late Hon. Dr. Campbell of Port Hood, than whom no man in this County was ever better known or better liked.

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