Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Chapter XXX - North East Margaree


Some things can be described with ease, some more with an effort, others with great difficulty, and still others not at all. A description of the old district of North East Margaree, as it looks and stands at present, may quite possibly fall within the last mentioned category. The district is large in area, and such portions of it as are habitable are very densely peopled. The major part of it consists of a valley fifteen miles long, lying between walls of mountains some of which rise to enormous altitudes. All these mountains are richly wood-clad. In summer the scenic features of the surroundings are truly grand in their varied beauty and majesty. To essay a pen-picture of that prospect were to spoil it. It must be seen to be sensed.

There is a brimming river running through the entire length of the settlement, gathering vigor and volume from numerous babbling brooks that come rippling down the mountains on either side. The main original Highway is quite close to the river on the western side and is a delightful road to travel on. It is shaded in summer and sheltered in winter; and always in good, safe condition.

The floor of the valley is clear, level and spacious, and consists nearly all of meadow land. It is not naturally so rich and productive as "the fair broad meads" of the Forks, but it is capable of being made fertile and fruitful. The people here should never cease to thank the Giver of all good for the pleasant places in which their lives have fallen.

One of the first things that will strike a stranger passing through here is the neat, attractive, character of the people's abodes. The barns are large, comfortable, and well designed; the dwellings in many cases are quite handsome, indicating a good deal of architectural skill and taste. The farms, gardens and orchards, are well kept and cared for. The public halls and school buildings are modern and appropriate. Everything seems to suggest a fine order of Comunal intelligence and industry.

There are four churches in the district—Congregational, Baptist, Presbyterian and Catholic. The first to be erected was the Congregational, built in 1822. Rev. Frank Darien, of Manchester helped much to organize this church. We do not know the date of the erection of the Baptist and Presbyterian churches. The Catholic church was built in 1842; the site of it was deeded by Braziel Ryan and his wife Jean Rods to Miles MacDaniel, Paddy Ryan, James Doyle, Nicholas Thumpkin, Walter Fortune and Patrick Downey, Elders. Some more glebe land was afterwards given by Moses MacDaniel. The first resident Priest here was Rev. Eugene O'Riley, who came here from Pictou in 1858, and died in 1859. Since then no priest was stationed here, the North East Church having been served by the successive priests of East Margaree.

The old Justices of the Peace within this district were Irad Hart and Hezekiah Ingraham both appointed in 1827. Later appointees were Miles MacDaniel, Joseph A. Ingraham, Thomas Ethridge, Murdoch A. Ross, and Malcolm MacLeod.

Some of the old-time teachers here were the following, namely: Benjamin B. Etter, James Ayer, John Munro, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Burke, John H. MacLeod, James Doyle, John C. Munro, John A. MacDonald, A. G. Carmichael and Miles Tompkins.

From the earliest days the pioneer settlers here appear to have been solicitors about the education of their children. We append a correct copy of a letter addressed to their first teacher by two of the leading settlers of that time, one a Catholic the other a Protestant.

"Margaree, 2nd February, 1829. Mr. Benjamin B. Etter:

We the subscribing Proprietors of the school taught by you in our settlement have taught it our duty to write you these fue lines. In the first case school hours from nine to three and from dark to nine untill the tenth of March, then New Regulations for six months.

Second Case that all scholars taught by you shall be teached their prayers once in twenty-four hours every one in there own profession.

Thirdly that we shall look to you for the proportion of house-rent, board lodging and fule for each and every person that you shall take into the school whome is not a subscriber.

In haste we remain, Yours Truly,
Miles McDaniel. Edmund Ross.

In those days the men who employed a teacher subscribed voluntarily for his remuneration "a pound per pupil for the term." This explains the third clause of the above letter. There are some infirmities of spelling in the above document, but its spirit displays some lofty ideals which would well be imitated today.

The following are some of the recognized merchants of this district since its early settlement; William Simpson Hart, Thomas Eth-ridge, Martin Coady, Pierie Coady, John G. Crowdis, John R. Ross, Isaac Murray, William Burton, Murdoch A. Ross; James Frizzle, George P. Murray, John A. Ross, James Mariner Smith, Albert In-graham, Alexander Fraser, Andrew Fraser and Ralph MacPherson.

The clergymen produced here were: Rev. Wm. Burton (Baptist, Rev. Josiah Hart (Congl.), Rev. Malcolm MacDonald (Baptist), Rev. Hugh Ross (Baptist), Rev. Alexander MacDonald (Baptist) Rev. George MacPherson (Baptist), Rev. John H. MacDonald (Baptist), Rev. John Marple (Baptist), Rev. L. Tingley (Baptist), Rev. James Tingley (Baptist), Rev. Robert Ross, Rev. Edmund Crowdis, (Cong.), Rev. Charles Crowdis (Pres.). The Catholic priests were: Rev. Michael Thompkins, P. P. Guysboro; Rev. Moses McGarry,. Rev. Dr. H. J. Thompkins, St. F. X., Rev. Dr. M. M. Coady, St. F. X.; Rev. Maurice Thompkins, P. P. Guysboro; Rev. Miles N. Thompkins, (St. F. X.); Rev. Miles Keily (Boston); Rev. Dr. Frank McGarry, (Boston); Rev. John McGarry (Boston); Most of these are still living.

The native lawyers of this district were: the late John A. MacDonald Ex. M. P., of North Sydney; Mattie Thompkins of Swift Current, and Henry T. Ross, at one time Asst. Deputy Minister of Finance Ottawa, and Coady now of Vancouver.

We have said that this district is drained from end to end by a fine river. It is to be added that this river is teaming (in the summer months) with a variety of the best food fish. Salmon, alecoives and trout, come up from the sea in large quantities into this river every spring. It goes without saying that this is a great boon for the inhabitants adjacent to the river. It is expedient that there should be laws, and there are laws, for the regulation and protection of these fisheries. There is also a large and costly staff of officials to carry out and enforce these laws. There should not be much need of such laws and officials in a civilized land, and among honest and resasonable people. The early settlers had their own way—and, we think, a much better and cheaper way—of dealing with these matters. We subjoin a copy of the Minutes of a meeting held here by the freeholders of Margaree in 1813 in relation to these fisheries:

"Proceedings of a meeting held by the Inhabitants of Margaree Island of Cape Breton, on the first Monday of February One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirteen. According to an ordinance passed in Council the thiry-third year of His Majesty's Reign, and in the year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-three.


1. That Ranald MacKinnon, Esq., shall be the chairman of this meeting.
2. That Miles MacDaniel shall be Clark for this meeting.
3. That the Salmon Births shall be laid off by the overseers and a fair lot drawn for the Births.
4. That 10th day of next May, providing the weather permits, the salmon Births shall be laid out and drawn for.
5. That there is no nets more than thirty fathoms long shall be sot in this River this present year.
6. That the distance between each net shall be Fifty Fathoms.
7. That no seen shall be set or hauled in the river of Margaree this year.
8. That the boundary of last year shall serve for the present year, and that no net shall be sot below that same boundary inside the mouth of the River this year.
9. That every man as soon as he has filled his fishing craft, he shall leave his Birth vacant for another, at the Forks of this River at the Alewives Fishery.
10. That the quibs of all fish dressed at the Forks shall be carried of and Buried a distance from the Fork.

No need of red-tape law and officials here. The people themselves in formal meeting assembled, had spoken and voted. They meant to carry out, and did carry out, the things for which they voted unaided by writs or constables. Any man who went back on his vote at that meeting could never again look at his own face in the crystal waters of that River. Such was the sterling honor of the pioneer settlers.

Yes; the minutes of that meeting were held sacred as the Bond and Statute of that community; and quite correctly so. No statute on earth can be more binding and effective, or more entitled to respect, than those obligations, covenants and conventions, subscribed and assented to by free intelligent men,in amity and good faith. We have nothing but the highest respect for state law: but state law is made for man, and by man. An honest man is a much bigger thing than any legislative enactment. In the sense that "the boy is the father of the man", so "the man is the father of the legislature." What gives value and virtue to every state law is the public sentiment behind it. Long live our good, old, home-made statutes!


In the last quarter of the 18th century four unmarried Ross brothers came, with other Scottish emigrants from Scotland to America. The names of these brothers were James, William, David and Edmund. Naturally, they wished to be and remain near unto each other in this new world of wilderness. Finding no suitable place to locate on in Nova Scotia proper, they moved eastwardly into the Island of Cape Breton. They first visited and examined the Southern and Southeastern sections of the Island coast, but fell upon no place that appealed to them for a settlement side by side. Then they proceeded Northwardly to a place now called ''The Little Narrows." Here they tarried for a time; but did not yet feel that they had found the place they wanted.

In the summer of 1800 the brother James Ross set out from the Little Narrows, with an Indian guide, to explore the more northern lands of Cape Breton. At that time it was a tense and tedious track from the Little Narrows to the lower part of the river of North East Margaree. Mr. Ross knew nothing of the country; the Indian was as familiar with it as were the roving moose and caribou. After a tiresome journey the redman conducted his white charge to the summit of a high mountain, and, with a theatrical gesture, pointed out to him the promised land, "The North East of Margaree," exclaiming in broken English,—"Dat place best in worl" for paleface good man?" Mr. Ross was impressed. The following summer he came and blazed out a future home and farm for himself. One year later his three brothers above named came and settled by his side.

the four brothers together appropriating unto themselves 2200 acres of superior land. This was the nucleus of colonization in the noble valley of North East Margaree.

It may be worthy of mention that those four brothers took unto themselves four wives of four different nationalities. James' wife was French; William's Scotch; David's Irish and Edmund's Dutch. The numerous descendants of those Ross pioneers thus represent, not one but several noble races.

The wife of James Ross was a French lady by the name of Harriet Le Jeune. She was the first white woman that came to North East Margaree. She was married three times. At the time of her first marriage in France she was but thirteen years of age. By that marriage she had one child named Eusebe. Shortly after this event her husband was drowned. She was married a second time, without issue, to a Captain Briand who was killed in the second seige of Louisburg in 1758. This was shortly after their marriage. She subsequently married James Ross, with issue: James, Mary Barbara, Joseph and Jean. The first two named died in infancy. Joseph settled down on the 400 acre farm formerly owned by his father. Jean married Brazeil Ryan: subsequently she and her husband moved away to Grand River, Codroy, Newfoundland.

The memory of Mrs. James Ross will always be honored in this district. She was an ardent Catholic, her husband an equally ardent Protestant; but they lived a happy, useful, peaceful wedded life. She was an admirable helpmeet "but and ben", and was kindly and charitably disposed. Her willing ministrations to her sick and suffering neighbors will never be forgotten. She was brave, also, and would not always run away from difficulty and danger. She brought her own musket from Louisburg, and could shoot an evil-eyed bear with deadly presence of mind and precision. She died at her home at the Northeast in May 1860, one hundred and two years after the death of her second husband! Her mortal remains lie buried in the Catholic cemetery overlooking her long loved home at Margaree. She made several trips across the Atlantic before the fall of Louisburg. Some years after her marriage to Mr. Ross she went back to France to see her parents. On arriving there she found that her mother had died, whereupon she brought her father, Dionne La Jeune, back with her to the North East, where he remained till his death in 1825. Her last husband, James Ross, also, attained to a ripe age, and was buried on his own farm where a stately apple tree, well attended and preserved, marks his last earthly place of rest. His fine old farm is now owned and occupied by his great-grandson Thomas E. Roes.

William (one of the four pioneer settlers) was married to Esther Moore with issue: John, William Donald, Jennie, Esther and Mary. This William sold his farm to Miles MacDaniel, and moved with his family to Washabuck in the County of Victoria. His son John was married to Mary MacLean of Washabuck and had a large family. The second son, William, was never married, went out to the Pacific Coast where he worked as shipwright, and died. Donald (son of William Sr.,) was married and had a large family. The daughter Jennie was married to Finlay MacRae of Middle River and had a family. Esther was married to David Cormier of Margaree, had a large family with whom she and her husband moved to Codroy, Newfoundland. Mary, daughter of Wm., Sr., was married to a Mr. MacLeod of Middle River.



Nicholas Thompkins, a native of Wexford, Ireland, came to Margaree in 1829, was married in 1832 to Sarah MacDaniel, daughter of Miles, settled first at Big Brook, subsequently bought a farm from Henry MacKinnon, being a part of the farm taken up by Donald Mowat about the year 1804. The family of Nicholas Thompkins were: Mary married to Pierre Coady, with issue: Michael married to Marcella MacLellan, with issue: Miles, not married; John, Patrick, Rebecca, Nicholas, David and Sarah, all of whom were married and had each a large family.

Patrick Thompkins, also a native of Wexford, Ireland, came here in 1829, and was married to Mrs. Dunn, a widow, and had the following family, namely: Rev. Michael, Richard, Nancy, Nellie, Bridget John, Patrick and Mary Ann. All of these children were married and had families of sons and daughters, with the exception of Rev. Michael who was a Catholic Priest, Richard who died young, and Bridget who was never married.

James Thompkins of Wexford, Ireland came to this district in 1829, was married to Ellen Murray, an Irish lady who was one of five saved from an emigrant ship that was wrecked in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 1832. The issue of this marriage consisted of three sons and one daughter, to wit, Michael, Patrick, James and Catherine, all of whom but James were married with issue.

Michael Thompkins of Wexford came to Margaree in 1829, was married to Bridget Fitzgerald, and had a family of six sons and three daughters, namely: Thomas, Nicholas, Michael, Jane, Bridget, Dennis, Peter, John and Mary. With these four Thompkins brothers of Wexford, there came one sister, Mary, who was married to James Brown. Maurice Fitzgerald came with his father, William, from Nova Scotia to Cape Breton, and settled first at South West Margaree. Later on He came to the North East and married Mary MacDaniel by whom he had Miles, Rebecca, Jane, Matthew and John, all of whom but John, were married with issue.

James Dunn, a native of Tipperary, settled first at South West Margaree, and married a Miss Fitzgerald, later on removing to the North East. His family were Andrew, John, Johanna, Maurice, Michael, Mary, Jane and Nellie. The last three named of the daughters remained single. All the rest of this family were married and had large families.

John Nolan was married to a Miss Fitzgerald and had James, Michael, Moses, Matthew, Ann and Johanna.

Michael Coady, was born in Miramachi, N. B., married Mary McDaniel, widow of Maurice Fitzgerald, and had James, Martin, Mary Ann, Margaret, Ellen and Peter. Margaret and Peter lived a single life. All the rest were married with families.

Philip Brown, born at Silver Springs, Co., Wexford, Ireland, came to Margaree about the year 1815, and married Mary Le Jeune, niece of Mrs. James Ross elsewhere noted, and had Viney, John, Margaret (living still at the age of 99), Joseph, James, Mary Ann and Patrick. All of these except Viney and John (who left home young and was never heard of since) were married and had sons and daughters.

Patrick O'Connor, born in Tipperary, came to Margaree in 1820. He deserted from a man-of-war at Halifax, walked through the woods to Mulgrave, swam the Strait of Canso with all his clothes tied in a bundle around his neck, and finally pulled up at Margaree. He was married to Isabel Marple and had Margaret, James, John, Mary, Michael, William, Patrick, Isabel, Sarah and Ann.

Michael Murphy was born in Wexford, Ireland, landed first at Newfoundland, was married at River Head, Harbor Grace in 1808 to Sarah Pennell, lived a few years in Antagonise, and came to Margaree Harbor in 1812, and took up a farm and settled at Lake O'Law in 1821. Moses Murphy now lives on that farm. The family of Michael Murphy and Sarah Pennell were, James who was married to Ann Doyle; Margaret to James Doyle; Bridget married to Patrick Burns; John married to Esther Ross; and Nellie to Mike Nolan. All had large families.

Patrick Ryan came from Tipperary to Lake O'Law in 1824. He was married and has the following family; John married to Elizabeth Ross; Johanna married to James Fortune; Mary married to Patrick Wall; William to Ann King; Patrick, Philip and Margaret unmarried.

John Fleming born in Carrick, came first to Newfoundland, then to Prince Edward Island, and later on to Lake O' Law in 1822. He returned to Newfoundland in 1827 where he married Margaret Byrnes a native of Kerry. He and his wife came back to Lake O'Law in 1828. Their family were Nellie married to John MacNeil; Thomas who left home when quite young and was heard of afterwards; Bridget married to Michael Murphy; and Dennis married to Flora MacNeil.

Thomas Coakley, a native of Ireland, came to Lake O'Law in 1828 Was married to Ann Doyle and had the following family, namely: Catherine, James (who was killed in the American Civil War), Martin, (who shared the fate of James), John, Margaret (married to Michael Murphy without issue) Annie who died young; Bridget unmarried; Thomas married to Sarah Miller and had ten children, Moses (married) and Miles who died in early manhood.

William Leahy was born in Cork and married to Mary Downy. He came to Lake O'Law in 1829 and took up a farm. This farm he afterwards sold to Justin McCarthy, and moved away with his family to Halifax. The family consisted of six sons and five daughters.

James Doyle came from Wexford to Lake O'Law in 1830. He was married to a Miss Doyle, sister of "Mogue" Doyle, and had three children, namely: John, married to Mary McCarthy; Ann, married to Thomas Coakley; and Mary, married to Dennis McGarry.

James Fortune, a Wexford man, came to Lake O'Law in 1830 and was married to Johanna Ryan. His family were Thomas, Joseph Judith, Bridget, Patrick, James, Sarah, William, Walter, Mary and Moses.
Harry McDaniel was married in Wexford to Ann Cameron, and came to Margaree in 1830, settling at Lake O'Law. His family were Mathew, Miles, James, Mary, Sarah and Margaret.

Dennis McGarry, a native of Dublin came to Lake O'Law in 1831 and married Mary Doyle. (See sketch of Forks.) He had a family, six sons and four daughters, to wit: Bridget (not married); James (married to Nancy Thompkins); Charles (married to Miss Petipas); Mathew; Dennis (father of Rev. Frank and Rev. John); Margaret ( married to John Kiley); Catherine (married to Peter Thompkins); Mary (married to a MacLean); John (not married); and Reverend Moses.

Walter Fortune was a native of Wexford and came to Lake O'Law in 1831. He was married to Elizabeth Moran of Port Hood, and had Mary, Bridget, Catherine, Thomas, Walter, John, Patrick, Joseph, James and Peter.

Patrick Downey came to Lake O'Law from Mabou, and had the following family: James, Michael, Patrick, Thomas, Mary, Bridget, Elizabeth and Kitty Ann. This family moved to Codroy, Newfoundland, where their descendants still are.

James Miller came to Margaree from Nova Scotia in 1840, was married to Jane Marple, and had Richard, Joseph (father of Dr. Alex. Miller), Margaret (married to Archd. MacKinnon),and Sarah (married to Thomas Oakley.)

Miles McDaniel one of the first settlers N. E. Margaree was born in the County of Wexford Ireland in the year 1788 landed at St. John's Newfoundland 1807 married at Port Hood Island Sept. 17-1811 to Rebecca Smith only daughter Capt. David Smith she was born at "Cape Cod" Mass., U. S. A., 1787 came to Port Hood Island 1794 died at North East Margaree, Feb. 28th, 1864.

These Irish of the Margarees have proved themselves an exemplary body of men and citizens. They have certainly been a valued asset for the county of Inverness. Here they have always been the firmest friends of law, order, industry and sane ambition. Like nearly all our pioneer workers, they were forced to come into these virgin wilds with nothing but their willing hands and a strong faith, and have become a recognized force in the moral and material progress of the country.

Time was when these Irish at home, like their kinsmen, the Highland Scots, were the objects of scorn, persecution, misrule and murder at the hands of proud power. The helpless Celts were constrained to take their medicine lying down, and dumbly. Yes, that was long ago. Things have changed and are changing. As an answer to the cruel, mal-treatment of the Celts in their sireland, we need but to cite their lives, labors and virtues in the county of Inverness.. Today humanity shudders at "man's inhumanity to man." We knew it would come, we know it is coming,—the awful answer to Markham's query in respect of "The man with the hoe":—

''How will it be when this dumb terror, shall Reply to God, after the silence of the centuries?"


Mark Crowdis came from Yorkshire, England, and settled at Baddeck. He had four sons one of whom, John, came to N. E. Margaree about the year 1810 and was married to Sarah Hart, eldest daughter of Irad Hart, the first Hart settler in this District. The issue of that marriage consisted of the following family, namely: John G. who was married with issue to Mary Jane Sampson; Mark W., married to Mary Ross; Thomas R. married to Sarah Watson; Irad, who died in infancy; Armenia married to John Barton; Pantha married to Robert Burton; Ann married to Hugh Fraser; Sarah to John Ross; Eliza to Henry Cranton; Lydia to Andrew Watson; and Isabella to Henry Watson. The John G., of this family was doing mercantile business for many years at Margaree Harbor. He was a large man of fine intelligence. He was one of the old Justices of the Peace of Inverness County. After retiring from business he built and conducted, with dignity and satisfaction, the large Hotel at the Harbor.


Daniel Carmichael was born at Oban, Scotland, Oct. 17th, 1787. His wife was born Dec. 27th, 1797. He was the son of Duncan Car-michael and his wife Flora Nicholson. In 1810 he emigrated to America, presumably with other emigrants. In February they sighted Sydney, C. B., but could not land owing to drift ice. Their ship kept cruising and drifting along the Island coast until the following month of April, when they were able to land at Ingonish. They suffered terrible hardships and privations. For a long time they had neither food nor water. After landing they had extreme difficulty in reaching a house where they found food, drink and shelter. Out of the whole group only five survived the painful ordeal. Daniel Carmichael was one of these five. The five survivors worked their way to Baddeck, and Donald Carmichael took up a farm at Washabuck. He married Sarah Ross, daughter of David, of North East Margaree. They remained for some years at Washabuck where seven of their family were born, namely: Mary, Elizabeth, John, David, Duncan, Flora and Catherine. Then they removed to North East Margaree and secured a farm there on which five more children were born to them, to wit: Sarah, Margaret, Jacob, Melinda, and Annie.

Mary Carmichael was married to Edmund Ross and had nine children, named in the description of Edmund Ross.

Elizabeth Carmichael was married to John Ethridge, with issue: as stated elsewhere.

John Carmichael was married twice: 1st to Sarah Ethridge, by whom he had Elizabeth, Mary, Thomas, Hattie and Sarah. His second wife was Ann Ross by whom he had George, Margaret, Phoebe, Hattie, Eliza and Aaron.

David Carmichael was married to Peggy MacPherson with issue: Donald, Edward, Dr. Alex G. and Margaret.

Duncan Carmichael was married to Isabel Ingraham with issue: John, Wesley, Elizabeth and Daneil.

Flora Carmichael was married to Joseph Tingley and had Job, Melinda, Calvin, Sarah, Phoebe, Judson and George.

Catherine Carmichael was married to Donald MacDonald with issue: Jane (Mrs. Jas. Frizzle), Francis, Annie, Mary, Rev. Dr. John H., Havelock, George and Ella.

Sarah Carmichael was married to Kenneth MacLeod, and had Margaret, Eliza, Alfred and John.

Margaret Carmichael was married to James J. Ross, with issue: William, Jacob, Melinda, Hattie, Isaac, Sarah, Rachael and James.

Jacob Carmichael was married to Phoebe Rice by whom he had the following family, namely: Duncan, Thomas, George, Jacob, William, Edward, Minnie, Clara and Nellie.

Melinda Carmichael was married to Ambrose Smith of Port Hood Island.

Jane was not married.


Big Intervale is a magnificent section of the North East District. It is further inland than the most of the district and is somewhat hidden in ''a sea of mountains", one of which is the giant "Sugar Loaf." For that reason, in all probability, it was not settled as early as the area nearer to the ''Forks" and the sea. The natural scenery here now is a marvel of boldness and beauty combined.

The first man to settle at Big Intervale was Angus K. Ross of Kilmuir in the Isle of Skye, Scotland. He crossed the ocean in a ship called "The Crown of Dumbarton." He landed at Canso whence he proceeded to N. E. Margaree, and took up 200 acres of land at Big Intervale. He was married before he emigrated to Catherine Mac-Arthur of Kilmuir, by whom he had a family of four sons and four daughters. Three of these children were born in Scotland, the remaining five at Big Intervale. His son Murdoch A., born Sept. 22nd, 1832, and still living on the old homestead, was the first white child ushered into the world at Big Intervale.

Angus K. Ross prospered at the Big Intervale, so much so that he became known as "King Ross." All his sons and daughters were married and had families, but the most of the younger folk are scattered over many of the cities and towns of America.

The Indians were here in force, when King Ross came; so also, were the Moose and the Caribou . The Moose is now practically extinct and but few Caribou, are seen; but, strangely enough, their place in the forest is rapidly being taken by the Red Deer.


Kenneth MacKenzie (Maclain ic Rusridh) came from a place in Scotland called Apple Cross, Comrick, Rossshire, and settled at Middle River in the county of Victoria. He had four sons and five daughters.

The sons were John, Kenneth, Roderick Senior and Roderick Junior. Roderick Senior married Johanna MacLean of Druim a chorka, Poolewe, Gairloch, Scotland. Poolewe took its name from the fact that a certain much missed ewe was drowned in the pool. This Roderick, with his family of three boys and four girls, moved from Middle River to Big Intervale about the year 1832, and took up 200 acres of land there. He was the progenitor of the MacKenzies of the North East. His wife, Johanna MacLean, came from Scotland in a ship called "The Six Sisters" and landed at Bras D'or. She had the distinction of being, on her mother's side, a direct descendant of Rob Roy MacGregor.


John MacDonald from the Isle of Skye came to the North East of Margaree in 1828, and settled down on a large farm. He was married twice in Scotland, first to a Miss Gordon by whom he had one son John; and next to Catherine MacLeod of Skye by whom he had Lauchlin, Donald, Murdoch, Rev. Alexander, and Flora. All of these children were born in the Isle of Skye.

The son Lauchlin was a notably worthy and intelligent man. He was married to Margaret Matheson by whom he had the following family, namely: Jessie (Mrs. Wm. E. Hart); Flora (Mrs. Edward Irish); Catherine (Mrs. Joseph P. Burton); Donald;John A. (Barrister); Alexander; Margaret (Mrs. Charles MacPhee) Duncan H., Mary, Femmie (Mrs. Alexander MacLean); and Christina (married first to James G. Dunlop, and afterwards to Dr. MacDonald of St. Peters). The sons John A., and Duncan H., are men of special intelluctual gifts.

Donald was married to Catherine Carmichael and had Jane (Mrs. Jas. Frizzle); Francis, Mary Steel, Annie, Rev. Dr. John H., Havelock, George and Ellen.

Murdoch was married to Mary Ingraham with issue: Femmie (Mrs. Joseph F. Ross); Eliza, (Mrs. Joseph J. Ross) Mary Jane (Mrs. Jas. G. McDonald); William, Alfred, James, Lydia, Alma (Mrs. John MacDonald).

Rev. Alexander was married to Jennie Crawford and stationed for a while in Prince Edward Island. He removed thence to South Hampton, N. B., where he died.

Flora was never married.


In 1794 Thomas Ethridge came to Margaree from St. John's, Newfoundland, with skipper Robert Cranton. Later on he married the widow of skipper Cranton by whom he had the following family, namely: John and Thomas.

John Ethridge was married to Jennie Ross with issue: John, David William, Elizabeth, Sarah, Mary Ann, Catherine, Margaret and Rebecca.

The son Thomas was married to Elizabeth MacRae and had William, Donald, Thomas, Jane, Sarah, Euphemia, Bella, Elizabeth and Mary Ann. The family of this Thomas were married as follows: William to Ann Henderson; Donald to Ann Ross; Thomas to Harriet Ross, Jane to Duncan MacDonald; Sarah to John Carmichael; Euphemia to John Campbell; Bella to Alexander MacDonald; Elizabeth not married; Mary Ann married to Fred Cranton.

The Ethridge farms were fine properties, and were well developed and cared for. Not many farms in Cape Breton produced more beef cattle of a high grade than did the farm of our old quondam friend, Donald Ethridge, one of the earliest Municipal Councillors for the County of Inverness.


Irad Hart, the first Hart settler in Margaree was the son of Josiah Hart. His mother's name was Lydia Moss, and both his father and mother came from Hartford, Conn., U. S. A., to Manchester, N. S., where their first children were born. Irad Hart married Armenia Ingraham daughter of Hesekiah. She was born in the year 1778 and Irad Hart her husband on Jan. 2th 1771.

The following are the names of their children also whom they married, and the issues:


William Burton came to Margaree from St. John's, Newfoundland, with skipper Robert Cranton in 1794, and afterwards took up 200 acres of land on which he made his home. He was married to Nancy Cranton, with issue: William, Thomas; John, Samuel, George, Robert James, Sarah, Mary, Elizabeth and Joseph.

William of this family became a clergymen and was married three i times; 1st to Sophia Cutten with issue four sons, Captain Joe Burton, John Burton, David Burton and James Burton. There were also two daughters from this marriage whose names we do not know, but we do know that Rev. Mr. Stubbert married one, and Mr. Eustis the other. The Reverend William's second wife was Laleah Holmes by whom he had one other son, William. His third wife was a Mrs-Davis (a widow) by whom he had Edward, Floe and Sophia.

Thomas Burton, son of the elder William, and brother to the Rev. William, was married to Caroline Ingraham with issue: Richardson, James, William, Arthur, Martha, Jane, Annie, Laliah.

John Burton, son of Wm. senior, was married to Armenia Crowdis with issue: Sarah (Mrs. Norman McPherson), William, John, Armenia (Mrs. Murdoch Ross), Lydia (unmarried), Joseph P., Melinda (Mrs. Geo. P. Murray.)

Samuel Burton was married to Margaret Ross with issue: William,. Alexander, Joseph, Elizabeth (Mrs. Wm. Cranton), Annie (Mrs. Miles Timmons), and Sarah (Mrs. Sam Shaw).

George Burton married and moved with his family to Cape North where some of his descendants now reside.

Robert Burton married Pantha Crowdis with issue: David, William, Ephraim, John.

James Burton was a sea captain, and married to Dorothy Holmes,. with issue: John, James, Henrietta, Sophia and Jennie.

Sarah Burton was married to Joseph Ross with issue: Ann, Jane, Sarah, Henrietta, Mary, Rachael, Elizabeth, William J., Joseph J., James J.

Mary Burton was married to Donald Ross with issue: William, Donald, Silas, Ester, Sarah, Rachael, Mary and Matilda.

Elizabeth was married to Reverend James Stubbert. Their family is not known to us.

Joseph Burton was married to Maria Coady with issue: George,. Anthony, Patrick, James, Walter, Annie, Elizabeth, Matilda and Helen.


John Munro Esquire came from Inverness, Scotland, about the year 1835 and settled down at North East Margaree. He taught school for several years at the North East. He was the first teacher in the first school house erected here in 1835. Benjamin Etter and others taught here previously, but in the farmer's houses; they had no school house. Mr. Munro was a Coroner in and for this district. He was married and had the following family, namely: Mary Ann, Patrick, David, John C, George, James, Andrew and Minnie.

Mary Ann was married to Joseph Lewis with issue: Amelia, John, James, William, George, Alfred, Andrew, Hugh and Armenia.

Patrick was married first to Elizabeth Ethridge and had David, who married Flora Fraser, John P., who married Nina MacLean, and George. His second wife was Elizabeth Philips by whom he had one other son named George.

David was married to Eliza Ross with issue: Bertha (Mrs. Thompson), Gertie, Alcorn (who married Miss MacKenzie), James (married Miss MacKay), Addie (a trained nurse) and Stanley (killed in the Great war).

John C. was married to Matilda Ross with issue: Laura (Mrs. De Gruchy), Eva (Mrs. Chas. Herman), Ernest (married to Miss Cooper), Fred (married to Miss Austen)Arthur (married to Miss MacKay) and Olga (Mrs. Hillis). This John C. Munro, who does business at Margaree Harbor, has been one of the most successful merchants of Inverness County.

George Munro was married to Mary Ross with issue: Hanlan (married to Miss McKay), Lellia and Dr. Japtha.

James Munro was married to Melinda Ross with issue: Everett (in Boston), Mina (Mrs. MacLean of Truro).

Andrew Munro was married to Laura Hart with issue: Isabel, Hart, Maria, Kathleen, Janet, Alice, George, James, John, Mary Ann and Minnie.

Minnie Munro was married to Dr. Allen MacLean, a native of Whale Cove, who practised his profession and died at West Bay, with issue: two sons, Gordon and Munro.


John Phillips was an Englishman. He came from England to Newfoundland where he stayed for some time. In 1794 he came from Newfoundland to Margaree Harbor in a vessel owned by Captain Robert Cranton. A few years later he came to the North East where he permanently settled down. It may be worth telling that when John Phillips crossed from Newfoundland to Cape Breton, Sarah Cranton, daughter of Captain Robert Cranton, was in the same boat with him. Before then neither of them ever heard of the other. Shortly afterwards this same Sarah Cranton became the first wife of John Phillips. Man will find a way to meet his fate.

The family of John Phillips by Sarah Cranton were: John Jr., Henry, David, Stephen, Susan Ann, Ann and Sarah.

John Jr., was married to Lucy Rice with issue: John, Timothy, Robert, Stephen, Maria (Mrs. Barrett of Jersey), Sally (Mrs. Spencer), Catherine, Emilia and Ellen.

Henry was married to Ann Rice with issue: Catherine, Lydia (Mrs. Wm. Burton), Armenia (Mrs. John Ingraham), Ann (Mrs. Cross), William married to Sarah Woodburn, Thomas to Melinda Ingraham, James to Catherine Ethridge, Robert drowned.

David was married to Sarah Weybrant and had David, Armenia, Reuben, John T., Wm H., Lorine, Jacob, Delina, Joseph and Harriet.

Stephen Phillip, son of John Senior, was married to Ann Cranton, and had the following family: William, Cassie, John, Jemima, Kesiah, Sarah, Jeremiah and David.

Susan Ann was married to Wm. Ross (miller) and had the following family: Mary, Ann, Armenia, Capt. Ned, Margaret, Maria, William, John, Rupert, James, Lydia, Alfred and Sarah, All of the foregoing came by the first marriage of John Phillips to Sarah Cranton.

He was married a second time to Harriet Ingraham with issue: Ester, Samuel, Reuben, Benjamin, Charles and James. All of these were married and had large families, except James.

Ester was married to Thomas Shaw and had five sons and two daughters.

Samuel was married to Ellen Shaw with issue: four sons and three daughters.

Reuben was married to Ann Waybrant and had five sons and four daughters.

Benjamin was married to Mary Ann Wilson with five sons and four daughters.

Charles was married to Mary Ann Ethridge with issue: five sons and three daughters.

James was married to Emiline Wilson without issue.

Murdoch Ross, School Teacher; in Scotland with his wife, Isabella MacDonald came from the Parish of "Kilmuir" Isle of Skye in the year 1828, and took up 200 acres land at what is now known "The Sugar Loaf". His family was born in "Skye", five sons and two daughters. Hugh and Malcolm did not stay long, they were both Baptist Ministers, but the former left the ministry after a time. He married Catherine Beaton and Malcolm married Elizabeth Ellis and died in P. E. Island. Hugh died at N. E. Margaree. The descendants of Donald Murdoch and John Murdoch are still in the Valley but those of Catherine who married Murdoch MacLean of Skye, are not living here. The other sister Christy married John McLeod "Soldier" and the family have all gone away.

Malcolm McLean of Isle Skye and wife Flora McArthur came to N. E. Margaree 1830. Mrs. McLean died here aged 110. They had one son Murdoch McLean who married Catherine Ross daughter Murdoch and Isabella Ross. She was killed by a runaway horse Aug. 15th, 1873. They had three sons, John, Nehemiah, Allen, and seven daughters, Ann, Mary, Catherine, Femmie, Isabella, Ellen and Jessie. all left this district.

Malcolm McLeod ''Soldier" and wife Sally Anderson from Paisley Scotland came here about 1830. They had three sons Allen, John and Malcolm (Red), and two daughters Christy (Mrs. Michael Cameron) and Catherine.

This Malcolm MacLeod (Red) has long been known in the County of Inverness as a man and citizen of first rank. His splendid Highland home at Big Intervale will always be remembered for its comfort, kindness and hospitality. We regret that we have been unable to secure a detailed history of both himself and his interesting family. But Red Malcolm does not need to be embalmed in history. His name is carved forever on the grateful hearts of his very numerous friends, guests and callers.

The first Ingraham settler of N. E. Margaree was Hezekiah In-graham, son of Timothy Ingraham of Hartford, Conn., U. S. A. This Timothy did not come to Nova Scotia. Hezekiah had four sons and eight daughters as follows:


Robert Cranton, a native of England, came in his own vessel to Margaree Harbor about the year 1794. He appears to have been trading for some years between Margaree Harbor and Newfoundland and adjacent Islands before he located at the North East. In fact, after taking up 200 acres of land at the North East he again went trading, leaving Thomas Ethridge in charge of the farm. He was lost at sea. His wife had one child shortly after he was drowned, and the child was called after his father—Robert. Three daughters came to Margaree with Robert Cranton Senior, and one remained in St. John's and was married there.

Robert Cranton Jr., was married in due time to Catherine Rice with issue: Mary, William, Ann, Robert, John, David, Frederick, Henry, Thomas and Sarah. This Robert J., was married a second time to Christy MacLean without issue.

Mary, daughter of Robert Jr., by his first marriage was married to Jeston Timmons, with issue: Patrick, Robert, John, Ann and Sarah (Mrs. Jas. Phillips).

William was married to Sarah Phillips and William and Euriah.

Ann was married to Stephen Phillips and the names of her family follow: Wm. (who married Mrs. Ann Ethridge), Cassie (Mrs. Robt. Phillips), John, Jemima (Mrs. Malcolm Dermid), Kesiah (Mrs. John McDermid) Sarah (Mrs. Patrick Burton), Jeremiah (married to Isabel MacLean), David (married to Bell Cranton).

Robert Cranton, son of Robt. Jr., was married to Jane Ross and had, Walter, Arnold and Rose.

John Cranton was married to Ellen McColl and had John, Herbert, Alice (Mrs. Edward Watson), Guilford, Emily (Mrs. Henry Ross) and Maude.

David Cranton was married to Christie Morrison with issue: Calvin, Warren, Irad, Gordon, Betsy (Mrs. Fraser), Alexander and John.

Fred Cranton was married to Mary Ann Ethridge and had: John A., Sarah, Isabel (Mrs. David Phillips), Daniel and Elva.

Henry was married to Eliza Crowdis with issue: Walter, Wilson, George, Catherine (Mrs. Alfred Hart), Rose, Eva and Agnes.

Thos. Cranton married Elizabeth Ross and had: Margaret (Mrs. Ed. Cranton), Wallace and Kate.

Sarah Cranton was married to John T. Phillips with issue: Emelia, Noah, Catherine (Mrs. Walter Cranton), Merriam (Mrs. Ed. Ross), Isadore (Mrs. James Ross), John and William.

On the surface it would seem that others had come into the settlement of North East Margaree before James Ross and his brothers located there. The explanation given to us is this: John Phillips, Robert Cranton, and others, came to Margaree in a vessel in 1794, or thereabouts. They landed at Margaree Harbor around which they remained till James Ross and his brothers had discovered and occupied the great valley of the North East. That is our information. and the consensus of opinion in the district. There may be a possibility that James Ross and his brothers came earlier than 1800. The fact that James' wife was at the siege of Louisburg in 1785, where her second husband was killed, would tend to support this hypothesis. There are no authentic records available to prove those dates. We could only take the information given by the families immediately concerned, and they are all intelligent and respectable.

Return to Book Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus