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 XXXVI - East Lake Ainslie

This is an interesting division of Inverness County. It comprises all the territory along the water front from Scotsville to Head Lake, and projects into the hinterland so as to take in the settlements of Mount Pleasant, Keppoch and Piper's Glen. The land rises very gently from the lake inward for half a mile, and then lifts abruptly into towering hills and mountains. The front farms are well cleared and cultivated, and the natural scenery is very pretty. To the early immigrants this handsome lake, hidden in the wilderness, was always a happy relief. It was a glorious break in the spell of the forest. We imagine we hear some of the old settlers, after a hard day's toil, singing in soliloquy as follows:

"How sweet at set of sun, to view
Thy golden mirror spreading wide,
And see the mist of mantling blue
Float round the distant mountain's side."

Trout Brook, about five miles south of Scotsville, is a well-known resort of anglers. This brook finds its source in excellent springs at the foot of the mountains, and when the trout come up from the sea to the lake they are attracted at once by the cool waters and green shades of this rippling stream. Hosts of dyspeptic desk workers, from far and near, come here for a cure in vacation time. In a week or two the virtue of the treatment can be seen in the happy faces, the lilting songs, and the glad Gaelic of these convalescent knights of the rod and reel.

The residents of this district are, we think without exception, lineal descendants of the generic Highland Scots. The settlers fronting on the Lake are all Presbyterians, having their own resident minister, and their own church and manse. The people living in the rear sections are chiefly Catholics belonging to the parish of South West Margaree. We doubt that there is a rural section in Nova Scotia, of the size of East Lake, that turned out more Presbyterian Ministers than did this district in the last century. We know one family here who has five sons in the Presbyterian Ministry, two in the medical profession, and one, a live, progressive farmer on the homestead. The regular pursuits of these good people would appear to be farming and theology.

Turning to the political arena, we find that this district gave a senator to the Parliament of Canada, and a Lieutenant Governor to the Province of British Columbia in the person of the late Hon. Thomas Mclnnis. This deceased gentleman was not, in any sense, sup-ior to his East Lake neighbours and contemporaries, but he hearkened to the voice that said "Go West, young man, and grow with the country." We are pleased and proud to think that the late Senator Mclnnis did grow with the new West. Before going West he had graduated in medicine, and was a man of talent. Even assuming that high social positions and material gains were the real motives for his achievements, he still deserves credit. He was a penniless man in a wild country; he Had to fight his way through; he had aim and determination; and worked with tact, courage, hope and success. At the same time, we are glad to know that not many of his East Lake friends and neighbours could be tempted to "go and do likewise".

We have need of all our strong and straight men at home. We admire the large ambitious West, with its rich rolling prairies, its boundless and unknown spaces, its myriads of divers tongues, its adventurous toilers and potential wealth; but we love the humble East, with its old ideals and traditions, its generous seas, its dowry of many natural resources, its noble races true and tried, its ancient faith and its God. "We do not live by bread alone."

The main road of this district runs close to the water; and follows the windings thereof from the Outlet to Head Lake, thence around Head Lake till it strikes the boundary of the North Whycocomagh District. In the main, it is a good, hard, level road. In the leafy month of June it is not easy to find a prettier drive than that from the waters of Whycocomagh around Head Lake, and down the East side to Scotsville. The scenic eyeful is diversified and grand. When winter comes, all the roads in this region lead to the Lake ice, the chosen track of Jehu.

The pioneer immigrants to East Lake began to file in about the year 1823. In 1830- the first Presbyterian church was built there. The present is the third church edifice built upon the same site. It is a neat, clean structure, erected on a pretty elevation, commanding a splendid view of the Lake and its surroundings.

The first Presbyterian minister to serve here was Rev. Alexander Farquharson, a man of great zeal and devotion. Since then the following native born of the district have been raised to the dignity of Presbyterian Ministers, namely: Reverends Lauchlin McMillan (son of Neil); Hugh McMillan (son of Angus); Donald McMillan (son of Duncan); Duncan McKinnon; Neil McMillan (son of Donald Turner); Duncan McMillan, John McMillan, A. D. McKinnon, Hector McKinnon, Archibald McKinnon, John Y. McKinnon, Murdoch McKinnon; James Allan McKay, Alexander McKay, Donald McKay, Neil McKay (Hector's son); Lauchlin McLean, Lauchlin McKay, and Charles McLean (Chas.' son). There were also two sons of Laughlin McKinnon who became clergymen; but we do not know their Christian names.

The medical gentlemen produced by this district were: Lauchlin McInnis, Thomas McInnis, Donald McKinnon, Hugh McKinnon, Hugh N. MacDonald and M. H. MacKay. The first two named were brothers: sons of John McInnis, an old settler, their mother being a sister of old William Hamilton of East Lake. Both brothers shortly after their graduation removed to the then far coast of British Columbia. Lauchlin died out there in the course of an extensive medical practice. Thomas gave up his professional practice and entered into politics. He became successively, a member of the House of Commons at Ottawa, a member of the Senate of Canada, and a Governor of British Columbia. He also, has passed off the stage.

The lawyers who emanated from this favored community were: D. D. McKenzie, M. P., D. H. MacKinnon, John D. MacKay, Malcolm MacKay, and John A. MacMillan. They were five. All but one are still living and doing well, and shall, we have no doubt, become in other hands, the subjects of interesting history in the years that are to come.

One, alone has been called to his last accounting, in the very strength of his manhood. This was our old friend, Dan H. MacKinnon, son of Neil John Ban. We knew him well as an active, able and agreeable young man. He entered upon the study of law with J. L. MacDougall in Mabou, and finished his course with the late Samuel MacDonnell of Port Hood. After his admission to the Bar, he was married to Christina, daughter of the late Murdoch McPherson of Mabou, and commenced to practice his profession in Guysborough. While in Guysborough he was elected by that County to serve, and did serve, in the House of Assembly for a full parliamentary term. Subsequently, he removed to the City of Edmonton, Alberta, where he resumed his professional practice, and died about a year ago. Poor Dan H, he was a man of many qualities; but under all circumstances, in sunshine and in storm, blow high or low, he had one outstanding mark to commend him, and that was his beautiful penmanship.


In the summer of 1822 six MacMillan brothers came together from the Isle of Muck, Scotland, to America. They sailed from the port of "Tobermorry" in the ship "Commerce" and landed at "Plaster Cove" now Port Hastings. Before reaching East Lake they spent some time with the Macdougalls of Judique Intervale who were relatives of theirs. The first-born of one of the six brothers was a child in arms coming here, and while in Judique, this child was baptized by the Parish Priest there, Reverend Alexander MacDonnell, the first Scottish clergyman of any denomination that ever lived in the County of Inverness. It will interest some of our readers to know that this child Jessie MacMillan afterwards became the mother of D. D. MacKenzie, Esq., M. P. of North Sydney.

The names of those six brothers were: Malcolm, Duncan, Neil, Donald, Angus and Donald (the Turner). They settled down at East Lake in the autumn of 1822. They had one sister, Catherine, who was married to Neil McKinnon of Mount Young and had a large family. Her sons were: Neil (the tailor of Indian Rear); Alexander, Hugh, Allan, Lauchlin and Donald; and her two daughters were married, Annie to Donald McLean, blacksmith, of Whycocomagh and Catherine to Alexander Walker of Hay River.

Malcolm MacMillan was married to Mary McLean, an aunt of the late Captain Hector McLean of Whycocomagh, with issue: Misey, Charles, Mary, Catherine, Jane, Ann, Flora and Donald. This Donald was our old and widely known friend Big Donald, who died last year, at the age of 93.

The brother Donald MacMillan was married to Flora Johnston, with issue: Jessie, Lauchlin, Catherine, Misey, Flora, and Donald. Misey is still living in good health at 93.

The brother Duncan was married to Julia Campbell, an aunt of the Outlet Campbells, with issue: Christy, John, Hugh, Lauchlin, Catherine, Rev. Donald, John Jr., Edward and Margaret.

We remember this Reverend Donald MacMillan mentioned above. After his retirement from regular service he was filling a temporary vacancy at Inverness. He was then an elderly gentleman of strikingly fine and dignified appearance. We had never seen him before; and he impressed us profoundly. Large in soul and body, prudent, thoughtful, quiet, kind and reasonable, we should not think it irreverent to describe him as one of God's own selected messengers.

Donald MacMillan, Turner and Miller, was married to Mary Campbell of their old Island home in Scotland, with issue: Duncan, Neil, Lauchlin, Allan, Malcolm and Archy. No daughters.

Angus MacMillan, was married to Annie McDonald, an aunt of Dr. Hugh A. MacDonald, with issue: Lauchlin, Rev. Hugh, Alexander, Neil, Peter, Archy, Allan, Catherine, Ann, Mary, Betsy, and Isabel.

The Rev. Hugh mentioned here was long stationed at Elmsdale, Nova Scotia, and was for years an official of the Provincial Government. The Neil of this family was the well remembered Municipal Councillor for East Lake.

Neil MacMillan (the immigrant) was married to Catherine McLean of East Lake, with issue: John, Lauchlin, Angus, Ann and Margaret, or we should say that she was a sister of Alex McLean of Upper East Lake, for they were married in Scotland: all the six brothers were except Angus.


Hugh Campbell was a native of the Isle of Muck, Argyleshire, Scotland, He came to America, landing at Pictou, N. S. in 1820. In 1821 he crossed in a sail boat from Pictou to Judique in the County of Inverness, and thence along the shore to Broad Cove. From Broad Cove he proceeded to East Lake Ainslie where he selected a farm for his future home, half a mile above the Outlet. Within a few feet of a fine stream of water which gushes from the base of a nearby mountain this lonely pioneer erected his first rude cabin.

In 1822 Mr. Campbell was married in Pictou to Jean Hamilton a lowland young woman from Saltcoats. Their union was blessed with a family of eleven children, namely: Thomas, Edward, Peter, John, Angus, William Young, Margaret, Julia, Janet, Catherine and' Mary.

Thomas was married to Jessie MacDonald, daughter of Hugh MacDonald of East Lake, and had a family of four sons and two daughters, namely: Hugh, Malcolm, Thomas, Peter John, Jean and Jessie Ann.

Edward was married to Ann MacQuarrie, daughter of William MacQuarrie, blacksmith, of Broad Cove Intervale, with issue: Hugh, Allan, Thomas, William, Roderick, John, Edward and Annie.

Peter was married to Mary Ann McLean, daughter of Donald McLean (Donhnul MacLachinn) of North Lake, and had a family of two sons and seven daughters, viz: William Young, Lauchlin, Margaret, Annie, Jessie, Donena, Mary Jane, Johanna and Jessie Ann. The son William Young, who was called after Sir William Young was accidently killed at his father's mill at the age of twenty-one.

John was married to Hannah MacDonald, daughter of Charles MacDonald (weaver) with issue: Mary and Charles John.

Angus was married to Lydia Ingraham of North East Margaree and had the following children, namely: Thomas, Hugh, Grant, Mary Elizabeth and Johninia.

Margaret, daughter of Hugh Campbell, married John MacLean (Iain Mac Allein Mhor) of Scotsville, and had, Jean, Allan, Hugh, Tom, John Edward, May, Julia, Catherine and Jessie.

Julia married Neil MacKinnon, a son of the first man to settle at Whycocomagh, and the man who took up all the land on which now stands the village of Whycocomagh, and had the following family: Peter, John, Allan, Thomas, John James, Donena and Mary Ann.

Janet married William Dunbar, with issue: John James, Thomas, Hugh, Jessie, Johanna, Christina, Margaret, Mary, Huena, Julia, Eu-phemia, Hannah and Annie Mary.

Catherine was married twice, first to Donald McLean of North Ainslie, with issue, one child, Jessie Ann. After her first husband's death she got married again to Hugh MacDonald, millwright, and had seven sons and one daughter, namely: Donald, Neil, Thomas, Hugh, William, Young, Lewis, John Archie and Margaret.

Mary married Donald MacQuarrie (Wm's son) of Strathlorne, with issue: William, Murdoch, Thomas, Charles, John, Johanna, Catherine and Flora.

Hugh Campbell owned the first gristmill at Lake Ainslie. For the building thereof, he secured the services of William Dunbar, a native of Pictou, who was a millwright. (See Strathlorne). After a few years Mr. Campbell also erected a carding mill and a saw mill; but did not neglect the cultivation of his fine farm, now held by a grandson.

Mr. Campbell was a recognized leader in his district and Congregation. As co-contractor with John MacDougall he built the first Presbyterian church at East Lake, and served as an elder there for fifty years. In his capacity as Justice of the Peace he did much useful work in the early times. For the administration of Justice he invoked the laws of the church and state, the tenets of "the Auld Kirk" usually clinching the judicial decision. He was a great giver to the poor and needy, and his good wife will be long remembered for her tender practical kindness, and her fine charitable instincts.


John MacDougall was a native of the Isle of Mull, Scotland. He came out to Prince Edward Island in 1820, and to East Lake Ainslie in 1822. By trade he was a cabinet maker. He was married in the old country to Catherine MacLean, also a native of Mull. Their family consisted of three daughters and two sons, namely: Lauchlin, John, Mary, Euphemia and Catherine.

Lauchlin, who was two years old coming from Scotland and received his preliminary education at East Lake, entered into mercantile business at Whycocomagh which he carried on successfully the most of his life. He was married to Jean Cameron and had a family of sixteen children, some of whom died in early youth. Those who came to maturity were: Isabel, John, Mary, Alexander, William, Kate, Hugh Charles, Euphemia, Maggie, Archie, Jean and Lauchy.

John was married to Margaret MacLean (daughter of Iain Ban) of Strathlorne, with issue: Euphemia, Maggie, Mary, Kate, Mary Jane, Rosa, John, Murdoch, Gordon and Dan John.

This John remained on the farm at East Lake all his life, and died a few years ago at a very advanced age. His kind and respectable widow is still living.


This family came to East Lake from River John in the County Pictou and consisted of three members, William, Jean and Mary. Jean was, as we have seen, married to Hugh Campbell above described. Mary was married to John McInnis, tailor, and was the mother of the late Senator McInnis and the late Lauchlin McInnis, M.D. of New Westminster, B.C. William settled down on a pretty farm at East Lake and married Kate, sister of Hugh Campbell.

Mr. Hamilton was a lowland Scotsman, who seemed to know the mysteries of successful farming. His stone residence was an eye-opener to his generation at East Lake, whilst his neat, skilful and enduring stone fences are subjects of commendatary remark to this day. His labours at the Lake, even at this distance of time, give evidence of care, skill, taste, neatness and intelligent industry. It is a pity he and his household all have left.


Three MacKinnon brothers, Allan Ban, Donald and Archibald, came from the Isle of Muck, Scotland, and landed in Pictou in the year 1820. The same year Allan Ban came to Cape Breton and settled at East Lake Ainslie. Shortly afterwards the other two brothers, Donald and Archibald, followed Allan Ban to East Lake Ainslie, each marking out a home for himself.

Allan Ban was married in Scotland to Mary MacLean a native of the Isle of Coll. He died at East Lake in 1855, she in 1879. Both are buried in the MacKinnon cemetery, so called, situated on the farm of Farquhar MacKinnon (Big). Their son Charles, a yeoman not unknown in the County of Inverness, was the first white child born at East Lake. They had a family of nine children, three sons and six daughters, namely: Charles, Neil, Lachlan, Margaret, Christie, Mary, Flora, Breadalbane and Annie.

Charles and Lauchlin moved to Hamilton, Norfolk County, Ontario, where each of them got married.

Neil remained on the homestead and was married to Christy MacLean of Malagawatch, and had the following family; namely, Allan, Hector, Archy D., Mary, Christy, Maggie F., Katie and Annie.

Donald McKinnon (Allan Ban's brother) was married in 1821 to Christie MacKinnon of Sunny Brae, Pictou County, with issue: Neil, John, Farquhar, Julia, Annie-Bell, Christie and Annie. The father of this family died in 1842, the mother in 1887.

The son John was married to Margaret Finlayson of Middle River, and moved to Murray Harbour, P.E.I. He had a family of nine children. The sons Neil and Farquhar remained on the old homestead. Neil was married to Mary McKinnon of Loch Lomond and had seven of a family, namely: Donald, Farquhar, John D., Hugh, Fred, Hector Neil, Christie and Christie-Ann.

Farquhar MacKinnon (Big) was married to Marcella MacKinnon of Loch Lomond and had Donald, Archibald, Fred W., Annie, Christie, Bell, Mary and Jane.

Archibald (brother of Allan Ban) took up a farm about a mile from Allan Ban's farm, but lived in single blessedness till he reached the age of eighty-eight years. This Archibald appears to have been a very eccentric genius. Some years before his death he erected a headstone for himself bearing the Latin inscription "Audaces fortuna juvat." During his last illness he made a Will, one clause of which required that five gallons of rum be secured and served to the mourners at his funeral. When his clergyman heard of this Will he expostulated with Archy saying, "If you retain that clause in your Will, you will not get a man at East Lake to bury you." "Oh, Mr. G." said Archy, "if they'll have five gallons of rum at my funeral there will be plenty Big McLeans from Broad Cove Intervale to bury me fifteen feet deep." The testamentary instructions were left to their operation. These were the olden times. In those distant days the people of this country were obliged to carry their dead on their shoulders, often in rough weather, through deep snow and bad roads, for miles and miles to the church or graveyard. It was a trying ordeal. Assuming that such "refreshments" as Archy MacKinnon "willed" so generously are, or ever were, useful to mankind, they would have been helpful at some of these old-time funerals; but oh! they were so liable to be abused. To resort to them at all were simply playing with fire.


This sturdy old Scotsman came from Tiree, Argyleshire, Scotland, to America in 1820. He landed at the Strait of Canso where he spent, among some friends, the first year of his Cape Breton life. The following year he proceeded further North and was attracted by the beautiful banks of East Lake Ainslie, where he permanently settled down in 1821. He staked out for himself two hundred acres of land in one of the most commanding positions on the East Lake side.

Mr. MacDonald was married in Scotland to Ann Campbell, daughter of Captain Dougald Campbell (Big) of the Argyle Highlanders. They had a family of five sons and six daughters, namely: John, Ronald, Archie, Malcolm, Neil, Mary, Ann, Betsy, Flora, Isabel and Jessie. This family was notable in its time in this County. Every member thereof was large in heart and stature, and showed prominently some of the finest qualities of the race. The son John was married to a Miss McKinnon; Ronald to Sarah MacDonald; Archie to Ann MacLean; Malcolm never married; Neil was married to Breadalbane McKinnon, and was the father of Dr. Hugh N. MacDonald of Whycocomagh. The daughter Mary was married to William Ingraham, Ann to Angus MacMillan, Betsy to Duncan MacMillan, Flora to Lauchlin McMillan, Isabel to Lauchlin MacLean, and Jessie to Thomas Campbell.


These MacKinnons came from the Isle of Muck, Scotland. On their arrival in America they landed in Pictou, N. S., where they tarried among friends for a few years.

In 1823 Donald McKinnon (Farquhar) and his son John Ban came from Pictou County to East Lake. The former was a pensioner of the Imperial Government and was granted two hundred acres of land by the shores of East Lake. His cash pension, payable at stated times, was quite considerable, and he walked from here to Halifax several times to receive it.

His son, John, Ban, took up for himself two hundred acres of land adjacent to his father's lot at East Lake. John Ban was married coming here to Ann MacKinnon sister of Allan Ban MacKinnon heretofore referred to. His family were the following: Lauchlin, Neil, Donald, Archibald, Christy, Mary, Flora and Sarah.

Lauchlin was married to Effie McLeod of Little Crossing, Whycocomagh, with issue: Neil, Flora, Annie, Katie and Sarah. This family lived on a rear farm.

Neil lived on a front lot, and was married to Mary MacLean, sister of Lauchlin's wife, with issue: Archibald, John, Dan H., Lauchlin, Flora, Annie, Mary and Maggie. The only surviving members of this family now are: Archibald, Lauchlin, Mary and Maggie. Archibald is on the old homestead, and Lauchlin has been for forty years running a hotel in Juneau, Alaska.

Donald was married to Eunice MacQuarrie, with issue: Dan, Annie and Sarah.

Christy, daughter of John Ban, died unmarried. Mary was married to Malcolm McAulay with issue: Malcolm, John Dan, Murdoch, Norman, Katie, Annie, Christy and Sarah.

Flora was married to John MacKay (Patrick) of Scotsville, with issue: Norman, Duncan, John, Dan, Peter, Lauchlin and Christie.

The older men of these MacKinnons were Catholics in Scotland, and left the church on account of some severe act of discipline to which one of them was subjected by his parish priest. They were closely related to the late Bishop MacKinnon, who called to see them several times in the course of his confirmation tours through Inverness County. Some of them were wonderfully well posted in Scottish history, and eminently fair in their interpretation of it.


Mr. Alexander MacDonald, who appears to have been a weaver in Scotland came to East Lake about the year 1823 with a family consisting of the following sons and daughters, namely: Charles, Donald, Flora, Catherine, Jessie, Flora-Ann, Ann and Mary.

The son Charles carried on a mercantile business at his home at East Lake during the greater part of his adult life. He was an honest, respectable man who always stood well with the people. He was married twice. His first wife was Mary MacKenzie of Boulardarie, who died without issue. His second wife was Hanna MacKay by whom he had Dan, Jessie and Charlotte.

Donald (son of the Weaver) spent the greater part of his young manhood clerking with the Hon. Wm. MacKeen at Mabou Harbour. In his younger and older years Donald was a man of attractive and stately appearance. During a general drilling campaign in the middle sixties he was appointed Colonel of the militia, and seemed to the billet born. He was married to a daughter of Hon. Wm. MacKeen's with issue: William, Charles, Alice and Maggie. When Hon. Mr. Mc-Keen moved from Mabou Mouth to Clayton Farm, Donald MacDonald entered into business for himself at Mabou Harbour, where he did a very considerable business for many years, and became the owner of a large farm in which he took a great deal of pride and interest.

Flora (daughter of the Weaver) was married to Donald MacKay, Plasterer, with issue: Charles, Alexander, Allan, John, Dan and James.

Jessie married Edward MacMillan with issue: Duncan, Dan, Dr. Charles E., Hugh, John Geddie, Tom, Jane and Flora. Mr. Edward MacMillan was for many years a prosperous merchant at Whycocomagh, and as fine a specimen of an able Highlander as could be found in his time.

Another daughter whose given name we cannot recall was married to John McKay of Head Lake with issue: James, Alexander, and John.

Ann was married to John McLean of East Lake, with issue: John, Mary, Sarah, Christy, Christina and Mary Ann.

Mary was married to Charles McLean (Allan's son) with issue: Allan, Donald, Charles, Mary, Bella, Euphemia, Flora, Flora Ann and Lexie.


This Donald MacLean, with his wife and family came from Scotland to East Lake Ainslie in 1833, sailing from Tobermory in the ship "Amity" of Glasgow. According to the best evidence we could get, he was a native of Balisher, North Uist, Invernessshire. There is a memorial card still extant which says that his oldest son, Angus, was born at that place in 1808 and emigrated with his parents to Cape Breton in 1833. Mr. Donald McLean (Bane) was married to Annie Mac Donald, with issue: Angus, Rev. Aeneas, Donald, Norman, Mary and Catherine. He took up and granted five hundred acres of land at Trout Brook, which he divided among his three sons Angus, Donald and Norman.

The son Angus was married to Harriet MacDonald of Cape Breton County with issue: one son and six daughters.

The son Reverend Aeneas, who was for many years a Presbyterian Minister at Arm Prior, Ontario, was married to Katie MacLean, daughter of John Ban MacLean of Broad Cove Intervale, now Strathlorne. They had a family, but neither parents nor family came back into the County of Inverness.

The son Donald was married to Sarah MacDonald of Whycocomagh, a sister of the late Hon. James MacDonald of West Bay. They had four sons and one daughter, all of whom are now deceased except the Hon. Daniel McLean, M.L.C. of Orangedale.

The son Norman was married to Ann McKay of South Lake, and had six sons and three daughters, Norman's son, Donald H. is the well-known proprietor of the Hotel at Trout Brook.

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