A history of the county of Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada

By those for whom this work is intended, no apology for the undertaking will be deemed necessary. As to the manner in which it has been accomplished, however, the author deems some explanations due to himself and his readers. First, he feels it but right to mention the difficulties in the way of obtaining correct information, particularly regarding the early settlement of the county. With the exception of copies of grants and similar papers, preserved in the public records, there is scarcely a document of that period in existence, and these servo very imperfectly to give us an insight into the life of the early settlers. "We are thus indebted for all our knowledge of that era, almost entirely to unwritten sources, and the difficulty of obtaining exact information in this way, can only be understood by those, who have made an attempt of the same kind.

The author must, however, here acknowledge valuable aid from a writer, whoso name is unknown to him, who under the signature of "Philo-antiquarius," published in the first volume of the Colonial Patriot, a series of letters on the early history of Pictou. These letters lie has quoted fully, but they do not enter largely into details, and when they do, they are not always accurate.

It is but due to himself to say, that he has spared no effort to gain information. He has ransacked the County and Provincial records, and teased officials with his enquiries; he has plodded his weary way through newspaper files, and, works of Colonial history; ho has interrogated Micmacs, and, as the Scotch would say, "expiscated" every old man and woman ho has met with in the county for years; he has also conducted a largo correspondence, and visited various sections of the country in search of facts. To arrive at the exact truth, ho has labored as conscientiously, as if he were writing the history of Europe; and though he can scarcely hope, that his work will be found free from all errors, yet he believes that these will not be material.

Farther, as to the execution of the work, he desires to say that the plan adopted has been, to present as full an account of the early settlers of the county and tho pioneers in each section of it, with as vivid a picture of their toils, as in his power, even to the exclusion of information that might be desired, regarding more recent events. This course has been followed, partly on the general ground, that these things being longer past, are now more properly the subjects of history, partly because he considers that portion of our annals as most worthy of notice, but especially, because the information regarding it, depends on oral tradition, which in another generation would be lost altogether.

In this course he has also had a special object in view. Of those who have hitherto professed to write the History of Nova Scotia, none have yet attempted fully to delineate tho period of British colonization; and yet the author regards this as the most important era in the past of the Province. He has, therefore, attempted to depict tho life of tho early settlers in Pictou, to give, as far as he can, the very form and pressure of the age; and as what occurred in one county, was, in a largo measure, a repetition of what took place in another, he hopes that his work will thus serve, as a contribution to the illustration of that era in our colonial history.

It is too well known that the history of the county has been disfigured by painful controversies. These could scarcely be ignored in a history like this, but tho treatment of them, it will be readily seen, must be a work of difficulty and exceeding delicacy. The course which he has adopted, has been to pass over all contentious of a personal character, but where there seemed questions of importance at issue, to point them out clearly and candidly. And though he could not help, to some extent, viewing these from his own standpoint, yet it has been his aim to look at them from all sides, to endeavour to arrive at the exact truth regarding them, and to judge charitably, where his convictions would lead him to condemn.

 

Table of Contents

CHAPTER I.
INTRODUCTORY 9

CHAPTER II.
PICTOU IN THE PREHISTORIC PERIOD 24

CHAPTER III.
THE FRENCH IN PICTOU 37

CHAPTER IV.
FIRST ENGLISH SETTLEMENT OF PICTOU 1767-1773 46

CHAPTER V.
ARRIVAL OF HECTOR AND SETTLEMENT OF HER PASSENGERS 1773-1776 79

CHAPTER VI.
PICTOU DURING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR 1776-1780 98

CHAPTER VII.
FROM THE CLOSE OF TUB WAR TILL THE ARRIVAL OF DR. M'GREGOR 1783-1786 114

CHAPTER VIII.
DR. M'GREGOR'S EARLY LABOURS 1786-1789 136

CHAPTER IX.
FROM TUB COMMENCEMENT OF TUB TOWN TILL THE FRENCH WAR 17891703 151

CHAPTER X.
FROM THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE FRENCH WAR TUL THE WALLACE ELECTION 1793-1799 168

CHAPTER XI.
COUNTY AND COORT BUSINESS 190

CHAPTER XII.
IMMIGRATION AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CENTURY 222

CHAPTER XIII.
FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE CENTURY TILL THE PEACE 1800-1815 244

CHAPTER XIV.
IMMIGRATION AND NEW SETTLEMENTS AT THE CLOSE OF THE WAR 275

CHAPTER XV.
FROM THE PEACE TILL THE FINANCIAL CRISIS OF 1825-6 1815-1826 292

CHAPTER XVI.
DR. M'CULLOCH AND THE PICTOU ACADEMY 321

CHAPTER XVII.
FROM THE FINANCIAL CRISIS OK 1825-6 TO THE DIVISION OF THE COUNTY 1826-36 363

CHAPTER XVIII.
MINES AND MINING INDUSTRIES OP THE COUNTY 398

CHAPTER XIX.
FROM THE DIVISION OF THE COUNTY TO THE PRESENT TIME 1330-1876 428

Appendix 449

 

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It is divided into three townships, Pictou, Egerton and Maxwelton. The first of these embraces the western part of the county, from the Colchester County line to the harbour of Pictou. It is separated from the Township of Egerton, by a line commencing at Boat Harbour and running thence south 54 degrees west, till it reaches East River, at what is called the Big Gut, and by another line commencing at Doctor's Island, at the point between the Middle and West Rivers, and thence south 30 degrees west 19 miles, to the Colchester County line. The Township of Egerton embraces all the central portions of tho county, and is bounded on the west by the Township of Pictou, as just mentioned, and on the east is separated from tho Township of Maxwelton, by a line commencing at the bridge at Sutherlands River, and thence running south to the Guysborough County line. The Township of Maxwelton includes the remaining part of the county.