December 6th, 1906

Berwick Register, December 6th, 1906

Fifty Years Ago.

(The following is from a report of the Western Counties of Nova Scotia, made in 1855, by the late Rev. John Sprott, of Musquodoboit.)

There are twenty religious buildings between Bridgetown and Annapolis. This shows that the people are not without devotional feelings, for unbelievers never build churches. The national clergy are attached to the aristocracy of the country, and this constitutes their strength. Those who are less wealthy have rushed to an opposite extreme, and seek instruction from teachers of their own choosing. The first settlers after the French were Presbyterians, or, rather, Congregationalists, from New England, who brought their good pastors with them. I have found the ruins of their churches, tradition of their history, and memorials of their piety at Chester, Liverpool, Shelburne, Barrington, Yarmouth, Digby, and Bridgetown. The ministers appear to have been gentlemen and Christians, but the country was too poor to sustain them. They died or left the colony, and their bearers were scattered. Many of them gradually fell into the ranks of other bodies. There are still fractions of the Presbyterian family, like broken suns, scattered over the western counties. Ministers are not insensible to their spiritual wants, and are making vigorous efforts so supply them. The Rev. Messrs. Sommerville, Stewart and Struthers are entitled to all due credit for their honest exertions to extend the kingdom of our Redeemer and uphold the venerable institutions of our church. The Presbyterian Synod has watch towers at Shelburne, Yarmouth, and Annapolis, and seems inclined to fill the wells which their forefathers dug. They have no desire to molest other churches, but, rather to supply the wants of their own people, and particularly to gather the exiles of the Scottish Judah into their own fold. I travelled the same road thirty-five years ago. I recollect little of it except dark forests, bad roads, and hospitable patriarchs, sitting by the way side to entertain strangers. I was every where surprised at the change which the labors of one generation had effected on the country. The human family had partaken of the change, and the patriarchs of that day sleep with their fathers.