River John:Its Pastors and People                            RIVER JOHN:  ITS PASTORS AND PEOPLE
                                        G. Lawson Gordon

New Glasgow, N.S.
G. Lawson Gordon

                   *Chignecto Project Electronic Edition, June 1998.*

[Notes from Editor: As page numbers in electronic editions do not
correspond to those in original printed versions, they are omitted from
any Tables of Contents or Illustration Lists in works that we transcribe.
Spellings are left as they were in the original work. Sentence & punctuation
anomalies are also (mostly) left intact. Footnotes follow the paragraph in
which they are referenced, enclosed by square brackets. Pound sterling is
written as "pound", as the symbol does not translate on all computers.
Penelope Chisholm, Editor]


Gathering from many sources, I have set forth, without embellishments of
imagination, the facts as known to me by sifting evidence.  The historical
addresses delivered at the Centenary of Salem Congregation are here printed
verbatim, pages 9 to 64*, and 77 to 94*;  the address beginning on page
103* was also prepared at the request of the Centenary Committee but was
not then read, because I asked that the time allotted it should be given to
visiting brethren.

[*Page numbers no longer match actual pages.]

The printing of these addresses was first suggested by that eminent Hebrew
scholar, the late Rev. John Currie, D. D., who strongly urged this step and
gave valuable historical aid.  My heart would not permit me to limit my
sympathies and work to one section;  I have tried to collect the story of
the several churches.

To the many friends who have helped me in this work I would here record my
thanks, and express my regret that the limits of the volume compel me to
omit very much of lasting interest which by their aid I had gathered.

I owe to the late Rev. George Patterson, D. D., the scholarly and
painstaking historian of Presbyterianism in the Maritime Provinces, very
much of my knowledge of Mr. Mitchell's life and work.  Dr. Patterson has
left in manuscript ready for the printer memoirs of many ministers who were
eminent in service in the early life of the Church here.  These results of
unselfish toil, which would be of so great benefit if printed and in the
hands of our people, lie absolutely useless in a bank's vault.  Where is
the Presbyterian enterprise to set them free to teach those lessons of
life, give the comfort and encouragement, do the good, for which they were

May River John still flourish by the preaching of the Word of God.


The First Settlers
The Rev. John Mitchell
The Rev. James Waddell
Some Further Notes
The Rev. H. B. MacKay
The Third Pastor
The Fourth Pastorate
Centenary Hymns
The Disciples' Church
The Methodist Church
The Church of England
The Church of Scotland
The Baptist Church
The Roman Catholic Church
Settlers at River John


Mr. John George Langill, Elder
Mr. Ephraim Langill (I), Elder
The First Church
Rev. James Waddell
Mr. Wm. Redmond, Elder
Rev. H. B. MacKay
Salem Church (1907)
Rev. G. Lawson Gordon
Rev. G. W. Langille, B. A.
River John
Mr. John MacLean, Elder
Mr. Geo. Munro
Rev. P. F. Langill, B. A.
Mr. Isaac Langill, Elder
Rev. J. G. Bigney
Rev. D. W. Johnson, D. D.
Rev. R. MacCunn, M. A.
Rev. R. J. Grant, B. D.


By the Indians this river was called Caijebouguac (perhaps: lonely river,
but with what reference it were only guess-work to say).  The name 'River
John' is of French origin, the Cape being called Cap Jean on documents
dated before the first Protestant settlers arrived.  By the English the
water was named Deception River; who was deceived and wherein the deception
lay history fails to record.  Such a name could not endure among an honest
people.  If any one name be more appropriate than another that one
certainly is what it bears; for no name seems to have been so dear to its
early inhabitants as this of JOHN.  There were in almost all their families
a John, John George, John Frederic, &c.  River John is a beautifully
euphonious name which has not become so well and widely known as it
deserves, because the hundreds of vessels built here were registered in and
designated from other larger ports.

The first settlers at River John were four men and their families, who were
too free and independent to settle in Tatamagouche as tenants under Colonel
DesBarres, who refused to sell land.  At River John the land was owned by a
Company* which was ready to dispose of it.  In 1785 John Frederic
Patriquin, John George Patriquin, George Frederic Langill and James Gratto
took up their abode at River John.  They built their log huts near each
other on the hill on Smith's Point, where they intended to build a
fortification for defence against the Indians.  When additional settlers
came this plan was abandoned and each built on his own land.

[*The Philadelphia Company, who received it in 1765.  See Patterson's
History of Pictou County, pages 52.ff for a good account of this Company.]

John Frederic Patriquin owned the land now occupied by Mr. C. H..
MacLennan, but returned in five year's time to Tatamagouche.  His brother,
John George, took up the farm next below this, which he later sold to the
Rev. John Mitchell.  His also was the farm where Alexr. Heighton now
resides, and there he lived after the original plan of village life was
given up and until, in old age, he went to live with his son David on the
Mountain Road.

James Gratto (son of George, one of the first settlers of Tatamagouche)
took up land next to John George Patriquin below Smith's Point.

George Langill (or Langille) was the oldest son of John James Langill only
son of David Langill by his first wife.  His stay in River John covered
very few years.  He removed to New Annan and became the ancestor of the
Langills of that district.

In the last quarter of the eighteenth century there were many more Indians
in the country than now, and they were by no means so law-abiding.  As they
travelled in bands they were formidable foes to the scattered settlers.
They were openly opposed to any settlement of whites along this coast, and
were instigated by French emissaries to harass the settlers, a work they
found much to their own liking.  The fear of the Indians was ever on the
white man, who knew their many cruelties to small settlements and to
children left unprotected.

At the time of the French revolutionary war the Micmacs had not shown much
friendship to the British.  In 1779 the whole tribe, from Miramachi to
Gabarus, gathered in council at Fraser's Point to consult as to the course
to be pursued in opposition to the new settlers.  Against all expectation
the council broke up quietly.  In 1808 the Indians expected an invasion of
the country by the French, were holding themselves neutral until they
should see the strength of each party, ready to join the strongest, and
openly threatened what they intended doing in case of French supremacy.

Very pathetic was the loss of George Patriquin's oldest son Frederic, only
five years of age.  He set out in company with his father and uncle, who
were driving the uncle's cattle to Tatamagouche, whither he was removing.
The others, deeming the boy unfit for such a toilsome journey, sent him
back; but he never reached home.  He was a timid child, who would not
disturb a fly on a chip he might wish to pick up.  Some Indians were in the
neighborhood and left about that time, and it was thought that they
kidnapped him.  His bereaved mother used to walk about at the edge of the
woods on MacDonald's Hill and call his name, receiving no answer except the
weird echo of her own voice.

In 1790 George Langill, only son of David's brother Matthew, exchanged his
farm (where Tatamagouche village now stands) for that of John Frederic
Patriquin, and settled at River John.  At the same time George Matatall,
George Bigney and George Joudry took up residence here.

In the following year the brothers, Christopher and George Perrin, came
from Lunenburg direct.  Probably in the same year the ancestors of the
Marshville and Louisville Langills were added to the growing settlement:
John David, John George, John Frederic and John Lewis, the children of
David Langill by his third wife.  John Lewis was the first to occupy land
in Louisville; the others settled in Marshville.  Doubtless at that time
there were in this vicinity other families of whose early arrival record
has not been kept.

In the winter of 1793 an emissary of the New Lights (as the Baptists then
were called) threw the little community into a state of excitement over his
strange teaching.  The settlers were all Calvinistic and steadfast in sound
Biblical doctrine; yet lest any might swerve from the faith under the
new-fangled light and that all might be strengthened and comforted, John
Frederic Langill and George Patriquin went through the woods to Pictou to
bring the Rev. Dr. James MacGregor (who had come to Pictou in 1786) to
River John.  On their return journey with Dr. MacGregor, they entered the
pathless unblazed woods about the (after named) Three Mile House and came
out near where the Oak Church now stands. They performed the trip on

This visit of Dr. MacGregor was not only the quenching of the New Lights,
but also the kindling of new life in the little community.  He preached in
one of the houses on Smith's Point, visited all the families and
administered baptism.  From here he visited Tatamagouche and Wallace, which
had 14 and 20 families respectively.  River John had a second benefit on
his return journey.  How often, that winter and many following, was his
visit recalled around the blazing fire, and his words repeated.  His faith
and faithfulness made a lasting impression.

In the Summer of 1795 Dr. MacGregor again visited River John and the other
places along the shore.

Some more settlers, including the West, Hines and Gammon families, came
before the end of the century.

It was in the new century that Lewis Tattrie took up the well-known Tattrie

*[The grant of 2400 acres of land to John Langill, George Langill, Peter
Matatall, Lewis Tattrie.  Lewis Langill, and George Joudrie, is dated 23
February 1815.  These men were on the ground before that date, Lewis
Langill probably in 1798, Matatall in 1802 and Tattrie in 1807.]

These people who were gathering to form the future flock of Mr. Mitchell
were not of French descent although they were French-speaking.  The
Langills were of Swiss origin.  Their father David was twice married in his
native land, having one son by his first wife.  A widower the second time,
as he was sailing down the Rhine he fell in love with a fellow passenger, a
young and pious widow of a Spanish soldier.  They were married on the
ship's arrival at Rotterdam, from whence they sailed to Portsmouth in
company with many others who, at the invitation of George II., left the
persecutions on account of religion in the homeland to enjoy the freedom of
conscience and the broad acres he promised.  This honeymoon trip was quite
unlike the modern tour to Niagara or Paris, for added to the then ordinary
trials of travel they were forsaken by those who had induced them to come
so far and left destitute.  The British Government was induced to help
them, and at last after so hungry a winter they were embarked aboard four
vessels, two bound for Nova Scotia and two for North Carolina.  In the
Spring of 1753 the two vessels landed 224 immigrants on George's Island in
Halifax Harbor, among whom were David Langill and his brother Matthew and
their families.  Thence they went to Lunenburg; but seventeen years later
some of them were persuaded by Colonel DesBarres to remove to his lands in
Tatamagouche.  The Langills, Tattries, Patriquins, and Matatalls formed
part of this migration.

The Patriquins and Tattries were from Montbeliard, a town and district
which, belonging to Wutermberg in 1524, received the gospel by the
preaching of Farel, and belonging to France (by the treachery of Louis
XIV.) in the eighteenth century, it lost much of its liberty of life and
worship.  Montbeliard was a border region, sharing most largely in Swiss
and German blood and in the French language.

These early settlers were of the stuff saints and martyrs are made of. Georg
e Tattrie (the father of Lewis already mentioned) had shown the true martyr
spirit in his fatherland.  He was a soldier in the French army and fought
in the battle of Fontenoy (1745).  After his return from the army, orders
were given to deliver one of the Protestant churches to the Roman Catholics
(1752).  With forty-nine others George Tattrie gave resistance to the
soldiers who came to hand over the church to the priest.  Their only
weapons were stones and so they were compelled to surrender, after two of
their number had been killed and others wounded.  Tattrie was among the
wounded.  So soon as he was able he joined a party bound for the British
possessions in America.  Such experiences gave rise to a deeper loyalty to
truth and a dislike of the French.  From Rotterdam on, Tattrie was a fellow
traveller with David Langill, until he finally settled at Tatamagouche on
the French River, where his son Lewis was born in 1785.

The Perrins were engaged in silk manufacture in Loches in Touraine, France.
Whilst John was from home, his father and uncle were imprisoned because of
their steadfastness to Christ and His Word.  On his return, learning of the
renewed and determined persecution of the reformed religion, John with
eighteen others went into a boat by night and rowed down the River Loire,
near the mouth of which they discovered a British frigate which brought
them to Portsmouth.  There they joined the other emigrants for Nova Scotia,
and with them came to Lunenburg, where John Perrin settled.  His two sons,
as already said, came to River John, George building at the Creek and
Christopher on the hill between the present village and the railway

The mother-tongue of these first settlers was a dialect of French.  They
could read the, French Bible and other books, with an intelligent
understanding.  They must have also picked up a good deal of English; for
fluent as Dr. MacGregor was in Gaelic, it is not claimed that he could
preach in French.  Their first pastor seems to have had no difficulty in
making himself understood by them, but says on his first visit to them,
"They understand English well."  They had the intelligence and largeness of
outlook of people who speak more than one language.

Although for twenty-three years after the arrival of the first settlers
they had no regular pastor, yet they were not indifferent to religion and
morality.  They had their religious meetings, at which George Patriquin,
John George Langill and, later, Christopher Perrin used to lead them to the
throne of grace and instruct them in the simple yet saving elements of
gospel truth.  Thus the community was saved from that decline into
ungodliness which overtook some neighboring settlements.  There may have
been exceptions; Matthew Langill, the brother of David, was one.  He had
been a light-horseman in the French army, settled in Tatamagouche, made no
kind of success as a farmer, and removing to River John, lived with his son
until his death in 1800 at the age of 76 years.  He left the impression
that he was a quarrelsome man, a character which his descendants did not
seek to perpetuate.

Attention was early given to education.  Christopher Perrin was the first
schoolmaster, teaching the young people to read, write and count in French.
As a whole these pioneers who planted River John formed a law-abiding,
God-fearing, self-respecting community, and they who have inherited their
blood  have that whereof to be justly proud if they follow their example of
steadfastness to Christ and His Church.


The Reverend John Mitchell was born in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, in the
Spring of 1765.  Of his parents it will suffice here to say that they came
from Scotland after their marriage, that his mother was a pious woman, and
that his father was of a different character, decent but irreligious, kind
to his own but without feeling toward God.  The father was a flour
merchant, and had ten sons and three daughters, John being the eldest.
They were all at home on New Year's Day 1791, but four of them died in the
next five years and another was lost to knowledge of his friends, whilst
the whole family was scattered.

John received a fairly good common school education, and adopted the trade
of rope-making, which left him long afternoons and evenings of leisure
without work or care.  In Summer he was free at one, in Winter at four in
the afternoon.  The tradesman's leisure-time makes or mars his life.  Young
Mitchell spent his evenings heedlessly and wickedly.  Indeed he tells us he
chose this trade because of its leisure for wickedness.  He was as
regardless of religion as his father until he was about eighteen years of
age.  Writing in 1797 he says:-

"I might notice the goodness of God to me before conversion, especially in
his preserving me three times from being drowned on the Lord's day, and one
of the times in a miraculous manner.  Wonder, O heavens, and be astonished,
O earth, at the love of God in Christ to me; for though I was openly
profaning his holy day, yet he interposed on my behalf, and saved me from
drowning and perishing in my sins, when no human help could be given me.
But ah! ungrateful wretch, I did not consider his mercies, but persisted in
open rebellion against him.

"The appointed time always drew nearer when God was to manifest his
sovereign and rich grace, in effectually calling me from darkness into his
marvellous light.  Being a little convinced of my folly I began to attend
the means of grace, and regularly attended for about one year.  No
persuasion or reproaches from my old companions, were able to keep me away.
But, alas! I heard the minister preach and did not understand him.  Still
I thought all was well, if I attended the meeting; and that there was no
need of so much fuss about religion.  I contented myself without reading or
praying, and was happy when I met with any that would join me in
reproaching the true worshippers of the meek and lowly Jesus, because I
thought myself better than they were.

"But when God was pleased to call me by his grace, I beheld things in
another light.  The first time He began a saving work upon my heart was, if
I mistake not, in the year 1784.  It occurred one day when I was attending
the horse-races in Newcastle.  Great trouble of mind came upon me.  The
trouble I endured, and the happiness I felt when the race was over, I never
will be able to express.  From that wicked place I went with a full
resolution never to return any more; and blessed be God, I have been
enabled to keep it. The next day, when others were going to see the races,
I went out to the fields to pray, read and meditate.  The Bible became
precious to me, prayer my delight, and divine contemplations exceedingly
sweet to my soul.  When I compared the surpassing pleasures I experienced
in this new employ with what I used to find in the races, I was lost in
wonder and admiration."

From that time forward he spent his leisure mostly in this same gracious
and helpful pleasure of reading the Scriptures, meditation and prayer.  The
thorough change in his disposition was observed by all, and especially
pleasing to himself was the transformation in his memory, which he found
weakened to sinful and trifling things but strengthened to retain the words
and works of God.  He made public profession of his faith and was admitted
to the full communion of the Church.

Having received the light himself, this lad of nineteen years did all he
could to impart it to others.  He became even more diligent in studying the
Bible lest his ignorance should let an opportunity slip of influencing
other lives for God.  He reasoned and pled with those of his own age to
turn from sin and to serve the Lord.  Especially did he strive for the
reclaiming of his own father and brothers.  He did not find himself so free
at home as he could wish, to speak to them of their lives and the spiritual
world, so he gladly accepted an opportunity which occurred in 1790 of going
to London, and afterwards to Woolwich.  In the Autumn of 1792 he visited
his home on his way to Scotland, where, in Glasgow, Greenock and Gourock,
he resided until 1797.

Of his correspondence at this time thirty-eight letters to his family were
extant a few years ago.  These manifested the man John Mitchell was
becoming to be.  Of news there was little, but he plied his father and
brothers with appeals, with the Word of God and all manner of argument from
reason and experience, to move them to the great resolve.  After two years
of such strong, loving letters, he is able to write:-

"Dear Brothers, How pleased was I to hear that the vanities and pleasures
of the world are become your burden, and to love and serve the Lord Jesus
Christ your chief delight, and I hope I may give God thanks for His
distinguishing love to you in passing by others who are no worse, and
plucking you as brands from the burning, and inclining your hearts to keep
His statutes, and making the time you spend in solitude the sweetest hours
you enjoy."

And a little later:-

"How glad was I to hear that you had joined yourselves to the Lord, and to
prove the sincerity of your love to him, have obeyed his dying command, and
solemnly confessed him to be your Lord and Master before men, angels and
devils.  All this I hope you have done willingly and not of constraint, for
all the true lovers of Zion's King are volunteers, whom he makes willing in
the day of His power."

To his sister, who had married a sea-faring man, John writes as to one who
had a share with him in the love and religion of his Lord, and when two of
her children were taken away by death, very comforting indeed were his

During all those years (1790-1797) his letters to his father contained
earnest and strong appeals to serve the Lord.  In 1795 the father was very
sick, supposed to be dying; and among many such earnest words he wrote:-

"O Father, if you have any love for your immortal soul and desire that it
may be saved from the wrath to come, believe in the Lord Jesus, that he is
both willing and able to save you.  We had a sudden parting the last time I
took farewell of you.  As the ship was under sail I was obliged to run and
leave you.  But if you believe in Christ and come to him by faith and
prayer, we shall have a joyful meeting in glory and never more part."

His father recovered.  In the following year his mother died and he wrote:-

"Dear Father, many a sorrowful hour she spent and many a watery eye she had
on account of your sins and neglect of Christian duties; and without a
doubt she went down to her grave sorrowing for you.  Often have I heard her
praying for you in the silent watches of the night....Consider therefore
these things, believe in Christ and repent of your evil ways.  It is not
too late....Jesus is willing that you should be saved for though He gave
you the first summons, He has spared you last and given you time to

His pleadings and prayers had influence beyond what at the time was
apparent.  In 1797 the father died, and John writes:  "My dear brothers and
sister, our parents have not left us houses and lands, but they have left
us their dying words for our instruction and sweet texts upon which we may
preach their funeral sermons.  The last words of our beloved mother were
among the last words of a beloved disciple of Jesus, Come quickly, Lord
Jesus.  And the last words of our dear father were the first words of the
woman of Canaan when she began to worship Christ, Lord, help me."

For fourteen years did John Mitchell hear the Call "Go preach" in his soul,
and whilst laboring as best he could with voice and pen for the Master, he
was working to pave the way to the ministry.  At last in the autumn of 1797
he entered Hoxton Academy, an institution founded for the purpose of
training ministers of the gospel.  Before being admitted to its classes he
had to give a narrative of his religious experience and call to the
ministry, and from this document we learn much of the heart and life of the
young Mitchell.  At the Academy he took a three years' course of
instruction, for which he had whilst in Glasgow prepared himself by
attending evening classes.

Having completed his studies Mr. Mitchell was ordained and sent forth in
the company with the Rev. John Clerk Benton, by the London Missionary
Society which was founded by the members of different denominations in
1795.  They left London 17 March 1800 and Liverpool seven days later, and
arrived at Quebec after ten weeks upon the water.  Mr. Benton remained in
Quebec and Mr. Mitchell visited Montreal, where he preached in a
schoolhouse every Sabbath evening from Aug. 3 to Oct. 5.  He had here about
120 hearers, belonging mostly to the Church  Scotland.

The people of New Carlisle having petitioned for a minister, Mr.  Mitchell
went thither, mainly because the Montreal friends were able  to offer a
good stipend and could easily obtain a minister, whilst the  New Carlisle
people were poor.  Against the desires of the former he said, "The cries of
the poor on the Bay are more pressing than the cry of the rich in

Taking up his work at New Carlisle in November 1800, he found no lack of
calls to industry.  Without a church building, he preached, taught Sabbath
School (using the Shorter Catechism), visited, established a praying
society, etc., and even taught a day school for the children of the poor.
In March 1801 he visited Restigouche.  Of his return trip he says, "We had
one of the worst journeys I ever experienced, crossing rivers on pieces of
ice, while half up the leg in water, climbing over mountains of ice heaved
upon the shore by the current, travelling through woods in the snow five
feet deep, in which we sank at every step, and wading over small rivers.
We were four days travelling in this condition."  He visited Restigouche
again in October  1802.

At New Carlisle opposition was given him by those whose lives were  rebuked
by the simple enunciation of the law of God, English people who worked and
frolicked on the Sabbath, blasphemed their Maker, and baptized each other's
children (thinking that sufficient to save them damnation).  The chief
opposition, of course, came from the wealthier who saw vanishing their
power to grind seven days' work out of those depending on them for
supplies.  Some who at first attended the preaching of the truth now
refused to come because they feared the opposers.  Mr. Mitchell, yearning
for the welfare of friend and foe alike, strongly appealed to his Society
to send a Church of England missionary to the ignorant and lawless English
people for whose salvation he so longed and prayed.

Notwithstanding the strong, malignant and untiring opposition, his work
progressed, sinners were converted, the young instructed and the true
saints edified.  On 5 May 1801 he writes, "The praying society mentioned in
my journal is still continued.  The time I was at Restigouche about sixty
of them met every Lord's Day to pray and to read a sermon and examine the
children....In the course of nine months I have travelled eight hundred
miles, travelled twice two hundred in the winter, twice for nine  days I
had no bed to lie upon, and my clothes were never off; and I preached about
one hundred sermons; and blessed be God I am none the worse of my journeys,
and enjoy a good state of health to the present day."

At New Carlisle Mr. Mitchell married Janet Shearer, the daughter of a
British Empire Loyalist who, originally from Carlisle, England, came to
Chaieurs Bay from the south at the time of the American Revolution.

In 1803 he made an extensive tour to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.  From
Bay Chaleurs he sailed to the Gut of Canso, where he twice preached.  He
then visited and preached at Antigonish, Merigomish and Pictou Harbor.  Two
days and a night were spent at the home of the Rev. Duncan Ross, with  whom
he had a feast of spiritual fellowship.

Mr. Mitchell came to River John on Thursday, 5 May, and preached that and
the next day to about forty people and baptized eight children. Of the
people he says, "They understand English well."  From River John he
proceeded to Tatamagouche, Wallace, River Phillip, Amherst, Hopewell, N.
B., Shediac, Shemogue, Richibucto, and a number of places on the Miramichi.

On his return to New Carlisle Mr. Mitchell prepared to leave that place.
Great was the sorrow of the majority of the people at his departure.  He
intended to move to Hopewell.  With his wife and son John he made a stormy
passage in an open boat to Shemogue and Bay Verte.  They rode across to
Westmoreland but finding no boat to cross to Hopewell, they went on to
Amherst, where the entreaties of the people constrained to him to remain.
This in September 1803.

In August 1804 he undertook another extensive and arduous evangelistic
tour through New Brunswick and in September came to Londonderry, N.S., by
boat from Campobello.  He preached at two places between here and home  and
arrived at Amherst on 20 September.  The following extracts from his
journal written on this trip are of interest as indicating the spirit and
method of this zealous ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ:--

"Lord's Day, August 12. (At the Kennebecasis River) Preached and baptized
four children.  As it was late on Saturday evening before I arrived (having
ridden 14 miles and walked 11 miles on that day), I had only about forty
hearers, who were all that heard I was going to preach:  but though my
auditory was small, my soul was made glad to see them so attentive and
affected.  This river is settled for forty or fifty miles.  There is a
Church of England minister here, but the people in general call themselves
New Lights.  It appears to me from the conversation I have had with some of
the inhabitants as I travelled down this river, that if a missionary were
stationed here and wholly supported by the Society for some time, he would
have at different places large congregations, and it is probable he might
be the honored instrument of winning many precious souls to our glorious

"13th.  Travelled down the river twenty-nine miles, and as it was
extremely hot, and having to carry my portmanteau, I was much fatigued in
body, but blessed by God, my mind was greatly refreshed with some sweet
meditations upon divine things.

"Lord's Day, Augt. 19th.  Travelled eight miles through the woods to the
Macaguadavic River, where I preached to about fifty hearers--all very
attentive and some apparently greatly affected.  In the evening, sailed in
a boat up the river about six miles, and called upon a Col. MacKay, a
Scottish gentleman, who appears to be a well wisher to the cause and the
good of immortal souls.   20th.  Preached to about forty people who all
appeared to be much affected; and spent the rest of the week with the
Colonel visiting the inhabitants on the river.  They in general appeared to
be concerned about the one thing needful, and I hope that the Lord has
begun a good work in the souls of many of them, which He will carry on till
the day of Christ.   Lord's Day, 26th.  After sailing down the river about
8 miles, preached twice, had about three or four hundred hearers, and a
more attentive auditory I never saw, while tears were flowing in abundance
from the eyes of many.  When I parted with them, many of them could not
speak for weeping.  After preaching, sailed with the Colonel eight miles in
a boat to Mascarene, where I preached on the Monday.

"28th.   The Colonel and I left Mascarene in the evening and next day
travelled eight miles through the woods to Digdegwash river, the next
settlement to Macaguadavic, where we spent the most of the week visiting
the inhabitants.  On the Lord's day preached here, had about 300 hearers
who appeared to be as much affected under the word as the people of
Macaguadavic were.  A minister settled at Macaguadavic would have upward
of 100 families within a few miles of him.  The inhabitants are in general
Scottish Americans.  They are able to support a minister and are desirous
of having one.

"Sept. 11th.  On account of the wind and rain our boat could not sail and
at the earnest solicitation of the people, I preached in the afternoon and
baptized five children, and one young woman, which gave me a peculiar
opportunity of speaking to the young people that were hearing me.  After I
had pronounced the blessing, both old and young sat down and wept under a
deep concern about the salvation of their souls.  After we were sitting
some considerable time two young women (who were sisters) came to me with
tears running down their cheeks and told me they had a desire out of love
to their dear Saviour to be baptized, and were willing this evening in a
public manner to dedicate themselves to the Lord.  After conversing with
them for about a quarter of an hour, I promised to preach and baptize them
in the evening.  So the people dismissed and all returned after the sun was
set, and a more solemn night and greater liberty of speaking I never before
experienced and a mere serious and affected auditory I never saw."

Of his journals the Rev Dr. Patterson says, "They tell their own tale of
labor and hardship.  We believe they warrant us in saying that if ever
there was a man ready to endure toil and to sacrifice ease and comfort that
he might preach the gospel to the destitute, John Mitchell was the man."

In Amherst he was much encouraged by the people and the blessing of God
upon his work.  He would have about three hundred hearers in the summer
season.  With many other expressions of esteem and affection the people
gave him a farm (the Berry farm), a horse and two cows.  No party opposed
him here, the work was comparatively light.  He had no occasion to leave
except the call of the destitute.

Seeing that the people of Amherst were well able to support a minister, and
knowing from his own observation and the reports of others, of the
spiritual destitution along these shores, Mr. Mitchell in the summer of
1808 came to River John and took up the pastoral oversight of River John
and Tatamagouche.  In the following year he was received by the Presbytery
of Pictou.*  He also removed his family to River John (1809), having
the Mitchell farm from George Patriquin.

[*He was a Presbyterian in all but connection hitherto.  His parents were
Scottish, he had communed with the Presbyterians in Scotland for five
years, studied in their schools and taught in their Sabbath Schools.  He
inherited the incomparable traditions of Presbyterianism, and imbibed its
love of liberty, reverence for the pure gospel, and sympathy with the
oppressed.  It would have been a painful wrench for him to join any other
communion.  He never sought ordination other than he received.]

It is said that at that time there were fifty families in the River John
community of whom only three were English-speaking.  We doubt the accuracy
of both figures.  We have no reason to suppose that there were more than 50
families in all his extended parish nor that there were fewer than five
English-speaking families at River John, at the time of his settlement.

He gave monthly services to Tatamagouche on the Lord's Day, preaching at
first in one of the larger houses in winter, and in Mr. Wellwood Waugh's
barn in summer, and later in the Willow Church which was built through his
efforts and those of Mr. Waugh.

In 1813 John Bell settled in New Annan, and immediately connected himself
with Mr. Mitchell's congregation, in which he was soon ordained an elder.
He attended the meetings of Synod in 1819 and 1822 as representative "from
River John."  The minutes of 1820 give "Wm Currie from River John," a
mistake for John Currie, the father of our present esteemed and venerable
Professor of Hebrew.

In 1817 Wm. Byers, Thomas Swan, James MacGeorge and Wm. Scott settled in
New Annan and shortly thereafter Mr. Mitchell began a monthly service
there.  A praying society (that is, a regular weekly prayermeeting) was
also formed in that small but growing community of pious people.

The relations of Mr. Mitchell with New Annan were specially happy.  The way
thither was long, especially in summer, along the shore on foot to
Tatamagouche, and then up the French River;  but there was cheer and a
hearty welcome at the end.  Some of the young men used to come down the
river side to meet him and take him to his lodgings.  I can see the face of
young Bell or Byers or Swan, smiling through the trees of the primitive
forest on the dearly loved pastor on the confines of sixty years of age,
and I can feel how his tired step was revived at the meeting.

The field was wide and its spiritual cultivation arduous.  In winter, on
many Sabbaths, the larger portion of his people could gather at one church.
About thirty years ago I heard the old people of New Annan tell how they
were wont on a Sabbath morning to skate on the ice down the French River
and along the shore to the church at River John, attend two services, and
return home the same evening.  In 1826 Tatamagouche and New Annan felt
strong enough to call a minister for themselves and with Mr. Mitchell's
hearty consent the Rev. Hugh Ross was inducted there.  The people around
the Willow Church were unfeignedly attached to Mr. Mitchell and desired him
still to continue their pastor, Mr. Ross supplying the new church in
Tatamagouche village.  But Mr. Mitchell, closely as he was attached to
those his parishioners, felt that they would be better served by the nearer
centre and advised them to fall in with their nearest neighbors.  He was a
man of gentle disposition, who did not grasp at his own advantage but
sought the general good and the spiritual welfare of others.  When in
1839-40 Tatamagouche wished to dispense with the services of Mr. Ross, the
River John minister refused to share in the dispute.

Whilst true blue to the faith delivered to the saints, Mr. Mitchell was in
nowise narrow or bigoted.  He got on peacefully with the Methodists, who
were invited by Christopher Perrin to give services at River John.  When
the Rev. Mr. MacConnachie of the Church of Scotland at Saltsprings was
visiting those at the River whose leanings were toward that Church, Angus
Chisholm and Alexr. Chisholm (tailor) waited on Mr. Mitchell to ask for the
use of his church.  The request was gladly granted by our Pastor, who
announced and attended the service.  When the Rev. C. Elliott of the Church
of England came to gather the members of his denomination together the
church was freely given to him, and in it he held his services until the
first Episcopal building was opened.  Mr. Mitchell recognized not only that
we live in a free country and each has a right to use his own judgment but
also the deeper truth that it is through hearty denominational service that
God's work is carried on in the individual as well as in the world.  The
means of service are the means of grace, and my own Church must supply
these to me if at all it presents the Lord Jesus as the object of my soul's
worship and love.  He wrote a tract on "Why are you not an Armenian?"
contending with deep spiritual insight for the paramount importance of the
Presbyterian belief, yet conceded that one might serve Christ while
accepting Wesleyan doctrine or Episcopal government as truly though not so
well as if he heartily embraced the Presbyterian faith and polity.

The sphere of his labours being narrowed by elimination of New Annan and
Tatamagouche Mr. Mitchell gave himself to a more particular cultivation of
spiritual work within its more easily reached bounds.  Prayermeetings and
Sabbath Schools he had previously established and now was able for a few
years to give them needed aid.  The last fifteen years of his life were
given to River John, but not to the exclusion of attendance at Presbytery
and Synod and the assistance of his brethren at sacramental and other
special services.

During Mr. Mitchell's pastorate the community was increasing rapidly in
number and commercial enterprise.  Vessels were laden with lumber removed
from the land.  Every summer vessels visited the harbor; from these some
English sailors would make their escape and settle in the vicinity to form
a not very desirable element in that quiet society.  In 1825 the first
vessel was built at the River by Robert MacKay (who built and lived in the
MacQuarrie house), a Mr. Nichols being foreman and Roderic MacGregor of New
Glasgow one of the workmen. From this time shipbuilding became one of the
chief industries of River John for about seventy years.

The time of our Pastor's departure drew near.  In April 1841 he was away
from home on duty and slept in a cold bed in a cold room.  He returned home
and preached on Sabbath, the 25th., apparently in his usual health.  In the
forenoon he spoke of God as the Sun and Shield of believers, Psalm 84: 11.
At that time he was lecturing in the afternoons on The Revelation and that
day he lectured on the epistle to the Church at Sardis (in the third
chapter).  Gradually the disease gained strength until Saturday he was not
able to arise from bed, and on the following Saturday (8 May 1841) he
peacefully passed away, sleeping in that Jesus whom he loved and served.
In his last illness the theme of his preaching was still the subject of
conversation: the love of the Lord Jesus to poor lost sinners.

Mr. Mitchell was so the servant of the Holy Spirit that his labors were not
in vain.  He was ardently pious and devoted to the cause of his Master
Jesus our God and Saviour.  He lent his aid to every good cause, yet never
entered into the greater strifes of his times.  He was diligent and
faithful and kind.  Around him arose a band of men of like spirit the
influence of whose lives still sweetens the atmosphere of the community.
Although in his time the Methodists and Anglicans hived off from the rest
of the people, it was not that they objected to our Pastor, but because
they wished to go to their own.  No ill feelings were engendered by these
movements.  He simply took care that his own people were instructed in the
foundation principles of their holy religion.

He was a diligent student and made up in this way for the lateness of his
entry upon an academic curriculum.  He left behind him many manuscripts,
embracing his journal of travels and work, which is historically of great
value as evidence of the religious, moral and material conditions in the
many places he visited; his letters to his friends; essays entitled "Plan
for a Christian Reform," and "Rules for Regulating Prayermeetings;" a
volume containing 26 meditations on various passages of Scripture; and a
host of smaller volumes of sermons and lectures.  As a preacher our Pastor
was simple, forceful and earnest in presenting his message, and pleasant
countenance, his tall, well proportioned, sinewy build, and his
Northumberland burr gave him a good introduction to his audience.  He was
fond of allegories and of allegorizing; his discourses were full of Bible
language, images and doctrine.

By Mr. W. H. Waddell, delivered at the
Centennial Celebration, 20 August 1908

The year 1908 will be long remembered in the annals of our country.  The
ter-centenary of the foundation of Quebec, which has recently been
celebrated with unprecedented pomp, and participated in by three of the
greatest nations of the world; the semi-tercentenary of the establishment
of representative institutions in the British Colonies, which only
yesterday was signalized by appropriate ceremonies in the capital city of
our province; and today the centenary of the organization of this
congregation;- these national, provincial and local events will be ever
associated in the minds of those here today, and make the year one to be
remembered with pride and gratitude by us all.

It is certainly fitting that we should embrace the opportunities these
occasions afford us to bring to mind the heroic deeds and patient toilings
of our fathers, and raise our voices in praise and thanksgiving to the All
Father for the blessings and privileges which we enjoy as the result of the
toils and privations of those who have gone before, and who now rest from
their labors.

The part which has been assigned to me in the proceedings of this occasion
is one which ought to be very congenial to the feelings of a son whose
filial devotion is allowed to express itself without fear of being regarded
fulsome or extravagant.  Before making any remarks of my own in reference
to my father's life and work, I ask your permission to read an estimate of
his character and abilities by the Rev. John Sprott whose name, a half
century ago, was a household word throughout the length and breadth of the
Maritime Provinces.  Mr. Sprott assisted at a communion service in River
John on Nov. 7th, 1847.  In the book of memorials edited by his son, the
Rev. George Sprott, D. D., of North Berwick, Scotland, I find these words
in a letter written by him in July, 1862, shortly before my father was
called to Sheet Harbor, Halifax County:-

"I am glad that the people of the Eastern Shore are making an effort to
retain the services of the Rev. James Waddell.  I hope that by making a
strong pull, a long pull, and a pull all together, they will be able to
sustain him... Mr. Waddell is the man for the shore.  He is not like a
newly fledged divine just from school.  He is a man of wisdom and
experience, and has many seals of his ministry.  Few ministers have made
deeper investments of love and affection, toils and labors in Nova Scotia,
than Mr. Waddell.  He has never had a fat living and whatever may be the
cause of this, it is not owing to his want of talents and acquirements.
Had he gone into the navy, he would have gained the quarter deck; had he
gone into the army, if not killed at the battle of Waterloo, by this time
he might have been the head of a regiment; had he gone to the bar, he might
now have been upon the bench; but because he made choice of a holy
profession, he, with many other excellent men, is compelled to pitch his
tent at no great distance from humble poverty.  James Waddell ought to be
the finest blood of the Church, being the son of the Rev. John Waddell of
Truro.  I dare not say that he equals his father as a preacher, yet when I
hear him in prayer, I think I hear his father's voice.  Both excelled in
prayer-- a noble gift for a minister."

My grandfather, mentioned in this extract, was sent out from Scotland in
1797, by what was then known as the Associate Synod, afterwards merged in
the United Presbyterian Church.  He was settled in Truro, as the second
minister of the metropolis of Presbyterianism.  His wife was Miss Blanchard
of Empire Royalist stock from New Hampshire.  As a son of the manse, my
father had all the advantages which accompanied that priviledge.  I have
heard him say that as a youth he rather enjoyed the companionship of the
Church of England minister who lived on the adjoining property, and who
taught him to play chess, and that Mr. Barnyeat's woodpile had more
attractions for him, than the one in his father's dooryard.  I have reason
to think that his choice of profession cost him a struggle, as his
companions were a rollicking set of fellows, and he was naturally of an
ardent and impulsive temperament.  He early took his stand as a total
abstainer, in days when drinking was more fashionable than it is now, and
he afterwards attained some prominence as a temperance lecturer.

Licensed in 1830 and ordained in 1831, he became pastor of Bathurst
congregation in the north of New Brunswick.  After remaining there a few
years, he was appointed to the position in Central Academy, Charlottestown
now Prince of Wales College.  While engaged as a teacher, I find that he
frequently if not habitually occupied the pulpit on Sunday.

In Prince Edward Island he was brought into close touch with the Rev. John
Geddie, who was, if I mistake not, his classmate at Pictou Acdemy.  He
sympathised heartily with the movement which resulted in the appointment of
Mr. Geddie as the pioneer Presbyterian foreign missionary of British North
America.  On the formation of the Foreign Mission Board in the year 1845,
he was appointed its first secretary, and thus was the medium of official
communication between the missionaries and the Church for about ten years,
during the early struggles of our pioneers in the new Hebrides.  I remember
well the interest attached to the receipt of letters from Mr.  and Mrs.
Geddie, which in those days of sailing ships would be from six months to a
year old when they were received.  Private letters from Mr. and Mrs. Geddie
to my father and mother showed that their correspondence with one another
was the communion of dear friends whose affection was thus cherished for
long years though they were separated by so many thousand miles.

When Mr. Geddie was home on furlough in 1865, it was my priviledge to drive
him from Halifax to Sheet Harbor to visit my father and his congregation.

Besides being prominent in the missionary work of the Church, my father was
most enthusiastic in the cause of general education, and especially in the
theological seminary conducted at West River under the Rev. James Ross,
afterwards Principal of Dalhousie College.  In 1848 during his visit to the
old country, he was engaged in making known to the Churches there the
educational needs of our Church in Nova Scotia, and succeeded in collecting
quite a sum of money for the funds of the institution.  In 1852 he visited
the United States in the interest of the Seminary.

Of his ministry in this Congregation I am probably not so competent to
speak as some of its older members here present, but I think that any such
who had the means of knowing will bear me out in saying that he was
faithful in the performance of his pastoral duties, in visiting the sick,
and in holding prayermeetings in different sections of the congregation,
besides preaching two sermons on Sabbath with a short interval between.
The first discourse, if I remember rightly, was mainly expository, and the
sermon after the intermission of a more practical character.  He had the
habit of writing out copious notes of his sermons using a variety of
abbreviations known only to himself.

I cannot recall with any clearness the characteristics of his style, but
this I know that it was marked by the prominence of scriptural language and
quotations, and his illustrations were drawn from Bible scenes and
characters.  His library was limited, and consisted mainly of theological
and missionary works.  I remember that, on one occasion, he advised me to
study Solomon's Proverbs rather than Shakespeare.  I knew Bunyan's
Pilgrim's Progress almost by heart, but had never heard of Gulliver's
Travels.  The first poem I read under his direction was Pollok's "Course of
Time."  Dull as Pollok may seem to modern students, he developed in me a
taste for poetry which I trust I have not altogether lost.  Cowper, I know,
was a favorite with my father, as I remember distinctly that he would often
recite long passages from "The Task."  Grahame's "Sabbath" was another
great favorite.  But he was essentially a man of one book;  Henry's and
Scott's commentaries, and Guyse's Paraphrase were in constant use, but the
Bible itself without note or comment was his chief text book.

The religious education of the young of the congregation was his especial
care, and the catechising of the children was a very definite and important
part of his pastoral visitations.  The home training which he practised and
inculcated upon his people, included much reading of Scripture on Sabbath
evenings, and a thorough mastery of the Shorter Catechism.  The Sabbath
School conducted in the church was in my time superintended by Mr. Thomas
B. Gould and psalms and paraphrases learned there have never been
forgotten.  Besides the Paraphrases five hymns at the end of the
Paraphrases constituted the complete humnal of the Church at that time.

The communion season was made the occasion of much spiritual interest.  The
Thursday previous was a fast day, kept most devoutly as a holy day.
Services were also conducted on the Saturday before and the Monday after
communion.  The minister was, on these occasions, almost invariably
assisted by a neighboring pastor.

My father was a great pains to enlist the women and children especially in
missionary and Bible society work.  I think I shall not be guilty of making
any invidious distinction in mentioning the name of one lady who was not
only a warm personal friend of my father and mother, but an efficient and
faithful helper in every good work---the late Mrs. Alexander MacKenzie,
whose benevolent countenance I distinctly remember, and whose kind
ministrations to the sick and needy endeared her to all who came within her
reach.  Though she has long since gone to her reward she is still
remembered with affection by many who enjoyed her tender interest in their
welfare.  It is gratifying to know that her descendants are among the
active helpers in the congregation.

During my father's incumbency, the glebe of some five or six acres was
donated to the church by Mr. William Matheson, the father of Mrs. Robert
Patterson whose homestead was on the property now owned by Dr. Collie.
This fact may account for the gift of the land to the congregation for the
use of the minister.  Mr. Matheson was, however, an intimate friend of my
father.  This congregation is certainly to be congratulated on having so
desirable a manse and glebe.

In the social and public life of the community my father took a great
interest.  His ideals of life were high, and as a puritan of the puritans,
hostility to the prevalent evils could always be counted upon.  His zeal in
the cause of temperance and purity often caused him disfavor, to say the
least.  Errors which he may have committed in carrying out his views were
errors of the head rather than of the heart.

Fond of innovations that tended to improvement, he was not a faddist.  The
only instance I can recall, as indicating any approach to faddism, was a
desire to attach French names to localities within the bounds of the
congregation.  He was fond of calling the village of River Jean, Belle Vue,
and much of his correspondence carried that heading.  Louisville is another
of the local names, which still survives.  Belle Vue though significant and
euphonious, did not seem to take, though an effort was made to obtain
legislative enactment in its favor.*  No doubt, the fact that the great
majority of his congregation were of French descent, and that many of them
conversed in that language influenced my father in his effort to leave a
permanent French impress on the village and its vicinity.

*[The majority of the French speaking repudiated French origin; the
English-speaking preferred an English name.  The attempt of the compilers
of the Atlas of Pictou County to change the name to the barbarism,
"Johnville" was happily futile.]

Of the home life at the manse, I shall say but little.  The most scrupulous
care was taken in the moral and religious instruction of the children of
the household.  Brown's "Short Catechism" for the younger ones, and the
"Shorter Catechism" for the older were dispensed as regularly as our
morning meal.  "No question, no breakfast" was the motto by which we were
kept in line.  I do not remember any occasion on which any of us lost our
breakfast, and I am not sure that we invariably had the question, but the
rule was maintained, and probably its inflexibility ensured its observance.
The children were also encouraged to engage in some work to earn money for
missions, or to deprive themselves of some so-called luxury, in order to
get pennies for the Lord's treasury.  Missionary periodicals for the
children were placed in our hands, doubtless in the hope that some
impression might be made which would be permanent and lead to the addition
from the family to the roll of that noble band engaged in the foreign
field.  The discipline of the home was rigid, but I have never heard one of
the family regret that our childhood was unduly taxed.  My parents were
firm believers in the injunction, Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Two of the daughters were virtually missionaries within my father's
extensive parish on the eastern shore of Nova Scotia, where they taught
school for years in isolated, neglected districts, and where on Sabbath
they held religious services in the schoolhouse or in the homes of the
people.  Another, after taking care of her mother in her last long illness,
went with a lady companion to do mission work among the blacks of North

It is just fifty years within a few days, since my father preached his
farewell sermon in the old church.  His text was "Brethren, farewell" and
was followed by a faithful and affectionate address.

In 1848 his health became so seriously impaired that he obtained leave of
absence to make a sea voyage and visit the old country.  He sailed from the
harbor in one of Mr. Kitchen's vessels, in which he had been offered a
passage.  The ship unexpectedly put in to Cork and my father eagerly
embraced the opportunity to visit Father Matthew, the great apostle of
temperance.  In after years he often alluded to the privilege he enjoyed in
making the acquaintance of this truly great man.  While in England and
Scotland he took advantage of every opportunity to solicit sympathy and
support for the Theological Seminary at West River.  He returned in one of
Mr. Carmichael's vessels under the command of Captain Geo. Mackenzie.  A
fellow passenger was Rev. David Honeyman, who then first came to this
country.  The latter was best known as a practical geologist and curator of
the Provincial museum.  Smallpox broke out on board ship and the passengers
were detained at quarantine at the beaches of Pictou for some weeks.

William Lawson Grant, in his preface to his father's life quotes a friend
as saying that a biography written by a son is only one degree less
contemptible than one written by a daughter.  I feel confident that if you
have not reverence for my father's memory which I have, you will none the
less appreciate this simple and unadorned narration of facts as forming a
not wholly uninteresting link in the history of Salem congregation, which
you have kindly permitted me to forge.


A few facts may be added to what Mr. Waddell has said of his worthy father
and the River of his time.

River John was no longer the quiet farming district with a preponderating
Swiss manner of thinking and living, as when Mr. Mitchell came.  There were
at least five stores where general merchandise was for sale.  Four ship
yards were busy.  Squire MacLean built on the east side of the river;
Mockler on the west side, at the bridge; Kitchen and MacKenzie further
down.  Here as elsewhere the general notion of the time was that the men
would work better if well supplied with rum.  The lumbering camps were
treated on the same false business principle.   Teetotalism was a perpetual
struggle for the teetotaler; he had to withstand the constant jeerings and
pleadings of his fellow workmen, besides the temptings of his own appetite.
No finer spirit was anywhere developed than under these circumstances.
The really effective work was not done by the leaders in the temperance
cause: Mr. Waddell, John MacQuarrie, Geo. Patriquin (the blacksmith, who
was converted by Mr. Waddell`s ministration), James Lauder, E. Munro, Ch.
Sutherland, necessary though their work was, but by those who patiently and
manfully sustained in the strength of Christ His principles from hour to
hour through years of temptation.

Temperance at River John is as old as the settlement; and so is liquor
drinking.  We do not know when the River John Temperance Society was
formed.  If it was not in existence when Mr. Waddell arrived it was quickly
by him issued into being.  In despite of watchfulness and earnest labor
drinking increased with the increase of the population.  Early in 1847 the
Society found itself compelled to take special steps "to wipe off the stain
of drunkeness from our settlement."  A respectful letter was addressed to
the magistrates (Messrs. Smith, MacLean, and Mackenzie) to do their duty; a
petition signed by the better people of the community was sent to the Court
of Sessions not to grant tavern license in the district for the petitioners
"are of the opinion that a house of entertainment conducted on temperance
principles would be sufficient for the settlement;" and a strong committee
was appointed "to proceed on and act in accordance with the law in fining
those that sell without license, and to keep a watch over those that belong
to the Society that break their pledge and to expel them from the Society
if they do not confess their fault and promise amendment."  These men were
not in temperance for fun, and the rum interests set seriously to oppose
them, dealingthe heaviest blows on the chief inspirer and director of a
public moral sentiment.  At a meeting of the Society, 22 March 1847, at
which the Town Hall "was filled with a respectful company," his friends
publicly defended him against some who "thought that he went too far with
matters."  As for himself, he said he knew not wherein he had gone too far
and that his conscience accused him for letting matters go on too long.
Later his opponents circulated false stories regarding him, to undermine
his influence, and those interested in the liquor business withheld their
promised contributions for the support of gospel ordinances.

The Miil Vale Temperance Society existed for many years, and had a large
membership.  Mr. Waddell attempted establishing a similar organization at
the Cape where he had regular prayer services in Joseph Gass`s house; but
he failed to obtain sufficient signatures.  The Cape lacked then the unity
and sobriety of Brookvale.

The reward came in seeing intemperance greatly decrease before the end of 1849.

His zeal for temperance and for education went hand in hand.  In much of
his field schools had been opened under Mr. Mitchell`s supervision.  At the
village and at Marshville they are as old as these settlements.  A Mr.
Taylor taught in Lewis Tattrie`s old house in Louisville in 1833.  David
Langill (son of John David) taught four years at Forbesville and four at
Marshville before he came (about 1840) to teach at the village.  Peter De
Brodeur, who used to write rhymes, taught school at Bigney.  When Mr.
Waddell came, Wm. Jack taught in the village on the west side, and David
Langill on the east side.

Under Mr. Waddell`s fostering care these schools were strengthened and
others instituted.  In the Fall of 1846, on his way to Mr. Kirk`s at the
Backshore, he and his driver called at a house to warm themselves.  The
good wife of the house, ignorant of or forgetting his sentiments, in
sincere Scottish hospitality, produced a decanter half-full of whiskey to
treat them. Besides giving a few friendly hints against drinking and
treating, he urged them to open a day-school in some suitable place and
promised he would do anything in his power to get them a teacher.  He used
to hold prayer service in Mr. Henry`s house at Hodson.  On such an
occasion, as he and a few of the neighbours, after service, sat at supper,
the plans were laid for a school in that district.

We have seen that our first Pastor was a Sabbath school worker almost as
early as Robert Raikes, and that what he had become apprenticed to in
Scotland he continued in Canada.  He found one such school at the River
when he came and established others in his wide field.  At Marshville the
school was strong when David Langill (afterwards Elder) began to teach in
1828.  In Mr. Waddell`s time five Sabbath schools were conducted in the
Congregation with an average attendance of 27 teachers and 180 scholars.
The Minister taught three (some years four) Bible-classes each week, with
an average attendance of 58.  An equal number of prayer-meetings with 39
persons present on an average, were held weekly.  The Congregation was
reported as being 14 miles in length by 10 in breadth.

River John in his time was supplied with roads, making pastoral work
easier; yet how it taxed health and strength---such roads! such
conveyances! In 1845 he left Truro at noon (at the close of Synod) and
arrived home at eleven at night---horse and carriage crept along at the
rate of three miles an hour!  James Lauder describes a trip on the third
Sabbath of August 1847: Went to Cape John Shore with Rev. J. Waddell.  He
preached in their meeting house from these words: Behold the Lamb of God
that taketh away the sins of the world; and in the afternoon: I seek not my
interest but yours.  I cannot say that he was very lively.  It being a very
wet day there were but few in attendance.  Coming home our carriage broke;
got dinner at Alexr. MacDonald's and came home.  It was very wet and

Two matters affected Mr. Waddell`s financial support: his brave and
constant advocacy of temperance, and the lack of a business system in
congregational affairs.  Because of the first, a number of the wealthier
contributors withheld the part of the Lord`s treasury that fell into their
hands.  So crippled, by these and by a Board of Management that neglected
to manage, did the finances of the house of God become, and so attached
were the people to their minister, that application for aid was made to the
Presbytery.  In July 1851 it was agreed that Mr. Waddell should continue
over the congregation and give his labors in it in proportion to the amount
of salary paid by it, The Presbytery to provide employment and remuneration
during the remainder of his time.  Under this arrangement he spent five
weeks in Cape Breton and five in Guysboro and Little Canso.  His work in
these places was helpful to the Foreign Missions of the Church.  In
February 1852 a Call was addressed to him from the Mabou congregation,
which, after mature consideration, including consultation of his people, he

The action of July 1851 was not satisfactory to either party, and hence we
find the Clerk of Presbytery writing of a new arrangement to the Board of
Domestic Missions under date 31 Aug. 1852:-

"At the last meeting of the Presbytery of Pictou the state of the
congregation of River John was under consideration.  The congregation
earnestly petitioned to have Mr. Waddell continued over them, and in
testimony of their sincerity presented a subscription list which in the
state of the congregation the Presbytery considered very liberal.  The
number of the families connected with the congregation does not exceed
eighty, while of these there be at least the usual number of paupers and
non-payers, so that the actual burden falls on about forty families and
these are not in affluent circumstances, yet they have pledged themselves
to pay the sum of ninety pounds {$360}, and have a subscription list from
which it is anticipated that they will be able to realize that amount
without difficulty.  The Presbytery thought this very liberal for them and
on examining the subscription list found the individual amounts large.
Under these circumstances the Presbytery considered the congregation as
having a just claim for aid upon the Mission fund and therefore agreed that
on its being certified that the congregation had paid up ninety pounds for
the year the Presbytery would apply to the Home Mission Board for the sum
of ten pounds.  I am instructed by the Presbytery to lay this relation
before the Board and request their concurrence in the proposal."

This settlement was satisfactory and the congregation paid $360 per annum
until the end of his pastorate.  The average stipend for the whole time of
his ministry here was $314.84 a year, worth about $700 according to present
values.  From the congregation the main schemes of the Church received an
average annual contribution of $34.15, and other benevolent purposes
$76.27.  The givings of the later years were in advance of the earlier.

The circulation of the Bible received due attention.  At a meeting in the
church (1846), a committee of ten prominent citizens was appointed to visit
the various sections of the community in its interest.  James Lauder and
henry Rogers visited the Cape, entered 62 homes, found only one home
without a Bible, gave gratis two Bibles and three Testaments, and sold a
few.  In nine months the River John Bible Society sold 100 Bibles and 200
copies of the New Testament.

His son rightly refers to Mr. Waddell's eminent service for missions.  His
heart was in the foreign work of the Church from its start; and others
around him caught the infection of his zeal.  Before Dr. Geddie went to
Aneityum he spent some time (1845-46) in arousing the Church at home to her
duty in the matter.  Early in the spring of 1846 a tea party was held in
the Freemason's Hall, Pictou, and some from the River were there.  It was a
great occasion; people felt the inspiration of having a hand in initiating
such a noble work.  After tea the gathering was addressed by Revs. David
Roy, John Geddie, James Waddell, James Ross, J. MacKinlay, and Messrs. J.
W. Dawson, A. Patterson, and Fogo.  Sixteen pounds ($64) were taken in aid
of the mission.  The Missionary Register for 1853 gives an account of the
institution at River John of a Juvenile Bible Jubilee and Benevolent
Society.  Among the gifts to missions acknowledged about this time, our eye
caught the following from the River:-
Print dress and thread, Mrs. J. MacQuarrie.
5-1/2 yards home spun, Mrs. George Tattrie.
2 Pounds, Mrs. Andrew Lauder.
1 Pound, Andrew Lauder.

His son makes no reference to Mr. Waddell's generosity; in his giving he
did not inform his right hand of his left hand's doings.  Had one gone to
the homes of the poor, many testimonies would be heard.  In a year of great
scarcity of grain, he sent Joseph Gass to Prince Edward Island for a boat
load of oats, which he sold to those who had not money to buy seed grain.
Elder George Langill was of the same spirit, often refusing in time of
scarcity to sell hay or grain to such as had ready cash, saying they could
buy where the moneyless would be refused.  When one looked at Mr. Waddell's
marvelously gentle face one knew why the children and the poor loved him;
his hand and his heart were as kind as his face.

An Address
By the Rev. H. B. MacKay, delivered at the
Centennial Celebration.

We are met today to celebrate the close of the first century of the history
of the Presbyterian Church of River John.  Our narrative has to do with
certain persons and events in connection with the congregation.  Many of
these events must be of interest to this generation.  A century is a long
time.  It includes four generations. and each generation is making its own
history and building its own character.

This centennial record divides itself into four pastorates, each one of
which has its own peculiar interest.  My remarks are intended to deal with
the third of these.

I was settled in River John in June 1861.  I found it to be a village of
moderate size, built on the river of the same name, and representing the
various mercantile and mechanical industries generally found in such
places.  The congregation included the largest part of the population of
the village, and almost all the outlying stations.  The church was an old
building built in the old style, being two stories in height, with a small
cupola on the middle of the roof.  It was seated in the old fashion, with
high backed pews, and a gallery around the three sides, with its canonical
high pulpit adorned with its ancient sounding board.  Our worthy fathers
and mothers worshipped in these sanctuaries with evident enjoyment and
profit, not thinking so much about their own comfort as they did about the
inward happiness produced by the word.

The first work which the congregation undertook under the new pastorate was
to secure a manse for the minister.  The former ministers lived in their
own houses.  Manses were not so common then as they are now, and often
ministers were put to great inconvenience for the want of a place to live
in.  The congregation wanted to remedy this defect by providing a manse,
and they did so  by purchasing Rev. Mr. Waddell's house.  In making this
purchase they went about it like honest business men.  They first
considered what the property was worth, what was its full value between man
and man.  They offered Mr. Waddell this sum which he accepted, feeling that
he had lost nothing by the bargain.

After worshipping seven years in the old church the  people began to talk
about building a new church.  It was felt that a work so great required
some preparation; funds must be provided.  A few tea meetings were made and
the money thus collected formed the nucleus of a building fund.  At a
congregational meeting it was decided to arise and build.  Five leading
men: George Tattrie, James Langill, Charles MacLennan, Adams Archibald, and
Duncan Weir, were elected a building committee, with instructions to carry
the work on as expeditiously  as possible.  They were practical business
men, well qualified for the work.  The work was given out in two contracts:
George Mitchell finished the outside and George Munro the inside.  The work
was well done, which the building itself can testify after the tear and
wear of thirty eight years.  The time of building was very opportune.
Labor and material were then much cheaper than they are now.  All agreed
that the church was very economically built, at an expenditure of $4400,
including the bell and furnaces.  The Session agreed that the name of the
church should be "Salem Church," and that the painter be directed to paint
the name "Salem" on the front of the church:  and so the name was

The next consideration was what was to be done with the old church.  One
opinion prevailed as to that.  It was moved a few feet from its original
foundation and turned into a hall for the Sabbath school and prayer
meetings.  And well has it served its purpose, for there the lambs of the
flock were fed  with the sincere milk of the word by faithful and
intelligent teachers. Thomas B. Gould was a life long teacher in the
Sabbath school and he was ably assisted in the work by two  brethren who
are now in the eldership;  I refer to James Perrin and Archibald MacKenzie.
These brethren have long served their generation, and obtained for
themselves an honored name.

The order of service observed in the church in those days differed from
what it is now.  Then we had two sermons consecutively, with an
intermission of  twenty minutes.  The village people were anxious to have
this order changed to morning and evening services while the country people
wished them to remain as they were.  The advocates of the change felt that
the removal into the new church would be a favorable opportunity for the
change.  By wise and timely measures the change was effected, and an old
practice long enjoyed by the people was set aside.

Improvements in church accommodation are always followed by increased
attendance.  A new church always draws new hearers and we were no exception
to the rule.  I must here say that the River John congregation was always a
church-going congregation.  In good weather the church would be fairly
filled, and that was the rule and not the exception.  All religious
services were fairly respected.  The prayer meeting was not forgotten, we
did not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.  We held two prayer
meetings every week, on Wednesday night in the hall in the village and on
Thursday night in some outlying section.  In each of these places we had
persons who could take part in the exercises.  Along with these services we
had pastoral visitation from house to house in which the Shorter Catechism
was freely used.  This was the order of instruction in those days under
which the men and the women of the present day grew up.  These agencies of
the Presbyterian Church when faithfully applied never fail in producing the
highest type of men and women.

We will now for a little speak of the eldership of the congregation.  This
is an order peculiar to the Presbyterian Church.  The men are chosen by the
people and ordained to the office, and their continuance in office is for
life, or during good behaviour.  The duties of the elders are to examine
and admit applicants to the membership of the Church and to take a general
superintendence of the whole congregation.

At the beginning of my pastorate we had five elders:  John George Langill,
Ephraim Langill, David Langill, George Tattrie and James Lauder.  John
George had retired from the active duties of the eldership through age and
infirmity.  He died about the close of 1863 and his mantle more than fell
on his son Ephraim.  While our elders as a class are good and excellent
men, yet each has his own peculiar gift.  Ephraim was a man of natural
refinement.  He was one of nature's noblemen.  He revelled in the
literature of the Bible, and chose from among its sacred texts the most
beautiful and poetic passages and interwove them into his prayers.  No one
could listen to these prayers without feeling that such a man was mighty in
the Scriptures.  David Langill was doctrinal in his turn of mind.  He could
present a whole system of theology in his prayers in the strong and pure
language of the Bible.  David was in many respects a very worthy elder.
George Tattrie was a man above the average, and might be put in the class
of whom the apostle Paul speaks when he says, "Let the elders that rule
well be counted worthy of double honor."  He was a man of clear judgment
and of good comon sense, such a man as you would wish to have with you when
you were going to settle a hard case.  Such men are a source of strength to
any Session and a great comfort to a minister.  I regard our elders as a
strong factor in our Presbyterian Polity.

James Lauder was a Scotsman and had much of the Scottish character.  He
prided himself on being the companion of Hugh Miller, the distinguished
Journalist and Scottish Geologist.  He was well versed in the folklore of
his native country and could tell a Scottish story with great interest.  He
had the rare faculty of giving a religious turn to the conversaton in hand
and drawing from the subject good religious lessons.  These elders were
good christian men, having many qualifites that fitted them for their
office.  They served their generation and have gone to their reward; they
rest from their labours and their works do follow them.

After a few years of quiet progressive work it was deemed necessary to have
a new election of elders, to give increased strength to the Session, and
John MacQuarrie, William Redmond, George Langill and John Sutherland were
chosen.  These men carry their own recommendation on their face.  They were
men well spoken of from without, and sought to advance not only the
interests of the Church but the interests of true religion.  I must make a
remark here about George Langill which I think is deserved.  He lived
further from the church than any of the others; he had seven miles to
travel, and during his younger years he and his wife walked that distance
almost every Sabbath.  In later years he was able to take his own carriage
and drive there, and no man was more regular in his attendance than
Mountain George.  I often thought that the example of that good man would
be a swift witness against those careless ones along that road who
neglected the sanctuary.

In the winter of 1875 our congregation was blessed with a gracious
outpouring of the Spirit of God.  There had been much sowing of the word,
much attention given to the externals of religion, the gospel was preached
and heard as a matter of course, but there seemed to be little spiritual
life.  In God's time he arose in his might and breathed upon the dry bones
and they became a spiritual power.  How did this work begin?  When did it
begin?  We must say we cannot tell, but we find an answer in the words of
the Saviour:  "The wind bloweth where it listeth and thou hearest the sound
thereof but canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth; so is
every one that is born of the the Spirit."  Coming events were casting
their shadows before.  There seemed to be a strong desire for the means of
grace, a greater earnestness in the discharge of the duties of religion.
It was found afterwards that the same feeling was experienced by the Kirk
congregation.  I sent for the Rev. A. Sterling and he was with us for a few
nights, but we neither saw nor felt anything special.  The same feeling led
Mr. MacCunn to send for Rev. J. Fraser Campbell who was at that time
holding meetings in Pictou.  On his arrival he proposed a more systematic
arrangement of the work.  Meetings were held in the three churches, Salem,
St. George's, and the Methodist, but the evening meeting was held always in
Salem, because it was the largest.  Mr. Campbell proved himself to be an
excellent worker.  He had both the tact and the talent that fitted him for
the work.  The largest part of the preaching fell upon him and the common
people heard him gladly.  The church was packed to the door every night
with an attentive an anxious audience.  At the close of every diet of
preaching we had an after meeting, and sometimes as many as two hundred
would remain.  The most of these were spoken to and encouraged and helped
on their way.  These after meetings often continued till midnight.  The
report of our meetings induced several of our brethren to visit us and take
part in the work.  Rev. G. M. Grant from Halifax was with us several nights
and took an active share of the service, and so did Dr. Sedgwick and others
whom I might mention.  These meetings continued without any apparent
abatement for seventeen nights.  They were followed by a precious time of
ingathering.  After careful dealing with each catechumen we received 87 new
communicants into the fellowship of the Church.  Here we would pause and
say, "The Lord hath done great things for us whereof we are glad."  I do
not know how many the other churches admitted, but they must have gathered
in a proportionally large number.

We shall now select one or two cases who distinguished themselves in the
Lord's work.  Prominent among these is Paul F. Langill.  He was destined to
become a leader among men.  He was strong and active in body, vigorous in
mind, not easily discouraged.  The Lord made choice of him at an early
stage of the work to become a laborer in his vineyard.  It was among Paul's
first impulses to devote himself to the gospel ministry.  He knew that
intellectual preparation was necessary, and he saw many difficulties in his
way, but was determined, by the help of the Spirit, to overcome them all.
He turned aside from the plow, entered the classroom and began to put on
the armor.  He attended Pictou Academy for two or three terms, and then
Dalhousie University, where he graduated Bachelor of Arts.  He took his
theological course at Princeton, that famous seat of orthodoxy, and began
his life work on the prairies of the North West.  Here he met with all
sorts of characters but he was ready for them all.  He could ride a bronco
as well as the best of them, and he could lift the strongest of them at a
tug of war.  Having thus gained their confidence by taking part in their
own sports, he was able to gather them around him to hear a good gospel
sermon.  Superintendent Robertson has been heard to say more than once, " I
wish I had a score of missionaries like Langill."  I have been told that
Ralph Connor has Paul as a character in one of his books.  He is such a
character as Connor would like to describe.  Having given five years to the
North West Mission, he came East and readily found a congregation in the
Eastern Townships of Ontario.  In parting with our dear friend, we pray
that his bow may long abide in strength and that his arms may be made
strong by the mighty God of Jacob.

We look around us to-night on this large gathering and how few of the old
faces do we see!  Their homesteads are among us, but the inmates are gone.
The home of our pioneer minister is with us but his large family have gone
the way of all the earth.  Thomas, one of his sons spent his days on the
old homestead, and proved himself to be an excellent, systematic farmer.
He lived a blameless life as a citizen, and a consistent member of the
church of his fathers.  And last but not least we mention the name of
Alexander MacKenzie, whose life was identified with River John.  He began
life as a merchant when comparatively young.  As trade advanced he branched
out into ship-building.  He had the qualities of a good business man, was
cautious yet persevering, could read the signs of the times, so that when
he saw a crisis coming he was able to confine his business within those
commercial limits that avoid disaster.  He was a wise counsellor, a true
friend, and a generous friend of the congregation.  His house was an open
house for all our ministers.  Among the many virtues that adorned his
character none shone so brightly as when he entertained his friends around
his own hospitable table.

"The fathers, where are they, and do the prophets live forever?"  Time
would fail me to speak of the many men and women who have here nobly
performed their part in their day.  They did for us what we should do for th
e coming generation.  They received a heritage from their fathers, which
they have transmitted to us, the benefits of which we enjoy.  Let us in our
day transmit the same heritage to our children.   In this is the saying
verified, "One soweth and another reapeth.  Other men labored and ye are
entered into their labors."  In our labors let it be our highest ambition
to transmit to our  children the precious legacy of a PURE, SCRIPTURAL,


None could so well describe the men and events of his pastorate as he who
watched them all with the most intelligent eye, and we appreciate the
service he has rendered in casting light on the River of his day; but he
has said little of the one we are most interested in:  himself.  In the
following sketch use has been made of press notices at the time of his

The Rev. Hector Bruce MacKay was born in 1825 in Caithnesshire, Scotland.

His father was a sturdy veteran who had fought for king and country when
Britain was at war with France.  When peace was restored he returned to a
Highland farm, determining however to seek for his family, if not for
himself, the better opportunities of Nova Scotia.  Before leaving Scotland
he gave his children a good education and some of them became teachers of
note in eastern parts of the Province

After a preparatory course at Truro Academy Mr. H. B. MacKay entered the
Free Church College, Halifax and enjoyed the social, intellectual and
spiritual influences of Drs. King, Lyall and MacKenzie.  Leaving College in
1854 he was licensed by the Presbytery of Halifax to preach the gospel, and
proceed to Chipman, New Brunswick, to exercise his gifts in the cause of
religion.  On 22nd June 1855 he was solemnly ordained to the gospel
ministry and inducted into the pastoral charge of Chipman, a scattered,
remote and arduous field, just the arena to call forth the best efforts of
a zealous and devoted young man.

Completing seven years of faithful and successful work in New Brunswick, he
came to River John with a good store of ministerial experience.  He was
accounted a good preacher and, improving as the years passed by, he was
able to keep the interest and attention of this intelligent country
congregation for 24 years.  The church was well filled on Sabbath because
the people found spiritual food there that sustained them throughout the
week of joys and sorrows and temptations, of successes and disappointments.

In 1860 the Presbyterian Church of Nova Scotia (to which Salem congregation
belonged) and the Free Church of Nova Scotia were united to form the
Presbyterian Church of the Lower Provinces of British North America.  At
Halifax, 1 July 1861, by authority of the Synod at the request of the
Presbytery of Tatamagouche was formed, having the following congregations
and ministers; New Annan, Rev. James Watson; Wallace, Rev. John Munro;
Goose River, Rev. W. S. Durragh; River John, Rev. H. B. Mackay;
Tatamagouche, Rev. Thos. Sedgwick.  James Lauder was the only elder present
at the formation of the Presbytery.

A Call from Wallace removed Mr. MacKay thither, Sept. 1885.  The work there
received the full benefit of his ripe experience as pastor and teacher.

His wife, a daughter of John James Archibald of Truro, was called to her
eternal home on the 13th Sept. 1901, being 73 years of age.  Mrs. MacKay
was a woman of sterling good sense, sound judgment and marked intelligence.
She took an active and real interest in religious, benevolent and
missionary work.  To her husband she was a true helper in work and joy and
sorrow.  Of her ten children only three survived her; trials that would
break many a life, strengthened, developed and beautified hers, so firm was
her faith in our Master as Ruler of all and the Dispenser of joys and
sorrows for the discipline of His children.

In all his charges, wherever his lot was cast, he was a cheerful and
zealous laborer for the Master of the vineyard, and when, in his judgment,
the time came for retiring, he tendered his resignation and retired form
the duties of the pastorate, Oct. 1896.  Since retiring he has done much
useful work, both in preaching and Bible-class teaching.

When he had completed fifty years of ministerial service, his jubilee was
celebrated at Wallace, 22 June 1905.  His friends of River John and Wallace
and the minsters of the Presbytery presented a purse of money, and many
testimonies, neither the first nor the last, were borne to the graciousness
and usefulness of his long, laborious and efficient service in the
congregations of Christ's people to which he was called to minster.


"When I saw that curly head go into the pulpit I knew that was the minister
for us, " said Mrs. Lauder; she never saw that head before except in a
dream.  The rest of the congregation came to the same conclusion although
by a different method.  So I was heartily called and duely inducted into
the pastoral charge of River John, Oct. 1886.  That night Elder John
MacLean had a vision:  An august and glorious Personage, whom he knew and
loved, said to him, "As you all deal with this minister so shall I deal
with you in Judgment."  Not that he needed the warning; he was ever a
minister's friend; none was truer to me than John MacLean.  Special
services had been held in Salem Church in the Spring of 1886 by Messrs.
Meikle and Gerrior, and I had the unspeakable pleasure of gathering in the
converts.  There was a brisk spiritual life in the congregation that made
my work a splendid pleasure.  Coming in these circumstances no wonder I
loved the place, the people and the work.

The Rev. Messrs MacCunn and Swallow united with me in a series of
evangelistic services.  The attendance was large and the most encouraging
manifestations of Divine blessing were not wanting.  We believe that many
souls were converted by the Spirit of God and many saints had their
spiritual life brightened and deepened.  Seventy persons were received into
the communion of the Church on profession of faith.  Much of the success of
these services arose from the labors of William Douglas, who afterwards
entered the ministry and did efficient service therein.  He had a sweet
voice, a pleasing manner, a kind heart, a ready wit, a humble mind and a
thorough consecration to his Saviour.  His appeals you recognized as coming
from a heart filled with intense desire for the salvation of sinners and
the truly Christlike character in the lives of the saints.

There followed one monthly and six weekly prayermeetings in the
congregation, which brought me into frequent fellowship with all the
people--of course, I could not attend each meeting.  Their memory is very
sweet.  From five to nine of us would lead in prayer.  The praise was
especially hearty.  Many of the aged and of the young who took active part
in these meetings have joined the choir of the invisible in the glory that
excelleth:  Lewis Langill, the brothers John M. David Langill, among the
older; and Howard Rogers and 'Little Abram' C. Langill, among the younger.

Evangelistic services were held frequently; four series in Middleton, and
one a Brule and at Hodson.  Bright with perennial gratitude should we keep
the memory of those seasons of the special manifestation of the presence
with us of the Holy Spirit.  Mention should be made of the series conducted
by Mr. J. Logan Gordon in St. George's, and Mr. J. W. Britton and by
members of Preesbytery (Revs. David Wright, F. L. Jobb, and Robert Murray)
in Salem.

Sabbath services were held at Middleton, Hodson and (three or four times a
year) at M'Bain's Corner, besides in Salem Church.  Later finding I had one
Sabbath evening a month free, it was given to Brule, where the attendance
was so large as to encourage the people to build a church; which being
finished, I gave fortnightly evening servies.

The new church at Hodson was opened in 1894.  How much its erection owed to
the untiring efforts of William Henry, Esqr., I need not here relate,
except to say that without his consecrated patience and energy the building
would not be there.

Bible Class was taught in Salem Hall on Friday evenings from 1886 for many y
ears; later on Wednesday after prayermeeting.  It was resumed and taught by
James Perrin (1902 to 1906) and Archibald MacKenzie (1907 to 1909).  For
some years I had classes in Higher Religious Instruction in Salem Hall and
Marshville Schoolhouse, and a number of the pupils acquitted themselves
well in the General Assembly's examinations.  I spent a happy seven months,
later, in teaching four Bible classes in the outlying sections, taking two
a week.

The Salem Guild was organized in 1886 to give further field to the social
and religious energies of the young people.  Its members procured many
signatures to the temperance pledge, encouraged the circulation of the
Presbyterian Record, provided a free loan library for the Sabbath schools
of the congregation and purchased an organ for the hall (which later,
without any opposition, was removed to the church.)  It had also a lecture
course in which, among others, the Rev. Robt. MacCunn gave an address on
the Hymn Writers of the Church.  Later the Guild merged into a Young
People's Society of Christian Endeavor, which for many years proved an aid
in the spiritual life.  The change, although followed by good results, was
perhaps a mistake; some of us felt, when it was too late, that the Guild
constitution was better adapted to a small community where already a
prayermeeting existed, than that of the C.E.

In reply to special invitiations from Middleton, Brule and West Branch,
C.E. societies were organized at these places.

Junior Societies of Christian Endeavor were instituted in Salem Hall (July
1893, which did good work for nine years), at Louisville and at Denmark.
Although they have not continued, no one can deny that in their day they
helped the children of the Church to know its life and doctrine.  Had they
been monthly meetings their life might have been longer.

Sabbath school work has had its rises and falls in the years of my
ministry.  Its best season was in the second period of ten years, when in
the schools of the congregation on an average 28 workers and 256 pupils
attended annually.  Here credit is due to those faithful superintendents
and teachers who worked along regardless of man's encouragement or the
opposite.  What is needed in the Sabbath school teacher, as in every
follower of our Lord Christ, is a persistent recognition of the Master's
eye and an ignoring of human discouragements.

Among those who rendered long and efficient service in our Sabbath schools,
besides our elders, none takes a higher place than Joseph Stevenson,
teacher and superintendent in the Middleton union school for a long time.
His patience, simplicity and evident sincerity render him popular with the
children as well as with older people, and the community took occasion to
tell him so in an afternoon gathering at his home, 22 Sept 1905.

The River John Auxiliary of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society was
organized, 13 July 1887, by Mrs. R.F. Burns and Miss Fairbanks of Halifax.
In its first year it had thirty members; next year increased to forty.  Not
only has it contributed money and clothing for missions, but the sense of
the spiritual destitution of the heathen has been kept alive by its
readings and discussions.

How many of our co-workers here have lifted their voices in heaven to thank
God He gave them to do something for the dissemination of His truth among
the heathen.  Of the original thirty one-third and many who joined later
have entered eternal bliss.  Looking over the yearly lists I wish I could
mention each of these our sainted dead, these dear true ones who by word
and disposition helped us so much in life's journey.  The Reid girls,
Martha and Alice, who when they married left this congregation but never
lost their loyalty to it; Mrs. John Maclean and Mrs. Lauder, worthy wives
of princes in Israel, each so like her own husband, each in her own way so
deeply pious; Mrs. John Gass, another elder's worthy wife; Mrs. Charles
MacLennan, Mrs. Lachlan Johnson, Mrs. John Tattrie, Mrs. D. Langill
(teacher), Mrs. T.B. Gould, Mrs. T. Mitchell, and many others; all of whom g
ave us cause to thank God that they were given to us.

The Welsford Auxiliary was organized by Mrs. Gordon, 2 Sept 1890, with a
membership of eight ladies, which increased to eleven.  Each year it has
made a box of garments and contributed a sum of money to the parent
society.  It has had capable and saintly members, some of whom have joined
the majority on the Other Shore, and others are waiting on the river bank
for the Master's call to cross over.  Mrs. Abram Langill, worthy sister of
the intensely religious elder James Lauder, had a robust Christianity that
feared no foe and yielded to no discouragement.  Mrs. John H. Cameron, so
loyal to her Redeemer and this congregation, was called home in the midst
of her strength and usefulness.  The members would also wish to acknowledge
the helpful and unselfish services of Mrs. Isaac Langill, Mrs. J. R.
Sutherland, Mrs. A. J. MacKay, Mrs. David Anderson, Mrs. J. A. Douglas, and
others, who are no longer able to meet with them.

A Mission Band was begun, Oct. 1893, by Mrs J. R. Collie (an able leader
who gave much time to the work), continued for some years, and then united
with the Junior C. E. Society.  Another Mission Band was organized at
Middleton by Mrs. Geo. W. Nelson and Mrs. T. D. Mingo.  How great the loss
when these two women, so active in the cause of righteousness and so
gifted, left the community.  Marshville Mission Band has also done good
work under the efficient leadership of Mrs. H. M. Tattrie.  The future
shall declare what these bands have wrought in guiding the religious
development of the young and in giving them missionary instruction and

For about seven years I kept no horse, and during all that time David
Langill (David's son) or his son D. F. alternated with John Maclean or his
son K. R. or D. K. in taking me fortnightly to Middleton, and they rightly
boasted that we were never late or missed a service except one in so many
years.  And Albert or T. Clarke Henry, or Forbes Cameron took me monthly to
Hodson.  I was also indebted to others for conveyance on other occasions.

The congregation severely felt the depleting effect of the changes
occasioned by the so-called National Policy which made Nova Scotia an
expensive place to live in without providing the means whereby the
increased cost could be met.  For a short time our people were held by
shipbuilding operations.  When these were finished, our homes were emptied
of their strong and industrious young men and women, who poured into the
United States.  They mostly carried their religion with them, and were
welcomed, respected and helpful wherever they went.  The home congregation
keenly felt the loss, yet bravely assumed the added burdens of civil and
religious life.

For about eighty years the one hymn-book of the congregation was the
incomparable Scottish Version of the Book of Psalms together with the
Paraphrases of several passages of Sacred Scripture.  The Presbyterian
Hymnal was added, Jan. 1887, and when the Presbyterian Book of Praise was
issued, it took the place of all three.  We never attempted that
unauthorised, ritualistic and, in many instances, meaningless "Amen" at the
end of the hymns.  Almost always two Psalms were sung at each service.  We
felt that no modern hymns could equal in simplicity, beauty, strength, and
depth of spiritual insight those holy songs of Israel which sustained,
cheered and strengthened the saints and martyrs of the Scottish Covenant,
and formed the only medium of praise in such far-reaching revivals as those
at Shotts and Cambuslang.

Individual communion cups were first used at the Fall Communion, 1906.  The
old communion set was received in the Fall of 1809, together with the
communion tokens.

A little printing was done.  The first printed report of the Managing
Committee called attention to the 'absolute necessity of having the
basement of the church completely excavated'; and the following summer this
was done, and new furnaces with boxes which drew the cold air from outside
the building, were installed.  To the decrease of neuralgia and other aches
was added increased comfort and devotion among the worshippers, and safety
from fire.  In church or school the best is not obtainable where, to save
fuel, the air is drawn from the auditorium, passed around the furnace, and
thrown back to the audience, each time with a diminished supply of oxygen
and increased swarms of disease-germs.

"Our Journal", an eight-page paper, two columns to the page, was issued in
the interests of true doctrine and this congregation, from April 1899 to
March 1901, 13 numbers.  The subscriptions amounted to two dollars and a
half.  A copy was supplied to each family and many were sent by mail to
absent members.  The only other attempt at journalism at River John, so far
as I know, was "The Pioneer," a four-page paper, three columns to the page,
begun in Sept. 1879, published every Saturday by J. D. Gauld, who
compounded drugs where now Hiram Rogers dispenses sweets.

In temperance work two principles are recognized as mutually helpful: moral
suasion and legal authority.  We never try to make men holy by act of
parliament, but only by the vigilant eye and strong arm of the law can the
base and debasing liquor-seller be detected and driven to honest labour.
The Mainmast Division, Sons of Temperance, has fostered the temperance
sentiment of the community.  Its constitution did not permit of such bold
and effective work as was done by the earlier Temperance Society.

The Clergymen of the various Churches, with a few exceptions, worked
zealously for the support of temperance principles.  In the canvass for the
federal plebiscite on Prohibition (1898) they were brought together against
a common foe.  A series of meetings were held with the electorate and 2615
pamphlets were distributed in the four or five polling sections embraced in
our congregations.  Having been brought so happily into conference we found
our common interests as co-workers in the one vineyard of God so numerous
that a Ministers' Guild was formed, which met monthly, with more or less
regularity, for six or seven years.  A most determined fight was put up by
this Guild against the illicit sale of intoxicants in the Riverside hotel
and other places; and as determined a resistance was given by the
proprietor of the Riverside.  The victory, for the time, lay with the
pastors, for they had the sentiment of the community with them, and no man,
even though making good money out of bad rum, can long withstand the moral
sentiment and activity of his neighbours backed by the prayers of the
saints.  Perpetual vigilance and prompt action are the price of prohibition
of the liquor traffic, for as long as there is a thirsty throat there will
be a contemptibly mean soul ready to make money by supplying the
life-destroying drink.  In the wake of prohibition follow lawlessness
supported by perjury, and the concoction and sale of poisonous intoxicants;
not prohibition but the vices of men are to blame for these.  The
enforcement of customs laws, to which we so meekly bow, was, even within
the memory of the living, accompanied with loss of health and wealth, by
perjury and murder; yet the laws were good and right.

Of the elders who have in my time been called to the reward of their
faithfulness the first was David Langill, a gentle man, an earnest,
faithful student of divine truth.  From early youth distinguished by his
piety, he continued throughout a long life to take part and interest in all
the work of the congregation, proving a useful member, an intelligent and
very successful Sabbath school teacher, and an officer of unfailing loyalty
in the Church of God.

John McLean came to us from Scotsburn, a typical Scotsman in his caution,
industry, and thorough clan loyalty to his Redeemer and His Church.  In the
Sabbath school he showed the same regularity and quiet earnestness which
characterized his whole spiritual life.  He was reasonably progressive,
aiding every forward movement proposed by the Session.

In 1904, two of our elders were called home: Ephraim Langill at the age of
64 and George Tatterie at 90 years of age.  Ephraim represented the
excellent qualities of his father (Ephraim) and grandfather, both of whom
did good work for Christ in the eldership.  His personal piety made
effective his work in Sabbath school and prayer meeting.  Very happy was he
when he was the means of leading some one to fully receive Jesus as
Saviour, or of helping over spiritual difficulties.

George Tattrie was a man of special eminence, and of such practical  wisdom
that his advice was sought in matters of every kind.  He was  largely
guided and upheld in the trials of a long pioneer life, as so many others
of earth's brave humble ones, by very strong views of the  sovereignty of
God in both the spheres of nature and of grace.  The strength of his
service in the Church and the world, in the Sabbath school and Session, lay
in his grasp of the sovereignty and the love of God.

William Redmond was the youngest of a family of fourteen, who emigrated
with their parents from Carrickfergus, Ireland, with the intention of
settling in North Carolina, where the father had purchased a plantation
before selling his Irish bleach-fields. They suffered shipwreck at Coal
Harbor and settled in Middle Musquodoboit.  After some years the father and
the then unmarried members of the family removed to River John (1817).
William settled at the Backshore (1826) and married a daughter of the first
family of Scottish blood to settle here (Allen) and later removed to the
village.  He was of a quiet, sincerely pious, firm and friendly
disposition, shrewd in business, loved his Church dearly, a good adviser,
and a conscientious  and charitable companion and neighbor.

In 1906 also two of our elders entered into rest.  Very sudden was the home
calling of James A. Langill, the deeply devotional son of Mountain George,
by a tree falling on him, causing instantaneous death, which was to him
immediate glory.  He was friendly and companionable, and as hospitable and
self-sacrificing for the welfare of his guests as any man in that most
hospitable Earltown.  He took a special interest in the young people and
proved an enthusiastic leader in Sabbath school and Christian Endeavor.  He
was of a cheerful disposition, carried his smile and his religion wherever
he went, and was welcome everywhere.  His name will long be honoured in
East  Earltown and Balmoral Hills.

Isaac Langill, the youngest brother of Mountain George, was good-hearted
and hospitable, and a kind friend to the minister and his family.  He
discharged the duties of the eldership faithfully, even to keeping the
pastor posted as to the sick in his district.  He was ever ready to assist
in Sabbath school and prayermeeting.  In those days Brookvale was more
populous than now, and the prayer-meeting would overflow from the two
largest rooms of a house sometimes to the  kitchen and the porch.

Of the many men who in these years assisted in the work of the Church, I
must content myself with the mention of three who were also prominent in
advancing the kingdom of Christ, in the affairs of trade and commerce.

Charles MacLennan entered into business under Alexander MacKenzie, and
early manifested those gifts of initiative, business tact, and hearty
friendliness, which characterized him throughout life.  Many a man he
helped out of difficulties, and when he found his confidence misplaced, he
took the disappointment cheerfully.  At the expense of much time and money
and by persistent advocacy, he secured railway facilities for River John,
saving the then Government from the vengeful blunder of placing the depot
four or five miles up the river.  According to his light, he strove for the
welfare of the community and served his generation well. I think I can
safely say that the River and the surrounding districts have missed him
more than any man whom death has claimed from our commercial life.

John Henry came to us from Mount Dalhousie about 1849, and bought a farm in
Marshville. A few years later having disposed of his farm, he ran a steam
saw and grist mill near Salem Church.  About 1865 he opened a general store
by the big bridge, where hecontinued in business to the end of his life.
He was a successful merchant, an ardent advocate of temperance principles,
and firm in his attachment to the Presbyterian church and doctrine.

George Munro was born at the Eight-Mile Brook (1841) and came with his
father and the other members of the family to River John (1856).  He was a
carpenter and builder (known for the excellence of his work) before he
became a merchant (1875).  He had a ready hand and voice in all that tended
to improve the neighborhood and to advance the welfare of the community.
He was a bold and unselfish leader and as a member of the Managing
Committee he gave much time and labor to see that what was entrusted to him
was rightly done; and, generally, he carried into his religious life the
caution, clear-sightedness and enterprise of his business life.  He was a
true, helpful friend, especially to the poor and the cause of Christ, and
diligent and reverent in the use of religious ordinances.

Two of our young men heeded the call to preach the gospel and entered the

Whilst a boy at school George P. Tattrie opened his heart to the Saviour's
knock and began the long toilsome journey to the pulpit of the Presbyterian
Church.  He studied in the local schools, Pictou Academy, Dalhousie College
(graduating B.A., 1894), Presbyterian College, Halifax (1894-96), and
Princeton Theological Seminary (graduating B.D., 1905).  He was licensed by
the Presbytery of Halifax (1896) and, responding to the call of the West
for young men who were willing to spend their strength in the arduous
fields of new settlements, was ordained by the Presbytery of Rock Lake,
Manitoba (14 July 1896) and inducted into the pastorate of La Riviere.  Two
years later he accepted a call to Gainsboro in the Presbytery of Melita;
and afterwards did mission work in the Presbytery of Regina, principally at
Rose Plain.  His work in the West was strenuous, efficient and appreciated.
Dr. Robertson, the Superintendent of missions, at the Synod at Truro,
referred to him as of the type of workers he wished from the Maritime
Provinces.  On returning from Princeton Seminary he accepted the charge of
New Carlisle.

Gilbert Webster Langille after leaving the Marshville school worked for
some time in New Glasgow and Westville, haunted like Mitchell by the call
to the larger work for Christ and His Church.  In 1896 he definitely began
studying for the ministry and entered Pictou Academy.  Next year, attending
River John High school, he passed the "B" examinations and obtained a
teacher's licence.  For two years he "wielded the birch" in the home
school: then continued his studies in Dalhousie (graduating B.A. 1904) and
Presbyterian College, Halifax (1904-07).  During the six successive summers
of his college courses he labored in mission fields.  After graduation,
licensure and ordination, he took up the work at Humphrey and Shediac, N.B.
as ordained missionary.  Thence he was called to Foxwarren, Man., a town
200 miles west of Winnipeg, where success and the blessing of the Lord of
the harvest attended his ministrations.  In order to desirable
rearrangement of his stations, he resigned the charge (1909), and was
settled in Wawanesa in the Presbytery of Glenboro.

The other professions have also claimed some of our talented energetic
young men.  Cranswick B. Munro, the brothers Owen H. and Harold Cameron,
and D.A. MacKay entered the medical fraternity.  To the law we gave R.H.
Langill.  Carl E. MacKenzie was promoted Bank Inspector for the Royal Bank
of Canada.  His brohter, Roy MacKenzie, Ph.D., (who did special work on the
old English Ballad) has become Professor of English Literature in Washinton
Unviersity in St. Louis, Mo.  Wm. H. Ross, Ph. D. who did research-work in
radio-activity, is Assistant Chemist in the Univerisity of Arizona.  Of
civil engineers we sent out Geo. T. MacKenzie, B. A. and Murray H. L.

In closing this sketch of these twenty-two years' history I realize how
inadequate has been my presentation of its men and women.  Names I have not
mentioned were as influential in framing the form and power of the
congregation as some I have recorded, especially those ladies who helped in
C. E., Junior C. E., and Sabbath school work.  They are still with us,
working for the Christ they love in the Church of His covenant.


Of yore beyond the sea
      Our fathers worshipped Thee,
      Kept Thy command.
Thou bless't their steadfast way;
Be still our Guide and Stay.
God, guard Thy Canada,
      Our native land.

To serve Thy Christ our Lord,
Thy Church and written Word,
      Our strength renew,
Our portion wealth or want,
We never shall recant;
God, guard Thy Covenant,
      And keep us pure.


PRAISE to Jesus, Saviour, Lord!
    Glory to His name alone;
Grace to us He did afford-
      All His grace we will make known.
Head and King of His elect!
      Joyful let His people praise
Mercy through a hundred years,
      Strength and truth through all the days.

Hope our fathers placed in Him,
      Coming to uncultured land;
Wall of fire to them he proved,
       Watcher, Helper near at hand.
Trials pressed on every side,
        Watchful foes about them lay;
Steadfast through a hundred years,
        They and we are in God's way.


In 1809 The Christian Association of Washington (in Pennsylvania) was
founded by the Rev.Thomas Campbell, a minister of the Secession
(Presbyterian) Church, who separated from his brethren to plead for liberty
and union.  Two years later the first church of the Association was
organized; and his son Alexander was set apart to its ministry (1812).  Six
months later immersion was adopted as the form of baptism and the church
joined the local Baptist association.  Alexander Campbell took the leading
of the new movement and promulgated his views principally by public
debates.  Other churches were organized along the lines he advocated,
namely: the abandonment of creeds; the adoption of weekly and unrestricted
communion, a simple order of worship, and the independence of each church
under the care of elders and deacons.  In 1827 Baptist Associations began
to declare non-fellowship with the churches organized on Campbell's basis,
and these formed themselves into the body called the Disciples of Christ or
the Christian Church, but the name Christian is properly sectarianly
distinctive of the followers of the Rev. John O'Kelly.

James Murray, a Baptist, came to Pictou from Scotland in 1811, and later
removed to River John, where  he found another Baptist family already
settled, that of James Allen.  On 18 June 1815 they held their first
meeting for public worship.  Other Scottish Baptists came to the River or
its not too distant neighborhood, and joined the little assembly, of whom
(between 1815 and 1825) were John Milne, John Wilson, James Sillars, John
MacNab, Edward Hamilton, Neil Henry, Archd. MacArthur, Thos. Renton, Wm.
MacKay, W. Taylor, John Gauld, John Hamilton.  Some of the members had
copies of Campbell's books and from 1823 his periodical, The Christian
Baptist.  In 1824 they organized upon his basis (one of the first churches
to do so in British dominions) and solemny set James Murray apart to the
office of elder.  James Sillars became deacon in 1834, and elder in 1840.
Jas. Murray, junior, in 1834, Malcolm Sillars in 1840, James Lang in 1845,
John Collie in 1882, were appointed deacons.  The following were also
chosen as elders: Alex. Fullerton, 1860; Malcolm Sillars and John D. Gauld,

The members of the church were a quiet, sober people, with Scottish
industry and intensity of conviction.


The early records of the Methodist congregation were carried to the United
States by some person who valued them and we are deprived the privilege of
their help in writing of its men.

Christopher J. Perrin, whose praise is so quaintly, elaborately, truly and
permanently recorded on his tombstone, may well be called the Father of
River John Methodism.  He was above the average of those days in education,
capable in exhortation and prayer, zealous for religion, and desirous that
his gifts should be recognized.  For his talents there was large room
before a minister was settled here and later when he gathered his neighbors
in his own home, which served for some time as a Methodist meeting place.
So far as I have heard, Andrew Hurley was his chief helper in conducting
the worship in those old days.  With the aid mainly of his own sons
Christopher built the first church.  His son George acted as janitor and
provided the fuel and entertained the minister until the parsonage was
built in Mr Black's time.

River John, at first and for some time, was part of the Truro circuit;
later the circuit ran along the shore from the Albion Mines to Wallace.  We
learn from Smith's History of Methodism that Wm. Webb was instructed by
Conference to take his station at River John in 1828, and four years later
Thomas Taylor was sent thither.  Others of the earlier ministers were
Messrs. Cooney (1836), Weddall, Jas. Narroway, and Henniger.

Since the formation of the Eastern British American Conference the
following ministers have been stationed at the River, the number preceding
each name indicating the year of appointment: -

1855 Alexander B. Black
1857 Geo. S Milligan, B. A.
1860 Stephen Humphrey, B. A., and John Cassidy.
1861 Wm. Tweedy
1864 Jeremiah V. Jost.
1867 Geo. W. Tuttle
1869 Jas. Tweedy
1872 R. Barry Mack
1875 David B. Scott
1878 John Astbury
1881 Jas. Tweedy, 2nd. term
1883 Fred A. Buckley, B. A.
1885 Chas. W. Swallow, B.A.
1888 Geo. W. Whitman
1891 Wm. Nightingale
1893 James B. Heal
1895 Donald Farquhar.
1899 Charles M. Mack
1903 C. H. C. M'Larren.
1905 Hibbert R. Baker
1908 A student in summer (C. W. Wright), then Hubert C. MacNeil.
1909 G. J. Bond.

An honorable list of piety, eloquence and energy.  Personal gifts and
diligence and the historic environment caused some of these names to take a
more prominent place in memory; but those who from week to week were fed on
spiritual bread will never forget any who spread the food before them.  The
Rev. D. B. Scott assisted at the services of the great revival of 1875, and
the Rev. C. W. Swallow at those of 1888.  The Rev. Donald Farquhar used his
eloquence on behalf of the suppression of the liquor traffic at the time of
the plebescite, and the Rev. C. M. Mack put his youthful energy into the
fight with the liquor dealer and the more efficient work of saving young
men and boys being for two years the untiring secretary of the Young Men's

This congregation gave a number of its sons to the ministry, James Burns
was received on probation, 1853, and ordained, 1857.  After fourteen years'
service in the home land he went to the United States, where he died.

John George Bigney belongs to one of the first families.  James Bigney came
from near Lake Geneva, Switzerland, to Halifax in 1753.  He married a Miss
MacCallum and settled in River John (1786) where their son John George was
born.  The Bigneys owned all the land between Kingshill and the river.
John George married early and had a large family, of whom Thomas married
Sarah Rogers.  John George, the third son of this happy marriage, was
received on probation, 1861, and ordained, 1865.  Now on the supernumerary
list, he resides at Hantsport, N.S.  In thirteen circuits he diligently
served God and his Church with gentleness combined with zeal and success.

Wm. Henry Burns was received on probation, 1867, went to the United States
and was there ordained; he holds the degree of D. D., became Presiding
Elder in Chicago, and now resides in a suberb of that city.

David W. Johnson, second son of Duncan and Abigail Johnson, born 1852, at
sixteen years of age taught the Hedgeville school for one year, then after
a year at Mt. Allison College, became principal of the River John schools.
Graduating B.A. from Mt. Allison in 1873, he was received on probation,
1874, and ordained, 1877, and has served twelve of the most important
circuits of the Conference.  Mt. Allison University conferred on him the
degree of M.A. in course, and D.D. in 1907.  For six years he was Secretary
of Conference, then elected to the Presidency.  Many times was he District
Chairman, and was elected to five General Conferences.  He is a member of
the Board of Regents of Mt. Allison.  At the General Conference of 1906 he
was elected to the editorial chair of "The Wesleyan," the official organ of
the Methodist Church in the Maritime Provinces, which office he now fills.
Dr. Johnson married Jennie L. Morse, a graduate of Mt. Allison Ladies'
College, and has four sons.

Wm. H. Langill was received on probation, 1878, ordained, 1882, and has
well served his Church in some of her chief circuits.  Often did he act as
Chairman of District, and twice was member of General Conference; he has
been Secretary and President of the Nova Scotia Conference.  Oliver Langill
was his father, a man of strict integrity of character, enthusiastic for
religion, kind-hearted, a local preacher versed in Scripture and eloquent
in exposition.

This Methodist congregation has formed a valuable element in the moral and
spiritual development of the community, and it may be surmised from the
foregoing short sketches of the men it gave to the ministry, that no other
so small a church has had so large an influence in the general work of
Methodism in this Province.


Some sailors who settled on the Cape were among the earliest members of the
English Church at the River.  The first minister of this denomination here
was the Rev. Chas. Elliott, who made his home in Pictou in 1832, and was
admitted Rector there two years later.  Dr. Patterson speaks of him as "a
man of amiable disposition and gentle manners, and laboring diligently but
quietly in his own calling, he gained the affection of his own church and
the respect of the community."  He gathered his followers here into the
Presbyterian church and there attended to their religious needs, until they
had put up a building of their own.  It was in their new church, when the
floor was laid, the first confirmation service was held.

His parish at first embraced the whole north shore from Stellarton to
Pugwash, in which wide range he helped to lift the moral tone of the
adherents of his church and to intensify their loyalty thereto.  In the
River John district among his chief supporters were Squire MacLean and the
Mingo brothers.  George, David and John Mingo came with their father from
Philadelphia to Halifax and then to the River (1809).  They settled on the
Tatamagouche road near the Mingo road, where their descendants have formed
an interesting and law-abiding community.

Mr. Elliott was interested in education; for the Cape he obtained teachers
of his own denomination, and the Grammar school on the east side of the
river had to meet his opposition.  He returned to England in 1865, whence
six years later he passed to the reward of a useful life.  His successor
was the Rev. J. A. Kaulbach (now Archdeacon ), the first Curate of River
John.  Although he stayed but four years he was much beloved and respected
and his memory is still fragrant in the community.

After some time the Rev. J. L. Downing was placed in charge and has
continued until the present time, thirty-seven years of often very toilsome
service.  Of his sons, Hibbert is a civil engineer.  Two new churches were
built, one at the River and one at Middleton.

One of the most outstanding characters of his parish was the late Captain
Geo. Heighton, a broad-shouldered, broad-minded man of strict integrity.

A Sabbath school is taught at River John.  Although for various reasons the
parish has not as many members as formerly, its hold on church work is
rather stronger.


The great majority of the first English speaking settlers at River John
were members of the Church of Scotland, the kind Mother of Canadian
Presbyterianism.  They found in Mr. Mitchell a man of liberal mind,
strongly attached to Scottish thought and practice, and one who welcomed
ministers of their church to his pulpit.  They saw no cause to set up a
separate organization, joined his congregation and accepted ordinances at
his hands.  The Rev. Hugh Ross, whose cause Mr. Mitchell befriended,
ministered to Backshore and Toney River, preaching in Mr. Melville's house
and also at Seafoam before the church was built at Toney.  To a large
extent those coming later attended the ministrations of Mr. Waddell without
formal union with his congregation.  Two elements in the church at this
time afforded a foundation for separation, the predominant influence of the
Swiss and French people, and the dissension of those who favored the liquor
traffic.  I would not hint that these formed the cleavage, yet they
nourished disunion.  And outside the battle was hot between Kirk and Free
Church, and it seemed  disloyalty to hold aloof.  Thus when in 1849 the
church at Backshore was burnt, one of the men, looking at the smoking
ruins, exclaimed, "We'll build a church of the Kirk and none other shall
enter," and that too was the sentiment of  his hearers.  The Rev. Messrs.
MacKay, Sinclair, Goodwill and J.W. Fraser successively and bravely
sustained the blue banner there and at Scotsburn.

When a vacancy occurred by Mr. Waddell's resignation, those who desired
closer relations  with the Church of their fathers and of their own youth
felt that the appropriate time had come for action.  Representations were
made to the Presbytery of Pictou in connection with the Scottish Kirk, and
Mr. G. M. Grant (afterwards  Principal of Queen's College) was sent to
investigate (1861).  The Salem people were in nowise opposed to the
movement and opened their building for Mr. Grant and his congregation.  He
found about sixty families scattered in the woods, along the shores and at
the River, who wished to be gathered into a church.  Fresh from the land of
cakes and Catechism, he enthused them with loyal zeal and a building was
begun.  When he returned (Aug. 1862) he could gather his people in their
own church (which in his honor they called St. George's) although it yet
had no pews.  Mr. Grant remained two months with them.

In Sept. 1863 the Rev. Robert MacCunn, M.A., was inducted into the pastoral
charge of St. George's, and continued therein until his death, although he
received offers of other appointments.  At one time he received a call from
Stellarton, at another from  Dalhousie, N.B.; and he was asked by Dr.
Norman MacLeod of Glasgow, the celebrated and broadminded Convener of the
General Assembly's Foreign Mission Committee, to go to India.  But he loved
River John, its river (upon which he so frequently took his friends for a
row), its broad waving fields of grain and grass, its woods and glades, its
hills and valleys, and especially its people.  The more hardships he
encountered in his work the more his love.  The congregation took form and
steadily increased in numbers and influence under his ministry.  His
sympathies so embraced all the interests of the community that he would
lend influence to any congregation, great or small.  He was a prominent
worker in the remarkable awakenings of 1875 and 1888.  And the greater part
of his people loved him and expressed their attachment at various times in
presents of sleigh, harness, easy chair, purse of money. &c. as well as in
words.  In his later years his field included also the West Branch

At the Union of the Presbyterian Churches to form the Presbyterian Church
in Canada (1875), Mr. MacCunn was placed in a very difficult position and
subjected to misunderstanding by his brethren who entered the Union.
Personally he was in the  heartiest sympathy with the movement; as Clerk of
the Synod of the Maritime Provinces much fell to be done by him to further
the cause of union.  As Pastor of St. George's, whose people were not   yet
ready for such a movement, he had to sacrifice his personal preferences and
decline to enter the Canadian Church.  Instead of blame, those ministers
who remained with their congregations in the small body they continued to
call a Synod, deserve praise and shall receive it from the Master of the
Vineyard.  Later, some of them, including Mr. MacCunn, after years of
patient education, were able to lead their people into the National Church.
Referring to the reception of St. George's and its Pastor by the
Presbytery  of Pictou into the Presbyterian Church in Canada (1894), Dr. G.
M. Grant wrote to the 'Presbyterian Witness':

"Let us offer a word of congratulation, in particular, to my old companion,
Robert MacCunn.  We took the Master's degree in Glasgow University at the
same time.  He was a better mathematician than I, and a more exact Latin
scholar.  He has never had the full measure of recognition which his
scholarship and worth entitled him to.  But I feel sure that this action of
his congregation has not only his warm approval but that it must seem to
him a sufficient recompense for all the labors of his life.  May his joy
increase, may he see more abundant fruit from his labors, and may he be
spared for many years to serve the Church of Canada as faithfully as he has
served his congregation!"

Mr. MacCunn early manifested the aptitude for certain studies referred to
by Dr. Grant.  At the Greenock High School he won in 1851 the silver medal
for proficiency in Latin; in 1852 the silver medals in Greek and Latin; in
1853 the silver medals in Greek and Latin and the gold medal of his class
for general proficiency.  At College he carried off various prizes along
the same lines.

His sermons were rich in scriptural allusion and quotation, and in
illustrations from the poets.  The sick and afflicted appreciated his
visits; his selection of Scripture was always appropriate, and in
conversation and prayer he presented solid comfort from the Word of God.
No platitudes of philosophic resignation satisfied him; only "Thus saith
the LORD."

He delighted in the fellowship of ministers of all evangelical
denominations and in having the congregations of the River meet for united
prayer and praise.

The church was enlarged and improved (1896) to its present condition mainly
through the energy of the late M. H. Fitzpatrick, who spent a few years at
the River.  For forty years Robert Sutherland has acted as Superintendent
of the Sabbath school, in which Miss Bessie MacCunn was first a pupil then
a teacher until she went to Trinidad to take charge of a mission school.

After a long and painful illness, borne with the utmost patience and
resignation to the will of that Lord whom he had so many years served and
of whose presence and sympathy he felt assured, Mr. MacCann was called to
his crown on the last day of February 1895, at the age of fifty-six years
and eight months.  He was mourned by the whole community.  To his own
congregation he was loyal, to other people ever charitable and ready to be

A very worthy successor was found the Rev. Robert John Grant, B. D., a
native of Sunny Brae, who, after a brilliant college course was ordained
and inducted to the charge, 17 Sept. 1896,  At college he gained not only
the respect but also the affection of all his fellow-students.  He was a
clear thinker, and earnest student who readily grasped the subject of
study, and withal very humble and retiring, preferring to give the place of
honor to another.  His brief pastorate was distinguished by close attention
to the needs of his wide field, which now included all the families at West
Branch as well as the St. George's people.  An indefatigable toiler was
needed, and such was he.  Into his church he welcomed Messss. J. L. Gordon
and J. W. Britton for a series of special services.  As a preacher he was
clear in statement, evangelical and Calvinistic in thought, illuminating in
exposition and earnest and winning in manner.  His appeals were from the
heart and were commended by his manner of life; thus he won the confidence
and affection of young and old.

He was a commissioner to the General Assembly held at Montreal, 1898.  On
Friday, 10 June, he, in company with some others, went for a bicycle ride.
In returning a street car overtook and killed him; and his life, learning,
qualities of heart and soul were suddenly transferred to an as yet unseen
land as real as this earth and eternal, to be developed in glory andto
serve the Christ he sought here to honor.

In view of this sad occurrence the General Assembly adopted the following

"The General Assembly records with profound sorrow the removal, by a
lamentable accident, of one of its members, the Rev. R. J. Grant, minister
of St. George's Church, River John, Nova Scotia.  Mr. Grant was a young man
of high intellectual attainments and of devoted piety.  He was faithful in
the service of Christ and the Church, and his brief ministry was
acceptable, fruitful and rich in promise.  The General Assembly tenders its
deepest sympathy to the bereaved relatives and congregation, and prays that
the God of all consolation comfort them in their sorrow.  Farther:  The
General Assembly resolves to attend the funeral of the deceased brother,
from this Church to the railway station, at the close of the afternoon

The Rev. J. A. Crawford, B. A., was inducted (13 Dec 1898) into the charge
and continued to minister here until Summer of 1907.  He was a diligent
student, a fluent speaker, an instructive teacher and a laborious pastor.
To take a post-graduate course at a Scottish University he resigned his
charge, and is now minister of Fintray, Aberdeenshire.

Mr. Thomas Johnstone was ordained and inducted, 13 July 1908, and demitted
the charge, 1910, in order that West Branch might become a separate charge.
Glad were the people to have a pastor all their own when he was settled at
West Branch, 21 Sept. 1910.

St. George's has had a good succession of elders.  The following were
solemnly ordained to this sacred office:  in 1863, John Holmes, Alexr.
Stramberg, Alexr. Rose; 1869, David MacGregor, John MacKenzie, George
Holmes; 1879, John Sutherland, James Stramberg; 1899, George Sutherland,
Wm. MacGregor; 1909, Donald Douglas, John W. Fraser.

Of these, five have entered into rest.  Alexr. Stramberg was earnestly
devote to his Church and in its beginnings gave much time and labor to its
strengthening.  Alexander Rose gave wise counsel, and David MacGregor, so
deeply devotional, was also ready to sacrifice energy and comfort for the
welfare of his Church.  George Holmes was gentle, liberal-minded, with
Elder J. R. Sutherland conducted the Sabbath school in the Bigney district
and did much for the spiritual welfare of that district.  George Sutherland
was active in prayermeeting and other church work, a helpful neighbor,
zealous for religion, staunch to his Church and its pastor, and readily
gave aid to the sick, the aged and the needy.

Seven members of this congregation entered the medical profession:  Roderic
Sutherland (the first graduate in medicine from Dalhousie University), his
nephews, the brothers James A. and Robt. H. Sutherland, the brothers J. G.
and Henry Munro, Wm. MacKenzie and Charles Stramberg.  Basil MacCunn is a
civil engineer.

I demitted the charge of Salem Congregation, 31 October 1908, on account of
ill health, and was succeeded by the Rev. C. D. MacIntosh, M.A.  After
several conferences, the two congregations, Salem and St. George's, were
united under his ministry, 4 Jan. 19ll.  The separate existence of St.
George's, so necessary at first for the welfare of the flock of Christ, had
bravely fulfilled its mission and now linked its strength to Salem's.  Mr.
MacIntosh has those qualities of heart and intellect which make the
successful pastor.  May the united congregation be a mighty force for
righteousness and the extension of our Lord's kingdom at home and abroad.


In 1848 the Baptist Church was organized at a meeting held by the Rev. Obed
Parker in David Blackwood's house, 8 March.  The same year the Revs. Chas.
Tupper, D. W. C. Dimock, and Wm. Hobbs preached for the church.  The Oak
Church was built by Chas. Sutherland and Robert Allen, and mainly at their
own expense.  It was without a pastor until the coming of the Rev. C. S.
Carbonell in 1876.  He put the congregation into working order.  Nelson
Sutherland was elected deacon and a Sabbath school was instituted.  Then
followed the Revs. D. W. Crandell (for about four years), Charles S.
Stearns (1881, for a short time), W. P. Freeman, P. D. M'Gregor, F. D.
Davison (1887), J. H. MacDonald (1890), J. Wallace, J.T. Dimock (1895 to
1904), Geo. L. Bishop (for one year), A. E. Ingram (1906 to 1910, resigning
on account of ill health).  The Rev. J. T. Dimock did good work not only in
his field but also as Secretary of the Temperance Committee of the
Ministers' Guild.

The pastoral field embraces the Head of the Bay, New Annan, Brule and River
John, and imposes considerable work on its minister.

Among the early members of this church were David and Mary Blackmore, Chas.
and Jacob Sutherland, Richard Gammon, Reuben Stiles, Harriet MacLean, Mary
Hamilton, Jane Ann Cameron.  Mary Blackmore became the wife of Robert Allen
and thus the grandmother of the three young men, sons of Charles Allen,
whom the church has given to the ministry.  The Clerk of the church is
Sherman Sellers.

Mr. Chas. Sutherland mentioned above, who is still living, tells this story
of some minister who served the circuit for about two years and whose name
(Hall) does not appear in our list:  Returning from Pictou to the River one
day, Mr Hall overtook a poor barefooted man.  To his inquiry, "Where are
your boots?" the astonishing reply came, "I have none."  Thereupon the
minister stopped his horse and handed the man a new pair of boots he had
bought for himself.  When he got home Mr. Hall took his old boots to the
shoemaker to be mended.  His patched boots sang many a song to his heart.


 Of the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH no pastor has been stationed at River John,
but we have had a few of its members who contributed their own share in the
making of the community.  Of the shipbuilding enterprise of Mr. Mockler
mention has already been made.  Their religious instruction and guidance
were supplied by the Rev. Dr. Walsh of Acadia Mines, up to the time of his


In addition to the names included in the preceding pages the following
notes are offered, but not as giving a complete list of settlers, the later
arrivals being almost entirely omitted.

1801 - James Watt  came from the North of Scotland ; brought his wife with
him; settled in Hedgeville; died 1845, aged 64.

1802 - James Gammon settled on the Pictou Road; his father came from London
in the first man-of war that came to Halifax; of his children there still
live Mrs. Malcolm Sellers (born 1814), Mrs. G. Gratto, Mrs. J. Hamilton,
Peter Gammon.

1806 - David Rogers, John's son, came from Roger's Hill; Captain of
militia; married Agnes Clarke; born, 1766; died 1852.

1806 - Duncan Johnson settled at Hodson; of his sons, Lachlan later moved
to the shore, near the church, Roderic and Hector to Montague, P. E. I.

1809 - John Wilson came from Paisley, with his sons, Thomas, Gloud and
James; a school and music teacher, and maker of hand pipe organs; a strict
disciplinarian whose wife Jessie was a jolly woman though no great worker.

1810 - Peter Matatall settled in Louisville; for the first year he hauled
water from Louis Langill's and then discovered the troutbrook not a stone's
cast from his door.

1815 - Robert Stevenson came from Greenock to Brule; married Catherine
Jollymore; his sons, Geo. and Robt. were baptized at a service held in his
barn by Mr. Mitchell, who frequently preached there; in 1818 he moved to
the farm opposite the Middleton church.

1815 - George Holmes came from Cromartyshire; a wheelwright; worked at his
trade in the village for two years; then settled in Hedgeville where his
thirteen children were born.

1816 - Richard Millar came to the Cape; had six sons and one daughter;
born, 1787; died, 1845.

1817 - John MacAulay came from the island of Uig, Scotland, to the
Backshore and his brother Donald to Carribou.

1817 - William Sutherland, Elder came from Clyne, Scotland to Mount
Dalhousie; two of his grandsons, William and David M., settled at River
John; owned first carriage at W. Branch.

1817 - Alexander Baillie came also from Clyne and settled at the River.

1821 - Neil Sutherland came from Clyne and settled in East Earltown.

1824 - Alexander McBain settled at East Earltown.  He married Jane
MacIntosh in Inverness, came to Durham, 1817 or 1818, and removed later to
W. Branch of River John.

1826 - Alexander MacKenzie began business at River John by taking over that
of Robt. MacKay, who failed; lived in the MacQuarrie house, keeping store
in the cellar; came from Dingwall, Scotland; married Eliza Archibald of

1827 - William Gould married Ann Bramlee and came to River John.  Of his
son Thomas Bramlee see page 82.  (Note: this is in speech by Rev. MacKay)

1827 - Alexander and Roderic Collan came to the Backshore.  Rod was a long
time miller at Dewar's Mills, removed hither, and married Lily Stramberg.
Alexr. built a sawmill on Baillie's Brook, the first mill on the shore.

1835 - Alexander and Angus Chisholm came from East River to the River.

1835 - James Ross moved to Pictou Road from Carribou whither he came with
his father's family from Rosshire in 1813; married Jane Kennedy of Bayview,

1837 - Duncan Weir bought the upper mill.  This year also Charles McLellan
entered into business here.

1837 - Andrew Lauder, a native of Dunse, married Isabel Halliday in
Scotland, came to Pictou, 1825, to Little Harbor, 1827, to Brookvale, 1837.
His nephew, James Lauder, came here in 1836.  Dr. Geddie, with Mr.
Waddell, held a meeting, 1846, in Andrew's house, whose son James, the
Elder, was desirous of accompanying the missionary to the South Seas.

1837 - Samuel Patterson came from Pictou and settled at the Cape.  His
brother Robert was at the River several years earlier, kept store, and
returned to Pictou.  They were children of James, the second son of Squire

1837 - Hugh Campbell came to the Backshore; the shore was all settled at
this time; born, 1813, died, 1911.

1839 - Peter Holt came from Amherst to work the quarry opposite his farm on
the riverbank.  A company formed to operate this quarry did so for some
time, shipping stone from the wharf at Smith's Point.

1840 - Thomas MacKenzie came from Churchville to Welsford, having
previously married Margaret MacNeil of Little Harbor.

1840 - David Fairweather, a wheelwright, came as a young man to Durham and
about 1840 to Mountain Road.

1842 - Joseph Gass came from Dumfries, settled at the Cape, having come
with his brothers, Robert and John, to Pictou in 1818.

1853 - John H. Sutherland with his family settled at the River.

1853 - David Sutherland, from Earltown, settled at Kingshill.

1856 - Samuel Creelman came to the Cape; later moved to the Underwood farm;
finally settled at Seafoam.

1856 - William Munro married Catherine, daughter of George Munro, Elder,
and moved from Eight-mile Brook to Bigney.

1857 - Matthew Craig, son of Alexr. of Rogers' Hill, wedded Nancy Stewart,
came to Marshville, and about 1878 to Brule.

1857 - John Henderson settled at Hedgeville; came from near Glencoe,
Argyleshire, 1807.

1862 - Thomas MacKay came to River John Road.  His father came to Caribou,
1817, later to Earltown.  His son Donald was a great help in the spiritual
life of the Middleton community.

1862 - Alexr. Gunn came to Brule from Earltown.  His brother, Hugh, married
before leaving Scotland, his widow died, 1908, aged 103 years.

1869 -  John McCoul came to Brule, next year settled at Forbes.


*This electronic edition is brought to you by the volunteers of The
Chignecto Project (http://www.chignecto.net). The Chignecto Project's
mission is to create easily-accessible electronic editions of genealogical
and historical material for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for the public
domain. We have exercised all possible diligence to ensure the accuracy of
this edition. If you would to like ensure our volunteers stay inspired, please
drop by our web site and thank them in our guest book.

This edition is released to the public for not-for-profit use only, and for
such use it may be freely distributed. For all other use, especially
commercial, copyright applies and permission must be sought from The
Chignecto Project. The Chignecto Project is not legally liable for any
errors or omissions that may have crept in; this electronic text is
provided on an "as is" basis.

We wish to thank the Nova Scotia Mailing List
(http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/6625/nsfaq.html) for its assistance in
the coordination of this project, without which this would not have been

River John Editor and Coordinator:
Penelope Chisholm

River John Transcribers:
Kathryn Allen-MacPherson
Faith Amadio
Sharon Bond
Joyce Cummings
Deanna Dodd
Wayne Fountain
Linsay Fraser
Kelly Hardy
Ken Henderson
Marjory Jacobs
CB Knox
John Langill
Eloise Lincicum
Barbara Logan
Patty Low
Thomas G. Lynch
Cathy Mazur
L. Shirley McCormick
Margaret Mooney
Laurence Moncrieff
Beth Rollins
Douglas Sinnis
Joy Timbrel
Gerald R. Vincent
Wendy Watson
Debbie Webster
Jim Welsh
Jorge Woods*

Return to Electronic Text Menu
Return to Main Page of Pictou GenWeb