Donald MacIntosh – Co-Founder of the Earltown District

Donald MacIntosh, 1763-1831,  along with Angus Sutherland “Prince”,  was a founder of the District of Earltown in 1813.  In fact he predated the naming of the community by several years and may not have been aware that he was creating a new district.

Donald, his wife Nancy Murray,  and four young children had lived in the Parish of Rogart, Sutherlandshire.   They farmed a croft in an upland township called Leatty which was located high above Strath Fleet.   People from Rogart had been migrating to Nova Scotia since 1773 so it was a logical destination for Donald when circumstances dictated that emigration was necessary.  By 1813 the Napoleonic Wars were over and sea travel was once again safe.  He arrived in Pictou and went to the Roger’s Hill area where others from his neighbourhood had settled.   At this point the closest ungranted land was located along the present day Pictou-Colchester county line.   His grant was located near what is now the junction of the Stewart and Clydesdale Roads and extended up the hill towards Gunn Cemetery.

Unlike his next door neighbour,  Mr. Sutherland,  Donald did not have the advantage of previous land clearing experience.  It is doubtful whether he had ever used an axe before coming to Nova Scotia.   There were other hardships such as starvation.  One historical account tells that during a particularly harsh winter, food ran scarce.  His neighbours were almost in the same circumstances.   Donald was ill at the time so it fell upon Nancy to walk to Dalhousie Mountain and get a bag of potatoes from relatives.  As it was late winter,  the crust on the snow was breaking.  It was reported that Nancy could be tracked for miles as her ankles bled from being chaffed by the broken crust.

Donald died at age 68 in 1831 leaving a widow and five surviving children.  In his will, he divided his farm with his eldest son Hugh getting the west portion and his widow and son John getting the east.   Hugh did not marry and appears absent for many years, likely working in the lumber camps.  John married Marion MacKay of Diamond whose people,  the Bratten MacKays, had come from Leatty as well.  Of Donald’s daughters,  Nancy married Donald MacDonald “Doolie”,  and Margaret married Kenneth MacKay Ächany of Central Earltown.

John’s son  Robert obtained the Hugh MacIntosh lot and another son,  Dan, retained the homestead.   Robert’s son Charles was the last to live on the MacIntosh grant.  It was vacated in the 1950’s.

These MacIntoshes were related to William MacIntosh who settled the Earltown end of the Clydesdale Road and to Donald MacIntosh who lived near Earltown Village.

2 comments on “Donald MacIntosh – Co-Founder of the Earltown District

  1. Darlene Cocks says:

    What excitement … To discover this web-site !! I think perhaps the Charles McIntosh (last to live on the MacIntosh grant) was my Grandmother’s brother … and the man for whom my father is named.

    • glenmath says:

      Yes, that is correct. Charles was the brother of Agnes Marion MacIntosh, later Drysdale. Glad to hear from you. Contact me at gmmatheson@gmail.com if you would like more information. Also, your grandmother should be in the picture of the Clydesdale School, also on the website.

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