Earltown Heritage Sunday: In the Shadow of the Church

Earltown was a remarkable community in the 1800’s.  Its hills and valleys were thickly populated with over 1,000 highlanders and it also served as a trading center for nearby communities in Pictou and North Colchester thus extending its influence  over 2,000 souls.

And souls were of great import to these emigrants who arrived with little more than an axe and a bible.  They belonged exclusively to the Church of Scotland, (later evolving into the Free Church of Scotland), and worshipped in their native Gaelic tongue.  The clergy, elders and catechists commanded great respect and exerted considerable influence over all aspects of life in the area, whether it be religion, education, justice or social welfare.

In due course a church was erected in the geographic centre of the district. Like in their home parishes of Eastern Sutherland, a cemetery was established in near proximity.  A second church was erected in the late 1860’s to accommodate the growing congregation.  Like in many rural communities, the congregation dwindled and the building had to be removed in recent years.


This is the 8th in a series of annual presentations by Glen Matheson, local historian, on the social history of Earltown.  In addition to an overview of the history the Knox Presbyterian Church, there will be the customary tour of the adjacent cemetery with stories of the early settlers who chose to be buried in the shadow of the church.

The presentation will be Sunday July 29th at 3PM at the Earltown Church Cemetery,  Highway 326, two kilometers north of Earltown Village.   Scots will be pleased that there is no admission however donations towards the upkeep of the cemetery would be appreciated.

Earltown Church Cemetery

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