West Earltown Baillies (Part VII)

The earliest known couple of this line were Alexander and Janet Baillie, Dalfolly, Strathbrora.   They never left Scotland and, if they survived the clearances, we have no record of where they went.  However five of their children left Dalfolly in 1821.

By 1821 the Estate managers were losing patience with the inhabitants of Strathbrora and the inhabitants were running out of stalling options.  When it became known that clearances were eminent, a group led by Mad Donald MacKay, a retired fur trader of some repute, and Adam MacDonald negotiated through their minister,  Rev. Walter Ross, an extension to their lease at terms equivalent to those being offered to the southern sheep farmers.  This was accepted by the Estate but later rescinded. Their minister sided with the Estate’s claim that the arrangement was temporary.  Things escalated into threats and violence.  In the end, the military was brought in to clear out the remaining inhabitants.

Those with the means to pay passage and had already resigned themselves to a new life in Nova Scotia, were gone by this point.  Those left were the poor, the aged, the infirm as well as those with a stubborn determination to assert what they felt were their rights.  Meanwhile, the former landlord of Carroll,  Joseph Gordon, was doing everything in his power to thwart the plans of the Estate – the continued serfdom of the people along the coast in the fishing and mining industries.  Gordon, through his brother in India, raised a considerable sum of money to subsidize the passage of these remaining farmers to Pictou.

With the assistance of Joseph Gordon and the wealthy Scottish merchants of Bengal, three ships departed for Pictou in 1821 followed by more in 1822.  A significant number of these passengers ended up in Earltown in the west and Barney’s River in the east.   On board were the Baillies of West Earltown.

Family tradition is that the four brothers and one sister went immediately to West River, likely Lovat, to seek out relatives.  With no land available in that area, they were given tickets of location at West Earltown and The Falls.   Donald, the eldest, acquired a grant on the summit of Spiddle Hill.  The remainder of the family settled at West Earltown on Cnoc Na Gaothe.

The family of Alexander and Janet who came to Earltown:

  1. Donald   1794-1869   married Elizabeth Sutherland
  2. Marion     married Donald MacKay “Magomish” of Dalvait before leaving Scotland
  3. William  1798- 1844   married Margaret Anderson of Badnellan, Clyne before leaving Scotland
  4. Alexander 1800-1852 married Annie
  5. Robert 1799-1871  married 1. Margaret Murray “Ardachu” of Rogart and Earltown 2. Isabel MacKay “Uhr” of Strath Halladale and Tatamagouche Mountain.


Donald and Elizabeth had the following issue:

  1. Alexander Baillie 1827-1919  married Jane Ferguson of North Earltown.  They lived on his father’s farm on Spiddle Hill.
  2. Angus Baillie 1828-      married Christy Murray “Ardachu” of Earltown.  They lived on the Spiddle Hill South Road on the farm more commonly known today as McGill’s.
  3. Janet Baillie 1836-1907 married John MacKay,  Welsford
  4. Margaret 1839-

Details of the remainder of this family can be found in the post “Cnoc Na Gaothe”


The area near Dalfolly – Although likely not forested in 1821, the roll of the hills are very similar to West Earltown.      (C) Richard Webb


4 comments on “West Earltown Baillies (Part VII)

  1. […] in 1873 on a farm in West Earltown into a family of eight. His parents were Isabella Sutherland and William Baillie. His siblings were Bessie, Alex, Georgia, Catherine (Cassie), Willie, Annie, Christy and Maggie. […]

  2. Clifford says:

    Maggie married my great uncle Jimmy Stewart and owned the Farm on Spiddle Hill Rd .Later sold to Charles McGill.

  3. Shauna Baillie says:

    Gregory M Matheson, I am trying to trace my direct Baillie ancestors beyond Alex and Janet, mentioned here in the “West Earltown Baillies (Part VII). Our last verified relative is William Baillie (B:1798 DALFOLLIE, Clyne, Sutherland, Scotland; D:October 18, 1844 West Earltown, Colchester, Nova Scotia, Canada), and his parents would have been Alex (not Alex “Buidhe” or Alex “Spain”) and Janet. Would you be so kind as to point me towards resources? Many thanks, Shauna Baillie.

    • GMMatheson says:

      Sorry for the very late reply. Dalfollie or Dalfolly was indicated on William and Margaret’s marriage record in the Clyne Parish Register.
      William died before the Province began its death registry. However both Robert and Donald’s death certificates indicate Alexander and Janet as the parents.

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