About Earltown

Earltown is a district in northern Nova Scotia nestled in the Cobequid Mountains.   For hundreds, if not thousands, of years  it was a winter hunting and encampment area for the First Nation people.  In 1765 the district became part of a large 200,000 acre grant awarded to the Philadelphia Company.   The company was to settle the grant with protestant immigrants with British background.   The company had some success in bringing settlers to the Pictou area but the Cobequid uplands in Colchester remained a wilderness.  In 1809 the grant was eschewed after which the Crown took over the task of opening up new settlements.

In 1813, two settlers arrived on the eastern boundary of Earltown.  They were natives of Sutherlandshire, Scotland, who had lived for a few years at Roger’s Hill in the Pictou District.  Over the next 20 years, they were followed by several dozen families direct from the eastern parishes of Sutherlandshire.   They formed a distinct community of Gaelic speaking Presbyterians with a peak population of over 1,200 and influenced a larger trading area of approximately 2,000 people with roots in the northern highlands of Scotland.

Over the past  thirty years, a database of 40,000 plus people with connections to Earltown and neighbouring communities has been developed.  In the process many stories, most factual and some simply entertaining,  came to light.  With the aid of modern on line resources,  people from these communities have been located in many of the infant communities of Western Canada and the United States.

This blog is an attempt to share some of those stores.

Glen Matheson

10 comments on “About Earltown

  1. Quita Gray says:

    Glen – this is great. Appreciate what you are doing here!

  2. Lynn Gray says:

    Thanks for all the knowledge you share! It is good to remember our roots and appreciate all that was done to reach this place in time!

  3. Ian MacCara says:

    A lot of much appreciated work posted on your sight. I would like to attach some of your articles to my family tree, do you have any requirements around this?

  4. I have a news article that refers to an event that happened at SPION KOP in the Earltown area. Does this term mean anything to you? A man by the name of TUCKER was injured in a logging operation and was taken to hospital in Truro.

    • GMMatheson says:

      Spion Kop has a Gaelic ring to it but I’m not familiar with name. The only place that I can think of at the moment is “Spain” , the unofficial name of a community on the Clydesdale Road near West Branch. It was so named as some of the first settlers fought in Spain during the Peninsular War. They talked so much about their exploits that others started calling their community Spain. In Gaelic, the adjective often followed the noun so I suspect Kop might be descriptor. The author probably spelled it as it sounded therefore it is not appearing in Gaelic dictionaries.

      • Malcolm Bangor-Jones says:

        Spion Kop was a battle in the Boer War 1900. Crimea and Boer War derived names were not uncommon in Sutherland itself

  5. Don says:

    Hello Glen…I think i went to school with you, my Mother side are Stewarts from above Loganville on the Glen rd…they were shoemakers in behind that old house that Donald and Alan Mac Kenzie own. I’m trying to find out where in Scotland they might have come from? Thanks, Don (Geddes) Johnson 902-890-6030

    • GMMatheson says:

      I had a similar inquiry from Cliff Stewart so I will try to answer for both.
      Murdoch Sutherland Stewart and Christy MacKay were married in 1873 and lived on the farm you mention. Both appear to have been born at Six Mile Brook. Murdoch was a son of John and Christy Stewart. A John R. Stewart and Christy also lived in Loganville in the 1870’s and John was a shoemaker. A John Stewart, shoemaker, and wife Christy lived in the Alton area in the 1860’s. He died in Alton in 1901. His obituary mentions a son Murdoch and other family. The birth date agrees with the John Stewart in Loganville in 1871. Therefore it would appear that the family moved around quite a bit. John was born in 1815 at Six Mile Brook. Most of the Stewarts in the West River area came from Ross-shire.

  6. George and Cassie Stewart moved with thioer family from Nuttby to Earltown in 1940. I notice it,s not in yr surname section.

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