A Highland Settlement at Cape d'Or
by Mac Ian
recorded by John Dye

M. G. 1 Vol 559 No 239

By MacIan

As is well known, there was an early settlement of Scottish Highlanders at
Cape D'Or, Cumberland County, but not being a permanent settlement, very little
information seems to be available concerning it. From an article on the "Rear
Settlement of Cape George", which appeared in the "Casket" on June 23, 1892, and
was contributed by S. A. (Rev. Donald MacGillivray). I may be permitted to quote
the following:

"Among the Highland emigrants who landed at Pictou in 1791, there were several families from the Island of Eigg. Of these, four families, namely the MacLeods, the MacEacherns, MacPhersons and MacIsaacs, instead of following their Catholic countrymen to this County, turned their faces to the West and settled for a few years in Parrsboro. The three MacIsaac brothers who went to Parrsboro removed to Cape George in 1808. Lauchlin (son of Neil) was the first settler on the farm now occupied by James Gillis (Andrew's son), Morar Cape."
In addition to Laughlin MacIsaac, the other two brothers also settled near by - Allan's farm being in 1892 in possession of his grandson and John's farm was in tho rear settlement.

In the family account of the MacLeods of Knoydart it is stated that in 1801 the family removed to Arisaig Parish, but according to the History of Inverness County Donald MacLeod, who had gone to Cape D'Or in 1791, remained there until 1808, when he removed to Broad Cove, Cape Breton, and settled there with his family. This statement by Mr. J. L. MacDougall is borne out by a petition on file in the Nova Scotia archives. It is dated at Judique, November 2, 1807, and signed by Donald and John MacLeod, and therein they applied for two lots of land at Broad Cove adjoining on the East land granted to John MacDonald. They stated their families were then living on the Bay of Fundy, but that it was too late that yea to bring them to Cape Breton, and that this would be done in the following year. There is also on file another petition from Donald MacLeod dated at Sydney in July 2, 1810, wherein he states that he had previously resided in Parrsboro but was then settled at Broad Cove. The petition states that he had a wife and ten children and that he had come to Cape Breton for the satisfaction of being near his relatives and friends.

The statement made in S. A.'s article, which I have quoted, does not mention the Kennedys. On again referring to the History of Inverness County we find it related that a family of Kennedys had come out from Scotland (Canna) in 1791 in the same vessel as Donald MacLeod, and that two brothers Donald and John (Red) came from Parrsboro to Broad Cove in 1808 and took up adjoining farms a little north of Smith's Cove, near Broad Cove Chapel.
As to the MacPhersons, who settled at Cape D'Or, I am unable to state definitely where they went from there, it appears that John MacPherson, Pioneer (Clydesdale) was married to Ann MacLeod, aunt of Rev. W. B. MacLeod, and he may have been one of those who went to Cape D'Or and subsequently left that locality.

Other Highland names of those who went to Cape D'Or are Macdonald, MacEachern and MacQuarrie, and all I know of these has been gleaned from a few odd land papers in the Nova Scotia Archives. On July 27, 1811, Andrew MacDonald, of Margaree, petitioned for land at Broad Cove, Lot No. 29. on the Western boundary of John MacLeod's land, and in the petition he set forth that he had been living at Parrsboro with his father for eighteen years and was then twenty years old. Ronald MacDonald of Margaree also addressed a petition to the Government on July 27, 1816, when he was aged twenty-two and stated he had lived at Parrsboro for fifteen years. He applied for land at Broad Cove, east of John MacIntyre's farm. Probably these two men were of the same family.

As to MacEacherns, there is a petition on file from Angus McCahan (which
undoubtedly should read MacEachern) in the Cape Breton land papers, dated on Jan 10, 1805. He was then at Judique, and stated in the petition that he had lived for some years at Cape D'Or. He had a wife and seven children, and applied for a grant of land near the Great Judique River, on the third concession.

The last petition to which I am going to refer is also in the Cape Breton land papers and is from Neil MacQuarrie, dated at Port Hood on March 23, 1815.
It goes on to say that he was born in Eigg and came with his parents, when young, to Pictou in 1793, and from there they moved to Cape D'Or in the Bay of Fundy, where the family remained until they came to Cape Breton in 1802. Neil MacQuarrie was then enrolled in Capt. Watts Company (10th) of the Second Regiment. His father had died some years prior to 1815, and Neil was then applying for a lot of land adjoining Hugh MacEachern's farm on the shore between Mabou and Port Hood.

It would appear that of the pioneer Scottish families referred to in the foregoing, all moved away - probably to be near relatives and friends and to be enabled to practice their own religion. Moreover, they were all Gaelic speaking and Cumberland County was peopled largely by English immigrants, many from Yorkshire.

October 1937