GLENCOE – CAPE BRETON

Welcome to Glencoe – Wearing Fraser Kilt

The rear of this fine and interesting region was, once upon a time condemned to carry the grotesque misnomer of “Turkey”, or Turk. Subsequently, it received the less grigging, but equally fantastic name of “New Canada”. Finally, it emerged with the present name of “Glencoe”.

We do not know, and cannot well understand, why this fair interior stretch of country should ever have received any of those three names. The first two are obviously inapplicable. The third recalls a most mournful chapter of Scottish history.” The Glen-of lamentation”! That is the literal meaning of Glencoe. One would scarcely expect that such a name would be either appropriate or acceptable in a community one-half of which was made up of MacDonalds, the other half of Campbells. But the black treachery of Argyle and “The Master of Stairs”, in connection with the massacre of Glencoe, did not reach out unto all the Campbells. The most fervent and appealing “Lament for Glen Coe” we ever read was written by a noble minded Scottish lady named “Mary Maxwell Campbell”. Hear it?

“Ye loyal MacDonalds, awaken! awaken!
“Why sleep ye so soundly in face of the foe?
“The clouds pass away, and the morning is breaking;
“But when will awaken the sons of Glen Coe?

“They lay down to rest with their thoughts on the morrow,
“Nor dreamt that life’s visions were melting like snow;
“But daylight has dawned in the silence of sorrow,
“And ne’er shall awaken the Sons of Glencoe.

“O dark was the moment that brought to our shealing,
“The black-hearted foe with his treacherous smile,
“We gave him our food with a brother’s own feeling;
“For then we believed there was truth in Argyle.

“The winds howl a warning, the red lightning flashes;
“We heap up our faggots our welcome to show;
“But traitors are brooding on death near the ashes;
“Now cold on the hearths of the Sons of Glencoe.

“My clansmen, strike boldly, — let none of ye count on
“The mercy of cowards who wrought us such woe;
“The wail of their spirits, when heard on the mountain;
“Must surely awaken the Sons of Glencoe.

“Ah! cruel as adders; ye stung them while sleeping!
“But vengeance shall track ye wherever ye go.
“Our loved ones lie murdered; no sorrow nor weeping
“Shall ever awaken the Sons of Glencoe.”

“MARY MAXWELL CAMPBELL.”

The Campbells of Glencoe district are clean hearted men who cherish the virtues of peace and amity. They come, not with the wrath of the sword, but with the love of brothers who cannot be “fair and false.” Not theirs the mind for massacre. They are as much ashamed as the MacDonalds are righteously indignant, over the brutal old outrage of Glencoe. Consequently, both can, with the wonted honour and fire of their race, join with Mary Maxwell Campbell in singing the spirited lines above quoted.

Old Barn – Glencoe

The district of Glencoe is extensive and rich. It is an interior or inland section which, in the pioneer days, must have looked forbidding and wild. But the scene has changed. Not many rural communities can surpass it today in its cultivation and prosperity. All honour to the stout hearts and strong hands who have wrought the happy change.

Glencoe is bounded towards the North by the district of Hillsboro and the South West river of Mabou; towards the West by the municipal district of Port Hood; towards the South by the district of River Dennis, and towards the East by the Whycocomagh district. The exclusive pursuits of the people here are, and always were, farming and lumbering. There are three capital saw mills within the district, all modern in type, powerful in capacity, and signally well conducted. The one further West is owned by a Campbell family, the one further East by a MacDonald family, and the one in the centre by a single MacDonald wonder. Further on we shall have something, more to say of the owners of those very useful institutions. It is only in this rivalry of peaceful progress that our thrifty Campbells and MacDonalds vie with each other.

An Old Saw Mill – Glencoe

The farmers of this district are hard working and prosperous. The land is naturally fertile and, in the main, quite level, but the development of the agricultural calling here is due to the continuous industry of the people. Few things ever surprised us more than to see, on our first visit to this place, the high qualities and advanced condition of the farms through all the wide and varied spaces of this immense domain. Whatever else the people of Glencoe may or may not know it is perfectly clear that they know how to mind their own business. “Actions speak louder than words.” So far as we know, there is not a merchant within the four corners of this district. The people must do their shopping in Mabou, Port Hood, Brook Village or Whycocomagh. This may be thought a grevious inconvenience; but men are so constituted that they do not miss much a convenience which they never had. There is not a doctor or a lawyer here, and we are not aware that there is even a Justice of the Peace. There is a doctor, and a good one, within the borders of this district at Mabou Bridge, but he is as remote from the people here as if he resided in an outside district. Nevertheless, the good people of Glencoe manage to worry along without these resident professional gentlemen. The Glencoe men never go to law if they can keep out of it, and they only get sick as rarely as possible.

The common schools here are quite as well kept and efficient as those of the country in general, but that is not extravagant praise. Parents and guardians in this section are quite as solicitous about the education of their children as are people elsewhere. A person from outside will be surprised to meet so many smart young people, and so many intelligent old ones, in this isolated back country. The only explanation is that these people are made of good stuff.

Glencoe Farm with Animals

The inhabitants of, this territory are made up of Catholics and Protestants, the former we believe, being stronger in numbers. There is neither a Protestant Church nor a resident Minister within the district, which is a serious disadvantage to the good people of that denomination. There is no stationed Catholic clergyman either; but there is a respectable Catholic Church which is served by the priest of Brook Village every third or fourth Sunday. It is a known fact that all the people here, whatever be their creed, are strong, simple and sincere, in their own faith. This goes far to explain the peace, order and progress of humble and retired Glencoe.

(I wrote about Glencoe because I was searching for one of our ancestors, Annabelle Fraser, who was born at Cape Mabou March, 1817 married Neil MacKinnon RED and settled in Glencoe. Annabelle died August 31, 1912. She would have been a sister to my great (John), father of great (John), father of great (Ronald), father of grandfather (John Ronald Fraser), father of Simon Fraser, father of George Fraser. – CAPER)

MacKINNONS.

The MacKinnons held various possessions in the Hebridean Isles. The seat of the Chief was in the Isle of Skye. The first authentic notice of this ancient Clan is to be found in an Indenture between the Lord of the Isles and the Lord of Lorn, A. D. 1354 The MacKinnons fought valiantly under Montrose. They were also in the Rising of 1745 and fought at Culloden where their old Chief was taken prisoner.

A family of MacKinnons settled at Glencoe about the Year 1833. They were Neil, John, Anne and Janet. A sister, Catherine, remained in Edinburgh. She was married to an English Army Sergeant named Cranck. These were children of Duncan MacKinnon of the Isle of Canna, Scotland. (1) Neil known as “Handsome Neil” married Mary daughter of Mrs. Euphemia Kennedy. Mrs. Kennedy was a sister of the late Arch-Bishop MacKinnon. Neil’s family were: (a) John, who married Anne, daughter of Alexander MacDonald (Mor) Glencoe with issue two sons and four daughters. John resides at South West Port Hood; (b) Duncan who married Anne, daughter of Ronald Beaton, Little Judique, with issue ten sons and one daughter; (c) Colin, who moved to Douglastown, N. B. One of Colin’s sons, — Rev. Andrew MacKinnon, is a Catholic priest. (d) Mary who married Hugh Mac-Innis, Little Judique, (e) Euphemia, who married Angus MacDonald (Angus Og) Glencoe. (2) John, son of Duncan married Mary MacLellan of Glenville with issue. (a) Hector Duncan and John who moved to the West, (b) Donald, who died unmarried. (c) Anne, who married Allan MacDonald (John Allan), Mabou. One of Anne’s sons Daniel, 56 Bn, made the Supreme Sacrifice in the last War. (d) Margaret daughter of John married Edward MacIsaac, Mull River. (3) Anne, daughter of Duncan MacKinnon married James MacIsaac. Angus MacIsaac, Port Hood Mines, is a son. (4) Janet remained unmarried.

John MacKinnon (Roy) paternal uncle of “Handsome Neil” was the first settler in the glen now called Rosedale. He had five sons (1) Donald “sgoilear” who married a sister of the late Hon. Alexander Campbell, Strathlorne, (2) Neil, who married Annabel Fraser of Cape Mabou, (3) Donald Junior and John who married and left families. (4) Malcolm died unmarried. Donald “Sgoilear” and Malcolm were school teachers.

Pioneers – In order to keep this article relatively short I will list the heads of families who were truly the pioneers of Glencoe and settled here with many of their offspring still living there.

 

HECTOR MACNEIL (BIG)

ALEXANDER MACNEIL (SERGEANT).

DUNCAN RANKIN (RED).

JOHN CAMERON (SON OF ANGUS DHU).

JOHN MACDONALD (BADENOCH).

JOHN MACPHERSON (ARMY TAILOR).

FARLANE MACFARLAN.

ALLAN CAMPBELL (MINISTER).

JOHN LIVINGSTONE.

JOHN MACMILLAN.

JOHN KEITH.

JOHN BEATON.

JOSEPH BASHER.

JOHN WRIGHT.

JOHN CAMPBELL.

HUGH MACDONALD.

.

JOHN MacDONALD.

ANGUS MACDONALD (SON OF ALLISDAIR MHOR).

ARCHIBALD MACDONALD.

MACDONALDS (“SHUGARRY”).

NEIL STEWART FAMILY.

JOHN MACDONALD (BARON).

ALLAN CAMERON (RED).

JOHN CAMERON (DHU).

THE MacASKILL FAMILY.

DONALD CAMPBELL.

THE MACEACHENS.

HUGH MacISAAC.

THE MACDONALDS OF ALPINE RIDGE.

ALEXANDER DHU MacDONALD FAMILY.

THE GILLIS FAMILIES OF S. W. MABOU.

DUNCAN GILLIS (SON OF HUGH).

THE MacKILLOP FAMILY.

ALEXANDER MCINNIS, TAILOR.

THE CAMPBELLS OF MABOU RIDGE.

THE DAVIS FAMILY.

ALEXANDER MacDONALD (Manufacturer).

NEIL MacNEIL (Shoemaker).

THE CHISHOLMS OF BROOK VILLAGE.

DONALD MacDONALD AND FAMILY.

Plankin er Down in Sock Feet – Glencoe Saturday Night

Glencoe is famous for its fiddlers and step dancers. You only need to look through the pioneers to see the names whose descendants have graced the stages throughout the U.S. and Canada and yea throughout the world. The Camerons, the MacMasters, the Beatons and the Rankins to name but a few. It must be the water and the fresh air.

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