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North Colchester Communities

In this section, various historic events were gathered on the communities of North Colchester by the Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management and related here, accordingly. Please select from the following list to read the Community of your choice.

Annandale

Balfron

Balmoral Mills

Barrachois

Baxter Mountain

Bayhead

Beacon Hill

Brule

Clydesdale

Denmark

Earltown

Forbes

Kavanaugh Mills

Keble

Lake Road

Mattatal Lake

Middle Corner

New Annan

Nuttby

Oliver

South Tatamagouche

Spidell Hill

Summit

Tatamagouche

Waldegrave

 

Tatamagouche Mountain

 

Waughs River

 

Annandale
This rural area is located about five miles east of Wentworth.  It was named after Annandale, Dumfrieshire, Scotland, the home of some of the first settlers in New Annan.  John Donald arrived at Pictou from Scotland in July 1820 and settled on land here by August of 1825.  He received a grant in 1827. William Campbell came from Scotland about 1774 and lived at Pictou. In 1814, he petitioned for a grant of land and received one at Annandale in 1817.  Other grantees were William Cooper in 1819, John Patterson in 1845, John Smith in 1857, and Charles B. Archibald in 1889. Population in 1956 was 50.

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Balfron
This area is located along the Waugh River, about four miles above Tatamagouche.  It was probably named after Balfron, a parish in Stirlingshire, Scotland.  The land was part of a grant given to William F. W. Des Barres in 1765.  In 1803-04, Welwood Waugh and his sons occupied the land along the river just north of Balfron.  Scottish immigrants probably began to populate the area sometime after this.  The name was given before 1875, and by that time there was considerable settlement which included two saw mills, a grist mill, a Post Office, and a school.  Population in 1956 was 107. 

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Balmoral Mills
Balmoral Mills is located on one of the streams which run into the Waugh River from the east side, about six miles south-east of Tatamagouche.  It was most likely named after Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.  The Balmoral Mills, built by Alexander McKay about 1850, was still in operation in 1953 and were purchased by the Provincial Government in May, 1966 to be opened as a tourist attraction.  The village site lies within the DesBarres Grant of 1765.  To the south of this grant, a tract of 200 acres was laid off for a Mr. Munroe.  He never improved it, and in 1828 it was granted to William Sutherland, a resident of Earltown since about 1822, on condition of immediate settlement and cultivation.  An adjoining lot was granted to John Sutherland in 1818.  A mill had been built there by that time.  Angus McKay was in charge of the new Post Office which opened in June, 1885.  In the early 20th century, there were seven grist mills in the area, but most have since disappeared. 

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Barrachois
This community is located around the south side of Barrachois Harbor about two miles north-east of Tatamagouche.  The name reputedly originated with the Acadian French “Barre a cheoir” and refers to small ponds near the sea separated only by a sand-bar or neck of land.  The bay was named Joseph Harbor by Joseph Frederick Wallet DesVarres, after himself.  The Indian name was Egnokechechk.  George Chalmers had brought land at “Point Barrissoy” by 1795.  In 1803-04, Alan Forsythe was the principal landholder on both sides of the harbor.  His neighbours were Robert McBurnie on the east side and Robert Chalmers on the west side of the harbour.  Robert McBurnie was the schoolmaster for “Burreswa” district for the June to December, 1831 term.  Population in 1956 was 110. 

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Baxter Mountain
This settlement is located on the West Branch of the French River in north central Nova Scotia.  It was so named after an early settler.  Grants of land in the area were made to William McKay and George Murray in 1817, George Patterson, who came from Edinburgh, Scotland and landed at Pictou on September 25, 1815, David Patterson in 1820 and William Byers, a native of Scotland who arrived in June of 1817. 

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Bayhead
This rural area is located at the head of Tatamagouche Bay on the north shore of Nova Scotia and its name is derived from its location.  The name “Gouzar” was used in reference to the basin at the head of the harbour as early as 1786.  This was probably because of an early settler named Gousar or Geeser.  In 1787, Robert Adams settled at “Point Guzar” at the western corner of the DesBarres grant.  This land, at “Point Guzar” was later occupied by Duncan Dewar, and was taken over by Welwood McNab (or McNutt) in October, 1816.  Sometime in the 1790’s, John Johnson quit his employment at the Halifax Citadel and went to settle at Bayhead.  He died in 1841 and his three sons; James, George, and Welwood, all settled near the old homestead. Population in 1956 was 139.

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Beacon Hill
This place is located about three miles south of Tatamagouche, near the north shore of Nova Scotia.  It was probably so named because of a high hill that served as a navigation aid and a point of reference for ships coming into Tatamagouche Bay.  This land was part of the 1765 DesBarres Grant and was settled by descendants of the settlers he brought from Lunenburg, and by Scottish immigrants.  In the 1870’s, there were four houses in this area, those of W. McKay, A. Matheson, J. Nelson and R. Mattatal. 

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Brule
Brule is situated on the south side of Brule Harbour, with Brule Shore on the north side of the neck of land known as Point Brule, on the north shore of Nova Scotia.  Brule is a French word meaning “burnt” and allegedly originated with an incident involving the Quebec-based First Nations people  who burned the woods on the Point when they came to fight with the French.  Mid-18th century maps show a “Vil Savage” or Indian village in this area.  The First Nations name for the harbor was Seegoaak, “an empty place”.  J. F. W. DesBarres brought eighteen families from Lunenburg in 1770 to settle on his estate.  By 1795, James Langille had settled at Point Brule.  The Brule Marsh was leased by him for six years on September 3, 1814.  John Walsh was also a land owner in this area in 1803-04. A Postal Way Office was established at Point Brule in 1859.  Population 1956 was 86. 

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Clydesdale
This community is located near the headwaters of the Waugh River, near the north shore of Nova Scotia.  It was most likely named after Clydesdale, Scotland.  Land in this area was granted to John Jeanperin in 1816, and to George and James Jeanperin, Mary and James Heydon, and Robert Dawson in 1817.  Very little settlement, however, had taken palce by the 1870’s. 

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Denmark
This rural area is located about three miles south-east of Brule Harbour, on the line of the Canadian National Railway, near the north shore of peninsular Nova Scotia. It was possibly named after the northern European country as some resident had been to or had lived in Denmark.  A Post Office was established prior to 1911. Population in 1956 was 73.

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Earltown
The five communities that share this place-name are located from ten to fourteen miles south of Brule Harbor, near the north shore of Nova Scotia.  They are Earltown, Central Earltown, North, East and West Earltown.  The place-name was given in honor of the Earl of Dalhousie, Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia from 1816 to 1820.  The first settlers around the 1820's called it “Earlstown”.  Donald Ross, a native of Bogert, Sutherlandshire, Scotland, emigrated to Nova Scotia about 1813 and obtained an order of survey for 200 acres. For lack of a road, he didn’t settle there but applied for, and received an order for 100 acres in 1818.  On this land he settled and became the first resident of the new settlement of Earlstown.  He built a road and led other settlers into the area, so that by September, 1820, 104 settlers were improving their lands at Earltown and Kemptown where all had been wilderness two year before.  In 1828, Donald Ross obtained a grant of 200 acres at Central Earltown.  A Postal Way Office was established about 1836 at Earltown and in 1866 at North Section Earltown.  Population in 1956 was: Earltown 118, East Earltown 56 and West Earltown, 81. 

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Forbes
This settlement is located in the north-east corner of the county between Middleton Corner and the Pictou county line, near the north shore of Nova Scotia.  It was named after early residents.  Thomas Forbes emigrated to Pictou from Ireland in September 1820 and was settled on land here by November 1821.  He, along with Nicholas Langille and Benjamin Jodrie, received grants in 1828.  Forbes Postal Way Office was established on July 1, 1871 under the care of John Forbes.  It was probably this which originated the place name.  Farming is the basic occupation.

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Kavanaugh Mills
This settlement is located on Sutherlands Brook near the headwaters of the Waugh River.  It was so named because of the grist mill operated by J. Cavanaugh in the late 19th century.  Another variation of the name is “Cavanah”.  Daniel Eaton and Silas Clark settled here about 1821 and immediately began to erect a grist mill.  George Irving came to Nova Scotia from Scotland around 1817 and received a grant of land in 1828.  Edward Studiman obtained a ticket of location in 1820, settled here about 1824 and received a grant of the land in 1828. 

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Keble
Keble is situated about four miles south of Brule Harbor in the north-east corner of the County.  It may have been named after an early settler.  The land was part of a grant made to J. F. W. DesBarres in 1765, but settlement probably hadn't begun until the early 19th century.  By 1875 there were only four resident families and by 1956 there were only about seven houses in the area.  Population in 1956 was 55. 

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Lake Road
This settlement is spread out along the road leading from Tatamagouche to Mattatal Lake near the north shore of Nova Scotia.  It is so named because of this road to the lake.  In the 1870’s this area was included in the place called “Millburn” which means a millstream, and named because of the saw and grist mills on Lake Stream, a tributary of the French River.  The earliest grants were made to William Murdock, a Scotsman who came to Nova Scotia in 1817, lived in Tatamagouche and asked for a grant of these lands in 1821.  George Tattrie, and David Tattrie, both natives of Tatamagouche, received grants in this area in 1828.  Further grants were made to: George Henderson in 1835, Alexander Campbell in 1847 and 1850, Matthew Henderson in 1849 and Charles Clark in 1862.  Levi Mattatal settled in Lake Road in 1848 and died in 1849.  His widow, Mary applied for a grant of the land, but Alexander Campbell had already applied and received the land.

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Mattatal Lake
This rural area is located on the south side of Mattatal Lake, near the north shore of Nova Scotia.  It was so named because of the nearby lake and the Mattatal family who were early grantees and settlers.  The land in the area was granted to” Alexander Campbell in 1834: Alexander Patrican in 1844; George Patriquin in 1847; Thomas Mattatal in 1855; Andrew Mattatal in 1866; and Ephraim Mattatal, and James Sutherland in 1868.  Farming is the main industry.  Population in 1956 was 97. 

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Middle Corner
This rural area,  known variously as Middleton, Middleton Corner and Middle Corner, got its name from its location, roughly half-way between Tatamagouche and River John, near the north shore of Nova Scotia.  The “corner” is the intersection of the road between River John and Tatamagouche with the old Denmark road between Brule and Earltown.  The land along the River John Road in this area was granted to John Langille and John Mingo in 1815 and to Robert Stevenson, followed by George Langille and George Patriquin in 1828.  This last lot was formerly surveyed for Abner West but was abandoned by 1823.  Population in 1956 was 96. 

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New Annan
The three communities that share this place name are located in the vicinity of the headwaters of the French River, near the Northumberland shore of Nova Scotia.  It was named this as some of the early settlers came from Annandale, Dumfries-shire, Scotland.  It reputedly was named by John Bell at a public meeting about 1820.  Settlement began at East New Annan before 1809 by Robert Cock, John KcKeen, Robert Watson, and other heirs of Dr. John Harris of Truro, on land the Doctor had purchased from Thomas Harris.  A formal grant was made of the land in 1816.  Daniel McCurdy obtained a grant in 1812.  George Langell, a native of Germany who came to Nova Scotia in 1764 and lived for some time on the DesBarres Grant, settled at Central New Annan about 1815, and received a grant of his lands in 1818.  Other grantees were: John and Alexander Patriquin in 1816; John Wilson, who came from New Brunswick in 1819, and John Bannerman in 1817; plus Edward and Christopher Langille in 1818.  John Bell, a native of Annandale, Scotland, and one of the first settlers at West New Annan in 1812, received a grant of land in 1816.  He and his sons built a grist mill and started operating it in 1817.  Population in 1956 was: Central New Annan 95, East New Annan 62, and West New Annan 100.

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Nuttby
This is a small community located near the head of the North River.  “Nutt” is part of an old family name, McNutt, “by” means a dwelling place or town, hence “the dwelling place of the McNutts”.  Grants of land were made to John and Thomas McNutt in 1856, to James McGill in 1863, and to Thomas McNutt in 1888.  Luke Upham, James Smith, and Peter Blaskim were the trustees of the school section at “Settlement at the head of North River,” in 1828.  The children’s family names were” McNutt, Lynds, McCallum and Jardine.  Population in 1956 was 68. 

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Oliver
This rural area is located on the French River, near the north shore of Nova Scotia.  It was named after the Oliver family who were early residents.  John Oliver’s land was laid off for him on January 11, 1813, and he may have settled soon after.  Robert and Henry Oliver had “lately” emigrated from Roxborough-shire, Scotland in October 1815, when they petitioned for grants of land.  In 1816 the grants were made to all three men.  Population in 1956 was 72. 

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South Tatamagouche
This settlement is located about five miles south of Tatamagouche near the north shore of Nova Scotia.  It is one of two settlements which was established near the DesBarres estate, which retained the old name given to the entire area by the First Nations people.  Land was granted to: George Godden and Thomas McFadden in 1813; John W. Harris in 1816; John Dunn in 1833; and James G. Brown in 1847.  Thomas McFadden was settled here, however, by May of 1812.

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Spidell Hill
This settlement is located on the headwaters of the Waugh River in north-central Nova Scotia.  It is possibly named after an early settler.  In 1816, land was granted to John, Susanna, and Hugh Moore, and to David Lee, an Irishman.  Donald Bailie, a native of Scotland who came to Nova Scotia in 1821, obtained a grant in 1828 and Alexander Sutherland received a grant in 1834.  In the 1870’s the Sutherland’s were the most prominent family in the area. 

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Summit
This community is located about two miles south west of Earltown Lake in central Nova Scotia.  Its position on the top of one of the mountains in the Cobequid range gives it its name.  Nathaniel Upham and Nathaniel Marsters were the earliest grantees in 1821.  Charles D. Lynch and Alexander McKay both received grants of land here in 1892.  Charles Lynch was living here in the 1870’s. 

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Tatamagouche
This town is located on the Northumberland Strait, north of Truro. The name Tatamagouche is derived from the Mi’kmaq term “Takumegooch” which means, roughly translated, “meeting of the waters” and Tatamagouche is the location where the Waugh and French Rivers run into a harbor. The first European settlers in the Tatamagouche area were the French Acadians, who settled the area in the early-1700s, and Tatamagouche became a transshipment point for goods bound for Fortress Louisbourg. In 1755 the British expelled the Acadians from Nova Scotia and the village was destroyed. All that remains from that period are Acadian dykes and some French place names. 

Tatamagouche, like many other villages in the area, had a large shipbuilding industry in the nineteenth century. Trees were plentiful and sawmills started appearing on the area rivers, producing lumber for settlers. Eventually, more than 17 mills dotted the local river banks. Although the first ship was built in 1790 the shipbuilding industry was not really significant until the 1830s when Tatamagouche Bay would see four or more ships leave for the Northumberland Strait each year. The age of steam ended ship building in Tatamagouche.

The village was the home to various other types of industry. The Tatamagouche Creamery, Balmoral Grist Mill, Sutherland Steam Mill and an Intercolonial Railway Station are reminders of the previous industry. These buildings are no longer used for their original purpose, but are now tourist attractions and museums. The Intercolonial Railway constructed its "Short Line" from Oxford Junction to Stellarton through Tatamagouche in 1887. The ICR was merged into the Canadian National Railways in 1918 and CN operated this line as part of its "Oxford Subdivision", Passenger service through Tatamagouche was discontinued in the 1960s and the station was used as an office for railway employees handling freight until 1972 when it was closed and sold in 1976. CN discontinued freight service on the line in 1986 when the Oxford Sub was abandoned; the rails were removed in 1989. Today the passenger station is a bed and breakfast, called the “Train Station Inn”, with restored historic rail cars located on the property. This former Intercolonial Railway Station is among four Provincial Heritage Sites that are located in Tatamagouche. The Balmoral and Sutherland Mills, and the Fraser Octagon House are the other three sites.

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Tatamagouche Mountain
This settlement is located about six miles south of Tatamagouche, near the north shore of Nova Scotia.  The inhabitants evidently decided to name their settlement on the hill after the parent village in Stirling township which carried a First Nations name.  Grants of land in this area were made to Lieutenant Henry S. Blankley and James Foreman in 1813, and Robert and Mary Cock and Hannah Harris of Truro in 1816 .  A Postal Way Office was established in 1857.  Farming and lumbering were the main industries.

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Waldegrave
This rural area is located about a mile south of Barrachois Harbour on the north side of Nova Scotia.  It was so named in 1895 when the first Post Office was located at the home of A. C. Cock. “Wald” is a German word meaning “forest”, and "grave" is an archaic English term derived from the German “Graf” meaning an Earl or Count, used in place names and titles, such as Mulgrave.  David Ross and Alan Forsyth owned land in this area in 1803-04.  Rober McBurnie, a Scotsman, settled here around 1820 and later opened a small school.  William Buckler also settled about 1820.

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Waughs River
This area is located near the head of tide on the Waugh River, near the north shore of Nova Scotia.  It took the name of the river beside which it grew and which was named after Welwood Waugh, an early settler.  The first European settlers were the Acadian French who came into the area in the early 18th century, Francis Boyes was one of the inhabitants of the French area in August 1755.  They built at least three grist mills.  On August 17, 1755, the English troops under the command of Captain Abijah Willard burned this settlement which then consisted of four houses and several barns.  In 1765, the land was granted to J. F. W. DesBarres.  Around 1770, Gideon Des Lesdernier, a tenant farmer from Lunenburg, settled on the land and began to raise cattle.  He eventually abandoned the farm, and about 1783, Welwood Waugh and his sons took it over as tenants.  By 1795, they had erected a grist mill, and by 1898, three sawmills.  By 1803-04, the “Waugh Block” was divided up amongst Welwood and his sons Thomas, William and Alexander.  A Postal Way Office was established in 1858.  Farming was the main industry.  Population in 1956 was 168.  

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