Clan Donald Magazine No 7 (1977) Online
MacDonald Cairns in Nova Scotia by Joseph Sweeney.
Along the northeastern shore of Nova Scotia some cairns dedicated to the memory of MacDonalds who settled here in past centuries are to be found. Of the cairns with which I am familiar, the most striking in my opinion is the one situated at Lismore, Pictou County. Myself and a companion visited this particular cairn recently.
Armed only with a sketchpad and pencil, and the knowledge that the cairn is located near a Catholic Church in Lismore, we set out. We arrived at St. Mary's Church (amid the bustle of renovation) where Father McLeod directed us to the cairn. It is accessible from two directions; one is a public right-of-way (which is blocked up and impassable); the other is through private property. Consent to use the latter in order to visit the cairn was duly granted by its owner.
The cairn is surrounded by an uncharted denseness of chest-high wild rose bushes, which happened to be wet at the time of our visit. Undeterred, we plunged in and some five or ten minutes later, emerged, soaking wet in a small clearing dominated by the wistful cairn.
It was like stepping into another world. Looking past it out of sea, I certainly wouldn't have been surprised to see the masts of the "Hector" arriving, laden with settlers for the first time. We stared, captivated, forgetting our discomfort for some minutes before commencing the business of sketching the cairn and recording the inscription thereon. It stands on a 10 ft square of concrete and is cylindrical, tapering almost to a point and constructed of stone. It is l2ft high and bears the following inscription:
TO THE MEMORY OF
SOLDIERS OF PRINCE CHARLIE
THEY FOUGHT FOR SCOTLAND IN THE
CLANRANALD REGIMENT AT THE
BATTLE OFCULLODEN IN 1746
BORN IN MOIDART, SCOTLAND 1712-16
CAME TO MOIDART, NOVA SCOTIA 1790-91
BURIED HERE 1802-10
LET THEM TEAR OUR BLEEDING BOSOMS
LET THEM DRAIN OUR DEAREST VEINS
IN OUR HEARTS IS CHARLIE, CHARLIE
WHILE A DROP OF BLOOD REMAINS
ALASTAIR MAC MHAIGHSTAIR ALASTAIR
1938 R.I.P D.MC.K.
The verse is moving and unforgettable in the bravery and dedication of the sentiment it expresses. Refreshed and happy that our journey had been a fruitful one, we returned to civilization.
Since this, I have come across similar inscriptions elsewhere in Nova Scotia. Situated on the west side of the East River at Glencoe, Pictou County, another cairn bears this inscription on its west face:
LOVING MEMORY OF
FATHER & MOTHER
EDWARD, JANE GRANT
GRANDFATHER & GRANDMOTHER
SUNNY BRAE CEMETERY
And this one, on its north face:
JOHN A. MACDONALD
AND HIS FOUR SONS
ALL OF THE 84th ROYAL
WHO SERVED WITH THE
LOYALISTS IN THE
REVOLUTIONARY WAR OF 1776
DESCENDANTS OF JOHN MACDONALD
OF GLEN URQUHART, SCOTLAND
A SURVIVOR OF GLENCOE
In front of the Bridgeville United Church at Bridgeville, Pictou County is a millstone which contains the following inscription on an inset contained on the millstone:
1828 IN MEMORY OF 1912
HON. JAMES MACDONALD
1878 MINISTER OF JUSTICE 1881
1881 CHIEF JUSTICE OF NOVA SCOTIA 1904
BORN IN BRIDGEVILLE JULY l, 1828 A LEADING
EXPONENT OF CONFEDERATION IN THIS COUNTRY
"MACDONALD OF PICTOU IS AS TRUE AS STEEL
AND IS, I THINK, THE ABLEST MAN IN THE
HOUSE OF COMMONS. HE HAS AT ONCE TAKEN
THE VERY FIRST RANK AND POSITION IN IT"
SIR JOHN A. MACD.
ERECTED BY THE MUNICIPAL CENTENNIAL
COMMITTEE IN CO-OPERATION WITH THE
CITIZENS OF BRIDGEVILLE ON JULY 22,1967.
If you have any comments, additions or corrections to this article,
please post them in the forum as a new thread
here. Please make the title of your post the title of the
article and put a link back to the article in your post. You will
have to register to join the forum.