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Pictou County Villages and Pictou Place Names and Their Origin
Abercrombie: 4 miles from New Glasgow, named after General James Abercrombie, a British General, who was connected with the 42nd or the first battalion of Royal Highlanders. He made several campaigns in Canada,, and was killed at Bunker Hill in 1775.
Alma: named in commemoration of the place where a great victory was won by the British and French over the Russians in the Crimean War in the year 1854.
Avondale: was known as Central Barney until July 2nd, 1869 when it was resolved at a public meeting to change the name to Avondale.
Barney River: There is a river and village of this name named after Barnabus, or Barney, McGee, who was the first settler in Merigomish. He moved to Barney River in the year 1776.
Blue Mountain: was named by W. Ross, who settled there in 1818.
Bridgeville: was two miles up the East River from Springville, and in 1878 a rich vein of iron yielding 65% pure iron was being worked there.
Caribou Harbour: This name is said to have arisen from some of the first settlers having seen a herd of caribou on the east point of what is now known as Big Island, but which was then a headland connected with the shore, and which was called Caribou Point. The old Indian name was "Komagunuk", meaning a decoy place where they set out duck decoys.
Dalhousie Mountain: first settled by Peter Arthur, a native of the Orkneys. Later in 1815 came a number of Lowland Scots. The first settlers had some difficulties about their titles, some speculators claiming them. Lt. Gov. Earl Dalhousie interfered and made satisfactory arrangements for the settlers, who in gratitude named the place for him.
Dayspring Lake: The children of the Presbyterian Churches in the Maritime Proovinces raised the money for a vessel to be used as a mission ship in the South Seas. A vessel was built in New Glasgow in 1863-64 and named the "Dayspring". The spars for the vessel were brought from the neighborhood of this lake, which for that reason was named after the vessel.
Durham: named after the Earl of Durham, Governor-General of Canada. The settlement was previously known as West River and the new name was suggested by William Graham. In 1883 Durham had a new school to replace the Theological Hall which had served as a school house since the school was burned.
East River: was called by the Indians "Duckland".
Egerton: a township of Pictou County. The county was subdivided in the year 1807 into three townships, Pictou, Egerton, and Maxwelton. Probably named after Francis Egerton, the third and last Duke of Bridgewater. He was a great projector of canals and was known as "The Father of British Inland Navigation".
Eureka: named after the Eureka Milling Company which was established there.
Ferrona: from "Ferra", (iron). Named by officers of the Nova Scotia Steel and Coal Company, when the Company were manufacturing pig iron there.
Four, Six and Eight Mile Brook: were given these names because they were four, six and eight miles from the starting point of the old Cobequid Road to the point where they crossed the road.
Gairloch: In the year 1805 a vessel arrived with passengers from Gairloch, on the western coast of Ross-shire, Scotland. Three of them took up their lands at a brook which they named after their native parish in Scotland.
Garden of Eden: was nammed by William MacDonald, who came from Scotland and settled there.
Glengary: was known as the "Forks" of Middle River until 1865. It was probably named after the famous Glen in Invernesshire.
Green Hill: The old Indian name was "Espakumegek", meaning "High Land".
Haliburton: named in honor of Thomas Chandler Haliburton, a native of Nova Scotia, who wrote extensively and well of Nova Scotia, and was a member of the Nova Scotia Legislature and a judge. He was the creator of "Sam Slick", the clockmaker.
Hopewell: received its name from the ship which brought Alexander McNutt and his Ulster settlers to Colchester County in 1761.
Loch Broom: so named because of the resemblance from its harbour approaches to Loch Broom in Invernesshire, Scotland. First settled by Alexander Cameron in or about 1773.
Lorne: was named in 1878 in honour of Governor-General, Marquis of Lorne, who was married to Princess Louise, Queen Victoria's daughter. The settlement had formerly been known as Big Brook, West Branch of East River.
Lyon's Brook: was named after Rev. James Lyons, one of the Philadelphia emigrants, who arrived on the brig "HOPE" in 1767. By an act of Parliament in 1903 it was enacted that Logan's Tannery, Scotch Hill and Lyons Brook be thereafter known as Lyons Brook. In 1893 Logan's Tannery employed 60 persons and turned out leather by the ton each week. Other industries were W. McKean's blacksmith shop, Alfred Hogg's carriage factory, Robert Leithead's shoemaker's shop and Charles Hogg, Capt. T. O'Brien and Dougald Logan, Postmaster, kept merchandise. There were two teachers, W. O. Creighton, who had 40 pupils, and Isaac Grant, who had 30. Mr. Creighton also taught an agriculture class every Thursday night.
Merigomish: Micmac "Mallegomichk". At one time called "Malegonish". The MicMac word means "Hardwood Grove". First settled by Barnabus McGee, a native of the north of Ireland who emigrated to Pennsylvania or Maryland and from there to Merigomish in the year 1776. One version means Five Bays.
Mill Brook: was first settled by John and Thomas Fraser in the year 1800. They built a mill there in 1808, hence the name. It was earlier known as Bear Brook, owing to their having trapped a large bear there on their first visit to the Brook.
Millstream: about a mile from Springville, on the road leading to Hopewell. In 1878 was one of the best mill sites in the county, with a large sawmill, a grain mill and a furniture factory.
McLellan's Mountain: received its name from John McLellan, the first settler at the mouth of the brook that flows past the base of the mountain. Here was organized the first Presbyterian church in Nova Scotia.
New Glasgow: Settled in 1809, named by early Scotch settlers after the city of Glasgow in Scotland. Mr. James Carmichael, who built the first house here, is said to have the credit of selecting the site for a town and New Glasgow for its name. The first grant of land was for 500 acres to John MacKenzie in 1809.
Northumberland Strait: There was a ship named the "Northumberland" lost in this strait in the year 1747 and the name may have come in this manner. The Strait, or at least part of it, was named "St. Lunaire" by Cartier. Its southern end was at one time called the "Red Sea".
Pictou Island, 1809:To the Surveyor General of the King's Woods for the Province of Nova Scotia and all other his majestys territories in America or to his lawful deputy for the time being..
Whereas His Excellency Sir George Prevost Bart, L.L.D., Governor and Commander in Chief of said Province did by his warrant direct me to lay out unto Sir Alexander F. Cochrane Bart, a certain island commonly called and known by the name of Pictou Island situated lying and being in the Streights of Northumberlland in the district of Pictou and County of Halifax and containing two thousand nine hundred acres according to the annexed plan and in conformity to his Majesty's instructions I do hereby make this report in order to obtain a certificate that the aforesaid described tract is not comprised in any reservation made for the use of the crown.
Given under my hand the 17th day of October 1809 and in the 49th year of his majestys reign. Charles Morris, Sur. Gen.
Piedmont: was named by Rev. Dugald McKeichan, the first minister of Barney's River, from its position at the foot of the range of hills. "Pied" frm "Pes", latin for 'foot". It was first settled in 1810-15 by Scotchmen from Perthshire and Blair Athole.
Plymouth: The places on the East River, opposite Stellarton, hitherto known as Churchtown and Irishtown, are to be called Plymouth. 1873.
River John:Town Officers, River John 1797
Chris. Jean Perin --- overseer of roads.
Geo. Bigany --- overseer of fisheries.
Geo. Mattatal --- assessor.
John Simpson --- constable.
Jas. Gratto --- overseer of fences and thistles. River John --- 1842: The settlement of River John, second or third in point of size and population in the county, has, until this three or four years back, been one of the most prosperous places in the county. About that period there used to be a great deal of lumbering and shipbuilding carried on. Ministers were hired to preach the gospel regularly, and several places of worship were erected. The Old Presbyterian Meeting House was, at that time, too small for the congregation and a new one was built but never finished. An English chapel was also built. But from the building of these places of worship, River John has to date its decline and fall they both stand yet as they have stood for years in anything but a state of completion and the place intended for the Episcopalians has, until lately, been used as a carpenters shop, and a shed for cattle. There are, besides these places of worship, a Methodist, a Baptist, and a few miles out a Catholic Chapel. The school house is also unoccupied. The answer to these conditions is that times are so bad that we can't afford to pay for preaching and teaching. Signed: A Spectator.
Riverton: In 1877 byy a two-thirds majority of the inhabitants of Fishpoolls, East River, the name of that place was changed to Riverton. This name applied only to the west side of the river.
Scotsburn: is in future to be the designation of that part of Rogers Hill north of Fitzpatrick Mountain. 1867.
Springville: was settled about 1780 by John Fraser and others. An extremely large stream which issued from the foot of a hill there suggested the name. In 1878 it was descriibed as being about 10 miles above New Glasgow and had two stores, a church, a school house and a Temperance Hall, lodge of Oddfellows and Sons of Temperance. On January 1, 1880, the new bridge was open for traffic. This bridge was built of old discarded rails of the Intercolonial Railway and was said to be the second bridge in Canada to be in like style.
Thorburn: 5 miles from New Glasgow. Formerly known as the Vale Collierly, it was given its present name in 1886. The name was made up of "Thor" for the Scandinavian god of thunder. and "burn", the Scotch and northern English name for brook or small river.
Toney River: was named in honour of Capt. Toney, a Frenchman who was a great chief among the MicMac Indians. He is said to have made a treaty of peace with the English in 1761. The old MicMac name "Booktowtagun", meaning "spark of fire", or "flint", literally the place where flint stone is found.
Trenton: the birthplace of steel in Canada. Called after the capital of New Jersey. In October 1882 Mr. Harvey Graham proposed the name Trenton for the new town being laid out by him at Smelt Brook. The streets of the town were to be named after the trees of the forest annd a new school house opened early in 1884.
Waterville: The east side of the upper part of West Branch of East River was named Waterville in 1864.
This information was compiled by Morgan Robertson. The source for this information was "The Pictou Book", written by George McLaren.