Description Hopewell Essay

Essay Written by

Grade 8

Ida Blanch Fraser






Hopewell is a small but pretty village situated on the West branch of the East river. A little less than a half century ago Hopewell was called “Milltown”, on account of a large grist mill being the most prominent industry of the place. This Mill was built by a Mr. Duff, a Scotchman, who afterwards sold it to a Mr. Alexander Fraser afterwards called “Square Fraser”, a word much honored in that time. Mr. Fraser returned here for a number of years, and built the house now occupied by Miss Annie Gray. The then sold his farmhouse and mill to Mr. Donald Gray, grandfather of the present Gray’s, now residing on either side of the river. The village (proper) at the time was composed of six families. Mr. Neil McKenzie, a saddler by trade, and a Catholic by profession, and whose descendants now live in Antigonish. John Falconer (big), a blacksmith, Duncan Falconer, tanner, John Gunn, shoemaker (afterwards postman for over forty years), Hector McLean (Red Hector) general merchant, and Lachlen McKinnon,

shoe maker and violinist who afterwards moved to Stellarton where some of his descendants still live. These bill layers were soon surrounded with a dozen or more pioneer families all of whom were Scotchmen. Donald Gray (big) and his sons , Thomas Munroe and his sons, John Grant, Alexander Barclay, Duncan McDonald (red), Hector McDonald (MacDuncan), Alexander McDonald, Duncan McDonald (Doctor), John McLean (red), Donald McIntosh and his sons Charles and Falconer, Alexander Fraser (tailor) and Donald Fraser (tailor). With three exceptions, the descendants of these men still occupy the old homes. The next addition to the village was a Mr. Ray who constructed a general store and Mr. Andrew Skinner, a scotchman and a blacksmith by trade. His blacksmith shop was on a level east of the present post office and his dwelling house where Mr.Cunninghams house now stands. He lived here for over twenty years and then removed to Annapolis where he still

McLeod, a Scotchman, also the father of the present Conservative members for Cumberland.  He kept a general store in the house now occupied by James W MacDonald, and it was he who gave the village of “Milltown” the name of Hopewell. At this time the villagers and all the surrounding districts were Presbyterians, but as there were two bodies of that name “Kirk” and “Antiburgher” they each had a minister, but only one church, and this they occupied turn about. The church was on a site a few yards from where the present St. Columba Church now stands. The Kirk minister was the Rev John McRae, who lived on the farm now owned by Daniel Gray, Upper Hopewell and the Antiburgher minister was the Rev Angus McGill-- who lived and died at Springville. In the year 1848 there was a disagreement in the Kirk churches in Scotland which extended and affected the churches here. Rev McRae resigned. A few months later the congregations decided to have each a church of their own so in the year 1857

they began building the present Union Church and the Kirk people a few years later built the present St Columba Church. Rev John McKinnon then became minister of the Union Church. He gave twenty dollars annually out of his scant salary to discontinue liquor selling in the place. He was minister of the Union Church for nineteen years. Then he returned to Scotland where he died about fifteen years ago. The first minister of the Kirk Congregation was the Rev Simon McGregor, M.A., it was he who named the St Columba Church. In a few years he also went to Scotland, and was in charge of a church there for twenty-five years. He resigned lately on account of ill health. The two congregations were doing good work. St. Columba has had five ministers since- McRae,  Galbraith, Mr. Melville, Mr. Putnam, and now Mr. McIntosh. Union church has had three, Dr. McLean, Mr. Fraser, and now Mr. McNichol. From 1856-1866 new residents were coming into --- very much. The

Intercolonial Railway was built in 1859 and the Station House in the same year. At the time a woolen factory was in operation and employed over thirty hands, also a brickyard. There were six general stores and a tannery owned by the later Henry McLean. Later on a second tannery and also a spool factory were in operation. For a time everything seemed very hopeful, but the spool factory soon failed and the woolen mill was burned down and this caused a lull in the business of the village. About this time the rum seller began his trade and still continues it. In the year 1867 Prince Arthur was in Hopewell for a few hours. He was on his way to hunt and fish in the St Mary's woods and was accompanied by two Indian Guides. There was  ----the entrance of the station, and there was an address given by the Rev Simon McGregor.  Mrs. (Rev) McKinnon who was an Edinburgh lady requested that if Hopewell should ever be large enough to name its streets that the street from

Minto Cottage (which was then her home) to the Upper end of the village would be named Prince Arthur Street in honor of his being here. Lord Dunraven was in Hopewell also on a hunting expedition. From the six pioneer families there are now five hundred and ninety eight _ and from the few houses there are now sixty one houses. The same doctor has been living here thirty five years. There are only two of the second generation now living. Mrs. John Gray, and Mrs. Murdock McLean and only five of the third, the oldest men in the village now are Mr. Enon McDonald, Mr. John McDonald (Hector), Mr. John McDonald (red), Mr. Peter McPhee, and Dr. McLean. The first school house was near where Mrs. Thomas Munroe now resides, it was a log building with the opening between the logs filled with moss, and a chimney or fire place to heat it. Some of the first teachers were the late Peter Ross Esq., Alexander McKenzie, afterwards Rev and some others. The next school house was a frame building on the level

between the present school house and Mr. Angus Cameron's house. The late Hector McKenzie of Stellarton taught there for a number of years, the late Daniel McDonald (afterwards Inspector of Schools) and many others. About the year 1859 the present school house was built and a number of years later the second part was built, and for a time they employed two teachers but now employ one.                   

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Uploaded on: July 7, 2015

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