The Priest Family
Aaron and Martha
Taken from the New Glasgow paper, "The Enterprise", and copied by the "Pictou Advocate".
"Aaron was the founder of the family name "PRIEST" in Pictou County. He settled in Albion
Mines (now Stellarton), having been sent out by the General Mining Association as a chain maker. He worked at this for
a few years, then moved to Middle River, where he worked as a blacksmith. He later moved to the Merigomish area,
now Woodburn. From there he moved to Wentworth Grant. The part of the Grant where he took up his land is near
what is now Blue Mountain. He, and his wife, Martha Jane Coley, are buried in the old cemetery on the Blanchard Road
(The Fire Tower Road).
Martha was as good a chanmaker as Aaron was. The first shingles that went on the Eastern
Chronicle Building in New Glasgow were made of slate. Martha made the nails that went in the shingles. She had
her own forge and anvil. No man of that time could equal her. She was also an expert chainmaker.
One set of chains that she made for Hugh Sutherland, of West River, lasted him for 30 years.
In all that time he never had to have them repaired, though in constant use.
Martha was reputed to be a very strong woman. The story is told of a merchant who offered
her a barrel of flour for nothing if she could carry it across the bridge in New Glasgow. The flour barrel weighed about
200 pounds. She not only carried it across the bridge, she carried it back as well."
Taken from Priest Family History by Hilda Allen.
After Emma died, Moses married Jessie Ross on January 2, 1866, at Blue Mountain. Jessie
raised the three children, plus two boys that Moses brought home, William Welton and David Graham. They also brought
up Martha and archie's two children after they died of Tuberculosis.
After Jessie died Moses married widow Mary MacDonald, on December 24, 1907. Moses was a
farmer and butcher. He lived at Blue Mountain for some years, then sold the property to Tyler Campbell, whose descendants
sold it to Scott Maritimes.
He then moved to what is now Priestville. The area came to be known as "Priestville" while
he lived there. Much of the land he owned there is where the "Pottery" used to stand. During WWII that section
became an army base. He also gave a plot of land to be used as a cemetery for the people of Priestville. In recent
times if has been taken over by a company. There is now a fee to be buried there, where Moses had intended it to be
free to the residents. The first house to be built in Priestville is still standing and in use as a residence.
Moses also owned a store and workshop across the road. It was later turned into a house where two of his grandchildren,
Ena and Moses, and their families lived for some time.
The MacDonald Family
Finlay and Annie
During the first three years of the nineteenth century, ten thousand people left the Highlands
of Scotland bound for Nova Scotia and Upper Canada. The main reason for leaving was economic. They believed that
life would be better in the New World where they would have a piece of land to call their own. In Scotland they were
tenant farmers, whose landlords were discovering that they could make more money from sheep, than they could from men.
In the earlier years, people left on their own accord; later they were evicted, watching powerlessly while their homes were
burned to the ground. In 1801, eleven ships sailed from Fort William, Scotland with 3,300 emigrants. The "Sarah",
carrying 700, set sail on June 8th for Pictou, Nova Scotia. On board were Finlay McDonald, age 48, his wife Annie
and their five children ranging in age from 2 1/2 to 16 years. Finlay was a piper in the army and Annie was a spinster
(one who spins). They came from Glenurquhart in Inverness-shire. The valley of Glenurquhart runs westward from
the village of Drumnadrochait which is situated on Loch Ness. The county seat of Inverness is about twenty miles to
The ship "Sarah" was one of the ships brought out by Hugh Dunoon, Esq. They were thirteen
weeks on the voyage, having sailed in June, and not having reached Pictou till September, and in that time forty-nine people
died because of the conditions, whooping-cough and smallpox. When the vessel arrived in Pictou, sickness still prevailed,
so that she was kept in quarantine at the beaches for some time.
When Finlay and Annie arrived in Pictou, they were, in all likelihood, taken in by friends or
relatives who had come out from Scotland at an earlier time. The first highland settlers arrived on the Hector in 1773.
They probably took possession of the land on McLennan's Mountain the year after arrival; however, it was fifteen years before
they received a deed to the property. the deed, issued on January 29th, 1816, granted Finlay three hundred acres on
the north facing side of MacLennan's Mountain where, on a clear day, the waters of the Northumberland Strait are visible.
No doubt, Finlay spent many long hours cutting tall timbers before this view was discoverd.
Another child was born to Finlay and Annie three years after their arrival in Nova Scotia.
They now had six children: John, Nancy, Donald, Christean, Duncan and Janet. It appears that Finlay also fathered
a child named Jessie the same year his son Duncan was born in 1798. It is rumored that her mother was a widow (Munroe?)
and Jessie was brought up by a Fraser (Bann) family - possibly her mother's sister. Jessie became Donald "Tailor" McDonald's
second wife. She is mentioned with the other family members in a quitclaim deed written in August 1827. This deed
listed the inventory of movable property belonging to Finlay when he died on May 10, 1823. At the time of his death,
Finlay's movable property consisted of one horse, seven cattle, and eighteen sheep and was divided according to his wishes
among his children and his wife Annie. Finlay was seventy years old at the time of his death; Annie died some
time later at the age of seventy-two. They are buried in McLennan's Mountain Cemetery.