Inverness Miners' Museum
Inverness, Nova Scotia

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The Broken Ground: A History of a Cape Breton Coal Mining Community



One of the most noted pioneers of this part of the County was Murdoch Kennedy, who died a few years since under the uncommon weight of 102 winters. He was a brave, steel-nerved man, who never feared the frowns or failures in life. A story is told of him. One time he and a man by the name of MacGregor were clearing a piece of land in the fall of the year, shortly after he settled at Loch Ban. Their grain crop was good that year and they had also a large quantity of hay. Their barn, which was not at all a small one, was quite full, and they were encouraged to look into the future with great hope. This day, while they were at work, one of them happened to look toward the barn and saw the building all in aflame having caught fire from stumps and piles which were being burned in the neighbourhood. They ran to the barn and did all they could to subdue the fire without avail. The other man was really distracted. But when Kennedy saw the thing could not be helped, he turned around with philosophic eyes to his companion and said, "John, let us have your pipe, that we may have a smoke while the fire is still good. "

Mr. Kennedy was one of the patriots who voluntarily enlisted in the services of his country to suppress the Rebellion of 1812. (the invasion of Canada by the United States). If he was not rewarded for this act, he should have been. He raised a large, honest family, one whom -Angus Kennedy, Esq.- is the present councillor of Strathlorne, and one of the most active and popular businessmen in central Inverness.

To the South of Broad Cove Shore (Inverness) in the region of Broad Cove Intervale (Strathlorne) where some of the families of the first settlers made their homes. Some of the people who moved to Strathlorne were John and Charles MacLean, sons of Roderick MacLean; John MacIsaac, son of Allen, who married a Sarah Beaton and had a family of six sons and five daughters; and Murdock MacIsaac, who with his three brothers, Alexander, Donald, and Angus, appropriated the rest of the valley. Adjacent to these families was John Kennedy, a son of Archibald of Black Glen (Glenville) who had acquired 200 acres at the Intervale. This John Kennedy married Mary MacIsaac, a daughter of Angus MacIsaac. Next to John lived Hugh MacLean commonly known for his easygoing manner and philosophic sayings.

In an age when the pioneer had to be a proficient in the essential trades several prominent gentlemen served the community. Noteworthy among those were Archy Mclntire, a cooper in the construction of barrels, tubs, coolers, and the like. Another was Edward MacQuarrie who owned a boot and shoe factory; a general threshing mill was operated by Angus MacAulay; and the first blacksmith was William MacQuarrie.

Some of the businessmen who started merchandising on an elaborate scale were Isaac MacLeod, Alexander Campbell, and Ronald MacLellan who moved from the Marsh to Glenville and eventually settled in Strathlorne. These are but a few of the enterprising people in the Strathlorne area during the earliest stages of settlement. Many other illustrious and notable men and women followed the early pioneer in his quest for dignity and security. These were sincere, loyal, thoughtful, and hospitable people who formed a new society based on a strong family unit. They grew in the strength by helping each other and worked for all the good of all.


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