purple adidas Links to pioneer past still visible in Churchville
For example, MacGregor says, she and her husband John look after the “new” cemetery as president and treasurer. John’s mother did it before them, but her son, who will be the sixth generation farmer on the MacGregor’s land, shows no interest in the cemetery and she doesn’t expect him to take on the duty when they retire.
It’s a common problem in many rural communities. Old homesteads are purchased by new families who want a taste of rural life, but work in one of the five towns in the county.
MacGregor says new people are welcomed into the community, but when an old family leaves, a connection is lost in the neighbourhood.
“We are not a dying community, but we are not one that comes together,” she said. “Hopefully, when we do some work on the hall, there will be people who will want to come out. We used to have big community picnics here at the hall, but we did that because people would come home to visit family during the summer. Now the families are moving on.”
A historical kiosk that stands adjacent to the church hall depicts Churchville as an active farming community with its own store, post office,
school, tannery and other local business.
Today, MacGregor’s homestead is the only farm in Churchville and the hall is one of the few buildings left any kind of link to the past.
A cairn is still located at the entrance of the village, but she doubts few people know that it’s dedicated to the Robertson pioneers who were the first settlers in the area.
“This area was called Robertson Mills, but when the log church opened in 1846, they changed the name to Churchville,” she said.
According to Pictou County historian John Ashton, the Robertsons and MacKays came from Inverness shire, Scotland, and arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in the year 1784. Carrying as many of their possessions as they could from Halifax they made their way to Pictou County by way of foot.
In the early 1900s, Churchville’s population was close to 400 but now MacGregor speculates that it is less than half of that.
However, she said, it still has its own charm and unique characteristics. It is home to many self employed people who run their businesses out of the area and has an active Women’s Institute that continues to write a complete history of village to mark its centennial celebrations in 1984.
It is also home to a unique tree stump.
Near the entrance of River Road stands a stump that marks the “old elm tree” that pioneer John Robertson and his two sons slept under upon their arrival to the area in 1784.
Someone made a sign for the stump to mark the Robertson’s stamp on the land and it now sits on the side of a nearby home that once belonged to the Robertson clan.