The Camerons in Nova Scotia

1784 to 1847


[From "History of the Town of Antigonish", Part Two - Genealogical]

CHISHOLM, "Salt Springs"

It does not appear possible to say to a certainty what the name of the progenitor, in Antigonish, of the "Salt Springs" Chisholms was. No descendant has been found who could give his name, and no record has been discovered to show what his name was, but it is generally believed to have been John Chisholm, and he must have had a brother, Alexander, who came to the Salt Springs at or about the same time that he did. Two deeds are on the Registry of Deeds from Alexander Chisholm, West River, dated 1814, one Kenneth Chisholm and one to Alexander McAdam, but neither was signed by a wife, which would make it appear that Alexander was not married. In a letter from John Chisholm, son of the pioneer, written at Salt Springs, December 16, 1849, he said: "my uncle Alexander died." Presuming the name of the pioneer to have been John, he will be referred to as John 1st, while his son John will be known as John 2nd.

JOHN CHISHOLM, 1st, and presumably his wife, came to Nova Scotia in 1784, and settled at Salt Springs, County of Sydney (later Antigonish). Early family records may he came from Loch Ness, Scotland, and his wife from Lochaber, while the cover of an old family Bible has a memorandum on it that "William Chisholm (referring to a son of John 1st.,) was born at Urquhart, (on Loch Ness) County of Inverness, North Britain, in 1781."

The children of John Chisholm, 1st and wife, were:

  1. John, m. Mary Livingstone;
  2. William, m. Mary Cameron;
  3. Betsey, m. Joseph Baxter;
  4. Kenneth, m., 1st, Nancy MacDonald, 2nd, Mary McPhee;
  5. Mary, m. Alexander MacAdam;
  6. Jennie, m. Kenneth MacDonald, moved to Wisconsin.

JOHN CHISHOLM, 2nd, m. Mary Livingstone; their children were:

  1. Jennie, b. March 15, 1798;
  2. Katherine, b. March 5, 1799, m. George Pushee;
  3. John, b. April 27, 1801, d. when about 15 years old;
  4. Isabella, b. April 27, 1803, m. Duncan Cameron (as his 2nd wife);
  5. William, who kept a store at Lochaber;
  6. Alexander, b. September 23, 1808, m. Catherine Sinclair; he owned the Burnside farm, and after selling it moved to St. Mary's, Guysborough County, and later to Minnesota;
  7. Roderick, b. October 10, 1809;
  8. Angus, b. Jany. 27, 1811, m. Ann McKay, moved to Minnesota;
  9. Mary, b. Nov. 4, 1813, m. Aug. 3, 1842, John Cameron, son of Duncan Cameron who married her sister Isabella who was called "Auntie-Grandma", because she was aunt to Mary's children, being the wife of the father of Mary's husband; they moved to Minnesota and she d. July 5, 1890;
  10. Duncan, b. Aug 24, 1816, died sometime between 1886 and 1849.

John Chisholm, 2nd, had a checkered career.

At one time he owned a great deal of land; in 1820 he deeded a piece to his son Rory, in 1825 he deeded a piece to his son Alexander, (the Burnside Farm), and in 1836 he he deeded his farm to his two youngest sons, Angus and Duncan, and in a letter he wrote in 1858 he said that this farm could then be sold for fifteen or sixteen hundred pounds.

Some of his descendants say he went to Eastport, Maine in 1839; he was evidently in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, in 1847, with his son Angus and wife, for in a letter from John Cameron, his son-in-law, to his father, Duncan Cameron at Beaver Dam, dated August 18, 1847, he said: "Best respects to you all, and to Angus and wife, and not forgetting Father-in-law." The descendants in Antigonish say he walked from Minnesota back to Salt Springs, bringing in his pockets wheat which was sown in Antigonish; as the Camerons only moved from Wisconsin to Minnesota in 1854, he must have been away from Nova Scotia many years.

He wrote a letter from Salt Springs, July 20, 1858, to his two daughters and their husbands, addressing the letter to Duncan Cameron, Rushford, Fillmore County, Minnesota, U.S., and in that letter told that he was living alone, in poverty, but being supplied with food.


SALT SPRINGS, Antigonish County

This settlement is south-west of Antigonish. A descriptive name from saline springs, it was part of the grant to Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Hierlihy and eighty-eight others in 1784.

Among the early settlers were Cameron, Chisholm and Somers. Angus McDonald was the schoolmaster in 1829 teaching children with surnames of Chisholm, MacDonald, MacLellan, Smith, Somers or Summers.

In 1905 the section was consolidated with West River.

About 1827 William Pushee erected a grist mill and in 1829 completed a kiln for drying oats.

By 1898 it was a farming settlement with 2 brick yards and a population of 80.

The population in 1956 was 57.