Descendants recall pride in MacLellan house

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Descendants of Donald MacLellan who built the stone house in Blue Acres say they are sad to hear the home is now gone.

Bill Cunningham – great, great, great grandson of Donald MacLellan – said the tale of the stone house is one that was passed down in their family.

The MacLellan settlers who arrived on the ship Hector were very crafty, he said.

From what he was told, the ships from Europe used to come to Pictou harbour without cargo, to pick up 200-foot tall hemlock and pine trees and take them back to Europe. The ships couldn't sail empty so they filled them with ballast to weigh them down while sailing. The flat rock was then jettisoned in the harbour after arriving before they loaded up with New World timber.

“The MacLellans, in the dead of winter, drove their team of horses and sleigh down the frozen East River to the area in the harbour where the rock had been jettisoned,” Cunningham wrote.

After so many sailing trips here the rock had begun to pile up under the water and formed what was known as ballast island. “The MacLellans with their almighty strength lifted those rocks out of the frozen water and loaded them onto their sleigh and took them back up the river to Blue Acres and fashioned the old stone house that now is being demolished.”

Coincidentally, both his parents were descended from the original settlers.

“When my dad was courting my mom and called on her at the Browns’ house,” (house directly behind the Porters Funeral home castle), he was ushered into the parlour as Helene wasn't ready yet. “Didn't have her make up on I suppose,” said Cunningham.

While in the parlour his father was looking around the room and at the pictures on the wall and noticed a picture of the old stone house hanging on the wall.

When Helene appeared he asked her, "What are you doing with a picture of our family's stone house hanging on your wall?"

She replied, "Your stone house? It's our stone house.”

It turned out as they traced back ancestry that they were distant cousins and both direct descendants from Ship Hector passengers.

Cunningham’s sister, Audrey Jordan, said she was also very upset when she got word that it was torn down earlier this week.

“I always hoped that maybe the house would become a museum some day,” she said.

Thankfully, she said, she and her siblings each have an oil painting of the house that their father did years ago.

“It will be even more precious to us now,” she said.

amacinnis@ngnews.ca

On Twitter: NGNewsAdam

Organizations: MacLellan house, Browns

Geographic location: Blue Acres, Europe, Pictou East River

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