Monica Graham Presentation – Fire Spook: The Mysterious Nova Scotia Haunting
Posted November 2022
Approximately 25 people were in attendance on the sunny Sunday afternoon of November 20, to hear author Monica Graham give a talk about the story of the Mysterious Haunting in Caledonia Mills and the how this impacted the life of Alex and Janet MacDonald as well as their adopted daughter Mary Ellen. Monica began her talk discussing the many sources she researched to be able to piece together the story of what happened in the MacDonald house which became known as the “spook house” on January 11, 1922.
Ms. Graham discussed the history of the family and strange occurrences that occurred in the years leading up to the night of the fires. Her presentation went on to discuss the fires, the impact on the family, and what she had learned about what happened to Mary Ellen in the years following the incidents. She also mentioned stories about other people’s experiences on visiting the area where the farm once stood.
Near the end of the presentation Monica mentioned some other possible explanations for the fires and shared her thoughts on what she thinks may have happened. In her words one of the greatest tragedies was the impact this all had on this family.
The presentation wrapped up with questions from the audience and the sharing of personal experiences with visitations to the site of the old farmhouse. The presentation was well received by those in attendance, many of whom expressed their happiness that they were returning home while there was still daylight present for their trip.
Dr. Marble Presentation – History of Nova Scotia Medicine
Posted November 2022
On October 19, the Guysborough Historical Society hosted a talk at the Old Courthouse Museum by Dr. Allan Marble, noted researcher and author of several books on the history of medicine. Dr. Marble’s talk was particularly focused on the life of Dr. George E. Buckley of Guysborough who practiced medicine from 1867-1936 and whose story is documented in Dr. Marble’s latest book “The History of Medicine in Nova Scotia from Confederation to Medicare: the Transition from Allopathic to Scientific Medicine.
Dr. Marble spoke to a group of interested and appreciative citizens. He began his talk with an overview of the state of medical knowledge and equipment that would have been part of Dr. Buckley’s practice when he started in 1867. Dr. Marble who called Dr. Buckley a hero for Guysborough County, went on to discuss how Dr. Buckley’s practice changed as he kept up with the advances which took place due to the epic discoveries of Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister in the 1860s, the discovery of bacteria and viruses, the use of antiseptics, the invention of the stethoscope and the medical thermometer, as well as other advances in medical equipment and knowledge.
Dr. Marble spoke of the detailed records kept in Dr. Buckley’s daybooks and ledgers created over the entirety of his career and how they are a valuable resource that provides a window into the practice of medicine in a rural area in the late 1800s to the mid 1900s. These daybooks and ledgers are available thanks to their acquisition by the Nova Scotia Archives from an antiquarian book dealer in Toronto and are now digitized and available from the Nova Scotia Archives website.
Dr. Marble is pictured with Chris Cook, President of the Guysborough Historical Society being presented with a gift of a Temperance T-Shirt. After the talk Dr. Marble answered questions from the audience and all in attendance were invited to share in tasty refreshments prepared by Elaine Durling, a Board member of the Guysborough Historical Society.
Canada’s Residential Schools Tragic Legacy
Posted June 2021
In early June, the Old Courthouse Museum created a window memorial to the 215 children whose unmarked graves were found by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in late May on the grounds of the former Kamloops residential school. Below are some pictures of this display. The recent discovery of unmarked graves, many of which are believed to be those of indigenous children who attended the former Marieval Indian Residential School on Cowessess First Nation in southeast Saskatchewan and the likelihood that more unmarked graves will be found on the sites where other Residential Schools stood across this country, bring to light the tragic legacy of the role that Residential Schools played in the lives of indigenous peoples across the country. The Guysborough Historical Society acknowledges the legacy of trauma, pain, and suffering created by Residential Schools. We all have much work to do to bring about reconciliation with First Nations peoples of Nova Scotia and Canada.
Lest we Forget
Posted November 2020
Like so many other public ceremonies this year, Remembrance Day traditions have had to evolve differently due to the COVID pandemic. The Guysborough Historical Society marked this time of Remembrance by displaying poppies in the windows of the Old Courthouse Museum. A sign of remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict, peace and pandemic. The Society offers sincere thanks to the students of Chedabucto Education Centre for making these poppies and for providing them to the Museum.
Episode of Haunted filmed at Museum
Posted November 2020
Friday November 6th and Saturday November 7th, the Old Courthouse Museum was the centre of attention hosting the crew of the Eastlink TV show Haunted. Haunted visits locations throughout Atlantic Canada to investigate “the darkest and scariest corners” and to try to make contact with “whatever might be waiting for them out there”.
Informed by research and background shared by Mary Armstrong, curator of the Museum, and Mark Haynes, acting President of the Guysborough Historical Society, the cast and crew spent two nights in the Old Courthouse Museum. Who knows what contacts they made? The episode is now being edited and prepared for release sometime in March or April of 2021. We will post the air date when it becomes available.
Winter Light Productions films episode for Maritime Museums
Posted October 2020
The Guysborough Historical Society was pleased to welcome the crew from Winter Light Productions to the Old Courthouse Museum on Saturday, October 17th. Winter Light Productions is responsible for the documentary show Maritime Museums that airs on Eastlink TV. Mary Armstrong, the curator of the museum, prepared for the safety of all those present according to COVID-19 protocols and welcomed everyone as they arrived.
The crew spent most of the day in and around the museum. Paul Kimball, the host of the show, filmed an interview with Mark Haynes acting President of the Guysborough Historical Society. Later they were filmed as they walked through the museum exhibit area stopping frequently for Haynes to point out and describe the historical relevance of many of the artifacts. The episode is expected to air in February 2021. The exact date is not finalized at this time but will be posted on the website when it becomes available.
Wedding at the Museum
Posted October 2020
On October 10, Thanksgiving Saturday, the Old Courthouse Museum was the scene of the wedding of Daniel Muise and Lindsay Thorne. Dan grew up just down the street from the Museum. COVID-19 procedures – masks, distancing, and lots of hand sanitizer – were in place. Nancy O’Regan, local Justice of the Peace, officiated. There were about 35 people present – well within COVID guidelines. As far as we know it was the first wedding ever held in the Court House since it was built in 1843. We hope is not the last.
HERstory – International Women’s Day 2020
Posted March 2020
On Sunday March 8, approximately 25 people gathered at the Royal Canadian Legion in Guysborough for an International Women’s Day event called HERstory. The event, sponsored by the Guysborough Historical Society with support from the Antigonish Women’s Centre, started with an informal social and light lunch. Later, those present gathered in a sharing circle where people were invited to share stories about the female role models, mentors and heroes in their lives.
Stories were told of mentors ranging from those who were successful authors, to a midwife, to women who passed on their cooking skills, to those who helped nurture a career. Several young people also contributed stories about family members who were their mentors and heroes.
With the permission of those telling the stories, these narratives were recorded and will be transcribed and collected in a document that will be available at the Old Courthouse Museum.
The afternoon ended with the drawing of names for door prizes generously donated by businesses and community organizations.
Heritage Day 2019
Posted August 2019
On Sunday, August 25th the Old Courthouse Museum hosted the Guysborough Historical Society’s annual Heritage Day. The sun was shining as 24 people set out Sunday morning for a walk on the Guysborough Trail, all that remains of the old rail bed that was intended for the Guysborough Railroad. The walk started with Lisa Hallett singing about the Guysborough Railway. Charlie Hallett guided the participants along part of the trail and provided a historical narrative related to the proposed but ultimately ill-fated railway.
At noon a large crowd gathered for the annual Heritage Day barbecue. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and sausage dogs were on the menu as people spent time in the afternoon sun enjoying the day. Following the barbecue events moved inside and we had the opportunity to watch some young Highland dancers exhibit their skills as they presented several different dances. Each dance was introduced by a brief history and description by museum staff member Margaret Sams.
Our newest publication Interred Within: The Pioneers of Guysborough was launched. This book documents the history of those in one of Nova Scotia’s oldest cemeteries. Researched by various authors over a period of four years, it tells the stories of 47 pioneers of Guysborough whose biographies will appeal to historians, genealogists and those who just want a good read.
The afternoon continued with musical entertainment by Netonia Nickerson, a summer student employee at the Old Court House Museum, who performed a number of songs to a very appreciative audience.
At 3 p.m. GHS Board Member Chris Cook led a guided tour of the old Methodist Cemetery on Queen Street, Guysborough. Cook has worked tirelessly for over two decades resurrecting gravestones and providing upkeep of the cemetery grounds. Approximately 12 people attended the tour and were rewarded with numerous stories about those whose final resting place is located on this site.
In the evening, the Drysdale lecture series, named after Jim Drysdale whose estate provided substantial support to the Historical Society, hosted a presentation by Antigonish author Bruce MacDonald which detailed the fascinating history of the many attempts to build the Guysborough Railroad. It was an intriguing and informative presentation that raised several questions and a couple of stories from the audience. Jamie Grant, President of the Historical Society, thanked both Bruce MacDonald for his presentation and Charlie Hallett for his leadership and story telling on the Trail walk earlier in the day.
Canada Day 2019
Posted July 2019
On July 1, 2019 approximately 40 community members gathered at the Old Court House Museum to celebrate Canada Day. Everyone joined in the singing of O Canada followed by the sharing of cake to celebrate. Councillor Miles MacDonald was joined by Aidan Brown for the cutting of the cake. A rainy Canada Day was perfect for this indoor celebration. Visitors had the opportunity to explore the museum, observe new exhibits and recently acquired artifacts.
Guided Harbour Tours 2019 – (weather permitting)
- 1:00 – 2:30 – French Period
- 3:00 – 4:30 – Loyalist Period
- July 16
- July 21
- August 6
- August 18
Open Doors for Churches – August 2019
Open Doors for Churches, in partnership with the Heritage Trust of NS, will be held on August 24 and 25, 2019. Invite the public to visit your church. Please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Heritage Day 2019
Our Annual Heritage Day events, including the Drysdale Lecture Series, is tentatively scheduled for August 25, 2019
Historical Society 2019 AGM
This year’s AGM is scheduled for Tuesday June 18, 2019 at the Old Courthouse Museum starting at 7:00 PM (6:30 PM -7:00 PM for membership purchase and renewal). New members welcome.
Guysborough Time Capsule Project 2017
In commemoration of Canada 150 the Historical Society undertook the building of a time capsule. Community members were encouraged to submit stories and artifacts. On Heritage Day the time capsule was sealed in the presence of a large of group form the community. The capsule is intended to be opened in 2167.
Guysborough Historic Walking Tour
The Guysborough Historic Walking Tour begins at the Old Court House Museum at 106 Church Street. The tour takes approximately an hour and ends at the Christ Church Anglican Church. From there you can walk down to the Shoreline Trail toward the site of historic Fort Point or stroll back downtown to enjoy our local establishments. You can print the Walking Tour PDF or purchase it for a small fee at the Museum.
Guysborough Student Heritage Projects
Come into the Museum this summer to see heritage projects created by several of Guysborough’s young people.
Guysborough Interpretive Panels
This series of panels describes significant aspects of Guysborough’s history including the historic Court House, shipbuilding, the Canso Mi’kmaq and the early French fortifications on the harbour. The panels are located at the Old Court House Museum and along Guysborough’s scenic Shoreline Trail. For more information come visit the Museum.
Heritage Plaque Project
The Guysborough Historical Society has mounted historical plaques commemorating the estimated age and the original owner of many buildings in Guysborough and surrounding areas.
Genealogical Research Centre
Visitors and Community members are encouraged to use our Genealogical Research Centre to conduct personal genealogical research. The Centre is open during regular museum hours and provides easy and safe access to Museum records, books and archives. In the off-season, the Centre will be available for use on an appointment basis.