The eighth in a series of annual presentations in Earltown is coming up at the end of the month.
Glen Matheson, local historian, will give the presentation on the social history of Earltown on July 29, 3 p.m. at the Earltown Church Cemetery, Highway 326, just north of the village of Earltown. In addition to an overview of the history of the Knox Presbyterian Church, there will be the customary tour of the adjacent cemetery with stories of the early settlers who chose to be buried in the shadow of the church. The presentation is free, however donations toward the upkeep of the cemetery would be appreciated.
Earltown was a remarkable community in the 1800s. Its hills and valleys were thickly populated with more than 1,000 highlanders, and it also served as a trading centre for nearby communities in Pictou and North Colchester, extending its influence to more than 2,000 souls.
And souls were of great import to these emigrants who arrived with little more than an axe and a bible. They belonged exclusively to the Church of Scotland, (later evolving into the Free Church of Scotland), and worshipped in their native Gaelic tongue. The clergy, elders, and catechists commanded great respect and exerted considerable influence over all aspects of life in the area, whether it be religion, education, justice or social welfare.
In due course, a church was erected in the geographic centre of the district. Like in their home parishes of Eastern Sutherland, a cemetery was established in near proximity. A second church was erected in the late 1860s to accommodate the growing congregation. Like in many rural communities, the congregation dwindled and the building had to be removed in recent years.