Alex MacLean, grandson of Gaelic poet John MacLean at his tombstone, Glen Bard cemetery, Antigonish County, c 1930. Photographer: Clara Dennis. Courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives, Dennis Collection NSARM 200801948
Clara Dennis (1881-1958) was one of Nova Scotia’s first native-born travel writers, and the first women to write about Nova Scotia from a personal perspective. Dennis began touring the province with car and camera around 1930, at a time when few women drove their own vehicles into rural Nova Scotia and the “motoring tourist” was still a novelty. Her photographic record of several thousand images, capturing the people and places. The NS Public Archives has digitized 2500 images taken between 1930 and 1940, including this one.
The Bard John MacLean Cemetery is located along Highway No. 4 in the Glen Bard District of Antigonish County, Nova Scotia, and is valued as the burial site for Bard John MacLean, the most representative Gaelic bard of the New World and his grandson, Presbyterian minister Alexander MacLean Sinclair, considered the greatest Gaelic scholar born on Canadian soil.
John MacLean was born in Caolas, on the Hebridean island of Tiree in Scotland in 1787. He arrived in Pictou in 1829 with his wife and three children, and after some years moved his family to Glen Bard . MacLean composed, his “A ChoilleGhruamach” (“The Gloomy Forest”) circa 1821- considered one of the most graphic descriptions of pioneer conditions in North America. http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=7331
Jocelyn Gillis, Curator, Antigonish Heritage Museum, recounts the story she heard of “Mrs. Bard,” and her response to the hardships of pioneer life. A neighbour came upon her reading Shakespeare , oblivious to the chickens that were eating the crumbs off the table.
In the first decade of the 20th century courses in Gaelic language and literature at StFX were taught by Rev. Dr. Alexander Maclean Sinclair, Sinclair did more to advance Gaelic studies in North America than anyone else in his lifetime. He is the focus of the scholarship of StFX Professor of Celtic Studies, Dr. Michael Linkletter. http://sites.stfx.ca/celtic_studies/department_history