St. John the Evangelist

 

Parish of St. John the Evangelist

            When the Scottish first arrived in Tracadie aboard the Alexander, in 1772, there was a priest on board by the name of Father James MacDonald.  Father MacDonald had left his parish of Drummond, Scotland to supply his fellow Clansmen with religion in their new home.  Father James MacDonald's first mass on Island soil was held in a Mr. Donald McRae's home.  It is said that Mr. McRae's home was the first house erected in Tracadie (Scotchfort).[3]

            The new church was to be built on the remains of the old Acadian church (St. Louis du Nord), which had been burned during the expulsion.  It was located just above the McRae clearing, close to French burying ground.  So it was during that first winter while Father James Macdonald tended to the spiritual needs of the Acadien families in Malpeque, the Scotch went to work erecting a suitable place of worship in Scotchfort.  Though the little chapel was below the present ideals of ecclesiastical architecture, it was nevertheless, in the eyes of the early settlers, a marvel of beauty and design.  It was a log building about thirty feet long, twenty feet wide, and about twelve feet in the post.  Its roof could boast neither copper, nor slate, nor even the ordinary shingle; but bid proud defiance to wind and weather, under a modest covering of straw thatch.[4]  The new little church would be called St. John the Evangelist and it was the very first British Roman Catholic Church on Prince Edward Island.  For over thirty years it was used for divine service, until it had become so dilapidated that in 1803, Bishop Denaut ordered the Church of St. John The Evangelist be used no longer.  He ordered a new church be built in St. Andrews to serve the St. Andrews, Naufrage, Tracadie, Three Rivers, Fortune, and East Point (completed in 1906).  However, Capt. MacDonald was opposed to this new location because he wanted the church built in Tracadie.  When they could not reach an agreement on this, Capt. John had his tenants attend services at his house in Tracadie.  His brother, Father Augustine MacDonald would hold services every Sunday until Capt. John grew tired of people in his house every week and people returned to their regular system.

 

            In the old cemetery in Scotchfort, lies the remains of both Acadians and Highlanders, including Father James MacDonald and as tradition has it two of the original French priests.[5]   While the old French graves have lost their marks over the years, one of the oldest marked graves is that of Donald MacEachern dated July 15, 1788.  In the cemetery there is also a white marble cross, which marks the grave of Capt. John MacDonald.  There is a passage engraved in Scottish granite that reads:

            “Here lies deposited in the peace of Christ, awaiting the coming of the judge of the living and the dead, in the hope of a glorious resurrection, and a happy immortality, the mortal remains of John MacDonald of Glenaladale, Esq., a captain in His Majesty's 84th regiment of Foot, who emigrated with his family to this Island, 1772, bringing his wife, and of Flora Anna Maria their daughter, relict of the late Alexander MacDonnell of Donaldston Esquire."

 

There is also a commemoration on this monument of family members of Captain John MacDonald who share the same resting place.  

Location

Churches
Canada
46° 22' 24.4704" N, 63° 1' 42.8304" W

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