Guysborough County Genealogy

Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, Canada

The Village of Smithfield

Smithfield, Nova Scotia is located in Guysborough County, along Highway 348 between Glenelg and Caledoni Names, dates and pictures on this site provided by Elma Perry. Walter Malloy provided many of the pictures to Agnes Fraser, Elma's mother.


The history of Smithfield was written by Jean L. MacIntosh, daughter of George Brown MacIntosh, as a school essay assignment. It was written about 1930 and therefore when she wrote "now" or "at present" she is referring to that date. Jean later told some items to Elma Fraser Perry (who submitted this history). Elma wrote them down. Those items are in brackets. See MacIntosh & Glencross pages for more information.


Squire Thomas Glencross was the first settler to come to Smithfield. He came from Scotland and lived on what is now known as the Kirk property. The exact date is unknown, but it is thought that Mr. Glencross landed in Nova Scotia about 1740 (circa 1811-See Web Page 5 "Land Papers dated July 10, 1811"EP)

Demmon's Farm

William Smith and his wife Eliza Faircloe landed in Halifax with their ten children some years later.(The 10th child was born in Halifax around 1820. E.P.) They came from the north of Ireland. (Bagnelstown, County Carlow. E.P.) On landing in Halifax, he sent his second oldest son , Joseph, to look for a place to settle. Joseph came to the West River, St. Mary's, to the cabin of Squire Glencross, and on looking around, he found the land to be fertile and plenty of salmon in the river. He returned to Halifax for the rest of the family. Each son of William Smith cleared a farm for himself. Thus the name "Smithfield" as given to the place. William Smith was the first man to build a board house. He also put up the money to build the present school building.

The MacIntosh's were the next to come to Smithfield. Three brothers came from Scotland. One of them, George MacIntosh, settled on what is now known as the King MacIntosh property. He married Jane Ettinger from Maitland, Hants County. The other brothers were John & James. James returned to Scotland after a few months.( REF: Letter to George dated Marnoch, May 11, 1855.) EP

David Palmer and wife, who was a niece of Squire Thomas Glencross,also came from Scotland. Their farm is now vacant and is still known as the Palmer property.

George Tait came from Ireland. He married Miss Fisher from Lochaber, Antigonish County. They had three sons, John, Henry and William; also three daughers: Agnes, Margaret and Sarah. John and Henry never married and are the only two of the family to live in Smithfield; both are dead. William married Miss Stewart from Lochaber. Their daughter Sarah (Mrs. Harry Stewart) lives at Melrose. Agnes, the only daughter of George Tait and Miss Fisher, married Samuel Archibald at Glenelg. A son Alex.G. Archibald and daughter Janet Archibald live at Glenelg.

A family of MacLeod's also lived on what is now known as the property of Russell Jordan. There are no descendents living in Smithfield. There is a lake quite near that property known as the "MacLeod Lake".

A story is told of James Smith, son of William Smith and Eliza Faircloe, who lived on the property where the school building now stands. He and his wife, Martha Rude, were visiting at her home in Country Harbour. They left their pig to thrive for himself on beechnuts. On returning, they noticed that the door of their cabin was ajar. They looked in and saw the pig sleeping comfortably in their feather bed.

John Smith, son of William Smith and Eliza Faircloe, learned the mason trade and helped to do the mason work on the Parliament Buildings in Halifax. (The work was said to have been done in 1819. E.P.)

Foot Bridge

Industries carried on in Smithfield were lumbering, farming, milling and cutting pulp wood. In later years, mills in the settlement were closed and the logs were floated down to Sherbrooke, where they were sawed. Logs gave way to pulp wood, which was also floated to Sherbrooke, from where it was shipped to different parts of the world. Farms were cleared especially along the river, where the soil was more fertile. Most of these first farms are still being worked today.

The first school was built of logs on what is now the property of Ellis Demmons. Jennie MacKenzie taught in this building. The second school was a board house owned by the Smith family. It was situated on the property now belonging to Sarah H. Smith. Jennie MacKenzie also taught in this building. The third school building was built by William Smith about 1864, and is the present building. It has been improved from time to time. In 1929 a Public Speaking Contest was held in the District of St. Mary's. A Silver Cup was presented by C.W. Anderson M.P.P. and was won by a pupil( Jean MacIntosh) in the Smithfield school. The first teacher in the present school was James Finley. Others were Willington Archibald, David Kirk, Rev. J.H. Kirk, and Agnes Hattie. The first transportation was done in canoe. The settlers went to Sherbrooke after provision, where it was landed by vessels. They had to "pole" the boat back which was very difficult work. The first settlers also went by horseback to Halifax to buy flour. After the roads were made they traveled by cart using either oxen or horses.

The first church was built by the Smithfield and Lower Caledonia people. It still stands and is known as the "John Campbell Church". (Presbyterian) It was built in the years 1877 and 1878. Alex Cameron from Lochaber was the carpenter. The first minister was Rev. C.D. Pitblado.

The first settlers' clothing was all hand made. Woolen clothing was woven by the women and clothes were made for all the family. There were no luxuries in either clothing or food. The food eaten was that which could be obtained at home, such as meat, fish (salmon and trout), and home made meal.

The first Post Office was kept by John William Archibald. In 1907 it was moved to the home of George B. MacIntosh where it still remains. This Office is known as Smithfield. Another Post Office is at Upper Smithfield. Parker R. Smith is the Postmaster.