Settlement Plan of River John and Vicinity
The year, 1841. The original, prepared by Deputy Surveyor John Gauld and drawn on cotton with ox gall ink, shows the area from Seafoam to Tatamagouche indicating land grants and their owners. The Plan of the Settlement of River John and Vicinity, much like a map, has an interesting story to tell and is now able to share it with others as the community of River John welcomed this important piece of history to the Janice Murray Gill Memorial Library.
Of interest to genealogists, local historians, and anyone interested in the early settlement of River John and area, The Plan of the Settlement of River John and Vicinity was originally in possession of Clifford Carruthers until his passing, then put up for auction in the 1980’s. Worried this rare piece of Nova Scotian history would end its days in a private collection, community member Janice Murray Gill quickly contacted nine others in the local area, who pooled their funds and purchased the piece for over $1,500.
After being housed for several years in the local community museum, it was given to the River John Community Access Program (CAP) Society for safekeeping. Working with the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library, and with River John CAP funds, the Plan was sent to Zwickers Art Gallery in Halifax to be reframed to museum standards. While in Halifax, the Public Archives of Nova Scotia made a digital scan for the library as well.
The Plan of the Settlement of River John and Vicinity is now back home and will be permanently displayed in the public library in River John. The River John CAP Society hosted an unveiling on Friday March 24th,2017.
Reproductions of the Plan are available for purchase at the River John Library.
Cost of the prints are:
- 24 x 14 $35.95
- 36 X 20 $49.95
River John has a long and interesting history. Agriculture and fishing are strong in River John and surrounding area but there was a time when it was home to a booming shipbuilding industry. Read about this fascinating part of River John's past at the Wooden Ships of River John website. We have also created a website about the American Lobster where you can find out about this creature and the fishing industry which is an important aspect of life in River John.
Cemeteries of River John online at NovaStory
Cemeteries of River John and surrounding area have been digitized and can be viewed online at NovaStory.ca.
The book Salem United Church River John, Nova Scotia An Historical Account of the Congregation 1808-1990 written by Dr. Ella (Watt) Sangster has also been digitized and is available to read online at NovaStory.
Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library have several items in their collection relating to River John and it's history. Visit here to see a list of resources.
Anna Sutherland Bissell Memorial Park
"Bissell Park" is the small central park located in the centre of River John Village. A native of River John, Anna Bissell was a successful businesswoman in an age when the manufacturing business was considered a field for men only. At 19, she married Melville Bissell and became joint partner in their crockery and china business. When he invented the carpet sweeper in 1876, Anna became a traveling salesperson.
After her husband's death she became the chief executive officer of the company. She moved Bissell carpet sweepers into the international market and by 1899 had created the largest organization of its kind in the world. Anna introduced progressive labor policies including workmen's compensation and pension plans long before these practices were widespread in industry.
Anna Bissell was a charter member of the Ladies Literary Club, a life member of the Women's City Club and an active member of Zonta. She served on the board of the Clark Memorial Home and was for years the sole woman member of the National Hardware Men's Association. She was the President of the Bissell Carpet Sweeper Company from 1889 - 1931 and died in 1934.
Colonel Dan Sutherland Memorial Park
Col. Dan Sutherland Park was built in 1975. It was built from funds donated by the River John Lions Club and the River John and Area Recreation and Development Association.
The park consists of a ball field, children's playground, and park. The ballfield is used annually during River John Festival days for children and adult events and also throughout the summer and fall for ball tournaments.
The Colonel Dan Sutherland Memorial Park is located .5 km from River John on the West Branch Road.
River John Remembrance Garden
River John Remembrance Garden is located at the Royal Canadian Legion - Branch 108, 2 km from River John on the West Branch Road.
Elaine Reid Memorial
Elaine was a very active worker in the community of River John and surrounding area. She was a member of St. George's Presbyterian Church where she served as an elder, secretary of the board of managers and other offices within the church. She was a member of the River John Festival Committee since its beginning in 1986. Elaine was also a member of the RJ Ladies' group, the Winter Carnival, the River John Community Choir and was always ready to organize any events that would arise.
She was noted in the community for her "delicious" brown bread and was always taking home baking to the sick and elderly. She was honoured locally and provincially for her volunteerism over the years.
River John War Memorial
Erected in grateful remembrance of those who served in past conflicts including World War I, World War II, the Korean War and U.N. Peace Keeping Force.
To view a complete list of the names inscribed on the Memorial visit the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library's War Cenotaph website.