I’ve longed to see Nova Scotia, the homeland I
had never known. I’ve fantasized about walking on the land my
great-great-grandfather farmed in the early 1800s. I yearned to visit
the church that had known my grandmother’s singing voice.
So that’s where Lynn, my wife, and I went first when we began our yearlong journey of faith this August. We walked the exact tract of land my great-great-grandfather, James Fitzpatrick, farmed on Fitzpatrick Mountain, a place more beautiful than I had imagined. I saw for myself his son’s (my great-grandfather’s) homestead property in Millsville, where my grandmother was born. The farmland of the elder James is today the location for a simple tourist lodge and chalets called Stonehame.
To my delight the proprietors, Don and Jeff Gunn, had a copy of my family’s genealogy so guests could learn the history of the land. Jeff said he was part of an initiative in Canada to pay tribute to my great-uncle, Alfred, for his efforts to bring education to this region’s hard-working pioneers.
The people of Bethel Presbyterian Church in Scotsburn embraced Lynn and me as old friends and helped me find the gravestones of the Fitzpatrick family across the street. Bethel is the “successor” building to the one where Grandmother Margaret sang solos during Sunday services.
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