History of Gospel Preaching in New Brunswick - 2 - New Scotland

Chapter 2 - New Scotland
 Chapter 2

New Scotland

When I started out on my research on the Moncton Assembly, I discovered that Moncton wasn’t the first location of an assembly in New Brunswick.

The following is the text of the paper prepared by Helen Morton, assisted by Phyllis Stuart in 1985 on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the building of the Gospel Hall at 195 Mountain Road in Moncton:

In the year 1891, David Scott, then a young man of 18 years, was working in Boston, Mass. but felt exercised about coming to NB to preach the Gospel. On the invitation of Mr. Norman MacNeil’s eldest sister, Maude MacNeil, he took his vacation and came to Coates Mills, Kent County and the Lord remarkably blessed the preaching of the Word and a number were saved. On his next visit, Mr. Scott was accompanied by Mr. John Blair, at which time he left his employment in Boston and was commended to the Lord’s work. He again came to the same area and an assembly was formed in New Scotland around 1896. In 1912, Mr. Goodwin and Mr. Brennan preached the Gospel in the schoolhouse in New Scotland. Later, in 1917, Mr. Brennan and Mr. Milnes preached in a tent in Bryants Corner. They had the joy of baptizing 13 believers. In September 1919, they had tent meetings in Moncton at which time they saw a move of God among the people and the assembly was formed in Moncton. We make notable mention of Mr. J. Harris Bears (Arthur Bears’ father) who moved to Moncton from New Scotland in 1916 and was instrumental in seeing the Moncton assembly formed.



David Scott

There was an error in the recorded age of David Scott when he arrived in New Brunswick. According to his grandson Gaius Goff, Mr. Scott was born in Ireland in 1867 making him 24 years of age when he first came to New Brunswick.

Three of David Scott’s father’s sisters lived in the Boston, New Bedford and Providence area. So when David Scott, at 18, emigrated to the USA in 1885, he went to Boston. David Scott had been saved in Ireland in 1881 when he was 14 years old and while still a teenager, he preached the Gospel in his local area and saw some souls saved. In 1891, while in fellowship in the Cliff Street assembly in Boston, he was very interested in taking the Gospel to the Maritimes. Mrs. Morton mentioned Norman MacNeil’s older sister asking Mr. Scott to go to New Brunswick but it was probably Mr. MacNeil’s aunt who lived in Boston at the time. The McNeil family lived in a small place, Black River (Mill Creek) just north of Buctouche in 1891. Helen Morton told me she remembers hearing of Angus MacNeil travelling to Moncton from Black River to pick up Mr. Scott at the Moncton train station and staying overnight with Reuben and Mary Morton on his way. Mr. Scott came the first summer to New Brunswick on his vacation. He was commended by the Cliff Street assembly in Boston and he came again to New Brunswick to the Coates Mills area the next year. Mr. Scott lived for a time in Coates Mills and worked in a blacksmith shop there.


The following report of Reuben and Mary Morton’s salvation was given to me by Margaret Morton, Mrs. George Morton of Moncton, who was a granddaughter of Reuben and Mary Morton.

After hearing Mr. Scott preach the Gospel, Mr. Reuben Morton was saved when alone at home one day in 1891. When his wife returned from Moncton where she had been to the market selling her butter and eggs, he told her he had just been saved. She was upset because she had been troubled about her soul for some time and didn’t think he was even interested and here it was that he was saved and she wasn’t.

Two years later during the meetings in New Scotland on a Sunday afternoon, the Mortons travelled ten miles and were a little late arriving. When they walked in, Mr. Scott was reading in Daniel 5:27 "Thou art weighed in the balances, and found wanting". Mrs. Morton was convicted of her need when she saw she had nothing for eternity. She remained in soul trouble until she read in her Bible one day, "Who His own self bore my sins in His own body on the tree" and she was saved in 1893.

She went to the church in her community where she had regularly attended and told them she wouldn’t be back but she wanted to tell them before she left how she was saved and proceeded to do so.

Their daughter, Mrs. Angus MacPherson, who lived in Kent County had heard the Gospel when Mr. John Martin from Kilmarnock, Scotland came to the area and when Mr. Scott was preaching there, but was not saved until April 12, 1911 while reading her Bible at home in Smiths Corner, Kent County, New Brunswick.

Mr. Scott went to Ontario and there he married Miss Nellie Rouse in 1893. They served their Lord in Ontario, Tennessee, Nova Scotia (where they lived in Truro and Pugwash), Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia where he died in 1954 at the age of 88. He made many visits back to New Brunswick, his last being in 1950. Many people were saved and gathered to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ because of his love to tell others of the Gospel.



Many people from Scotland emigrated to Canada in the 1890's and obtained land grants in New Brunswick. Some went to New Scotland, a farming community northeast of Moncton. One of these families were Macdonald’s. Donald Macdonald and his wife Mary and their three children, John, Donald Jr. and Mary. Donald Jr. came to Canada when only five years old but he spoke with a Scottish brogue all of his life. He was an elder in the Moncton assembly in later years and, was also the treasurer. The Macdonald’s were in an assembly in Scotland before coming to Canada where they were in the assembly in New Scotland.



John Martin

Mr. John Martin was an itinerant preacher from Kilmarnock in Scotland and came to New Brunswick in 1886. In 1892, he and his wife moved to New Scotland, New Brunswick. Mr. Martin was listed in Robert Bayliss’ book "My People" as a full-time preacher in the Lord’s work before 1900. Apparently, he preached in the Boston area, the State of Maine and also in California. He also attended many conferences in Ontario. Mr. & Mrs. Martin were listed in the NB census of 1901 in the column of religion as "Brethren". Mrs. Jane Martin died in 1910 and is buried in the Gladeside cemetery, near New Scotland. Mr. Martin remarried and his second wife was Margaret Tabor Morton, a daughter of Reuben and Mary Morton. They had one son John and John had one son, Lloyd living in the Moncton area and he was interested in talking to me about his grandfather and grandmother. Lloyd has a goodly heritage and it would be grand to hear of him and his family trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, the One whom their grandfather (and great-grandfather) preached about in New Brunswick over 100 years ago.

Folks were saved when John Grimason and John Martin were in Kent County in the 1880's and there were many saved in the Coates Mills, Dundas, New Scotland area while Mr. Scott was preaching there and an assembly was formed in New Scotland in the early 1890's. They met in the home of the Macdonald’s for the morning meetings and other meetings were held in the schoolhouse. When the Macdonald’s moved to Moncton, the assembly met in John Martin’s house. Mr. Bears and Mr. Macdonald were Sunday School teachers and also preached the Gospel along with Mr. John Martin.



J. Harris Bears

Mr. & Mrs. J. Harris Bears and their children, Alfred, Robert and Margaret moved to Boston in 1891 and their youngest son Theophilus Arthur was born in the United States. When they were in the States, they were born again believers but were not happy in the main line churches and were looking for a more scriptural way of gathering. When they were introduced to Christians who gathered to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, they believed this was just what they were looking for and they became part of the assembly. When they moved to New Brunswick in 1897, they were happy to be part of the assembly in New Scotland.

I have a copy of a letter written by Mr. Arthur Bears, son of J. Harris Bears, telling of Arthur’s conversion at ten years of age and of being in the New Scotland assembly as a young man, Arthur married Ida Morton, a daughter of Reuben and Mary Morton, and they lived in that general area most of their lives and fellowshipped in New Scotland and later in Moncton.

Arthur wrote of his father being a very Godly man. He remembered him reading the Bible and praying with his family twice a day and took them to meetings three times on Sunday in an old truck wagon. He also remembered when Mr. William Brennan preached in the area, also Mr. Isaac McMullen, when he came to the Maritimes in 1921. Tents were pitched for meetings in summer and schoolhouses were procured for meetings in the winter.

Arthur and his wife had gotten two tombstones from a relative who worked at carving tombstones. As they had a spare bedroom upstairs, they stored the two tombstones in the closet. Isaac McMullen always stayed at the Bears’ home when he was in the area visiting or having meetings. On one of these visits, he was shown to the guest room and upon opening the closet door, he was surprised to see two tombstones. When he went down for breakfast the next morning he made the comment, "Well, I see you people don’t believe in an imminent rapture". Some years later, in 1938, when the house burned down, the tombstones fell from the second floor right through to the basement and were shattered.

Doris and Ida Bears, daughters of Arthur and Ida Bears, were living in Sunny Brae at Mr. & Mrs. Bursey’s while they attended high school in the city. Mr. Scott, who was having meetings in Coates Mills, went to the house where they were staying and told them the sad story of their house burning down. First he said that everything was gone and they thought that their parents had been lost in the fire too but Mr. Scott assured them that their family were alright.



Other Families in New Scotland

Another person in the New Scotland assembly was Mrs. Gourley, listed in the 1901 census. She had three children, Mary, 21, Charles, 15 and Clarence, 12. These children were born in Lowell, Mass. so she was another person who moved to NB from Massachusetts. When Mrs. Gourley was older, she moved to Moncton to live with her son on John Street and she was in the Moncton assembly in her later years. Mrs. Gourley had been saved in England and she died at 76 years of age and Mr. McMullen spoke at her funeral.

Mr. & Mrs. Cary Brown were another couple in the New Scotland assembly. Cecil Budd of New Scotland built a home on the land formerly occupied by the Browns.


Mr. & Mrs. Hugh MacLean of MacLean Settlement also fellowshipped in New Scotland. Mary Graves, a granddaughter of J. Harris Bears, told me a story she remembered as a child about Hugh MacLean. Mary’s mother had a hatch on the kitchen floor which gave her access to the cellar where among other things she kept potatoes. She had lifted the hatch which left a gaping hole and went down to get potatoes for supper. Mr. & Mrs. MacLean were visiting and not seeing the hole, Mr. MacLean fell through it. He landed on Mrs. Bears who had started up the ladder and when he got to his feet, he said, "I was just wondering how many potatoes you were getting".

Hugh MacLean and his wife Jessie were good friends of the MacPhersons and Margaret Morton told me the story of how her sister got her name when she was born. Jessie wanted to name the MacPherson’s baby girl after herself and her husband and so she was given the name Jessie Hughena, but she was known as Helen all her life!

Mr. J. Harris Bears went to Moncton to work as a shoemaker and later moved his family from New Scotland to Moncton in 1915. Mr. William Brennan wrote that he and Mr. Robert Milnes went to Moncton in 1919 before the Moncton assembly was formed and brother Bears and his wife were living in two rooms and they insisted on us occupying one of them till we got our tent pitched. So he said they knew how to be hospitable. It was a joy to them when a few got saved and the assembly planted in November 1919.

As the older Christians died and the younger ones left the area, the meeting in New Scotland slowly diminished and after the death of Mr. John Martin in 1924, it ceased to be.

Although the New Scotland assembly closed, the progeny of the Mortons and Bears on moving to the city of Moncton were saved and in fellowship in the Mountain Road Gospel Hall. There are now third, fourth and fifth generations of the Mortons and Bears in the Moncton Assembly.

Poem by J. H. Bears

November 5, 1905

Acts 10.38 Eph. 2.8

Once on a time, there was a Man;

A wealthy Man was He;

Most generous hearted true and kind;

And full of sympathy.

The poor He never turned away,

Without their needs supplied;

His blessings blessed His neighbours.

And many more besides.

The old, the lame, the sick, the blind,

Such were in His tender care,

The sorrowing and the weary,

With Him most welcome were.

He had a gem most beautiful,

Most precious in His sight,

In brightness brighter than the sun

It shone by day and night.

This gem he wished to give away.

All priceless tho’ it were.

Much money could not buy it,

Nor wealth of nation fair.

Many had sought it to obtain,

By noble deeds and fair,

They set themselves to do and keep,

And walk with jealous care.

Yet still He cries, its offered!

For nought than man can give,

Come Jew; or Gentile, bond or free

Who gets shall surely live.

The rich and noble turn away;

They scorn to have it thus,

They cry we are not beggars,

No charity for us.

Then came a wandering outcast,

Unknown and poor was he,

He heard and wondered greatly;

Can He mean such as me?

Yes, He means me most surely;

There’s nought that I can do!

He cries, I will receive it;

With thankful heart and true.

Thus away he bears the blessing,

That priceless gem, so rare,

And finds that he has riches,

With which nought can compare.

So now good people, young and old,

My story you have heard,

Let me draw near and ask you,

One simple little word.


Do you understand my simile,

And do you truly know,

The One who gives such treasures,

Unto all who to Him go.

If not, go quickly to Him,

And get it while you may,

A little while ‘twill be too late,

Go e’er, He turns away.

‘Twill then be no use asking,

When He away has gone,

Poor you forever shall remain

Your day of favor done.


Romans 6.23

J. H. Bears, Moncton,

November 5th, 1905