Port Joli Community Association Newsletter Hall News

                                       Fall 2020


Hall News is the newsletter for the Port Joli Community Association. The Port Joli Community Association was established in 1961 with the main objectives being the ownership and maintenance of the former Port Joli School as a community hall (or center). This continues to be the focus of the Association. The current officers are: Ada Frank – President, Donna Denison – Secretary, Danielle Robertson – Treasurer and four additional Directors.

The hall has been restored to reassemble the building as it looked historically on the exterior. The interior of the lower floor has a small meeting area, washroom and kitchenette in the back. The upstairs will house interpretive displays depicting the natural and cultural history of the area.

Cancellation of Annual General Meeting

Unfortunately, due to COVID 19, the decision was made to cancel the Annual General Meeting scheduled for the Summer of 2020. An Annual General Meeting should take place in the Summer of 2021, where an election of officers will be held, among other things.

Our Website

Be sure to visit our website – www.portjoli.org. – maintained by Barry Lucking. (Thanks Barry!) We are always looking for community news, stories, photos, and events to post, so if you have anything to contribute please contact Danielle Robertson or Barry Lucking.

Fundraising Initiatives

Two of our regular Merchandise Bingos have been cancelled due to the pandemic. Hopefully they can resume in 2021.

Continued Use/Membership

While things are definitely different, ongoing use and maintenance of the building continues. There has been controlled rental of the building for functions for limited numbers. Please consider booking our unique spot for a family gathering, etc.

Memberships are still welcomed!

Chronicling the History of Port Joli

The 1700’s were a century dominated by violence for the natives as France and England battled constantly for control of Nova Scotia. The Mi'Kmaq was caught in the middle always siding with the French who were ultimately defeated. This left the natives in constant conflict with the English who established Halifax in 1749 and deported the Acadians in 1755. A direct reference to Mi'kmaq in Port Joli comes from James More who wrote "A History of Queens County" in 1873:

        “About 1750 an American fishing schooner was cast away at Port Joli and the crew were taken                             prisoners by the Indians. The "Pigtow" (Pictou) family of Indians were numerous at that place at that time. The prisoners were tortured in a most cruel manner. A large rock known as "Durham Rock" which             lies on the western side of the entrance into St.Catherine's River was heated by a large fire being built upon it. Upon this these unfortunate men were forced, there either to roast or jump into the sea and perish which they did. In 1754 a similar occurrence took place. While an American fishing craft was lying in Port Joli, at anchor, the crew being below taking their rest, it being about midnight, one of them awakening from his sleep heard a noise under the stern of the vessel. He went on deck and found a canoe full of Indians under the stern trying to destroy the rudder so as to render the vessel unmanageable. They destroyed the canoe by dropping stones into her and all the Indians were drowned except a squaw named Molly Pigtow (Marie Pictou), who was rescued and carried to the States. Her family had previously been engaged or implicated in the affair at St.Catherine's River some few years before."

Horror stories like this abound during this century with the English inflicting terrible cruelty towards the natives and the retaliation which ensued. One can only imagine what the Americans who "rescued" Marie Pictou did with her. There are documented cases of bounties being placed on all Mi'kmaq by the English and infected blankets intentionally distributed among the natives.


    By 1761, tired of the battles which were destroying their people, there was a truce with the English.       The native population reduced so low that it was feared that they would be totally wiped out. This was convenient for the large numbers of Loyalists which took up the lands in Port Joli and surrounding areas. With the lands being taken up, game no longer plentiful and salmon rivers blocked by dams and choked by sawdust, starvation set in. As well, the fur trade was in decline and smallpox epidemics further reduced the native population by as much as ninety percent or more. This era was one of despair for the Mi'kmaq eradicating the traditional ways forever.

Contact Information:        Ada Frank                 902- 683-2572

                                                Donna Denison        902-683-2745

                                                Danielle Robertson    902-683-2573