History of the Mayor's Office

The Mayor's office is responsible for administration in the Town of Pictou and represents the strongest leadership within the community. Its rich history is best shown though the diverse leaders who have held this prestigious title. From Incorporation to Present:


1874 MATHESON, DAVID (1812-1886)

David Matheson was born December 24, 1812 at West River, Pictou County and was a barrister. In 1880, he was appointed Municipal Council Clerk and served until 1886. For the last twenty-five years of his life he was Prothontary and Clerk to County Court at Pictou. The 1871 census lists his wife - Elizabeth (McKay) and three daughters and three sons. He was a Presbyterian. Matheson was the first Mayor of Pictou. He served as Mayor for one term, 1874-75. He died September 14, 1886 and is buried in Haliburton Cemetery.

1875 & 1878 DAVIES, CHARLES E. (1841-1923)

Charles E. Davies was born in 1841 at Pictou, N.S. He was son of William Henry and Mary ( ) Davies. His people owned the iron foundry in Pictou. The 1871 census lists his family - Letitia ( ), a son William and a daughter Annie. His religion was Church of England. He served as Mayor for one term in 1875, and again for one term in 1878. Davies died April 9, 1923 and is buried in Church of England Cemetery, Barrys Mills.

1876-1877 MACKINLAY, JOHN (1818-1888)

John MacKinlay was born in Pictou, N.S. in 1818. He was son of Rev. John MacKinlay, at one time Pastor of Prince Street Church and a teacher at Pictou Academy. He practiced law in Pictou for many years and was mayor for two terms 1876-77, 1877-78. His wife was Amelia (1821-1902). His religion was Presbyterian. MacKinlay died October 23, 1888 and is buried in Haliburton Cemetery.

1879-1883/1886/1906/1909-1910 MCLEOD, JOHN DAVID (1838-1920) K.C. Ex M.L.C.

John David McLeod was born in West River, Pictou County, N.S. and educated at the grammar school there and taught school for a time. He also attended Pictou Academy, then studied law, articling with A.C. MacDonald. He was admitted to the Bar in 1866 and appointed Queens Counsel in 1876. In 1887, he moved to California, practiced law there for two years, then returned to Nova Scotia and practiced law at Lunenburg, N.S. He was appointed Judge of Probate, an office he held until 1919. He was a member of the Legislative Council of Nova Scotia from 1887-1989. He was Liberal leader for a time. McLeod served as Mayor for eight terms from 1879 through 1883 and again in 1886, 1906, 1909 & 1910. He married Margaret Harris, daughter of W.H. Harris (Sheriff) and had no children. His religion was Presbyterian McLeod died in 1920.

1884-1885 DWYER, CORNELIUS (1817-?)

Cornelius Dwyer was born in River John, N.S., in 1817. At the age of 10, he came to Pictou to the employ of George Smith (successor to Edward Mortimer) for 20 years. He later engaged in shipping, having built and sailed several vessels on his account. He was a ship broker and dealer in ships stores. As well, he was an auctioneer. He was agent for the Acadia Coal Company and the Quebec Steamship Company. He served as Mayor for two terms 1884 and 1885. He was a member of the first Town Council and served in that capacity for many years. He married Mary Phare in 1847 and had children. He was also a Warden of St. James Anglican Church.

1887-1888 ELLIOTT, GEORGE H. (1842-1904)

George H. Elliott was born in Pictou, N.S. and was son of Rev. Charles and Jane (Johnston) Elliott. Jane was the daughter of Dr. George Johnston. He likely attended Pictou Academy; he attended University and became a lawyer, practicing in Pictou. He was admitted to the Bar in 1868. He was the first Town Clerk and served in that capacity for many years. He served as Mayor for two terms 1887 and 1888. He died November 10, 1904, and was buried in the Anglican Cemetery near Barry's Mills, with four of his children: Owen Woodgate (b. January 14, 1886. d. January 22, 1899), Edmund V. (b. September 8, 1883. d. November 4, 1884), Ralph Pearson (b. August 26, 1881. d. August 17, 1882) and Edith May (b. May 15, 1880. d. August 27, 1881).

1889-1890 FERGUSON, ALLAN A. (1876-1932)

Allan A. Ferguson was born in Pictou, N.S. and was son of Allan and Elizabeth (Williamson) Ferguson. He was the youngest and last surviving son the above. He attended Pictou Academy. He went to Scotland to learn the machinist and foundry business. He served some time as a marine engineer and then returned to Pictou and took over the Pictou Foundry, which had been established for many years. Ferguson married Mary Bell of Scotland (Greenock) (1877-1958) and had sons Robert, Thomas, Allan and James. His religion was Presbyterian. Ferguson served three terms as Mayor, 1889 through 1891. He died in October 1932, aged 56 years and is buried in Haliburton Cemetery.

1891-1893 HAMILTON, HOWARD (1855-?)

Howard Hamilton was born in Pictou, N.S., on June 9, 1855. He was son of George J. Hamilton, founder G.J. Hamilton & Sons in 1840. He was educated in private schools and Pictou Academy, and graduated from Dalhousie University (B.A. 1877) and then Boston University. He married Georgina Stalker, daughter of James Stalker.

1894-1896 SUTHERLAND, DANIEL (1845-1938)

Daniel Sutherland was born in New Lairg, Pictou County on March 12, 1845 and was son of John Sutherland. When he was very young, his family moved to River John, N.S. and he came to Pictou at age 17. He was employed with James Ives, and upon Ives' death, he carried on the business. He was engaged in the shipping business, and retired in 1913. He was a prominent Oddfellow. By his financial means, the Cottage Hospital was replaced by the brick hospital on Beeches Road. When built, it was named after him. His nephews were Dr. R.H. Sutherland and Col. Dan Sutherland. He was also a member of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Pictou. Sutherland was Mayor from 1894-1896 and died on August 10, 1938 at the age of 94. He is buried in River John, N.S.

1897-1898 YORSTON, JAMES (1847-1917)

James Yorston was born at Parish of Evie, Orkney, Scotland on November 20, 1847 and was son of John Yorston, Laird of Orquell. His family was originally of Scandinavian heritage. He spent his boyhood in Scotland and came to Nova Scotia at the age of 13 years, whereupon he joined the establishment of his uncle, John Yorston. He attended Pictou Academy under John Costley and William Jack and later studied at the Model School in Truro, N.S. In 1832, he entered the Commercial House and remained with his uncle John until the latters death in 1865. Yorston and T.M. Porteous then engaged in business until the firm was dissolved. James was then joined by his brother John and continued in business under the name of J. & J. Yorston. In 1871, they leased the marine railway having Jeffrey McCall, M.P.P. as partner, then bought out McCall, and in 1891, bought the entire property. They built the ship ORQUELL, a full-rigged barque with a captain Joe Foster. He was also engaged in the fishing industry, operating the ADA MILDRED for many years, and also owned and operated the Steamship BEATRICE. He married Mary MacDonald of New Glasgow and had children Frederick Yorston - Pres. Montreal Standard, Louis Yorston - Pres. Marine Railway, Harry Yorston - New Glasgow, Ada Yorston - Pictou. He was Grand Master, Grand Lodge of Maritime Provinces, I.O.O.F. He served 12 years on Town Council and was Mayor 1897 and 1898, and was a member of the First Presbyterian Church. Yorston died November 21, 1917 at the age of 70 and is buried at River John, N.S.

1899-1900 CRAIG, ALVIN J.

1901-1905 MACDONALD, ALEXANDER C. (1849-1929)

Alexander C. MacDonald was born in Scotch Hill, Pictou County on January 27, 1849. He commenced working as a clerk with John T. Ives (General Merchants). After Ives death, he continued the business with Henry G. Ives, as John T. Ives & Company. Later he obtained, with his partner and F. D. Corbett of Halifax (firm of Corbett & Richardson, Commission Merchants), a controlling interest in the Logan Tannery Co., Lyons Brook, serving successfully as Manager, until the Tannery was destroyed by fire in 1911. He married Laura M. Farquarson (d. March 28, 1931) and was a member of the First Presbyterian Church. During his later years, he spent much of his time in Florida. He served on Town Council as was Mayor from 1901-1905 inclusive. MacDonald died in Pictou on September 22, 1929 and is buried in Haliburton Cemetery.

1907-1908 GRANT, J. SMITH (1858-1936)

J. Smith Grant was born in Scotch Hill, Pictou County and was son of John and Annie (McConnell) Grant. He was the 12th of thirteen children. In 1872, he came to Pictou employed with A. Henderson & Son shoe dealers for one year. He then entered the employ of Isaac A. Grant, dry goods, for 11 years. He then opened his own business, a tailoring establishment in connection with his store. He was also treasurer for the Y.M.C.A. and a member of First Presbyterian Church and later Pictou United Church. He married Margaret E. Johnson (d. October 1931) of and his family was Eunice May (died in infancy), Percy, Arnold, Edna and Myrtle. His daughter Edna taught music in Pictou for many years and was organist at First Church & United Church. Grant was a Town Councillor and Mayor in 1907 and 1908. He died January 15, 1936 and is buried Haliburton Cemetery.

1911-1915 PRIMROSE, JAMES (1859-1922)

James Primrose was born in Pictou, N.S., on May 16, 1859 and was son of Senator Clarence Porter, grandson of James Primrose, founder of the old firm Primrose Bros. His mother was Rachel Carre. The business was a general mercantile and shipping, called first J. Primrose & Son, then Primrose & Rudolph and finally Primrose Bros. He was educated at Pictou Academy and became manager of the firm, now principally lumber. He was married August 11, 1896 to Annie MacDonald, daughter of A.C. MacDonald, M.P. Speaker of House of Assembly before Confederation. They lived on St. Andrews Street and had no children. He was a member of the Hospital Board and Treasurer for many years. Primrose was a Town Council member for 10 years and Mayor from 1911-1915. He died in November 1922 and is buried in Haliburton Cemetery.

1916-1918 SMITH, JAMES W. (1870 - 1935)

James W. Smith was born in Central West River, Pictou County in 1870 and was son of Wilson R and Smith. He was in the milling business at Durham for some years, later moving to Pictou. He was president of Atlantic Milling Co., and after became a traveller for a flour milling company and lived in Moncton, N.B. He married the daughter of Arch Fraser, Alma, Pictou County and had two sons, Alvin and Roy, and two daughters, Dorothy and Elda. Smith was Mayor from 1916-1918 inclusive and died suddenly in Moncton, N.B. He is buried at Durham, Pictou County.

1919-1921 & 1926-1931 PRIEST, JOHN W. (1866-1947)

John W. Priest was born in Central Caribou, Pictou County and was son of Caleb & Elizabeth (Fraser) Priest. He came to Pictou at age 20, with R. Tanner & Sons, Wholesale boot and shoe firm. In 1894, he established his own boot and shoe retail business and expanded in 1912 to include wholesale. In 1927, he purchased the firm J.G. Hamilton & Sons, biscuit manufacturers, becoming President until 1944. He was also a member of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Board of Managers (and also Treasurer), the Pictou Academy Educational Foundation from 1921, and an I.O.O.F. and Board of Trade member. He married Anna Blanchard Murdock and had Ernest, Sara (Mrs. H.V. Corbin) and Lois (Mrs. John A. Adams). He was a Councillor in his early years and Mayor for a total of 9 years 1919-21, 1926-31, inclusive. Priest died February 16, 1947 and is buried at Haliburton Cemetery.

1922-1923 FLOYD, JAMES

1924-1925 MCEACHERN, JOHN A. (1924-1925

1932-1936 YOUNG, MILTON ROBERT (1872-1947)

Milton Robert Young was born in Millsville, Pictou County on March 24, 1872, and was son of George and Jane (Fitzpatrick) Young. He was educated at Pictou Academy and graduated Queens University B.A. in 1897, and became an M.D. in 1901. Following graduation, he practised in Millsville for 22 years. In 1922, his family moved to Pictou, where he practised until 1945. He served as Coroner for many years; also Chairman of the Board of School Commissioners. He was a member of Pictou United Church and I.O.O.F. He married Margaret Fraser, daughter of Kenneth and Margaret (Blair) Fraser, Millsville and had five children: Pearl, a missionary; Hildred, R.N.; J.A. Fraser, M.D.; Clarence, M.D.; George Lloyd, (died young). His brother was Luther R. Young, D.D. He served as Town Councillor, and Mayor from 1932-1936 inclusive. Young died November 15, 1947 and is buried in Four Mile Brook Cemetery.

1937-1940 HOOPER, THOMAS R. (1871-1940)

Thomas R. Hooper was born in Cornwall, England and came to Canada at age 21, settling in the Eastern Townships, Quebec. He came to Nova Scotia in 1900 and was for more than 20 years farm manager at the Nova Scotia Agriculture College, Truro, N.S. He then farmed at Onslow and in about 1925 moved to Pictou. An outstanding Ayrshire breeder, he owned the cow Onslow Lass, who became worlds champion Ayrshire milk and butter producer. He and his sons operated three farms. He was a member of Pictou Agricultural Society, Pictou-North Colchester Farmers Association and St James Anglican Church. He also had one daughter, Mary Hooper (R.N.) and three sons, John, James and Percy. Hooper became Town Councillor in 1931, and Mayor in 1937 to complete unexpired term of Dr. M.R. Young. He was re-elected in 1938 and 1940. He died December 5, 1940 and is buried at Seaview Cemetery.


1942-1943 MACKAY, THOMAS A. (1872-1948)

Thomas A. MacKay was born in Middleton, Colchester County, N.S., son of Donald and Mary (Malcolm) MacKay. Up to age 35 years he was a farmer. He came to Pictou around 1907 where he opened a hardware business, which was subsequently sold to Thompson & Sutherland, but he stayed on and managed the store for them. He later he operated a grocery store, and was also a member of Pictou United Church & Board of School Commissioners. He married Annie Maud Nelson of New Annan, Colchester County and had two sons, Melville G. & J. Vernon and three daughters, Vesta, Muriel, Irene. MacKay was a Town Councillor for 3 terms and Mayor for 3 years. He died September 3, 1948 and is buried in Haliburton Cemetary.

1944-1947 HARPER, H. F. (1895-1968)

H. F. Harper was born in Port Elgin, New Brunswick and educated at Aberdeen High School, N.B., and at UNB in Fredericton, N.B. He served overseas in WWI with the 49th Regiment. He was manager of Fred Magee Company in Pictou for many years, and on retirement opened his own insurance business. He was also chairman of Pictou Housing Commission from its foundation in 1949, until he retired in June 1966. He was a member of Royal Canadian Legion, A.F. & A.M. Lodge, Pictou, and St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church. He married Frances Noonan (1901 - 1970). Harper died December 10, 1968, and is buried in Seaview Cemetery.

1948-1957 FERGUSON, ALLAN A. (1907-1986)

Allan A. Ferguson was born July 22, 1907, son of Allan A. Ferguson and Mary Bell. He was educated at Pictou Academy, and went on to earn a diploma in engineering at Dalhousie University and graduate from McGill University with a B.Sc., M.E. in 1930. He worked for Reed, Shaw & McNaught in Montreal from 1933-40 and was president of Ferguson Industries Ltd. from 1940-1970. He was a member of the Professional Engineers of Nova Scotia, Engineering Institute of Canada, Nova Scotia Planning Board, Pictou Rotary Club, and New Caledonia Curling Club. He married Margery Ruel (deceased) and had one son and two daughters. Ferguson was Mayor in 1947 and died January 15, 1986.

1957-1961 BAILLIE, JAMES HAMILTON (1910-1962)

James Hamilton Baillie was born in Lovett, Pictou County, son of Henry and Janet (Hamilton) Baillie. He graduated from the Maritime Business College, Halifax. Upon graduation, he joined the staff of John Munro Ltd., Pictou. He was then employed with Canada Packers Ltd., later returning to operate Munro Grocery Store, changing the name to James H. Baillie Ltd. He married Winnifred Whitman of Pictou. He was former President of Pictou County Rotary Club and New Caledonia Curling Club. He was secretary of the Board of Trade, Past Master of New Caledonia Lodge no XI, A.F. & A. M and a member of Pictou United Church. He was elected Mayor of Pictou by acclamation in June 1957, and was re-elected in December of that year and again in 1959. He resigned before his term ended to enter hospital for major surgery. He was Chairman of the Board of School Commissioners during his term as Mayor. He served two terms as Councillor and was a member of the School Board. Baillie died May 3, 1962 and was buried in Sea View Cemetery.

1961-1965 RUSSELL, MAX (1905-)

Max Rusell was born in Loggieville, New Brunswick on April 29, 1905. He was educated at Douglastown, N.B. Superior School and moved to Pictou in 1929, when he took up employment with Maritime Packers (Canada) Ltd. Eventually he became the company's general manager. He is married to the former Mona Wood, and the couple have two children, daughter Wilma (Mrs. Perly Vye) and son Harold. He showed a strong interest in community affairs, serving as a member of the rink commission and the SHM hospital Board, as Chairman of the School Board, as President of the Pictou Board of Trade (a forerunner to the present Chamber of Commerce), as a town councillor from 1953 to 1955 and as Mayor of Pictou from 1961-1965. He also served as the first secretary to the Pictou Lobster Carnival, was twice President of the New Caledonia Curling Club. He managed the senor hockey team in 1942 and is an honorary member of the Pictou Volunteer Fire Department. He also served his church as a member of the building and finance committees which obtained a new church building. Russell joined the Rotary Club in 1955 and served as Vice President in 1956-57 and the following year was elected President, an office he held until 1958. He was elected a life member of the Pictou Rotary Club.

1966-1979 MACCARTHY, CLARENCE (1910-?)

Clarence MacCarthy was born on Caribou Island, Pictou County on April 20, 1910. He was son of Herbert and Charlotte (Baird) MacCarthy, and grew up on a family farm and attended Caribou Island School. He owned and managed C. MacCarthy's Auto Parts in Pictou, and later was a car salesman for Spencer Motors in New Glasgow. He sold mutual funds and investments for Canadian Security Management Ltd., and was district manager for Marine Colloids in Toney River. He managed C.E. MacCarthys Electric in New Glasgow after the death of his brother Charles in 1971, and continued until his retirement in 1979. He married Lillian MacNaughton of Lyons Brook and had one son, John, who is married to Irene MacDonald. While serving as Mayor, he served as Chairman of the School Board & Chairman of the Housing Development on Wellington Street. He was also a member of Sutherland Memorial Hospital Board, Edward Mortimer Place Board & Pictou Housing Authority Board. He was also former President of New Caledonia Curling Club and former president and life member of the Pictou Kinsmen Club. MacCarthy resided on St. Andrews Street and attended St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Pictou. He served as Councillor from 1948-1952 and was the Town's longest-serving Mayor, from 1965-1979.

1979-1988 JORDAN, ERNEST A. (19??-1998)

Ernest A. Jordan was born in Pictou, and joined the post office in May 1938. He volunteered for active service in WWII and served in the Canadian Army from 1941-1945. He was discharged with the rank Company Sgt. Major. He married Florence (Flo) Brown in 1944 and had one daughter Jean Anne, who married Sgt. Gary Bishop of the RCMP, and had two grandchildren, Heather & Jeffrey. Jordan was Post Master in 1961, as Supervisory Post Master was responsible for the Scotsburn, Meadowville, West Branch, Denmark, River John, Tatamagouche, Malagash, & Pictou Island offices. He received 40 year service medal from Post Office in 1978, and retired in June 1983 after 45 years. He also served 38 years with Royal Canadian Legion as Secretary, Chairman of Poppy Campaign as Legion President Branch 16 for 13 terms. He was the recipient of Meritorious Service Medal, the highest award bestowed by Royal Canadian Legion for outstanding service in April 1973, and also received Legion Special Service Medal (50th Anniversary) in 1976, Queens Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977, and Legion Diamond Jubilee Medal in 1985. Jordan was made a Life Member of the Legion. He was also a member of Stella Maris Church, served as Chairman of the Parish Council, 3rd degree member of Knights of Columbus & a minister of the Eucharist, chairman for Family Services of Pictou County for 2 years, served on the S.H.M. Hospital Board, Edward Mortimer Board, Riverview Home Corp., and Pictou District School Board. He was prominent in sports as player, builder and referee, associated with hockey for many years at all levels and served as president of rural hockey league for many years. In 1973, he received a citation from Canadian Amateur Hockey Association for outstanding service to minor hockey. In May 1981, he was elected to Central Nova Sportmans Club. Jordan was elected Mayor of Pictou in November 1979, re-elected in 1982, and won by acclamation in 1985. He was also elected as Executive Member of the Union of N.S. Municipalities in 1982.

1988-1991 DAN CURRIE (1947-)

Dan Currie was born August 1st, 1947, in Pictou, son of Joe and Hazel (nee LeBlanc) Currie and is eldest of a family of 15. He graduated from Pictou Academy in 1965 and received a diploma in Stationary Engineering from Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. He joined C.I.L. in 1970 as a chemical operator working at Canso Chemicals Ltd., in Abercrombie Point and is presently employed as Manager of Canso Chemicals Ltd. He married Sheila Jamieson in 1972 and they have 2 daughters, Ailsa and Johanna. He was first elected to Town Council in 1977 as Councillor of Ward 2, and also served as Deputy Mayor from 1980-1985 before becoming Mayor from 1988-1991. Currie is a former member of Pictou District School Board, Grand Knight of Fr. Gerald Mackenzie Council of the Knights of Columbus and Former C.O. of Royal William Sea Cadet Corp. He also served as the manager of the Heatherbell Girls Pipes and Drums band, chairman of the Ship Hector Foundation, and Town Councillor for Ward 2.

1991-2004 LAWRENCE A. LEBLANC (1939-)

Lawrence A. LeBlanc, also known by his nickname "Moon," was born November 23, 1939, and is a life-long resident of the Town of Pictou. He is married to the former Margaret R. Downs and has one son, Andrew. In his youth, Lawrence was very active in sports and played hockey, Jr. Boxing, floor hockey, track & field (high jump), Sr. Mens basketball in the old A.P.C. League and Sr. Mens Softball in the town league. He joined the Pictou Highlanders in 1954 then the N.S. Highlanders and the rank of Sgt. (11 years all told). LeBlanc belonged to many clubs and organizations: he was a member of the Pictou Lyons Club and the Pictou Fire Department, before going to sea in the early sixties. There he sailed on the ship C.G.S. Baffin out of B.I.O. in Bedford, N.S. He was elected four times as President of the Pictou Mens Club, was president and umpire & chief of the Pictou Mens Fastball League, president and campaign chairman for the West Pictou Cancer Society, member for 25 years of Br. 16 Royal Canadian Legion (Pictou), elected president, secretary, treasurer and director of the Jr. Hockey Club, was a member of the Nova Scotia Pipe Trades Council. LeBlanc worked as a pipe fitter and welder for many years all over Canada, and was elected to 12 years on the executive of U.A. Local 244 Plumbers and pipe fitters union, with six of those years as president. At present, he is a member of the Pictou Co. A.E.F. (Air Reserve Unit) Advisory Council, a member and Past Grand of IOOF Eastern Star Lodge #1 Pictou, a Master Mason of New Caledonia Lodge #11 Pictou, and a member of the board directors of the Pictou Co. Sports Heritage Hall of Fame. He is also a past member of the local Hospital Board and still a member on the Sutherland Harris Hospital Foundation. LeBlanc was first elected to Pictou Town Council and served two terms, in 1982 to 1988, and was elected Mayor in 1991, 1994, 1997 and 2000 retiring in 2004.

2004-2016 HAWES, JOSEPH F. 


2016-      RYAN, JAMES