The Carmichaels and Robert B. Stewart

James W. Carmichael

The Carmichaels

James C. Carmichael and his wife Ann emigrated to Pictou in 1778 from Scotland. After he arrived in North America, he became Sergeant James C. Carmichael of the 82nd Foot and was given a 200-acre grant in Merigomish. Ten years later on January 29th, 1788, Ann and James C. Carmichael had their eldest son, James Carmichael, in Fisher’s Grant (Pictou Landing). 

Growing up in Pictou, James didn’t have many options in terms of education due to the lack of schools and teachers in the area. He later joined the militia and became a lieutenant of the Pictou regiment in 1807. Two years later, James Carmichael and George Argo bought an acre of land from Alexander MacKay on what is now George St. On this land, the pair started New Glasgow’s first general store and a trading post with Britain. He married Christian Mackenzie in 1812, and they had 8 children together. James Carmichael then opened up a shipbuilding company with his brother-in-law Captain George Mackenzie under the name J.W. Carmichael Ltd. 


James William Carmichael was born in New Glasgow on December 16th, 1819.. As a young man, he would work in his father’s general store and as he got older, he later took over his father’s shipping business. By 1854, the firm had been given the name J.W. Carmichael and Company. In 1851 he married Maria Jane McColl and they had six children, five daughters and one son.  He built this house in 1880 for his only son as a wedding gift. James was also elected as the Pictou representative in the House of Commons from 1867-1878. After his re-election in 1874, he was appointed to the Senate in 1898. James William Carmichael died at home on May 1st, 1903.

Dr. Caroline E. Carmichael

Dr. Caroline Carmichael was born in New Glasgow on July 9th, 1852, and was James William’s eldest child. She was brought up in a quite wealthy home due to her father’s thriving shipbuilding company but used her position in society to give back to the less fortunate. In her lifetime, Caroline became the founding member of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Aberdeen Hospital. 

She was the founding member and the first president of the East Pictou Local Council of Women and maintained her presidency for 23 years. 

She organized Christmas dinners for the poor, aided Chinese families who were being harassed, and worked tirelessly to create the hospital’s first maternity ward.She played a critical role in exposing conditions in the town jails where young offenders were treated as hardened criminals. This is believed to be one of the early developmental stages of the Juvenile Court. She also was appointed the first welfare worker in this town in 1914. Dr. Caroline Carmichael became the provincial president for the Nova Scotia Council of Women and later became their national president. 

All of her community work throughout Pictou County allowed Caroline to work her way up to being elected president of the National Council of Women of Canada. She also received an honorary doctorate in civil law from Dalhousie University as a way to commemorate her service. Dr. Caroline Elizabeth Carmichael died on August 12th, 1942.

James M. Carmichael

James Matheson Carmichael was born in New Glasgow. He was the only son of James William Carmichael and Maria McColl. In 1884, James became the director of his father’s shipbuilding company, J.W. Carmichael. However, he resigned in 1894 over a financial disagreement. Unfortunately, James Matheson Carmichael died quite young and had no male heirs to continue the male line. He did have three daughters, Grace, Maria, and Helen Carmichael. 

 Robert B. Stewart

Maria Carmichael was born in New Glasgow. She was the eldest of her two sisters, so she inherited this house from her father, James Matheson Carmichael. Maria married Robert Bruce Stewart

Robert Bruce Stewart was born in Prince Edward Island. He went to McGill University and received his graduate degree in engineering. In the early 1920s, R.B. Stewart became a chief engineer at the I. Matheson Company.  Maria and R.B. Stewart had no children, so this house was left to the Town of New Glasgow as a gift.


 Research compiled by Alie Fulton