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Genevieve I. MacDonald

Helen Macdonald Of Glenalladale: Miss Nelly—Genevieve I. MacDonaldThe Hillsborough River Association invites you to join us in celebrating the launch of Helen MacDonald of Glenalladale - Miss Nelly, written by the late Genevieve I. MacDonald, on August 15 at 7 pm at Tracadie Community Centre on Station Road in Tracadie Cross.

Genevieve MacDonald was a historian and a founding member of the PEI Scottish Settlers Historical Society, the PEI Genealogical Society and the Hillsborough River Association.

Her idea of bringing to life the story of Helen MacDonald of Glenalladale originated back in the 1990s when she was a student at UPEI taking a course in Women’s Studies with Professor Joanne Veer. As Genevieve put it “In discussions of the pioneer women of Prince Edward Island, the name of Helen MacDonald of Glenalladale ‘Miss Nelly’ is notably absent.”

Helen MacDonald’s story is fascinating. “Miss Nelly” arrived from Scotland on St. John’s Island (now Prince Edward Island) with her family in 1772 as part of the Glenalladale immigration. It was not long before she found herself managing the then 20,000 acre Glenalladale estate when her brothers John and Donald left to serve in the American Revolutionary War. She managed Glenalladale Estate for nearly 20 years. As a woman doing what was then considered men’s work and a job for which she had no preparation, she was an extraordinary pioneer.

By March 2017, Genevieve had completed the book, with the exception of inserting the illustrations, when she was struck by a sudden illness which claimed her life. In 2018, Catherine MacDonald, her daughter, completed the editing of Helen MacDonald of Glenalladale - Miss Nelly which Genevieve had so lovingly researched and prepared. The family offered the transcript to the PEI Scottish Settlers Historical Society for publication. The proceeds from its sales will be donated to Glenaladale Heritage Trust for preservation of the historic Glenaladale Estate in Tracadie Cross, PEI. It is available from the Trust at Pre-orders are now being accepted for signed copies and mail orders will be available.

During the launch, Genevieve’s daughters Catherine and Mary-Carla MacDonald will offer a brief presentation on the life of Miss Nelly, answer questions and sign copies of the book. There will be a display of Miss Nelly’s artifacts and the publications of the PEI Scottish Settlers Historical Society and the Hillsborough River Association. Refreshments will be served.

The PEI Scottish Settlers Historical Society is supported by PEI Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture’s Community Cultural Partnership Program. For information: Catherine MacDonald at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 902-626-5676.

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