Mr. Munro was a native of Scotland. In early life he learnt the trade of a cabinet maker. It took him seven years to learn the trade. He then came over to New York where he worked at his trade for some time. Going back home on a visit, he was converted. His friends advised him to enter the ministry, but he could not make up his mind to do so. He went back to New York intending to work at his trade; but, as he told it himself, he never unpacked his tools, but returned to Scotland, entered college and began preparing for the ministry.
When he got through his Divinity course, he was a city missionary in Edinburg for a time, but concluded to devote his life and talents in ministering to his countrymen in Nova Scotia. Coming to Nova Scotia in the year 1848, I think it was, he pitched his tent (so to speak) on the Gulf Shore where he always loved to be, and where, according to his wish, his body lies, beside his faithful partner, beside one of the churches which he was very instrumental in building.
His field of operation was not a small one. It extended from Port Howe, or, as it was called then: "Tony Bay," to the head of Tatamagouche Bay. He built a home in Wallace Village. There was an old church on the Gulf which was used by all ministers of the Kirk. It was about the time of the disruption in the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Munro championed the cause of the Free Church. For a time he preached to the people wherever he could. He saw they must have churches, so he set about it. But about this time he sent to Edinburg for his fiancee. She came and they were married, and went housekeeping in their new home at Wallace. He built a church there, another one on the North Shore, one on the Gulf and one in Pugwash.
He preached at Port Howe, Pugwash, sometimes on Pugwash River, at Gulf Shore, Wallace, and occasionally at Wallace River, at North Shore and at Bayhead. With class and prayer meetings and calls, his life was a busy one. He gathered around himself a noble band of men, splendid looking, big men they were. I shall give their names here:- James Stuart, Robert Mitchell, Norman McLeod, "Squire Norman" as he was called, Donald McLeod, William McDonald, Donald MacIvor (my father), John McFarlane, his son Peter McFarlane, Andrew Redpath, John McKenzie, Thomas Simpson and one of his younger men, Peter McLean. This was the church session, of which he was the moderator.
To obtain help financially to aid in building the church at Gulf Shore, Mr. Munroe toured parts of the United States, lecturing, in which he was successful in getting enough money to finish it.
Before closing, I will try to describe a communion season or service as it was in those days. It began on Thursday and continued until Monday. Mr. Munro always had one or more eminent preachers to assist him on those occasions. The best was none too good for his "dear people," as he called them. The occasion was a yearly reunion or coming together of all the friends and relations from far and near. They came for miles. Those Godly men and women walked all the way from Earltown. Every house was full, and there was no getting away until it was all over.
How things are changed. The present way may be the best, but 'tis hard to believe it.
Mr. Munro sometimes had a student for a time to assist him. At one time he had the late James Daniel Murray. Again he had Joseph Annand, now the Reverend Doctor Annand, the retired missionary. Dr. Annand's Golden Jubilee was celebrated at Hantsport, on July 3rd, 1922. Mrs. Annand was a Miss Seville, a native of England. He was ordained in 1872.
I am sorry I have not the ability to do justice to the memory of the late lamented Rev. John Munro. He died on May 25, 1877. He ministered to the congregation 28 years. His faithful partner, Mrs. Munro, lived several years after his death. A niece of Mrs. Munro was her companion until she passed away. They all sleep beside the church here on the Gulf Shore. The ministers who succeeded him were Rev. Samuel Boyd, Rev. D. A. McIntosh, Rev. J. H. Stewart, Rev. J. W. Britton and Rev. J. R. Miller, the present one.