The first permanent settlers in Pictou County arrived in the ship Betsy on June 10, 1767. They carved a tiny settlement out of the forest about two miles from the present town of Pictou.
Six years later, on September 15, 1773, the ship Hector arrived with 189 Scottish Highland immigrants on board. Alexander Cameron, one of these settlers, settled along the shore of the West River and named the place Loch Broom because it reminded him of his homeland in Scotland.
Scottish immigration to Pictou increased and by 1786 a call was made for a minister capable of speaking both English and Gaelic. Dr. James Drummond MacGregor arrived in Pictou from Scotland in July 1786. The year following his arrival, he had the first two churches in the county built; one on the West River at Loch Broom near the head of the harbour and the other on the East River on the west side of the river, near the site of the Duff Cemetery, between Stellarton and New Glasgow.
George Patterson quotes from Dr. MacGregor's autobiography in his book "History of the County of Pictou" published by Dawson Bros., Pictou, NS, 1877:
"By Squire Patterson's direction I gave out sermon next Sabbath on the East River, at the head of the tide, and the second Sabbath on the harbour, a few miles up from Squire Patterson's; and the sermon continued alternately at these places for about two months, when the people agreed to have two meeting houses - one on the west side of the East River, half a mile below the head of the tide, to accommodate boats; and the other on the east side of the West River, two miles below the head of the tide - alternate preaching to be at these places till winter, when a winter regulation should be made. These two places were ten or eleven miles apart, and there was no road to either."
"During this month (July) ... the men were chiefly engaged in building the two meeting houses; but, instead of employing contractors to build them, they agreed to divide the work into a number of lots, and appointed a party of themselves to every lot. One party cut the logs and hauled them to the site; another hewed them and laid them in their place; a third provided boards for the roof and floors; a fourth provided the shingles; those who were joiners were appointed to make the doors and windows, and those who did not care to work provided the glass and nails. Moss was stuffed between the logs to keep out the wind and rain; but neither was one of them seated otherwise than by logs laid where seats should be."
"Such were the first two churches of Pictou, and for a while they had no pulpits, purely because they could make a shift without them, and when they were made they were not of mahogany, but of the white pine of Pictou."
The churches were approximately 40 feet long and 25 feet wide. The seats were logs with the upper surface hewn flat supported on blocks. An upper story or gallery where the younger members of the congregation sat, had similar seats and was reached by a ladder. Service was held in each church on alternating Sabbaths. Dr. MacGregor preached two sermons - one in Gaelic and one in English - both sermons were two hours long.
"Though I preached two sermons every Sabbath, yet the people heard but one sermon in two weeks, except those who understood both languages. Even this circumstance was sometimes productive of trouble; for some who were backward to support the gospel, insisted that they who understood both languages should pay a double share of the stipend."
The current Log Church at Loch Broom is a replica of the original built in 1787. Under the direction and initiative of Rev. Frederick Pauley a stone cairn was erected and unveiled on August 15, 1965 to mark the site of the church. The land for the cairn and the church was donated by Alvin McCabe - a direct descendant of James McCabe - the pioneer who donated the property for the original log church. July 29, 1973, as a result of the dedication and untiring efforts of numerous volunteers and Rev. Pauley, construction of the replica log church was completed.