Goshen Farming


FarmingFarming was the main occupation of many Goshen residents throughout the history of the community.  Most families farmed at subsistence levels with some produce, particularly milk being sold off the farm to local cheese factories and creameries.

In the 1880’s produce from the farms of Goshen including beef, butter, potatoes, cheese and lumber from nearby land was exchanged at Isaac’s Harbour for fish, molasses and other supplies.

Mr. Lloyd Sinclair grew up on a family farm located on Old Road.  The farm has been in the family since 1831- Founded by his great-great grandfather John Sinclair.  It’s currently (2010) a working dairy farm with 70 head.  In the 1930’s the farm boasted 10 head of cattle, some sheep, and horses.  The farm grew feed for the livestock and family.  Sheep were sheered and wool woven on looms or used as yarn.  Cattle were also used for leather.

In 1951 the Sinclair farm got its first tractor, a John Deere B, there were a few tractors in the area in the late 1940’s.

Chesley Feltmate, of 8 Island Lake also grew up on a farm.   On his 10th birthday he recollects the following exchange:

Father-What would you like for your birthday?

Chesley- I don’t know.

Father- How would you like a cow of your own to milk?

Chesley remarks that, “If he had of given me a $1000 dollar bill I wouldn’t have been as happy.”

One day a week a truck would come through to collect milk and cream- Stewart MacKinnon drove the truck circa 1950, he was from Loch Katrine.

A Plowing Match came to Goshen in the fall of 1942.   Teams of horses and plowmen from around the province convened in Goshen that year to hold their annual plowing match.  The teams vied for the straightest furrow over a given distance.  Edgar Sinclair won for being the best young Plowman at that year’s competition.  An account of the match was written for the Eastern Chronicle, New Glasgow, N.S. Tuesday, 27 Oct 1942:


Eight plowmen competed in Guysborough County’s first plowing match, held here on Thursday. Though the competition was open to farmers of the county only local teams participated. However from all other aspects the match was highly successful and promises to be an annual event.  The match was under the direction of James MacNeil, Agricultural Representative, was held on the farm of J. Roy Sinclair.
Judging was done by A.B. Banks, Truro, Superintendent of Exhibitions, who in his address stated that the purpose was to promote better plowing.  Prizes were awarded as follows:

Best land, 1st prize, Edward Sinclair; 2nd,J. Huntley Sinclair; 3rd, John Sinclair; 4th, Arthur J. Sinclair; 5th, Roy Sinclair; 6th, Aleck Polson; 7th, Harry Sinclair; 8th, Edwin R. Sinclair.

1st prize for best in and out was Roy Sinclair; 1st for best crown, Edgar Sinclair.  Best finish, Aleck Polson. Best plow team, Aleck Polson.  Sharpest furrow, Roy Sinclair.

The prize for the oldest plowman competing was won by Harry Sinclair and for the youngest plowman, Edgar Sinclair.

In addition to $100. in cash, special prizes were donated by nine business firms.
Champion provincial plowman, Mr. Feddes of Truro was present at the match and gave a plowing demonstration.
by Carolyn Wallace

For more information on plowing matches click here.

The Lloyd Sinclair farm served as a testing ground for the Experimental Farm based in Nappan, Nova Scotia during the 1950’s.  Plots of land were seeded with different cereal crops and given different amounts of fertilizer and lime.  The soil was tested before and after each experiment.  Livestock were also surveyed for production rates.  For more information on Experimental Farms click here.