Old St. Andrews



The Charlotte Gazette



An extract from Robert Armstrong's "History of Journalism in St. Andrews," 1910:

"The Charlotte Gazette made its bow to the public on the 10th of June, 1846. The Standard bidding the new comer welcome, said: “It forms a respectable addition to the periodical literature of the Province.” The paper continued for a number of years. John McLachlan, a Scotchman, was its publisher. He died I am informed in 1854 or 1855. William Gibson, afterwards stationmaster at Woodstock, was foreman. Mr. McLachlan lived in a house which stood upon the stie of the present summer residence of Rev. H. Phipps Ross, immediately under the shadow of Chamcook mountain. This house was the scene of a tragedy, his housekeeper having been burned to death within its walls. After the tragedy McLachlan deserted the house and for years it stood along and abandoned upon the mountain side. It was alleged that on the anniversaries fo the woman’s death weird, uncanny noises would be heard proceeding from it. It got the reputation for being “a haunted house,” and as such it was known for man years. The house stood until Mr. James Townsend removed it to make room for the present stately building. With the removal the old housekeeper’s ghost seemed to have been effectually laid for nobody has seen or hear of any spooks in that locality since that time.


Actually, a little more is known about the Charlotte Gazette due to a controversy which raged in the pages of the St. Andrews Standard in the year 1849. Several vituperative columns spitting venom and execrations against the Editor of the Gazette were published by James Boyd, Magistrate of the Town, and J. K. Boyd, apparently his son. It seems as though Andrew Elliot, Town Clerk, in concert with James McLachlan of the Gazette, had accused Boyd of pocketing fines collected under the Liquor Licensing Act, which forbade the selling of liquor without a license. The Boyds defended themselves vigorously, producing documentary evidence to the contrary of all contentions against them, and pouring odium on McLauchlan's supposed upholding the freedom of the press against public abuses. In the process, the Boyds noted on more than one occasion that McLaughlan co-habited with a black woman, variously described by them as "negro wench," "sable Dulcinea," and "dusky sattelite," indicating clearly enough that even amongst the gentry of St. Andrews there was racism enough. One column in particular, the episode of the "Eureka Shirt," is comical in spite of all the slander directed at the Editor of the Gazette.


If nothing else, the Gazette was a lively paper. Unfortunately, no copies survive. Perhaps because, as the Boyds would claim, immediately upon publication of an issue all its sheets were converted to "base uses," though not less base, they claimed, than the purpose for which they were originally intended.