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Alexander M. "Sandy Mor" Chisholm

Alexander M. "Sandy Mor" Chisholm

Male 1788 - 1876  (88 years)

Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Alexander M. "Sandy Mor" Chisholm  [1, 2
    Born 1788  Strathglass, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 11 Oct 1876  Antigonish Harbour, Antigonish County Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I6220  Dessert Family Tree
    Last Modified 16 Apr 2006 

    Father Donald "Mor" Chisholm,   b. Abt 1762, Strathglass, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Nov 1843, Antigonish Harbour, Antigonish County Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 81 years) 
    Mother Catherine Grant,   b. Glenmoriston, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 Feb 1829 
    Family ID F1558  Group Sheet

    Family Margaret Chisholm,   b. Abt 1772, Strathglass, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Jan 1862, Antigonish Harbour, Antigonish County Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 90 years) 
    Children 
     1. Colin Chisholm
    +2. Mary Chisholm,   b. 11 Dec 1825, Antigonish Harbour, Antigonish County Find all individuals with events at this location
    +3. Elizabeth Anne "Lizzie" Chisholm,   b. 9 Sep 1827, Antigonish Harbour, Antigonish County Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Nov 1912, Antigonish Harbour, Antigonish County Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years)
    +4. Donald Chisholm,   b. 27 Nov 1829, Antigonish Harbour, Antigonish County Find all individuals with events at this location
     5. John Chisholm,   b. 22 Aug 1831, Antigonish Harbour, Antigonish County Find all individuals with events at this location
    +6. James Chisholm,   b. 9 Aug 1833, Antigonish Harbour, Antigonish County Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Jan 1877  (Age 43 years)
    +7. Margaret Chisholm,   b. 1 Jul 1835, Antigonish Harbour, Antigonish County Find all individuals with events at this location
     8. Ellen Chisholm,   b. 24 Aug 1837, Antigonish Harbour, Antigonish County Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Nov 1908  (Age 71 years)
     9. Annie Chisholm,   b. 24 Oct 1841, Antigonish Harbour, Antigonish County Find all individuals with events at this location
     10. Alexander Chisholm,   b. 9 Jun 1845, Antigonish Harbour, Antigonish County Find all individuals with events at this location
    Family ID F1939  Group Sheet

  • Notes 
    • 02 Oct 2002 - Alexander was born in Scotland and came to Canada with his parents around 1803. He had attended District School in Scotland and was able to read and write and do simple questions in Arithmetic when he left Scotland. Where they lived around Antigonish Harbour there was no School and his parents could only speak Gaelic. Alexander and his brother John both showed a marked desire to acquire knowledge; John being interested in History, Languages and Literature and Alexander's favourite branch was Mathematics.

      Lacking a nearby School the boys had to teach themselves English but books in English were not easily procured and once found, a new obstacle presented itself. The boys used to stay up late at night reading in their log house and would be seriously reprimanded by their parents for foolishly and wastefully burning candles. To overcome this difficulty they cut down pine trees to burn in the fireplace, and with their backs to the chimney jamb they would sit up as late as they pleased, reading by the light of the fire. They were not the only boys in Antigonish County who received much of their education in this manner.

      Alexander worked on the farm with his father and inherited the farm after his father died, but he never lost interest in Mathematics. After Rev. William Fraser (later Bishop) settled in Antigonish in 1824, he introduced Alexander to the Rev. Thomas Trotter (a Presbyterian Minister) and from him he borrowed many books on Mathematics. So proficient did he become on this Subject that he was appointed Crown Land Surveyor for the County. He concluded that using Trigonometry was too tedious a way for performing his calculations. He had little or no time while working on the farm to devise a quicker method but when he was over 50 years of age a tree fell on him, that he was felling, which confined him to bed for 7 weeks.

      Here was his opportunity. During his convalescence he invented the Chisholm Mathematical Scale and Key for rapid calculations and later patented this Scale in Canada and New York State. It was prescribed for Colleges and Academies in Nova Scotia. He also invented and patented an Instrument for taking the altitude of the Sun.

      During 1995 Rod Chisholm from Hamilton, Ontario, located a copy of The Mathematical Scale and Key that was in the possession of Mary Cusak (nee Chisholm) in Halifax (a descendant of Alexander) and copied Duncan J. Chisholm.

      He was active in the Militia, being a Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, County of Sydney Regiment in 1927, and Adjutant in 1837.

      The Antigonish Heritage Museum has details of his death under two Codes; D001.104 & D003.132. One stated that he died of "old age" and the other stated "complicated diseases". It stated that he died June 11, 1876, but DJC is sticking with October 11, 1876.

      22 Mar 2004 - The January 2, 1862 Casket carried a story on the "Chisholm Scale" and pointed out that it was to be used by an R. McDonald in the Mathematical Department, presumably at St. F. X.

  • Sources 
    1. [S02091] Family Tree for 9 descendants of Alexander "Breac" Chisholm - "Willy John" Chisholm.
      Numerous descendants were shown on this Tree.

    2. [S02187] History of the Catholic Church in Eastern Nova Scotia by Rev. Johnston, Page 324, Vol 2.
      His Mathematical Scale was used at St. F. X. starting in 1861 while "Sandy Mor" was a charter member of the St. F. X. Board of Directors. The use of this Scale was adopted in several Provincial Schools but it did not gain general acceptance, probably due to the cost; $2.50.