The Perth County Pioneers.
Pushed by Breadalbane's factor , James Wyllie, and enticed by notices offering land, several Fishers emigrated to Perth County in Canada in 1830s and '40s from the parish of Kenmore.
- James Sr b.1775
- John 1800-1877
- Alexander 1804-1884
- Duncan 1807 - 1889
These Fishers all emigrated from Glenquaich.
From "The Highlander" published in Chicago
John Campbell, second Marquis of Breadalbane, was a man of austere countenance and commanding presence. He succeeded to the Marquisate in 1834, aged 38, and was inordinately proud of his ancestry and his exalted rank. Amongst his many other titles he was also fifth Earl of Breadalbane and Holland; Lord Glenorchy, Benderloch, Ormelie and Wick; Viscount Tay and Pentland; Baronet of Glenorchy and Nova Scotia; and 15th laird of Glenorchy. His Gaelic patrynornic was Mhic Chailean mhic Dhonnachaidh and he was second only to the Duke of Argyll as Chief of all the Campbells. His ancestors had put together an estate of almost half a million acres in Perthshire and Argyll, by fair means and foul, and in 1834 the second Marquis could ride fifty miles north and south, and a hundred miles east to west, without leaving his land.
But by 1834 the Breadalbane estates had become greatly overpopulated. There were 3500 people living on the north and south shores of Loch Tay in Perthshire who had between them 2000 head of cattle, 600 horses, 500 unbroken horses, 6000 sheep and 400 goats. The poor soil could not support so many and there was much hardship.
The first Marquis of Breadalbane had recruited 1600 men from his estates into a Fencible Regiment for the Napoleonic Wars. When the men returned home he divided farms into smaller units to give the veterans land, whether or not they were due to inherit as eldest sons. This well-meaning deed caused even worse poverty as the plots became uneconomic in size.
His son, the second Marquis, listened to the fashionable liberals of the day who said that poverty stricken Highlanders should be removed from their miserable existence, and settled elsewhere. The younger sons of Highlanders had always had to leave home to seek their fortune elsewhere because the land could not support them. The terrible mistake of the new policy was to remove an entire stock of people and replace them with sheep, which were more profitable.
On the advice of his factor the second Marquis evicted fourteen families from Rhynachuilg, twelve from Edramuckie, thirteen from Kiltyrie, nine from Cloichran, and nineteen from the farm of Acharn, all places lying at the west end of Loch Tay. The farm walls were levelled and the fields between turned into grazing for blackface sheep imported from the Borders.
Next to go was the entire population of Glenquaich, a lovely heather clad glen running inland from Loch Tay to the hamlet of Amulree, and where over 500 people lived. The evictions were carried out before the houses were set alight. The people decided to emigrate to Canada, and in particular to an untamed area of Ontario owned by the Canada Land Company. Eight or nine families had arrived here voluntarily in the summer of 1832 after a voyage lasting three months. Amongst these was John Crerar from Amulree who was older than the average immigrant. He was a tall, well built man who had been factor on the Shian estate in Glenquaich, and also a whisky smuggler, running distilled spirit from illicit stills in the glens to the towns. The excisemen were closing in and John Crerar emigrated to Ontario to avoid arrest. Here he found employment constructing the Twentieth Line Road into an untamed region of 44,000 acres known as the North Easthope Concession, in south Ontario. This was named after Sir John Easthope, a director of the Canada Land Company and had first been surveyed just three years before in 1829.
The road began at Bell's Corner, named after David Bell from Dumfries who was the first to settle here in June 1832, and was driven in through dense forest and brush. An area was cleared for farming and Crerar named the first settlement 'Amulree' after his old home in Scotland. Indeed, the central part of North Easthope is hilly and closely resembles Perthshire. In his first winter here John Crerar lived in a log shanty, with a roof only half covered, and with beds made from the branches of trees. He eventually settled on Lot 21, Concession 3, Twentieth Line Road, North Easthope along with his two sons and two daughters. His wife had died of cholera during the journey and many of the Perthshire Pioneers died of the disease, dying by the roadside in the forest wilderness, and buried in lonely unmarked graves.
After the Breadalbane evictions began in 1834 more and more families from central Perthshire began to emigrate to North Easthope. They left with great sadness. The story of Anne Menzies is typical. She was born at Shian, Glenquaich in 1839. Her father was a local school teacher who also had a small croft. Out of this he had to provide the Marquis with two cartloads of peat, so many skeins of wool, so many pounds of butter and cheese, and £16 rent every year. Anne's family were forced to emigrate in 1842 and sailed from Greenock on the Clyde. The voyage was long and stormy and the ship was three times blown back to the Irish coast. Every one on board did their own cooking and ate their own supplies. There was much sickness and many died. Cholera was the scourge on the emigrant ships and over 20,000 victims of the ship-borne disease lie buried at Grosse Island, Quebec.
The Merrilees famly eventually arrived at Quebec and then travelled overland to Hamilton where they were quarantined for measles. Then they moved on by ox drawn wagon. There was no room for Anne so they tried tying her to a box on the wagon but in the end she walked beside her mother all the way from Hamilton to North Easthope. Anne's uncle was already settled on Lot 22, Concession 7, and he made them welcome before they moved on to their own shanty on Lot 37. This had no windows or doors, and for chairs the family used three-legged stools made from saplings and for tables they used packing cases. Cooking was done over an open fire.
Anne's father, assisted by his brother and neighbours, cleared a hundred acres of brushland. A passing American showed them how to cut down trees for such skills were unknown in Scotland. In 1934, when Anne Merrilees was ninety five, she recalled. 'To us, North Easthope was a land of milk and honey, but we had to work for it. In the spring we gathered the sap from the trees and made every year about 300 pounds of maple sugar and 20 gallons of molasses. With this we preserved the wild berries which grew in abundance. With yarn spun from the wool of our own sheep both men and women knitted, for we had to make everything we wore, wearing wool in summer and winter. The year I married (1865) I spun 60 pounds of wool and made two pairs of blankets and a fancy web plaid. I have seen Stratford grow from a few shanties to a beautiful city and an important railroad centre. In the early days, many a time I walked six miles to Stratford market, carrying my basket of eggs and pail of butter, and paying one penny for the privilege of selling it there. I saw the Prince of Wales (Edward VII) shortly after the railway was built as far as Stratford. What a pokey little station it was then! We stood on logs to see him'.
Another of the pioneers was Peter MacTavish and his wife Helen MacLaren who came from Achnafauld, Glenquaich, in 1845, along with their four sons and four daughters. They settled on Lots 24 and 25, Concession 8, which was a farm of 200 acres. The MacTavishes were strict Presbyterians and so the children had to go to church every Sunday and then do their Scriptures at home. Whistling or whittling wood on the Sabbath was forbidden and the children had to hide down the lane if they wanted to indulge in such pastimes. The children had to walk six miles to school and six back, as well as doing chores before and after. The school was a log hut some thirty feet square and had a hundred pupils. The pupils spoke only Gaelic in their homes and had trouble mastering English grammar. Peter MacTavish's grandson John returned to Glenquaich, Perthshire, Scotland, in 1865 and saw his grandfather's old farm at Achnafauld. The buildings were still intact but unroofed and falling into ruin and the six acre farm swarmed with sheep. John MacTavish related later he was never so glad in his life to get back to Canada.
The new way of life was alien to many of the immigrants from Perthshire. The winters were much harsher and longer than in Scotland and the crops were different. They did try and keep up many of the Highland customs, particularly that of calling uninvited on their neighbours. Mary MacNaughton from Glenquaich had been a great socialiser in the glen and continued the habit in her new homeland. The only difference being that instead of a few hundred yards between the crofts, there was now a great distance between the homesteads. But Mary thought nothing of walking miles through the forest to visit friends. On one occasion she called at a distant shanty and chased away what she thought was a large shaggy dog. It was only later she discovered it was a black bear, the first she had ever seen. Another time she was helping her husband cut down a tree beside their hut. The following day they started on the branches, and when they came to the last branch, out sprang a wolf, which had been hiding under it all the time. Inexperience of living in a wilderness caused many to lose their lives, and several were never seen again after going into the forest to hunt game.
But the immigrants buckled down to the task of carving a new homeland out of the wilderness. The population of North Easthope had reached 2000 by 1850 and had 10,605 acres under cultivation. About this time the enormity of the evictions from the Breadalbane estates had dawned on the people of Scotland. The Marquis was condemned in the press and tried in vain to defend his policy. But the figures spoke for themselves. Out of 3500 people on Loch Tayside only 100 were left. In Glenorchy in Argyll only 6 people were left out of a population of 500. The Marquis endeavoured to raise a Fencible regiment from the estate in 1850 but where his father raised 1500 willing men his son could only find 100, and none of them volunteered. 'Put your red Coats on the back of the sheep that have replaced the men!'. cried one old man as the Marquis tried to recruit.
It was one of the evicted tenants who wrote the famous poem of which the first verse is quoted at the beginning of this article. These were prophetic words. The Second Marquis of Breadalbane died a lonely unmourned death in Switzerland in 1862. On the death of the third Marquis in 1922 the vast estate began to be broken up and by 1948 not a single inch remained out the half a million acres built up over 500 years by the family of Campbell of Breadalbane. 'The castle ha' sae big and braw' - Taymouth Castle - lies empty. Only the ruins of the deserted crofts remain in the empty glens.
In 1936 the memorial cairn was erected beside No.7 Highway at the village of Shakespeare, Perth County, Ontario, (originally Bell's Corner) to commemorate the pioneers from Perthshire, Scotland. It was unveiled by Lord Tweedsmuir (the novelist John Buchan), Governor General of Canada, who said in his speech, '100 years ago this was a land of mostly swamp and forest. Today it is a smiling country-side. It has blossomed like a rose. I have a strong personal feeling because I was born in Perthshire in the homeland and many of your great grandparents came to this land from Perthshire. Perth is a great county and in one way it is closely linked with this part of Ontario. Perthshire in Scotland was the meeting place of the Highland and Lowland people. Canada has followed that example. May this cairn be always here as a memorial to that of which you people are so proud'.
The plaque on the cairn is inscribed, '1832-1936. In Memoriam - The Pioneers of North Easthope'. Then follows a list of nearly 200 names. Mary MacLennan of Stratford, Ontario, published a book in 1936 containing reminiscences of the early pioneers. This includes photographs of the graves of the pioneers in St. Andrews churchyard, North Easthope, with the caption, 'Where sleep the brave pioneers to North Easthope, Perth County, Ontario, Canada, who came from Perthshire, Scotland, from 1832-33 and 1841-45, principally from Glenquaich, Annatfauld, Shian, Aberfeldy, Amulree, Kenmore. 300 in all who came to North Easthope'. The story of the Perthshire pioneers is also told in the novel 'Sheila', written in the 1930's by the famous Scottish author Annie S. Swan.
By this time most of the original Scottish settlers had moved on to other parts, principally Manitoba, Toronto and Chicago, and North Easthope became mainly a German settlement. But as the ballad says, 'God's mills are slow but sure', for the descendants of the evicted Perthshire crofters have prospered greatly in their new homeland in Canada and the United States while 'Breadalbane's land-the fair, the grand'- is no longer aye the Marquis's!
Breadalbane Muniment GD. 112/61/6
To his Grace the Marquis of Breadalbane.
May it please your Grace -
We, the undersigned Heads of Families, who emigrated from your Grace's Estates in Perthshire since the year 1832, beg leave most respectfully to address your Grace on a subject of great importance to us, and in which we humbly but earnestly solicit the interest of your Grace.
We form a neighbourhood, consisting of about 30 Highland families from your Grace's Estates, and have, in connexion with 20 families of Lowland Scotch and 14 families of Irish Presbyterians originally belonging for the most part to the Synod of Ulster, united together for the purpose of supporting a clergyman of the Kirk of Scotland and building a place of worship for ourselves and our offspring.
We have with the aid of some other families in our neighbourhood in similar circumstances, entered into a Subscription to furnish a Minister's stipend to the amount, for the present, of £100 currency a year and accordingly have enjoyed the services of a Minister since November 1838 - the first occasion of our possessing that blessing since we left our native Land.
We feel able and willing, with the aid referred to, to make up this sum, but in addition to this, it is necessary to build a Church also, in order to constitute a permanent provision of Gospel Ordinances for ourselves and our Children and the expense required for this latter purpose we do not feel able to surmount at the outset.
Our object therefore in now addressing your Grace is to solicit a donation in aid of the proposed erection - and that which emboldens us thus to Trouble your Grace, is our lively remembrance of the well known liberality of Your Grace's noble Family in such cases and for such purposes - together with the hope that your Grace will consider with kindness the peculiar circumstances of those who now take the liberty of addressing your Grace, from a far Country and a strange land, but whose forefathers, and (till very recently) themselves, were the tenants of your Grace's illustrious house.
We are Your Grace's most obedient humble servants - John Stewart, Robert Fraser, John Stewart-Jun'r, John McTavish, James Fisher, Alexander Stewart, Duncan Stewart, David Murray, Duncan Fisher, Duncan Stewart, Duncan Hay, Alexan. Mcgilla[vrie], Peter Crerar, Donald Robertson, Donald Peddie, Alexander [Stewart], George Scott, Duncan Haye, Donald McNaughton, Duncan Kippon, Peter McNaughton, Donald Stewart, Jame Kippan, John Hay, Alexander Crerar, John Fraser, John Kippan, Alex'r Fraser, John Crerar, John McTavish
Breadalbane Muniment GD. 112/61/8
North East Hope, Huron Tract, U.C.
24th Octr. 1835
May, I take the liberty of requesting your particular attention to the annexed copy letter and to beg of you to forward that matter we are so anxious about. And may God bless your endeavours and ours in endeavouring to obtain the ministrations of his Servants
I am Rev'd Sir Your mo. ob't Serv't.
(Signed) Peter McNaughton from Shian
Note for the Rev'd Mr. Duff
From our anxiety for the promotion of Christian knowledge amongst us, we take the liberty of suggesting for your consideration the propriety of applying to the Marquiss of Breadalbane for some assistance to aid us in getting our intended church established. We are certain that from his and his late father's disposition to foster the well being of his tenants at home and in remembrance of many of us being once his tenants, the Marquiss may be induced to help us as regards the Church, and we take the liberty of requesting your kind services in this matter, and to state to him our intentions.
We are all happily and comfortably settled in this township (North Easthope) and also in South Easthope and it is our wish that our late neighbours may be aware of this as from what we have learned many are inclined to join us from our native land. The land here is good and well watered, the terms of the Upper Canada Land Co'y are liberal, requiring the Settler only to pay a fifth of the purchase money when the land is applied for, and the remainder in five yearly installments with interest at six per cent. The Co'y at present sell their lands at 12/6 Currency per acre being equal to about 10/8 British, and the only stipulation is to clear off each year about 3 1/2 acres for every 100 acres owned by a settler, and that for 7 years when a free deed is given, the instalments heing also paid. But a settler may clear the required quantity in less time, and so obtain his free deed on paying up the whole instalments. There are grist mills and saw mills within a few miles of us east and west, also a store where goods of all kinds are sold. This settlement is mostly Scotch, almost wholly so where we are settled, and the utmost goodwill and unanimity prevails. We enjoy, though obtained at present by hard labour and perseverance, all the necessary worldly comforts and with the prospect, if we and our families are spared, of seeing them and us all independent and comfortable Farmers, farming our own land.
May we therefore request of you, that as we state nothing but what is true, and borne out by the testimony of the settlers who have arrived this season you will give this brief information (joined to the annexed Routes) to as many as seem inclined to emigrate to this place.
It has been thought proper and perhaps necessary to give the following information for the guidance of many of our late neighbours in Perthshire who may be wishful to come to this place as when an Emigrant arrives from on Board Ship, he is often perplexed as to the route or journey to any particular place he intends going to. The Routes which follow may be depended upon as being pretty correct.
I. Route from Quebec to Montreal to Hamilton, and from thence to North Easthope by Huron Tract
- From Quebec to Montreal (by Ship or Steamboat) -180 miles
- Montreal to Kingston (by Steamboat & Durham Boats) -189
- Kingston to Hamilton (head of Lake Ontario) by Steamboat -211
- From Hamilton to Dundas -5
- To Cornells Tavern (Township of Beverly) - 8
- To Henry Ebbs Tavern (Township of Beverly) - 6 1/2
- To Thomans " (Village of Breston, Township of Waterloo) -6 1/2
- To Swartz now Stafans (Township of Waterloo) by covered bridge over Grand River- 6 1/2
- To Rycharts Saw Mill (Township of Wilmot)-4
- To Hobsons Tavern ( Township of Wilmot) -5 1/2
- To Helmors " first Tavern in the Houron Tract (North Easthope)- 6
- To Tryfogles Tavern (South Easthope) - 3 being about 4 miles from the centre of the Scotch Settlement,
- Total 631 miles
The above distance is 631 miles, 580 of which are by River St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario, and the remaining 51 miles by land. Waggons are easily procured from Hamilton to North Easthope for 14 or 18 Dollars per load. There is 5/0 currency in a Dollar equal to about 4/ 3 1/2 British. The passage from Quebec up the St. Lawrence is a very disagreeable besides dangerous one, and not to be compared with the route No.II below, by the way of New York and Oswego. When an Emigrant lands at Quebec (who is bound for Upper Canada beyond Toronto (late York) he has to travel by ship, steamboat, or by the Durham boats, which last boats are made to surmount the Rapids and not constructed to afford shelter from wet or tempestuous weather. Emigrants however may now avoid the danger and trouble in the Durham Boats by going by the Rideau Canal, vizt. from Montreal up the Ottawa River to mouth of that Canal, and by it to Kingston and from thence to Hamilton by Steamboat. The distance to Hamilton from Quebec is 580 miles whereas the distance by the Route No.2 is only 484, Besides there is really much danger in navigating the Gulph of St. Lawrence, as the many shipwrecks shew, and the state of the Quarantine Station at Grosse or Goose Island (24 miles below Quebec) is very Bad.
II. Route from New York to Hamilton, & from thence to North East Hope by Huron Tract
- From New York to Albany (by Steamboat or Towboat towed by a Steamboat in 22 hours -145
- From Albany to Syracuse by Erie Canal- 171
- From Syracuse to Oswego, on Lake Ontario-38
- From Oswego to Hamilton by Steamboat (or from Oswego to Toronto and from Toronto to Hamilton)about 130
- From Hamilton to North Easthope as before -51
- Total 535 miles
The advantage of an Emigrant coming to Canada by way of New York, is the quickness of passage, safety, and cheapness, being on the whole as cheap as by Quebec. The passage from New York to Oswego is a most comfortable one compared to that by Montreal, the Towboats and Canal Boats being well fitted up, and complete protection afforded against the weather for both passengers and luggage. At Oswego an Emigrant meets a Steamboat for Hamilton or for Toronto (late York) and if for Toronto then there is a Steamboat from Toronto to Hamilton. (This Season there were two plying twice a day between Toronto and Hamilton). The distance between Albany and Oswego is performed in one Canal Boat
Rev'd Mr D.B. Forbes of Amulree Church by Crieff
Township of North Easthope. Huron Tract Upper Canada
24th October 1835
We take the liberty of writing you upon a subject which we are certain you will be glad to hear of.
Many of us who subscribe this letter have been personally known to you while it was our lot to be placed in our native land, but tho now far distant from that land we hope we have not forgotten the many valuable instructions and injunctions delivered by you.
The part of Canada we live in is indeed remote and consequently we have been subjected to many privations, but what we have greatly to lament for is the stated ministrations of a clergyman. We are all, thanks be to God as far as worldly comforts affect us, much better off than in our native land, and we would be sorry to think that while we enjoy so many worldly blessings we should, or others, accuse ourselves of inattention to our spiritual wants.
We have a prospect of a Minister or Missionary, as be is called at first being sent amongst us, early next season, but as there are many waste fields besides ours in Canada where the assistance of a preacher of the Gospel is required, we are somewhat doubtful that our case may be overlooked, tho indeed we are kindly assured by the Rev'd Mr. Rintoul of Streetsville (near Toronto, Late York, the capital of U.C.) that we will be attended to, Mr. Rintoul has given us every reason to expect that a missionary will be sent here, but he has said at sametime, that a great deal depends on the Glasgow Colonial Missionary Soc'y, a Soc'y in Glasgow established for the purpose of sending missionaries abroad, Mr. Rintoul visited this place in August last, and was satisfied of our wants. He had for 12 months before been made acquainted with the [strides of] this settlement, and all along was most wishful to assist us, and has done a great deal to encourage us.
What we now chiefly request of you, is that you will as soon after the receipt of this as possible apply to the Glasgow Soc'y. above referred to, and state our case, and do all you can for the sending of a missionary to us, but one who can preach Gaelic as well as English. We are taking preparatory steps towards getting a Church erected, and are going to apply to the Governor for help, but if a minister was on the spot, he would do much towards that. We intend applying to the Canada Land Co'y also. We will have the benefit of a school this winter, as one of our neighbours is erecting one at present. And we believe it will be only the second school in operation on the Huron Tract. We live within 3 or 4 miles of an intended village called Stratford on Avon where the Upper Canada Land Co'y (to whom the Tract belongs) have an Agent and where there are mills for the benefit of the Settlers. There are four Townships (same as Parishes) meet at the village called North Easthope, South Easthope, Ellice and Downie. The Population of this Township and So. Easthope is about 500.
We have sent copies of this letter to the Rev'd Mr. Duff of Kenmore and Rev'd Mr. A. Campbell of Weem and we pray you to write for our spiritual welfare.
We are Rev'd Sir Your mo. ob't. Serv't.in name
Please address any letter for us of Mr. Robert Fraser, North Easthope, Huron Tract, Upper Canada (by GaIt)
(Signed) Robert Frazer, Donald Stewart, Donald McNaughton, John Stewart, Peter McNaughton, Donald Robertson, Duncan Stewart, James Robertson, John Crerar, Alex'r Crerar, And. Riddel, Donald Peddie, Duncan Fishe,r John Stewart, Peter Anderson, James Fisher, John Kippan, Peter Crerar, John Stewart.
All the Settlers have not signed this owing to want of time before sending off.
He emigrated from Glenquaich, in Perthshire, Scotland, in 1833, leaving the Glen in June, and arriving in North Easthope in the month of August following. He was a farmer, on a lease, of a small farm of eight acres, with the right of pasture on the hill for cattle. The "holdings" of all his neighbours might average from six to fifteen acres.
He took up 300 acres of land three lots, one of which he paid when he came, and he had as much money left as bought a yoke of oxen for 70 dollars and two cows at 20 dollars each, and as bought what provisions were needed by the family till the crops came off the ground in 1834. He had no other money.
He commenced first by clearing a small spot, where he raised his house, or "shanty," and afterwards continued chopping during the winter, having the help of his two boys, who are now twenty-one and eighteen years of age. He has two girls besides. When the spring came he cleared the chopped land and put his crops in. He increased his clearance every year, working hard, and each year his boys were more able to help and assist him. He is fifty-five years of age.
His cleared land now extends to about eighty acres, and besides he is harrowing in his fall wheat on a new piece of twelve acres. His crops this year are ten acres of fall wheat, four of spring wheat, ten of oats, and about seven in other crops, with twenty-five acres of hay, and his pasture is also twenty-five acres. His stock of cattle is one span of horses, one yoke of oxen, three steers, six milch cows, four heifers, six yearling steers, and five calves, twenty-nine sheep, and eighteen hogs. He sold in the spring of this year two yokes of oxen.
He has paid another of the lots and part of the third. The most of the land in his immediate neighbourhood is now settled upon, and all the settlers are doing better than he can describe, or a person not acquainted with the country would believe. Their stocks of cattle and clearances in many instances are equal to if not above his. There is a saw-mill to the north of his land, which is a great benefit to the settlers in sawing up lumber or boards, and along the side road, from south to north for thirteen concessions, there are settlers now living, and that within these three years past.
The settlers generally, after the first few years they are settled, endeavour to provide their own clothing by rearing sheep. This year he expects to have eighty yards of home made cloth, and last year he had the same quantity. It is mixed in most instances with cotton, yarn, and also with flax, although wholly with woollen yarn is preferable, and which, as it is made, after being "fulled," is good cloth.
He has no inclination to dispose of his land and improvements, which he considers worth 4000 dollars. Indeed he says he would not accept of that sum in money, if offered to him.
He settled in North Easthope the same year as John Crerar, in 1833, he also came from Glenquaich; he has four sons, all able to assist in farming and in clearing land. He says his was the first family which moved into the back lots off the main or Goderich road. He applied for and settled on lots twenty-three and twenty-four in the third concession, and also lots twenty-four and twenty-five in the second.
The farm which he occupied in Glenquaich was a small one, being three acres of arable land and five of meadow, with the same right as the rest of his neighbours to a portion of the "hill pasture." He considers his situation now as far different, having about ninety acres of cleared land on his lots, and ten acres chopped. His barn with additions, built of logs, is 104 x 24 on lot 25, and he has another barn 75 x 28 on lot 23, both covered with shingles.
When he removed to his land in the bush, and when the many difficulties of a new settler were before him, he had only in money £20 or 80 dollars, and part of this money he paid on the land.
As before mentioned, his improvements in cleared land consist of ninety acres, and ten acres ready for burning off, all which has been effected by the persevering industry of his sons. He is an old man, about eighty years of age, and only three of his boys were able to work and assist when he first settled. He has in cattle, one yoke of oxen, one span of horses, and a yearling colt, two yoke of steers, four years old, one yoke of two-year olds, four yearling steers, one bull, one two-year old steer, eight milch cows, six calves, six heifers, fifty sheep, and forty hogs. He has of crops this harvest, fourteen acres of wheat, six acres of oats, and nine acres of other crops, with above thirty acres of hay, and about twenty-six of pasture.
His sons took a job of turnpiking the main road, and saved money by it, which was a help, in addition to the sales of flour, wheat and cattle from the farm. He would not take now $3500, or even more, for his improvement. His land is well watered, the river Avon passing through part of it.
He is an elder in the Scotch Presbyterian church. In his neighbourhood the settlers have a meeting-house, and are in contemplation of building a framed church. The same congregation have a church erected in the village of Stratford. A clergyman officiates regularly at both the church and meeting-house.
He came from Turrerich, in Glenquaich, in 1832, having left the glen that year about the middle of June, and arrived at North Easthope on the 1st of September; eight families from the same place emigrated and travelled together and settled in this township and in the adjoining one, South Easthope.
This settlement was only then beginning, for in the distance of twelve miles and a half between Stratford, (called then the Little Thames,) and the easternmost part of the tract bordering on Wilmot, there were only three houses or "shanties," occupied by Mr. Helmore, Mr. Fryfogle, and Mr. Sargint; one other settler, Mr. D. Bell, had just arrived, but he had no house up. These settlers were on the road side, for it was in 1833 and 1834 when settlers moved to lots of land off the main road.
The farm which he leased in Glenquaich was a small one, a few acres, with a privilege of pasture on an adjoining hill. His neighbours were similarly placed; possessing only what may be called "small holdings" from five to fifteen acres each.
His family then were six in number, but not of age to assist in chopping and clearing but very little. There are three of them now well able to help, and they perform the most of the work.
He applied to the Canada Company for three lots of land, 100 acres each, situated on the road side, and the following year he also applied for the three lots in the rear, in all 600 acres of land. He commenced at once to chop and clear the land, and built a small house. There were so few settlers at that time that the houses though small took no little trouble to put up, but the same difficulty was not experienced next year, as the settlement increased rapidly. When he came he paid and got a deed for one of the lots, and paid part on the other two, an instalment; since that time he has paid money on the five lots.
When the spring came, or rather towards the commencement of summer, his money was exhausted, but the provisions bought were sufficient till the crops were ready. From the crops of oats and potatoes this season he made some money, and particularly as they were scarce, and a brisk demand by increased emigration and traffic by the main road. The land since that time has yielded sufficient, not only for support but for sale. His family have been industrious, and he has managed to be economical in every thing.
He has now a good stock of cattle: they had the first winter one cow, which gave milk till spring, when he bought another, and at the same time a yoke of working oxen. He has now one span of horses, one colt two years old, and another one year old, two yoke of working oxen, one yoke of five-year old steers, two yoke of two-year olds, three steers, seven cows, six calves, forty-six sheep, five year old heifers. He sold two cows the other day, and has during these some years past sold a good many cattle.
He has about 102 acres of cleared land. He had this year forty acres in hay, twenty in pasture, seventeen acres in wheat, fourteen acres in crops of oats, barley, &c., and ten acres in fallow. He has nearly ten acres of new land cleared this season for wheat. His home-made clothing or cloth last year was 106 yards, being woollen, cotton and wool, and flax, and expects this year to have 100 yards. He has a waggon and a cart, horse-sleigh and harness, fanning mill and other farming implements. His barn is a log one 74 x 26, stable 40 x 23, and other small buildings. His house is a two story log building with a brick chimney.
He states that all his neighbours have succeeded well. Many have emigrated this season from Glenquaich, and expects that next year all his old friends in the glen will be in Canada, and in this tract. A brother-in-law, who has been settled for some years in the township of Beckwith, has taken up 900 acres of land in the adjoining township of South Easthope, to which he intends removing in the winter or spring.
He would not accept of $4000 for his land, buildings, and improvements, (not including cattle or crop,) and justly believes that he forms no exaggerated value of his property.
Page last updated - 8/8/14