Emigration from Scotland to the Ottawa, Canada area in the 1800's
To Glengarry County, Ontario and Lanark County, Ontario
also Scottish Settlement on Indian Lands in 1815 in Glengarry County, Ontario, Canada
March 20, 2017:
Here are some persons surnamed Campbell who settled in the Ottawa / Gatineau area starting in the late 1820's.
Campbell is a Scottish name. Many of the Campbells were Presbyterians from the Scottish Lowlands, and some of them were
Roman Catholics from the Highlands. Many of them migrated to what is now Northern Ireland, to County Down and to County Antrim,
before coming to North America.
January 28, 2013:
Before the Scottish Immigrants came to Glengarry County and Lanark County, these "Townships" were populated by Aboriginal peoples in the Ottawa area.
Some of the Algonquin people were located in the Ottawa River Watershed including Lanark County. The Mohawk people were living along both sides
of the St. Lawrence River, including in the Maxville area. These Indian lands were encroached upon by European settlers for very little
in compensation. The Maxville area was part of the early St. Regis Reserve.
Source below: Maxville: Its Centennial Story, 1991, page 3, (no ISBN)
Keywords: St. Elmo, Dunvegan, Notfield.
December 24, 2012:
Stop the presses! There is another terrific new book, just out in 2012, by Lucille H. Campey of Aberdeen University in Scotland.
It is called An Unstoppable Force: The Scottish Exodus to Canada, National Heritage Books (Dundurn Press), 2012, ISBN 978-1-55002-811-9.
The year 2012 was terrific for publication of two very good books regarding Scottish Immigration to Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec
prior to 1840. Here is the other:
Imperial Immigrants - Scottish Settlers in the Upper Ottawa Valley, 1815-1840,
Dundurn Press, 2012, ISBN 978-1-55488-756-9. My copy from Global Genealogy arrived this morning.
No more work today -- where is that hammock?
1. Early Scottish Emigration (1784 to 1826):
October 9, 2003:
Glengarry and Lanark Counties - Highlanders and Lowlanders.
Note: The above is in .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) format.
Map of Scotland and its counties.
Map Source: http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/sct/sct_cmap.html
The Right Reverend Alexander MacDonell became the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Upper Canada.
Picture Source below: The Scottish Pioneers of Upper Canada, 1784-1855 - Glengarry and Beyond, by Lucille Campey,
National Heritage Books, Toronto, 2005, ISBN 1-897045-01-8, page 32.
The following table shows the number of Scottish emigrants who sailed from Scottish ports to Quebec between 1831 and 1855:
Source below: The Scottish Pioneers of Upper Canada, 1784-1855 - Glengarry and Beyond, by Lucille Campey,
National Heritage Books, Toronto, 2005, ISBN 1-897045-01-8, page 158.
October 4, 2003:
Early Scottish Emigration to the Ottawa, Canada area
* Source: "Peopling Glengarry County" by Marianne McLean and
Michael E. Vance "The Politics of Emigration: Scotland and Assisted
Emigration to Upper Canada, 1815-1826" (History 3500)
2. Duncan McNab (The Laird of McNab Township, Renfrew County)
Archibald McNab was the last chieftain of the McNab clan from the Loch Tay
region in Scotland. In order to escape heavy debts, he fled to Upper Canada where
he negotiated for land along the Ottawa River so that he might bring his clansmen
from Scotland as settlers. He was empowered by the government to assign up to 100
acres per family and was granted personally 1200 acres which could be increased
upon completion of the development of the settlement. In 1825 eighty-four settlers
were met on their arrival by McNab and his piper. From there, they travelled by
boat or walked through the bush for three weeks until they reached their new
settlement at Chats Lake. Under McNab, they endured many hardships. Provisions
were scarce, and had to be carried long distances for the first three years.
The already impoverished Scots were hounded for interest payments required on
any money spent on their behalf and then forbidden the right to work outside
McNab's "serfdom". Young children in the settlement came close to starvation;
meanwhile, the Laird gave lavish parties financed by the money flowing in as
income from his large timber interests. Petitions were drawn up by the settlers
and sent to public bodies but McNab's strong support of the Family Compact, the
ruling oligarchy of the time in Upper Canada, caused their pleas to fall upon deaf
ears. At the time of the Rebellion of 1837, McNab was appointed "Laird Colonel of
the 20th Battalion of Carleton Light Infantry". But his own clansmen, fearing that
McNab would gain even more power over them in a time of military service, refused
to serve under his command. Finally, the Crown Lands Agent at Perth was appointed
to investigate, and, after surveying the settlers, concluded that all charges against
McNab were valid. McNab, sensing trouble ahead, quickly offered to sell his lands to
government for 9000 pounds but in the end he settled for 2,500. The government began
issuing Crown grants to the settlers, removing the Laird's feudal powers. His fortunes
continued to dwindle, and though he tried suing his clansmen for his losses, he was
unsuccessful, and returned to Europe. He died in 1860 in a small village in France.
The township retains his name.
Source: Tour of Darling Township.
||to Glengarry County ||to Lanark County and Renfrew County
||Characteristics of Emigrants
||2,500 subsistence farmers from the Scottish
Highlands to Glengarry County before 1815
||4,000 weavers and artisans from the
Scottish Lowlands to Lanark County and Renfrew County after
||No financial assistance, organized by
families, led by Highland patriarchs.
Catholic and Presbyterian
||Financially assisted, organized by emigrant
Presbyterian and Anglican
|Reasons for Emigration
||Maintain cultural and lifestyle traditions (also Clearances)
||Economic opportunity for politicized
Read the story of Henry Airth, 1786-1870, one of the settlers
whom the Laird of McNab met at Montreal and settled on the Laird's estate
May 8, 2003:
The historic Auld Kirk and Cemetery near Almonte.
March 29, 2008:
Here is part of an 1879 map showing Kenyon Township, Glengarry County, east of the
City of Ottawa. As you can see by the surnames, these folks are all Scottish Highland
immigrants. Loch Garry (not Garry Lake) is shown on the map.
Map Source: Digital Map Collection at McGill University Photo Source: The Scottish Tradition in Canada, edited by W. Stanford Reid
April 29, 2008:
We usually associate the logging and timber trade with the PreCambrian Shield areas to the north and west of the city of Ottawa. However, beginning in
the early 1800's,Glengarry Scots and French Canadians operated a profitable logging industry as the
following photo shows. The Scotch River is a tributary of the Nation River which flows
into the Ottawa River at Plantagenet. The Scotch River was written about in 1901 by
Ralph Connor in his book The Man from Glengarry.
July 18, 2015:
Some of the settlers, such as John Williamson, from Riceville later went to the shanties north of the Ottawa River
to Lost River in Argenteuil County.
The South Nation River was one of the tributaries of the Ottawa River inhabited by the Algonquin Nation before the Europeans came to this area.
This group was contiguous with the Natives from La Petite Nation / the Lievre River, across the Ottawa River in Quebec.
This sub-group of the Algonquins is called the Weskarini.
Loggers on the Scotch River, 1890's
Photo Source: Reflections of the South Nation Watershed, page 31
June 23, 2010:
A few years ago, I was in the village of Dunvegan (in Kenyon Township) in Glengarry County
and picked up a book called "Historical Sketch of Kenyon Presbyterian Church" written in 1940.
Here are the opening lines to this book:
From the lone scheiling of the misty island
Mountains divide us, and the waste of seas-
Yet still the blood is strong, the heart is Highland,
And we in dreams behold the Hebrides.
Remember to attend the Glengarry Highland Games in Maxville, Ontario, on July 30 and 31, 2010.
Less than an hour's drive from Ottawa, there sre fun events for everyone.
This year is CELEBRATING THE YEAR OF THE FIDDLE, with fiddlers from Scotland, the Maritimes and Canada.
June 26, 2010:
Map of Glengarry County, Ontario, Canada, in 1813
Photo Source: The Lochaber Emigrants to Glengarry, page 45
The following map was produced by Joseph Bouchette, Surveyor General of Canada:
Map Source: The Lochaber Emigrants to Glengarry, 1802, page 58
March 18, 2012:
Archibald McLean of Murlaggan, Scotland, led a group of Highlanders to settle in Glengarry Township in 1802.
It was difficult to have these folks all settle together in Glengarry Township because most of the land was already
granted. A new township, Caledonia Township, was surveyed, to the North of Glengarry for the
new families. However, they preferred to find whatever land they could in Glengarry to be with their friends and neighbours
from Scotland. Archibald McMillan had originally planned to stay in Montreal and establish a business. However, by 1804, he was
able to convince the government of Lower Canada to grant a large area of land in Lochaber Township, Quebec, and he was able
to convince some of the Scottish settlers of 1802 to settle there.
November 16, 2010:
Newspaper Article, Ottawa Journal, June 14, 1952
This article was sent in by George Brown -- read more on our John Brown page.
November 30, 2010:
Scottish Parish Maps
Here is a site great for the Parish Maps in Scotland -- http://www.scotlandsfamily.com/parish-maps.htm
The maps are good and you can follow the family through the census, where they were born, to final spot in the 1901 census.
December 1, 2010:
Further to Taylor's posting above, he has now written an interesting case study for researchers who wish
to trace their Canadian families back to Scotland in the 1800's.
December 21, 2010:
In 1818, a few months before the disbanded soldiers from the 100th Regiment, arrived to take up their land grants
in Goulbourn Township, a group of Scottish Highlanders settled in "The Derry", in nearby Beckwith Township.
Source: Ottawa Waterway: Gateway to a Continent, by Robert Legget, page 198
Keywords: Breadalbane, Scottish Highlands, James McArthur, John Robertson, Beckwith Township
January 22, 2011:
Came across a couple of interesting websites while searching for background info on ancestors who migrated from Scotland
in the 1830s and 1840s.
The Statiscal Accounts of Scotland 1791 - 1845:
The site contains images of the accounts prepared for each parish in Scotland by the local parish church minister.
The reports include information on a variety of topics -- physical geography, antiquities, civil history, industrial
reports including agriculture, population statistics and descriptions, poverty, emmigration, church and education, etc.
The Accounts were published in two versions the original or Old Account was prepared in 1791 and the New one in the 1830s
This sample page from the 1830s edition for the parish of Dull in Perthshire will give you an idea of the contents
The database is searchable by county or parish name at this link: http://stat-acc-scot.edina.ac.uk/sas/sas.asp?action=public
The second site makes a nice companion to the one above:
The National Library of Scotland Maps Collection: http://maps.nls.uk/
Includes a wide variety of maps for all parts of Scotland. Of particular interest will be the early Ordnance Survey maps
and the John Thompson's Atlas of Scotland 1832 as both of these generally show the names of the farms and houses which
can often be married up to the addresses in the 1851 / 1861 / 1871 censuses and sometimes birth and marriage info in the OPR.
Hope this is of some interest and use.
... Allan Craig
February 14, 2011:
Lacrosse Team of Maxville, Ontario, Canada in 1909
Source: Maxville: Its Centennial Story, 1991
Surnames for search engine: McDougall, Merrick, Donat, Ward, Morrow, Irvine, McLean, Pearson, McDiarmid,
Marjerison, Young, Sproul / Sproule, Loney
March 2, 2011:
The Bytown or Bust Library now has a copy of The People of Glengarry, Highlanders in Transition, 1745-1820
by Marianne McLean, 285 pages.
May 17, 2011:
Angus MacRae, Trapping Beaver in Glengarry County, Ontario, Canada
Photo Source: Maxville - Its Centennial Story, page 372
Note the hand-woven basket, probably made by the Mohawk People at St. Regis.
January 14, 2012:
A London lawyer runs a stop sign and gets pulled over by a Glasgow copper.
He thinks that he is smarter than the cop because he is a lawyer from London and is certain that he has a better education
than any jock cop. He decides to prove this to himself and have some fun at the Glasgow cops expense:
Glasgow cop says, "License and registration, please."
London Lawyer says, "What for?"
Glasgow cop says, "Ye didnae come to a complete stop at the stop sign."
London Lawyer says, "I slowed down, and no one was coming."
Glasgow cop says, "Ye still didnae come to a complete stop. License and registration, please"
London Lawyer says, "What's the difference?"
Glasgow cop says, "The difference is, ye huvte come to complete stop, that's the law. License and registration, please!"
London Lawyer says, "If you can show me the legal difference between slow down and stop, I'll give you my license and
registration and you give me the ticket. If not, you let me go and don't give me the ticket."
Glasgow cop says, "Sounds fair. Exit your vehicle, sir."
The London Lawyer exits his vehicle.
The Glasgow cop takes out his baton and starts beating the living daylights out of the lawyer and says,
"Nae..Dae ye want me to stop, or just slow doon?"
Thanks to my sister-in-law, Irene, for this true story!
January 7, 2012:
More from Irene! Some "Kilt Dancing" and Scottish music:
January 16, 2013:
Here is another one from Irene. She's got a million of 'em!
A Scotsman and his wife walked past a swanky new restaurant last night...
"Did you smell that food?" she asked..."Incredible!"
Being the 'Kind Hearted Scotsman', he thought,
"What the heck, I'll treat her!"
....So they walked past it again...
January 19, 2013:
Blair MacLaurin is researching his ancestor Alexander McLAREN / McLAURIN, who came from Scotland to Glengarry County in 1815, then on to
Templeton, (Gatineau) Quebec, Canada.
June 30, 2016:
There is a goldmine of emigration records at ancestry.ca in the Colonial Office files from the 1820's. This example
shows the development of emigration policy for some Highland Scots to settle along the Ottawa River in Glengarry
Township in Upper Canada and in Lochaber Township in Lower Canada. Many individual settlers' names are included.
July 1, 2016
The above Scottish emigration is well documented in the book
The Lanark Society Settlers, 1820-21, by Carol Bennett, Juniper Books, 1991,
ISBN 0-919137-24-5, available now from Global Genealogy, now located in Lanark County!
February 5, 2019: (post retirement)
Lanark County, just west of Ottawa, was the centre of Canada's textile production during the last half of the 19th century.
The Scots who came to Lanark and Renfrew County in the 1820's included many weavers who brought their hand looms with them
from Scotland. Also, Scottish masons and stoneworkers built many stone bridges and buildings. Keyword: Almonte
Photo Source: Lanark Legacy, by Howard Morton Brown, ISBN 0-9690289-2-X, page 131.
E-mail Taylor Kennedy, Al Craig and Al Lewis
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