Restin’ in Rosetta

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Perth Courier, Sept. 28, 1877

Accident in Lanark Township—While going homeward last Saturday night, the wagon of Mr. Archibald Campbell of Rosetta upset and the load of filled bags fell upon him and buried Mr. Campbell completely and kept him there until about 8:00 on Sunday morning.  The recovery of the unfortunate man is doubtful.

Perth Courier, October 5, 1877

Mr. Archibald Campbell of Rosetta, mentioned last week as having met with an accident, has since died, his funeral taking place last Sunday.  The deceased was a native of Scotland and well known in Lanark Township.

 

The village of Rosetta, like many of the once thriving villages and hamlets throughout the Lanark Highlands, exists today as only a small collection of homes and a church. It has, however, a fascinating history which exemplifies the hardship, resiliency, and faith of the region’s first European settlers.

 

 

One of the commonly told stories of Rosetta begins, as many others do, with a Scottish family’s decision to travel to Canada in search of better fortunes. In 1821, James Dick set out with his wife Jane and their eleven children from their home in Bathgate, Scotland en route to New Lanark and to what would be their new home in Lanark Township. Unfortunately, before the promise of a new life was realized, extreme hardship was to befall the family. After disembarking at Lachine, Quebec, James drowned in the St. Laurence River, leaving his wife and children considering a return to their family in Scotland. However, James’ wife and eldest son John decided to continue the journey. From Lachine, John wrote a letter to his uncle in Scotland saying that the family had “reconciled to go to our destination, all believing that our kind father not only risked his life, but lost it in the view of putting and leaving the family in a better situation than he could place them in at home.” Unfortunately, tragedy would befall the family once more before reaching their destination.

Within a month, Jane Dick too had died, likely of exposure or influenza, leaving her children orphaned before they had reached their new home. With great resolve, John Dick and his elder sisters once again decided to continue the journey. As the only guardians of their siblings, the eldest daughters, aged 21 and 19, took over their mother’s duties and John, still only 17 years old at the time, took up his father’s dream and finally settled his family in Rosetta, near this cache’s location. With the help of their neighbors the children were able to clear land for a home, raise themselves, and attend school. Local legend maintains that it was a structure built by one of the Dick children, a livestock pen made of poles which came to a peak at the top and which reminded a fellow pioneer of the pyramids of Rosetta, Egypt, which gave the community its name.

Despite the immense hardship of their journey and settlement, the Dick children went on to be prominent early residents of Rosetta, many becoming ministers after their education. Robert, for example, who was only eight years old when the family arrived in Rosetta, quit school at 14 to work on the family farm but managed to teach himself Latin and mathematics in the evenings. He later moved to the United States where he found success as an inventor and evangelist, known today for the invention of glued labels for addressing mail.–Geocache

 

 

Though there is some debate as to the ownership of the original land, it was likely on the farm of John Dick that settlers came together at a large rock for the area’s first church services and the the people of Rosetta lost no time in forming congregations and holding such services, often atop this large outcropping now called the Preaching Rock.

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As is true today in the rural villages of the Lanark Highlands, this is a region where people willingly help their neighbours without thought of reward, a gesture never more evident than in the beginnings of Rosetta and the early lives of the Dick children. Very close to the cache’s location is the grave of John Dick, who lived his entire life in Rosetta and passed away in 1862. In his 1821 letter to relatives in Scotland, John made note of settlers which he had encountered who had already made homes for themselves and who were “enjoying all that can render life easy and comfortable by a few years of industry and exertion,” and expressed hope that “by the blessing of God, along with our exertions, our family ere long may be placed in the same easy circumstances.”

Lanark County Genealogical Society Website

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News

Related Reading..

The Preaching Rock of Lanark County

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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