Duncan McDiarmid — Family of the Derry

Duncan McDiarmid — Family of the Derry


Submitted by Leah

Duncan McDiarmid, his second wife Mary (a widow) their son John and Duncan’s daughter from his first marriage to Margaret McGregor arrived in Quebec from the Parish of Comrie, Perthshire aboard the Brig Curlew.  They, along with two other families the Fergusons and the McLarens, walked from there to Beckwith Township to start a new life and hopefully a better one.

Dr. George Edward Kidd wrote in his book The Story of The Derry,  “Duncan McDiarmid was the elected captain of the group, and he called a final halt to his little band when it had reached lot 22 in the fifth concession.  Here, in a maple grove and by the side of a spring which still runs water,…., they made their camp.  Later they filed claims on nearby lots, and here they made their new homes.”

It appears that the rest of Duncan’s first family arrived after as they are not on the list of passengers on the Brig Curlew that brought Duncan, but are present in Beckwith Township by 1820 according to the census of that time compiled by the Town Clerk.

Of the first family, Angus McDiarmid, eldest son of Duncan and Margaret, married Annie Livingston, daughter of Donald and Janet (Jeanet) McAra.  The Livingston family also traveled on the Brig Curlew in 1818 from the Parish of Dull.  They settled in Goulbourn Township on the border of Beckwith.  Angus settled on a clergy reserve, lot 24 concession 5, and here he and Annie raised their family.   This family consisted of John, Peter, Duncan, Donald, Janet, Margaret, Mary and James.

John McDiarmid bought out his siblings’ share of the farm on Angus’s death and remained there until his death in 1876.  He married Janet McRorie and they had two sons, John Duncan and James A.

Peter, Duncan and Donald all went on to teach, then Peter and Duncan turned to study medicine, while Donald began studies to become a Baptist Minister.

Donald died before his studies were complete in 1864.

Peter first practiced medicine in Scarborough, Ontario, but then made his way to Fontanelle, Adair County, Iowa and married Anna Hetherington in 1874.  They had one son Pierre who died in Fontanelle in 1922.  He too followed in his father’s footsteps and became a doctor.

Duncan McDiarmid took over the practice worked at by Peter in Scarborough and he married a widow, Agnes Purdie, who had two children from her previous marriage, David and Viola Jacques.

James attended McGill Medical School, but was still living at home in the 1871 census.

Of the daughters, Janet died young and unmarried in November 1871.

Margaret married John Ferguson in 1867 and died in 1877.

Mary married Joseph Kidd in 1869 and stayed in the Derry.  They had the following children, Margaret, George Edward, Elizabeth M., William Livingston, James, Angus, John, and Annie.  Mary died in 1889.

John Duncan, son of John, grandson of Angus, took over the farm and married Christina Drummond.  His son John Earl then managed the farm and it is still in the family today.

Duncan McDiarmid’s other children from his first marriage did well for themselves as well.

Peter, youngest son of Duncan and Margaret married first Janet Livingston, sister to Annie, Angus’s wife.  They had one daughter Jessie who was later raised by Angus and Annie after Janet’s death around 1841.  Peter then married Janet McIntosh in 1842.  They had the following




Ellen Jane






Catherine, the daughter who came on the Brig Curlew with Duncan and her step mother Mary, married Alexander Kennedy about 1823.  He was a son of Donald and Catherine Ferguson.  They first lived in Beckwith, then selling their farm and moved to Carleton County, Nepean.  Catherine died 1890.

Elizabeth married Alexander Scott and they lived on the 9th concession of Beckwith.

Christina married Robert Kennedy, brother to Alexander Kennedy.  They lived in Beckwith, later part of Robert Kennedy’s farm becoming the Kennedy Cemetery.  Christina died in 1873.


Photos from  the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

McDiarmids was just up the street from the Keyes Building on Bridge Street where The Granary is located-note the balcony.


Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Citizen,
  2. 15 Aug 1921, Mon,
  3. Page 4


The history of Duncan’s second family is well researched on his one son James who married a Carleton Place woman by the name Jane Morphy.  More information is available at the Carleton Place Public Library by another researcher.  James was a merchant in Carleton Place.

Daughter Ann married Alexander Ferguson in 1839.

I have no information on son Duncan except he became a Presbyterian Minister.

Donald married Elizabeth McIntosh in 1847 and became a Baptist Minister.

I have no information on Hugh except he was to have moved to Toronto.

The son John was left the farm on Duncan’s death, and he later sold it to Alexander Ferguson, his brother in law, and moved his family to Osgood, Ontario sometime after 1861as far as I can tell.


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)




Shadows of Beckwith Cemeteries

McDiarmid Family– Murals and Vimy Ridge

You Can Leave Your Hat on in Carleton Place!

Beckwith 1820 Census Lanark County–Who Do You Know?




Jonathon Francis and Margaret Carswell– From Scotland and Ireland to Pakenham

The Sad Tale of the Foley Family–Foley, Harper, Sly, Bowes & Elliott

PATERSON Families of Ramsay Township

James Stewart Ferguson– Lanark County Genealogy


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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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