Tag Archives: Immigration

Come to Canada– the Weather is Fine — Immigration Links

Come to Canada– the Weather is Fine — Immigration Links
Chicago Tribune
Chicago, Illinois
03 Jul 1940, Wed  •  Page 12

It is known the later Soundex can be useful in locating records of immigrants who arrived in the United States at any port of entry before 1940, many of them in the 1930s, who either entered the U.S. illegally or overstayed their temporary visas. The Alien Registration Act of 1940 revealed these immigrants’ illegal status, and they soon applied for an immigrant visa and adjustment of immigration status in the United States. When a visa application was approved, the applicant had to travel outside the United States to collect the visa and return through a U.S. port of entry where a record of admission for permanent residence could be filed. Thus the post-1924 Soundex (M1463) contains records of many alien residents of the Northeast and Midwest who traveled to Montreal in the early 1940s so they might legally re-immigrate to the United States. Many of these World War II-era “re-immigrants” are Canadian-born individuals who arrived prior to 1924 or Jews who somehow made their way from Europe to the United States in the 1930s or very early 1940s.

After 1945 Europe opened its floodgates as hundreds of thousands sought refuge from a devastated continent. British emigrants were fleeing cities destroyed by the Blitz and diets stunted by rationing; there were, too, 41,000 war brides and nearly 20,000 children fathered by Canadian soldiers stationed in the UK during the war. Refugees poured out of Germany, especially in the wake of the quartering of the nation (and Berlin) into Soviet and Western zones (see Section 9.4). The same was true of Czecho-Slovaks uncertain of their country’s future and disconsolate about its immediate past. In Italy, Austria, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium refugee camps were established in the late 1940s.

Find out Immigration Records for:

Immigration Records

Local and you can read here…

(1901 Ontario census (Lanark, North & South) transcribing project at the bottom of the page)- http://automatedgenealogy.com

Search the 1871 Lanark County Census (head of house & stray) online!

Link to “Lanark County Directory of Rural Property Owners” – Charles Dobie site.

The 1817 census for Bathurst Township – Pages  1   2   3   4     6   7   8   9   10

The 1819 census for Bathurst Township – Pages   1   2   3   4    6   7

    The above Bathurst Census images supplied by Ron Cox, with thanks!

Online! 1819M Male Census Bathurst Township

Online! 1819F Female Census Bathurst Township

Online! 1842 Census Bathurst Township – Head of Household only

Online! 1820 Census Beckwith Township

Online! 1821 Census Beckwith Township

Online! 1822 Census Beckwith Township

Online! 1842 Census Beckwith Township

Online! 1851 Census Beckwith Township

Online! 1861 Census Beckwith Township

Online! 1817 Census Burgess Township

Online! 1819 Census Burgess Township

Online! 1820 Census Burgess Township

Online! 1822 Census Burgess Township

Online! 1817 Census Drummond Township

Online! 1820 Census Drummond Township

Online! 1821 Census Drummond Township

Online! 1822 Census Drummond Township

Online! 1842 Census Drummond Township – Head of household only

Online! 1817 Census Elmsley Township

Online! 1820 Census Elmsley Township

Online! 1821 Census Elmsley Township

Online! 1822 Census Elmsley Township

Online! 1820 Census Montague Township

Online! 1821 Census Montague Township

Online! 1822 Census Montague Township

Online! 1841 Census Montague Township

Online! 1851 Census Montague Township

Online! 1861 Census Montague Township

More here.. click from Rootsweb

Related reading

Lanark Settlement Emigrants Leave Scotland

8 Photos — Looking for Hilda Dunkley Lesway’s Story

The Norwegian Bride– Not Your Ordinary Bride

How Many Women Does it Take to Replace a Team of Horses?The Doukhobors

What Was Smiths Falls Perth and Port Elmsley like to Joseph and Jane Weekes?

A Tale of Immigrants — John Davies

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — Series –Part 5 — Kevin Dooley and Irish Immigration

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion —  Series –Part 5 — Kevin Dooley and Irish Immigration


Celtic Historian Kevin Dooley click here

The Lia Fáil (Stone of Destiny) atop the Hill of Tara, County Meath, Ireland.

The Lia Fáil (Stone of Destiny) atop the Hill of Tara, County Meath, Ireland. 

Celtic Historian Kevin Dooley came to the reunion to tell the Mahon families what their ancestors went throughHe also told us a few settlements in Ireland were older than Sonehenge carvings in the Irish stones —older than the pyramids. When ancient Egypt and Ireland are spoken about in the same breath it usually results in the rolling of eyes, polite exits and the sound of murmurs citing pseudo-history and new age babble. At least, that used to be the case.

Recent discoveries in DNA research have added to already verified archaeological finds to present a scenario that is now more difficult to dismiss.


Photo-Dublin to Drummond 200th Mahon Family Reunion

The Hill of Tara is one of Ireland’s most ancient sacred sites. It is surrounded by many other Neolithic earthworks and tombs and although commonly associated with the Celts, the site pre-dates their arrival in Ireland by thousands of years.

In legend it is the place where the Tuatha De Danann reigned. These were a God-like people who were said to have arrived in Ireland in mysterious ships and had magical powers. Read more here..




Here we have a portrait of Mary and Evelyn Mahon, daughters of John and Bridget Mahon, taken in the early 1900’s.

Irish Immigration

The Mahon family is one of the oldest families that immigrated from the centre of Ireland and James Mahon’s small farm was located just outside of town.  They were also a clan and had lands and had trades.

This stage of Irish-Canadian immigration history gathered momentum in the 1760s when advertisements appeared in Ireland’s Ulster province offering “industrious farmers and useful mechanics” the opportunity to emigrate to British North America (as Canada was then known) with the promise of at least 200 acres of land per household.

Some 300 new settlers took up the challenge, arriving in Halifax, and the following year they were joined by 170 immigrants who sailed from Londonderry and settled the New Dublin area.

Another sizeable group of Irish immigrants arrived in 1823-1825. Mainly Catholic paupers from counties Clare, Cork and Limerick, they created a 2000-strong settlement in Peterborough, Ontario (named after Peter Robinson who commissioned the twelve ships that carried them).

Each household was given a cow, basic implements and three bushels of seed potato to get them started on a new life.

This, too, was successful, and was followed by several years of active emigration, principally from Britain (which then included Ireland). In 1831 alone, 34,000 Irish immigrants arrived in Quebec. Even though they now had freedom of religion some of the Catholic immigrants changed their religion to get land and a lot of Catholic settlers were placed on the provincial lines to keep the Quebec french settlers out.



Photo-Dublin to Drummond 200th Mahon Family Reunion



It was also to become the setting of the most tragic events in Canadian immigration history: the arrival of thousands of sick and dying Irish immigrants fleeing the famine that gripped Ireland in the late 1840s. Some of them barely survived the harsh Canadian winters.

In 1846, an estimated 33,000 people of all nationalities landed at Grosse Isle. The following year the number rose to 84,500. Nearly 70% were Irish and many suffered from what they called ‘ship fever’.

It was actually typhus but it’s hardly surprising they blamed their illness on the boats they arrived in, for conditions on board were horrendous and perfect for disease to spread. About one-sixth of Irish passengers died during their voyage or shortly after landing. No wonder the immigration ships from Ireland became known as ‘coffin ships’.

But the illness wasn’t confined to the ships. Grosse Isle was also hopelessly underfunded to cope with such an influx, sick or not.

Accommodation was woefully inadequate and medical provision was insufficient. Inevitably, the disease spread among the supposedly healthy. Doctors, nurses, priests and even the Mayor of Montreal died alongside the immigrants.

As news of the 1846-47 tragedy spread, those Irish emigrants who could afford it, preferred to immigrate to the United States rather than Canada. This wasn’t an option for all immigrants, of course.

Read Linda’s story about Grosse Isle- Click Below

A Cross for the Irish who Perished on the St. Lawrence Shores


Celtic Historian Kevin Dooley at the Mahon Family Reunion


Kevin Dooley and Linda Seccaspina, Mahon Family reunion  August 2019

Who is Kevin Dooley

Kevin Dooley was born in Ireland, has worked as a machinist, seaman and marine engineer, has lived in Ottawa for nearly 40 years.

“I have spoken to no one who understands why it turned into the fight that it did,” says Dooley, who will forever speak in the deep, burling and rolling accent of his native country. “Everyone thought it was such the obvious thing to do.” Read more here…

Memories of Kevin Dooley by Jaan Kolk

I first met Kevin Dooley in the 90s through some musical friends who were also
in Ottawa’s Celtic music community, and often joined the Irish session
Kevin led at Daniel O’Connell’s Pub Thursday nights. In 2003 Kevin got a
nasty letter from SOCAN about copyright license fees for that session he
hosted. It was sent to him in error; the matter of license fees was
between SOCAN and the pub owner, and was not Kevin’s responsibility. The
whole thing went away, but if you know Kevin, the idea of SOCAN telling
Kevin (of all people!) “Ahem, we license the world’s repertoire of
music” was the height of irony.

It was so ironic, in fact, that it raised the ghost of Phil Ochs (known
for his strong sense of irony) who came to me while I was doing grocery
shopping on a Saturday afternoon.

He said “Jaan, I’ve got some new lyrics for an old song of mine” and whispered them to me.

I rushed home with only half the stuff I was supposed to buy, fired up my computer and
wrote them all down. That’s how “The Ballad of Kevin Dooley” was written.


I’ve clipped the 2003 Citizen story on Dooley and SOCAN here:

Kevin Dooley be careful where you whistle -



The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
10 Apr 2003, Thu  •  Page 55

And I’ve attached my PDF with lyrics and chords.

Enjoy the history,

The Ballad of Kevin Dooley.jpg




Jaan said that he did this tongue in cheek. I knew it was a misunderstanding that was not going to be a problem for Kevin. When I perform the song, I usually say that Charlie actually *did* get off the MTA without much trouble, but the Kingston Trio had a hit with that song anyway ;)” Kevin has  heard me do it a few times, and for a short time a copy of the lyrics was displayed at Daniel O’Connell’s.


Mahon’s Crest



Mahon History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms


In its ancient Gaelic form, the Irish name Mahon was written Mac Mathghamhna, which later became Mac Mathuna. Both names are derived from the word “mathghamhan,” which means “bear.”


Early Origins of the Mahon family


The surname Mahon was first found in County Clare (Irish: An Clár) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where the MacMahons were lords of Corca Baisgin; and possessed the greater part of the baronies of Moyarta and Clonderlaw.


Early History of the Mahon family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mahon research.
Another 110 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1119, 1715, 1780, 1519, 1606, 1644, 1600, 1650, 1643, 1650, 1660, 1737, 1707, 1715, 1715, 1737, 1680, 1747, 1727, 1737, 1737 and 1747 are included under the topic Early Mahon History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Mahon Spelling Variations

Many variations of the name Mahon were found in archives from the Middle Ages. These variations can be somewhat explained by the challenge of translation of Gaelic names into English. Hence, the spelling and language in which the people’s names were recorded was often up to the individual scribe. Variations of the name Mahon found include MacMahon, MacMann, MacMahan, MacMohan and others.

Early Notables of the Mahon family (pre 1700)


Notable amongst the family name at this time was Séamus mac Pilib Mac Mathghamhna (died 1519), was Bishop of Derry. Hugh Oge MacMahon (1606-1644), was an Irish conspirator, was probably of Sir Brian MacHugh Oge MacMahon, Lord of the Dartree in the county of Monaghan. Herber MacMahon (1600-1650), Bishop of Clogher in 1643, a Catholic leader, commanded the Ulster…


Migration of the Mahon family to the New World and Oceana


Irish families began leaving their homeland for North America in the late 18th century. These families were usually modestly well off, but they were looking forward to owning and working on a sizable tract of land of their own. This pattern of emigration continued until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine sparked a major exodus of destitute and desperate Irish people. These people were not leaving for a grant of land in North America because by this time the East Coast had reached its saturation point and free land was scarce. They were merely looking to escape the disease, starvation, and hopelessness that Ireland had fallen into. Although these unfortunate immigrants did not receive a warm welcome by the established populations in the United States and what would become Canada, they were absolutely critical to the rapid development that these two nations enjoyed. They would help populate the western lands and provide the cheap labor required for a rapid industrialization. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many early bearers of the name Mahon or one of its variants:

Mahon Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • James Mahon, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1828
  • Patrick Mahon, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1829
  • Andrew Mahon, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig “Sea Horse” from Galway, Ireland
  • Isabella Mahon, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship “Condor” in 1838
  • Mrs. Dolly Mahon, aged 40 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship “Phoenix” departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in June 1847 [1]

Mahon Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Sarah Mahon, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [2]

Mahon Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Henry Mahon, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [2]
  • Samuel Mahon, who arrived in South Carolina in 1814 [2]
  • Bridget Mahon, who arrived in New York, NY in 1815 [2]
  • Catherine Mahon, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816 [2]
  • Charles Mahon, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [2]
  • .

Mahon Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Michael Mahon, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship “Constance” in 1849 [3]
  • Judith Mahon, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship “Inconstant” in 1849 [4]
  • John Mahon, aged 22, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship “Mary Green” [5]
  • Richard Mahon, aged 23, a farm servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship “Trafalgar” [6]
  • Ann Mahon, aged 27, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship “Trafalgar” [6]

Mahon Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Alexander Mahon, aged 42, a farm servant, who arrived in Otago aboard the ship “Philip Laing” in 1848
  • Catherine Mahon, aged 43, who arrived in Otago aboard the ship “Philip Laing” in 1848
  • Robert Mahon, aged 11, who arrived in Otago aboard the ship “Philip Laing” in 1848
  • Mr. Patrick Mahon, British settler as part of the 8th Detachment of the Royal New Zealand Fencibles travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship “Oriental Queen” arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 18th September 1849 [7]
  • Mrs. Susan Mahon, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship “Oriental Queen” arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 18th September 1849 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Mahon (post 1700)

  • Jack Mahon (1933-2005), Irish Gaelic footballer who played from 1947 to 1962
  • Hugh Mahon (1857-1931), Irish-born, Australian politician, Member of the Australian Parliament for Coolgardie (1901-1913)
  • Charles James Patrick Mahon (1800-1891), known as the O’Gorman Mahon and James Patrick Mahon, an Irish nationalist journalist, barrister, parliamentarian and international mercenary
  • Craig Derek Mahon (b. 1989), Irish footballer
  • Pete Mahon (b. 1947), Irish football manager
  • Alan Joseph Mahon (b. 1978), retired Irish footballer who played from 1995 to 2011, member of the Republic of Ireland National Team in 2000
  • Derek Mahon (b. 1941), Irish poet
  • Mark P. Mahon (1930-2017), American Democrat politician, Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1993 to 1998
  • John “Jack” Mahon (d. 1911), English professional footballer who played from 1928 to 1946 and managed IF Elfsborg from 1946 to 1949
  • John “Jack” Mahon (b. 1886), English professional association football player
Declan Barron
in the section ‘Contemporary notables of the name Mahon (post 1700)’ James Patrick ‘The O’Gorman’ Mahon is listed as Charles. This is an error made by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography in the 1890s that has recently been corrected.

Historic Events for the Mahon family


RMS Titanic

  • Miss Bridget Delia Mahon (d. 1912), aged 20, Irish Third Class passenger from Derrymartin, Mayo who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [8]

The Mahon Motto


The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Sic nos sic sacra tuemur
Motto Translation: Thus we guard our sacred rights.

More tomorrow


Stay tuned for more as:

All are welcome, all are welcome,

All are welcome in this place.




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 and The Tales of Almonte

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series –Part 1

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series –Part 2

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series –Part 3

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series –Part 4 — The Family Photograph!!!!


More Settler Routes from Bill Martin

More Settler Routes from Bill Martin

c040048k (1).jpg

Bibliothèque et Archives Canada

Watercolour of settlement on Long Island on the Rideau River, Upper Canada (Ontario)

Thanks Ken Godfrey for this.

“Thanks to a link a DNA cousin) I’m attaching my 
“cut-and-paste” of part of a larger document – which you may wish to 
read in full, if you have the time. The names of inns and taverns along 
the way is fascinating to me, as I suspect that these may not be 
recorded anywhere else! Of special interest is the mention of the 
Fryfogel Tavern, which still exists today on the road to Stratford, 
Ontario, and has a historic plaque to mark it.
P.S. Although these 2 routes were primarily for the Scottish settlers 
who came from an area of Perthshire, just south of Loch Tay, (judging by 
the place names mentioned) to Perth County, Ontario, that part of the 
trip from Quebec City up into the St. Lawrence (just prior to Lake 
Ontario) would have also been used by many of our ancestors, including 
our Gilmour and Robertson families!”
This letter also describes a Route II – from New York City, up through
the Erie Canal, into Hamilton, and then beyond. I knew of this route
from other sources, but to see the mileage detail, and its
recommendation for greater comfort was enlightening. Route I talks of
using the new Rideau Canal as a better [but much longer] detour.
If you wish to read the whole document, as produced by Bill Martin, of
Thunder Bay, Ontario, just click on the link at the end of the piece.
From “THE HIGHLANDER” published in Chicago. The Perth County Pioneers By Archie McKerracher

24th Octr. 1835

Rev'd Sir

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 arc 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.

North Easthope, Huron Tract, U.C.

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 (Huron Tract)          Miles

	   From Quebec to Montreal (by Ship or Steamboat)    180
		Montreal to Kingston
		  (by Steamboat & Durham Boats               189
		Kingston to Hamilton
		  (head of Lake Ontario) by Steamboat        211
						 sub-total   580

	   From Hamilton to Dundas                             5
	   To Cornells Tavern (Township of Beverly)            8
	   To Henry Ebbs "    (     "       )                  6 1/2
	   To Thomans    "    (Village of Breston,
			       Township of Waterloo)           6 1/2
	   To Swartz now Stafans " (Twp. of Waterloo)
		by covered bridge over Grand River             6 1/2
	   To Rycharts Saw Mill (Township of Wilmot)           4
	   To Hobsons Tavern    (     "      )                 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,                 sub-total    51
	      North Easthope                   grand-total   631

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, Huron Tract From New York to Albany             Miles
	(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
						      sub-total     354
	     From Oswego to Hamilton by Steamboat             about 130
	     (or from Oswego to Toronto
		       and from Toronto to Hamilton)  sub-total     484
	     From Hamilton to North Easthope as before               51
							  total     535

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.

Copy Letter Robert Frazer and others to Rev'd Mr. Forbes, Amulree.

Rev'd Mr D.B. Forbes            Township of North Easthope.
				       Huron Tract
of Arnulree Church                     Upper Canada
   by Crieff                        24th October 1835

Rev'd Sir:

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)

Robert Frazer           Donald Stewart
Donald MeNaughton       John Stewart
Peter McNaughton        Donald Robertson
Duncan Stewart          James Robertson
John Crerar             Alex'r Crerar
And. Riddel             Donald Peddie
Duncan Fisher           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.

    Bill Martin, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Read more here..CLICK

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)



The Man Without a Country

Lanark County 101 — It Began with Rocks, Trees, and Swamps

Rock the Boat! Lanark County or Bust! Part 1

It Wasn’t the Sloop John B — Do’s and Don’t in an Immigrant Ship -Part 2

Riders on the Storm– Journey to Lanark County — Part 3

ROCKIN’ Cholera On the Trek to the New World — Part 4

Rolling down the Rapids –Journey to Lanark Part 5

One of the First Settlers of Drumond from the Massacre at Culloden

The Old Settlers Weren’t so Old After All

Dear Lanark Era –Lanark Society Settlers Letter

Ramsay Settlers 101

The Norwegian Bride– Not Your Ordinary Bride

What Did British Immigrants Spend When They First Came to Canada?

William Millar, Farmer No. 14, 2nd Concession of Dalhousie 1820

William Millar, Farmer No. 14, 2nd Concession of Dalhousie 1820


William Millar Jr. ( photo of son of William Millar who wrote the letter below William Millar Jr. was born in Dalhousie Township)


I bought the book “Pioneer Sketches in the District of Bathurst” as the letters in the Thomas Alfred Code journal I am transcribing were written for the author of the book mentioned above by Andrew Haydon. There was supposed to be a Volume 2 which never happened. I found this letter today in Haydon’s book and he spelled the writer’s name as: “Miller” and much as I tried could not find any mention of him. Now I know now that it was spelled “Millar” from family memories below.


From William Millar to his father Lanark-on-the-Clyde

Perth, 2nd October 1820.

Dear Father,

I have got my land and everything as was said. My farm is 20 miles from this town and 5 miles from Lanark Township. It is in the township of Dalhousie, No. 14 in the 2nd Concession. I am just going off on Monday to build my house. It is a nice lot of ground, and I have 10 acres of hay on it. If I had been here two months sooner I would have had a cow this Winter. If I have time I will cut some hay yet and get a cow, but this I cannot say until I get my house. Two pounds a head is just we paid from Quebec to the Perth Government settlements. In this town, there are six or eight large stores where you can get anything, as you or I could in Glasgow, but cast metal  is very dear and crockery wear.

It has only been four years since the town of Perth was a wilderness of wood. There are four churches in it and the distance from my farm to Quebec is 409 miles. I intend to keep my family in Perth until I have my house up and provisions for them. The winter beef is 3d a pound; tobacco, 15:30 a pound; rum 15 a bottle. When you write to me, direct it to William Millar, farmer No. 14, 2nd concession of Dalhousie, by Lanark. I have called my farm Whitelee, but it will not be known by that for some time. My friends need not come here, but for farming. No tradesmen is wanted mostly at all.

We came from Quebec to Montreal in a steamboat, and a land carriage from that to Lachine, and from that in boats to Prescott, and from that to Perth in wagons and such horses for running I never saw in my life. I got my wife family and baggage on a wagon and I thought when they started that the men were made for as they went off like a shot out of a gun and up hill and dale was alike.

They were most of them farmers, and I told the man that was with me, that if I were to run our horses that way we would kill them, but he said to have no fear of them. They are the most mettlesome creatures I ever saw. I can tell you, and you may tell all you know, that my wife bakes loaves as good as the best risped loaves in Glasgow. I thought I would miss the Oatmeal greatly , but I do not. If you come get into some society– a great saving.

A pot which you can buy there for  4 shillings will cost you 2 pounds here, and a kettle costing you 6 shillings costs 2 pounds here. Pots and pans be sure to fetch, and a grindstone. A set of tea dishes which you can buy for 3 shillings will cost 1 pound here. A 4s.6d dollar is 5s. here, and one of your shillings is 13d., and your farthing is 1/2d. and a penny piece the same. Everything you have if it be the shape of copper, goes for 1/2d. I have gotten 2 pounds this day, and I got as much this day three months ago and as much in three months after that, and I get farming utensils of every description that I need. Thanks be to God for being so fortunate as I am. I got information this day from Captain Marshall how I will get you out free of expenses, and if I get this for you I think I shall be happy. This I write, if I get it for you, how you are to do.

Your son,

William Millar

Diane Duncan added

The following genealogy of William Miller who wrote the letter may be of some assistance. William Miller  and Margaret Burns, Dalhousie, arrived 1820, Con 2 Lot 14 was followed the next year, 1821 by his parents William Miller and Elizabeth Gilmour who settled on Lanark Township, Concession 1, Lot 15. They were just two of four William Millers to settle in the area in this time. As you will note, there are two William Millers in later generations that I have not documented that May be the William in Kincardine. I will check this out later today. Can’t imagine why I have not yet documented them! Please update this info as it is perpetuating misinformation. I will do my best to get the later William info to you asap.


William Millar
Born 8 Nov 1799 in Falkirk, Scotlandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]



Diane Duncan added:

Linda I believe that William was born earlier 1789 and he was married to Margaret Burns. His father and brothers came in 1821 and settled nearby. He was my 3rd great grandfather and ended up in Racine WI.

It’s been a busy day! Just wanted to follow up on my comment on your blog. Dad and I worked for years to identify the William on Lot 14 Con 2 Dalhousie. Our William, born in 1786, was finally identified as ‘the’ William who wrote the letter. There were at least four Williams to arrive in 1820-21 and I have a file on each of them…somewhere. I am currently finalizing an update to a file on the descendants of William and Margaret Miller and will be posting the genealogy on a site I have set up for that purpose. Once I have tracked as many descendants as possible I plan to write their story. In addition to that, I want to track the children of ‘William Miller” and Elizabeth Gilmour his parents who settled nearby in Lanark Township. His brothers also settled nearby. Dad focused on the males in the family and I am trying to document the story of the women as well. This is a slow process but I am seeing an end point in the near future for this family.
However, there is some tantalizing info in your post. At the moment I show a relationship to the Smith family via Robert, a brother of William, of Lot 14 Concession 2. Their father was the William Miller m to Elizabeth mentioned above and lived on L15 Con 1 Lanark.
I still have unfinished work re the William in Kincardine and will turn my mind to that shortly and keep you posted.

Father of Ann (Miller) Smith, William Millar, Michael Muir Millar, Jannet (Millar) Smith, Mary Millar and Ellen (Miller) Smith
Died 10 Nov 1856 in Hibert Township, Ontario–In the Genealogical Records of Mary Glennis Graham Turner, she states that William Millar, grandson of William Millar and
Margaret Ralston, wrote to her saying,

“I discovered the book, ‘Pioneer Sketches in the District of Bathurst,’ [by AndrewHaydon, Ryerson Press] on Oct. 15, 1955. It contained this letter written by my great grandfather to his father in Scotland. The book is in an old library at Watson’s Corners, [Dalhousie] Lanark Co., Ontario. The Lot No. 14 Concession 2, Dalhousie Twn. is where my grandfather was born. I visited it for the first time in October 1955, and found all the buildings gone from the place.”

Here is her Grandfather

William MIllar, JP

William Millar, JP of Kincardine Township
“He is active in the promotion of agricultural interests through various societies, and lends his influence in a general way to all enterprises of public benefit.”

“William Miller, of the Village of Bervie, in the Township of Kincardine, is the son of William Millar, of Scotch birth, who was one of the early settlers in the County of Lanark. Wm. Millar, jr., was born in the Township of Dalhousie, Lanark County, in 1826, and came to Bruce County in 1850, settling in the Township of Kincardine.

When Mr. Millar came to this section, his entire worldly possessions consisted of two or three small tools in common use, a yoke of oxen, and less than $1 in money; and in order to procure food he went all the way to Durham with grists for the neighbors “on shares,” the trip occupying from seven to ten days. He now owns 300 acres of fine land, and is one of the leading farmers in the community, carrying on an extensive cheese manufacturing business in addition to his farm.

Mr. Millar never sought public office, though he has been a Justice of the Peace for very many years. He is active in the promotion of agricultural interests through the various societies, and lends his influence, in a general way, to all enterprises of public benefit.”

Belden 1880 Atlas of the County of Bruce




 - fraavaluable Land, in Upper Canada.-Ay...

Clipped from

  1. The Morning Chronicle,
  2. 25 Apr 1816, Thu,
  3. Page 4



Clipped from

  1. The Caledonian Mercury,
  2. 12 Feb 1816, Mon,
  3. Page 1


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)


A Giant’s Kettle in the Middle of Lanark County

Dear Lanark Era –Lanark Society Settlers Letter

“They were Set Down in Dalhousie Township”– Effie Park Salkeld

The Carleton Place Beanery at Dalhousie Lake

Tuesday’s Top Lanark County Story- Pigs in Dalhousie Space?

The Story of Wild Bob Ferguson of Dalhousie Township

A Cross for the Irish who Perished on the St. Lawrence Shores

A Cross for the Irish who Perished on the St. Lawrence Shores


Kebeca1690 – DeviantArt

In 1909 they erected a monument, a cross for the Irish Immigrants, who perished of the plague on the shores of the St. Lawrence in 1847-1848. This particular page of Canada’s history dealing with that sad event is a black and terrible one. They were dark years, ones for all Ireland, as well as for those Irishmen who had come to Canada’s hospitable shores only to die horribly of plague, as the potato famine raged in Ireland. Irishmen left their native soil by shiploads hoping to find plenty and a more happy life in Canada. But the cholera or ship fever, or whatever the dread disease was called broke out, and the poor immigrants whose constitutions had been reduced by hunger and trouble at home, fell easy victims.

Death’s scythe mowed the poor people down by thousands both on shipboard and at the quarantine station at Grosse lsle, 27 miles below Quebec. They died literally by hundreds, and some were buried before they were even dead in a great trench on the Island. Terror stalked abroad; the story of the great plague of London was repeated on Canada’s shores. It was told that 12,000 men women and children were buried in one great last resting place. In those days men travelled in sailing vessels and the journey to Canada took three months, so it can be seen how easy it was for the seeds of the plague to sprout and grow in the packed and unsanitary vessels of those days.

The young children came through the plague generally speaking better than their parents. After the ravages had ceased, hundreds of orphans drew the sympathy and protection of the French settlers of Quebec, and that is why all through the lower part of the province in the 1920’s to 1930’s you would find O’Flahertys, Donovans, McCools, Flynns, and Gilhoolys who could not speak a word of English.

The powers to be decided that the grave of these Irish Immigrants, for it is one great grave, was to have a headstone. As the result of the activity of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, a heroic Celtic cross seven feet high was placed on a commanding spot on Grosse Isle and told of the terrible tragedy that was enacted at the quarantine station years ago.


 - IHli CKHKMOMKS. On fiunia, August U. the great...

Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 19 Jul 1909, Mon,
  3. Page 4


File:Cimetiere de l'est Grosse Ile 2.jpgGrave, eastern cemetery, Grosse Isle, Quebec. “Heinrich Neuman, age 6 years, Ex. S.S. Palanza, Died dec. 20. 1912”






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)


The Norwegian Bride– Not Your Ordinary Bride

How Many Women Does it Take to Replace a Team of Horses?The Doukhobors

What Was Smiths Falls Perth and Port Elmsley like to Joseph and Jane Weekes?

What Did British Immigrants Spend When They First Came to Canada?

The Man Without a Country

Lanark County 101 — It Began with Rocks, Trees, and Swamps

Rock the Boat! Lanark County or Bust! Part 1

It Wasn’t the Sloop John B — Do’s and Don’t in an Immigrant Ship -Part 2

Riders on the Storm– Journey to Lanark County — Part 3

ROCKIN’ Cholera On the Trek to the New World — Part 4

Rolling down the Rapids –Journey to Lanark Part 5

The Norwegian Bride– Not Your Ordinary Bride

The Norwegian Bride– Not Your Ordinary Bride





Image result for norway immigrants canada 1800s

The sailing ships averaged 38 days from ports in the United Kingdom, 50 days from Germany and 51 days from Norway. The general health of the passengers of the season was good; out of the passengers from the United Kingdom only 11 deaths occurred on the passage, and of the 337 deaths recorded in the sailing ships from Germany and Norway, the greater number, viz: 311 were children who died from infantile diseases incidental to the long voyage, closeness of atmosphere and the want of proper nourishment suitable to their age.

  • From a letter dated Quebec, 10 June, 1868 from L. Stafford to The Baron Falkenberg, Norwegian consulate, Quebec: “It is my duty to inform you that a party of Norwegian emigrants, numbering 85 souls, equal to 64 adults, at present on board the ship Caroline, from Christiania, (now lying in the stream,) and destined to the Western States, have been represented to me as having neither the means to pay their fares to the West, nor to provide for their daily support. I have already, I believe, informed you that the system hitherto existing of affording temporary relief and land passage to destitute emigrants is abolished by the curtailment of the grant for immigration purposes, and I shall, therefore, I regret to say, be unable to render these poor people any assistance. The Captain of the Caroline expresses his intention to land them in city this afternoon, ans as our sheds are already fully occupied and we have no room for their accommodation, I trust that your official position may enable you to adopt some means of affording them protection and relief. I shall also feel obliged by your communicating the substance of this letter to your Government, and I hope you will explain to them the hardships to which all emigrants must necessarily be exposed, who land here without sufficient funds to carry them through to their destinations.” The reply was: “I am duly in receipt of your esteemed favor of the 10th inst., and note contents. With reference to the poor emigrants lately arrived per Norwegian ship Caroline, I beg to inform you that on the arrival here of Norwegian emigrants, who have no complaint to make respecting breach of contract, which, in the present instance is not the case, my function ceases, and I can officially take no notice of them. I must, of course, advise the Master of the Caroline to land his passengers whenever he thinks proper, within the limits of the law, and if through over-crowding or otherwise, malignant fevers should break out, the responsibility does certainly not fall on my shoulders. I consider the present case, as well as the subsequent ones, which, no doubt, unfortunately will occur as great hardships, particularly as your communication of the 4th May last, conveying the Canadian Government’s intention not to assist indigent emigrants for the future has barely had time to reach Norway, and be made publicly known there.”


Image result for norwegian bride

The bridal crown came in use at the end of the middle ages, with the Virgin Mary’s crown at the forefront. The crown was undoubtedly the most expressive part of anything the bride would wear. It would be a symbol of her purity and virginity. Women who did not qualify in that category or who were pregnant or who were widowed were not allowed to wear the bridal crown. In some districts pregnant brides were allowed to wear smaller crowns or a modified version of the hodeplagget – a head covering that married women wore with their bunad.

Bridal crowns varied from district to district. They, as a rule, would be richly decorated with detailed silver work and, of course, would be very valuable. Some crowns could be so heavy that they would have to be sewn into the bride’s hair in order for it to sit properly in place. A very strong neck was necessary to carry this honorable head piece the entire day! Some crowns were owned privately, but many were owned by the church. Usually the crowns would be rented out and the price was usually one “daler”- Norwegian money unit prior to 1875.

That would be the custom of bride gifts, a folk tradition that was kept alive until the mid-1800s, when a new Norwegian law abolished the bride’s right to these gifts. Baklid conducted the research for his recent doctorate in the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages at the University of Oslo.

Before marrying for love came into the picture, the primary intention of a couple’s union was economic. Throughout history, it turns out that the groom often gave one or more traditional gifts to the bride.

According to Baklid, the bride could draw on these gifts if she became widowed. The basic principle underlying the gifts was that she would be financially secure if her husband died.

Clipped from The Frankfort Bee,  16 Dec 1887, Fri,  Page 6





Was originally called Norway Pine Falls, then Snedden’s Mills after the first settler Alexander Snedden in 1822. Then it was called Rosebank in the 1850s – which is one of the names showing in the Historical Atlas for Lanark County, however Blakeney PO shows at the same place.


Clipped from The Evening Independent,  14 Feb 1948, Sat,  Page 3


Clipped from The Circleville Herald,  18 Nov 1929, Mon,  Page 1




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)


The McArthur Love Story

How Many Women Does it Take to Replace a Team of Horses?The Doukhobors


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Did you Ever Hear About Hoods Corners?


It began innocently with finding this great article called:

To Hoods Corners by Way of Watsons Corners.

By Ed Somers 1985 edited 2005

Where, on the map, is Hoods Corners? Watson’s Corners is on the map. Both of these places are located in Ontario.  To be even more specific they are in Dalhousie Township, Lanark County  in Ontario, just a little to the southwest of Ottawa. It takes about one and one half  hours to drive from the Ottawa airport.  At least that is how long it took me to drive back from Hoods Corners after I had found the place.

Read the rest here..

Author’s Note–So then I became hooked and started to do research about this forgotten hamlet is north of Watson’s Corners. It is a little known place settled by families that arrived in Canada on the ship *”Prompt” and settled in Dalhousie Township, Lanark County, in the area known as Hood Corners.

The came from Perth by wagon, arriving on September 15th; and then on to “Lanark” which they so named on their arrival on September 30, 1820. Lots were drawn for the acreage, the Hood land being some six miles to the west. The area around Lanark abounds with natural lakes, some swamps and much granite out-croppings on the hillsides — a difficult place indeed for these early settlers to establish a new home.

A shipboard romance developed while crossing the ocean between Will Hood and Martha Park and they were later married. Martha Park came to Canada from Scotland on the “Prompt” in the company of her 3 brothers and their families–William, John and David.Will Hood had been educated in the University of Glasgow, and so became the teacher at Hood’s Corners School in the new world.

hoods school 001.jpg

hoods 1909 001 (1).jpg

*Hood’s School– Photos–see in historical section for info- Photos from-Mary Beth Wylie-(daughter of Eileen Paul, granddaughter of Ray and Minnie Pretty Paul and so on… )

Will and Martha Hood had 10 children, 4 girls and 6 boys. Most of their children settled in the western part of the Province of Ontario, where they found much better agricultural opportunities.

That first winter at Dalhousie Township, the school teacher hired and brought over by the name of George Richmond, died when a tree fell on him. He was the first death in the Dalhousie settlement (“The Lanark Society Settlers” by Carol Bennett p. 16). This is probably the teaching position that William Hood took over. It has been said that William had had two years of college before emigrating to Canada. The school house was located at an intersection called Hood’s Corner. The school is still standing today, but is a private residence. The Common School Report for 1827 (From the Journal of Assembly of Upper Canada – 1928) shows that William Hood was one of six teachers in Dalhousie Township. William Hood had 12 boys and 10 girls in his classroom.

The soil in Dalhousie Township was quite rocky, causing many of the original emigrants, and many of the first generation children, to relocate to western Ontario where the soil was better. William and Martha did not leave, probably because William had his teaching pay (whatever he could collect in money or other things such as food) besides his farm to supplement his income. However some stayed and have descendants in the area today. The 2 Hood girls married Hill brothers and moved to Salt Lake City.

There is a hill called Jack Hill on the farther side of Hood’s Corners (where the school and the home of William Hood still exists) from Watson’s Corners. The Jack family lost their first home to fire. Apparently they also lost their important papers as well.

37-normal (1).jpg

Mary Jack–12 Jul 1868 – 11 Nov 1963

Photo from Robin’s Ancestry


Of Dalhousie Township, Lanark County.

In 1820, William JACK and his wife, Mary HOOD, who were married on the 30th of January 1811, in Barony, Lanark, Scotland; along with James HOOD and his second wife, Margaret BISLEN, and other members of the Jack & Hood families arrived in Canada on the ship “Prompt” and settled in Dalhousie Township, Lanark County, in the area known as Hood Corners.

William JACK relinquished his land in Lanark County and resettled in Innisfil Township, Simcoe County.

John White JACK, 2nd son of William and Mary married Jane HOOD, daughter of James Hood and his 1st wife, Elizabeth Jones; was Velda Leask’s great grandfather.

Would appreciate being in contact with other descendants of these families to share information.

George Leask – e-mail – geoval@direct.ca

November 17, 2000

Biography for William Hood and Martha Park

Received from: Jan Darbhamulla 

William Hood.jpg

Photo from Sandwalk: A Mormon Tale

William Hood was born July 6, 1799 at Barony Parish, Lanarkshire, Scotland.  He was the oldest (and only surviving) son of James Hood.  His mother, Elizabeth Jones, died when William was a young child, and so his father eventually remarried.  William left from Greenock, Scotland with his family on July 4, 1820 and sailed on the Prompt for Canada.  It has been said that he met his future wife, Martha Park, on board this ship and that theirs was a shipboard romance, but there is no documentation to support that Martha came to Canada at that same time.  Martha was born Dec. 31, 1799 in Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, Scotland, the daughter of James Park and Marion Allen.  Martha’s father did come to Dalhousie Township, Lanark County early on, but so did several other people with the same name.

That first winter at Dalhousie Township, the school teacher hired and brought over by the name of George Richmond, died when a tree fell on him.  His was the first death in the Dalhousie settlement (“The Lanark Society Settlers” by Carol Bennett p. 16).  I believe that this is the teaching position that William Hood took over.  William had had two years of college before emigrating to Scotland.  The school house was located at an intersection called Hood’s Corner.  The school is still standing today, but is a private residence.  The Common School Report for 1827 (From the Journal of Assembly of Upper Canada – 1828) shows WIlliam Hood as one of six teachers in Dalhousie Township.  William had 12 boys and 10 girls in his classroom.

William and Martha had a large family of ten children, although many of their children moved to western Ontario where the land was better for farming.  The soil in Dalhousie Township was quite rocky, and making a living as a farmer proved to be difficult.  Their oldest child was Marion who was born in 1826.  Marion married John Baird and is buried at Hopetown Cemetery, Lanark County.  James came next, born in February 1828.  James moved to western Ontario and lived in several counties, but is buried at Harriston Cemetery, Minto Township, Wellington County.  Elizabeth, born May 1, 1830, married Robert Ferguson and moved to Hay Township, Huron County.  Martha married William Rodger on Apr. 22, 1856.  She died on Feb. 20, 1917.  William, born Aug. 5, 1834, was the first son to move to western Ontario.  Per his diary, on his way west he stopped at Simcoe County to visit his grandfather James Hood.  He also stopped at his aunt’s to visit Isabella who was not expected to live, plus other relatives in the area, before settling in Howick Township, Huron County.  William died Apr. 1, 1922 and is buried at Clifford Cemetery, Huron County.  Margaret, born in 1836, married Archibald Penman, and is buried at St. Andrew’s Cemetery at Watson’s Corner, Lanark County.  Andrew, born in November 1837, also moved to Howick Township, Huron County, and lived and worked there as a farmer until 1902.  Several of Andrew’s children had moved to North Dakota, so Andrew, his wife, and two youngest children also relocated to North Dakota, where Andrew and his wife, Ann Scott, ran a boarding house in Devil’s Lake.  Even though he died in North Dakota, Andrew and his wife are buried, per their request, at Harriston Cemetery, Minto Township, Wellington County.  John, born in 1841, lived in many Ontario counties, but is buried at Huntsville, Chaffey Township, Muskoka District.  Gemmill, born two years after John, died when he was only twenty.  He had moved to Howick Township, Huron County, and died when a tree fell on him.  David, the youngest child, born in 1846, also moved to western Ontario, but eventually settled in Duluth, Minnesota, where he was a successful builder.

William and Martha lived their remaining lives in Dalhousie Township, and are buried at St. Andrew’s Cemetery, Watson’s Corner, plot 187, Lanark County, Ontari

Biography for James Hood

Received from K Jan Darbhamulla 

James Hood and his family emigrated to Canada in 1820 aboard the Prompt.  In “The Lanark Society Settlers” by Carol Bennett, p. 51, it is written that “A story handed down says that the Prompt was formerly a battleship which had been sunk during the Napoleonic war and later raised and used as an emigrant ship.”

Not a lot is known about James Hood’s early years as a boy.  It is documented that James (of Bridgeton) Hood was born in Kelso, Roxburgshire, Scotland in April 1775/76.  His parents were William Hood and Hannah Clarke/Clerk.  William worked as a weaver and when James was still a young boy, sometime after 1779, the family relocated to the Glasgow area.

James married his first wife, Elizabeth Jones/Jonnes in May 1798 in Bridgeton, Barony Parish, Lanarkshire, Scotland.  Their first child, William, was born July 6, 1799.  He would end up to be the only surviving son that James had.  William eventually married Martha Park and lived the rest of his life in Dalhousie Township, Lanark County, Ontario.  William died in Feb. 1874, and he and Martha are buried at St. Andrew’s Cemetery, Watson’s Corner.  Jane came next.  She married John Whyte/White Jack, her cousin, and it is reported that she died in 1862 in Simcoe County, Ontario.  Elizabeth was born next, in 1801.  Her first husband’s last name was Graham.  It is not known if he was related to Dr. William Hood’s wife, Jean Graham.  After his death, Elizabeth married WIlliam Allan, and also died in Simcoe County, Ontario in August 1875.  A girl named Hannah may have been the next child born, but nothing is known about her except for her birth date, so she may have died while still very young.  Another daughter, Jean, may also have died young, one year later in 1803.  Elizabeth Jones also died during this same time, so her death may be linked to childbirth complications.

Almost five years later James married Margaret Bisland/Besland in October or November of 1808, again at Bridgeton, Barony Parish.  Nothing is known about the early years of either of James Hood’s wives.  James and Margaret went on to have a large family.  Their first child was Jean, born in August 1809, who married her cousin James Jack.  They are buried at Tiverton Cemetery, Bruce Township, Bruce County, Ontario.  Agnes was born next on March 4/5, 1811.  She married Alexander Hill, Jr.  Alexander eventually became an early Mormon and they were on that first wagon train to Salt Lake City.  Agnes died at Mill Creek, Utah.  It is recorded that James Junior, born on Jan. 31, 1812, died in June of 1827 at the age of 15 in Dalhousie Township, Lanark County.  He was mistaken for a deer or some sort of animal and shot to death.  Decades later, a man on his deathbed confessed to this accidental killing.  It has been said that becasue of the grief that James and Margaret suffered at James Jr.’s death, that the family did not want to stay in Dalhousie Township any longer, and that caused them to relocate to Simcoe County.  Margaret came next, born on Nov. 24, 1813.  Her first husband was her cousin Davidson Todd.  After his early death, she married another cousin, James Graham Hood, son of Dr. WIlliam Hood and Jean Graham.  Margaret was quite a bit older than her second husband, but he must have been quite fond of her, because he included her on his own headstone many years later after her death, even though she was buried at a different cemetery.  Isobel was the next daughter, born in September 1814, but she seems to have died when she was just a toddler.  Robert, their next son, died on September 20, 1820, not long after the family arrived in Lanark County,  Ontario.  He was about four years of age.  A second Isabella/Isobel was the next chiild and she also married into the Hill family like her older sister.  Isabella was the first child of James and Margaret to be born in Dalhousie Township, Lanark County, Ontario.  Her husband was Archibald Hill.  Archibald also became an early Mormon, but Isabella died in Nebraska, while on the wagon train to Utah.  Annie came next in 1823.  She married Gilbert McArthur and died at Stayner, Simcoe County.  Another daughter, Mary, died at 1 1/2 years of age in 1826.  After Mary’s death, another Mary came along and she married a farmer who may have been named Edward Beecroft(?).  She died in April 1910 at Nottawasaga Township, Simcoe County.  The youngest child was Janet/Jennet who died not long after she had her first birthday in 1830.

It has been said that James was very active in the Disciple of Christ church in Simcoe County.  Both James Hood and Margaret Bisland are buried at Creemore Cemetery, Notttawasaga Twp, Ont.

Biography for William Hood and Hannah Clark

Received from Jan Darbhamula 

William Hood was born September 24, 1744 and christened September 30th in Kelso,  Roxburghshire, Scotland.  William was a weaver by trade, and married Hannah Clark/Clarke on November 25, 1769.  Probably some time after 1779 the family moved from the borderlands (Scottish lands near the border of England) to the Glasgow region.  William may have been buried on June 1, 1810 at Carlto-Ramshorn and Friars Cemetery, Lanarkshire County, Scotland.  Nothing more is known about Hannah.

Their oldest child, Agnes, was born May 1770.  Nothing is  known about Agnes, except that she may have died in 1822 in Dalhousie Township, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada.

Their second child, Isabella/Isobel, married John White/Whyte who died in the Battle of Waterloo.  Isobel came to Canada on the Prompt in 1820, and eventually married again.  Her second husband was William Duncan who had also come on the Prompt with his first wife, Philadelphia Stubberfield, and their children.  William had been in the Battle of Waterloo and had survived without getting hurt.  He was 6’6″, while his son James was a mere 6’2″.  James also married a Hood, Margaret Hood, who was the daughter of Dr. William Hood and Jean Graham.  The Duncan’s eventually moved to Simcoe County in the early 1830’s, and many from this line are buried there at Sixth Line Cemetery.  A large group of people from the Dalhousie Township, Lanark County region moved to Simcoe County, Ontario.  This group was called the Dalhousie Settlers, and are mentioned in the early pioneering history of Simcoe County.  Many people found it very difficult to farm successfully in the rocky soil of the Dalhousie region, and so eventually moved to other places.

Their third child was Elizabeth who married a widower, John Todd.  The John Todd family came to Canada on board the Prompt, and also moved to Simcoe County in the early 1830’s.

James was born next.  His first wife was Elizabeth Jones.  After Elizabeth died, James eventually married Margaret Bisland.  The James Hood family came over on board the Prompt with the rest of the family.  James and Margaret are buried at Creemore Cemetery, Simcoe County.

Next came Hannah.  Nothing is known about her except for her christening date, so it is assumed that she died while still young.

The date of birth for the last two children, William and Mary, is confusing, and their exact birth years are not known for sure.  William first studied theology, but later switched to medicine and became a doctor and stayed in the Glasgow area.  He married Jean Graham, who may have been the daughter of a minister.  After having five children, William and Jean died within days of each other during a major cholera outbreak in Glasgow.  Their five children were left orphaned.  Eventually these five children went to Simcoe County, to their Aunt Mary (Hood) Jack to finish raising.  Three of these children married into her own family.   The oldest child (of Dr. William Hood and Jean Graham), Joseph Gemmill Hood, married Isabella Jack.  Hannah Graham Hood married William Jack Jr.  Margaret Hood married James Duncan (as mentioned above).  James Graham Hood married Margaret Hood, the daughter of James Hood and Margaret Bisland and the widow of Davidson Todd (from the John and Elizabeth [Hood] Todd line).  The youngest child was Elizabeth Graham Hood who married Thomas Jack.

The final child (although maybe not the youngest) was Mary Hood who married William Jack and who also came with her husband and children on the Prompt.  They eventually moved to Simcoe County.


Perth Courier, Sept. 15, 1876

To Manitoba—Mr. John Hood, Dalhousie, set out from here last Monday morning on his way to Manitoba whither he has gone on an inspection tour.  If the country suits him, he intends selling his farm in Dalhousie and settling there.

*Prompt Ship-The British government then had the townships of Ramsay, Dalhousie, Lanark and North Sherbrooke surveyed and laid out for the immigrants.  The village of Lanark was to be the grand stopping place for immigrants when they arrived.  So early in the year of 1820 a ship was sent up called the Prompt and set sail from the Clyde in the month of April and after a journey of about three months they were landed at Lanark Village or rather where Lanark Village was supposed to be as it was then an unbroken wilderness.  They suffered much and I have been told that the snow was on the ground before some of them got into their shanties.  But as we did not come out until the following year I will confine my remarks principally to what took place under my own knowledge and what I have been told by my parents and others I can rely on.

The passengers of the Prompt remained in Perth until Sept. 30, 1820 when the government paid an installment of one third of their bonus money.  Then they set out for their new home in Lanark Village in wagons.  Near there, on a hill top overlooking the Clyde, they were deposited with their baggage and they located a short distance to the west of the present site of McDonald’s Corners.  Prominent among the original members of the community were James Martin, William Barrett, Charles Bailey, James Watson, George Brown, Thomas Easton, George Easton, Edward Conroy, Peter Shields, John Donald, John Duncan, Andrew Park, James Park, John Todd, William Jack, James Hood, Alexander Watt, and Robert Forest.

Aug 31 Ship Prompt Nairn 4 July Greenock 370 settlers to Geo. Ross (Larnark county settlers)

Perth Courier, April 13, 1906

Mr. and Mrs. James Crosbie celebrated their Golden Wedding on the evening of the 28th ult.  Mr. Crosbie is a native of Scotland.  When a child, his parents came to America settling in Dalhousie where he has since resided.  Mrs. Crosbie whose maiden name was Jane Richmond, was also a native of Scotland.  She with her sister Isabella, orphans, aged respectively 12 and 10, came to live with their aunt near Middleville.  Mr. and Mrs. Crosbie were united in marriage by Rev. James Geggie(?) in the manse at McDonald’s Corners and then took up residence at Isadore(?) where they have ever since resides, their industry and frugality gaining for them a beautiful home and every comfort in their declining years.  On the evening of their anniversary they were surrounded by their children and grandchildren and a few acquaintances who, after partaking of a sumptuous repast, spent a very pleasant evening in music and dancing and well rendered recitations by the children, and games.  The many and costly presents which they received testified to the love and esteem in which they are held.  Their children are as follows:  James, their eldest son and George their youngest son are still under the parental roof; Mrs. David Horn at Middleville and Mrs. Robert Horn at Hood’s.  The whereabouts of their second son William are unknown.  Mr. Crosbie will be 80 years old and Mrs. Crosbie will be 71 if spared until their respective birthdays.

*Hood’s School Info–Anyway, you posted some information about Hoods School ( by the way this school was  just outside of Watson’s Corners at the corner of Sugar Bush Way and concession 3 – across from St James Church.) This school was attended by my mother and her siblings as well as her father and his siblings. The Paul family ( my mother’s family) still lives on Sugar Bush Way.

I thought you might like these pictures. One is of the school ( undated) the other self explanatory.

Thanks for letting me share.

Mary Beth Wylie

(daughter of Eileen Paul, granddaughter of Ray and Minnie Pretty Paul and so on… )

Biography for James Hood by Jan Darby

Easton, George – Private Burial Site – Lot 16W, Con 3, Dalhousie Township west of Hood.

Easton, Matthew George – Private Burial Site – Lot 15E, Con 4, Dalhousie Township, west of Hood.

St. James Church & Cemetery – Lot 16, Con. 3, Dalhousie Twp., at Hood, Ont

James HOOD and James PARK

Families – Lanark County.

HOOD: Descendants of James Hood, (b. 1776 Scotland) and his wife Elizabeth Jones (b. May 1798 Scotland), who settled in Lanark, Ont., in 1820. They arrived on the ship the Prompt.

Other surnames attached to this family are;


PARK: Descendants of James Park, (b. 1766 in Scotland) and his wife Marion Allen (b. 1788 in Scotland) immigrated to Canada aboard the ship the Prompt in 1820.

Other surnames attached to this family are;


I’m interested in locating other researchers for these families. Willing to share information. Thanks.

Sue DeLuca-LeGresley – e-mail legresleydeluca@home.com

The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
14 Apr 1909, Wed  •  Page 5
photo-MB Wylie-
When the Hood’s church was sold in 1971 the last service was held in September 1971 in honour of the pioneers.

I am including as well a picture from the 102 anniversary of the church. Sadly I no longer can identify all the people, although the faces I remember, the names I have forgotten. However my grandparents Ray and Minnie Paul are there with their neighbours and friends.

Mary Beth Wylie


Tracey McNicol

Arthur and Winnie were my grandparents. The last name is McNicol. Their son, my father, was Ray McNicol and was a member of the O.P.P. not the Ottawa police. So great to read this story. Thank you for sharing !

What Did British Immigrants Spend When They First Came to Canada?



Photo– Bytown.net-read more here


Immigrating to Canada in the late 1800s or 1900s? Even though the average cost of a ticket was only $30, larger ships could hold from 1,500 to 2,000 immigrants, netting a profit of $45,000 to $60,000 for a single, one-way voyage. The cost to feed a single immigrant was only about 60 cents a day!

After you left the boat and immigration you had a landing card pinned on your clothes and then moved to the Money Exchange. Here six cashiers exchanged gold, silver and paper money, from countries all over Europe, for American or Canadian dollars, based on the day’s official rates, which were posted on a blackboard. For immigrants  the next stop was the railroad ticket office, where a dozen agents collectively sold as many as 25 tickets per minute on the busiest days.

All that remained was to make arrangements for their trunks, which were stored in the Baggage Room, to be sent on to their final destinations.  At times, corrupt currency exchange officials shortchanged immigrants, concession operators served meals without utensils, and others operated schemes to deprive the newly landed immigrant of their money. Other examples included a clerk failing to deliver money orders to immigrants, resulting in their deportation, and baggage handlers charging twice the going rate. Railroad ticket agents were not immune and often routed immigrants, not by the most direct route to their destination, but by one that required a layover. Some were forced to buy a fifty-cent or dollar bag of food from the restaurant concession for their train trip.




    For the month of May the railways reached the high-water mark as regards records for the carrying of immigrants.  During May, 40,000 immigrants, the majority of whom were of British origin, passed through Montreal on their way to Western Canada. The Canadian Pacific carried an average of 1,000 immigrants a day, the Grand Truck had an average of 250 a day.
These figures form a striking contrast for the month of May thirty years ago, when the total immigration into the country was 6,601. One railway official said that it was surprising what a big total of hard cash was disbursed in Canada by these immigrants. On an average, he said, they spend in railway fares $15 each, which means a total of $600,000, while expenses of food, beds and other incidentals amount to another $15 by the time they get to their destination. This means that during May British immigrants spent in Canada within the first few days of their arrival considerably over a million dollars– “The Cobalt Daily Nugget” 12 July 1911


Lanark County Genealogical Society Website

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


The Man Without a Country

Lanark County 101 — It Began with Rocks, Trees, and Swamps

Rock the Boat! Lanark County or Bust! Part 1

It Wasn’t the Sloop John B — Do’s and Don’t in an Immigrant Ship -Part 2

Riders on the Storm– Journey to Lanark County — Part 3

ROCKIN’ Cholera On the Trek to the New World — Part 4

Rolling down the Rapids –Journey to Lanark Part 5

Voyage of the Buckinghamshire to Lanark– Part 6



William Light’s last painting…

Perth Courier, March 12, 1937; March 26, 1937; April 2, 1937

The Voyage of the Buckinghamshire

On Sunday morning, April 29, 1821, the old sailing ship the Earl of Buckinghamshire, at one time the pride of the Indian merchant fleet, lifted anchor from the east quay at Greenock and slipped past the last headlands of the Firth of Clyde and headed, hull down, into the long Atlantic surges.  This white sailed argosy of 600 tons register, bore the dreams and hopes of 607 Scots who had cut the ties of home and were embarked on a 7 week voyage to a new land of promise.

As a sort of re-conditioning course, the settlers were advised to prepare themselves for outside work.  Girls were instructed in knitting and spinning and the boys in making fishing nets and preparing tackle.  Finally, all were exhorted to call to mind the days of old and the precepts and principles so beautifully exemplified in Soctia’s cottages.

Four ships were chartered to sail in April and May of 1821.  They were the George Canning of 435 tons, carrying 420 individuals; the Earl of Buckinghamshire, 600 tons, carrying 607 passengers; Commerce, 418 tons carrying 429 passengers; and the David of London, 380 tons and carrying 364 passengers. The Buckinghamshire was evidently considered a first class boat for its day and the Greenock Advertiser comments on her sailing as follows:  “From the accommodations on the Earl of Buckinghamshire, which are exceptional of their kind and the great heart of the ship between decks it promises to afford to the emigrant as satisfactory a conveyance to their destination as any vessel hitherto fitted out from the Clyde notwithstanding the vast number on board”.  The reporter also noted “the most respectable appearance of the emigrants” on board the ship.

The Buckinghamshire was not so very seaworthy.  She was an old tub and in a later voyage the same year went down with all on board.  It is on record that in the previous year she docked at Kingston and on that occasion there played on her deck a curly haired boy later revered in Canadian history as Sir John A. MacDonald.

Passengers on board the Buckinghamshire were restricted in baggage to a few personal effects and bed clothes, pans, pots, crockery.  Children had to be vaccinated or they could not proceed.  Everybody was advised to have their hair cut short and “no smoking or lighted candles were allowed betwixt decks”.  On the other hand the owners of the ships were bound by charger to ensure a sufficient quantity of water in well seasoned casks which was to be measured out daily and also “provided sufficient furnaces for cooking victuals and baking oat meal bread”  Cabin accommodations containing 3(?)8(?) berths was also specially reserved for women overtaken by childbirth.

The passenger list of the Buckinghamshire included the names of Caldwells, Gemmill, Craig, MacFarlane, Menzies, McIntyre, Moir, McVicar, Lockhart, Brown, Lang, Easson(?), McLaren, Herron, Finlay, Houston, and nearly 600 others.

Listed among the 490 on board the George Canning were such names as Blair, Barr, McInnes, Cummings, Miller, Gunn, Beveridge, Stirling, Stewart and Yuill.

On board the Commerce with its 423 passengers were Barrs, Muirs, Brownlees, Campbells, Toshacks, Robertsons.  The David Of London in its complement included the names of five families of Gilmours, John Findlay and wife and five children, three Bairds, two Parks, two McIlquhams, Robert Carswell, James Lietch, four Whittons, William Gourlay, James Bryson and several McDonalds.

In the exodus of the year previous (1820) among the first arrivals were James hall, John Mair, Duncan McPherson, Charles Isdale, Peter McLaren, Alexander Ferguson, John Turreff, David Bowers(or Bowes?), and James Campbell.  There were also those who pushed on to Watson’s Corners.

Fortunately, a record of that memorable voyage has been kept in a diary by Andrew Lang, a passenger on board the Buckinghamshire who eventually settled at Shipman’s Mills (now Almonte) on the Mississippi.  Lang’s keen observations have brought into sharp focus a series of vignettes of those weary days at sea so that we can now visualize the scenes in the following word pictures extracted from the diary.

April 29—The day began with an early rising of the children and later with the birth of a child on board.  The men showed great dexterity in getting their stores stowed away and I cannot but help to admire the moderation of the captain in his conduct towards the passengers.  They appear to be very much on deck but some of them sit in calmness in bed with very little reading.

Tuesday, May 1—We lost sight of land today—a beautiful day.  There is such confusion and noise that it puts an end to almost all solid thinking.  Bedtime came with its usual attendants—darkness and the roaring of children.

Wednesday, May 2—Awakened by the squalling of children.  There is plenty of fun and laughter at the odd ways of some of the men and women.  Some got drunk and were very troublesome.  One man was put in irons. At 12:00 at night we ran aground, the bowsprit almost touching a big rock.  There was very little terror or excitement.

Thursday, May 20—A very good day.  Nothing but the usual bustle for bread and meat from morning to night.  On Sabbath we had a sermon at noon.  There was a decent little group of young and old with their faces clean and their appearance serious.  A ship passed just as the sermon ended.

May 25—A fine day.  It was considered today that the passengers were not so well used by some of the crew as they ought to be.  The mate had struck a man before this with a hard spike but the little man had resented the blow by giving a kick and the affair produced a new regulation.

May 28—a heavy sea rolling at 11:00 and continued the whole night.  The first scene that I saw when the ship began to roll was 14 or 15 of the passengers tumbling headlong on top of one another.  The caboose followed and cooking utensils and girls and mothers after them and the confusion caused quite a bit of laughter.

May 29—Everyone is telling a neighbor what a bad night he had for really such a tumble of cans, bundles, and pots I never saw before.  About 16 of us had a good glass of rum in the forecastle.

June 5—This morning we saw land for the first time since we left Scotland.  St. Paul’s Island on the right and Cape Breton on the left.

June 15—There is a new scene before us this morning.  Really, it is a very beautiful one—trees to the hilltop—cultivated places and wild rocky looking hills at a distance with ranges of white houses for they were all in rows. The women appear to be enraptured at the prospect and it is no wonder.  Two boats came along side of us with herring, bread, and tobacco—15 d. for a loaf of bread; 15 d for four dozen of tobacco; 6 d for a dozen herring.

June 16—We saw Quebec in the evening and it looked beautiful.  I at last got my feet back on terra ferma and really I am well pleased to have it so.

Another trying experience was the journey to Prescott, which was reached on June 30, two months after leaving Greenock.  Some idea of the conditions of overland travel faced by this gallant company of men, women and children, is gleaned from the revealing notations of Andrew Lang, made concerning one bivouac under the stars:  “In endless confusion we slept in the open air and our hands were wet with dew in the morning?

The only known record of this nightmare journey into the bush is to be found in an archival pamphlet written by John McDonald, who described the hardships of primitive travel.  The exertions of the emigrants on the trip as far as Prescott had left most of them in a weakened condition.  Besides, they suffered terribly from an intense heat and from drinking river water.  Nights in the open were often with wet blankets and contributed much to their general debility.

Apparently traveling schedules and billeting arrangements had broken down when the various parties left Prescott.  Each group from the parent emigrant society in Scotland had endeavored to keep together but evidently the emigrants from the four ships left Prescott at almost the same time, causing considerable congestion and confusion before being sorted out and sent on their way.  McDonald pictures conditions at Prescott thusly:

“Here we began soon to feel the effects of our rough journey and of our lying out in the fields.  Many were afflicted with the bloody flux.  Some took fevers and many died of a few days illness.  Our situation became very alarming, the people generally complaining of indisposition.  I continued here three weeks.  The cause of our delay here arose from the great multitude that were lying  at this place before our arrival.  Here we found half the passengers from the ship David of London—the whole exceeded 1,000 people and it took a long time to carry all their baggage along a road of 14 miles to New Lanark.  Each society had to wait its turn of getting away. Many were obliged to wait here on account of sickness and many died.”

When the journey resumed from Prescott, McDonald’s party only traveled six miles before stopping for the night at an inn, sleeping on the floor.  At day break they were then on their way to Brockville where they breakfasted. After a brief pause the party turned north and struck out back through the country.  They probably followed the route of what is now Highway 29.  The wagons containing the women and children were sometimes over turned and hopelessly mired and when the wagons upset there were usually casualties.  En route the settlers slept in barns where ever possible and they were afraid of snakes having seen many on the road.

As the approached their destination of New Lanark conditions became worse.  They also heard disturbing news of sickness.  McDonald attributed the malady to stagnant atmosphere never rarified by the solar rays.  In fact, McDonald seems to have been unduly appalled by the forest and its silence for he observed that “no sound of music, is ever heard there but a melancholy death like stillness reigns in the forest except where they are agitated by the tempest or storms”.

In a depressed mood, McDonald complained of the exertion required of the settlers in selecting their future locations of 100 acres each, of the distance from market, of the general destitution of the settlers and their fears of the coming Canadian winter.  Doubtless the morale of some was low due to the difficulty of the overland journey and the sense of strangeness and nostalgia for home.  But they apparently recognized a new opportunity to retrieve their independence and in that spirit energetically began to erect their temporary shelters and to clear a patch of land where the sunlight could strike through.

Rock the Boat! Lanark County or Bust! Part 1

It Wasn’t the Sloop John B — Do’s and Don’t in an Immigrant Ship -Part 2

Riders on the Storm– Journey to Lanark County — Part 3

ROCKIN’ Cholera On the Trek to the New World — Part 4

Rolling down the Rapids –Journey to Lanark Part 5

Lanark County 101 — It Began with Rocks, Trees, and Swamps

How Many Women Does it Take to Replace a Team of Horses?The Doukhobors

The Man Without a Country

The Man Without a Country


Thanks to Jill Seymour from Carp for sending this to me– this original letter will now be kept at  the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum. It was enclosed in a book belonging to the late Marjorie White of Carleton Place.



The man without a country stunned American Immigration officials with a neat trick which prevented his deportation, walked out of the county jail a free man. But in a sobering thought, he said:


“I have no nation. I’m a man without a country and it’s like having no face and no name.”


Robert E. Schermerhorn who was 25 at the time of the newspaper article in 1956 said he had been away from Carleton Place, his home, since the age of 12. In the last 13 years he had jumped borders illegally in Canada, Mexico and the United States. At that time all he had to do was tell immigration officials he had been born in Detroit or Texas and they would wave him on. My, how times have changed.



Bill had a wife and son in Mexico and had no idea how hard it would be to cross the border this last time. He had the sign of the notorious Pachuco gang on his right hand. The gang were a particular old school subculture of Chicanos and Mexican-Americans associated with zoot suits, street gangs, nightlife, and flamboyant public behaviour. Bill said he lived by his wits and luck since he had first fled home and had a long criminal record in all three countries. Immigration officials had tried to deport him back to Canada, but Bill figured out the only way they could deport him is if he was born there.


From his prison cell he fired off a letter to Canadian authorities asking for a form to renounce his native country forever. That stopped the deportation immediately. Bill was brought back to a Detroit Jail cell where John Muchaey Detroit director of immigration said there was nothing he could do as both Canada and Mexico refused him as a subject. However he was placed on a  lenient parole saying he could travel to the Mexican border and maybe make another stab at getting through. No one wanted him.


In September of 1955 he evaded immigration once again and visited his mother who now in Ottawa, but was later arrested by police. Bill said sometimes he crossed the border as much as seven times a day, and sometimes 20 times a month. He said the easiest was in Mexico as guys that belonged to the Pachuo gang ran lots of Mexicans over the border. In all honesty, he hated the United States and Canada, as he said everyone was about dollar signs.


So is the story of Robert E. Schermerhorn born in Carleton Place, Ontario  the man without a country, wanted by all three countries for running afoul of the law. He died in Florida in 1993.


With files from The Detroit Times- November 1, 1956.