Saturday, February 27, 2010

Additional Migration Details

Archibald Gardner began writing his autobiography on 10 April 1857. His family had migrated from Scotland to Canada almost 35 years earlier, and his writings have a large blot over the year he recorded. Family tradition has stated the migration year as 1822 for Robert, William, and Mary, and 1823 for Margaret and the rest of the children. However, historical records document Robert's migration in 1821.

Robert, William and Mary were passengers on the Commerce,(1) which sailed from Greenock, Scotland on 11 May 1821, arriving in Quebec on 20 Jun 1821.(2) Robert's land grant was dated 15 Jul 1821,(3) which also documents his arrival that year. Archibald stated that he sailed on the Buckinham the year after his father left, which supports the conclusion that his mother brought the remaining children on the Earl of Buckinghamshire in 1822. This ship sailed from Greenock on 28 May 1822 and arrived in Quebec on 5 July 1822, as recorded in the Montreal Gazette. The website documenting the ship's arrival also has a deck plan for the ship. Archibald stated that their passage was five weeks and three days, which matches exactly the sailing dates for this ship's voyage in 1822.

1. David Dobson, Directory of Scottish Settlers in North America, 1625-1825 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1984-93), 5:97.

2. Carol Bennett, The Lanark Society Settlers, 1820-1821 (Renfrew, Ont: Juniper Books, 1991), 10.

3. Military Settlement, Soldiers and Emigrants, 62 (FHL #1,319,966 item 3).

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Margaret's emigration to Canada

A year after Robert Gardner emigrated to Canada, the rest of his family boarded a ship to join him. He traveled seventy-two miles on foot to meet the ship because he had heard that twenty-five wives of the society settlers were arriving. He did not know whether his family was on that ship. However, the year before, the families had hoped that the wives and children could follow the next spring. After the migrations of 1821 were completed, Robert Lamond wrote:

"As many families were divided last spring, on account of their inability to raise money sufficient for emigrating, but who may now have procured the necessary assistance, we cannot doubt, but Government will graciously afford them an opportunity of joining their friends, next spring."(1)

Archibald wrote in his autobiography that his family sailed on the Buckinham. It is likely that the ship was actually the Earl of Buckinghamshire. This ship was chartered by the government to take the settlers to Canada in 1821. If that was the ship said to be arriving with twenty-five wives, Robert would have known that it was one of the ships the government was using, increasing the chance that his family was on it. With excitement and hope that his family would arrive safely and join him after so many months of separation, Robert walked the seventy-two miles to meet the arriving ship. Carol Bennett, author of The Lanark Society Settlers, wrote:

"In many cases, families had become divided by the move to Canada. Some husbands travelled alone, or accompanied by older sons, planning to send for their wives and children later. In several cases wives stayed in Scotland because they were pregnant, or because a child was too ill to be moved. We can imagine the anguish caused by such separation. Strangely enough, when these family members came out to Canada the following year, their passage was not automatic; they had to petition the government and show proof that their husbands or fathers were already established there."(2)

It would appear that Margaret was required to go through a process of proving that part of her family had already gone to Upper Canada, in order to obtain permission for the rest of them to follow in 1822. Boarding a ship and crossing the ocean with her three remaining children would have been a significant challenge, especially after learning that her daughter Mary had almost died of smallpox on a ship the year before. She had no idea where her husband had settled in Upper Canada, but she went on faith that she could find him. Robert had no idea if Margaret was on the arriving ship, but he walked seventy-two miles in hopes that they were.

1. Robert Lamond, Narrative of the Rise & Progress of Emigration, from the Counties of Lanark & Renfrew, to the New Settlements in Upper Canada (Glasgow: Chalmers & Collins, 1821), 112.

2. Carol Bennett, The Lanark Society Settlers, 1820-1821 (Renfrew, Ont: Juniper Books, 1991), 8.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Map of Kilsyth

Tonight, I have also created a Google Map of Kilsyth marking the places in the town that are mentioned by Archibald in his autobiography.

The Cross of Kilsyth

Last night I made a wonderful discovery! For a very long time now, I've been trying to determine exactly where the Cross of Kilsyth was. Archibald wrote in his autobiography that they lived two doors from the Cross of Kilsyth, and he mentioned that when William sounded his glass bugle, it was for turnout at the Cross of Kilsyth. I've known for awhile that it was the intersection of two main streets in the town, but I haven't known which ones.

My latest discovery is an old postcard (1905) of "The Cross, Kilsyth" that has been posted by Paris-Roubaix on flickr. The image is copyrighted, so I can't post it to my blog. In order to share this wonderful image, I have created a link in the sidebar of my blog. We now know that "The Cross" was at the top of Main Street, but I'm still not sure what the cross street was. Based on current Google Maps and an old map that I am comparing, the most likely cross street was Burnside Street. If anyone has any additional information, I would love to hear from you.

I have also added links for a 1950 postcard of the old parish church in Kilsyth and a 1907 postcard of the Burngreen.

UPDATE: Based on information received from Adam in the comments to my blog, I have updated my Google map of Kilsyth to include the Cross of Kilsyth at the intersection of Market St. and Main St. Paris-Roubaix has also posted a picture of this area that was taken last year. I have added a link to the newer photo in the sidebar. Because the upper portion of Main Street has been closed, the "top" of the street looked to me to be further down. I'm excited to have more accurate information! Thanks Adam and Paris-Roubaix.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Settling in Dalhousie, Upper Canada

When Robert Gardner arrived in Dalhousie with two of his children, William and Mary, he found that the land was not the quality the emigrants had hoped it would be at the time of their departure from Scotland. The area was covered with heavy timber. Most of the trees had grown to a diameter of two to three feet, and they grew abundantly in the areas with the best soil.(1) Hemlock, pine cedar and hardwood trees had to be cleared by hand before the land could be cultivated.(2) There were many swamps and mud lakes in the area as well, which supported a large mosquito population and the spread of disease.

Archibald wrote, “after he Landed in America they took Land in Bathurst District the goverment giveing it free but it was generly Rocky and cold . . . My Father & William & Mary started from Lanark their camping place . . . and took land 7 miles back in the woods & comenced to build A Log cabin & packed all their Luggage on their back without A Road through swamps & over Logs[.]”(3)

A description of the process of clearing the land in this part of Upper Canada was written in 1819.

“The work is begun by cutting the small trees or undergrowth, then the large ones are chopped about three feet from the ground. The method is to cut them on the side they lean to, which is always observed before they begin the work. The incision is continued until it passes two thirds of the tree; then on the opposite part, when it falls. Many of these trees are from fifty to eighty feet without a branch. When on the ground, the branches are cut off, and thrown in heaps; then the body of the tree is cut into lengths of twelve feet. . . . When done, an immense heap of trunks and branches is scattered all over the land. It lies in that state for a month or two, and when dry enough to burn, fire is put to it . . . . The fire having passed over every part of the land, it is a favourable sign for the future expectation of the farmer, as it kills all the under growth. The trunks of the trees being thick, are not all consumed, and oxen are employed to draw them to a place, where they are piled up and burnt by themselves.”(4)

After the trees were burned, the ground around the tree stumps was planted. It took fifteen to twenty years before the stumps had decayed sufficiently to remove them from the land. The settlers in this area plowed with an American hog, sometimes called a Dutch plough, because it worked well among the rocks and stumps.(5)

Robert Gardner did not have oxen or any other animals to help him in the clearing of his land. Archibald wrote, “the[y] Loged by Hand carried all their Rails on their shoulder Made Bridges carrying the Logs & all their Log houses[.]”(6) In spite of the hardships, Robert Gardner was able to clear and plant ten acres of land his first year in Dalhousie.

1. Charles F. Grece, Facts and Observations Respecting Canada, and the United States of America: Affording a Comparative View of the Inducements to Emigration Presented in Those Countries (London: J. Harding, 1819), 32.

2. Robert Gardner, Jr., Robert Gardner, Jr., 1819-1906: Utah Pioneer 1847 (Cedar City, Utah: n.p., 1973), 1.

3. Archibald Gardner, Autobiography (1858), 3.

4. Grece, Facts and Observations, 34, 35.

5. Grece, Facts and Observations, 35, 36.

6. Archibald Gardner, Autobiography, 3.