History of Pictou County, Patterson, Chapter 5 *Pictou County GenWeb Electronic Edition, April, 2004.*

[Notes from Editor: As page numbers in electronic editions do not correspond to those in original printed versions, they are omitted from any Tables of Contents or Illustration Lists in works that we transcribe. Spellings are left as they were in the original work. Sentence & punctuation anomalies are also (mostly) left intact. Footnotes follow the paragraph in which they are referenced, enclosed by square brackets. Pound sterling is written as "pound", as the symbol does not translate on all computers. Richard MacNeil]

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Arrival of the ship Hector and the settlement of her passengers


Some of the shares of the Philidelphia company were transferred, so that the clebrated Dr. Witherspoon became one of the proprietors, *and John Pagan, a merchant of Greenock ,became the purchaser of three undivided shares. They seem at that time to have been combined in promoting the settlement of the old colonies. We find the ship Hector , which was owned by Pagan, in the year 1770 arriving in Boston with Scottish emigrants, and there is a deed on record in the Pictou registry office, after the American Revolutionary war, from Witherspoon, conveying to Pagan all the land of the former in Pictou, in exchange for the lands of the latter in the United States.+

* Dr. Witherspoon is sometimes represented as the proprietor of the Philadelphia company's scheme, but his name does not appear among the first members of the company.
+ In a petition against the escheat of the grant, Pagan's son alleges that the father and sons sent out altogether about 800 souls: that they had spent &280 sterling in provisions, and altogether had expended about &600 sterling in settling the grant.

To carry out the original obligations of their grant, the proprietors offered liberal terms for the settlement of it. They employed an agent named John Ross, with whom they agreed to give each settler that he might bring from Scotland, a free passage, a farm lot, and a year's provisions. Ross went to the Highlands, and, drawing a glowing picture of the land and the advantages offered, many, knowing nothing of the difficulties of settling a new country, and allured by the prospect of owning a farm, eagerly embraced his proposals.

The Hector was chartered to convey them to Pictou. She was under the command of John Spears as master, James Orr being first mate, and John Anderson second. Three families and five young men embarked in her at Greenock, whence she sailed for Loch Broom, in Ross-shire, where she received the rest of her passengers, amounting in all to thirty-three families and twent-five unmarried men, beside the agent. The number of souls is stated in one account as 189, in another as 179, while Governor Legge, on their arrival, speaks of them in round numbers as 200.

In the beginning of July, 1773, they finally bade adieu to their native land.* As they were leaving, a piper came on board, who had not engaged his passage. The captain ordered him ashore , when the passengers interceded, offering to share their rations with him in exchange for his music. At their request, he was allowed to remain. There was not one person on board who had ever crossed the Atlantic, except one sailor. Though hearts doubtless were saddened as they parted from kindred, and as their native hills faded from their vision, yet hope beat high in every bosom, and for a time all went cheerily among the pilgrims. Song, music, wrestling, dancing, and other amusements relieved the tedium of a sea voyage. But the passage was destined to be a long and painful one. The Hector was an old Dutch ship, and a dull sailor. Passengers said that they could with their hands pick the rotten wood out of her sides. When they arrived off the coast of Newfoundland, they met with a severe gale, which drove them so far back that they were a fortnight before they were again as far forward. The accomodations on board were poor and the provisions of inferior quality, perhaps not worse than in emmigrant vessels of the time. Small-pox and dysentery broke out on board, so that eighteen, most of them children, died on the passage and were commited to the deep. The former disease was brought on board by a mother and child, both of whom afterward lived to a great age. And one child was born, afterward the late Mrs. Page, of Truro. As the voyage was prolonged, their stock of provisions and water became low. For some time before arrival, they were put on an allowance of water, the scarcity of which, with the salt provisions, was a great privation. During the voyage the oatcake supplied to the passengers became mouldy, and the passengers often threw away pieces of it or other food. Hugh McLeod was in the habit of gathering up all these fragments and putting them into a large sack, and the last two days of their voyage, they were glad to avail themselves of this refuse food.

*Philo Antiq. says on the 10th July, but the universal statement among the old settlers is, that they were eleven weeks on the passage, which would make the date of sailing 1st of July.

At length all the troubles and dangers of the voyage were surmounted, and on the 15th of September, this pioneer band of Scottish emigrants arrived in the harbour of Pictou, and the Hector dropped anchor opposite where the town of Pictou now stands. Previous to her arrival, as we have seen, the Indians had been somewhat trouble-some to the settlers; if not positively dangerous, they at least gave annoyance, and the whites, from their small numbers, were kept in considerable alarm. It was even reported, that there was a plot among them at that time to cut off the whole settlement, which we have seen was the only one on the north shore of the Province. When the word was received of the coming of the Hector with Highland emigrants, the whites, in reply to threats of the Indians, told them that the Highlanders were coming -- the same men they had seen in petticoats at the taking of Quebec. Sure enough the Hector appeared. Her sides being painted, according to the old fashion, in imitation of gunports, helped to induce the impression that she was a man-of-war. The Highland dress was then proscribed, but was carefully preserved and fondly cherished by the Highlanders, and in honour of the occasion the young men had arrayed themselves in their kilts, with skein dhu, and some with broadswords. As she dropped anchor the piper blew his pipes to their utmost power; its thrilling sounds then first startling the echoes among the silent solitudes of our forest. All the Micmacs fled in terror and were not seen for some time, so that trouble with the Indians was never heard of again.*

*We do not believe that there was really any plot of the kind. It was good fun for the Indians to frighten the white people, and we beleive they raised the reports for that reason.

We may here remark the importance of the arrival of the Hector to these Lower Provinces. With her passengers may be said to have commenced the really effective settlement of Pictou. But this was not all: the Hector was the first emigrant vessel from Scotland to Pictou or even these Lower Provinces. That stream of Scottish immigration which, in after years, flowed, not only over the county of Pictou, but over much of the eastern part of the Province, Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island, portions of New Brunswick, and even the Upper Provinces, began with this voyage, and even, in a large measure, originated with it, for it was by the representations of those on board to their friends, that others followed, and so the stream deepened and widened in succeeding years. We venture to say that there is no one element in the population of the Lower Provinces, upon which their social, moral and religious conditions has depended more than upon its Scottish immigrants, and of these that band in the Hector were the pioneers and vanguards. We may mention here that after returning to Scotland from this voyage she was condemned, and went to sea no more. Truly her work was done.

The first care was to provide for the sick. One woman, wife of Hugh McLeod, afterward of West River, had just died of smallpox; the body was sent ashore in a boat and buried, we believe, at the burying ground already mentioned. Several were sick; some dying. The resident settlers did what was in their power to provide for their wants, and with the supply of fresh provisions most soon recovered their health, though some, I cannot learn how many, died on board the vessel.

If the expectations of these people had been excited by the prospect of an estate in America, their hopes were lowered by the sight that met their view as they crowded on the deck of the vessel to see their future home. One unbroken forest still covered the whole land, with the exception of a few patches on the shore between Browns Point and the head of the harbour.

But if the first view of matters was discouraging, worse was in store for them. Squire Patterson and Dr. Harris, the agents of the company, lived near Browns Point, nearly a mile above the town, and had erected a small store, in which they kept the supplies of the company, though even there the woods were scarcely broken. Here the immigrants were landed without provisions and without shelter, except as with the assistance of those here before them, they erected rude camps for themselves, their wives and their little ones. However glad to be relieved from the confinement of shipboard, bitter were the feelings of disappointment, with which they contrasted the expectations they had entertained of a free farm and plenty in America, with the reality before them. We need not wonder to hear of some sitting down and giving way to bitter weeping. The arrival of such a number swept the place like a torrent of all the provisions it contained and left it nearly destitute. The few settlers previously here could not have provided food for one-third of the number for any time, and it was too late in the season to raise any crops that year.

In the meantime they began to select their future homes. The company had the land laid out in regular blocks, named A, B, &c. which were subdivided into lots regularly numbered. But here the fact to which we have already adverted, of the small frontage of their grant on the harbour, spoiled the whole of this well meant and not ill contrived effort at settlement. When the Hector arrived, all the shore of their grant was occupied, and her passsengers were taken back one, two or three miles,*and there, amid the primeval forest they were invited to settle. Never did there seem to be offered to men such an utter mockery. The gigantic trees would have seemed to any person a serious difficulty in their way, but to men unaccustomed to clearing the wood in America, and unskilled in the use of the axe, the work seemed hopeless. Without roads or even paths, and unprovided with compasses, they were liable to be lost in the forest and they were afraid of Indians and wild beasts. Even if these difficulties could have been removed, they saw that they would be shut out there, from what must hereafter form a large part of their subsistence, viz.: the fish in the harbour and rivers. We have heard of McCabe taking some of them back to where he promised to show them good land, which they might take up, when, looking round on the big trees, they only asked, with an air of helplessness, that he would take them back to the shore.

* Each division of lots was a mile in length from the shore, and so the lots on the north side of the harbour still are, the side lines running north and south by compass.

In consequence of these circumstances they all refused to settle on the company's land, and when a supply of provisions arrived the agents refused to give them any. A jealousy arose between them and the American settlers. Ross and the company quarrelled. They refused his demands and soon after he abandoned the passengers he had brought out. A few had a little money, bought provisions for a time or even exchanged clothes for food, but the majority had absolutely nothing to buy with; and the little that the others had was soon exhausted, so that they were left without provisions and entirely destitute of means to provide for themselves.

Driven to extremity they insisted on having the supplies sent by the company. On one occasion Donald McDonald and Colin Douglas were in the store claiming a supply; being rather pressing the agent ordered them out ; they refused to go, when he threatened to lock them in. As they still refused he went out and attempted to lock the door, when Donald drew his dirk, an article which many of them then wore, and drove it in before the bolt. Finally they resolved to take the provisions by force. They seized both Squire Patterson and Dr. Harris, tied them and took their guns, which they hid at some distance, told them that they must have the food for their families, that they were willing to pay for them when they were able. They then proceeded to weigh and measure the various articles; they took account of what each man received, which they left. Roderick McKay, father of our late custos, a man of great energy and determination, and who in this and all the proceedings of the time, was recognized by the Highlanders as their leader, was left to release the prisoners. After a sufficient time had elapsed to enable the rest to get to a safe distance, he undid the ropes by which they were tied, and having informed them where their guns would be found, got out of the way himself.

Intelligence was dispatched to Halifax, that the Highlanders were in rebellion, with a request for assistance. We may suppose that at a time when the scenes of "the forty-five" were still fresh in memory, this was heard with dismay. Report says that orders were despatched to one of the Archibalds of Truro, usually known as Captain Tom, or Uncle Tom, to march his company of militia to Pictou to suppress the rebellion. He received the order with the most unmilitary reply,"I will do no such thing; I know the Highlanders, and if they are fairly treated there will be no trouble with them." Representations of the true state of the case were sent to Halifax. Lord William Campbell, whose term of service, as Governor, had just expired, was still there, and interested himself on behalf of the immigrants as his countrymen, so that orders came from the Government to let them have the provisions. We may add here, that Squire Patterson used to say afterward, that the Highlanders, who had arrived in poverty, had paid him every farthing that he had trusted them, but he had lost two hundred pounds by his good friend the Governor of Prince Edward Island.

Beset with such difficulties and with winter approaching, the majority of the immigrants removed to Truro and places adjacent, to obtain by their labour food for their families. A few settled at Londonderry, at a place which has since been known as Highland Village. Some went to Halifax, and some even to Windsor and Cornwallis. Not only men, but mothers of families, hired out, and their children, male and female, they bound out for service, till they should come of age. Some went that season, and others not till the spring following. One man stayed till the musquitoes made their appearance in the following summer, when thinking it a judgement , he left. The majority of them, however, returned in subsequent years. The number who remained is stated at seventy, and for a time, particularly during the following winter, they endured almost incredible hardships. Not having taken up land, they remained at Browns Point, with only rude huts, covered with branches or the bark of trees to shelter them from the cold, of the severity of which they had previously no conception. To obtain food for their families they had to proceed to Truro, through a trackless forest and in deep snow, and there obtaining a bushel or two of potatoes, and perhaps a little flour, in exchange for their labour, they had to return, carrying this little supply on their backs or dragging it on a handsled.

The labor of this we can scarcely estimate. One bushel of potatoes was a sufficient load for a man to carry that distance. One who boasted of his strength undertook to carry two and started off with his load quite jauntily. The Highlanders have a Gaelic proverb, that a sheep the first mile will be a cow the second, meaning that a burden which a man can carry easily a short distance will be intolerable afterward; and so this man found, for before he had reached half way to Pictou he was glad to get quit of part of his load. Then there was the climbing of stiff braes or the descending steep banks, the crossing of brooks on a single tree, or the sinking in wet and boggy ground, or in winter in deep snow; this continuing for three days, involving two nights camping in the woods. Even the potatoes they did get were inferior, being of a kind known as Spanish potatoes, large and soft, like a kind known some years ago as yams, or like some of the coarse kinds still used for feeding cattle. Sometimes they froze on their backs, but even so, when roasted in the ashes or sliced and roasted on the coals, they were heartily relished. No wonder that some of those who had gone through these scenes, could not bear in after life to see even the peeling of a potatoe thrown into the fire.

Perhaps, however, a better idea of their privations may be gained by giving a few incidents of this period. Two young men set off for Halifax. They could get so little provisions when they left, and had so little on the way, that they were scarcely able to travel from weakness, and when they reached Gays River they were nearly ready to give up altogether. But there they saw a lot of fine trout, strung on a rod, hung on a bush. They hestitated whether to take them or not. They thought they belonged to the Indians, who they feared would come after them and kill them. They, therefore, left them and went on a short distance, when, finding that from their weakness they would not be able to prosecute their journey, they returned to where they had left the trout. Each put it upon the other to take them. At last the claims of hunger prevailed and they proceeded to make a meal of them. They afterward discovered that they had been caught by two sportsmen from Halifax, who had disputed who should carry them, and finally left them, where, in the kind providence of God, they afforded a meal for the hungry travellers.

The late Alex. Fraser, elder, of Middle River, when only a lad of about sixteen, carried a younger sister to Truro on his back, while the only food he had for the whole journey was the tail of an eel.

One or two incidents of this family, though at a somewhat later date, may be given. Hugh, a younger brother of the last, and who was one of the last survivors of the Hector, told the writer that on one occasion his father, having exhausted every other means of obtaining a supply of food for his family, cut down a birch tree and boiled the buds, which he gave them to eat. He then went to a heap where Horton, one of the old settlers, had buried some potatoes, and took out some. Before he could inform the owner of what he had done, some of his neighbors maliciously did so, when Horton merely replied that he thanked God he had them there for the poor old man's family.

On one occasion, when the husband and eldest son had gone to Truro for provisions, everything in the shape of food for the younger children was exhausted, except one hen, which the mother finally killed. She boiled it in salt water for the benefit of the salt, with a quantity of weeds or herbs, which she had collected, and of the nature of which she was entirely ingnorant, which she served up for them with the flesh of the hen. But not long after the children found the hen's nest with ten eggs, some of which she cooked for their next meal and the rest she retained till her husband's return.

On another occasion, the men of the family had brought home a supply of potatoes, from Truro, for seed, but after planting them and enclosing the ground, they were so much in want before going back, that they had to dig up some of the splits to use for food. Some time after, having earned as much money as could buy a cow, Alexander was sent to Colchester to make the purchase; but having fallen in with his brother Simon, who had been bound out, and finding him dissatisfied, he applied the money to the purchase of his time. On arriving home, on his mother meeting him, her first inquiry was "Have you got the cow?" "No, but I have brought Simon instead", was the reply. "Well, poor as I am," said the mother, "I would rather see Simon than the cow." The girl whom this same Alexander afterward married, was bound out in Truro, and served till she was eighteen years of age.

These few incidents, most of them in the history of one family, and that one of the few which had arrived with some means, will give an idea of what they endured for the first few years. All were in the same condition, and none could help another. The remembrance of those days sunk deep into the minds of that generation,and long after, the narration, of the scenes through which thay had passed, beguiled many a winter eve, as they sat by their, now, comfortable firesides.

To return to our narrative. That winter the first death occurred among the immigrants, a child of Donald McDonald, who was buried at John Patterson's [second] place, already mentioned; and the first birth occured, a son of Alexander Fraser, afterward of Middle River named David, afterward Captain Fraser, who lived at what is now Evan's place, about five miles from town.

In the following spring they applied themselves earnestly to provide for the wants of themselves and their families. Though unaccustomed to the use of the axe and the employments peculiar to a new country, yet, except in this respect, never were immigrants better adapted to the work of settling in the wilderness. They were children of the mountain and the flood. They were accustomed to coarse food, inured to hardship in its roughest form, and were not easily dismayed by difficulties. "They accordingly exerted every energy, and sought out suitable spots on which to settle. In their enquiries after these, they were enabled to judge of the virgin mould from the growth and species of wood. Where high and bulky black birch, ash, rock maple, elm or oak was discovered, the land was accounted to be of a strong and superior kind. They explored the different rivers, which abounded with fish; and finding the soil near their banks to be the most fertile, and capable of being more easily improved than that of higher lands, they seated themselves upon it."*

*Philo Antiquarius

Difficulties were thrown in the way of their getting their grant, principally, we presume, through the oppostion of the agents of the Philadelphia Company, by whom they had been brought out. The first grant was to Donald Cameron, who had been a soldier in the Fraser Highlanders at the taking of Quebec. His lot was situated at the Alboin Mines, being the same lot afterward purchased by Dr. McGregor. It is dated 8 th February, 1775, and beside the condition of payment of quit rent, as in the other grants, contains the following:-

"That the grantee, his heirs or assigns, shall clear and work, within three years, three acres for every fifty granted, in that part of the land which he shall judge most convenient and advantageous, or clear and drain three acres of swampy or sunken ground, or drain three acres of marsh, if any such be within the bounds of this grant, or put and keep on his lands, within three years from the date hereof, three neat cattle, to be continued upon the land until three acres for every fifty be fully cleared and improved.

"But if no part of the said tract be fit for present cultivation, without manuring and improving the same, then this grantee, his heirs and assigns shall be obliged, within three years from the date hereof, to erect on some part of said land a dwelling house, to contain twenty feet in length by sixteen feet in breadth, and to put on said land three neat cattle for every fifty acres, or if the said grantee, his heirs or assigns, shall, within three years after the passing of this grant, begin to employ thereon, and so to continue to work for three years next ensuing, in digging any stone quarry or any other mine, one good and able hand for every 100 acres of such tract, it shall be accounted a sufficient seeding, planting, cultivation, and improvement, and every three acres which shall be cleared and worked as aforesaid; and every three acres which shall be cleared and drained as aforesaid, shall be accounted a sufficient seeding, planting, cultivation and improvement, to save for ever from forfeiture fifty acres in every part of the tract hereby granted."

The rest of the Hector passengers, who remained in Pictou, occupied land on the three rivers, especially the intervales, on what had been McNutt's grant, which was now escheated. They did not, however, obtain a title to it for some time. As late as the 22nd January, 1781, they complained, in a petition to the government, that a grant had been often promised but never received. At last it was issued on the 26th of August, 1783. It contains the names of forty-four persons, some of whom had arrived from other quarters after the Hector, conveying the lots on which they had been located, the size of the lots being regulated by the number of their families. The conditions were the same as in Cameron's grant, and the mines reserved are gold, silver, lead, copper and coals. We append a list of the grantees with the number of acres received by each and notices of the situation of their lots [ Appendix A. ]



On West River.

David Stewart 300 acres; John McKenzie, 500; Hugh Fraser, 400; William McClelland-; James McDonald, 200; James McLellan, 100; Charles Blaikie, 300, and in an after division 250 acres, 550 in all; Robert Patterson, 300, and in an after division, 180, 500 in all; James McCabe, 300; Alex Cameron,-. All these lots are still occupied by descendents of the grantees, with the exception of Charles Blaikie's, which was situated opposite Durham, and Robert Patterson's, which was farther down the river.

On Middle River, East Side.

Alex Fraser, 100 acres, where Samuel Fraser now resides; Alex Ross, jr., 100 acres, just below; then above following up the stream, John Smith, 350; Robert Marshall, 350; James McCullough, 240; Alex Ross, 300, an after division to Alex. Fraser, sr., 400 (on the rear of which Westville is now situated); Alex Fraser, jr., 100; John Crockett, 500; Simon Fraser, 500; Donald McDonald, 350; David Urquhart, 250; Kenneth Fraser, 450; James MacLeod, 150.

On East River, East Side.

Walter, Murray, 280 acres (adjoining Indian bearing-ground); and 70 acres in an after division. Then following upstream: James McKay, 70; Donald McKay, jr., 80; John Sutherland, 180, and 70 in an after division; Rod. McKay, sr., 300, and an after division, 50; James Hays,-; Hugh McKay, 100; Alex. McKay, 100; Heirs of Donald McLellan, 260, (then a blank, where New Glasgow is now situated); Hugh Fraser, 400, and an after Division, 100; Wm. McLeod, 80; John McLellan, 200; Thomas Turnbull, 220, and in an after division, 180; Wm. McLeod, 210, and in and after division, 60; Alex. McLean,-; Colin McKenzie, 370.

On East River, West Side.

Donald Cameron, 100 acres, at Loading Ground; James Grant, 400, at Basin; Colin McKay, 400; Wm. McKay, 550; Donald Cameron, 100; Donald McKay, sr., 450; Donald Cameron, a gore lot; Anthony Culton, 500. These extended from below the mines to some distance above them.


In the meantime they were energetically using the means in their power to supply the wants of their families. They learned to hunt moose. Timber of the finest quality abounded, and they soon could split staves or the long shingles formerly mentioned, with their neighbours. Small vessels came from the old colonies, which supplied them with necessaries in exchange for these articles.

Seeing the majestic trees on every side, and knowing the value of timber in Great Britian, they formed the idea of preparing a quantity for exportation. Unskilled in the use of the axe, they invited a company of hewers from Truro, and with their aid prepared, during the summer, a sufficient quantity of squared pine to load a vessel, which had been condemned in Prince Edward Island and purchased by Governor Patterson. This was the first timber ever shipped from Pictou, and the commencement of that wood trade afterward carried on so extensively from this port.

It is just to say that the Indians, as soon as the mutual terror had subsided, treated them with much kindness. From them they learned to make and use snow-shoes, to call moose, and other arts of forest life. From them they often received supplies of provisions. One old man used to say that the sweetest meal he ever ate was provided and prepared by them. Hunger, we presume, was the sauce. The Indians were indeed sometimes disposed to make use of the terror which they knew their name and appearance inspired, particularily among the weaker sex, to secure their object; but it is due to that unhappy race to say, that from the time of the arrival of the Hector, they never gave the settlers any serious molestation, and generally showed them real kindness, which, when the tables were turned, so that the whites had plenty and they were needy, has not always been reciprocated.

During that summer they also prepared to occupy the land which they had selected, but could get little, if any ready for crop that season, and in the fall the majority, even of those who had remained, disheartened at the prospect of another such winter as the past, left for Colchester or other places. By a return made on the 1st January following [1775 ], the following were the families and unmarried men on the settlement at that date:

Families.- John Rogers, Robert Patterson, William McKenzie, Alex. Ross, Kenneth McClutcheon, Wm. McCracken, Abram Slater, Moses Blaisdell, Wm. Kennedy, Colin McKenzie, James McCabe, James Davidson, Bar. McGee.

Unmarried Men.- John Hall, John Patterson, George McConnell, Joseph Richards, James Hathorne, Thomas Troop.

The whole population consisted of 23 men, 14 women, 21 boys, and 20 girls; total 78. The produce raised in that year was 269 bushels wheat, 13 of rye, 56 of peas, 36 of barley, 100 of oats, and 340 lbs. of flax. The farm stock consisted of 13 oxen, 13 cows, 15 young neat cattle, 25 sheep, and 1 swine. There were manufactured 17,000 feet of boards, and Squire Patterson was the owner of a sloop or schooner.

Of the above list over five or six were Hector passengers. The return seems imperfect. At all events, quite a number returned the following season [1775 ]. As the law of the Province then allowed a representative to each township having 50 families, we find a return in that year by Dr. Harris, showing that Pictou contained the required number.[See Appendix B.]




"Jonas Earl, Robt. Watson, Robt. Watson, jr., Daniel Earl, Daniel Earl, jr., Jas. Watson, Isaiah Horton, Patrick Berry, Wm. Aikin, John Fulton, James Fulton, John Patterson, George McConnell, Mat. Harris, Robt. Harris, John Rogers, Wm. McKenzie, Wm. McCracken, Abram Slater, Moses Blaisdell, Wm. Kennedy, Jas. Davidson, John McCabe, Bar. McGee, John Wall, Colin McKenzie, Alex. Ross, Donald McDonald, Wm. McLeod, Walter Murray, Thos. Fraser, Alex. Fraser, Wm. McKay, Hugh Fraser, Alex. Faulkner, Colin McKay, Colin Douglass, James Campbell, Thomas Troop, James Hawthorn, Joseph Glen, John McLennan, Ken McClutcheon, Hugh Fraser, John Ross, George Morrison, Robt. Jones, Don. Cameron, Rod. McKay, Robt. Sims, Peter Hawthorn, John McLellan. - November 8, 1775. (Signed) John Harris." A number of these, set down as families, however were unmarried men at this time. Upon this a petition was presented to the Governor to issue a writ for the election of a representative, but the request was not granted.


That year their circumstances continued to improve and some crop was raised, though not sufficient for their subsistence; and still there were the same weary journeys to Truro for necessaries. They were, however, acquiring more skill in availing themselves of the resources around them. The moose afforded them a supply of meat for the winter, and the rivers plentifully supplied them with fish, and they learned to make sugar from the juice of the maple. One mode of laying up a supply of food for the winter was, to dig a large quantity of clams in the autumn, pile them in a heap on the shore, and cover them with sand, though they were sometimes in winter obliged to cut through ice a foot or more in thickness to get at them.

We give in the appendix a list of the Hector passengers, with notices of their places of settlement, and history, so far as known. [See Appendix C.]




Shipped at Glasgow.

Mr. Scott and family. Unknown.

George Morrison and family. From Banff, obtained grant on west side of Barneys River, where he settled. An island there still called Morrisons Island. Left one daughter, married to David Ballantyne, Cape George.

John Patterson. Family referred to in the history.

George McConnell. Settled on West River, at Ten Mile House. His descendents numerous in this and adjacent counties.

Andrew Main and family. A native of Dunfermline. Settled at Noel, where his descendants still reside.

Andrew Wesley. Unknown.

Charles Fraser. A Highlander, though shipping at Glasgow. Lived at Cornwallis; afterward married and settled at Fishers Grant, where he bought out a soldier of the 82nd. Had one son and two daughters, whose descendants are on West River and elsewhere.

John Stewart. Unknown.

From Invernessshire.

William McKay and family. Afterward Squire McKay; settled on the East River, where the Mines now are. Died second 2nd March, 1828, aged 97, when his death was thus noticed in the Colonial Patriot:-"For a great many years he was a leading man among his countrymen. His house was always open and his table welcome to travellers and neighbours. The proverbial hospitality of Highlanders was never more fully exemplified than by Squire McKay, and in these early times his liberality must have prevented or alleviated the wants of many of his fellow men. He went to bed in his usual health, and was found dead about half an hour after." Had in the "Hector" four children: 1. Donald, who was the first settler on Frasers Mountain. His son, William McKay, the surveyor, was the author of a map of Nova Scotia, published in London, which has supplied information for all the map makers since. 2. Alexander, who afterward owned the land where New Glasgow is now situated. 3. James, who settled opposite the Loading Ground on the East River. 4. A daughter, Sarah, married to William Fraser, surveyor. He had two sons born in this country, John usually known as Collier, and William, who inherited his father's property, where the Halifax Company's works now are, but who afterwards moved to McLennan's Brook, and a daughter married to John McKay.

Roderick McKay and family. He and three brothers, all of whom came to Pictou, were natives of Beauly, in Invernesshire. He took up land at the East River, where his grandson, J.C. McKay, now lives, being one of the first five who settled on the East River, the others being William McKay, Colin McKay, Donald Cameron, and his brother, Donald McKay. He was a blacksmith by trade, and through the influence of some of his wife's friends, afterward obtained a situation as head of the blacksmiths' work in the dockyard at Halifax. He and his wife traveled thither through the woods on foot, each carrying a child. Under his direction was made and placed the chain, which, during the war, was stretched across the north-west arm, to prevent the entrance of hostile vessels. He was a man of middle height, but thick-set and strongly built, distinguished for activity, determination and fertility in resources. His character may be seen from incidents already given, but one that took place before leaving Scotland, was deemed by his countrymen still more worthy of admiration. The gaugers had seized some whiskey which did not belong to them. Indignant at such an invasion of the rights of property, he interposed, and, perhaps, using some needful violence to these myrmidons of Saxon oppression, rescued it from their unworthy hands. So little, however, was his prowess appreciated by the Sassenach bodies, he was for this lodged in a jail in Inverness. His free-born spirit chafed under such restraints, particularly in a cause so good, and he was soon contriving schemes to secure his liberation. Having ingratiated himself with the jailer, he sent him one day to procure a quantity of ale and also of whiskey, in order duly to cement their friendship. The jailer on his return, advancing into the cell with both hands full, Roderick stepped behind him and out at the door. Closing it after him, he locked it and carried off the key, which some say he brought to America with him. The first of these feats would have given him an honorable place in the hearts of his countrymen, but the latter, added to it, was sufficient to make him their idol for ever. We suppose that some in this effeminate age will scarcely regard such affairs is creditable. But similar qualities, exercised for much worse purposes, have rendered Rob Roy the admiration of all lady readers of Sir Walter Scott, and his grave to be visited with veneration, even by Royalty.

When in Halifax he gained notoriety by another feat. An Officer was paying some attention to a female inmate of his house, of which he did not approve. Roderick meeting them together near the Citadel Hill, upbraided him for his conduct, when the latter drew his sword, and before the former was aware, struck him a cruel blow on the head, cutting him so severely that he felt some of the effects as long as he lived. Telling the officer that he would meet him in an hour, he got his head dressed, and prepared within the time, stood before him with a good ash stick. The officer drew his sword, and a combat ensued, but Roderick was not only an adept in all Highland games, but like many Highlanders of that time, was acquainted with the sword exercise, and though his stick bore the marks of the officer's sword cuts, he soon disarmed him, and repaid him heartily for his former cowardly attack. He afterwards returned to his farm on the East River, where he died. One daughter, with him in the "Hector," was afterward married to Dr. McGregor. The rest of his family were born in this country. One daughter, mother of the late J.D.P. Fraser, Esq., our late custos, Robert McKay, Esq., his son.

Colin McKay and family. Served in the Fraser Highlanders at the taking of Louisburg and Québec. Settled on the East River below the Mines. Few of his descendents there. "McKay brothers," of Liverpool, G. B., his grandsons.

Hugh Fraser and family. The following is a copy of a certificate in the possession of a grandson: "These do certify that the Bearer Hugh Fraser, Weaver, a married man was born of honest Parents in this Parish of Kiltarlity, where he has resided from his Infancy and behaved soberly and honestly free of any public scandal. So that now with his Wife and Family are to remove from our bounds we are at freedom to declare that we know no reason why they may not be received into any Christian Society or Congregation where Providence may order their Lot. Given at Kiltarlity this 29th day of June, 1773 years and attested in name of the Kirk Session by
"Malcolm Nicolson, Minister."

Settled on McLellans Brook. Had three children in the "Hector" - 1, Donald, known as Donald Miller; 2, Jane, married to Cameron, Merigomish, and 3, Mary, married to John Fraser, Merigomish. One son, John, long known as John Squire, having been taken sick with small-pox, did not arrive for some years after. Rev. Wm. Fraser, Bond Head, Ontario, a grandson.

Donald Cameron and family. The only Roman Catholic among the passengers, had also served at the taking of Québec, settled on the East River where the Mines now are, on the farm afterward owned by Dr. McGregor. He was drowned in the river. His family removed to Antigonish County.

Donald McDonald and family. Settled on the Middle River, where his descendants are numerous. Had two children in the "Hector," the eldest, Marion, aged 10, afterward married to Alex. Fraser Elder (Middle River), the second, Nancy, who died the winter after arrival, and an orphan niece, Mary Forbes, afterward married to Wm. McLeod, who settled at McLellan's Brook.

Colin Douglass and family. Lost two children on the passage. His eldest daughter survived, afterward married to Peter Fraser, McLellans Mountain. Settled at Middle River, one son long known as Deacon Douglass.

Hugh Fraser and family. Settled at West River about 12 miles from town afterward an elder. His descendants numerous.

Alexander Fraser and family. Settled at Middle River, where and at various other places his descendants are numerous. He is said to have been connected with Lord Lovat, and the family were largely involved in the rising of forty-five. Had three brothers fighting for Prince Charlie at Culloden, of whom two were killed; was too young to serve himself, but followed them, and saw at least part of the scenes of that day. Afterward married Marion Campbell, youngest daughter of the Laird of Skriegh, in Inverness, who had raised a troop to fight for Prince Charlie, and at Culloden was wounded. After the battle he was set up against a wall by the English soldiers to be fired at. Missing him, one of them said, "You poor devil, you're ordained to live for some mischief," and struck him on the face with his musket, knocking out his eye. His wife found him among the dead and wounded, and though with the loss, it is said, of a leg, an arm, and an eye, he survived for some years.

Fraser was in comfortable circumstances, when an instance of Saxon oppression led him to seek for freedom in America. His horses and cart were seized by guagers, with some whiskey that they were carrying. What Highlander's soul will not boil, even at the hearing of such an outrage. The seizers took their plunder to Inverness, where they had it cared for at an inn, and then proceeded to enjoy themselves drinking. When they were comfortably disposed of for the night, the stable lad, who was a relation of Fraser's, took the horses and cart out, and driving across the country, restored them to the proper owner, who lost no time in taking them to some other part of the country, where he disposed of them as well as he could, and, determined to stay no longer in the country, where he was subjected to such treatment, was the first to engage a passenger in the "Hector."

He settled on the Middle River, where Samuel Fraser now resides. He had five children in the "Hector." 1. Alexander, who occupied his father's farm, and was afterward an Elder. 2. Simon, particularly referred to in the history. 3. Catherine, married first to Alexander Ross, afterward to John Fraser (Squire.) 4. Isabella, married to David McLean, Esq., West Branch, East River. 5. Hugh, settled at Middle River Point, and the last survivor but one of the "Hector" passengers.

After arrival he had two sons, David, the first child born to the Highlanders after arrival, and William, the first child born on the Middle River.

James Grant and family. Lived for some time in Kings County; first settled at Grahams Pond, Carriboo; afterward moved to Upper Settlement, East River; father of Alexander Grant, Miller, and Robert Grant, Elder; grandfather of Dr. W. R. Grant, professor of Anatomy in Pennsylvania Medical College. One daughter married to John Sutherland, Sutherlands River; another to McNeil, who removed into Antigonish County, and another to Fraser. The eldest son remained in the old country, and it is believed afterward emigrated to the United States. The supposition of the family is that he was the ancestor of President Grant.

Donald Munroe, went to Halifax, where he married, and had one son, Henry. Afterward settled at West Branch, East River, where he died, and was the first buried there. His descendants numerous in that neighborhood.

Donald Mc____. Name illegible, and history unknown.

From Loch Broom.

John Ross, agent. History unknown.

Alex Cameron and family. Was nearly eighteen years of age at the time of the rising in 1745. There was some badge, which the Highlanders were allowed to wear on their bonnets, on arriving at that age, as a sign of manhood. His brothers followed the Prince, but he being only seventeen years of age, was required to remain at home, where he was employed in herding. But drawn by the crowd who followed the Highland army to Culloden, he left his charge to accompany them. When he returned, his master being very angry, "went for him" to chastise him. He ran and his master pursued. The latter finding him too nimble, stooped down to pick up a stone to throw at him, and in doing so wounded himself with his dirk in the leg, so that he was obliged to remain for some time in hiding, lest he should be taken as having been at Culloden, by the soldiers who were scouring the country, killing any wounded stragglers from the field. Cameron settled at Loch Broom, to which he gave the name of his native parish. He died on the 15th August, 1831, when he must have been at least 103 years of age. He had two children in the "Hector"-1, Alexander, long an elder in the church, and 2, Christiana, afterward married to Alex. McKay, New Glasgow, and several children born after arrival.

Alex. Ross and family. He and his wife advanced in life at arrival. Parents of the next.

Alex. Ross and family. Settled at Middle River, at what has since been known as Olivers farm. Died when only 35 years of age, the youngest of any of the band. Believe the following his children: 1, Donald, who occupied his father's farm, but afterward moved to Ohio; 2, Alexander, who settled at Middle River Point; 3, a daughter married to Archibald Chisholm, East River, and another married to Blair, East River.

Colin McKenzie and family. Settled on East River, about a mile above New Glasgow on the farm immediately above John McLellans. Said to have lived to 104. Had one child on board, Duncan, who died in 1871, in his 100th year, the last survivor of the band.

John Munroe and family. History unknown.

Kenneth McRitchie and family. Probably the same whose name appears in early lists as Kenneth McClutcheon, but know not what became of him.

William McKenzie, an intelligent man, who had enjoyed a better education than the rest, and who had been engaged as schoolmaster for the party, as they expected to settle together. He settled at Loch Broom, where some of his descendants still are.

John McGregor. History unknown.

John McLellan. Settled above New Glasgow, at the mouth of McLellans Brook, and gave his name to that stream and McLellans Mount. Properly the name however was McLennan, the two being quite distinct in Gaelic.

William McLellan. Relative of the last, settled at West River, where some of his descendents still are.

Alexander McLean. Settled at East River, above Irishtown. One son settled on McLennan's Mountain, where his descendants still are.

Alexander Falconer. Settled near Hopewell.

Donald McKay, afterward the Elder, brother of Roderick. Settled at the East River, just above the Mines. His house on the same site is that now occupied by his grandson, Duncan. Another brother, Hugh, came afterward, but died without a family.

Archibald Chisholm. Believed to be the same person who settled at East River, after having served in the 84th Regiment.

Charles Matheson. History unknown.

Robert Sim. After residing for some time in Pictou, removed to New Brunswick, never married.

Alexander McKenzie. History unknown.

Thomas Fraser. History unknown.

From Sutherlandshire.

Kenneth Fraser and family. First settled at Londonderry, but afterward moved to Pictou, where he settled on Middle River, above the bridge at Squire McLeod's. His descendants numerous on Green Hill, Mill Brook, Rogers Hill, &c.

William Fraser and family. History unknown.

James Murray and family. We moved to Londonderry, where his descendants still are.

Walter Murray and family. Settled in Merigomish, where a number of his descendants still are.

David Urquhart and family. Settled at Londonderry. One daughter, the late Mrs. Thomas Davidson, afterward resided in Pictou.

James McLeod and family. Settled at middle River on the farm which has descended to his relative, George McLeod, Esq., he having no children of his own.

Hugh McLeod and family. His wife died as the vessel arrived. Had three daughters on board, one of whom married in Cornwallis; another afterward Mrs. Donald Ross, and the third afterward Mrs. Shiels. Settled on West River. Married the widow of Alexander MacLeod, by whom he had one son, David, long a highly esteemed Elder there.

Alexander MacLeod and family. Was drowned in the Shubenacadie. Had three sons on board; one died in the harbour after the vessel's arrival; another died unmarried; the third, the late Donald McLeod, settled at West River, on a farm still occupied by his descendants.

John McKay and family. History unknown.

Philip McLeod and family. Uncertain.

Donald McKenzie and family. I believe settled at Shubenacadie.

Alex. McKenzie and family. History unknown.

John Sutherland and family. History unknown.

William Matheson and family. First settled at Londonderry, but after Dr. McGregor came to Pictou, removed and settled at Rogers Hill, were John T. Matheson now resides. The eldest son, John, afterward the Elder at Rogers Hill, was three years of age when they landed. His second, born after arrival, the late William Matheson, Esq.

Donald Grant. History unknown.

Donald Graham. History unknown.

John McKay, Piper. History unknown.

William McKay. Went to work with McCabe, one of the old settlers, and thence got the name of McCabe, by which his descendants are still distinguished. Was drowned in the East River by falling from a canoe.

John Sutherland, Removed to Windsor, where he married. Returning settled at the mouth of Sutherlands River, which derived its name from him.

Angus McKenzie. Then only sixteen years of age. Removed to Windsor, where he married. Returning to Pictou some years after, he settled first at the Beaches on the farm afterward owned by the Lowdens, and afterward on Green Hill, where some of his descendents still are.


Though still poor enough, they were provided with at least the necessaries of life, when they were again tried by the arrival of a class poorer than themselves. Inducements having been held out by some of the proprietors of Prince Edward Island [then called St. John ] to parties in Scotland to settle their land, John Smith and Welland Waugh, then resident in Lockerby, in Dumfriesshire, sold out their property, and chartered a small vessel to carry thither their families and any others who might join them. They accordingly arrived at Georgetown, or Three Rivers, in the year 1774, and were followed by others a few months later.

They commenced a settlement with fair prospects of success, when their hopes were blighted by a remarkable visitation. Diereville, a French writer, in a work published in 1699, says:-- "The Island of St. John is stated to be visited every seven years by swarms of locusts or field mice, alternately - never together. After they ravage the land, they precipitate themselves into the sea." There is no evidence of any such regularity in this visitation of mice, but later writers speak of it recurring on the Island at longer or shorter intervals, and there was one of the kind some years later in Nova Scotia, though now it is unknown. At all events, it came upon the new settlers, to whom we have referred, in full force. These animals swarmed everywhere, and consumed everything eatable, even the potatoes in the ground.*

*In some houses at West River are still preserved books of which the leather on the covers has been gnawed by them.

The new settlers would have had difficulties enough under any circumstances, but this filled their cup to the brim,and during the eighteen months that they remained there, they endured all the miseries of famine. For three months in summer, they subsisted on lobster and other shell fish, which they gathered on the shore. In the spring they had obtained from Tatamagouche a few potatoes for seed, but the mice devoured them in the ground, and everything else in the shape of crop, so that when winter came, they were on the verge of starvation. An old woman in my congregation, though a strong child and with a constitution which carried her to ninety years of age, told me that when she was two years of age, she was not able to walk from weakness, owing to want of food, One boy died, it is supposed from eating some herbs which were injurious or poisonous. Waugh had brought a supply of provisions and other articles, so that the first summer they did not suffer much, but at the end of the second season, he had all his goods in the store of a man named Brine, who traded with the small fishing vessels from the colonies. A number of these vessels happened to be in the harbour, and before returning home the crews came ashore for a carousal. The American Revolution was just commencing, and they were leaving with the idea of not returning, expecting when they reached their homes to serve as soldiers or sailors. Before going on board they blundered Brine's warehouse of all it contained, carrying off all Waugh's property.

That winter they would have perished, were it not for a French settlement some miles distant, from which they received supplies, principally of potatoes, in exchange for the clothing they had brought with them from Scotland, until they scarcely retained sufficient to clothe themselves decently. From the scarcity of food the men became reduced to such a state of weakness, and the snow was so deep, that they became at last scarcely able to carry back provisions for their families, and when, with slow steps and heavy labour, they brought them home, such was the state of weakness in which they had left their children, they trembled to enter their dwelling, lest they should find them dead, and sometimes waited at the door, listening for any sound that might indicate that they were alive.*

*One old woman, living in 1831, used to tell that for three months her children had neither bread nor potatoes. During that time their food was principally shell-fish and boiled beech leaves, One calamity she described as having tried them severely. They had brought with them iron pots, but not knowing the severity of the frost in this country, had left water in them, by the freezing of which they were cracked. In their circumstances, believing that they could not obtain others nearer than Scotland, and seeing no hope of obtaining them there, she said that the loss was next to the loss of a child.

Having heard that there was food in Pictou, they, in spring [1776 ] ,sent one of their number [ the late David Stewart ] to inquire into the state of matters there. Some of the American settlers had brought slaves, one of whom had been sold in Truro by his owner, who brought home part at least of the proceeds in wheat, which he was consuming in his family when Stewart arrived and lodged in his house. The latter, amid all his troubles, retained some measure of cheerfulness, and on his return his friends gathered round him to hear his report. "Well, what sort of place is Pictou?" was the enquiry. "Oh, an awful place," was the reply, in a very solemn tone. "How?" it was again asked. He replied, "I stayed with a man who was just eating the last of his nigger." Such was their own condition on the verge of starvation, that for a minute, they actually supposed that people of Pictou were reduced to such a state from hunger as to have devoured the flesh of their colored servants.

Having explained the true state of the case, his report was on the whole so favorable, that they were glad to exchange total want in Prince Edward Island for the partial supply to be found in Pictou. About fifteen families accordingly moved over, of whom seven settled on the West River. When they arrived, the only break in the woods on the west side of the West River was where the Rev. George Roddick now resides. Four settled on the Middle River and two on the East River. The John Smith who came with Waugh removed to Truro. He first visited that place to have his child baptized and to hear the gospel, camping in the woods between Pictou and that place. In the fall be brought over part of his movables, carrying a large two cwt. anvil to Truro on a horse, which he hired from Squire Patterson. Wellwood Waugh settled on what has since been known as Dunoons farm. He used to tell that he left the Island with only a bucket of clams for the support of himself and family; that the day after his arrival in Pictou he went to the woods to make staves, and was able to make a living for them ever after. His step- brother, William Campbell, then a young man, who came with him, settled on the farm next above.

Though the Highlanders were ready to extend their wonted hospitality to the new comers, and did so, to the best of their ability, yet, having barely sufficient for the support of their own families, such an influx pressed heavily upon them. Though these people arrived here in such desitution, they were among the most valuable of the early settlers of this counrtry, and their descendants to this day are among the most respectable members of the community.

We give in an appendix a list of these settlers, with notices of their places of settlement .
[ Appendix D.]




On West River.

Charles Blaikie. Settled on east side of the river, opposite Durham, on the farm now belonging to David Matheson.

David Stewart. Settled farther up on same side, where his descendants still reside.

Anthony McLellan. Settled on west side of the river, just at Durham.

William Clark. Settled above him on same side of the river, where his descendants still reside.

Joseph Richard. On same side of the river, below the Ten Mile House, where his descendants still are.

John McLean. Settled where his son, the late John McLean, Elder, lived; was one of the first Elders ordained by Dr. McGregor; the Rev. John MacLean, of Richibucto, his grandson, and John S. McLean, of Halifax, his great-grandson.

William Smith. Father of late Anthony Smith, Esq.; settled near the Ten Mile House.

On Middle River.

Robert Marshall. Afterward the Elder. His house stood close by the bridge crossing McCullochs Brook, close by the road leading to Middle River.

John Crockett. Settled where his grandson, W.P. Crockett, now lives.

Robert Brydone. Settled farther up the River.

John Smith. Had come out to Prince Edward Island as agent for some of the proprietors, earlier than the other settlers. He settled on the property since owned by Thomas Horn; was drowned, it is said, with a daughter, Mrs. McCulloch, and her child, which they were taking to Pictou to have baptized, and another woman.

On East River.

Thomas Turnbull. Settled on McLennans Brook.

Anthony Culton. Settled above the Mines.

Besides these, we have already mentioned Wellwood Waugh, with whom came a half-brother, William Campbell, then a young man, who settled on the farm above him, a little below the town.

All these have left numerous descendants in various places.


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