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Scotch Grove Pioneers
part 2

Those interested in the Scotch Grove settlers may want to contact Rose DeRocher. She has some early marriage records from the Red River Settlement and will do lookups.

Lord Selkirk's Colonization Plans
[Space]Lord Selkirk is often called a remarkable man who lived before his time. He was an idealist, almost a radical, with a passionate concern for the wrongs of the poor. Like most idealists, he was not always practical nor did he show judgment in choosing men to execute his plans. Therefore in carrying out his projects especially in colonization schemes, there was an immense cost in blasted lives and broken hearts, and he himself died a broken and disappointed man.
[Space]He traveled widely for his day and had visited Canada where he had become interested in the civilization of the Indians and advocated the suppression of the liquor traffic with them. As early as 1803 he established an emigration party of several hundred poor people on Prince Edward Island.

Wrongs of Poor
[Space] Although a Lowlander with a vast estate at the mouth of the Dee, he had spent much time in the Highlands and had learned the Gaelic language. He attended the University of Edinburgh, where he knew Sir Walter Scott and later became a friend of Robert Burns with whom he thrilled over the wrongs of the poor and loyalty to Scotland. The sufferings of the evicted Highlanders touched his heart, and he began plans for a colony of these people in the then wilderness called Assiniboia.
[Space]This land was then known even to the Highland people through the activities of the Hudson's Bay Company, which had controlled the rich fur trade of the Dominion of Canada from Quebec to the Northwest Territory through a charter secured in 1670 from King Charles II. Before 1680, there were at least three forts and trading posts built in this territory, one of these being York Factory on the west coast of Hudson Bay, later a place of great significance to the colonists. The great rival of the Hudson's Bay Company was the North West Company, which had defied the Royal Charter and under the leadership of Alexander Mackenzie had become a powerful foe.

Hudson's Bay Company
[Picture] In1808, Lord Selkirk having secured the control of the Hudson's Bay Company had acquired from that organization approximately 110,000 square miles of land, from the grand forks of the Red River and the Assiniboia to the headwaters of Lake Winnipeg. This land was largely unbroken prairie and included some of the best wheat land on the continent. While the Earl undoubtedly launched his plan in the interests of the impoverished and evicted Scottish farmers, he also had an eye to the interests of the Company by providing cheap labor in the trading posts and a ready supply of cheaper provisions in the country.
[Space]Now Lord Selkirk was ready to promote his colonization plans actively. He sent agents into the Highlands to describe Assiniboia as "A land with black soil seven feet deep and no stones, with wood in abundance, fish and game for the catching, and great stretches of grass as thick as heather before the spring burning." Such homes were to be theirs free. Applications from more than seven hundred of the evicted farmers came in.
[Space]The North West Company, alarmed at the inroads a large agricultural colony might make in the fur trade, countered with letters to the "Inverness Journal" describing the atrocities of the Indians, and the severity of the climate, all giving Assiniboia a very bad name indeed. While these efforts dampened the enthusiasm of the Highlanders, many still had faith in Lord Selkirk, and to the stronger and more adventurous spirits his project had great appeal. Besides, these people were in desperate straits and this new land offered a refuge and a hope to them and their children.

Three Expeditions Are Sent Out
[Space]In 1811, Lord Selkirk had sent out a shipload of servants or employees, about one hundred rough and rebellious men from Glasgow and the Orkneys, to prepare the way for the settlers who were to follow.
[Space]Their boat left Stornaway in the Hebrides, July 26, 1811, and was signaled at York Factory, September 24, sixty-one days after. This party did not attempt to reach the Forks, the place of permanent settlement, until the next summer, and then made the journey of 728 miles in fifty-five days, arriving at what is now St. Boniface, across the river from the present site of Winnipeg, in August, 1812. There they began to clear the land for the settlers.
[Space]The second party, known as Owen Keveney's party from the name of the leader, included seventy-one men, women, and children and sailed on the "Edward and Ann" from Stromness in the Orkneys.
[Picture][Space]According to Dr. George Bryce, an authority on the history of the period, the ships lists found in the archives at Ottawa and Montreal are far from complete or correct. Of this group of seventy-one only seventeen names are given, including that of a John McIntyre. However, the Honor Roll in Martin's Hudson's Bay Company Tenures indicates those who arrived each year, and this includes among the arrivals of 1812 the names of Donald Livingston, Alexander Mclean, John McLean, Alexander McBeath, and John Sutherland, all names significant in Scotch Grove history.
[Space]This party reached the Forks October 27, 1812, only two months after the first party, and found but little preparation made for them, so they spent a terrible winter, suffering from cold and scarcity of food.
[Space]In spite of discouragements at home and abroad, in 1813 a still larger group of Kildonan families had sold their few possessions and waited transportation. Lord Selkirk himself came to Sutherlandshire in the spring of that year to make arrangements, and his Gaelic speech and charming personality gave the people new faith in his plan. Accordingly, the third party, known as the Churchill Party, sailed on the "Prince of Wales," convoyed by H. M. S. "Brazen," with the company's servants on the "Eddystone," from Stromness in the Orkneys, June 28, 1813. Miles Macdonell was leader of the party and Captain Turner had charge of the "Prince of Wales." Of the ninety-seven names in the ship's list, the following information is given concerning those from Kildonan who became associated with Scotch Grove history in some way.

Sturdy Pioneers
[Space]"John Sutherland, 60, died September 2, at Churchill, a very respectable man. Catherine Grant 46, his wife; George 18, Donald 16, Alexander 9, his sons; Janet 14, his daughter.
[Space]"Alexander Sutherland, 24; William Sutherland, 19, his brother; Kate Sutherland 20, his sister. "Alexander McKay 24; Jean 24, his wife. Robert Gunn, 20, piper; Mary Gunn, his sister.
[Space]"John McIntyre to Port William, entered; service of Hudson's Bay Company, July 1814."

The Voyage of the Churchill Party
[Space]In his "History of Manitoba," Donald Gunn, born in Caithness in 1797, who came with this party and who later became a school master in the colony tells of the embarking vividly as it would appeal to a sixteen year old boy.
[Space]"The people gathered at Thurso (on the north coast) then by a boat, 'The Water Witch,' to Stromness in the Orkneys. The embarkation commenced in the forenoon and by one o'clock all were on board the craft. The forepart of the hold was formed into a huge bin filled with oatmeal, the after part of the hold was occupied by a bull and a cow of the largest and finest breed to be obtained in Rosshire."
[Space]J. M. McCulloch in "The Men of Kildonan" describes the scene with real emotion:

Leave Takings
[Space]"The folks that were not of the expedition came down to the sea with us carrying our dorlachs (baggage) and talking cheery. At last and long we said our farewells for the last time and took our places on the crowded boats. The shore fell away as the salt water lappered briskly against our boats, and above our heads the white gulls whirled in confusion and cried querulously, Duncan McDonald filled his bagpipes, and 'Cha till! Cha till! Cha till! mi tuille' came from the chanter with the wail of the Skye in it, and the booming of the angry seas. The wind wafted the plaintive notes shoreward, and the old women on the pier spread their plaids to the sky and cried 'Ochanerie' (exclamation of grief) across the widening water. 'Cha till! Cha till! Cha till mi tuille' answered the pipes. So we slipped away."



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