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Scotch Grove Pioneers
part 3

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.

To a New World
[Picture][Space]At Stromness the people were lodged in the homes of the inhabitants until ready to embark. They had expected Lord Selkirk to meet them here and to accompany them to Assiniboia but were disappointed to learn that the affairs of the colony were such that the Earl would have to wait until a later boat.
[Space]"The Prince of Wales" was a vessel of about 600 tons and sat low in the water. Her bows were iron-plated and the water lines covered with oak to enable her to battle through the ice. Shorty after the voyage began, an American privateer was sighted. The convoy ship "The Brazen," chased and captured it and took it into an English port?an incident of the War of 1812.

Crowded Quarters
[Space]The quarters of the emigrants near the bow of the ship were dark, cold, and cramped. To provide privacy plaids were hung, and kilts were used for pillows. When rough weather was encountered many fell ill from seasickness. Then the dreaded ship fever, or typhus, broke out, and in such close quarters it spread rapidly. McCulloch writes:
[Space]"In less than a week the dreaded fever had swept the little ship. Hugh MacDonald died painfully in the night. The wasted bodies of Catherine, daughter of Donald Gunn of Borabal, and William Sutherland, a young man of great promise, were consigned to the grey waters two days later. In the midst of this horror the surgeon Laserre suddenly expired. The sick could not be isolated, accommodations being limited. So the sick lay moaning among the healthy in every part of the ship."

Fever Abated
[Space]After three weeks the fever abated somewhat and those able to go on deck were diverted and also alarmed by the huge icebergs encountered near Greenland. On August first, vague outlines of the coast of North America were sighted and Eskimos came to the vessel across the ice, laden with furs and articles for barter. Heavy storms were met in Hudson Bay and for three days the ship drifted drunkenly among the dangerous shoals, but on August 29, the weary eyes of the people were gladdened by glimpses of the land that meant hope to them.

Gruff Captain
[Space]What was the consternation of Miles Macdonell to find that Captain Turner was landing them at Fort Churchill, a bleak outpost, instead of taking them 150 miles south to York Factory where the colonists were expected and where accommodations were ready for them. But the stubborn Captain Turner would not be reasoned with, so the passengers were literally dumped on the rocks of Sloop's Cove with their feeble and ill amid the jungle of their gear.
[Space]And in that cold, inhospitable spot, at least eight of the little party died during the month of September; and the grave of John Sutherland plainly marked, remains there to this day.

The Bitter Winter of 1813-'14
[Picture][Space]Since the colonists could not winter on the barren rocks of Sloop's Cove nor elsewhere in that exposed area, it was decided to make a camp fifteen miles from the fort on the wooded banks of the Churchill river. In deep snow, with unfinished huts and scanty clothing the settlers suffered terribly. Food was scarce and the nearest supplies were fifteen miles away. The manual labor under such adverse circumstances was very hard for them, but their leader said of them, "The settlers proved willing though possessed of an indomitable Presbyterian aversion to work on Sunday."
[Space]Scurvy attacked the camp, and too weak already the settlers refused to submit to the bleeding, a general cure-all, ordered by a surgeon of the company. Finally it was allayed by a medicine made from spruce; and when myriads of partridges and herds of deer appeared, the settlers recovered their strength and spirits on this diet of fresh meat, and were eager to start for York Factory where they should have wintered, a journey of 150 miles across the snow.
[Space]Forty-one left in April, 1814, to attempt the march. Among these was the widowed Catherine Grant Sutherland, her sons and her daughter Janet, "Little Janet" they called her.

Overland Trail
[Space]When the little party, equipped with snowshoes was ready to start, the four heaviest and most active men took the ropes of the sleds at the head of the procession to make a trail for the women and the children, and two active men brought up the rear to check the stragglers. The bagpiper in the middle, at a signal from Miles Macdonell threw the pipes across his shoulder and put "The Road to the Isles" on the chanter.
[Space]They were soon afflicted with snow blindness. They encountered blinding blizzards. The sharp crust of the snowdrifts cut their knees so their trail was marked with blood. But always there was their leaders to cheer them on, and at night a cheery campfire with buffalo robes on the snow, plenty of oatmeal and roasted partridges and gallons of hot tea.
[Space]When they reached York Factory, plans were made to continue the journey to the Forks, a distance of more than 500 miles. So this group with others, numbering 120 in all, left York, May 14, 1814, and traveling by boat and by grueling portage, with 300 miles on Lake Winnipeg into the Red river, and reached the Forks in fifty-five days.
[Space]There on the site of the present city of Winnipeg Miles Macdonell in the name of Lord Selkirk allotted to the head of each family, ten chains of land, or 660 feet, on the banks of the Red river, the land running back to a distance of from two to four miles. This method of allotment had the advantage of bringing the houses of the settlers close together for protection and communication, and also of giving each family a right to the river, which furnished the only means of transportation and also provided them with food and water. At the present time, some of these water lots are held in Winnipeg, one in possession of the Robert McBeth family having come down directly from Lord Selkirk.

The Fourth Party
[Picture][Space]A fourth party landed at York Factory, August 26, 1815, and proceeded to the Forks, or Kildonan as it was affectionately called for the parish that had been home to generations of these immigrants. This group was especially important because it brought James Sutherland, an elder called a Catechist and authorized to marry and baptize. Until his removal to Eastern Canada he took the place of the Presbyterian minister Lord Selkirk had promised these peopleŚa promise he did not fulfil. Others listed in this party are William Sutherland, 54; Isabel Sutherland 50, his wife; Jeremiah 15, Ebenezer 11, Donald 7, Helen 12, his children. The last three are mentioned as being at school. The three eldest children of this family, Alexander, William and Kate or Catherine had come with the third party, William dying at sea.
[Space]In this fourth group was the family of Alexander McBeath, listed as an old soldier, a member of the 73rd Highlanders, and said to be one of the survivors of the Black Hole of Calcutta. His children were Margaret 18, Molly 18, (evidently twin sisters) George 16, Roderick 12, Robert 10, Adam 6, Morrison 4.
[Space]Those of the Sutherland family connected with Scotch Grove history were the mother Isabel, who died shortly after her arrival here; Alexander, Ebenezer, Donald, and Kate who came as the wife of John McIntire. Of the McBeath family, Margaret came to Scotch Grove as the wife of John Sutherland. One of the McBeath sons married a daughter of Donald Livingston, and their daughter Johanna was the wife of John E. Lovejoy; while Annie, another daughter, married John O. Callahan, both families closely connected with this community.



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Last updated on Tuesday, 10-Apr-2018 14:44:20 MST