A Very Fine Class of Immigrants: Prince Edward Island's Scottish Pioneers, 1770-1850

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Dundurn, May 15, 2007 - History - 208 pages
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Scots who opted for pioneer life in Prince Edward Island are the subject of this book. Being the first of the "northern" colonies to be sold off in its entirety to proprietors in the late eighteenth century, P.E.I. acquired its Scots earliest, doing so even before the start of the American War of Independence in 1775. The colonization of Prince Edward Island by Scots takes us back to a period when the process of emigration and settlement were in their infancy.

The Pioneer Scots of Prince Edward Island should command our respect. They showed tremendous courage and determination and most were successful.

Previous studies of early Scottish emigration to the New World have tended to concentrate on the miseries of evictions and the destruction of old communities. In this groundbreaking study of the influx of Scots to Prince Edward Island, the widely held assumption that emigration was solely a flight from poverty is challenged. By uncovering previously unreported ship crossings, as well as a wide range of manuscripts and underused sources such as customs records and newspaper shipping reports, the book provides the most comprehensive account to date of the influx of Scots to the Island. "A Very Fine Class of Immigrants" is essential reading for individuals wishing to trace family links or deepen their understanding of how and why the Island came to acquire its distinctive Scottish communities. And by accessing, for the first time, shipping sources like Lloyd’s List and the Lloyd’s Shipping Register, the author brings a new dimension to our understanding of emigrant travel. Lucille H. Campey demonstrates that far from sailing on disease-ridden leaky tubs, as popularly imagined, the Island’s Pioneer Scots usually crossed the Atlantic on the best available ships of the time.

 

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Contents

Push Pull and Opportunity
3
The First Arrivals from Scotland
16
The Selkirk Settlers of 1803
32
The Coming of the Timber Trade
48
Emigrants from Dumfriesshire
66
Later Arrivals from Skye
80
Leaky Tubs or First Class Ships?
90
He Thinks Himself Already a Prince
100
Extant Passenger Lists for ship crossings from Scotland to PEI
105
Emigrant Ship Crossings from Scotland to PEI
135
Notes
151
Bibliography
166
Index
172
About the Author
183
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Dr. Lucille Campey is a Canadian, living in Britain, with over thirty years of experience as a researcher and author. It was her father’s Scottish roots and love of history that first stimulated her interest in the early exodus of people from Scotland to Canada. She is the great-great-granddaughter of William Thomson, who left Morayshire, on the northeast coast of Scotland, in the early 1800s to begin a new life with his family, first near Digby, then in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He is described in D. Whidden's History of the Town of Antigonish simply as "William, Pioneer" and is commemorated in the St. James Church and Cemetery at Antigonish. Lucille's mother, Cecile Morency, who was born in Ste-Marie-de-Beauce, is a descendant of Guillaume Baucher dit Morency, who settled in Ile d'Orleans in 1659.

Lucille was awarded a Ph.D. by Aberdeen University in 1998 for her research into Scottish emigration to Canada in the period 1770-1850. Lucille has published six books on the subject of emigrant Scots to Canada. Described by the P.E.I. Guardian as "indispensable to Islanders of Scottish ancestry," her first book, "A Very Fine Class of Immigrants": Prince Edward Island’s Scottish Pioneers 1770-1850 (Natural Heritage, 2001), gives the most comprehensive account to date of the Scottish influx to the Island. Her second book, "Fast Sailing and Copper-Bottomed": Aberdeen Sailing Ships and the Emigrant Scots They Carried to Canada 1774-1855 (Natural Heritage, 2002), gives a gripping account of emigrant shipping from the north of Scotland to Canada in the sailing ship era. Her third book, The Silver Chief: Lord Selkirk and the Scottish Pioneers of Belfast, Baldoon and Red River (Natural Heritage, 2003), examines the three Selkirk settlements in Canada. According to the distinguished genealogist and author Ryan Taylor "the three titles now stand as a significant contribution to Canadian immigrant literature." Her fourth book is After the Hector: The Scottish Pioneers of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, 1773-1852 (Natural Heritage, 2004), her fifth is The Scottish Pioneers of Upper Canada, 1784-1855: Glengarry and Beyond (Natural Heritage, 2005), and her sixth book is Les Écossais: The Pioneer Scots of Lower Canada, 1763-1855 (Natural Heritage, 2006). A seventh book, which will deal with emigration from Scotland to New Brunswick, will be published by Natural Heritage in Spring 2007.

A chemistry graduate of Ottawa University, Lucille worked initially in the fields of science and computing. After marrying her English husband, she moved to the north of England, where she became interested in medieval monasteries and acquired a Master of Philosophy Degree (on the subject of medieval settlement patterns) from Leeds University. Having lived for five years in Easter Ross, in the north of Scotland, while she completed her doctoral thesis, she and Geoff returned to England, and now live near Salisbury in Wiltshire.

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