EMIGRATION FROM THE LONG ISLAND.
LETTERS of EMIGRANTS from the Property of Lady Gordon-Cathcart in the Long Island.
1.—From William M'Pherson, Benbecula Settlement, to his BROTHER
NORTH-WEST TERRITORY, 17th June 1883
DEAR BROTHER,—I know you are longing very much for a letter from me, but I was so very long in getting settled, and I did not like to write till I would be able to give you the address. Dear brother, I trust you are all well in health. I am thankful to say that we are both well and strong after our long journey, thanks be to the Giver of all blessings for his goodness to us.
Dear brother, in the first place I will give you a short account of our travelling. We were five days and five nights in the train from Quebec to Winnipeg. We stayed one night at Winnipeg ; we were another half day and night between that and Brandon, and we were a whole fortnight at Brandon, while MacDiarmid and John Macdonald were out here looking for the land. Then we came to Wapella. That is the nearest station to here. It is about a hundred miles west from Brandon, and about six or seven miles from here. We did not take the lakes, for they were blocked up with snow, but we got on all the way by the train for the same fare as by taking the lakes.
We took a whole week driving our things from Wapella to here with the oxen, and then we got settled, and we have been busy since ploughing and planting the potatoes. We are done putting out the seeds. Lachlan and I are ploughing together. We have only one team of oxen between us. We planted twenty-four bushels of potatoes, four bushels of oats, and two bushels of barley, between us. We are going to begin some kind of houses before we plough any more, and when the houses are finished we will begin breaking for next year.
Now I may tell you about the country. It is as beautiful a place as I have ever seen, and I think it is very healthy. It is not a bit hotter than at home. We have plenty of wood and water. We have fine weather, with heavy showers of rain.
Every one of us took oxen, cows, stoves, tents, and provisions from Brandon. I have two cows and two calves of my own. Dear brother, I may say that I am very well pleased with the place. I got enough of trouble before I got here, and I have plenty of work to do this year; but for all that, if God spare me my health, I don't mean to be the least sorry for coming here, unless something wrong comes in my way. I know I will be a great deal better here in a few years than at home.
Dear brother, I am very sorry indeed that you have not all come out with me. If you, and Donald, and Morag had come, we would have got three homesteads, and by taking one pre-emption we would have a whole section to ourselves; we would be settled together, and would be as happy as the day is long. Two of us would do all the work, or I should should say one of us and Morag would do, and the other two at work, and in a short time we would be very well off.
Dear brother, it makes my heart sore to think the way you two are working at home, and having so little thanks or comfort for it, when we might have been here very well and happy if you had come. Dear brother, I hope you will write soon, for I cannot tell you how we two are longing to hear how matters are with you. Be sure to write and tell us all, for it seems to us as long as ages to be so long without hearing from you. I hope Mary is better and at home with you before now. I know you have enough to do and to look after just now when Donald is away, but I think he will be at home before you get this.
The two of us send our dear love to you, dear brothers and sister, not forgetting Morag Veag and any other inquiring friends. Write soon. With love to you all—Your loving brother,
P.S.—You may tell Mr MFadyen when you see him that I saw his brotherin-law when we were at Brandon. He is in good health and very well off. He got land five miles out of Brandon. John Ferguson from South Uist came out here last week. He is expecting to get the other half of our section. Tell me how the crops are looking. We have fine briard on what we sowed four days ago. The only thing we miss most from here is the church. There is no church at all here, but a missionary holds a meeting every second Sunday. There was nobody here when we came except two or three English settlers, but in another year I think it would be very hard to get even one half section.
Dear brother, I hope you will write soon. With kindest love from us both to you all, dear brothers and sister. W. M'P.
2.—From MARION M'PHERSON to MORAG VEAG.
MY DEAR MARION,—I was expecting to write to you many a time since I left, but I have not had much time for writing; besides, I know you were hearing everything from the letters we were sending home. Dear Marion, I don't need to give you the news of this country, as Norman will tell you all I have to say just now. William is always wishing that your mother and all of you were here, for you would get on far better than at home. Dear Marion, I hope you will write to me soon with all your news. This is a short letter, but the next one will be longer. I hope that Miss Ashley is still as kind to you as before. Tell me if you are hearing from Mrs Hadden, or how she is getting on. Give our kind love to your dear mother and family, to Mr and Mrs M'Rae and family, not forgetting yourself and Morag. Dear Marion, we miss you all very much indeed, but if God spares us all, perhaps we will see each other yet. Excuse this bad scribble, for I am in an awful hurry. Love to you, dear, from us both.
3.—From ALEXANDER M'PHERSON, Pipston, Wapella,
2nd July 1883
DEAR SiR,—I am going to enclose these lines to you, in order to let you know that I and Mrs M'Pherson and son, and all the rest of our party, are enjoying good health at present, as I wish that this may find you and family in the same state.
Now, in the first place, I have to tell you that we got a very good passage coming across the Atlantic. We were fifteen days in the boat coming across. We arrived at Quebec on 3rd May at 10 o'clock A.M., and proceeded on our far west journey at 5 o'clock the same day. We were in the train for five days and nights without an hour's rest until we arrived at Winnipeg on the 9th May, after having come 2000 miles by rail, and, believe me, we were quite tired of it. We stayed only a day at Winnipeg, and then we started west to another town, 132 miles distant, called Brandon. We stayed in that town twelve days, while the chief land surveyor and some of our party were away looking for good land for us. While they were away I bought my implements,—one pair of oxen at 200 dollars (4s. 2d. to a doRar); one cow, 75 dollars; one waggon, 75 dollars; one plough and harrow, 38 dollars; stove, with all its furniture, 30 dollars. Provisions and groceries are dear here, and it is no wonder, this is only a new country just started. I have to tell you that we are well pleased with our land. We have got plenty of good land, very good water, any amount of timber; also we are not under bondage to any man, as we have been in Benbecula.
I have also to tell you that I sowed twelve bushels of potatoes, four bushels of barley, half a bushel of white beans, carrots, onions, and turnips, and to look at them after coming up is a glory you would not believe, and we are thinking ourselves happy that we left Benbecula in time. I pity poor people that are labouring in the old country for merely nothing, when they could make a very good living here even with a day's wages, although they were not able to get implements for their land at the first start. But the most of the poor people would not be able to come here even although they were willing, the road is so long and the expenses heavy. We will be praising Lady Gordon Cathcart for ever for her kindness to us in applying to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company and to the Government for us, and also for the good assistance we got from her. But we had great trouble in getting the money after coming here. Things were dearer to us owing to the way we got it. All the money was sent to the Government agent in one lump to get implements for us with it, and the way it was paid away was ' You go out and buy, and I will pay the bill.' Now when you have no money in hand things are dearer. But that was not her fault. Now, dear sir, I hope that you will let me know all the news of the place. How are you all coming on since we left ? Let me know how my father and family are doing. Donald Macdonald is present, and sends his kind regards to you and Mrs Fyffe and family, also to Miss Kerr. He is to write to you and to Miss Kerr shortly.
You may tell John, my brother, if he is intending to come here this year, I will be well pleased. But he will get no land nearer to me than a mile and a half, and if that will be too far away, I will give him the size of his father a croft for ever for nothing, and I am sure that is more than what his father
The cause of my delay in writing to you and to others was because I did not know the address till lately, and at that time I was in a hury ploughing. Tell John, my brother, if he intends coming this year to write me, so that I can make some preparation for him. You will give my love to Michael Macaulay and to the tailor, and to all inquirers, also to my father and brothers. Mrs M'Pherson and myself join in sending you and family our kindest love.
my address is—Cnoc na Monic Farm, Pipeston Creek, Benbecula Settlement, Wapella, North-West Territory, North America.
It is called after my father's farm. Good-bye.
I remain, yours ever truly, ____
4.—From JOHN M'DONALD, Benbecula Settlement.
BENBECULA SETTLEMENT, WAPELLA STATION, C.P.R., N.W. TERRITORY, 7th July 1883.
DEAR SIR,—As I promised to let you know about this new country, I will send you this short note. I have to inform you that we are in good health, hoping this will find all friends enjoying the same blessings. You can understand that we was too late for tillage this season. We left Glasgow on the 19th April; fourteen days on the ocean passage, five days by rail from Quebec to Winnipeg, one day in Winnipeg, ten days in Brandon; we take another between the said villages and Wapella, and three days driving our luggage. The time ran to 27th of May before we commence to plant the potatoes, but the small portion of crops we plants is doing well, They promised us before we left that they appoint agent to select lands for our party. If the land was selected for us we was in good time for cultivation; but, in one way, no man is able to select land for another but the very m a n himself.
I understand that the land we had is very good,—it is suitable for corngrowing and stock-raising,—and also we have good bluffs of timber, but not much for use except fire and fencing, Many farmers here have to drive firewood for the distance of five to ten miles. We are getting tired gathering good logs for a house not more than half a mile of distance. The summer here is very pleasant—not so warm as we expect. We call it fine weather in the old country, but we don't use any flannel or drawers. But you will feel the weather warmer in the tents, and also, I believe, the winter is not so severe as they say.
About this country, you are not able to understand the beauty of the soil—all covered with long grass and every sort of flowers. Small ponds are very numerous, surrounded with long grass or small trees. Dogs of every description are very very abundant, the same as the dogs I left behind me. Any amount of rapits (rabbits), prairie hens—same as grouse, but a size larger—partridges, plovers, geese, cranes—and they are very large, and some elks—and they are as large as a cow, and saw some black bear. No gamelaw in this country; but we are busy, and not able to spend much time in sport till we get up our houses, but if I will spend a day, I will find enough to keep the pot going. I and M'Diarmid was yesterday driving timber, and I stating if we was at Benbecula market with our wagon and oxen that we would have more attendance then any whisky tent in the market. I believe you heard about the death of my Mary before. Everything must have his own end. Give my respects to unkle's family. Christy asks you to send your cards.
I must come to conclusion, and you must excuse hurry and errors. Write as soon as you will Rnd this, and I will answer any inquiry afterwards. Give our regards to M r M'Kay's family, and tell John that I was willing to write letters of him before this, but he must excuse me. I will be looking for his letter.
— I am, yours truly.
5.—Copy LETTER from L. MATHESON, Benbecula Emigrant, to C. CAMERON,
Craegarry Farm, Benbecula.
NORTH-WEST TERRITORY, August 11th, 1883.
DEAR MR CAMERON,—You must excuse me for being so long in writing you, but I was waiting till I would be able to tell you the news of the country. In the first place, I am happy to say that I am well in health, and all my family and every one of my friends here, trusting to God you and all friends in like manner. I may tell you I am very well pleased with this place yet; as far as I can see, it is a real good country. Everything bad that we were hearing before we left was all lies. You haven't heard a single true word about it. The summer was not any hotter than at home. If the winter will be as favourable as the summer, we will be very lively. The weather was awfully fine all the time since we came. I haven't seen a single rainy day since we left the old country, but there is heavy showers some days. The crop is looking awful good. I haven't seen better looking corn and potatoes in my life. we are lifting the potatoes ; they were only eight weeks in the ground, and they are as big as I have seen in the old country two months after this, and as good. You won't believe the crop and the grass that is here, when you don't see it, but you may believe that I am telling the truth. I have some grass from three to five feet high for cutting, and there is good grass in every bit of it; it is the place for stock. I am done cutting the grass for winter. I have three stooks made ; they are as big as any you ever had. There is no trouble whatever in the grass here. we have only to cut it, and to put it in the stook the day after ; it needs no drying, because the weather is always dry. I have plenty of firewood and of water quite near hand ; there is firewood and water in every place here about, and plenty of land for tillage. I haven't seen the least thing to frighten me since I came, not even as much as an Indian. There is no wild beast here. The moskittes was pretty bad last month, but not much worse than the mitches when they are bad at home. I have seen no other bad flies. The nearest railway station is six miles from me, but as the people is flocking out here every week, I think the train will be coming nearer than that soon ; likely this place will be full in another year. When we came there was not a single house to be seen far or near, and I could scarcely count them to-day. They are coming up from Ontario and aR these places. I am sorry that my brothers hath not come with me, specially John and Malcolm, but I hope if anybody will come, they will come. They would do better here'in one year than three at home. You will ask them if they would let me know if they would like to come; and you will tell me true what they will say when you will write. You know that I would not ask them to come if I would think that letters of they would do better at home. Give my kindest love to all friends and Emigrants inquirers. Tell me if the Commissioners did any good. I read Mr Roderick's Long Island, speech in paper; I liked very well—Your truly friend,
Address— Lachlan M'Pherson,
Wapella Station, <
P.S.—I am sending you this for to see the money that is here. &—COPY OF LETTER from JoHN M'CORMICK, Benbecula Emigrant, to SALINA M'DoNALD, Benbecula.
WAPELLA STATION, August 20th, 1883.
SALINA MACDONALD,—In these few lines I took the opportunity of writing you to let you know I got your letter on 10th of August, in which I was very sorry to hear of your dear sister Marion. My mother was sick hearted when she heard of it, but glad that the rest of the family are all well in health ; the whole of our family are enjoying the same state of health since we came to this country. I must now state down so as to let you know some things about this country. According to my experience, I cannot see nor hear nothing that would keep back men that would be willing to come if they were able to come. we have the best climate that can be found, and healthy since I came, what we saw of the spring and all summer and autumn too. It is twice better than the climate we left after us ; the summer is dry every day, but I don't give any account of the winter yet, but I know that the men here will no be a day absent from work through the winter. There was three thousand persons working at the railway company last winter and not a day absent I will get work here through the winter myself too, and I expect to live only eight miles from home. My wages is different wages ; some days 9s. 6d., some days 7s., but the main ngure is 6s. a day, working only eight hours a day, some days five hours, and some days nine. There is no broken time ; although I woulden work but one hour I would get my day. Girl's wages is pretty well too, from three to four pound a month, and board, but land is the most best of all, it is far more profitable ; but I woulden want an empty family to come ; they should require to have £100 arriving in Winnipeg for their farm implements and house furniture. Ourselves are well pleased for our journey here. we are doing improvement on the land ; we have 16 acres ploughed ready for next year. We have 400 and 80 acres of the best land in the world. Our crop is looking splendid. we got up the winter home and stable for our cattle, but we expect to make a better house next summer if we'll be spared and well Will have not to plough in the spring time, nothing but to sow it and harrow it; no trouble in the world about it, no manure nor any else. we are expecting Mr Ranald Macdonald soon. Now I must conclude this. With all our best Letters of respects to you and to all the family,—I remain yours truly,
7-—Copies of Letters from LACHLAN M'PHERSON to his BROTHER and Mr CAMERON.
NORTH-WEST TERRITORY, MANITOBA,
24th August 1883.
DEAR BROTHER.—I have to mention you here in my letter that my family are in good health and arrived here safe. Now I hope you are in the same state of health too. Now I have to let you know that this place is the best place I ever saw for a farmer, and for labour too. But the thing of it to get to this place, freight is very dear, and implements either. Any family that ventures to this place must have a hundred pounds. Any strong family that would come here would be very happy. In a couple of years, 1883, with wages and labour. Wages is very high 8s. to 9s. a day, some labourers have 12s. Nothing is better than land. I would advise on every man in Uist to come to this place if they would possibly enough to come. I believe that you are very scarce of the fodder this year, and all the neighbours they are doing no use of the fodder here at all, but putting fire to it when it is mown, and the fruit taken off. All use growing grass in the winter time. But I hope that this distance is very long between this and Uist near 400,000 miles. Widow Nicholson if she would be here with her daughters, she would be as happy as the king. There is great desires for women here. No more to say at present, but my best respects to you and all acquaintances round. I and William M'Pherson are in share with each other in the oxen wagon and all. I bought a cow. John M'Donald, daughter died, little Mary. Best respects to all and to Neil Monk; best respects to Rod. M'Pherson, James M'Donald, Norman M'Donald.
BENBECULA SETTLEMENT, NORTH-WEST TERRITORY,
1st August 1883.
DEAR MR CAMERON,—You must excuse me for being so long of writing to you, but I am waiting till I would be able to tell you the news of the country. In the first place, I am happy to say that I am well in health and all my family, and every one of my friends here, trusting to nnd you and all friends in like manner. I may tell you that I am very well pleased with this place yet; as far as I can see, it is a real good country, everything bad that we were hearing before we left was all lies. You haven't heard a single true word about it; the summer was not hotter than at home. If the winter will be as favourable as summer, we will be very lucky, the weather was awfully fine all the time since we came. I haven't seen a single rainy day since I left the old country, but there is heavy showers some days, the crops is looking awfully good, I haven't seen better looking com and potatoes in my life. we are lifting the potatoes, they were only eight weeks in the ground, and they are as big as I have seen in the old country two months after this and as good. You won't believe the crop and the grass that is here when yon don't see it, but you may believe that I am telling you the truth. I have some grass from 3 to 5 feet high for cutting, and there is good grass in every bit of it. It is the place for stock and not Creagory. I am done cutting the grass for winter. I have three stacks made, they are as big as any you ever had. There is no trouble whatever in the grass here, we have only to cut it and to put it in the stack the day after, it needs no drying because the weather is always dry. I have plenty of firewood and of water quite near hand. There is firewood and water in every place hereabout, and plenty of lands for tRlage. I haven't seen the least thing to frighten me since I came, not even so much as an Indian; there is no wild beast to be seen anywhere here. The muskettoes was pretty bad last month, but not much worse than the midges when they are bad at home. I have seen no other bad flies. The nearest railway station to here is six miles from me, but as the people is flocking out here every week, I think the train will be coming nearer than that soon likely. This place will be full in another year. When we came there was not a single house to be seen far or near, and I could scarcely count them to-day; they are coming up from Ontario and all these places. I am sorry my brothers have not come with me, especiaRy John or Malcolm, but I hope if anybody will come that they will come. They would do better here in one year than three at home. You will ask them if they would like to come, and you will
let m e know what they wRl say when you wRl write. You know that I would not ask them to come, I won't think they would do better at home. I heard that Mr Ranald Macdonald was on the way coming here. I don't know if it is true as for what he would be coming. Tell m e if the Commission did any good to the place. You will excuse bad writing,—Your truly friend,
N.B.—Here is a sample of our current coin in this country, and drink m health for auld lang syne.
(This was a note for 25 cents.)
8.—REPORTS on the Crops grown in North-West Canada, by Emigrants from the Long Island.
DOMINION GOVERNMENT IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT,
BRANDON, MANITOBA, December 5th, 1883.
DEAR SiR,—I have great pleasure in forwarding to you a copy of report of the crops grown this year by the Lady Gordon Cathcart's colonists of the Benbecula settlement near Wapella, in the North-West territories of the Dominion of Canada. The original of which remains in the hands of Mr Donald Macdiarmid, and I am sure it will be read with much satisfaction by Lady Gordon Cathcart and yourself, and will, no doubt, give great encouragement to others of her people who are still at home in Scotland and the Scottish Isles, to come to this country, and make their future home's in the rich prairie lands of the North-West Provinces of the Dominion of Canada,—I am, Dear Sir, very truly yours,
W. P. Edwards, Esq.,
October 27th, 1883.
DEAR SiR,—I have every satisfaction in sending a copy of the report of the Letters of Lady Gordon Cathcart settlers, at Pipestone Creek near Wapella to you, and I hope that friends and neighbours in the old country will reap the benefit of our Long Island report of this country in a few years. I am happy to say that the said party are well satisfied in this new country, and also that my reports in 1880, are now strongly supported by my own countrymen. Friends at home will now see that my object in wishing them to come to this country is just for their own benefit,
—I am, Dear Sir, yours very truly,
THOMAS BENNETT, Esq.,
9.—REPORT of DoNALD MACDIARMID, showing the Average Production of Crops for 1883, in the Benbecula Settlement near Wapella, North-West Territory.
There is very little trouble in raising crops in this country. Have had none so far as my own personal experience goes. I have every confidence in recommending this country to intending emigrants from the West Highlands of
Scotland, and all parts of the old country. The climate is very healthy, far beyond the climate of Scotland. There is land here for the landless, and homes for the homeless, beautiful land of the setting sun.
Sect. 34, T. 13, R. 1, W . 2nd, P. M.
Potatoes, per acre 300 bushels, planted May 28th on the breaking.
Barley, „ 32 bushels, sown as late as June 28th on the breaking.
Oats, „ 40 „ „ „
Turnips, „ 300 „ „ „
10.—REPORT of JOHN MACDONALD.
I am very well satisfied with my location, and wish that all my friends and neighbours had as good a footing as I have here. The longer I am here the better I like it. The climate is healthy, and the land good.
Sect. 4, T. 14, R, 1, W . 2nd, P. M.
Potatoes, per acre, 350 bushels, planted June 1st on the breaking.
Barley, „ 40 „ sown as late as June 28, on the breaking.
Oats, „ 50 „ „ „
Turnips, „ 300 „ „ „
11.—REPORT of ALEXANDER MACDONALD.
I am very well pleased with my farm, also with the climate, and very thankful that I left the poor old country. I am advising my friends at home to come as soon as possible to this beautiful land of the North-West-
Sect. 10, T. 14, R 1.
Potatoes, per acre, 200 bushels, planted in June.
Oats, ,, 56 „ sown „
Carrots and Onions very good.
12.—REPORT of ALEXANDER MACPHERSON.
I am very well satisfied with my farm, and also greatly delighted with all
I have seen of the country. It is delightful in every respect, the soil is rich, black loam lying on top of clay and lime subsoil. Plenty of good water and timber, and I wish that all my friends were here.
Sec. 2, T. 14, R. 1.
Potatoes, per acre, 360 bushels, planted in June.
Oats, „ 40 „ sown „
Carrots and onions very good.
13.—REPORT of WILLIAM MACPHERSOM.
I am very glad I left Uist, and beg to thank all those that took any interest in taking the responsibility of getting us to this country. I have 160 acres of very choice land for the small sum of ten dollars, and now I would not take two thousand dollars for it.
Sect. 12, T. 14, R. 1.
Potatoes, per acre, 200 bushels, planted in June.
Barley, „ 40 „ sown „
Oats, , 40 „ „ „
14.—REPORT Of LACHLAN MAcPHERSOW.
I am very well satisfied with my farm in every respect, also with the climate so far. We never saw weather at home like this, and my earnest wish is, that all my friends and neighbours in Uist were here in this beautiful farming country. The work is very easily .done, no manure required, such as in Lineclate.
Sect. 12, T. 14, R. 1.
Potatoes, per acre, 200 bushels, planted in June.
Barley, „ 40 „ sown „
Oats, ,, 40 „ „ „
15.—REPORT of DONALD MACDONALD.
I am well pleased with my farm in every respect, and have every confidence in recommending this country to my friends at home. I hope they will make up their minds to come as soon as possible, the sooner the better. The longer I am here the better I like it. The climate is healthy, the weather very good, and there is no constable or groung officer. Make no delay in coming.
Sect. 6, T. 14, R. 33, W . 1st, M.
Potatoes, per acre, 150 bushels, planted in June (very careless).
Oats, ,, 35 „ sown „
DONALD MACDONALD, Esq.
16.—REPORT of RODERICK MACDONALD.
I am very well satisfied with my farm, and I would not go back to Uist although I would get £400 sterling, and all the property I left. I hope more of my friends at home will come as soon as possible.
Sect. 32, T. 13, R. 33, W . 1st, P. M.
Potatoes, per acre, 350 bushels, planted in June.
Barley, „ 28 „ sown „
Oats, „ 40 „
17.—REPORT of ANGUS MACCoRMIC.
I am very glad for my change from the old Benbecula to the new Benbecula, in this beautiful far west country, of which we did not know anything until now. The only thing I feel sorry for is that I did not come here in my younger days, but, however, I feel glad to see some of my family in this good country, and hope the rest of them will soon come along with all my friends and neighbours. The climate isgood and healthy, and the land is to any man's satisfaction.
Sect. 2, T. 14, R. 1, W . 2nd, P. M.
Potatoes, per acre, 200 bushels, planted in June.
Barley, „ 40 „ sown „
Oats, „ 40 ,, „