A letter to a dear friend back home (1821)

Ramsay township settler, John Toshack writes back home to his dear old friend Aleck Sinclair.

In 1820, Ramsay Township, Bathurst District was surveyed by Reuben Sherwood and associates. The survey was completed in January 1821 and the first European settlers began to arrive in February of that year. It was in the late summer of 1821 that a large inpouring of settlers known as the Lanark Society Settlers arrived.

More than forty settlement societies, from the Glasgow area of Scotland, organized, managed and assisted the mass emigration of Scottish families to the New Lanark Settlement in Bathurst District, Upper Canada under the auspices of the British government.

The immigrants were granted undeveloped land in the townships of Dalhousie, Lanark, North Sherbrooke and Ramsay. Many of the settlers were unemployed/underemployed weavers who suffered years of financial hardship as a result of Britain’s faltering economy and the industrialization of the textile industry in Glasgow following the Napoleonic War.

John Toshack’s letter is one of the few letters which remain from those written by the Lanark Society settlers in the Ramsay township’s first year. In a letter dated 11 Sep 1821, we are given a first-hand account of this settler’s first year in Lanark County, Bathhurst District, Canada

Suggested Resources for more on the Lanark County Settlers

Detailed research works of Amy Gilpin Lanark Society Settlers (wikitree.com) Keith Thomspon Lanark Society Settlers – Land (rootsweb.com) and Michael Stephenson Lanark County Ontario Pioneer Settlement Records (ontariogenealogy.com)

The Lanark Society Settlers publication by Carol Bennett BOOK – The Lanark Society Settlers by Carol Bennett includes many family/genealogical sketches of individual families.

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