DISTRICT OF BATHURST 100 YEARS AGO — IRISH EMIGRATION TO CANADA
WITH HEADQUARTERS AT PERTH
(Prepared By Mr. F.H. Dobbin Of Peterboro).
Published in The Perth Courier, Nov 23, Nov 30 and Dec 7, 1923.
Transcribed for the LCGS website by Ann MacPhail.
At the close of the operations of the war (1812-14), between Canada and the United States, many of the soldiers engaged in the conflict, officers and men of the British regiments-of-the-Line, and desirous of remaining in Canada, were discharged and settled by the Government in territory north of the Rideau Lakes. This was accomplished by 1816 and a comparatively large number were located in and about what was at the time known as the Perth Settlement. Many of these soldiers had been with Abercrombie in Egypt, with Wellington and Sir John Moore in Spain and Cornwallis in America, but the larger number had been sent out from Britain to participate in the war and saw service in Upper Canada, as stated in 1812-14. It will be noted that at that time (1816), England had already began the disbandment of many of the regiments that had been continuously on foreign service for the previous twenty years.
Napoleon had gone to St. Helena. England had not even began to strike her stride as a manufacturing country, there was much unemployment, so the Government wisely decided to accede to wishes expressed and at very large expense tried to make her soldiers settlers in the New Land, and their families, as comfortable as possible. These soldier settlers chose their locations and without expense, and each man received according to his rank from one hundred to five hundred acres. They were supplied with all necessary implements of husbandry and tools for building purposes, with cooking utensils and blankets. In addition one year’s provisions for each man, woman and child was given. Much that is of interest in regard to this first community settlement is set out in the “Perth Old-Boys Reunion” issue of the Perth Courier, in 1905, and which supplied a most interesting resume of the history and progress of the town of Perth and district. This newspaper is approaching its 90th year of age, having been first published in 1834. The relation given in the columns of the special issue is entirely authentic, the many articles and sketches in reminiscence vein having been written and contributed by those who certainly were of the families concerned in the early makings of history and would have full knowledge of the facts.
The territory into which these military settlers, as they were termed, (as differing from those who came in from Ireland in 1823), was at the time known as the District of Bathurst, just as the lands to the west, past Addington and Frontenac, were known as the Newcastle District, and afterwards to be carved into the Counties of Northumberland and Durham, Peterborough and Victoria to mention only a part. Bathurst District was named after Lord (or Earl) Bathurst, being Henry, second son of Earl Bathurst, son of Baron Apsley, born 1762, died 1834. Lord Bathurst was Lord Commissioner for Ireland, Foreign and Colonial Secretary and had held important positions in the British diplomatic service. In after years the definition “District of Bathurst” was by Act of Parliament abandoned, though the township name was retained. The actual territory included in this settlement is crossed by the line of the Canadian Pacific Railway, with a station named Bathurst to serve the rural neighbourhood adjoining. Further to the east is the thriving town of “Good Old Perth” as a well-known Methodist clergyman, who had lived here many years loved to describe it. It may be added that the County of Lanark was originally included in Carleton County.
No doubt the facts are well known, but it may not be out of place to refer to the name derivation of several of the townships included in the County of Lanark. Those of the earliest named were called after persons of some distinction. Pakenham township was named after Gen. Sir. Edward M. Pakenham, killed at the battle of New Orleans, 1815. Ramsay township takes its name from Gen. George Ramsay, Earl of Dalhousie (1770-1836). Beckwith township from Major-General Sir George Beckwith, K.C.D., who after a distinguished career in the British military service and with the diplomatic corps, died in 1820. Others of the townships might be referred to but those as mentioned are intimately concerned in the emigration from Ireland, in 1832, and received a large quota of the immigrant settlers. The townships of Huntley and Goulbourn also received a fairly large number.
Emigration from Ireland of 1823
Ireland shared in the privation, unemployment and general social disturbance that affected Great Britain following the close of the Napoleonic wars. And there were several seasons of poor harvests, almost in succession. In Ireland the potato crops had been especially poor, the blight working havoc. After much conference and many propositions it was suggested that as a relief for overpopulation there should be an emigration of people from the South of Ireland, where conditions seemed the most severe. That families and single men of approved health, physical condition and character be sent to Upper Canada, where immense tracts of arable lands awaited settlers.
So under the auspices and intimate direction of Earl Bathurst, at the time Foreign and Colonial secretary for Great Britain and with financial aid from the British Government together with aid from private sources, it was decided to at once organize an emigration and send the people forward. This came about in the latter part of 1822, and spring of 1823. It required a considerable time, as may well be appreciated, to make preparation.
Col. Peter Robinson, an Upper Canadian, was asked by the British Government to take charge of the matter. He had served under Sir George Steniffe in the war of 1812-14, in Canada, was taken prisoner by the American forces, and escaped from MacKinnon, the American leader, through the enemy’s fleet on Lake Ontario or on Lake Erie. Mr. Robinson was afterwards (1827) made Commissioner of Crown Lands, and built a mill at Newmarket, going into flour manufacture as a side line. He was brother of the late Chief Justice Beverley Robinson, Upper Canada, 1829-54.
It appears to have been a selective emigration, to the extent that not all who were willing were accepted but only those accredited with meeting the conditions as laid down. Special attention was paid to habits, industry, temperance, to general good character and all successful applicants were so endorsed by persons fully cognizant of circumstances. Many came from and off the estates of the landed gentry, some preference being given to those who had a knowledge of and practice in farming. Single men were accepted. It is interesting to consider the plainly put terms on which those proposing to emigrate would be accepted, once the matter referred to as above proved to be satisfactory. Following is a copy of the hand-bill as issued and distributed throughout the South of Ireland during the latter part of 1822 and spring of 1823, from coast to coast. The number of applications far exceeded the anticipation and indeed the prescribed limit that had been set, about 2,000 souls.
|Emigration to Canada|
|Memorandum of the terms on which the Government has agreed to convey a limited number of settlers from Ireland to Upper Canada, under the superintendence of Mr. Robinson, and to locate them upon the lands in that Province. And also of the conditions on which the lands shall be granted.|
|Such emigrants, as the Superintendent shall accept, shall be conveyed from the place on embarkation in Ireland to their lands in Upper Canada, wholly at the public charge, and provisions shall be furnished them during the voyage and for one whole year after their location upon their respective lots.|
|Such farming utensils as are absolutely necessary to a new settler shall also be found for each head of family, or person receiving a grant of land.|
|No person above the age of 45 years shall be conveyed to Upper Canada at the public expense, unless under particular circumstances, in the discretion of the Superintendent, and no person above that age shall receive a grant of land upon his arrival in the Colony.|
|Every male above the age of eighteen years and not exceeding 45 years to whom a certificate shall have been given by the Superintendent that he was accepted by him as an emigrant settler to receive lands in Upper Canada, shall on his arrival receive a location ticket, or order for 70 acres of land in such part of the Province as the Lieut.-Governor, or such person administering the Government, shall assign.|
|And in order that such emigrants as shall be industrious and prudent may have an opportunity of extending their possessions and providing for the respectable maintenance of their children, an additional tract of 30 acres, adjoining every such grant of 70 acres shall be reserved by the Crown ungranted for the space of ten years after the location of the lot of 70 acres, to afford opportunity to the proprietor of such larger tract of purchasing the same within the period, by paying the moderate sum of ten pounds, sterling.|
|The order or location ticket for 70 acres, to be given to the emigrant on his arrival shall express certain duties of settlement and cultivation, the same in proportion as are required by the Government to be performed on land granted in Upper Canada to other settlers and the period to be allowed for the performance if such duties shall also be expressed in the order.|
|So soon as the settlement duties shall have been performed the party may obtain his patent on paying the expense of preparing the same, which is supposed will not exceed two pounds, ten shillings, sterling, on each grant.|
|Each tract of 70 acres so granted may be subjected to the payment of an annual Quit Rent to the Crown of two pence per acre, to be paid half yearly in such manner and subject to such penalties and forfeitures, in the case of failures, as shall be expressed in the Patent, and the same Quit Rent shall be charged also upon the grant of 30 acres.|
|It shall, however, in every case, be in the option of the Proprietor to redeem the Quit Rent at any time on paying of twenty years purchase and with respect to the original location of seventy acres, no Quit Rent shall be chargeable until five years have expired from the time of location.|
|It is intended that all persons who shall be thus assisted by the Government in removing to Upper Canada shall become actual settlers in the Province and it is necessary that it should be clearly understood that if the condition of cultivation and improvement to be specified in the location ticket, shall not be performed within the period prescribed, or if the person locating on any lot under the present system shall before receiving his patent for the same, withdraw from Upper Canada, and remain absent for the space of six months without sufficient cause to be allowed by the Lieutenant-Governor of the Province, the land so assigned to such person may be given to another applicant.|
|(Fermoy – Printed by Thomas Lindsay, King Street, opposite Abbey Street, Ireland)|
Having obtained consent to go ahead the applicant was supplied with a certificate for passage for himself and members of his family, if any, or connection accompanying. For amongst the applicants were cases where whole families of adults, all under the prescribed age, were accepted and took passage and in the end proved to be of the most successful of the immigrant settlers. Lands were apportioned to such, on request, and in such connection were established several small communities all known one to another, and so lightened the privations of the first years in the forest occupation.
Following is a copy of the Certificate of Passage, as given to one of the heads of families concerned:
No. 109 Certificate for passage to Upper Canada (Not Transferable) Ireland, April 18th, 1823 Connamore, County of Cork These are to Certify, that the undermentioned Persons of the Parish of Listowel, in the County of Kerry, Ireland, have been received by me, as Emigrant Settlers, to be conveyed to Upper Canada, and placed upon their lands at the expense of His Majesty's Government. Name Age Timothy Keane 42 (Head of Family, farmer) Margaret Keane 40 (Wife) Mary 20 Thomas 19 Catherine 17 Patrick 15 Timothy 12 Johanna 8 (Children) Recommended by Lord Ennismore (signed) P. Robinson Superintendent of Emigration from South of Ireland to Canada.
[Transcriber’s note: The family given in the example above does not appear in the “Shipping Lists Of The Hebe And Stakesby” which is the second part of this article.]
Sailed July 8th, 1823
Col. Peter Robinson had proceeded to Ireland and placed himself in touch with the several committees and persons concerned in the preparatory details. The ships “Hebe” and “Stakesby” had both for years been in use by the Government as troop ships, carrying soldiers going to and from other countries on military service. Hence both vessels were well fitted to receive and convey the emigrants to destination. So thorough had been the preparation and well had details been carried out that sailing was had from the Port of Cork, on July 8th, 1823, both vessels leaving land together and maintaining, while crossing the wide Atlantic, as close touch as possible. Surgeon-doctors were placed on each vessel, drawn from the medical staff of the Royal Navy.
Quebec was reached about the end of August and the entire party, with a few exceptions, brought forward as far as Prescott, at that time a place of considerable importance and the largest community in the territory, except Kingston, to the far East, along Lake Ontario.
Of settling the emigrants on the land
To supervise the settlement on lands an Official Land Board had been appointed by the Upper Canada Government, with Mr. J.H. Powell as chairman, this with approval of the British authorities. It was officially known as the Land Board for Bathurst District. It is not clear how allotments and locations were determined for men and families. None under the age of 18 years participated in the gifts of land, though young men of 18 years and over, sons of settlers and unmarried, were given locations adjoining, as far as possible, the father’s homestead. Each settler was supplied with a location paper, to be retained until the terms for the possession of the grant of land had been fulfilled.
Follows a copy of the location paper, (or ticket) as it was termed:
|Land Board. District of Bathurst|
|Roger Cunningham, born at Fermoy, County of Cork, Ireland, and of the age of thirty-eight years has been conveyed to this country at the Public Charge, under the Superintendence of the Hon. Peter Robinson, and has produced a certificate of his being accepted as an Emigrant Settler, to receive land in Upper Canada, and has taken the oath of Allegiance.|
|We do assign to him seventy acres of land, being the rear part of the East half of lot Number 6, in concession 11, township of Goulbourn, in the District of Bathurst, for which having cleared half the width of the Concession Road bounding the said seventy acres, and having cleared and fenced three and one-half acres within the said location and erected a dwelling house therein of at least sixteen feet by twenty feet, within two years from the date hereof, he will be entitled to receive a grant, free of any other than the usual fee for the Patent. An additional thirty acres, adjoining the said seventy acres will be reserved for the space of ten years, to commence form this date, which the said Roger Cunningham will be entitled to receive a grant for, upon paying the sum of ten pounds sterling.|
|The said several tracts of land to be liable to a Quit Rent of two pence per acre payable in such times and in such manner as set forth in the Memorandum published by the authority of the British Government for the information of said Emigrants.|
|Given under our Hands at Perth, Upper Canada, this seventh day of November, 1824.|
(Signed by officer issuing warrant)
Clearing the land etc.
All certificates for passage were produced and given up at Prescott, to the officer of the Land Board, and formed a most material means of identification. The location paper was then made out and if the emigrant so chose he was at once forwarded and placed on his location. Many availed themselves of this opportunity so as to get at clearing land and cutting trees for the first log house to be occupied. Provisions and tools were supplied as in the cases of the military settlers. No light is thrown from an inspection of the intimate papers and records as to how the allotments were made. Whether given out in rotation, or by a drawing, or by and at discretion of the Land Board after the proposed locations had been viewed and pronounced fit for occupation, previous to the arrival of the settler. The lists of those who came across the ocean, and which follows in print was taken from the passenger lists of the vessels, and attested to by the masters of the ships, as required by the very strict shipping regulations of the time. Also from the location papers on file. These papers bear evidence of having been in possession of the recipient for a considerable time, being pocket-worn to a degree, tattered and torn and much disfigured and dirty. It is inferred that these papers were surrendered to the Crown at the time of receiving the Patent for lands and holdings.
Many of the location papers bear dates of issue as at Perth, Upper Canada, and so signed by the Chairman of the official Board. Others are attested to as being made out at Ballygibbin, presumably in Ireland. And of the latter months of 1823 and earlier months of 1824. It may have been the case that the chairman of the Board proceeded to Ireland in the early months of 1823, returning to Canada before winter set in. Many of the incoming settlers did not go up on the lands, directly, on arrival in Canada, but procured such employment as was available until the spring following, or indeed the summer, for many houses and shelters were required to be built and much ground to be broken.
Names as spelled on the several application and location papers are spelled as written. Names do not appear as spelled the same on different papers. In the lists printed following, the names are given as written on the shipping lists, by the clerk in attendance at the time of going on board for passage. Even the familiar Irish names as we now have them seemed to be spelled differently one hundred years ago. It may be noted that very few carry the Irish prefix of “O”. In the immigration of two years later a fair proportion were spelled as in the case of the name “O’Connell.”
Follow the lists as mentioned. It will be understood that the shipping list does not mention destination or location. Only the general destination of Upper Canada is used. Where the locations were distributed has been gleaned from the papers returned at the time of completion of the terms of settlement. Many of these are missing. Many young men were not located, it being presumed that being under age were not eligible for gifts of lands. Indeed, in general, it was understood that all persons over 14 years of age were classed as adults.