[MacIvor Crest] Crest of Clan MacIvor

Chapter II

Emigration: Isle of Lewis to Nova Scotia

In the year 1811 the good brig "Ann" sailed from the Island of Lewis, Scotland, for Pictou, Nova Scotia, carrying a large number of Highland Scotsmen and women with their children. Among the number was my grandfather, Angus MacIvor, and his wife, Christy MacLeod. My father was then eleven years old. I often heard him say that he was born on "New Years 1800", and that he was eleven years of age when he came across the sea, which took them sixty days.

There were also among the passengers different families, viz.: the McDonalds, the McLeods and others of which I have no official or reliable account, as I am writing this principally from memory and from information I picked up from the few who are living today of the old folks. I am sorry to say no one, as far as I can find out, has any record concerning our ancestors while in their former home, or even since coming to this country. I often wonder why my father, who had quite a good education for one at that time, and who was a handsome penman, did not leave a record of family affairs. He was a great reader and hard to beat at figures. He told me he went to school either three or six months in all. To show that he was good at figures: When the school law was put into operation in Nova Scotia, it was he and another old Scotty and neighbour, Kenneth McKenzie, who laid on the valuation for school purposes according to property owned by each person in the school district.

I forgot to say that my father's name was Donald. He was nearly the eldest of a large family, a large family being mostly the rule in those days.

From Pictou they scattered in different directions. Some of them went to Cape Breton, others remaining in Pictou, and my father's family with the McDonalds and others came up to Pugwash Harbour. They settled mostly on lands taken up from the government or by purchase. In fact the country around here was mostly forest, and they settled on the shore of the Northumberland Strait, which divides Nova Scotia from Prince Edward Island. They called this particular place the Gulf Shore. I don't know why, only it is an arm of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

You will find the MacIvor clan all over Canada. I have no knowledge of any of them emigrating from their native land to the United States. No doubt they did, but you will find the descendants of those who first made their homes in Canada settled all over Nova Scotia, and many of them have made a name for themselves there. It was not because the United States was a better country that induced them to leave Canada and go there, but the opportunities for getting along was the incentive that led the young men and women to cross the line. It is quite different today. Any one who wants to get along, that is to make a living for themselves, and much more than a mere living, becoming independent, need not leave Canada. The opportunities today cannot be duplicated by any country; not even by our big neighbour, the United States.

Canada is the best country on earth today. There is room for millions here; but we want the best element if she is to become the great country God intended her to be.

The ground on which my grandfather settled was on a tract of land which the British government gave to disbanded soldiers and it was called "French Grant" which, with other lands settled by those hardy Scotchmen, lies, as I said, along the shore, east of Pugwash Harbour some ten miles. The land in the said grant was purchased by those men from the soldiers or their heirs, as the soldiers would not settle down to farm life. It was a hard proposition to make a home and rear a family in the forest, but they were made of the right kind of stuff, went to work, chopped down trees to make a little clearing and to get logs with which to build a house. On this cleared land they grubbed in a few potatoes, got a cow from the older settlers and built a little skiff, got a net and caught fish, lobsters and other shellfish; also fowl which at least in spring and fall were numerous, such as wild geese, ducks, brant and other kinds. They managed to make a living, cleared land, built larger and better buildings and roads. Later they built schools and churches, and had a fair measure of comfort at last.

Today this is one of the beauty spots in fair Nova Scotia, a rich farming and stock raising country, fine large, clear, cultivated farms, splendid modern buildings with all the modern comforts -- telephone, rural mail delivery, etc. It has a good class of settlers, but I am sorry to say, the descendants of the first settlers are few and getting fewer as the old folks pass away. California, other parts of the United States, as well as in late years, our own great western prairies, called them. The old farms are taken by strangers who are taking the places of those who heard, and answered, the call to other abodes, but such is life. What a change! Talk of evolution: just look back over the last hundred years in mode of travel alone. First, on foot (shanks mare), then horse-back, next the two wheel shay, then the buggy, then the bicycle and last, the automobile. I mean right here these changes have taken place in the last hundred years, but those are only a few of the changes. There have been many others; some good, and a few, I am afraid, not for the best.

Speaking of fishing on this coast: About the only fishing is lobster fishing, and it is carried on extensively all around the coast of Nova Scotia, and on this bit of coast, the Gulf Shore, there are at least ten different factories or lobster packing places. A great deal of money is got by this business.

Now I did not intend to talk much about the place when I began, although a little description may not be out of place. What was in my mind was the almost impossible task of describing the little I know of the MacIvor family and their connections since coming to Canada. I must again apologize for knowing so little of the family ties. Since they are scattered over such a large territory I only know that some of the members of the MacIvor families, closely related to myself, have settled in Cape Breton, where their descendants are, as a friend described them, "as thick as the grass." At times we meet or hear tell of a MacIvor cousin, but to ravel this mystery of relationship would puzzle a Philadelphia lawyer. As I have little or no data to go on, I would ask the indulgence of all friends to believe that what I am telling is nearly correct as I can get with the material at hand.

My grandfather, Angus MacIvor, and his wife, raised a large family of boys and girls. First there was John, called Red John, then my father, Donald Murdoch, Neil and Norman. The girls were Katie, Nancy, and Mary. John married and had three girls, Henrietta, Peggy and Nancy. Henrietta married James Robertson, of Fox Harbour. Peggy or Margaret never married. Nancy married Colin McLean, a son of a settler of this place. Both are dead. They had three girls, Jenny, Flora and Mary: two boys, Kenneth and Russel. Jennie and Russel are dead. Flora and Kenneth are at home, both unmarried. Mary married William David, of Fox Harbour. Murdoch, my father's brother, married Christy Stuart, of Fox Harbour, their family consisting of Robert, who was married to a Margaret Dawson, and one daughter, Jeanne. Angus lived in the State of Washington. He is dead. Alexander married a Miss Ralston, their home being in Amherst. They had several children. His wife is dead. Murdoch is living in a western State. Christy was married and had one child, a girl. She is dead. Maggie and Etta lived in Boston, both were unmarried. Etta died lately.

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