Reminiscences of William Spence Cumming

Annie Rae (Duncan) an William Spence Cumming

Annie Rae (Duncan) and William Spence Cumming

William Spence Cumming (1857 Old Machar, Aberdeen, Scotland-1940 Easton, Maine) immigrated to the Scotch Colony via the Sidonian on May 14, 1874. At age sixteen, he was the oldest of the surviving nine children of Mary (Jack) and Thomas Cumming. Thomas’ first wife, Maria (Jack) died in 1855 in Scotland, soon after her the birth of the third of her children (Jean, John, Maggie).

Well, Lizzie, you asked me if I could write a few lines and tell you how and when we came out from Scotland to Canada so I have plenty of time and remembrances so I’ll try to give you a sketch and some incidents that happened as we passed along.

I suppose I might start from the time we left Buckie (a dairy farm near Aberdeen.) I left school on my 13th birthday, 19th May 1870 and we went to a farm about 15 miles from Aberdeen, Upper Mains of Echt. The farms were all named there and commonly the farmer was named after them such as my father was called Mains in an offhand friendly way. Father spent a lot of money on that farm, improving it in one way or another. He put a new thrashing mill in the barn and built a new dam and fixed over the cattle barn so that it held a lot more cattle. He wintered forty or over and lots went to the London market and he built a new turnip shed, he piped water from a spring in the dooryard and built a new porch to the front of the house. Continue reading

Scotch Colony Lot Map (Cadastral) (after 1884?)

Update 10 July 2018:

Success. I figured out how to overlay this map on Google Maps satellite photos.

Original post:

I understand colonists didn’t get title to the land until they occupied their assigned lot for some time. This map may represent Scotch Colony lot ownership after 1884. I’m using that date because Margaret Cocker’s (mapped on lot 34) husband, James, died in 1884. There are several other widows on the map and the records we have show their husbands died before 1884.

We have more detective-work to find a more exact date. I’ll post any additional information in a reply. Please reply with comments or questions.

(this is a new version of the video, uploaded in the fall of 2014, with newer and sharper underlying aerial photos.)

The video is a flyover of the map, overlayed on Google Earth’s recent satellite photos and 3D topography (elevation exaggeration was set to 2 so there is some extreme distortion). To make text legible, change your YouTube Settings to 720P  (the little gear symbol that appears after you hit play). Hit pause to make it easier to read the map.

I think seeing the lay of the land and today’s forests and fields really brings the map to life and makes it easier to locate the lots. The map is a little out of alignment but look for the logging clear-cuts and field-edges on the photograph to get a more accurate fix.

Here’s a detail of the same map, showing the Scotch Colony.  Click to enlarge.

1200px wide

2616px wide, massive but great detail.

Continue reading

“Sunday in the Backwoods of Canada”


England and Canada

(From an English Correspondent.) Liverpool, 30th April 1873

The Victoria Daily Standard published the article on June 12, 1873. Partial transcription follows:

“. . . In respect to Emigration, the season which has just started promises to be the best Canada has ever had. Every steamer is loaded with emigrants of a substatial class, either in respect to means or capacities. The labourers who are going out to the Ontario farmers are the very pick of their districts, and the British farmers are really getting alarmed at this begira o f the best bands. From some reason or other the Dominion has been lately brought more prominently before the emigrating classes than it ever was before; and this has chiefly happened by means of the press, by leading articles, reports of meetings, lecture, &c. Yesterday, no less than 600 Scotish farmers and farm labourers, taking 160 farms, Continue reading

Hot Rolls for Breakfast

IMG_5575hotrollsFrom the archives, here is a partial transcription of an article appearing in the newspaper The Glasgow Herald on Monday, April 14, 1873:

The New Kincardineshire Emigration Scheme (From a Correspondent.)

“In reply to some inquiries respecting the New Kincardineshire County of New Brunswick, recently noticed in the Herald, we may mention that the first party of emigrants, who will leave from Glasgow in April, is completed; but as many families are unable to proceed at that date, a second party, in the present season, will probably leave the Clyde in June. The latter arrangement will depend upon the Continue reading

400 Trees Per Acre


Muniac Stream

Muniac Stream, Summer 2012


“Not all the promotion focused on the Canadian west. A number of emigrants from the northeast region of Scotland were attracted o New Kincardineshire in New Brunswick in the 1870s. “They said that there was about 40 trees on the acre,” wrote one colonist, “but 400 on the acre is like the thing.” Those who stuck with the settlement appear to have prospered, but attrition was heavy among a people not accustomed to heavy forestation. Of course, one of the great selling points of the Canadian prairies was that settlers would not have to clear 400 trees to the acre. Being able to plough the land with minimal preparation was clearly an advantage, although many a settler ultimately wished for a few more trees to provide building material and firewood.” (Encyclopedia of Canada’s peoples, edited by Paul Robert Magocsi)

See it here.

An Emigration Experiment

News about the establishment of the Scotch Colony was spread around the globe. From the archives, here is a transcript from an article dated July 19, 1873 in a New Zealand newspaper called the Otago Witness.

The Scotsmanemigrationexperimentarticle of a recent date says: –– “A special train left Aberdeen on Friday for Glasgow, with 200 emigrants from the north-east coast and intended settlers in the ‘New Kincardineshire Colony,’ New Brunswick. Another large party of emigrants joined the train at Stonehaven, and other bodies of intending colonists were taken up along the route, till the company numbered between 700 and 750, the largest number of emigrants that have ever left Scotland at one time for one place. As the train left the various stations hearty cheers were given for the emigrants, who appeared in good spirits, by the friends left behind. Information just received per the Atlantic Telegraph, by the secretary, states that the New Brunswick Government have kept faith with the colonists, and that the promised log house and four acres of cleared land are ready for occupation.” Continue reading

“The Scotch Colony of New Kincardineshire” lecture by Scottish historian, Lorraine Stewart

Melvin Barclay's farm in Upper Kintore. April, 2012.

Melvin Barclay’s farm in Upper Kintore. April, 2012.

“The Scotch Colony of New Kincardineshire” (From Kincardineshire to New Kincardineshire 1873) lecture by Scottish historian, Lorraine Stewart. Presented to Stonehaven Heritage Society (Scotland) 28 November, 2012. The audience was about 40-50 and lasted about 50 minutes.
New Kincardineshire Colony Talk Lorraine Stewart.mp3. Click here to listen  (46.5 MB) This is a very large file so it may take several minutes before it starts playing, depending on your internet speed. Well worth the wait.  Note, Apr 11. I’ve had some reports of the audio stopping short. Try downloading the link/Save link as (Windows: right click; Mac: control-click).

In October 2012, I was excited to receive an email from Lorraine about her project. The internet makes it possible to easily communicate “across the pond.” From the lecture, we can learn more about what happened in Scotland when people heard about the planned emigration to New Brunswick. Lorraine was very generous to mail a CD to us. I hope you will enjoy hearing her story as much as I did. (Comment by Jean Duncan)

© Lorraine Stewart. Posted here by permission. We have also received a version with Lorraine’s PowerPoint visuals that we may show at Scotch Colony Fest140, 24 August, 2013.

A note from Lorraine, 22 Apr, 2013: I gave my talk at St. Bridget’s Hall (a mission hall of Dunnottar Church ). It is opposite the sheriff court on the corner of Dunnottar Avenue and Bridgefield [Stovehaven, Scotland], and is used by the Heritage Society for most of their meetings.

Kincardine Memorial Service 26 Aug, 2012

History of Kincardine’s Melville Church

Memorial Service 26 August 2012 at the church
by Cari Grierson

It is an honour for me to be asked to do a short history of the Colony for this the Memorial Service.  I am not a descendant but my husband Roy, who is, and I have  chosen this wonderful community to be our  permanent home and therein lies our interest.

There are so many facets of this compelling colony history to explore.  But this year I have chosen to talk about the “Kirk” The settlers who came from Scotland to this place were of high moral standing with high hopes and had great plans. In order to be accepted for this emigration they had to be of good character and fitness.  They vowed to protect their unity of religion and education according to the word of God.  They made arrangements with the Scottish church before and after their departure from Scotland. Continue reading

Kincardine Memorial Service, Sunday 26 Aug, 2012

Memorial Service to remember the early settlers is to be held at the Melville United Church in Kincardine on August 26 at 11:30 am Can. You will be bagpiped into the service. There will be a lunch at Burns Hall after the service.