Sunday, June 28, 2020

52 Ancestors 2020 #27 - Just One Hint

One--that's all you need sometimes to send one hint to set you one a genealogical discovery path. It was one middle name "McGee" that got me searching for my husband's ancestors. That one name, McGee was an inheritance of sorts from the Canadian settlers of Nova Scotia and it set me on this path to discovering their genealogy, along with a visit to the town of Pictou.
In another post I wrote of my husband's 5th great grandparents: Barnabas McGee, an Irish (Ballycastle, N. Ireland) immigrant to Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada. He settled Merigomish, "Barney’s River," Nova Scotia, with his wife Nancy Carroll. 
And their son Charles McGee [b 1778] married into the Blackie family. 
Charles McGee of Merigomish, NS married Charles Blackie & Jannet (Herries)'s daughter named Margaret Blackie. Charles McGee M. Margaret Blackie, they are my husband's 4th gr-grandparents.

What do I know about Margaret Blackie? Nothing, but I know her parents. They were immigrants from Scotland to Pictou, but Margaret was born in Pictou, Nova Scotia. And since I have nothing to say about Margaret I’ll talk about her parents' immigration woes (coming below).
Part of Pictou, NS, CA in June 2015 -my photo
 Here’s a bit of the story of Pictou's settlement by white Europeans.
  • 1767 - 1st permanent white settlers in Pictou County arrived in the ship Betsy on June 10, 1767, making a tiny settlement out of the forest about two miles from the present town of Pictou.
  • 1773 – 2nd The ship Hector arrived with 189 Scottish Highland immigrants on board.
  • The 3rd group of white Scottish settlers had not intended to settle in Pictou.

“It’s all quite lovely -apart from the mice:” How families were driven out of Prince Edward Island and fled to Pictou, Nova Scotia

Charles Blackie and Jannet Herries immigrated to Prince Edward Island on the ship the Lovely Nellie in 1773, sailing from Galloway and arriving 23 August 1773. They and their fellow settlers were from the south of Scotland. They planned to settle on Prince Edward Island.

They had chartered their own vessel; sailed from the port of Annan, in Dumfriesshire, and arrived at Georgetown (on Prince Edward Island, Canada) in the spring of 1773.

Although they arrived well-prepared, a plague of mice destroyed their first season's crop! They forged ahead, got see for the spring planting (1774) from Nova Scotia, and re-planted.
But this time the mice ate the seed in the ground.

Then, in the fall of 1774 compounding their problems, the supplies (from Scotland) were stored in the Georgetown Harbor, Prince Edward Island. One night, the precious stores were plundered by riotous sailors and fishermen from New England in a drunken orgy on the eve of  their departure back to New England.
Now the newly arrived settlers were almost without food and consequently suffered severely throughout that winter (1774-75). 
Prince Edward Island in summer--wasn't kind then either
They suffered so much that they gave up on Prince Edward Island all together. And in the spring of 1775 moved as a group to Pictou, Nova Scotia.

Canadian Arrival records: Charles Blackie, Janet Herries (Blackie)wife; Sons & daughters: John, James, William, Ann (Margaret was born in Nova Scotia)

There were thirteen families and a single man in the party, and with one exception, they settled permanently in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada.

My husband's ancestors, Charles Blaikie (Blackie) and his wife Jannet, settled with six others families at West River (now Durham
Durham (West River) in relation to Pictou

Same map, satellite photo

John Johnson w friend

Merigomish area, Barney's River, Nova Scotia
The settlers brought a valuable element to the early Pictou settlement: since they had come from one of the best agricultural districts in Scotland and had worked the land all their lives. Several of them were sons of landowners while others had been tenant farmers. As a result, most of them prospered from the beginning.
This group seemed satisfied with their new home. Apparently from their letters back to Scotland, they boasted of their new properties. And, consequently, their relatives and acquaintances in the South of Scotland were began to arrive in Pictou; and continued coming for many years.

These settlers imported valuable livestock, seeds and fruit trees from Scotland. Still, at West River are found black cattle of Galloway (Scotland), and there is a breed of horse called Galloway, which is in the vicinity.

[The story of the settlement is from: Pictonians at Home and Abroad, by John Peter MacPhie;
Immigration records, Records: Government of Canada; Maps: Google Maps;
Photos: ACJohnson collection]

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