From The Scrapbook By Rev. Bill Randall

From The Scrap Book

May 25, 1990

By: Dr. Bill Randall

Why Pioneers Settled In Harvey?

It is a pleasure for me to hear the response from the readers of the “Scrap Book” and to realize that there are so many genuinely interested in local history. This week I want to lead you back a little further in time in an attempt to understand why the Harvey Pioneers came to this rugged country in the first place.

We know that the earliest settlers came from the Border Counties of Scotland and England so we look first at the economic conditions of that country around the year 1800.

Agriculture had changed. Where once an open-field system had existed, by 1800 the more productive areas had been largely enclosed by capitalists farmers. Peasant tenants were dis placed by wage laborers and improved farming methods required less manpower, so there was the inevitable move away to the urban centers.

The census of 1801 showed that the total population of England, Wales and Scotland was 10,501,000. By 1811 the total was 11,970,000. The birthrate was at about 34 per one thousand and the death rate had fallen sharply from 33 per 1000 in 1730 to 20 per 1000 in 1810. The obvious conclusion from the above figures is that there were more people and less work. Somebody had to go.

Wealthy businessmen believed that a possible solution would be to exploit the vast unoccupied lands of the colonies. One such group of London Merchants united to gether to establish a company for purchasing, improving, settling and disposing of Lands and other property in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. They applied to the Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies of the British Government, Lord Stanley, to request his Majesty to grant them a Charter of Incorporation. On February 20, 1834, the Company was incorporated under the name The Stanley Land Company.

Edward George Geoffery Smith Stanley was born at Knowsley Lancashire, England, March 29, 1799. He was Colonial Secretary in 1833 and 1834 and in 1841 and 1844, and although he never went to Canada it was his name that was given to the first settlement, Stanley, New Brunswick. The Stanley Land Company was granted 589,000 acres in the County of York at two shillings, three pence sterling per acre.

Agents in England and Scotland began to advertise for settlers. The terms of agreement between the settlers and the Company were as follows:

The terms Of Settlement

The Company will engage to allot a farm of 100 acres to each family, of which five acres shall be cleared, and topped with a comfortable log house built thereon, ready for the reception of the family on their arrival in the settlement; of which a lease for fifty years will be granted, at the yearly rental of one shilling per acre; with an option to the tenant to purchase the freehold at twenty year’s purchase, at any period within the first ten years. Persons with capital, desirous to settle, and who wish to purchase larger tracts of land, will also be accommodated on liberal terms.

The Company will ensure employment to such settlers as may wish to be employed in making roads, clearing and draining land, building houses or on such other work as may be in process by contract

The Company have established store-houses in the most convenient parts of the settlement from which the settlers will be supplied at fair and moderate prices with provisions, clothing, tools, implements, and such other articles as they may require, and of the best quality.

The Company will provide, at the proper season of the year, well-founded and approved ships for taking up emigrants at the most convenient ports, and for conveying them to New Brunswick and will appoint experienced agents at the port of landing to superintend and forward the settlers without loss of time, to the Company’s lands. Medical aid will be provided on the passage, as well as in the settlement.”

“From the Village in The Valley” By Velma Kelly.

“In June 1836 the First Company of emigrants arrived. There were sixty families in all; some eighteen of them were from the town of Wooler, Northumberland, on the banks of the Tweed, Northern England.

It was a six-week voyage by ship across the Atlantic to Saint John, then to Fredericton by boat. Then from Fredericton up the Royal road to Stanley by team. Due to the condition of the road the teamsters suggested they (the immigrants) leave some of their luggage by the roadside, to which they strongly objected.  Arriving at the Inn in Stanley, they found it filled, so they spent the night in Mr. Malone’s big barn loft.

The shipload included such names as: Turnbull, Humble, Grey, Waugh, Pringle, Hossack, Douglass, Thomas, Allen, Jeffery, Kerr, Dixon, and others.

These families were soon comfortably settled in log houses on lots with some cleared land along the part of the old Stanley Road now known as the English Settlement Road.

The first group of settlers to arrive in Stanley numbered 60 families in all, some 18 were from Northern England, the town Wooler, Northumberland on the banks of the Tweed. They arrived in June 1836. E. N. Kendall, the Company’s Commissioner was however extremely solicitous of their welfare.

He offered them a year extension, three years rather than two, before they would be called upon to make any payments to the Company, and also provided them with rent free houses until their own were finished as well as 14 days of free food. By November 1836 most of these settlers were comfortably established in their own homes. In English Settlement, along the Stanley Road,  near Stanley  these English Settlers wrote a letter to their friends in Wooler, Northumberland, England November 26, 1836. It was signed by: Robert Waugh, Thomas Young, Joseph Young, Jonathon McDougall, George Humble, Andrew grey, Thomas Winter, Thomas Allan, James Allan, Walter Dixon, John Humble, John Kerr, Thomas Jeffory, James Duncan, Charles Humble, Jon Douglass, Thomas Douglass, John Douglass Jr., Mathew Johnson, William Currie, John Grey, James Grey, Robert Grey, William Pringle, Thomas Pringle and David Turn bull.” (From “The Village In the Valley”, by Velma Kelly).

“In November of 1836, a party of Scotch settlers arrived and were placed in what became known as Scotch Settlement, a tract of land lying along the new road from Nashwaakis to Stanley (known as old Stanley Road), which crossed the Tay, Seymore, Tin Kettle and Dunbar Streams.

The settlement, however, proved to be an unfortunate failure. After a nine-day stop-over in Fredericton, they (the settlers) arrived at their destination to find only the shells of their dwellings had been erected. Each family was supplied with 2500 feet of boards with which to equip their cabins with floors, windows and frames and doors. Being mainly fishing folk from the Isle of Skye their real difficulty arose when they proved in capable of undertaking even such an elementary level of self-preservation. The Company, it seemed had fallen short of their promise of having the dwellings completed for the emigrants. 

These people, without proper housing, clothing and food endured a terrible winter. Approximately 48 of them per shed during the first winter.

In the spring, many of them moved away. Some did remain, how ever, and endured pioneer life.

These highlanders having no crops of their own and some refusing Company employment were destined to suffer a bleak winter in the settlement during 1837-38. These settlers were mainly McKinnon, MacGilli vary, Hossack, McDonald, McPhee, McLennan, Nicholson and Davidson.

It was later discovered that the Company’s agent, Norman Nicholson, had been something less than honest in the promises he had made to people to induce them to leave their homes. He offered them a free passage and other free inducements for which they were later asked to pay.  In November, 1836, they were all forced to sign a document promising to pay their free passage within three years.

There is also a suggestion that Mr. Nicholson had accepted full or partial pas sage money from the land lords of some of these people to cover the cost of their removal. He was soon dis charged from the Company service.

The Scotch signed to the Government (Sir John Harvey, Governor of New Brunswick) on August 22, 1838, by the emigrants on the Stanley Road. Signed: John Mclennan, James McLennan, James Hossack, Donald

McGillivray, Widow McDonald, Duncan McDonald, Donald MacPhee, Samuel Nicholson, Austin MacDonald, James McKinnon. (From “The Village in the Valley,” by Velma Kelly).

Obviously the English Settlers who wrote the letter to their friends in Wooler in November of 1836 had an effect for it was from this area that another shipload of emigrants left  Berwick-on-the Tweed for the Stanley Land Company in 1837.

We already know of the impropriety of the Stanley Land Company agent in his treatment of the settlers of 1836. When the Scottish emigrants of 1837 arrived via the ship “Cornelius” in Saint John and then travelled on a lesser boat, the “Water Witch” to Fredericton, the Stanley land Company was unable to fulfill their terms of the agreement and so the provincial Governor, Sir John Harvey, intervened and these settlers were located on a tract of land set aside by an Order in Council: a community which was subsequently named Harvey.

Examining family genealogies of the Harvey families shows Kinship with the early Stanley families, and indeed many family names in the Stanley area are now the same as names in Harvey. e.g Hay, Craig, Duncan, etc.

A very comprehensive description of the “Land of our Ancestors” can be found written by Eleanor Swan Bartlett and appearing as Chapter eight in the book, “The Wilson’s of Harvey,” 1798-1983 by Jocelean Swan Hall.

Source: Rev. Bill Randall’s “From The Scrapbook Vol. One.”

Recommended Reading

Interested in learning more about the rich history and heritage of the Harvey region? Here are a few blog posts that might pique your interest: