A New Lanark County Publication

A New Lanark County Publication

Lanark Rural Routes, Volumes 1 and 2 Lanark County Routes, Lanark County Genealogical Society, 2021 In addition to my personal research, I enjoy contributing to the work of historical and genealogical societies that share my interest in family and community history. The Lanark County Genealogical Society (LCGS) recently published the latest of the organization’s series of books featuring the history of Lanark County – Lanark County...

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Tying the Knot

Tying the Knot

Marriage Practices in the New Community Seeking a marriage license The settlers in the early settlement of Perth, and surrounding townships came from diverse religious backgrounds. Rev. William Bell arrived in 1817 to minister to the Scottish settlers from Edinburgh but soon decided to serve a much larger community. His friend Rev. William Smart, located in Brockville, had convinced the settlers during the preceding winter that they should set...

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Death and Illness in the New Community

Death and Illness in the New Community

We often wonder what illnesses affected our ancestors and caused their death. Although Rev. Bell was careful to record marriages and baptisms during the early years, he did not record all deaths. He, and other diarists of the time, would mention the name of someone who died in passing. For the early settlement years our most source is found on memorial stone in cemeteries of the area. An these records can sometimes be misleading as they were...

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Travel Challenges in the New Settlement

Travel Challenges in the New Settlement

The Final Letter to a Scottish Newspaper (XXIV) Before leaving Scotland Rev. William Bell agreed to provide reports back to a Scottish newspaper. The editors wished to assist in the recruitment of people to settle in Upper Canada. It is evident that, while fulfilling the commitment to provide information to entice settlers, he reported both the opportunities and challenges of the emerging community. However, he often glossed over the challenges...

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Early Days in Perth and on the Scotch Line

Early Days in Perth and on the Scotch Line

William Bell’s Comments in his Diary “The County of Carleton, in which the military settlements are situated, did not, till 1816, receive any settlers except a few in the township of Nepean, but so rapidly has its population since that time increased, that in 1823 it contains about 8,000. At present, it may be viewed as an inland place, but it is watered by several fine rivers which fall into the Ottawa. These, by a little...

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The New Settlement and Its Troubles

The New Settlement and Its Troubles

Rev. Bell provides this history of settlement in Perth, a military settlement in Upper Canada and hints on where to search for ancestors. Early image of Perth The Distribution of Land in the New Settlement “Before I proceed further, let me tell you something about the division of the land. A township or parish is generally about 10 miles square, it is divided by lines into 12 parts or concessions, and each lot containing 200 acres, except...

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John Holliday-Rev. Bell’s Nemesis

John Holliday-Rev. Bell’s Nemesis

The Reputation of John Holliday The following insights were gleaned from Rev. William Bell’s Journals and from John Holliday: A Forthright Man, Clarence Halliday, Cobourg, November, 1962. John Holliday was officially recognized as the schoolmaster promised to the settlers before leaving Scotland and was officially granted an annual salary of L50. He sailed with the settlers. Rev. William Bell and John Holliday had many disagreements with...

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Life in a New World

Life in a New World

In this article, designed to provide information to the prospective immigrant, Dr. Bell addresses the physical environment of the new community. In many ways, the flora and fauna around Perth has changed only a little. Wherever cultivated crops are grown, the battle between the farmer and insects, birds and wildlife continue. Although the trees and wild fruit were similar, European varieties had been cultivated for generations and the quality...

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First Impressions of Perth 1817

First Impressions of Perth 1817

Perth on the River Tay in 1828, Archives of Ontario Rev. Bell’s First Impressions Rev. William Bell’s diary helps us to visualize and understand the community our ancestors called home when they settled in Upper Canada. Writing about his arrival and first impressions of the military depot of Perth, he notes: “Perth is pleasantly situated on the banks of the Tay, formerly called Pike River. The length of the town is 7/8 of a...

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More on the Edinburgh Settlers

More on the Edinburgh Settlers

In his letters to Scotland Rev. William Bell provides additional details about the 1815 settlers who arrived in Perth in the spring of 1816 as the village was emerging from the forest. To reach Perth in March 1816 the settlers had to cut a path for the wagons carrying their luggage The Sponsored Settlers of 1815 ” In the year 1814, the attention of His Majesty’s government having been called to the tide of emigration, at the time...

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