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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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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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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Edinburgh Settlers to Perth 1816

Edinburgh Settlers to Perth 1816

From Scotland to Upper Canada The following commentary was collected from 1815 settlers by the Rev. William Bell and recorded in his diaries. The original diary, comprised of fifteen volumes, is now held in the Douglas Library at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. At the age of sixty-six William Bell sat down and wrote a digest of his diaries, condensing them to two small volumes of about 180 pages each. Several sites provide a copy...

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Weather Report in 1825

Weather Report in 1825

from Rev. William Bell Diary Rev. William Bell, First Presbyterian Minister in Perth Ontario The diary of Rev. William Bell provides a wealth of information that I feel has been neglected when researching the settlement period of Lanark County. So much of what has been referenced from his diaries has focused on his personal moral standards and his often-critical commentary about events in the new settlement of Perth. One topic of interest to me...

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Mason Family Saga – Part 3a

Mason Family Saga – Part 3a

The Family of Robert Mason and Helen Gourlie Robert Mason (1781-1862), Helen Gourlie (1785-1844) , sons John and James and daughters Jane, Elizabeth, and Ellen sailed from Scotland on the George Canning on 13th April 1821, leaving all Robert’s siblings, and most of Helen’s birth family, behind. The family arrived in Quebec on the 2nd of June[1]. By 11th Jul 1821 Robert received his first immigrants’ payment installment in Perth, Upper Canada....

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