Prince Edward Island has a very rich history of immigration. I will share a story about a very interesting person who played a large role in this process. The story about Lord Selkirk and the Scots.
He was born into Scottish peerage in 1771 in Kirkudbrightshire, Scotland. He had not expected to ever inherit the family estate so he set out for Edinburg. Here he studied to become a lawyer. There was unrest in Scotland during this time. Scots were being ousted from their homes by greedy landlords. He had genuine concern for these displaced farmers or crofters. (A crofter was a tenent on a small farm or croft). I think he was born of a different kilt and thank goodness for that. Lord Selkirk was determined to resettle these people in British North America.
Scots in PEI
In 1799; he used his inheritance to finance, travel and locate places to settle these people. He purchased 80000 acres of land in present day Belfast PEI. He presented his plan to the British Government but they flatly refused to support his efforts. Financing three ships; he successfully relocated approximately 800 crofters to the island; in August of 1803. Each family was given an average of 100 acres of pure forest land; at a minimal price. The lands were alotted to groups of four families. This way they could provide support and comfort to each other while making their land habitable. His task at hand was highly successful. To this day, you can still find MacAulays, MacLeans, MacDonalds and many other Scottish surnames in PEI.
You might wonder what happened to Lord Selkirk. He went on to settle more of the crofters in Ontario and also played a major part in their settling in Winnipeg. In 1817; he departed North America after some involvement with the Hudson Bay Company. He spent his years in Europe where he died in Pau France in 1870. He certainly did well by his countrymen.
Check out the Scots recipe for Bannoch in Mamma’s East Coast Kitchen. Yum!
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