Posts Tagged With: cemetery

Family Reunion – July 25, 2006

Well, I’m back after a couple of interesting days.

On Sunday we left Moncton and headed up the coast to New Mills, New Brunswick. This whole coastline has a rich Acadian heritage and the French influence is very evident. We wove up the coastline very slowly in between showers and downpours. We spent some time at beautiful Kouchibouguac National Park and would have loved to kayak but the weather was just too miserable. The small towns up and down the coast were all celebrating Acadian Heritage Days and the Lady was thrilled when approaching one town a parade was just marshalling in preparation for going down Main Street. We preceded the parade and the street was lined with people. The Lady and I had a great time waving to all the people who were yelling, “Vive la mouton, vive la mouton!” Actually the Lady is quite used to waving at everyone as she has appointed herself a British Columbia friendship ambassador and has been waving at anything on two legs. The Man, of course, waves, oinks, baaas, whinnies, brays, barks, meows and moos at anything with four legs. I tell you, it has not been a quiet trip as there are lots of four legged creatures about.

Benjamin River

Benjamin River

Benjamin River

Benjamin River

As the afternoon was getting on and it was very rainy, the Man decided it might be best to stay in Bathurst and hope that the weather would improve for our visit to New Mills. Fortunately, this time the Man was right and the weather yesterday was beautiful.

New Mills Harbour

New Mills Harbour

New Mills

New Mills

We found the New Mills area very beautiful – farmland, lovely coastline and sparsely populated.

New Mills Cemetery

New Mills Cemetery

Without too much effort we were able to find the cemetery where the McMillan clan dwell. The Man was able to photograph over eighty tombstones which translates into over two hundred individuals (because of children and spouses). The Man says he has never seen so many McMillans together in one place and never met a nicer bunch of them! It is going to take a bit of sorting out – lots of Johns, Donalds, Margarets and Daniels. It will be useful for the Man though in supplying family links and dates for his genealogy research.

Donald & Barbara McMillan

Donald & Barbara McMillan

The oldest McMillans we found were Donald (the Man’s great-great-great grandfather) and Barbara (Shaw) who arrived from the Isle of Arran in 1829 – victims of the Scottish Clearances. The Clearances occurred in the early 1800’s when the British gentry (the Duke of Hamilton in this case who ‘owned’ 113 farms on Arran and leased them out to the locals) decided that it was more financially beneficial and less trouble to replace the peasants with blessèd sheep. (It sounds like a good idea to me and for once it looks like there was a spark of intelligence behind those beady human eyes.) The locals had worked the land and paid the Duke back from what they produced on the land, a common situation in Scotland. The Duke paid each family a very small stipend to emigrate to Canada. The Donald McMillan family (wife and seven children) headed for New Mills.

In David Darlington’s book, “In Condor Country” he writes:

“Like all of the clans, the McMillans dispersed. Some of them made a go of it in the Lowlands; others departed for Australia and America. One McMillan, Daniel, got a job in a Glasgow bookshop and eventually started his own business, the Macmillan Publishing Company. His grandson Harold had the most success in dealing with the jurisdiction of England, becoming prime minister of the country. A more typical course was followed by Donald, who — in company with other McMillans, McNairs, Cooks, Whites, Stuarts and Fergusons — landed at the Bay of Chaleur, in Restigouche County, New Brunswick, in the autumn of 1829. Without any time to build houses before winter, the immigrants tunnelled into the hillsides and boarded up the openings. Eastern Canadian weather is less forgiving than that of the Inner Hebrides, whose chilly dampness is at least mitigated by the influence of the Gulf Stream; nevertheless, these stubborn Scots stayed in New Brunswick — logging, fishing and farming soil as poor as that to which they were accustomed on Arran — for four decades.”

New Mills shoreline with Heron Island in the background

New Mills shoreline with Heron Island
in the background

Unfortunately, not much of old New Mills remains and we could find very little physical evidence of the McMillan legacy but it was still great to get a feel of the area. We ran into the son of a woman who has written four very good books on the area so we picked up two of them and the Man will need to take some time to digest them. We stayed the night in a nearby town and then this morning went to the Dalhousie Museum to try to dig up some more info. We hooked up with the curator who gave us some online leads so the Man will explore those when he gets home.

After leaving the museum we actually headed west through pouring rain. Driving across north New Brunswick and the Appalachia Mountains, very much like BC, even with the rain.

Tomorrow we continue west towards home!

Til later,

Miss Ewe

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Categories: Cross Canada Road Trip, New Brunswick | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mulmuring – June 21, 2006

(For those reading this for the first time, you might want to look at  “About” before continuing)

Hi there –

Well, we were told we wouldn’t have Internet access tonight but I’ve picked up a weak signal so I’ll send you our latest news. The last time I wrote from Alliston I told you that Alliston was the Potato Capital of Canada. I have since found out that it is only the Potato Capital of Ontario so PEI doesn’t have to worry. We also found out that Alliston has a very large Honda car manufacturing plant. The Man took his car by the plant to show it where it may have been made. The car didn’t seem very impressed. One last thing we found out is that Alliston is the birthplace and was the home of Sir Fredrick Banting, the inventor of insulin and other things.

We started off the day by walking through the cemetery at Alliston where we found many of the Lady’s distant relatives, the Kerrs, Nobles and Ferris’s who settled around here in the early 1800s. It’s a beautiful cemetery but kind of sad because right next door to it is a huge senior’s complex and their only view is the cemetery. The Man says there’s a conveyor belt connecting the two but I don’t believe him. I didn’t feel very comfortable eating the grass there either.

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The old Noble House

We spent most of the day lost, travelling up and down very unusual and out of the way roads trying to find traces of the Lady’s family. We travelled down one very narrow, hilly, curvy dirt road only to find at the bottom of a hill two women standing beside their SUV. The Man stopped and asked them if they needed any help and they said no they were just waiting for their kids. So the Man asked, “Can you tell me where we are?” After telling us about concession lines, township lines, side roads and lot lines the Man figured they were just as lost as we were. As it turned out the Man fluked onto what we believe we were looking for, the house that the Lady’s great grandfather, Robert Noble, built in the early 1800’s. As with most of the houses here, it is built of brick and therefore looks as good as the day it was built.

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School House on the old Ferris farm property

We also found the Perm/Mulmur cemetery where a large gathering of Ferris’s lie including Thomas and Catherine Ferris who came from Ireland in about 1830 to settle here. It was a beautiful spot with rolling farmland and a great view though they probably don’t appreciate it.

Perm Cemetery (16)_watermarked

Perm Cemetery

We also spent some time at the Dufferin Museum Archives. The museum is a beautiful new building with lots of great information about the area and it’s history.

Because of being lost we ended up driving about 150 kilometres around the area and ended up 30 kilometres from where we started in the morning. It was getting very late when we started looking for a motel and the Man and Lady were getting quite snarly, I was fearing for my life.

As a last resort, we ended up in the only motel in Bradford, Ontario. The Man was ecstatic because it was the ultimate in sleazy motels. We knew we were in trouble when we were finally parking the car and saw a toilet under the trees. Even the Man started getting a little queasy! The Man and Lady jumped from chair to bed in order not to put their feet on the floor and I wore baggies on my hooves as the carpet was very spotty. Fortunately the Man and Lady’s friend, Rosamond, had warned us that when entering a sleazy motel room, you must immediately whip off the bedspread because you don’t know what or whom has been on it. (I’m not sure if she’s speaking from experience with sleazy motels.)

All evening the Man kept saying how nice it was and you could barely notice the large fist sized patches on the gyproc and the holes in the bathroom door because the sun was pouring through the grungy windows creating a golden glow. Unfortunately the front window wouldn’t open but it was ok because the bathroom window fell off into the Lady’s hands. I am still scratching but the Man claims he only saw one small flying type insect.

We went for dinner next door to the BBQ Palace and the lady at the counter looked at our credit card as if it was a dead snake. The atmosphere wasn’t very exciting there. Before bed the Lady piled up furniture in front of the door and slept in her clothes. The next morning we were up and on the road at six. We went to breakfast at a different cafe and had the same problem with our credit card and the hostess would only accept cash. We decided we must be getting too close to Toronto and it was affecting people so we decided to make a beeline to the East coast.

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We got on Highway 17, the central Trans Canada route through Ontario and were revived by the sight of beautiful pine and maple forests, lakes, rolling hills, farms and rocky outcrops of the Niagara Escarpment.

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Merrickville, Ontario

We stopped for lunch at Merrickville and had a fascinating time. The site of Merrickville was originally called Grand Falls. Around 1800, a Mr. Merrick decided that it would be an idyllic spot to build some mills powered by the Rideau River that runs through there. Eventually a town grew around his mills and became known as Merrickville. Around 1850, the British government realized that the waterways needed to be opened up to create a supply line for the military so they created a 200 kilometre network of canals and locks.

At Merrickville there are about six locks where we watched two boats enter from both ends to bypass a treacherous part of the river. There was about a 18 metre (60 foot) difference from one side to the other and it took about 45 minutes for the whole process of opening and closing the locks to get the boats through. It was all hand operated winches and chains. The town itself was very well restored and we saw lots of wonderful stone buildings.

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We continued on east to Alexandria where we found a very pleasant clean motel for the night. We’ll continue our journey east tomorrow once we plot out our course. We’ll keep you informed.

Til later,

Miss Ewe

Categories: Cross Canada Road Trip, Ontario | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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