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Report prepared for the Scottish Immigrant Aid Society regarding the Clandonald colony MacDonell, Andrew Nov 24, 1952

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 —       JJLi- -l• ^    — ■« i      W^	
At our meting in December of 1950, when a wry full report on
th© Clanfionald Colony was given by Mr. Gresswell, 1 was asked if I had
anything to say. I declined to speak. Bier© was aueh to say and
thought wae advisable.
fhere is no question about ift the Colony is not & paying concern;
4t will sever be eo ia a financial sense,
There are sever©! reasons - conditions of land, climate, prices
of crops, depression, ineatperieno© and evil advice.
\ xhe lend was all raw land, the settlers had little
experience in farming and no experience whatsoever in dealing
with raw land, either in breaking, brushing or clearing.
fIhey were all or nearly all very poor and unable to provide
theraselvas with ordinary everyday needs - they were provided
with just a minimum of farm implements and now enough power ~
their progress for the first few years was lamentably limited.
'Biey were in many oases unable to clear enough land to enable
their families to est, audi less to enable thesa to sake payments on their farms.
%©y had signed their "Agreement of Sale", on which was
,« detailed the price of land, house, barn, well, implements and
stock, fhey were told that they would not be asked to make a
payment for two or three years, then when they were  confronted:-
(1) with their indebtedness, which; was considerably
increased by sobs© years of interest, compounded;
(g) and with a price of 10^ or IS^f a bushel for their
wheat cropj
for many it was just & death blew to their hopes.
the Colony started ia 1986.
fh© depression struck in 19E9 and continued. Over sad above, there
were always those who were ready with advice. From th© "old timers5* it was*
"What the hell brought you here? m can't make & living her© and how can
you expect to do betters Another would advise, "Den't bother about your
■ payments - it is the Government, or it is the - auch the same." All
was clinched when somewhat later Aberhaxt eaiaa on and ■cold all not to pay
on farms, or words to that general affect.
It seems to b© the case that organised settlement on the land is not
greatly successful ia Canada.
The Canadian Government soldiers» Settlement scheme after the £$*•»*
Great <8m could not be rated as successful, Slow £6,000 Canadian soldiers -
A - I -
fsnaew or sons of tanmaee - were settled. It is doubtful if 8,000 are
still on their farms, and I reoesiber when a loss of §38,000,000 was
declared, and that was sot the ultimate figure.
ihe 3000 family Scheme, promoted by the Canadian Ck*v©r»m©nt and
financed by the British Government, oould not be claimed as an outstanding
success even though previews experience might have helped had certain
officials been open to suggestions.
The 3000 Family Scheme was started by officers of the S.SJB. on
th© line© of work done for a Biigration of Hebrideans by Mr. U,  Gordon,
Superintendent of the S.S.B. in Edmonton, and myself in 1923.
1 had known that for several years families from the Hebrides
very anxious to migrate and settle on the land in Canada, aer© had b0mn
as siany a© tea separate migrations to Canada from the Hebrides, beginning
as early aa 1973. fhe on© immediately preceding ours was in 18G5. They
settled near wapella in Saskatchewan. Our first contingent of 340 souls
were settled in 1983.
tasadistely after their settlement the Scottish 1%-aigrsnt Aid
Society was incorporated under th© laws of th© Dominion on a non-prof it
sharing basis
In 19g4 a second contingent of 860 souls (or 48 families) easi©
from th© Hebrides, k few were settled on farms iaaaediately on arrival,
but the sain body were found oottages on farsis to live in and work for
farmers in their neighbourhood.
Th© first work done through th® Society was th© building of fourteen
cottages to house immigrants on their first arrival, ©specially if they had
n© money, four of th© S.I.A.S. Birsctors contributed $10,B00 towards th©
building of theae cottages*
The Clandonald Colony eoraaeneed settlement in !§•#« «s© had in
Canada waiting aora© forty-eight families of Hebrideans who, as stated above,
were working on farms. Besides, there were many other families in scotliind
and Ireland asking to com© to Canada, and get settled under the auspices of
our society.
About this ties© I was told of a tract of load north of YttttillMu
It consisted of 3t,000 acres of raw land. It was held % a Belgian syndicate
' -  ' WM - I -
in Slanipeg. I learnt that it w held cheaply as the syndicate wanted
to sell, fbe Belgian franc at this time m cheap. I went te Winnipeg
and interviewed the representatives of th© syndicate, fheaaa t proceeded
to Montreal and got an interview with the Resident of the 0,1**8. Thia
interview wan arranged for m by the chief CobkiIb© loner of ColoaliatiOB
of the eoragM&ny m Golosel Dennis who was my Tie©-ftr©»td#at.
1 ®ag?laia©d t© the 2*n»ai4»at that this tract of land that I
considered suitable for the settlement of talstlgraat© was just forty miles
west of th© present end of' steel of m@ Out Knife branch of the C.P.&
line. In a few weeks the lias would be through this taut and th© railway
would be th© better of a Colony planed astride tt*
I*ss than five slant©©* talk got us the loan of $100,000 to buy the
Shortly after this iatesnriew 1 proceeded to London to place th© plan
before th© overseas settlement Department, ©ad to ask for §100,000 f«*» them
to provide fl»-000 for the pappose of buying stock and equipment for ©aeh of
on© hundred faalli«»» fbey agreed* I wae asked about th© providing of
houses and bams. Our tract of land was- altogether raw land, and had nmm
been occupied. Th© price of 100 cottage© and 100 bams w© computed to be
about $88,000. $&• Oversea© settlement Department ©greed-to pay half. If
we provided th© first half. Shat nm®  fair, so I got busy with Hf Advisory
Board la th© Baited Kingdom. Jjord I*ovat was w Chairman, 0ol« Hon. Angus
McDonnell, lion. James Stewart and Sir J«a©a Gaidar, »ir#ctor#.
I went to «#© lord lav&t and ©splaiaed th© problem. H© told ma that
I was in luck ae he saw it. He, at th© time, sas busy selling and realising
on a training far® that fee ©nd others had set up some years before in South
Africa, i.e., after th® Boer ear* It wae a© long®!1 needed, and h# was
engaged la returning sioftlea after th© sal© to certain gentleman who had lent
sssas to ©at up thin training farm, tt© told a© that h© would state onr need
when writing to the gentlemen mentioned sad suggest that peifeapa they might
place soa© of their mmy in.thia new settlement sohem© of our®. In the
courts© of a few days he had $Lo,000 for us. Colonel Hon* 4ngt*a J&ftmaell
also approached eoma of Ms fri ©Ms and in short order hod §10,009} and I
begged a third $10,000 from east© generous friends - thus in' three weeks w«
had 480,000
Shan I mad© this known to th# 0.8.0., they geaamasly regarded that
as evidence that m Could obtain soiaahow th© balance of §M,OO0»
m w©» tbUB enabled to ©able to Alberta to net ©oittraetera going at
building eottages and barns. Colonel Seanis had arrived An Ionian ©ad was mm
with m when m cabled to Alberts to jnnmnm*. with th© programme w© had
srsanged b«for© leaving Canada* 1» about two months' time loo cottage©
(small four-roomed cottages) and 100 bams C font 4 how©© and a ©owe)
war© built.
la th© late Spring of 19S© th© f©rty-*ight Mabrtdeaa faaiMw,
who war© working on Canadian fame ©lac© 1824 at different point© in
th® general area from Kai sear to' xetmonton, war© moved onto farms and
wer® supervised by Father Hwlntyjc© and ilevill© Aabartaon*
lb© Bebrideaaa mm all fairly «at»bllah«i when I »@at over from
Ireland ©l©v«a families and %m® waaks later arrived -with forty-en© mor©
families from Haglaad, I#©laad and a few from Scotland*
fhls lattar crowd arrived in ¥©B»llioa ©a a special train sad th©
esre conveying turn were put onto & aiding, and from these care w© concentrated on sending th© a©ttiara out to their allotted farm©, each
family in It© mm. *agon, with their belonging©, beside© bade, table,
chairs, and atov© and ©tov® pipe©.
lack family on aa average numbered six souls, li h&&  thus la a
comparatively short tin© filled on© hundred farms and their cottage© with
Many of thaaa families, ©apacially those that cam© in this year
(Its©! wer® very poor, and m had t© provide th© wh©r«altnal to feed them*
Thousands of dollars had to b# obtained from my slrector® and other© for
the purpose. It was remarkable how several of th©«* families seemed t©
tak© for granted that they should be fed by the Society * thia was
aspsolsllijr true of many of those who had beam soldiers - they ©#«ij»« to
think that aa army quartermaster mm still responsible, and would provide
1© had broken and plough©! some tea acres on each farm so that th*
people could plant potato©©, *to«, for themselves and oats for their horses.
Smb family ^m provided with sow© furniture, two horses and tun ecwa, and
essential machinery, and when taay were guided oat to thai? faint© boa®®
they wsr© provided with ©sough food for two ssaths*
Th© head of the family was then advised of all that h© wad ©nd
vbieh had to b© repaid la the future, li© was given aa "jigreameut of sal®*
detailing th© prie© of the land, th© house, and tea, th© horses, ©cm© and
The document «w 1st* with hia for at least two «©«k» to study
before h© was asked te sign so that n* could faaillarlM himself and know
• **• a !■
m   g -
all that h© would be called on later to pay for. fhls "Agreement ©f
Sale" was also, I think, a mistake unleaa they mm  able to make a
substantial down payment; they should have been put ©a a rental basis.
That would have given them from th© b«glnniag a seas© of responsibility -
and they would have knows their obligation. «h© "Agreement of Sal©"
.gave them a ©tat® of security which ia very many cas«© was shamefully
abused* m much for that.
The mm, were advised that a© soon as possible they ahouid go out
to work for other farmers and earn enough money to help than ov®r th*
coming winter. Besides, th© experience would b© very valuable.
I© had, however, to contend with a mental attitude that gav© mueh
trouble. Many of th© people wer© literally abnormal for th© first six
months or more. The smallest of our farms was 100 acres in extent, and
many of th© settlers had been on fiv© or sis acre holdings at home* Som©
had been farm labourers* Shay were overwhelmed by th* Idea and f©ar of
working 100 acres.
lh© women particularly war© in a bad way. they were loud ia their
denunciation of Mthls God-forsaken country**, m  they said. All this,
however, passed away in a few month©« time, aa soon ae th©y @©t to
realize and understand. 1 had been most careful that not on© of them
could ever say that I had persuaded them to com© to Canada, fhmj had all
applied to Canadian authorities before 1 ever saw them, or knew anything
of them* ?4y stand always was, *If you havs mad© up your mind that you
sr© going t© Canada, I am ia a position to do so-and-so for you t© help
your settlement.* Seldom was ther© any trouble with th© Hebrideans but
that could not b© said of som© others.
It was after w© had settled our first on© hundred families on th©
Olaadonald area that the Colony of St* Bride was established. later w©
put into th© Olaadonald Colony SO Intension farms, 37 C.P.R. farms, and
EO Hudson's Bay farms. Th© Hudson's Bay twenty have all left th© farms
with the exception of two, and gone to'other mxk,
All in all, w© compute that wa placed about 400 families on farms
of their own, including the first 380 Hebridean© who wer© settled before
th© 8*X*A„S. was Incorporated - and th© Colony of St, Bride that were
settled under th© SOW family scheme* They war© given from tw*aty-fiv©
to thirty years to pay for their farms. Ifeny of oar families war© not
able to hold on but, on the whale, they did better in proportion than th©
soldiers under th© Soldiers' Settlement Schema « though these war© all
Canadians with knowledge of Canadian farming - sad they did as well if
net better than th© bulk of the 3000 Family eehem©.
24th November, 1952.


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