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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 wasting in December of 1950, when a wry full report on
the Claadonald Colony was given by Mr. Gresswell, 1 «as asked if I lied
anything to say. I declined to speak. Bier© was ausii to say and
thought was advisable.
fhere is no question about ift the Colony is not & paying concern;
4t will sever he so in a financial sense,
There are several reasons - conditions of land, climate, prises
of crops, depression, ineatperience and evil adviee.
\ ihe land was all raw land, the settlers had little
experience in farming and no experience whatsoever in dealing
with raw land, either la breaking, brushing or clearing.
fIhey were all or nearly all very poor and unable to provide
theraselvss 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 ia many eases unable to clear enough land to enable
their families to est, aueh less to enable them to sake payments on their farm.
%ey 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 eotsi© 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.
fhe depression struck ia 19E9 and continued. Over and above, there
were always those who were ready with advice. From the "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.* Ail
was clinched when somewhat later aberhaxt caiaa on and told all not to pay
on farms, or words to that general effect.
It seems to be the case that organised settlement on the land is not
greatly successful ia Canada.
The Canadian Government soldiers» settlement scheme after the £$*•»*
Great :,iar could not be rated aa successful. Some £6,000 Canadian soldiers -
A - I -
fanaew or sons of farsasw?© - were settled. It is doubtful if 8,000 are
still on their farms, and I remember when a loss of §38,000,000 was
declared, and that was not the ultimate figure.
ihe 3000 Family Schema, promoted by the Canadian Ooverament and
financed by the British Government, oould not be claimed as an outstanding
success even though previous experience might have helped had certain
officials been open to suggestions.
The 3000 Family Scheme was started by officers of the S.SJB. on
the liaee of work done for a Biigration of Hebrlde&as by Mr. U,  Gordon,
Superintendent of the S.8.B. ia 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, aere had b0mn
as many a© tea separate migrations to Canada from the Hebrides, beginning
as early aa 1973. fhe on© immediately preceding ours was ia 18G5. They
settled near wapella in Saskatchewan. Our first contingent of 340 souls
were settled in 1983.
tasadiately after their settlement the Scottish 2%-aigrsat Aid
Society was incorporated under the laws of the Dominion on a non-profit
sharing basis
In 19g4 a second contingent of 860 souls (or 48 families) came
from the Hebrides, k few were settled on farms immediately on arrival,
but the sain body were found cottages on farsis to live in and work for
farmers in their neighbourhood.
The first work done through the Society was the building of fourteen
cottages to house immigrants on their first arrival, especially if they had
no money, four of the S.I.&.S. Birsctors contributed $10,B00 towards the
building of thea© cottages*
The Clandonald Colony eoraaeneed settlement in !§•#« it had in
Canada waiting sotae forty-eight families of Hebrideaas who, as stated above,
were working on farms. Besides, there were aany other families in scotliiad
and Ireland asking to come to Canada, and get settled under the auspices of
our society.
About this tlMB I was told of a tract of land north of fersilloa.
It consisted of 31,000 acres of raw land. It was held by a Belgian syndicate
■ - ■ wm - I -
in Slanipeg. I learnt that it was held cheaply as the syndicate wanted
to sell, the Belgian franc at this time was cheap. I went to Winnipeg
and interviewed the representatives of the syndicate, fheace 1 proceeded
to Montreal and got an interview with the Resident of the 0,1**8. Jhle
interview wsa arranged for m by the chief Ooamlss loner of Colimtwtioa
of the Oorapaay m Colonel Dennis who was my Tiee-ftrestdeat.
1 ea^laiaed to the i*reeidsnt that this tract of land that I
considered suitable for the settlement of talstlgrafits was just forty miles
west of the present end of' steel of m@ Out Knife branch of the C.P.&
line. In a few weeks the line would be through this tract and the railway
would be the better of a Colony placed astride it.
!*ss than five minutes* talk gut us the loan of flOO.OOO to buy the
Shortly after this interview 1 proceeded to London to place the plan
before the Overseas settlement Department, and to ask for §100,000 from them
to provide fl»-0OO for the purpose of buying stock and equipment for each of
one hundred families, fbey agreed* I was asked about the providing of
houses and bams. Our tract of land was- altogether raw land, and had nmm
been occupied. The price of 100 cottages and 100 bams we computed to be
about $88,000. The Overseas settlement Bepartmeat agreed-to pay half. If
we provided the first half, fhat nm»  fair, so I got busy with say Advisory
Board 1ft the United Kingdom. Jjord &»vat was w Chairman, Ool. Hon, Angus
McDonnell, lion. James Stewart and Sir James Calder, director®.
I went to see lord Xdvat and eaplained the problem. He told m that
I was ia luck as he saw it. He, at the time, sas busy selling and realising
on a training far® that fee and others had set up some years before in South
Africa, i.e., after the Boer &»r* It wae no longer needed, and he was
engaged la returning s»ni«a after the sale to certain gentlemen who had lent
sums to set up this training farm. Be told sae that he would state qw need
when writing to the gentlemen mentioned sad suggest that perhaps they might
place some of their money ift.thia new settlement scheme of our®. In the
course of a few days he had p.0,000 for us. Colonel Hon* ^agus Jfeftmnell
also approached eome of Ms friends and in short order had |l0,000i and I
begged a third $10,000 frost earns generous friends - thus in' three weeks we
had 480,000
Shea I made this known to the 0,8,0., they generously regarded that
as evidence that we Could obtain somehow the balance of §M,0OO.
m were thus enabled to ©able to Alberta to set ©otttraetera going at
building cottages and barns. Colons! mania had arrived An l^aion aad was mm
with me when we cabled to Alberts to proceed with the programme we bad
arranged before leaving Canada, 1» about two months' time loo cottages
| small four-ro«a»d cottages) and lOO barns C font 4 horses and g cows)
wre built.
la the late Spring of 19S0 the forty-eight }l«bridean familitis,
who were working on Canadian farms since 1824 at different points la
the general area from Kei seer to■xdmonton, were moved onto farms and
were supervised by Father Hiolntyjca and Seville Aabertson,
%b* Hebrideaas were all fairly established when I seat over from
Ireland eleven families and two weeks later arrived with forty-one mare
families from Hagland, Iceland &ad a few from Scotland,
fals latter crowd arrived in Vermilion on a special train and the
ears conveying turn were put onto a siding, and from these cars we concentrated on sending the settlers out to their allotted farms, each
family in Its own wagon, with their belongings, besides beds, table,
chairs, and stove and stove pipes.
lack family on an average numbered six souls, fe h&4  thus la a
comparatively short time filled one hundred farms and their cottages with
Many of these families, especially those that cam© in this year
(IfSoJ were very poor, and we had to provide the wherewithal to feed them,
thousand*! of dollars had to be obtained from my slrector® and others for
the purpose. It was remarkable how several of these families seemed t©
take for granted that they should be fed by the Society * this was
especially true of many of those who had been soldiers - they seemed to
think that an army ^'uarterasster was still responsible, and would provide
f# had broken and ploughed some tea acres on each farm so that the
people could plant potatoes, etc., for themselves and oats for their horses.
Smo family was provided with some furniture, two horses and two cows, and
essential machinery, and when they were guided oat to their future home®
they were provided with enough food for two ssaths,
the head of the family was then advised of all that h© owed and
which had to be repaid la the future, lie was given an "jigrtwaent of sale*
detailing the price of the land, the house, and barn, the horses, cows and
The document «w left with hla for at least two weeks to study
before he was asked to sign so that he conic faaillorlM himself and know !■
m   g -
all that he would he called on later to pay for. fhis "Agreement ©f
Sale" was also, 1 think, a mistake unless they mm  able to make a
substantial down payment j they should have been put on a rental basis.
That would have given them from th© beginning a sense of responsibility -
and they would have known their obligation, «h© "Agreement of SaleK
.gave them a state of security which ia very many case© was shamefully
abused, m much for that.
The mm, were advised that as soon as possible they should go out
to work for other farmers and earn enough ssoaey to help them over the
coming winter. Besides, the experience would be very valuable.
I® had, however, to contend with a mental attitude that gave much
trouble, Wmy of the people were literally abnormal for the first six
months or more. The smallest of our farms was 100 acres in extent, and
many of the settlers had been on five or sis acre holdings at home. Seme
had been farm labourers, Shey were overwhelmed by the Idea and fear of
working ISO acres.
lh© women particularly were la a bad way. they were loud la their
denunciation of Mthls God-foraaken country**, as they said. All this,
however, passed away in a few months' time, aa soon as they got to
realise and understand. 1 had been most careful that not one of them
could ever say that I had persuaded them to come to Canada, fhay had all
applied to Canadian authorities before 1 ever saw them, or knew anything
of them* ?4y stand always was, *If you have made up your mind that you
are going to Canada, 1 am in a position to do so-and-so for you to help
your settlement.* Seldom was there any trouble with the Uebrideans but
that could not be said of some others.
It was after we had settled our first one hundred families on the
Olaadonald area that the Colony of St, Bride was established. later we
put into the Oiandonald Colony SO ixtension farms, 37 farms, and
BO Hudson's Bay farms. The Hudson's Bay twenty have all left the farms
with the exception of two, and gone to'other nork,
All in all, we compute that we placed about 400 families on farms
of their own, including the first 380 JBebrideans who were settled before
the S«X»A,S, was Incorporated - and the Colony of St. Bride that were
settled under the 3000 family scheme, They were given from twenty-five
to thirty years to pay for their farms. Ifeny of ouj? families were not
able to hold on but, on the whole, they did better in proportion than the
soldiers under the Soldiers* Settlement Scheme « though these were all
Canadians with knowledge of Canadian farming - and they did as well if
not better than the bulk of the 3000 Family eoheme.
24th November, 1052.


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