In 1889, our Macdonald family left the Isle of Lewis and settled on a
160-acre homestead in Saltcoats, Saskatchewan, Canada. Catherine Matheson, her
son Malcolm Alexander MacDonald from her first marriage, her 2nd husband Alexander
Macdonald and their three daughters.
In 1888, a colonization scheme
sent thirty families, consisting of 183 persons from the Isle of Lewis and
Harris to Killarney, in South Western Manitoba, Canada
(about 160 miles west of Winnipeg, Manitoba). Of the
thirty families, the 18 families from the Isle of Lewis left Glasgow on May
on the ‘S.S. Corean’ and the 12 families from Harris
left Glasgow on June
on the ‘S.S. Buenos Ayrean’.
On April 1, 1889, the same colonization scheme sent forty-nine families,
consisting of 282 persons to Saltcoats,
Saskatchewan (then the North-West Territories), Canada
(about 260 miles west of Winnipeg, Manitoba). Saltcoats is located on
the CP Rail line, near the Manitoba
border, 20 miles Southeast of Yorkton,
These new Canadian settlers were
advanced money for travelling from the Isle of Lewis to Saltcoats
(or Killarney) and funds for expenditure and maintenance in Canada.
These advances were to be paid back through mortgages on the land and assets
the settlers held in Canada.
On April 1, 1889, the forty-nine
families sailed from the Isle of Lewis, Harris
and North Uist in the Hebrides of Scotland to Glasgow. On April 3, 1889,
the Saltcoats settlers left Glasgow, Scotland
on the steamship ‘S.S. Scandinavian’
(Allan Line) and arrived in Halifax, Nova
on April 14,
1889. On April
24, 1889, the forty-nine families arrived at
their 160 acre homesteads in Saltcoats, Saskatchewan, Canada.
The Saltcoats settlers were anxious for
schools so the Dunleath and Tupper schools were
built, the buildings being also used as churches. The Saltcoats
settlers also established the nearby town
of Stornoway in Saskatchewan.
One of these
settlers who became highly distinguished is Colonel Malcolm Docherty. He was a sergeant in the Boer war,
helping to capture the Boer General Cronje. Malcolm
remained in the British Army and obtained a Captains' Commission. He was
promoted to Colonel and while holding that rank was killed in France
while leading a cavalry charge. He had many decorations.
Before the Saltcoats colony of 1889, another Scottish settlement was established at St. Andrews
and Benbecula in 1883 and 1884. St.
Andrews and Benbecula
are near Moosomin and south of Saltcoats, near the Manitoba border.
settlements were sponsored by Lady
Emily Gordon Cathcart who owned estates in South Uist,
Benbecula and Barra (North Uist, South Uist, Benbecula and Barra are just south of the Isle of Lewis and Harris).
In 1883, she sent ten families of Scottish crofters, consisting of 38 persons
to St. Andrews and Benbecula. In May 1884, she sent thirty-seven families and
ten single persons, numbering 229 persons to these settlements. Each family was
given a 160 acre homestead.
Saltcoats, St. Andrews
and Benbecula were not the first Scottish settlements in Saskatchewan. In 1811 and 1812, Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl of
Selkirk, brought a group of Highlanders to Manitoba,
The Earl of Selkirk was granted 116,000 square miles of land along the Red
River and Assiniboine
and some of this land was in Saskatchewan,
then called the North-West
Some of the communities north of Yorkton on the Manitoba border, such as Kamsack
and Sturgis, were part of Selkirk’s Red River Colony.
On July 26, 1866,
Reverend James Nisbet (born in Scotland and came to Canada in
1844) led a party of pioneers from the Red River Colony and founded Prince Albert,
north of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Reverend James Nisbet named Prince
Albert after Queen Victoria’s
KILLARNEY, MANITOBA SETTLERS 1889
SALTCOATS, SASKATCHEWAN (THEN N.W.T.) SETTLERS, 1889
Appendix: Norton, Wayne. Help Us to a Better Land: Crofter Colonies in the Canadian West.
Appendix: Saltcoats Settlers: The King Colony and The Lothian Colony
Appendix: Killarney Settlers: The Killarney Colony and The Argyle Colony
If people can find
their ancestors on these above lists, a genealogist named Bill Lawson, of the Isle of
Harris, probably has their family tree. He has over 4,000 family trees
for people in the Hebrides.
I hope this info helps others interested in Scottish settlements in Saskatchewan.
From: Bruce MacDonald
To Sask Gen Web
Tue, 21 Feb
Scottish Saskatchewan Genealogy Roots
Sask Gen Web
Visitor # 5220 Web Publish Date: Sunday, 07-May-2006 19:01:30 MDT