Glengarry County GenWeb: Cameron Family Extracts

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Glengarry County GenWeb

Cameron Family Extracts


“CAMERONS” – Glenelg, Scotland to Glengarry County, Canada

"I was going through some of my grandfather's old papers and came across a draft of a public speech that he gave when and where I do not know. He lived in Toronto after his marriage and was a member of many clubs and organizations so it was most likely in Toronto and it would have been pre-1946 as he died in April of 1946.

The Cameron's of Glenelg are related through my grandfather's maternal line. I do know for a fact that his mother was Jessie Cameron, and I believe her parents were Mary McPhee Cameron and John Cameron. The rest of the line is speculation as I've not had much success in sorting out the many Cameron's.

My grandfather was William Gilbert James Hay (of the Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame), son of John Hay and Jessie Cameron Hay of Glen Sandfield, Ontario."
Leigh Hay-LeBlanc, jeanleblanc@sympatico.ca

My ghost story began, as near as I can judge, somewhere about the year 1778 – and it is to be told tonight for the first time in 42 years. About that time there was a girl of 22 years of age living in a small place in Scotland called Glenelg. Her people were at bitter enmity with a branch of the Cameron family that had moved to that place some years before and from childhood they had been warned against having any contact with the Cameron’s. These Cameron’s were an offshoot of the Cameron’s of Lochiel, Scotland and the hatred held against them was another of the things that had been born into some people – and fanned into a flame as they grew older.

Just about this time there was a “Ball” held which my great-grandmother attended in the company of a young man who was looked upon with favor as her future husband. However, there was a tall, straight, black haired and fiery young man there – and, youth being then much what it is today, my great-grandmother danced with him and seemed to show him and the others that she enjoyed being in his company. A fight ensued between this young lady’s escort and the tall Cameron, ending in the Cameron being stabbed to death, his assailant escaping through a back door. But, only a few minutes had passed when the dancers were startled by a wild shriek that seemed to come from outside the door and when the men rushed out they found the murderer lying dead on the ground and when they carried him into the light of the house it was found that he had been strangled with a pair of powerful hands – and although it was proven that two other Camerons who were at the dance were in the house at the time of the wild cry – the Camerons were blamed for this second death, and a lot of the bitterness which flamed up against the Camerons was also directed toward the young woman who was the indirect cause of the double tragedy. In defiance of her people and spurred on by the scorn which was being heaped on her she married another of the Camerons under the everlasting curse of her father who swore that she would never rest or be happy nor would her children or their children – for the curse of the murder of All Hallow’ Eve would follow them.

She and her husband moved away to a quiet village in Scotland to be away from those they had known and shortly afterward he was fighting in the Napoleonic War, having left his wife and daughter of 14 at home. On the 31st of October while making merry with a lot of other soldiers he heard an agonizing shriek which completely un-nerved him. In some manner he secured a short leave to go home only to find that on the night of October 31st his nearest neighbor had heard a wild cry from his house and when he arrived he had found his wife dead with her fingers clutching at her throat. His daughter was uninjured and asleep in her bed.

He got a release from the army and together with about 50 other Scottish people came to Canada with his daughter, settling in the backwoods of what we know today as the County of Glengarry – in the Ottawa Valley.

Daughter married John Cameron. Four children were born with son Angus Cameron being the eldest. October 31st, John Cameron grasped his throat – crying in Gaelic “Son of the devil! He had killed my boy”. And it was so. His son crossing the river was thrown out of a boat but in trying to save a companion, was strangled and pulled down with the one he tried to save. Five years later John Cameron was found dead in his bed with a look of agony on his face – and his fingers clutching at his throat. No one had been near him but his devoted wife – who was my grandmother.

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Last updated: 2009