These letters survived untouched in a small wooden box for more than 100 years. They were rescued from that silence by one of Donald McGilp's great-great grandchildren.

Donald McGilp and his family left Knapdale for Canada West, in June, 1851. His land deed is dated October, 1851, in Wallacetown, Dunwich (Ontario). The Testimonials for his children, Archibald, Neil and Margaret have not survived the accidents of time.

The "Estate of Ross" was comprised of Inverneill's Ulva, Danna and Taynish Estates.

Donald McGilp was a member of the Free Protesting Church of Scotland. The latter had broken away from the established Church of Scotland in the early 1840s. It is notable that these testimonials are provided by the Minister of the PARISH Church of Scotland as well as by an Elder of the Free Church.

Alphabetical listing of People mentioned in letters
DM02: Duncan McIntyre, 1852
DM03: Angus McGilp, 1854
DM04: Donald McGilp, 1855
DM05: Archibald McMillan, 1856
DM06: McGilp nephews, 1856
DM07: Donald Paterson, 1856
DM08: Effy McLean, 1856
DM09: Dugald Campbell, 1856
DM10: Archibald McMillan, 1858
DM11: Alexander McGilp, 1864

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Letter #01: Letters of Reference, June, 1851:

North Knapdale, Argylshire, 20 June 1851 -
This is to certify that the Bearer, Donald McGilp, with a family of nine in number, are now leaving Danna, in the parish of North Knapdale, going to Canada, North America. He is a true and faithfull member of the Free Protesting Church of Scotland, well known from his infancy and especially for twenty years, have borne an exemplary character for the best interest of the whole country, and much regretted at his leaving the country, as to advice and conduct, and especially best interest of the cause of the Land.
Dugald Gillies, Elder

(Note appended to above) Greenock, 1st July, 1851
The Rev. Mr. McCrae, Gaelic minister is at present from home, and in his absence, I beg to certify that I am satisfied that the above certificate is .... James....? ... Minister

Tayvallich, 16 June 1851
Donald McGilp has been a Servant in this Estate of Ross for forty years and upwards, and has always conducted himself to the satisfaction of the Proprietor, and I certify that he is a steady well behaved man.
...McPhail, Factor on the Estate

That Mary McGilp, an unmarried young woman is a Native of this Parish , where she lived from her infancy; that she conducted herself with prudence and propriety; that her moral character has been most Exemplary and as far as it is known to us free from any public Scandal; is attested at North Knapdale, the twenty third day of June, one thousand eight hundred and fifty one years, by
Duncan Campbell, Minister of North Knapdale
Donald McCalman, Session Clerk

That Alexander McGilp, an unmarried young man, is a native of this Parish, where he lived from his childhood; that he has conducted himself with prudence and sobriety, that his moral character is Exemplary, and as far as it is known to us, free from any public Scandal is attested at North Knapdale, the twenty third day of June, one thousand eight hundred and fifty one years, by
Duncan Campbell, Minister of North Knapdale
Donald McCalman, Session Clerk

That Donald McGilp , an unmarried young man, is a native of this Parish, where he resided from his infancy; that he has always conducted himself with prudence and sobriety, that his moral character has been most Exemplary, and as far as it is known to us, free from any public Scandal, is attested at North Knapdale, the twenty third day of June, one thousand eight hundred and fifty one years, by
Duncan Campbell, Minister of North Knapdale
Donald McCalman, Session Clerk

That John McGilp, an unmarried young man, is a native of this Parish, where he lived from his childhood; that he has conducted himself with prudence and Sobriety; that his moral character has been most Exemplary and as far as it is known, to be free from any public Scandal; attested at North Knapdale, the twenty third day of June, one thousand eight hundred and ... one years, by
Duncan Campbell, Minister of North Knapdale
Donald McCalman, Session Clerk