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.
A year after their arrival in Canada West, Donald McGilp received this letter from his friend, and fellow member of the Free Church of North Knapdale. (Note: Ardnaw and Kilmory were part of Inverneil's "Knap Estate." Ardnaw, no longer on the map, was west of Kilmory Knap)
Also, Duncan McIntyre was your webhost's direct ancestor, through his daughter Effy, who married John Campbell after she arrived in Canada. A photo of this woman is reproduced on the "banner" of this website!
Alphabetical listing of People mentioned in letters
Letter 02: From Duncan McIntyre, Ardnaw, South Knapdale, October 1852
Ardnaw, 28 October 1852
In reply to your most acceptable letter, I beg to state that the farm of Kilmory is since Whitsunday last occupied by John and Donald Gillies and I am in possession of a third part of this farm formerly held by widow McNaught. My son Duncan, and John McIntyre, Fernoch, left for Australia on the 1st of May last, having paid their passage money in advance, amounting to 12 pounds each, free of other charges. My son, Donald, also with his family, left this in August for Port Philip on the government emigration scheme, freight very moderate, only 2 pounds for himself and wife, and 10/ for each of his children - provision, bedclothes and cooking utensils provided by the commissioner. We had a very sorrowful parting, but if they arrive in safety and that I receive favourable accounts from them, I am resolved in following them, if spared next season.
I am extremely glad to hear of my son Archibald’s welfare, and it would greatly add to my comfort were he to assume the courage of returning to old Scotland in order to follow his brothers to the gold region where he would soon acquire a fortune, wages are from 60 to 70 pounds annually.
Donald McArthur, Donald McMillan, Donald McCormick, with their respective families, besides several other individuals from North Knapdale, have gone to Australia and numbers are preparing to emigrate next summer.
I regret to state that Duncan McLachlan, Fernoch, has sped his way to eternity in August last after two months illness from an attack of dumb palsy. Archibald McKellar, Stronfield, is fast declining, being in a bad state of health for two years past, insomuch that he is bed confined for the last two months but free of any pain, yet without the least prospect of recovery.
Alexander McIntyre and family are well and owing to the enticing accounts from Australia, he is resolved to go next summer unless prevented by some unforeseen incident. Your brother Angus and family are well, with the exception of Neil who met with an accident by which his shoulder bone was fractured and his whole body bruised; he having occasion to be on top of a wagon of corn, which suddenly overset and being on a declivity, went over him, and might have been smothered underneath had he not been providentially rescued by his brother John who was promptly on the spot. I am happy to hear that he is gradually recovering. He is married to Donald Johnson’s second daughter, and John McNeil is married to Archibald McGilp’s daughter and residing in Greenock.
Alexander McGilp’s leg is much better. He has got a boot purposely made for it whereby he is able to walk to and from his Smithy daily.
This has been a very peculiar year in the this part of the country. Old people affirm that such a continuation of fine weather has not occurred within their recollection. With the exception of a few showers in July, we had no rain worth mentioning since the 1st of March. So great is the drought that the Crinan Canal is impassable, and upwards of 25 mills at and about Greenock are motionless.
We have a splendid crop of corn, nearly double the quantity of potatoes we had in former years during the failure. They sold a cargo in Danna at the rate of 4/ per barrell. Oatmeal sells at 14/ to 16/ per boll. Sheep are in great demand and giving extraordinary prices. The show of cattle at Kilmichael on Tuesday last was immense and met with ready sale, prices above average. There was abundance of Saith at MacCormick’s Island this season, the fishing of which was attended with great success.
Donald Paterson and family are well and desires to be most kindly remembered to you and all your family, also to John and Archd McLachlan. James McLachlan, Ardrishaig, and family, are also well and doing extremely well.
Give my son Archibald my warmest respects and tell him that unless he is inclined to forget me altogether, I shall expect a letter from him this winter.
Remember me to my brother, Neil McIntyre and wife, and also to brothers John, Archd and Neil McLachlan with their families. I have none of my children with me except Malcolm and Effy. Mary is engaged at balimore and John at Cove.
My wife* and I enjoy tolerable good health and unite in our most cordial respects to you and sister, not forgetting Archd, Donald the rest of your family, with all inquiring friends and acquaintances.
They have not got a minister at Carsaig yet, but I understand that the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is to be dispensed next Sabbath there. We had but very few sermons from Free Church minister since you left the country. I beg you will write me occasionally.
I am, Dear brother and Sister,