The following material is from a translation of a Swedish document into English made in 1980 by Louis P. Larsson of Presque Isle and New Sweden, Maine. The Swedish author was Dr. Allan T. Nilson who visited New Sweden, Maine and other surrounding areas such as Kincardine and Kintore, New Brunswick in 1969. The results of Dr. Nilson’s research were published in Sweden in “Unda Maris” in 1973-74. Larsson was host to Nilson during his trip.
“The distance is about the same to the Scottish Colony from the Danish as it is from the Swedish to the Danish Colony, but it goes faster to travel through Canada directly south on Route 2 by Perth to Kilburn or southerly to Kincardine and Kintore. My visit was made possible thanks to Mr. & Mrs. Hutcheon of Scottish ancestry from Caribou, who offered to drive over there and be my guides. This gave me a chance to tour around in the area of the Scottish Colony, and view farms, schools, and churches in that hilly countryside.
Among the people I met, Mr. James W. Barclay served as the most important and interesting for my errand. It was on his old and beautiful farm in Upper Kintore that he related information about the Scotch Colony.
In 1872 Captain Brown and Robert Stewart came to New Brunswick, Canada, to choose an area suitable for a Scottish Colony. Kilburn was chosen, where a lumberman Kilburn lived, as an area where about 50 families from Kincardinshire in Scotland were considering the idea of moving across the Atlantic to Canada. Fifty thousand acres were available for dividing into lots of 100 or 200 acres. The 200 acre lots would be allotted to families having two or more children, under 18 years of age.
On April 25, 1873 a special train for the emigrants ran from Aberdeen to Glasgow. The ship they sailed on was the “Castalia”, and they arrived at St. John in Canada on the tenth of May, where the same as the Swedes, they were transported up the St. John River on smaller boats. While well on their way they were surprised to see the fields were snow covered, and just a few trees felled on the 2 acres of land they had been assured would be wholly cleared for them. The surveyor general for New Brunswick B. R. Stevenson is said to have encouraged them and persuaded them to undertake the colonization project. About 30 people gave up on the idea during the first months. “The majority did quite well at taking a hold of the project”. Some of the settlers rented small plots of land near the riverside to plant potatoes and other crops, but most of the colonists were able to get enough burned to plant on their own land that spring.
With the Scots in Victoria, Canada. The white house, red barns, fields, forests and ridges. Much of their inherited cultural and traditional ways still exist in their new environment. (Photograph taken in 1970)
The 446 original settlers were joined by a new group of emigrants consisting of 55 families during the spring of 1874. One of the Presbyterian leaders was “Peter the Church Builders”, Peter Melville in Kincardine, another was Dr. Gordon C. Pringle “the great pastor” who worked and served for 55 years in the Kincardine colony.
It was related that the colony’s first horse was purchased with money sent by friends in Scotland, when they learned that the people were themselves dragging the log they cut out of the forest. Sandy Cocker was the early carpenter who made chests of drawers for the colonists. One of these bureaus is still in use in one of the homes.
Cholera raged in the colony from August to October in 1891. Otherwise things seem to have gone well for the new settlers. Most of them made their living from “mixed farming” together with woods work during the winter months. The most important enterprise was the starting of the Fraser Paper Mills.
The new age when farming machines made their appearance began around 1950. They made greater and more convenient methods of work possible (using less man power), so many (workers) moved away to the cities, especially to St. John. Potatoes also have their own history here, while not as prominent as in New Sweden and New Denmark. It was not until 1930 that potatoes became an important factor. In 1964 the New Brunswick Department of Agriculture bought 478 acres in Bonnacord for the purpose of growing foundation seed potatoes. The Bonnaccord Seed Potato Farm has proved valuable for the whole of New Brunswick.
The characteristic and most Scottish way in which the community traditionally celebrates a holiday event is on January 25. This is the birthday of Robert Burns, when traditional bagpipes music is featured, and the Scots above all else attend church services.
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