The Scotch Colony and Burns Night

Star Herald, Presque Isle, Maine, Thursday, February 13, 1919

Many years ago, to be exact, in 1873, a Scotch sea captain whose ship plied between Scotland and St. John, on occasion of a voyage when he had some time on his hands in St. John, took a run up the river. Noting the big domain of government wild land he saw on the trip, he conceived the idea of bringing a colony of his neighbors in Old Kincardine across, and settling them in New Brunswick.
Going back home he succeeded in recruiting a colony, secured a grant of land for a settlement, and the movement resulted in transplanting about 400 hardy Scotch people, and their settlement in what is known as the Scotch Colony, a place about 30 miles due east of Presque Isle.
Had these people been located in Aroostook in some good township, it might have resulted in the development of a community equal in size and prosperity to the famous Swedish colony, brought over by Mr. Thomas. As it was the land proved so hilly and rough, and the conditions generally so unfavorable, that the settlement, instead of growing, stood still, and then dwindled until today, there are but a handful—probably not more than a hundred in number.
Mr. Wm. L. Duncan of Washburn was in the original colony, and he many years ago migrated to Aroostook, and bought land in Washburn, which, with hard work and careful, frugal management, has made Mr. Duncan and his family prosperous.
Almost every year, however, he makes a trip across to the Scotch Colony, to a reunion and celebration there on Burns’ Birthday, which is observed regularly by a Burns Society on each anniversary of the poet’s birthday.
Following is an account of his trip across on Jan. 24th last:

On invitation from the chairman of Burns Association, Kincardine, friend Tom Patterson and myself found ourselves on the night of Jan. 24 in the Hall at Lower Kincardine, ready to do our part in celebrating the birth of our immortal poet Burns. The 25th is the real night, but as that date was Saturday, it was unthinkable even for the great poet, to use that night so near to the Sabbath for that purpose.
The usual program of Burns songs, readings, etc., was gone into with hearty good will. Our minister, Rev. Gordon Pringle, is always chairman at these celebrations and his gawky Scottish humor shone out when he called us all “Jock Tamson’s bairns for the night.” He was especially praiseworthy in doing his part.
Friend Tom had to respond to a good many encores for the happy way he has in giving Harry Lauder’s “Breakfast in My Bed on Sunday Morning.” Incidentally the minister took him to task in a humorous way for singing such an enticing song to his good people, tempting them to stay in bed, to hear the church bells ring. After the program came the “Doch and Doris” parting cup, in this case a cup of tea, made as they know how to do it down there. Then oh! Those glorious baskets filled with good things, including, of course, oat cakes, and the invitation for Tom and myself to “Come awa’ in by, and sit don and just help yersels.”
Finally the seats were cleared off the floor, and the young folks took charge and for some time the Highland Scottich and Scotch Reels and Contra Dances had full swing.
I am afraid the saut tear dimmed my ee as I watched them and thought of the merry times we had long ago when the Colony was full of happy boys and girls, now scattered all over this broad country of ours, making homes for themselves. The fathers and mothers quietly sleeping in the little churchyard, the old homes deserted, the farms growing up in maples and birches again. Still there are some cozy homes left, and be sure of a kindly welcome if you every happen that way.
I am sure we all enjoyed the thoroughly “Scotch evening” very much, and never gave a thought to the storm raging out doors, until in the wee sma’ oors the gathering broke up and then—the horses had to do their bit. Next morning I went off alone, leaving Tom in bed. (Poor chap, he can not stand the air on these hilltops.)
The little active horses of the mail carrier surely proved their mettle before we reached the Cabrach. The storm had blotted out all trace of road.
I visited a number of the old folks, some of them eagerly waiting the long wished for return of the boy from France. Others with a quiet welcome hand clasp and a reverent “The Lord’s will be done. Glad the war is over.” But! The boy will never come back. The true value of these sacrifices appealed to me as never before. Not for country alone did they die, but to make a better world for us all.
On Sabbath morning bight and early the minister and I set out for Church. I took notice we had a shovel under the lung seat, but luckily we did not have to use it. That morning the service was held in Upper Kintore, eight miles or more from the Manse. We found the little church well filled with the people of the district, and it goes without saying that we enjoyed the service. The quiet, masterly, kindly way the minister led us in green pastures and by the still water, and the old Psalms and hymns led off by the clear young voices, the older people chiming in with their bass and tenor—“I to the hills will lift mine eyes,” with that setting was very real to us.

W. L. Duncan

Pioneer Couple Celebrate Golden Wedding at Washburn, April 30 [1936]

[Transcribed from the Presque Isle Star Herald, May 7, 1936]

On Thursday, April 30th Mr. and Mrs. David L. Duncan celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Mr. Duncan and his wife while very young came over from Scotland in the famous Scotch Colony which settled in Kincardine, N. B. in 1873. A whole book might be written of the hardships and also joys of these sturdy Scotch people.
As a young man Mr. Duncan came to Washburn with several other Scotch lads from the colony where they found employment in the Johnson Phair Mill. After three years service in the mill, Mr. Duncan was appointed manager of the business, which position he held for thirty-one years.
In 1886 Mr. Duncan married Catherine Chapman in the Presbyterian kirk in Kincardine built by colonists when first they landed. Mr. and Mrs. Duncan established their home in Washburn where they have since resided. They have six children all of whom are living and helped them to celebrate this event. Namely: Mrs. Guy Durepo of Presque Isle; Mrs. Ernest Umphrey; Miss Bessie Duncan, Harry Duncan, Mrs. Malcolm Umphrey all of Washburn and David Otis Duncan of Presque Isle.
During their fifty years spent in Washburn Mr. and Mrs. Duncan have witnessed many changes in the life of the village. They have always been faithful supporters of the Methodist Church, singing in the choir and holding various offices in connection with the church. In fraternal organizations they have also been active, having been members of Prosperity Rebekah Lodge, Coldvale Chapter, O. E. S. and the Grange.
Mr. Duncan is also a member of the Masonic Lodge and the only living Charter Member of Industry lodge No. 112, I. O. O. F. and has been Secretary for the past 49 years, still holding that office. He has been the town’s efficient postmaster for the past thirteen years until retired by change of administration. Mr. and Mrs. Duncan although getting along in years are both active and in good health.
This crowning event of their lives was celebrated in the I. O. O. F. hall which had been especially decorated by their children and relatives. The color scheme was yellow in keeping with the event and each light was covered with yellow shades. The front of the hall was decorated with ferns and baskets of cut flowers, the latter being gifts to the bride from friends in Presque Isle, which were later presented. The hall was crowded with friends and relatives from far and near. While the crowd was gathering selections by the High School Orchestra under the direction of Miss Eleanor Smith were enjoyed. A violin solo, “I Love You Truly,” was played by Miss Margaret Umphrey, a grand-daughter.
The wedding party marched into the hall to the strains of “Scots Wha Hae,” played by Miss Bessie Duncan, a daughter. The party was preceded by Miss Virginia Umphrey, another grand-daughter who was dressed in Scotish costume and carrying a beautiful basket of sweet peas, a gift from Mrs. Della Stevens of Presque Isle. The attendants were Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Duncan, Sr., and Mr. and Mrs. R. W. Chapman. Each lady wore a beautiful corsage bouquet that of the bride being in yellow and white; Mrs. Chapman’s orchid and white; Mrs. W. L. Duncan, rose and white.
When they were seated the following program was carried out, which needless to say had a Scotch flavor in honor the the Scotch homeland from which they came so many years ago. Mrs. Guy Durepo of Presque Isle, eldest daughter, had charge of the program and in a most gracious manner introduced first the Rev. Gordon Pringle, beloved pastor of the Colony for over 40 years and who is still in active service as pastor of the church. Mr. Pringle came to Washburn especially for this event. He delighted the audience with his quaint old World manner and souvenirs of Scotland which he brought with him. Next came a song entitled “Strolling in the Colony” sung by the children for “Mother and Dad” especially written for the occasion by Rev. Herman A. Clark of Gardiner and set to the music of Harry Lauders’ “Roaming in the Gloaming;” Reading, Mrs. Hannah Rideout; Piano Solo, Betty Russell; greeting from friends including a letter from Rev. E. R. Farrer of Ellsworth, given by David O. Duncan; Vocal Solo, Scotland Must be Heaven, Harry E. Duncan; Tribute to Uncle Dave and Aunt Kate composed by Rev. H. A. Clark and read by Mrs. Kenneth Duncan; remarks by Rev. K. D. Paul of the Baptist Church and Rev. Charles Whynot of the Methodist Church; Vocal Solo, Now Your Hair has Turned to Silver, Stuart Duncan; Highland Fling, Virginia Umphrey; Trio, When I Grow too Old to Dream, Mrs. Guy Durepo, Miss Bessie Duncan, David O. Duncan; remarks, Milton J. Stairs; remarks and presentation of purse of money and flowers, Harry E. Umphrey; response, D. L. Duncan; original poem written by Stuart Duncan of Fort Fairfield, read by Mrs. Henry Russell; A Musical Pleasantry in costume entitled The Old Maids’ Tea Party, given by Mrs. Ernest Umphrey, Mrs. Alex Duncan, Mrs. William Duncan, Jr., Miss Bessie Duncan with Mrs. Malcolm Umphrey at the piano.
During the program a brides’ cake, a gift of Mrs. Bertha Austin of Presque Isle, was presented by Miss Winona Duncan, a grand-daughter.
Following the program an informal reception was held and refreshments of fruit punch and wafers were served. Finally a jolly informal sing of old songs ending with the good old Scotch Song, “Auld Lang Syne,” and “God be With You” as a final number.
Mr. and Mrs. Duncan received many lovely gifts of Pewter, Linen, Glass, Cut Flowers also a generous purse of money.
Mr. and Mrs. Duncan wish to extend a word of thanks to all who assisted in making this occasion such a happy one with special mention to D. M. Barker and O. K. Story.
The day and evening was a crowning event in their fifty years of wedded life as was in evidence by their happy smiles. Heaps of cards, letters and telegrams of congratulations were received during the day.
Among the out of town guest who were present were the following:
Alex Matheson and Rev. Gordon Pringle, Kincardine, N. B.; Mr. and Mrs. Hayden Inman and daughter, Phyllis and Mrs. J. McPhail, Perth, N. B.; Mr. and Mrs. James Chapman and three children, Plaster Rock, N. B. Mr. and Mrs. Orla Higgins and Mr. and Mrs. John Dow and son, Ralph of Mapleton; Mr. and Mrs. Otis Steven, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Graves, Mrs. Zoa Lenfest, Mr. and Mrs. Earl Ryder, Mr. and Mrs. Dexter Chase, Mrs. Bertha Austin, Mrs. J. A. Cooper, Mrs. David O. Duncan of Presque Isle; Miss Doris Kinney, Mrs. Annie E. Osterblom and daughter, also James Cumming of Easton; Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Duncan and son of Fort Fairfield; Mr. and Mrs. Edward Milbury and Miss Dorine Langley of Easton; James Hunter of Malden Mass.; Mrs. G. M. Carter, Caribou.


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Celebration at Scotch Colony

[Published in the Fort Fairfield Review, July 22, 1923; page 12.]

The Fiftieth Anniversary of the settlement of the Scotch Colony was celebrated at Kincardine on Tuesday, July 10. There was a reunion of the members of the Colony in connection with the celebration. A list of all the members of the colony born there and in Scotland has just been compiled for historical purposes. The first party came over on the “Castalia” in 1873 and was followed a year later by a second party on the “Sidonian,” in 1874. As far as is known the oldest people now in the colony are Mrs. Farquhar, of Upper Kintore, and Donald Innis, also of Upper Kintore. The youngest is the baby daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Young. It is interesting to note that the first birth was that of a girl on board the “Castalia,” April 30, 1872. She was named for the ship, the captain and her father, “Castalia Butler Ferguson Brown Morrison,” and she is still living in Scotland. The first marriage was that of Archibald Winter and Euphemia Bisset in 1875. The first recorded death is that of a child, William Cocker, of Upper Stonehaven. Joseph Davidson of Kilburn was a babe in arms on the ship. Rev. Gordon Pringle, Kincardine, NB would be very grateful for any [?] or particulars relative to the settlers and numbers of the [?]. As Chairman of the Committee in charge of this he is [??]as complete a list as possible.

50th celebration at scotch colony FFRjuly11,1923

Some notes about the article:

William Cocker, the third child of Alexander D. Cocker and Euphemia Wilson, was born in Banchory -Ternan, Kincardineshire, Scotland on May 12, 1867. He was a passenger on the Castalia in 1873 and lived with his family on lot 32 in Stonehaven, New Brunswick. His older sister Catherine Cocker married William Linton Duncan in 1885.

Mrs. Margaret (Ross) Farquhar (1837-1924) and her husband James (1830-1922) lived on lot 42 in Upper Kintore, New Brunswick. They were Sidonian passengers in 1874, bringing their children: Joseph 11, Mary Ann 8, James 6, and infant John.

Donald Innes (1841-1926) lived in Upper Kintore on lot 146. He and his wife Eliza arrived via the Sidonian in 1874 with their children: Margaret 11, Charles 9, Jane 7, John 5,  Elizabeth 3, and infant Elsie.

Joseph Davidson (April 9, 1873-Jan. 5, 1953) was one of seven surviving colonists who rode together on a float in the parade celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Scotch Colony. His parents, Andrew and Margaret Davidson, were on the Castalia in 1873 with their children. They lived on lot 8 in Stonehaven.

Published in: on September 2, 2018 at 3:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bell in Melville Church

2018 marks the 140th anniversary of the Melville Church in Kincardine, New Brunswick.

Version 2

Melville church and cemetery

The church was built during 1877, the bell installed, and the dedication was held on January 1, 1878. The bell in the church steeple is still rung today just before each service. Two pieces of writing support the arrival of the bell to New Brunswick in May 1873 aboard the Castalia. (Also onboard was the equipment intended to publish a newspaper in the new settlement, but that project apparently did not occur.)

  1. David Duncan, young son of William and Elizabeth (Cocker) Duncan, kept a diary during the voyage across the Atlantic. The first entry dated April 25, 1873 states: “They got the bell for the Church, and the press and type for ‘The New Kincardineshire.’ Bell was present of the Anchor Line Company.” The full transcript of David’s diary is here.
  2. An article in the newspaper dated April 30, 1873 describes the beginning of the “Emigration From the Clyde.” The report from the Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette states: “The materials for a new newspaper, The New Kincardineshire Journal, were shipped along with the passengers, and a splendid bell for the new Stonehaven church, presented by the Anchor Line Company, also formed part of the freight.” The complete article is here.


“A scheme of emigration, having some remarkable points of novelty, and originated some time ago, we understand, by Captain Brown of Stonehaven, Kincardineshire, was partially begun by a band of emigrants who passed through Glasgow last week. Captain Brown’s idea as developed in the prospectus of “ the new Kincardineshire Colony of New Brunswick,” is that a colony should be formed in the new country of those who were neighbors in the old, thus preventing the feeling of home-sickness in the immigrant by his carrying home associations and home companions with him. For the purpose of forming the colony a tractor of the finest land, ten miles by twenty, has been secured in New Brunswick, and which is called New Kincardineshire, from the county in Scotland from which tCastalia leaves, Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette - Wednesday 30 April 1873 Screenshot 2018-06-04 10.47.43he emigrants are in the first place to be principally drawn. In this new county the towns and villages of the old county will be represented by name as well as by immigrants, so that a strong band of friendship and association will be drawn around the members of the new colony from its commencement. To induce parties to emigrate various advantages in the form of grants of land, assisted passages where necessary, and an organization for making the most of the emigrant’s powers and abilities in the new colony are held out. The land, which is of a character to repay richly the labour that may be bestowed on it, is laid out in farms in the most advantageous manner, and mills, schools, churches, and other public buildings will be located in such places as will best serve the purposes of the colonists. Yesterday morning a train left Kintore, Kincardineshire with 120 emigrants on board. At Buxburn 14 joined, and at Aberdeen 200 were booked, the station here wearing very much the aspect of an excursion day. At Stonehaven, and other places, along the route to Glasgow, numbers more were taken on; and at Buchanan Street Station, Glasgow, over 500, including children, arrived about 2 P.M. The greater portion belong to the agricultural class, as befits the place they are to occupy; but in order that the colony might be completely formed from the old country, a doctor, schoolmaster, blacksmith, carpenters, joiners, and others—all that are necessary to form the nucleus of a complete colony were in the company. From Buchanan Street Station they were taken to Mavisbank Quay by a number of omnibusses, and here the acre-steamer Castalia, belonging to Messrs. Henderson Brothers’ Anchor Line, was lying to receive them. The members of the young colony, as they appeared on the quay yesterday afternoon waiting for their turns to go on board, presented a somewhat unusual appearance for emigrants. They were in the first place, a fine healthy-looking class of people, and among them there seemed to be a very large proportion of children. There was, however, none of the fearful leave-takings usual on such occasions, for the very good reason that they were going out a band of friends and neighbors. This feeling, which runs through the whole scheme, is carried out even in the berthing of the emigrants on board the vessels, care being taken to put those who have been neighbors before as near each other as possible. The materials for a new newspaper, The New Kincardineshire Journal, were shipped along with the passengers, and a splendid bell for the new Stonehaven church, presented by the Anchor Line Company, also formed part of the freight. The emigrants, who appeared in capital spirits, are under the care of Capt. Brown, a native of Stonehaven, and for many years a resident in New Brunswick. The Rev. Dr. Adam delivered an impressive address to those on board, and in the course of the evening the Castalia went down the river on her way to New Brunswick.—Mail.”


Source of the article: “Emigration From the Clyde.” Published in the Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette – Wednesday 30 April 1873


Letter by Rev. Peter Melville, New Kincardine Colony, New Brunswick, Sept. 11, 1877 Published in the Rothesay Chronicle and Buteshire and West Coast Advertiser, Oct. 13, 1877

The following letter written by our former townsman and Parish Church missionary, the Rev. Peter Melville, M. A., B. D., to The New Brunswick Reporter, will be read with interest by his many friends in Rothesay:—
Mr. Editor:—You and your readers will be pleased to hear that this Scottish Colony is making good progress. The crops are very good, (excepting hay,) and are likely to be gathered in safety, without frost or snow. This gives new courage to the Colonists, as this is the first year that they had a really good harvest since their arrival. They have had good crops indeed, year after year; but the frosts of August and September blighted them, and the rains and snow of October did not improve them. You will understand, therefore, the joy we feel in finding our crops ripening well on every side for the first time, and already half the harvest secured. This is partly owing to the early spring; but partly a’an to the enlarged clearings made by the Colonists. Now that the forests are opened up far and wide, so as to expose large fields and slopes to the fresh winds and genial sun, we hope to be henceforward less and less liable to suffer from untimely frost and snow.
The Colony is also prospering in social and religious matters. It has built four comely and commodious school houses, all of which are now opened, and supplied with Scottish teachers. If we are not rich enough to make pensioners of the children, we can do what is better: we can make scholars of them. Already four young teachers from the Colony have gained good situations in other parts of the Province; besides others employed in various useful and honorable vocations.
We are building a goodly church, 50×30 feet in foundation, with spire, belfry, and the other requisites of a well appointed church. It is already clapboarded and lathed, and the workmen are preparing to paint and plaster it. They have just erected the lofty pinnacle of the spire with its beautiful bell, and arrow and cardinal points of the compass. This pinnacle is a present from our excellent friends, the owners of the New Brunswick Foundry, in your city. And here I am happy to say, that the Colonists have many more friends in Fredericton than they were aware of; even from our excellent Governor unto the private citizens and laborers. Long will we remember their great kindness shown in many ways, but chiefly through the agency of the Rev. Dr. Brooke and his lady. We hope the time is coming when we can show our gratitude in a way worthy of such friends, one and all. In the meantime we believe the greater reward we can give them is to let them see us doing well and prospering constantly, both temporally and spiritually. May this be their portion here and hereafter!
Our regular meetings for public worship are now held in our new school house, and are large, cordial and much more comfortable than when they were held in private houses. The fervour of the singing is remarkable; and it is manifest that many have fellowship in heart and spirit with the Father of spirits, our Lord and Savior. Since my arrival here, seventy-five have been received into communion at the Lord’s Table. The baptisms have been forty-seven in number; the deaths eleven; and the marriages six. This includes the last twenty months. During this period the congregation has been well organised with regular meetings, office-bearers and records. We have now seven Sabbath schools, with a library for each of them. The people adhere loyally to the Presbyterian Church. Not a single family in New Kincardine has apostatized. They have begun also to contribute their mite to the schemes of the Church in the home and foreign field.
Besides our schools and our church, four or five frame houses have been built by the Colonists, and about a dozen of frame barns. We have two post offices, one for Kintore and one for Stonehaven. Each of them receives and delivers three mails weekly. They are well conducted by our local magistrates, T. Watt, Esq., and D. Burns, Esq. We have also several stores; one being set up a few days ago by the agency of your worthy townsman, Samuel Owen, Esq., a good friend to the Colony.
We have much reason to be thankful for the remarkable progress of the Colony. If the three or four families that left for Kansas had only waited till now, we believe they would not think of leaving us. And you will be glad to hear that we hope, with the Divine blessing, to make this Colony one of the best and brightest spots in New Brunswick yet.
I am, yours, &c.
New Kincardine Colony, Sept. 11, 1877


Notes about the letter:

Rev. Peter Melville (c. 1840 Cape John, NS-1912 Edinburgh, Scotland) was educated at the University of Glasgow. In 1878 he married Melvina Jessie Hartt in Fredericton, NB. He served as: missionary, Rothesay, NB 1869; parish assistant, Fredericton, NB (1870-71); minister, Grangetown, PEI (1872-75); minister, New Kincardine, NB (1876-79); minister, Stanley and Maskwaak, NB (1879-81); minister at St Columba, Hopewell, NS (1881-91); and minister Rendall, Orkney from 1892. While at New Kincardineshire, he led the people of the Colony in building the community schools and church.

Thomas Watt (1816-1897) age 51 and his wife Jane Nevin (1831-1901) age 42 brought their family to lot 2 in Kintore, NB via the Castalia in 1873. Their children were: David 21, John 19, Jeanie 17, Isabella 16, Thomas Jr. 12, Agnes 11, Charles 9, Mary Helen 6, and William 3. The Watts named their home in the Colony “Lily Glen.” Thomas Watt Sr. was elected as one of the first church elders and was present at the dedication of the Upper Kintore Church in 1893. In addition to carrying the mail, he was active in community affairs, serving as “colonization inspector” from 1873-78 and road construction foreman in 1873. He was a druggist in Scotland and in the Colony.

Records indicate that the following Colony families relocated to Kansas, probably in the spring season of 1877: John Brough and his wife Elizabeth Bisset; Alex Lawson and his wife Barbara Bisset (sister to Elizabeth); David Hamilton and his wife Susan Girdwood; David Logan and his wife Agnes Matheson; Robert McNeal family. Apparently David Edwards may have had intentions to reside in KS, but he, his wife Mary Caird and their children are listed in the Aroostook County, ME 1880 and 1900 censuses. The Broughs were 1874 Sidonian passengers and lived in Kintore, NB. The other families were on the Castalia in 1873 and had lots in Kincardine, NB.

Source of the letter: “New Kincardine Colony” written by Rev. Peter Melville, New Kincardine Colony, New Brunswick on Sept. 11, 1877. Published in the Rothesay Chronicle and Buteshire and West Coast Advertiser, Oct. 13, 1877.

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Letter by David Burns written June 23, 1873, published in The Stonehaven Journal July 31, 1873

The following letter has been addressed by Mr. David Burns, one of the New Stonehaven colonists, for publication amongst friends in Scotland:—
To Members and Friends of New Kincardineshire Colony, resident in Scotland.
DEAR FRIENDS,—Before I left our heather land I promised to write at times and give you some account of our procedure here, and before commencing I beg to state that I shall confine myself to what I know to be the truth—as some reports got out concerning us that had better never been heard of—many reports, indeed, that had more of fiction than fact in them. it is true that we met some difficulty, and had some little hardships to contend with that we did not expect to meet, but to blame individuals who had no control over such matters is unfair. The real cause of our complaints is the unusual lateness of spring. That was a matter that could neither be foreseen by our high-spirited philanthropic minded friend of our colony, Captain Brown, nor prevented by the liberal Government of New Brunswick. Everything has been done for us that the Government could do, and from the hour that Captain Brown took the leadership of our party until we landed safely on the Kilburn farm, not one single mishap or hitch in the programme of management occurred. But in order to give some short account of our voyage, and some useful hints to those who intend to follow us, I must begin at the beginning. First, then, the office in Glasgow; there you will get all information required concerning insurance of luggage, changing of money, if required. But small had best be taken out in gold and silver, sovereigns and half, shillings and sixpences; other coins are not handy here.
The next thing is the ship, and I must say that those who get a passage in the Castalia will be fortunate, for I do not think that a better sea boat is likely to be met with. Our Dundee friends will remember that at a meeting there I gave her a high character for her fine lines and beautiful symmetry. Her behavior during four bad nights and three bad days proved her to be worthy of all the praise I then bestowed on her. Her commander, Captain Butler, is a noble fellow, a thorough sailor, knows his duty, and does it. His officers are all of the same stamp as himself. Mr. Allison and his staff of stewards deserve the thanks of the colonists for their attention; and here I must not omit to mention the names and kindness of Messrs. Reed and Craig, second officers, whose berth was in juxtaposition to mine, and when I was laid up, or rather laid down, they never failed to call and enquire how I got along. When we are unwell we all know the value of sympathy.
Such is the character of the officers of the Castalia, and the same is given of all others in the employ of the Anchor Line.
The provisions are good and ample, the bread casks are always open to all passengers, and new baked rolls are served out every morning, which, with plenty of butter and coffee, one can manage to make a breakfast. There are two fish dinners weekly, the others are varied—soup, potatoes, meat, plum pudding, &c. Beef tea is also served out daily, and gruel in the evening when sea-sickness prevails. Porridge is also made for those who prefer it to coffee, so that, with such a dietary scale, nothing need be taken from home unless, perhaps, a little jelly, which is very palatable, when Neptune gives one to understand that he is king of the ocean.
I shall commence my next letter from St. John, and will have something to say of the natives and Government officials. Meantime, assuring my friends that the Colony is a success, everything in a thriving state, although all the colonists are not equally advanced, there being some working in groups who have great clearings made, crops sown and planted, while those working singly are not making so great progress, but all are doing well. Live stock is being daily added to the colony and thriving well as far as can be seen.—
Yours very sincerely,
David Burns.
New Eden Cottage, June 23, 1873.

Notes about the letter:

David Burns (1809-1898) was 64 years old when he arrived at lot 6 in Kincardine via the Castalia. He and his wife Margaret (1810-1897) celebrated their golden wedding anniversary at their home, “New Eden Cottage,” in 1883, and were buried in the cemetery at Melville Church. Their daughter Carrie and her husband Benjamin Niddrie arrived on the Sidonian in 1874 and had six children born in the Colony.

William Kilburn (1813-1889) and his wife Mary Jane Hagerman (c.1817-1886) and their ten children lived on the eastern bank of the St. John River. The Kilburn family provided much assistance to the New Kincardineshire colonists.

Source of the letter: “New Kincardineshire Colony” written by David Burns at New Eden Cottage, Kincardine, New Brunswick on June 23, 1873. Published in The Stonehaven Journal, Thursday, July 31, 1873. 

Published in: on March 5, 2018 at 1:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Nine months of Kincardine by a Settler, Edward Bruce of Bannockburn

NINE MONTHS OF NEW KINCARDINE. (By a Settler.) I may say, by way of preface, that I am quite satisfied with the territory myself, its prospects being very good for those able and willing to undertake the clearance of forest land, and possessed of a little capital. In this connection, I may state that many who arrived here almost penniless have done remarkably well, their earnings from work on colony roads and other sources having been considerable.
The land on the Kintore section is not quite so level as one would wish, but there is nevertheless enough manageable ground on the majority of lots to make suitable farms. The soil on hardwood tablelands and in the valleys is equal, and in some respects superior, to anything you can find in Aberdeenshire. The soil, as a matter of course, is deepest in the valleys, along river banks, and will hold longest without manure—such crops as turnips, grass, and oats being best adapted to these places; while wheat, barley, Indian corn, buckwheat, and potatoes do best on higher, drier levels. The staple native productions are—Buckwheat, potatoes (a fine crop), oats, and hay, and in winter lumber; but under proper cultivation, a la Scottice, the other crops, I am sure, can be raised in a propitious season.
The trees comprising the forest around us consist of spruce, hemlock, fir, birch, elm, beech, sugar and rock maple, ash, cedar, pine, larch, and oak, with a sprinkling of other woods, not of much importance. Maple lands are reckoned best for farms, but a land with mixed timber is quite good for any purpose, and is most peculiar to this section. Abundance of water of the purest quality is a great feature of the Kintore valley, the Muniac stream being the principal source of supply; while brooks and springs are found on almost every farm. The labour of clearing, to those unaccustomed to much outdoor employment, is rather trying at first, but is not by any means an impossible task, and always becomes lighter as one gets habituated to the use of the axe. Every big tree tumbled over and stripped of its branches tells on the aspect of things; and after a considerable space is chopped down, and the burning up is accomplished, one looks over his embryo farm with a feeling of satisfaction.
The process of clearing, although laborious in execution, can be described in few words. First—The underbrush, consisting of bushes and small trees, is cut down closely. Secondly—The larger trees are cut down on top of the brush, deprived of their branches, and the trunks cut into lengths of 12 or 15 feet (or “junked,” as the local term is), so as to allow of their being more handily piled afterwards. Thirdly—When the brushwood is all sufficiently dry, a day is selected, with the wind in a quarter to cause a proper conflagration without danger, and the match is put to it. Fourth, and last—The skeletons of what once were goodly trees are heaped closely into piles, and again fire is applied, until nothing remains but black stumps, and the virgin soil is now ready for cultivation.
The climate, to judge by the appearance of our people and the natives. is remarkably healthy, the temperature being equable, and unaffected by those sudden atmospheric changes so peculiar to more southerly latitudes. All through last summer (1873) we had an endless succession of bright “sun-shiny” days, with just enough rain to promote vegetation. Occasionally we were visited by a slight storm of thunder and lightning, accompanied by heavy rain. In autumn, again, there were bright, clear skies, but the gradually cooling air, and frost at night, began to turn everything subject to its influence to a riper state, and paint the leafy woodlands with variegated hues, beautiful, if they did not foretell the near approach of winter. Frosts are not so frequent nor so telling during this season in the highlands as in the intervale, and simply because there is a greater evaporation proceeding from the well-watered hollows than from the hills. Not until November do the bright days leave us, and even then the sun strives to the last to retard approaching winter. In December we had some sharp westerly winds, but nothing of a severe nature recurred, until the last week of January, when a rigorous cold set in, most trying to outdoor duties. The thermometer on one of those days marked in the open air at Woodstock, 38 deg. below zero. These two days were the coldest of the winter so far, and resulted in frozen noses, bands, and feet, to those who exposed themselves in ignorance.
My farm contains 200 acres, of which 12 to 15 are perfectly level, rich, bottom land, the rest being a gradual sloping hill. My front boundary is the Muniac stream, and a tributary brook divides the hilly from the level portion, joining its confluent some little distance below. The latter supplies me with excellent water, and is abounding in trout of small size. Were I to make a pond, they would increase in dimensions, and angling would then be easy, profitable, and pleasant. My stock is limited as yet, owing to the small extent of my clearing and premises. The cows get plenty of nutritious food in the woods all through the summer, and, provided with bells, need never get lost, if their owners are a little watchful. In fact, when her calf is kept secured at home, the cow may wander off into the forest without bell or herd, but she never fails to come back to attend to her youngster.
With regard to the insect tribes, we must admit that in summer they are very plentiful, and exceedingly annoying. There are three varieties which exist to plague the body of man, viz., sandflies, black flies, and mosquitoes. The first-named are most teasing, as they sting during the night, the others are insignificant. and the few mosquitoes seen here are quite different in pugnacity from the Yankee tribe. The smoke of cedar bark is the best remedy to keep all those pests at a distance. The dense bush growing around my dwelling was greatly the cause of their numbers, but, happily, it is now all removed for a good many acres round me. Black flies trouble only in the day time, and seldom out from among the trees.
I would advise the Scotch immigrant to procure most of his farming and household utensils from home, as they are of better material and cheaper in Scotland —an important consideration. Many kinds of seeds, plants, roots, berry bushes , &c., should also be bought. Some of our Kintore colonists brought many kinds of these articles, and they seem to thrive well. This is a wonderful country for small fruits—strawberries, raspberries, currants, &c., growing wild in the greatest profusion.
Abundance of New Brunswick “partridges” (almost as large as hens), rabbits. foxes, porcupines, and squirrels, afford unlimited sport during the summer and fall; while, to a regular hunter, the winter season brings such large game as bears. wolves, moose and caribou deer— the two last named being numerous, but the others are seldom seen near settlements. The caribou in a splendid animal, big as a heifer; has large spreading hoofs and pronged horns. It appears among us more frequently than the moose. The latter can be heard in fall sometimes, making a call of defiance, something similar to the blowing of a large horn. Black bears have been seen in the woods by some of our people, but though I have roamed with my gun through them a good deal, I have never yet met with one, only seen their tracks.
We have now good colony roads running through both the Kintore and Stonehaven districts. The former line of road, from the St John to the Tobique river, is about 14 miles long. The St John is a noble river, flowing upwards of 500 miles from its source to the ocean, and in places 150 miles from its mouth, is nearly half-a-mile wide. In summer steamers ply on its waters, and in winter it is frozen over, so that the heaviest teams cross at all points. I had a sleigh ride on the ice this winter for 30 miles along its course. and enjoyed the swift, easy motion greatly. Sleigh riding with a fast horse is splendid, and can be had here to perfection.
I could not say whether winter or summer be healthiest, but I think young strong people feel heartiest in the bracing, frosty, winter air. There has not been, that I hear of, a single death, but more than 30 births since the colony was established. The natives are nearly all of remarkable strength and stature. All are notable for straightness and symmetry of body. Negroes and all seem to thrive well in New Brunswick.
One great advantage to the colony is the River du Loup Railway, now constructing from the St John to the St Lawrence River. It passes the colony at a distance of only two miles, and must be of great service to all who have goods to transport to, or receive from, the seaboard. The colonists have partial employment in assisting to lay down this line, and may secure work at good wages for two or three years. Those able to do much get from 5s. to 6s. per day. Those settled here possessed of capital have bought partially cleared lands, dwelling-house and barn, for prices ranging from £1OO to £200. One farm of 100 acres sold, I understand, for £6O. But, generally speaking, the cleared land on them, from negligent farming, is nearly exhausted. My idea is for young men to get a good piece of uncleared land, and than expend money and labour to make a farm of it. It will be the best investment, unless something arises to enhance the value of riverside farms independent of their fertility.
It is my candid opinion, as a settler, that if any person, married or single, has motives for emigration to a new country, more favourable to his well-being than his present locality, he could not do better than to come to this already thriving colony. What with a free grant of 200 acres to married, and 100 to single men, a roomy and substantial log cottage ; four acres of land ready chopped, or 36 dols. to do it himself, good roads already made, and the home feeling of living among one’s own countrymen, one might search the known world and not find such another opportunity as is here presented. The intending settler, I am sure, will find everybody willing to advise, assist, and do everything in their power to make him feel that he is living among friends, and forget that be is not in Scotland.
People may perhaps dread the winter season more than any other feature of this place, but I can tell them that our experience of winter weather has been nothing like what we expected; and this fact will be endorsed by every one of my fellow-colonists. The average winter in Scotland is more productive of bad health, and far more disagreeable in every way than the same season in New Brunswick.
With regard to the newcomers now being selected and appointed, under the management of Mr George Troup, I am told that they number among them people of considerable means and worth—in fact, are quite a superior class of persons. This, added to the fact that there are already dwelling among us people of intelligence and education, is a certain guarantee of the prosperity and social advancement of this large community.
We have a sawmill partially constructed, only awaiting the advent of spring for completion. A grist mill is also about to be added. A church and cemetery site has been granted and set apart, while new roads for the extension and consolidation of the colony are contemplated for commencement in the coming spring of Summer.
After this year (1874) the Government, I understand, will afford no more assistance to parties desirous of settling here, so there will never again be offered such chances and privileges to the harassed Scotchmen as are offered now.
Bannockburn, New Kincardine Colony, February 28, 1874.


Edward Bruce had 100 acres on lot 26 that he called “Bannockburn” in Kintore. In 1877, he had one (himself) in his family, a house with valuation of $100 but no barn, 8 acres chopped and 5 acres cropped with a valuation of $78 on clearings. He was a teacher at Upper Kintore. A colony paysheet shows that he was paid $75 for working for 23 3/4 days between Nov. 23-Dec. 26, 1874 on the construction of the Lower Kintore road. [Did he leave the Colony for some reason? No further evidence of his life in the Colony has surfaced so far!]

“Nine months of Kincardine by a Settler” written by Edward Bruce on Feb. 28, 1874 at Bannockburn, Kintore, New Brunswick. Published in the Montrose, Arbroath and Brechin Review and Forfar and Kincardineshire Advertiser Friday 10 April 1874.;

Published in: on March 3, 2018 at 10:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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Letter Excerpt by David Taylor, April 14, 1873, Stonehaven Journal

Letter by David Taylor dated April 14, 1873, written at Fredericton, New Brunswick; published in Stonehaven Journal, Thursday 08 May 1873

NEW KINCARDINESHIRE COLONY.— On Thurs-last, a letter was received from the Secretary of the new colony, who has gone out to make arrangements for the colonists previous to their arrival, from which we give the following extract. From it, friends of the colonists left behind will be glad to see that they are likely to meet with a very warm reception:—
Fredericton, 14th April, 1873.
Having arrived at St. John this day week, we there spent two days—leaving on Wednesday for this place—the political capital of New Brunswick. It is a city of about 6500 inhabitants, and one of the prettiest places I ever saw. The streets are wide and airy, and on either side are some of the neatest and prettiest cottages you ever saw. There are also some splendid public buildings scattered through the city, notably the Exhibition Buildings, Parliament Buildings, and Government House. There are also some very fine churches. We attended the Scotch Kirk twice yesterday, a plain looking building on the outside, but beautifully decorated inside. There is also a very fine organ and full choir. The congregation stands while the choir is singing, and during prayer stand with their backs to the minister. There is an exception to this rule when the second or Lord’s Prayer is being said, when the congregation stands still, facing the pastor. I endeavoured to get at the bottom of this custom, but nobody could tell me. On leaving church, after evening service, a gentleman from Aberdeen and his wife were introduced to us, who insisted on our going along with him to his house, where we were introduced to several Scotch, and amongst the rest one also hailing from Aberdeen who came out only last year, and who had in the capacity of commercial traveller, done business with the principal grocers in Stonehaven. We spent a very pleasant evening and did not regret going.
The house was in session when we arrived here and on presenting my letters of introduction to the provincial secretary—Mr. Fraser—he gave us a very kindly welcome. We were then introduced to the several members of government, and some of the more prominent members of the House. The kindness and affability with which each and all welcomed us made us soon feel at ease. In the evening a meeting of the Government was held at which we were requested to attend. We met there at half-past seven and sat together for nearly four hours. It was then arranged that we should stay over till Tuesday (by which time the house would be prorogued), when the Surveyor-General and several other members of the Government go up along with us to the new settlement. This afternoon we are all to dine with the Lieutenant Governor of the Province. I forgot to mention that while in St. John, we met a Committee of the St. Andrew Society of that city—all Scotchmen, to whom I had to explain everything in connection with the colony. A resolution was passed unanimously to give the emigrants some sort of a reception and appointing a small committee to collect subscriptions from the members of the society and from Scotchmen in the city (non-members). They calculated up raising 5000 dollars, and I have no doubt from the amount subscribed that night they will be successful. At my suggestion, the balance of the money, after defraying the cost of the entertainment is to be vested in a committee of ourselves for the purpose of assisting the more necessitous amongst the emigrants. The Government are also to entertain them at Fredericton and Woodstock, at which places they will pass a night, so as to make the route light and easy for the women and children. As far as I have seen, the Government are anxious to do everything in their power to make the emigrants as comfortable as possible on their arrival.


David Taylor (1847-1907) was just 26 when he came to New Brunswick with three other colonists a month before the Castalia arrived. He served as secretary for the committee planning the New Kincardineshire colony and hoped to publish a Colony newspaper. He seemingly reluctantly ran a store in the Colony that followed an unpopular credit scheme set up by the Government. After three years, his young family moved to Montreal where he labored in the newspaper business until his death at age sixty.

Source of the letter: The British Newspaper Archive,; Stonehaven Journal, Thursday 8 May 1873; Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Published in: on March 2, 2018 at 9:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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Letter from William Duncan, Stonehaven Journal – Thursday 10 July 1873

Letters from New Kincardineshire, Victoria County, New Brunswick to Scotland

The following letter from a working man to a fellow workman in Stonehaven shows the philosophical spirit with which some persons endure the greatest hardships. It bears a marked contrast when compared with the grumbling epistles of colonists in much easier circumstances:—
Carron Terrace, Stonehaven Road,
New Kincardineshire, Victoria County, N. B.
June 1, 1873
Dear Friend,
I am happy to say that we are all well. The fact is I was not so lucky as to get away from St John with the first lot of the Colony. They left on Saturday morning, and we did not leave the Castalia till Monday morning. We had a grand time of it in St John. I was offered a good job there the very day we landed, but of course I was looking for great things then up the country. The river was in heavy flood when we started, and it was late at night ere we reached Frederickton, where we were provided with lodgings in the Court House, and slept on the floor, men, women and children, till 3 o’clock in the morning. We got on the boat again, and as the river was still getting higher, with great difficulty we only made Woodstock late at night; there was no accommodation provided for us there and we spent a cold and most miserable night in the boat on the river. All the way between Fredericton and Woodstock the river was almost closed with lumber in rafts and loose logs, going to market at St. John. I could not have believed that any vessel could have torn through such a mass on a rapid river—many of the logs 3 and 4 feet through. St John is a very rapid running river all the way except near Fredericton. We started early again, and landed at the Colony wharf on Kilburn’s farm, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon of the 14th May. We then came to know that we were a year too soon. The houses were not all built, the roads not made, and the clearances not burnt. For all this disappointment we are indebted to Captain Brown, as he must have known that the Surveyor was not able to make ready for us, it has been such a bad winter, However, the Government took all our interest in hand and gave Brown the kick at once, and we are all right. I camped in a tent on Kilburn’s farm at the river side for a whole week, with many more. I got up to my place on Wednesday, 21st May, and now I am into the backwoods forever. I have got a house and a good farm, four acres of it chopped, the most part hardwood, birch, maple and beech. I believe Brown has told the truth about the number of trees on my lot. On one end of the land I have some monsters of pines very heavy. The birch and maple many of them are two and a half and three and a half feet thick, but no brushwood. The two oldest boys and myself have been working on the roads till this week. We earn three dollars a-day working ten hours a -day. We have been some days in a contractors squad where we work longer and have more pay. We used to joke about tickling the land with the hoe, but we use the hoe in road making. It is a tool about the same size and shape as a carpenter’s adze, and a thing something like a coal heavers shovel, but less. We don’t work hard, but we have to travel a long way sometimes, and such roads you never saw. A good many went down the river again the first week, but I have never thought of giving it up. Dunbar is down to Woodstock to a foundry there, he only hung out a week here. You may judge what I think of my position when I tell you that I had a first rate offer on Friday last to go down to a manufacturer near Fredericton to spin. He came all the way up here, and sent for me to meet him at the cross roads. He offered me one dollar and a quarter a-day, a free house, and work for all my family, and besides he would pay my expenses down the river. I promised to write him after consulting my better-half, and we resolved to stop in the forest. There is a great demand for labour here, of all kinds, and good pay. A good many of the young men and women have hired with the farmers round about, at from 16 to 20 dollars a month with board and lodging.
I like the country well, and getting as ragged as a Hottentot and a skin like a red Indian. If I had an afternoon in the Brewery with Russel and Willox now I could spin an interesting yarn without telling any lies. If you only knew what strange ways and hardships we have gone through, you would be astonished that Duncan has not gone altogether crazy. I am sitting this very day in the neuk of what was a whole house last week, and I am tempted to give you a good laugh by telling you how this came to pass. My friends, D. Taylor and J. Allan, came up to see me the other morning for the first time since I got to No. 30; they were to oblige me by chopping down a very heavy birch that stood about 3 feet from the back of my house. It was about 40 ft. high and more than 2 ft. through. They were practical hands and could cut so that it would fall the right way! It fell the wrong way and so fell right over the roof of the log house and sent it forward body bulk like a paste board house, but broke nothing, not even a pane of glass but of course it could not be left in that position, and so I sent to the next house for some lumbermen to get it off the stump. As soon as it was fairly cut, it slid over then end of the house taking the half along with it. I was very much vexed about the affair, it made such a talk up and down the colony; however, it is built up again since I began this letter, which I have wrote bit and bit when I could spare a minute. Alick is with a farmer up at Tobique. I was up there on Sunday; he is in a good place and extremely well treated, and the people are well pleased with him. I am at home this week burning and planting. I will not get all my land cropped this season, but I will have more than many will have. I have about an acre of potatoes, some Swedish and yellow turnips, a piece sown with buck wheat and a lot of peas, carrots, onions, and other vegetable, and a small patch of Indian corn. I have got a dog, some hens, and will have a pig next week. James and Annie are both going to places up beside Alick. James is to get clothes and schooling for a while till he is able to work, I could get rid of all my family, but I could not do without Willie and David. I am resolved to go down to Ram’s Head Woolmills, for some months through the winter. The firm is Geo. Lister & Co. They have been seeking me this week again. They are all Scotchmen about the work except he that was up at me. The foreman is Alexander Skene. He says he comes from Aberdeen. He is getting out a wife from home this summer, and get fairly settled here.
P.S.—I had not a broken package, and only two bowls and two cups inside the packages, and if you had seen all the usage they got you would be astonished that a board of them could hold together—they were shifted eleven times between Old and New Stonehaven.


Notes about the people mentioned in the letter:

Alexander Dunbar, age 41, machinist of Woodstock, New Brunswick, his wife Matilda Adam, age 31, and children Alexander 4, Helen 5, and Andrew 2, were also Castalia passengers.

David Taylor, former editor at the Stonehaven Journal, age 26, took lot 2 and hoped to start a newspaper in the Scotch Colony. He arrived a few weeks ahead of the Castalia to procure provisions for a Colony store. His wife, Mary Ann Torry, age 26, arrived on the Castalia with their three children, John 5, Catherine 3, and Henry age 1.

James Allan and his wife of four years, Margaret Barrie, took lot 4 on the Stonehaven Road.

The author of the letter, William Duncan, age 44, spinner in Scotland, (1829-1914), his wife Elizabeth Linton, age 42, (1831-1921) and nine children arrived in New Kincardineshire, New Brunswick via the Castalia in May 1873. The children were: William Linton “Willie” 17, David Linton 15, Alexander C. “Alick” 13, Annie Rae 12, Barbara 10, James M. 9, Elizabeth Linton 6, Mary Linton 4, and Stuart 2. Their home on lot 30 on Stonehaven Road in the Scotch Colony was called “Carron Terrace” in 1873.

“Alick” Alexander C. Duncan (1860-1906) was a potato farmer and merchant. He married Hannah Getchell of Limestone, ME in 1886 and had nine children. He gave singing lessons in Washburn, ME and was a member of the brass band. Tragically, he was killed at age 46 while firing cars for the railroad.

James Duncan (1864-1925) was only nine years old at the time. He never married, moved to Washburn, ME about 1892 where he lived with his parents, and farmed with his father and older brother William. James, age 60, drowned in the Aroostook River in front of the family farm.

Annie Rae Duncan (1861-1945) was the eldest daughter but just twelve years of age when her father wrote the letter. In 1884 when she was 23, Annie married William Spence Cumming, a farmer age 27, (1857-1940) who arrived in Upper Kintore via the Sidonian in 1874. They had six children born in the Colony and three more in Easton, Maine. Annie and William are buried in Easton.

“Willie” William Linton Duncan (1856-1941) married the girl who lived next door in the Colony, Catherine Cocker (1864-1939), and had four children in Kincardine, NB and five in Washburn, ME. They resided on the Gardner Creek home farm next door to his parents and brother James.

David Linton Duncan (1858-1947) and Catherine Chapman (1868-1949) were child Scotch colonists on the Stonehaven Road. Six children were born to them in Washburn, ME where David was a mill manager and postmaster. David’s 1873 Castalia voyage diary resides at the Salmon Brook Museum in Washburn, ME.

Source of the letter: The British Newspaper Archive,; Stonehaven Journal, Thursday 10 July 1873; Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Published in: on March 1, 2018 at 9:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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