Column: Did An Ancestor Arrive on the Ship Hector?

Between today and Wednesday, my genealogy column, Roots to the Past, is available in the following Atlantic Canada newspapers:

Saturday: The Citizen (Amherst)

Saturday: Times & Transcript (Moncton)

Wednesday: The Lunenburg County Progress Bulletin (Lunenburg County)

Title: Did An Ancestor Arrive on the Ship Hector?

Snippet: On September 15, 1773, the Ship Hector sailed into Pictou Harbour, NS, and landed at Brown’s Point. The 85-foot-long ship built in Holland in c.1770 had set sail from Loch Broom, Scotland, and transported 23 families and 25 single men across the Atlantic Ocean to start a new life. The 182 souls (including 11 crewmembers) on board had been at sea for 11 weeks. The passage was free, and the immigrants were promised a year’s worth of provisions and a farm. Unfortunately, provisions never arrived and farms had yet to be established. The settlers began work in earnest to prepare for the coming winter.

During the voyage, outbreaks of dysentery and smallpox claimed 18 lives and one child was born. A gale off the coast of Newfoundland added to their misery and delayed the ship for 14 days. The wretched living conditions endured by the passengers included crammed conditions, poor air quality, poor sanitation and a shortage of food. Although morale was low, upon entering Pictou Harbour, a set of bagpipes—which was illegal to use in Scotland—was promptly brought on deck and played.

Like many immigrants in centuries past, these settlers came to the new world for many reasons. In their homeland, they were forced to comply with English laws and forbidden to wear their traditional kilt. The Scottish Highland Clearances began in 1762 and forced many to leave land that had been in their families for generations. Most of the settlers aboard the Ship Hector came from Lochbroom and Greenock. They were said to be poor, illiterate crofters who spoke only Gaelic.

. . . To read more, pick up one of the above noted newspapers.


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