Glengarry County

Between 1773 and 1853 almost 3,500 people left Scotland for Glengarry County Canada, many coming from the Glengarry estate.

Some people were farmers who had lost their living like John Kennedy of Laddie; others could not or would not pay the high rents. Many wanted the new opportunity promised to them by friends and family who had already moved to Canada.

It was often the disgruntled kinsmen of the clan chief, the old tacksmen, who led the groups of people leaving Scotland for new shores. You will find many MacDonells on the ship passenger lists.

First settlers

The first group of Glengarry clansmen to settle in Glengarry County were amongst those who sailed on the Pearl, in September 1773. They did not set out for Canada, however, but to America, a British colony. They settled in Albany, where they rented land and farmed.

In 1775, the American War of Independence broke out and the Highlanders fought on the side of the British against the "Patriot" American States. In defeat, they fled to Canada. Here, an exciting new opportunity presented itself; to own rather than rent the land.  

"McDonalds...hope to found in the new land a new Glengarry," Nancy Jean Cameron writing home to Scotland. 

In 1792, Glengarry County was established and families from back home were encouraged to join them. By the end of the century, the area was considered Highland territory.

"Go not to Glengarry, if you be not a Highlandman," a warning given to emigrants in 1794.