History    Historical Items/Documents Gallery

Elliott, Bruce, 2004-2005: Emigrant Recruitment by the New Brunswick Land
Company: The Pioneer Settlers of Stanley and Harvey.



The Jaffray family from Roxburghshire seized the opportunity of a free letter home to advise that son George would arrive in Scotland the following autumn to encourage more of the family out to join them.   But their report, too, contained thinly-veiled criticism:   "The Company is doing a good deall of woork know, and it is the only thing that will settle the Company's land."   The other Jaffrays remained in Scotland.(100)   John Kerr (101) reported to his brother-in-law James Turnbull at Tweedmouth near Berwick, "I like the country better than at first, and if God spares us our health in a few years we will have a few acres clear of stumps, and plow it, and that will be a great ease to puting it in with the how.   I think in a few years the Settlement where we live will be as pleasant as any in North America, and a good land, and healthy."   He advised against the growing rage for going to New Zealand or Van Dieman's Land "for when they get there they must remain, for they cannot get away again."   And, referring to Australian land companies but drawing also upon sad personal experience:   "they promise great things, but they will not fulfil them."

The other letters were from Protestant Irish immigrants who had come to the tract on their own, and from the local clergyman and several retired men of business from Manchester.   Even the minister, initially brought in by the Company as the settlement's physician, admitted that "the road which was laid out in London on paper, goes through the very worst of the company's land for nearly sixteen miles" before reaching Stanley.   Still, the bulk of the reports were positive, if not enthusiastic, and one of the Manchester gentlemen affirmed that the Company's publicity now could be relied upon:   "No puffing -- no flaming newspaper paragraphs have been resorted to." (102)

The colonial administration was similarly aware of the power of chain migration to populate new regions.   In forwarding a report of progress in the Harvey Settlement in 1843 an official noted, "It is desirable that the accompanying return may be circulated among the Settlers friends and Countrymen in the North of England as well as in other parts of the United Kingdom So that the Capabilities of our new land Soil may apear.... whereon the Sober and industrious Emigrant may create a home under the protection of British Laws and in the enjoyment of British Institutions." (103)  However, the greatest number of later Northumberland and Borders immigrants to come in any one year, eight families in 1842, had by then already arrived.




(100) Thomas Jaffrey worked at the farm called Trows in Roxburgh parish from 1797 to 1810, and in 1816 was a hind at Scraesburgh, Jedburgh parish (parochial registers); they seem later to have moved to Yetholm.   Son John was a labourer in Town Yetholm in 1841, and daughter Susan married James Welsh, a shepherd in Cherrytrees Hillhead in that parish; there is a gravestone to this couple at Yetholm.   It appears that Margaret Jaffrey, the wife of David Turnbull, also among the Stanley settlers, was a daughter of Thomas Jaffrey; the latter's widow Susan (Gray), "formerly of Yetholm, Roxburghshire", was reported in the press in 1857 to have died at her daughter's residence in Stanley.


(101) John was the son of Thomas Kerr, a shoemaker in Swinton near Coldstream, Roxburghshire, and his wife Janet (Huntley).   In 1827 he married a fellow servant of Captain Hall of Annsfield, Coldingham, Berwickshire Jane Turnbull, daughter of James Turnbull Sr., a military pensioner in Berwick.   They were back in Swinton by 1832, where John worked as a labourer.   Parochial registers of Coldingham and Swinton; for the parents:   1841 census of Swinton, 755/1, p. 11.


(102) CIHM N.21901.


(103) NA , MG9, A1, vol. 123, pp. 93-4.