Elliott, Bruce, 2004-2005: Emigrant Recruitment by the New Brunswick Land
Company: The Pioneer Settlers of Stanley and Harvey.
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The problem all three British North American land companies faced was attracting purchasers to their territories. Initially all three engaged in active overseas recruitment, but the BALC and the New Brunswick Company came to depend in the end upon attracting settlers already in the colonies. All three companies in the 1830s recruited in the Old Country through the use of agents, as press advertisements proved insufficient. The New Brunswick Company advertised for both shareholders and settlers in Suffolk newspapers (7) but failed to attract emigrants from East Anglia because George Lake, agent for the Lower Canadian company, and William Cattermole, a Canada Company agent, were successfully working that area. Cattermole, himself a Suffolk emigré, had returned to his native region to recruit immigrants for the Canada Company's lands as early as 1830. In this he proved successful, recruiting several shiploads of Norfolk farm labourers and himself leading a party of self-sufficient agriculturalists from Suffolk and Kent to the company's Guelph settlement. Cattermole lamented that the members of the unaccompanied parties tended to seek work or take up lands, often Crown lands, in the townships west from Hamilton, en route to, but not as far inland as, the Company's Huron Tract (8).
The NBLC advertised for shareholders and settlers from Suffolk as early as 1832, but failed to secure emigrants there because of competition from agents of other land companies.
Source : Suffolk Chronicle,
30 June 1832, p. 1, col. .
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Lake, agent for the BALC, recruited in north-central Suffolk and western Norfolk, areas beyond the reach of Cattermole's lecture tours, and chartered ships to take his settlers directly to Port St Francis on the south shore of the St Lawrence. Lake did not lose too many on the long overland trek to the Sherbrooke area, but many of his settlers drifted off to greater opportunities in Upper Canada or the United States when they saw the comparatively poor quality of the soil and the unquestioned isolation of the Company's Eastern Townships lands(9).
(7) Suffolk Chronicle, 30 June 1832, p. 1, col. 2.
(8) There was an especially large concentration of Norfolk immigrants in Blenheim Township, Oxford County, Upper Canada. On Cattermole's Guelph party, see Glenn Wright, The Caroline and her Passengers, March-May 1832 (Guelph: Wellington County Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society, 2002)
(9) Many of Lake's recruits for Bury Township in the BALC's St Francis Tract moved across the border into the United States in quest of a better livelihood. Bruce S. Elliott, "Regional Patterns of English Immigration and Settlement in Upper Canada", in Barbara Messamore, ed., Canadian Migration Patterns from Britain and North America . Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2004): 62-5; Little, Nationalism, Capitalism, 47.