Jean Patterson's account of the reunion appeared in the October 2007 Issue of the Harvey Lionews...
Many folk have asked me how the trip was to the UK about the reunion etc., so I'll attempt to make a brief outline of what went on. Our destination was of course the reunion at Northumberland but first we spent 3 days at Dublin, which included a bus tour of the surrounding area. Joining up with Tim and his family we had a week at a cottage on the Antrim Coast of northern Ireland, called Cushendun, and then traveled by ferry to Dumfriesshire in the western Borders region of Scotland where we stayed in Annan near where many of our Little ancestors hailed from.
We eventually made it to the reunion at Ford Castle in northern Northumberland, which was the home for the week for most of the more than 120 reunion attendees who arrived from all over Canada, the US, Australia and as far away as West Africa. Ford Castle, the oldest bits dating back to the 1300's, was not only a picturesque and historic place to stay, it has significance to the founding of Harvey as local people came here in 1836 to hear presentations from the New Brunswick Land Company extolling the virtues of emigrating to America. Some took the bait and the rest is history.
Ford Castle is now a residential school so it was ideal for a reunion such as ours. Lord James Joicey, the present owner of the 16,000 acre Ford and Etal estate, gave us a welcoming speech, where we were told some of the interesting historical tidbits about the castle..such as how James IV of Scotland cavorted all week with Lady Heron (instead of strategizing) prior to being killed along with the majority of Scottish nobility at the Battle of Flodden Field on 9 Sept. 1513--the battle site just visible from the castle walls.
Everything is so very old and well preserved that it quickly becomes obvious that in the big scheme of things the 170 years that we are removed from these shores is not all that long.
Our first visit was to the local Glendale Show, an agriculture fair. The highlight for us was the tent where we wore our identifying lapel labels and genealogy charts were displayed. It was here that we had our first opportunity to interact with local "cousins", who were lined up to have their DNA tested and have animated conversation about genealogy. There was such a warm welcome for the settler's descendants that the feeling was that we had just come "home".
The week was chock full of hikes to scenic look-outs and farms of interest to Harvey Settlers, numerous bus tours to view the scenery, evening lectures on such varied topics as migration patterns from the UK to NB in the 19 th . century (that's us ), what our ancestors did for a living, the fun of DNA testing, and the Battle of Flodden Field. We also attended several evening events hosted by community groups in the surrounding area.
Another highlight of course, was the trip to the Town Hall in Berwick-on-Tweed where we were treated to a pomp and circumstance filled civic reception by Mayor Lance Robison, High Sheriff Alan Bowles and other dignitaries. Mayor Robison's speech of welcome was answered in turn by a speech penned by Harvey Mayor Winston Gamblin, read and presented by Harvey native Tim Patterson. After the Meet and Greet, we proceeded to the steps of the Hall, where reporters from the Berwick Advertiser took a group photograph. Then following behind the Mayor and his party we all trouped down to the Berwick quay for the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the reunion and the 1837 migration of our ancestors. The plaque was unveiled by Harvey settler descendant, 10 year old Kate Jardine and reads:
Emigrant Ships From Berwick
Though Berwick was not a major emigration port a number of emigrant vessels departed from there for Canada early in the 19 th . century. Notable among them were two chartered by the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Land Company. The "D'Arcy" carried a party of Northumberland and Scottish Borders emigrants who settle in Stanley, New Brunswick in 1836. A second party went out in the "Cornelius" of Sunderland in 1837 and founded Harvey in New Brunswick.
"They laid foundations deep and wide on which to build throughout the years."
Erected to mark the Harvey Settlers Reunion 2007.
A special Burns supper was held for us by the Coldstream Robbie Burns Club. As quoted on the souvenir scotch whiskey bottles handed to the reunionists: "To mark the occasion of the visit of the descendants of Borderers who sailed for New Brunswick in the Year of our Lord 1837".
The Pipers started the evening off with the piping in and cutting of the haggis, followed by numerous humorous speeches. What an evening! (the haggis was atypically really tasty too!). There were solos - such wonderful male voices in the Scottish brogue, and recitations such as a fabulous performance of the Tam o'Shanter by Robert Burns. In short the entertainment was extraordinaire. Lots of toasts and raised glasses.
Oh, yes, one more recollection. In my minds eye I am looking out from the high castle window in the early dawn. I see a quarter moon in a pale watery sky, and fluttering wide from a high tower of the castle is the New Brunswick flag! Courtesy of Carl Urquhart, our NB MLA, who sent this flag with us, along with other momentos. Another popular item were lapel pins featuring a reproduction of Don Messer's fiddle were provided courtesy of Mayor Gamblin.
Bob and Gertrude Wilson also made up a souvenir for us all. A penny for luck with the message to Live, Love and Laugh. These were handed out to all the reunionists and many local people in the area. We were the only representatives from Harvey that live here at the present. Hopefully the next reunion will see a lot more people on board.
Thanks Tim for your encouragement to attend.
Aye, and it was a grand time we had... Jean Patterson