Saturday, January 05 2013
I read today that the entire book about John Ramsay of Kildalton, by Freda Ramsay, is now available online via www.archive.org. The book describes his life on Islay and includes a diary of his trip to Canada in 1870. This book is interesting for both genealogists and those who have an interest in the rich history of Islay. And even if you don't want to read it, the book is also interesting for the many old pictures and drawings of old Islay and its people. The foreword in the book is written bij J. Keiller Mackay and explains why John Ramsay made his trip to Canada:
Rarely have I been privileged to read a story as impressive and touching as that recorded in the diary of John Ramsay, Esq., depicting the incidents of his journeyings in Canada in the year 1870, at which time he visited the new homes of those who had been his tenants on the Island of Islay, Argyllshire, and had later emigrated to the Province of Ontario where they settled and prospered in the counties of Ontario, Victoria, Simcoe, Grey and Bruce.
Several years earlier Mr. Ramsay, realizing that the land on the Island of Islay could not sustain its everincreasing population, had the practical vision to see that those courageous and determined Scots, if given an opportunity in the New World, had the capacity, industry and determination for success to a degree which they themselves did not visualize. In order to facilitate their emigration he arranged with the steamship company for substantially reduced fares and in some cases paid the fares himself. In the years 1862-63 about four hundred Islay people settled in Canada.
Mr. Ramsay's concern for the welfare of Scottish emigrants generally is further evidenced in the early pages of his diary by his visit to those Highlanders from the island of Lewis who had settled in the vicinity of Stornoway and Lake Megantic in the Eastern Townships of the Province of Quebec.