Note N750 Index
for more tombstones on Coulters see Hugh Coulter Jr. notes
Note N751 Index
Adam Beattie family of Annan, Sydenham Twp. 1848
Surmise this family took their departure from "Over Raw" on the farm of Toftholm.
1847 came from Toftholm Farm to Annan Port Scotland, thence to Liverpool to board the Newcastle Steamer for New York and Canada.
The voyage took over 13 weeks. They were in New York by Aug 1 so probably left Scotland around June 1, 1947.
The wife's 2 brothers (Swords) and Adam Armstrong came over with them.
Beattie farm later owned by descendant William Cavers in early 20th century.
The letter below was to Adam's cousin Peter Robson, a shepherd in Boghall near Langholm (Castleton)
This is a newspaper transcript of a letter that was published in
1933 in the Owen Sound Daily Sun-Times. The original letter was from 1848 and was published in a newspaper in Hawick, Scotland. The Museum, unfortunately, does not have the original.
29th Dec. 1848
Dear Cousin. - -
Accorrding to promise I forward a few lines to let you know that we are all in good health at present, for which we ought to thank Almighty God for all His mercies. You will perhaps be thinking that I have forgot you altogether, but believe me, it is not for the want of friendship that makes me so long in writing: it is partly owing to the state of my health. I was seized with a fever two days before we landed at the Bay of Owen Sound, which is only about five miles from this place. The rest of the family was all in good spirits, but I was by this time turned very sick and with much difficulty they got me safe to their home. I turned worse every day, and for about five weeks I did not know I was in the land of the living; I could do no more for myself than a newborn child. I was well attended to as we have a doctor only half-a-mile from us, and I think he is a man of great skill, but for all that I do not think it was the doctor alone that restored me to health - - it was by the blessing of God in Whose hand my time is. It was thirteen weeks before I could walk to the door alone, and by this time the winter was settling in and the cold was very severe on me, although it was the mildest winter that has been since this place was inhabited. We had very little snow and there was only two or three days that the frost was intense.
The winter here is very long and we may say we have no spring at all; the winter begins about the middle of November and continues till the middle of May before a crop of any kind can be put in. We do not plant potatoes here until the end of June or about the middle of July, and they will be ready for eating by the end of August, the season is so warm which brings the crops so fast to maturity. The potatoes are very good this year, but there is a little of the disease amongst them. Wheat is a failure in a good many places by rust and smut. We can grow any kind of grain here and vegetables of all kinds, and we want for nothing - - neither for back nor belly. Money is very scarce in this settlement yet, and much is done by trading; we can get anything at the village for wheat and that is the way we do without money, but everything that we want is a little dearer than in Scotland but meal. Flour is 20 shillings per bushel and we have no other kind of meal but flour. There is no oatmeal mill in this place yet, so we can get no porridge to sup. Wheat here is about one dollar per bushel or four shillings sterling; oats is 3d to 1s 5d per bushel; potatoes, 2 shillinggs; salt, 1s 2d per stone; beef, 3d; pork, 3d and mutton is very scarce here yet; cows from 3 to 4 pounds; oxen from 10 to 12 pounds per pair; tobacco, 8 pence to 1s 5d per pound; whiskey, 2s 6d per gallon; it is not good, but for all that people get very drunk with it. These and such-like things you will have heard of already.
Now I will return back and give you an account of my voyage to this place. We landed at Annan on Friday evening and stopped all night, and then set out on the Saturday about 12 o'clock in the Newcastle steamer for Liverpool, all in good spirits. But believe me it was not long till all the passengers got very sick; my family was all taken off deck to bed but me and little James. I kept him long on deck but a last he was to take to the hold where his mother was lying. Such a scene I never did behold. We landed at Liverpool about 11 o'clock at night and as soon as they got to land the sickness left them. I was never sick till the last two days of sailing. We were very bewildered creatures turned out of the steamer in a strange country, and knew not where to find lodgings in the dark, but it was not long till we got to very good lodgings, and then we forgot the toils of the day. I went out the next morning with the landlord to take a view of the shore. Passengers were coming from all directions, so I lost no time in taking our passage to New York, for which I had to pay (?unable to read the figure) for each person and before the afternoon it was up to 5 pounds 10s and some had to pay 6 pounds. I took the first ship that was to sail for New York. I took a passage for the Fosters along with me but we had to stop for days before the ship did sail, and it is very expensive living there. we went on board the ship Liverpool of Liverpool on the 19th of June. I did not find it so disagreeable as I expected; we were in what was termed the second cabin; they were all Scotch and English but two families of Irish. Adam Armstrong and the wife's two brothers were along with us. We were all quite comfortable for the first five weeks, but after that vermin began to get on us all and they made the rest of the journey more disagreeable. We had a good passage, but a very long one; we were 53 days on board the ship. We were all in good spirits but Janet and Margaret, and they were sick all the road.
We landed at New York on the first of August and had to stop there two days before we set out for this place, which is about 900 miles form New York. The scenery around this -- is very beautiful. We went out in a steamer to Albany, but it was in the night time and I saw but little of the country; then we took the Erie Canal in a low boat dragged by horses to Rochester; then we had some land carriage to take.. we got to Toronto. We stopped there all night and I went to see my cousin Mrs. Gardner; she was very well and very happy to hear from all her friends. We set out in a wagon next morning for Coldwater - - a distance of 34 miles, all land carriage and the worst road I ever travelled; then after that we got one steamer after another till within four miles of this place. The counntry up the Erie Canal has a very wild appearance, some of it very rocky and steep, with brambles growing to the tops of the rocks, and the further up the country it is more wild and less cultivated.
Now, Peter, with regard to this country, I like it well, but it is not a place for the lazy man, for it is very hard labour for many years to get a living, and there are many difficulties here that one never thought of in Scotland. I think if it did not get such a good recommendation people that come here would like it much better. I cound advise no person to come that has any prospect of getting their bread in Scotland, for many old settlers here have their land all cleared and have not one shilling of it paid and now the interest amounts to more than the farm is worth. I do not know what will become of them, but for all that they live well and never think how they are to pay their land. It was a by-word in Scotland this is the country for the poor man; that's true if he comes here to remain so. There are many poor farmers but few lairds.
We have two cows and calves, a yoke of oxen and six swine; a few hens re all our live-stock. We had a crop of wheat, potatoes and turnips; we want for nothing, but money is scarce. Mary is married to one William Brown next neighbour to us; Margaret is keeping house to her brother John and Andrew is hired. Betsy and James are with us; James has been well since we left Scotland. Now Peter, be sure to write to me as soon as you get this and give me all the news of your country, and how Robert Elliot is doing at Toftholm, for I always thought there would be a great death (possibly dearth?) of sheep there. Give our kind love to all enquiring friends and direct a letter to me thus - -
Adam Beattie Lake Shoreline, Owen Sound, Upper Canada, North America.
OPR Ettrick, Selkirkshire
5th Aug  Adam Beattie shepherd Shorthope and Elizabeth Sword both in this parish gave up their names for proclamation in order to marriage. 19th being thrice proclaimed were joined in marriage .655