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LEAVING SCOTLAND...

The following information is from "the GUNNs of Kinlochlaggan...A Scottish Diaspora" compiled and printed in 1979 by Kathleen Gunn Turpin (now Sullivan).


Six of the sons of Hugh and Margaret Gunn of Kinlochlaggan immigrated to America after 1845. George Hugh Gunn was apparently the first to leave Scotland after his marriage to Jean Smith on April 28, 1845. They first went to Rode Island where he worked as a dyer in the textile mills, much as he had been in Glasgow at the time of their marriage.

None of the brothers of George Hugh Gunn were listed on the 1851 Rhode Island census although he and his family were -- so evidently he was the only one of the six to go there prior to going to Bruce County, Ontario, Canada.

The first daughters of George Hugh and Jean Gunn were born in Rhode Island -- Christina in 1846 and Betsy in 1851. By the time their son Hugh George was born on June 22, 1855, they were living in Bruce County.

The first of the settlers arrived in Bruce County about 1850. During the next four years there was a steady stream of land seekers -- largely natives of Scotland -- looking for desirable locations. "Our" six Gunn family members were among these.

"School lands" in the township of Bruce opened for sale on August 17, 1854. Occupancy was to be immediate and continuous; land to be cleared at the rate of two acres annually for each 100 acres, during the first five years; and a dwelling at least 16 X 18 feet was to be erected on the property, according to "History of the County of Bruce" by Norman Robertson.

The population of Bruce Township increased from 100 people in 1852 to 2,250 in 1861 which is indicative of the rate of settlement.

It is believed that Alexander Gunn was the first of the six sons to arrive in Bruce County, in the year 1850. However, his name was not on the 1851 census report of that county. This may of been due to a situation which was noted on the census, "The severity of the winter and immense depth of snow...have prevented some settlers from going to their land this winter." Possibly he was one of these.

Donald Gunn and his bride, Margaret Urquhart, left their Scotland home the day after their marriage in Tain on June 27, 1853.

According to information received from their grandson, Andrew Ruxton, and his wife, Annie, "They landed in Halifax about six weeks later (a rough trip). They came by smaller boat up the St. Lawrence to Niagara on the lake; then by train to Goderich; then by fish boat from Goderich to Kincardine -- followed the bush trail only marked by chips off the trees for 15 miles to what is now the 8th Concession of Bruce -- where they camped under a tree over night."

The Donald Gunns then built a "shanty" on the farm -- later replaced by a log house -- and lived there the rest of their lives.

The Ruxtons further stated: "The first winter, Donald Gunn carried a bushel of wheat on his back to Kincardine (15 miles) to be ground into flour and then carried it all the way back. the next year there was a mill started at Underwood, 1 1/4 miles from their farm."

"Donald's brother, Joseph, located on the farm next to him but never proved up on it."

The 1861 census listed Joseph Gunn and his wife Ann as residing with the Donald Gunns and daughters Marion and Mary. The two families were sharing a two-story house. Also living with them was Hugh Calder, a widower born in Scotland, a first cousin of Donald and Joseph.

The other Gunn families were listed in a different section of the 1861 census report as follows:

Jane Gunn, occupation farmer; a widow, age 27, residing in a 1 1/2 story log house on Lot 85, 7th Concession, with her children Marion (4); Alexander Hugh (1) and Janet C. A. Gunn who was born in 1860. Her husband, Alexander (5th child of Hugh and Margaret Gunn of Kinlochlaggan) had been killed by the falling of a tree on May 29, 1860 when he was 39.

On the adjacent lot (84 of the 7th Concession) lived George and Jane Gunn, farmers, and their four children: Christina (13), Betsy (10), Hugh (6), and Robert (3). All except Robert were listed as having attended school during the year. A school house was located on Lot 81 of the 7th; it measured 24 x 10 feet.

John Gunn, single (6th child of Hugh and Margaret Gunn) lived in a 1 1/2 story house on Lot 82 of the 7th Concession.

The Alex McKay family with their married daughter, Catherine McKay Gunn (age 27), and her children, Hugh H. and Alex William, who had been born in 1860, lived on Lot 81, 6th Concession. Catherine's husband, Hugh Murray Gunn, the youngest member of the Kinlochlaggan family, had gone prospecting in the gold fields of British Columbia by this time. He was gone about 15 years. Their next child after Alex William was born in 1880.

(The George Gunn's "Alexander George" was born the following August. It must have been most confusing at times with Alexander Hugh, Alex William, and Alexander George all within about one year of being the same age and living within a few houses of each other. No wonder Alex William went by both names throughout his lifetime).

In the Scottish settlements in Bruce County in the 19th century, Gaelic was heard among the adults about as much as English. Frequently, the Gaelic was used -- even in later years -- by the parents and grandparents at times when they did not want the children to know what they were saying.


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