In September of 1852, 109 families from the Isle of Lewis gathered at the lake port town of Goderich, deep in the Canadian wilderness on the shores of Lake Huron. Nearly a year earlier on August 4, 1851 the group had arrived in Canada, joining friends and relations in the Eastern Townships of Quebec before making their way on to Ontario.
The group departed Goderich in tiny boats traveling up Lake Huron’s densely forested shoreline, disembarking at Pine River and making the trek inland to where the village of Ripley now stands. Many descendants of the area’s original Lewis Settlers still reside in and around the village of Ripley, some on land first cleared and settled by their ancestors.
In February of 1998, I realized a lifelong dream setting up my recording studio and Production Company on land first settled by my great grandfather and namesake, Angus Macleod. My CD, The Silent Ones, A Legacy of the Highland Clearances was written, recorded and produced, there, on the very homestead of my great grandfather. - Angus Macleod.
1851 Exiles by Angus Macleod - Since the release of my CD, "The Silent Ones, A Legacy of the Highland Clearances", I have been asked frequently to write a book on the Isle of Lewis Settlement of Huron Township. I am pleased to announce that a limited print run of such a book is now available. Entitled "1851 Exiles", the paperback tells the story of Huron Township, Ontario's Lewis Settlers. Victims of Scotland's infamous Highland Clearances, the settlers were evicted from their crofts on the Hebridean island of Lewis in 1851 by landlord James Matheson and then transported overseas where they put down roots together in a block of farms in the centre of Huron Township, Bruce County. The group was successful in maintaining their Gaelic language and culture well into the 20th century. "1851 Exiles" includes a number of stories and anecdotes from the settlement never before published plus a complete history of the Isle of Lewis from pre-history to the Matheson Clearances. In addition, there is information on the Lewis Community in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and 39 breathtaking original colour photos by Leodhas Macleod taken in the three main locations of the story – the Isle of Lewis, Eastern Townships of Quebec and Huron Township, Ontario. "1851 Exiles" also contains Lewis Settler genealogical information and some wonderful rare old photos recently restored especially for the project. A large portion of the book deals with the day to day lives of Huron Township's Lewis folk and was drawn from a variety of sources including personal correspondence, interviews, and family histories made available to me by descendants. The book also contains some interesting new information on the Matheson Clearances obtained from recent interviews with sources on the Isle of Lewis. "1851 Exiles" is an excellent companion piece to my CD, "The Silent Ones, A Legacy of the Highland Clearances."
1851-Exiles Book- Angus Macleod's long awaited paperback tells the story of Huron Township Ontario's Lewis Settlement. Includes a number of wonderful anecdotes and tales never before published, a complete history of the Isle of Lewis from prehistory to the Matheson Clearances and information on the Lewis Community in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Breathtaking original photos by Leòdhais Macleod plus a number of rare old photographs - 39 colour photos in total.
A perfect accompanying piece to Angus Macleod's The Silent Ones CD.
Excerpt from Angus Macleod's "1851 Exiles"
Here lies my dear wife and child They to me, were dear and lovely Their time with me was short but sweet But now they are gone and I am lonely. So reads one of the stones in the Huron Presbyterian Church Cemetery or "Old Lewis Cemetery" as it is sometimes called - the inscription - a sad and lonely tribute from a husband to his dearly departed wife and child. The husband's obvious grief at the untimely death of his young family is reflected in the simple but poignant verse engraved on the tombstone. The words are faded now, weathered by age and the harsh Southwestern Ontario environment. The other stones in the cemetery are in a similar condition or worse. Wild flowers and tall grass cloak the entire area leaving the site almost invisible to the human eye. An old gate, once polished and ornate, rests precariously against a solitary tombstone situated at one end of the graveyard, at its feet remnants and pieces of tombstones litter the area. Picking up a remnant, one can only identify the prefix Mac etched thinly into its surface. The old Lewis cemetery, now long abandoned, has a truly desolate and empty feeling to it. When within its confines, one has the feeling of being total isolated from the rest of the world. Looking at the gravestone erected for the prematurely diseased wife and child, it is easy to wonder when the husband's heartrending inscription was last read and if, in fact, it will ever be viewed again.
Official Web Site of Leodhas Macleod
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