Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Pioneers, Ploughs, and Politics: New Brunswick Planned Settlements

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The Scottish Highlanders Arrive The English Settlers' Demands

The Skye settlers arrived at Saint John aboard the Royal Adelaide on 14 October 1836, dangerously late in the year to establish themselves on the land. From here they travelled to Fredericton, but instead of continuing on to Stanley, they were directed to set up camp across the river at Saint Mary's where they were exposed to the elements. Approximately six weeks later, the immigrants moved on to Stanley, arriving just two weeks before the temperature hit a low of seven to 10 degrees below freezing and snow covered the ground. To add to their misery, the newcomers learned that, contrary to the land company's prospectus, only the shells of their homes had been raised. To speed up construction, each family received a supply of boards so that they could build the floors, windows, frames, and doors themselves. But most of the newcomers lacked the skills necessary to complete such tasks.
The Scottish immigrants faced additional problems. Arriving so late in the season, they had no harvest to depend upon for food for the coming winter. Moreover, the unseasonably cold temperatures made it impossible for their
chimneys to be completed. Lacking warm clothing, sufficient food, and suitable housing, an estimated 40 settlers died before the spring thaw. Some of the survivors left the area in the spring, but a number stayed in Scotch Settlement, determined to start a new life on the land.
The English and Scottish settlers who remained became locked in a struggle with the land company to resolve their grievances. In their view, the principal adversary was Richard Hayne, who was named E. N. Kendall's replacement as chief commissioner or agent on 6 December 1837. Hayne, who had arrived the previous summer, had seemingly been directed to reduce company expenditures. Tensions increased when he halted construction on the roads and other improvements and closed the company stores, thereby cutting the settlers off from their chief source of supplies.