Written by Peter McNabb Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3127 email@example.com
I grew up with the view that my great-grandfather Archibald McNabb and his eight brothers and sisters emigrated to Canada in 1848 and 1849 to escape the harsh conditions and despair of the Scottish Highlands, and that they subsequently enjoyed the opportunities and prosperity in the new world. It was always a positive story of rebirth in a new country. Over the years, I have learned much more about their journey to Canada and the first 70 years in south-western Ontario. I now have a much fuller understanding of the struggles and hardships as well as joys they encountered in their quest for a better life. This article paints a deeper and fuller picture of what happened to the first generation of my Canadian McNabb family up to 1916 when the last McNabb of this generation died. It provides a more balanced account in contrast to the largely rosy impressions portrayed in the early family stories.
2. The Trigger to leave Scotland
The emigration of my family members to Canada was triggered by the death of my great-great grandfather Mungo McNab. This occurred on 5 November 1847 at his Kilail farm on the Cowal Peninsula in Argyllshire, Scotland, three years after the death of his wife Janet. It was a significant moment in our family history. Freed from Mungo’s strong and authoritarian rule and determined to have a better future, all of his nine surviving children started to plan immediately to leave Scotland and emigrate to Canada. It was a big decision for a group of young adults, the eldest being 34 and the youngest 17.
3. The Factors Affecting the Move to Upper Canada
There were both push and pull factors influencing the move. Deteriorating social and economic conditions were part of the push. A long drawn out famine extended throughout the Cowal Peninsula and other parts of the Highlands in the 1840’s. It was particularly virulent between 1846 and 1848. With the new enclosure system of property management, sheep was rapidly replacing cattle farming in many areas, making it increasingly difficult for Mungo’s four sons to find adequate work as small-scale tenant farmers. There was the ongoing threat of clearances from the properties the young men tenanted, making them very vulnerable in the feudal regime in which they were caught up.
At the same time, benevolent landlords were offering tenants financial assistance with their boat passage to North America, as compensation for the terrible conditions they were enduring on their land.
As for the pull factors, positive stories were coming back to the McNab children in Scotland from former neighbours and others who had emigrated to Upper Canada. Colonel Thomas Talbot’s settlement scheme, originally established in 1803 with 5,000 acres south-west of London adjacent to Lake Erie but expanding to over half a million acres in 29 townships, was considered to be particularly successful.
Map of the Talbot Tract, from Frederick C. Hamil's Lake Erie Baron: The Story of Colonel Thomas Talbot
The young adults were hearing about the opportunities provided by the scheme for owning their own land on very favourable conditions. This included the free grant of 50 acres with the right to purchase an additional 150 acres at $3 each, on the condition that the new landowner build a road in front of each property within three and a half years. The other condition was the building of a small house and the clearing and sowing of 10 acres of land.
The letter from a former neighbour Duncan Ferguson on 30 September 1837 to his brother Iver written from the Township of Yarmouth near Cowal in Upper Canada is typical of the message that was being heard by the McNabb family. As Donald wrote, “it is not for other people that we are working as you are, but for ourselves and family, and suppose we work hard, we know we will have the benefit in the end. Men in that country (Scotland) are only working for their living and nothing else, but while we are working we will make our living and a property beside. Every one that came here has got land in some shape or other. Every one is doing this way or that way; they have cattle and clearance which is very valuable and equal to a great sum of money in the end. Cleared land will bring from thirteen to sixteen dollars per acre.”
The combination of these factors created the situation at the end of 1847 where the nine McNab children generally felt that they should leave Scotland and emigrate to North America. However, they did not all set off at once. There were probably various reasons for this. Cost was likely a consideration. They did not have enough money to all go together. The young adults wanted to get to Upper Canada safely so their preference was to go on better boats and use a less hazardous route from Glasgow to New York rather than a more northerly route to Quebec via the St Lawrence River with the risks of encountering ice flows on the north Atlantic Ocean. This meant a more expensive journey not only across the Atlantic but also inland from New York.
There may have been other family reasons as well. Betsy had just had her second child Janet in October 1847 and her first child Alexander was either very ill or had died recently. Archibald, as a stonemason, is likely to have wanted to stay longer in Scotland so he could make a proper gravestone for his parents to be placed in the Kilmodan cemetery. He also was working out his new relationship with Jane Gilmour, a young woman of 21 whom he had met recently near Dunoon on the east side of the Cowal Peninsula.
Two of the McNab sisters were married to McFarlane brothers whose parents were still alive and perhaps undecided whether they wanted to make the journey at this stage of their lives. Other family members also may have had reservations about such a big move and wanted a few to go ahead and check out the new settlement before making a final commitment. And then, despite the harsh economic conditions in Argyllshire, there was the emotional attachment to their homeland with its Gaelic traditions and distinctive landscape features. To those that had this attachment, there was fear of a great sense of loss if they were to leave.
4. The Journeys to New York and Upper Canada
Whatever the combination of factors, only four of the nine McNab children - the two eldest Annie (35) and Duncan (32), younger brother Mungo (24) with whom Duncan was very close, and sister Janet (22) set off on the Brooksby in Glasgow in early 1848 bound for New York. Mungo’s two-year-old daughter Mary born out of what was considered an “illegitimate” relationship came as well but not Mary’s mother. Janet also was with her husband Andrew McFarlane (30), a blacksmith whom she had married a year before on 23 January 1847 at the Kilfinan Church near her home at Kilail. Andrew no doubt was looking to see whether the prospects for the wider McFarlane family were better in Upper Canada than in Scotland. Interestingly, 17-year-old Mungo McDonald, a grandson from Mungo’s first marriage to Ann Campbell, who was living in the Glasgow area, accompanied them on the voyage.
Setting out from Glasgow, the Brooksby was under the control of the cautious and capable master, Hugh McEwan. There were 165 passengers on board of which only five had the luxury of staying in a cabin. The rest of the passengers were assigned to tightly squeezed bunks in the hold of the ship. There was no privacy and miserable food. Quite a few passengers lay sick in their bunks, the roll of the sea too much.
The McNabbs, however, were told by others such as a former neighbour, Duncan Ferguson, what to expect and what to bring with them. In his letter to his brother Iver written on 30 September 1837 from Yarmouth in Canada, Donald set out the following:
“With regard to provision(s) on the passage, you will take oat-cakes as we did, it will last long enough, butter, cheese, and plenty of salt pork or beef, a little wine, brandy and whisky, and fine biscuits and potatoes, a good deal of oatmeal, barley, molasses, cream of tartar, castor oil, salts, a little dry fish and herrings.”
The trip lasted more than 50. It was a gruelling experience, but no one died en route. The passengers traded stories about the lives they hoped they would find in the New World.
Finally, New York City came into sight. The ship sailed past the plush farmland and forests of the Bronx, dropping anchor off Castle Garden at the lower end of Manhattan on 27 July 1848. In the heat of summer, the McNabs disembarked, disoriented by the activity of the city but anxious to continue on to their final destination in Upper Canada. The family booked passage on a steamer up the Hudson River to Albany, where they found a number of agents eagerly competing to carry them west on the Erie Canal. The canal, opening a little over 20 years earlier in October 1825, was heralded as an engineering marvel of the 19th century. It covered almost 400 miles through the wilderness connecting Albany to Buffalo on the eastern shore of Lake Erie.
At 35 miles per day, it was slow travel and not particularly pleasant particularly in the middle of summer. Their quarters were along a narrow shelf in a hot, unventilated cabin. Finally, they reached Buffalo. From there, it was one more trip across Lake Erie by steamer to their final destination at Port Stanley in Upper Canada. After three weeks travel from New York and seven weeks from Glasgow, they finally arrived at Port Stanley.
The first group of McNabs arriving in Upper Canada reunited with their former neighbours from Scotland and established quickly that there were reasonable prospects for acquiring property and farming the land. Their overall assessment about living conditions in the new Cowal community must have been positive, because a much larger group of the McNabs and McFarlanes were encouraged to set off from Glasgow in the spring of the following year.
Again they travelled from Glasgow to New York, this time on the Hyndeford, arriving at New York on 11 August 1849. There were five McNabs on board – Isabel (32), John (30), Archibald (28), Peter (19), and older sister Betsy (36) with her husband John McFarlane (40) and their two small children Janet (almost 2) and Isabella (only three months old, having been born at Kilfinan, Scotland on 7 May 1849). John’s parents Duncan and Janet McFarlane aged in their 70s and brother George came on the voyage as well. They made the same journey up the Hudson River to Albany, through the Erie Canal to Buffalo and then by steamer across Lake Erie to Port Stanley.
The arrival of the two groups in 1848 and 1849 made one significant difference to our family – the change in the spelling of our surname. The McNabs in Scotland suddenly became McNabbs in the British colony of Upper Canada. The immigration officials obviously thought that the spelling of our clan namesake was not proper without the double ‘b’. We have continued to be McNabbs ever since.
5. Their New Home as Part of Canada West in 1850
The nine McNabbs and their families gravitated to that part of the Talbot settlement area around the small community of Cowal (named after the peninsula in Argyllshire) in Dunwich Township where their former neighbours from Scotland had settled. The area was over 20 miles north-west of where they had landed at Port Stanley. All of their meagre belongings were transported there by oxen and cart along primitive roads and through thick forest.
The landscape of the new Cowal community was very different from what they had left behind in Scotland. Instead of the distinctive hills and valleys of Glendaruel and Kilfinan and the splendour of Loch Fyne, the new place was basically flat, heavily treed and uninteresting. The new arrivals also quickly discovered that this part of the Talbot Tract, far from the prime farmland the Colonel’s agents had described, was heavily wooded with soil of uneven quality - loamy in some parts and sandy in others.
The area where they settled was, up until 1841, part of the Province of Upper Canada established in 1791 by the United Kingdom to govern the central third of the lands in British North America and to accommodate Loyalist refugees of the United States after the American Revolution. The new province remained, for the next fifty years of growth and settlement, the colonial government of the territory. The Act of Union 1840, passed July 23, 1840 by the British Parliament abolished the legislatures of Lower Canada and Upper Canada and established a new political entity, the united Province of Canada to replace them. The area where my ancestors settled became part of what was known as Canada West.
6. Owning Their Own Land
The desire to own land was a key reason why my ancestors emigrated to Canada. The process, however, was not easy. It was difficult for the McNabbs and McFarlanes to acquire good land, as they were late arrivals to the area. Most of the families they had known in Scotland – families such as the McCallums, McBrides and Robert Campbells - had come to this part of Canada much earlier. By the late 1840s, there were very few parcels of really productive land left. In desperation, Duncan McNabb and John MacFarlane each wrote letters shortly after arrival in late 1848 to Colonel Talbot requesting ownership of the land to which they had taken possession. The letters are held in the Elgin County archives in St Thomas.
Some of the land the McNabb and McFarlane family members eventually acquired between 1850 and 1860 was part of the 2,000 acres granted by the Crown in August 1795 to Lt. Col. William Campbell, the first grant recorded for Dunwich Township. Col. Campbell had served as commander of a British garrison near Lake Erie and was awarded this grant by the King for his service. However, after the grant was executed, Col. Campbell was made Governor-General of the Bahamas. Two days after arriving there in 1797, he died at 29 years of age, intestate and without children. It was left to his heirs in Scotland to dispose of his estate.
The disposal process took place over many years, being negotiated slowly between absentee landlords in Scotland and famers in Canada West. Slowly, the McNabb and McFarlane family members obtained blocks of land of between 50 and 200 acres, as illustrated below:
• John McFarlane purchased 100 acres comprising Lot B in Concession 3 • As a blacksmith, Andrew McFarlane and his wife Janet acquired 100 acres on Lot 24, Concession Gore • The eldest daughter Annie married Donald McIntyre in and they farmed on a small 50 acre parcel along the Thames River on part of Lot A, Concession 2 • Duncan and his brother Mungo acquired 100 acres on Lot 17, Concession 1 in Southwold Township alongside the Iona Road. • Archibald acquired the north and south parts of Lots 24 in Concession 1 and Concession ABF of Dunwich Township, immediately adjacent to the Thames River • Isabel and her husband Hugh McBride purchased a 50-acre farm on the south half of lot 24, Concession 3 near what became the Cowal village centre.
My great grandfather Archibald had to wait over 10 years to secure ownership. In about 1849, he and his younger brother Peter had settled on a couple of lots in the very north-east corner of Dunwich Township near the Thames River in what was to become known as Pleasant Valley. The brothers essentially squatted on the land until Archibald was able to purchase 210 acres from Col. Campbell’s heirs on 29 June 1859. Almost four years later on 21 January 1863, Archibald sold half of his holdings (105 acres) to Peter who at age 32 had now earned enough money from farming to pay his brother 105 pounds (a pound an acre) for the land.
The only McNabb sibling that did not acquire land in the Cowal area was John. He had always been the black sheep of the family, not living in his twenties at the family homestead in Argyllshire, nor working closely with his brothers. It seems that he either felt that the available land in Cowal community was not good enough or wanted to get as far away from his siblings as possible. So, after his arrival in 1849, John, in his early thirties, moved north about 75 miles to Huron County and settled on 100 acres in Grey Township in the north-east part of the county. He stayed there all his life.
For members of the family, making a home began with the building of a log house.
7. Community Life in the Early Days
The families lived off the products of the farm. They kept sheep for the supply of wool for making blankets, stockings, mittens and other pieces of clothing. Wool working bees involving several neighbours were common among the women.
In the early days, there was nothing but oxen to transport people and goods. As a result, the families were forced to walk nine miles to the nearest store at Iona and a few walked further to Fingal. A barter system was used extensively. The families carried butter and eggs from their farms to exchange for necessities such as tea, salt, and flour.
As the farms became more productive with livestock, the families made trips further afield. A trip was made twice a year to London, some 30 miles north-east of Cowal.
It was important for the new settlers to have a commercial and community hub at Cowal. Initially, that was established on the east or Southwold side of the Dunwich-Southwold Townline near the Aberdeen Line, across the road from the Cowal cemetery and near where brothers Duncan and Mungo McNabb settled.
Cowal as a commercial centre officially came into being when Neil McBride opened the first Cowal post office in his farmhouse on 1 December 1863. On Saturday mornings, Neil would go out on horseback and collect the mail from Fingal and when he returned he would blow a large horn to let the settlers know the mail was in. Grant SIlcox took over as postmaster in November 1871. He established the post office in a general store built in 1869 on the northwest corner (Dunwich side) of the Townline and Aberdeen Line.
In 1875, James McDougall acquired the store and post office. He then moved the business north and west to his property at the intersection of Cowal Road and Concession 4 Road (now Chalmers Line) known then as New Montreal. The name came from one of the other early settlers in the area who had come from Montreal in Quebec. James had previously set up a store on the southwest corner in about 1870. Silcox’s store was re-established across the road from the new post office as part of John McBride’s farmhouse.
To the south of the store was the village sawmill. Dick Redmond and William LIpsey operated the mill in 1871. This became a thriving business with farmers from miles around including the McNabbs hauling in timber year round. The processed product was shipped out by railway from nearby Lawrence Station. After William’s death, Dick sold the business to Thomas Griffin in 1882. By 1884, the mill business was doing so well that extra workers had to be hired to saw 4,000 – 8,000 feet of timber a day. Houses to accommodate these employees were built along Concession 4, to the west of the store as well as to the east across the road from the church. The field on the northwest corner of the Cowal Road – Concession 4 intersection was rented by the sawmill for the storage of logs brought in by farmers in the winter. Business in 1884 was so good that a grain crusher was installed at the mill as well.
On the east side of Cowal Road south of the main intersection was a stave mill, operated by Joseph Atkinson that employed up to 10 men. Timber was first cut at the sawmill, then soaked overnight to remove the bark, and then taken across the road to the stave mill to be shaped. The staves were taken to Lawrence Station and shipped by railway to companies making barrels. In 1892, the mil was purchased by a Mr Coates of Ridgetown who invested in extensive renovations and built new homes for the mill workers.
North of the stave mill was a boarding house where mill workers lived. A shoemaker’s shop, operated in 1885 by R.M. Chapman, was next door. North of this was a carriage factory with various operators over time. Next door was the first blacksmith shop in Cowal, built in the 1880s by James McKenzie and then to the north another blacksmith shop erected by Herbert Myers in the 1890s. Herbert was an excellent blacksmith who set a record for the number of horses he could shoe in a day. Still further north, at the south-east corner of the main intersection, across the 4th Concession from the church was another store operated over the years by several people including a notable family member, D.A. McNabb and cousin-in-law Malcolm Gilmore.
In 1891, Cowal was large and prosperous enough to warrant a community hall. Shortly after the hall opened in 1892, the congregation of Chalmers Presbyterian Church had plans for a new church on this site. So the hall was lifted and moved to a new site further west on Concession 4 where Daniel Patterson donated the land. The hall was a focal point for many parties and dances over the years.
The establishment of a Presbyterian Church was an important priority for all the Highland Scots who settled in Dunwich in the 1830s and 1840s. The first Presbyterian Church that was built within walking distance of Cowal was Knox Church in Ekfrid Township. Several Dunwich families were members of this church, even though it was a distance of 10 miles or more. In July 1853, a resolution was passed that a new church be built on part of the north half of lot 24, concession 2, a farm owned by Hugh Fletcher. It was to be 45 X 30 and was to be a Presbyterian church in connection with the Free Presbyterian Church of Canada. A parsonage was built on an adjacent lot.
A white frame church was built in 1853, and dedicated on 21 June 1856. The first list of members was drawn up in 1855, many transferring from Knox Church, Ekfrid. The church was named Chalmers (originally called East Dunwich), one of the many churches under the care of Rev. Daniel Clark. In 1873 the people from Ekfrid decided because of the distance they had to travel, they would withdraw from the Chalmers congregation. Three years later, the congregation at Chalmers was joined with Duff Church, Largie.
At this time it was decided to move the church to a more central spot, and New Montreal, now Cowal, was chosen as the site. By 1901 the church was too small to accommodate the congregation, and a larger church was built on a nearby property donated by Daniel Thomson, but previously owned by Hugh McBride and Isabel McNabb who had died by 1860. A cornerstone was laid for the new church building on 26 June 1901. The new church was opened and dedicated in February 1902. The old church building was later used as a barn on the farm of John A. Patterson.
Local schools near the village – SS #9 in Dunwich and Union School SS # 8 Dunwich and #20 Southwold established in 1892 on the Dunwich-Southwold Townline
Without warning, the prosperous village centre at Cowal was struck by disaster. In 1903, both of the mills burned in a fire. Tom Griffin, who owned the sawmill, decided not to rebuild. Coates, the owner of the stave mill, decided to move the business to Dutton, which was on the railway line. Many of the workers left Cowal and re-established themselves in Dutton. Some actually moved their houses with them. Others left them behind to gradually decay and collapse. The post office closed in 1 January 1913 with rural mail delivery having been put in place. By 1916, Cowal was a shadow of the village it was only a few years before with the Griffin family store, the community hall, the church and a few houses being the only surviving elements in the village. The decline in the centre caused several of the older residents including the McNabbs to move away from Cowal to other areas such as Middlemiss across the Thames River in Middlesex County.
8. Wider Socio-Economic and Political Influences
The McNabbs arrived at a time of great change in Canada, and this continued unabated until 1916.
There was an increased level of immigration resulting in significant population growth. During the War of 1812 there were only 12 families living in Dunwich Township. From 1835 to 1840, Dunwich’s population increased slightly from 616 to 633, but by 1851 after the surge in Scottish and Irish migration in the 1840s, the population was 1,948.
Predominance of agriculture in this period, but gradually a stronger move towards cities and towns with their factories and shops
There were significant technological advances that occurred during this period. The building of the Canadian Southern railway line connecting Buffalo with Detroit through south-western Ontario in the 1870s with a small station at Iona a few miles south of Cowal enabled city goods as well as city newspapers to be dropped off for the local community, and for agricultural products to be transported to new markets in major cities. The telegraph line and the telephone opened up new forms of communication. The development of electricity in the early 1900s provided critical power to farm operations. Similarly, the advent of the motor car and motorised farm machinery transformed the way farmers got around and worked their farms. All of these innovations resulted in a more prosperous community at Cowal and elsewhere in Dunwich and Southwold.
The opening of the West in both Canada and the United States.
There also were important political changes particularly after the upheaval caused by the 1837 Rebellion. The decade of the 1840s was a time of complex political and economic change with the Union of Upper and Lower Canada in 1841, abolition of the Corn Laws in 1846, and severe financial retrenchment leading to the establishment of responsible government in 1848. One of the influential figures during this time was another MacNab, but not directly related to our family. He was Sir Allan Napier MacNab.
Born in 1798 at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Allan was a military man who fought in the War of 1812 before he became a lawyer and set up his practice in Hamilton. In 1830 he was elected to represent the city in the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada, a position he held for some 27 years. In 1838 he was knighted for his zeal in suppressing the 1837 rebellion against the Crown. However, MacNab found it very difficult to adjust to a new set of social, economic, and political priorities. He was the defender of his privileged place within the established structure. The vehemence of his resistance to the changes in the 1840s.
Did our family know the Premier or visit him? It is interesting to speculate what happened.
He served in the Legislative Assembly of the newly established Province of Canada, becoming Premier or Prime Minister between 1854 and 1856. He was elected to the Legislative Council in 1860 representing the Western division and served there until his death in 1862 at Dundurn Castle in Hamilton.
A successful entrepreneur as well as politician, MacNab, with Glasgow merchant Peter Buchanan, was responsible for the construction of the Great Western Railway in Ontario.
At the time of his Premiership of Canada, there was a suggestion that Sir Allan MacNab, might become the next Chief of the Clan. A distant relative Archibald had become the 17th Chief in 1823 and emigrated to Canada where he obtained an estate and a community drawn from his clans folk in Scotland, which he re-named Macnab. When Archibald died in 1860, Sir Allan was a possibility but that was quashed when Sir Allan’s only son and heir was killed in a shooting accident in Canada. The chieftainship of Clan Macnab passed to another branch of the Macnabs at Arthurston.
The increasing importance of the Liberal Party particularly with the election of Sir Wilfred Laurier and his Liberal Government between 1896 and 1911
The outbreak of World War 1 in 1914
9. Family Marriages and Children.
From the outset, there was a strong focus within the Cowal community on getting married so as to have a partner to help deal with the hardship. Marriage and the subsequent birth of children would leave a legacy.
With no birth control, many of the McNabbs set out to have large families to provide sons and daughters to help with the workload on the farm and as an insurance against the possibility of early childhood deaths.
Two of the nine McNabb children - Betsy and Janet – came to the new Cowal community as married women. Janet and her husband Andrew McFarlane quickly needed to establish a base, as Janet was pregnant with their first child. Daughter Mary was born later in 1848, the first McNabb family member born in Upper Canada. Seven further children were born to this couple between 1848 and 1865.
Much older sister Betsy and her husband John McFarlane and their two small children Janet and Isabella, arriving a year later in 1849, also wanted to get established quickly. John purchased from the Crown the 100 acres in the north-east part of Cowal next to the Thames River and started to farm. From here, Betsy had three more daughters between 1853 and 1858.
Six of the other McNabb children were married over the next 10 years. My great grandfather Archibald was the first - marrying Jane Gilmour also from Argyllshire at age 28 not long after he arrived in late 1849 or very early 1850. Very little information has been uncovered so far about Jane and her family background in Scotland, nor about their marriage. From the farm established next to the Thames River, Archibald and Jane had eight children between 1850 and 1864.
Annie McNabb, the eldest of the nine children, was married a few years later in 1853 at age 40 to Donald McIntrye. She moved onto Donald’s farm adjacent to the Thames River. This farm was across the road from the McFarlane farm owned by her sister Betsy and brother-in-law John. Annie and Donald had a daughter Janet in 1854.
Duncan and his sister Isabel also were married in 1853 to children of Peter McBride and Nancy McCallum who came from Cowal in Argyllshire to Upper Canada in about 1834. The McNabb and McBride children no doubt knew one another well, as the McBrides lived at Dullich near Glendaruel in Scotland, just over the hills from the McNabb home at Kilail in Kilfinan.
Duncan, at age 37, married Catherine McBride on 10 May 1853. Catherine moved onto the farm that Duncan and his brother Mungo had established in Southwold Township fronting the Iona Road. Catherine was pregnant when she got married, as their daughter Annie also known as Nancy was born later in 1853. They also had a son Mungo in 1855.
Duncan’s younger sister Isabel, at age 36, married Catherine’s younger brother Hugh McBride on 29 August 1853. Isabel moved onto the farm that Hugh had established near the Cowal village centre – a farm that was subsequently used in the late 1870s after the couple had died to establish the Chalmers Presbyterian Church. Isabel and Hugh had a short and sad life, the details of which will be revealed shortly.
A year later on 8 August 1854, Mungo McNabb, at age 31, married Margaret Ferguson from the Belmont area of South Dorchester Township, about miles east of Cowal. Mungo is likely have to met Catherine at her family farm at Belmont after he went to the area to find work after his brother Duncan married the year before and reorganised the Southwold farmhouse for his new wife Mungo and Margaret set up a farm north of Belmont village and had three children there between 1855 and 1859.