- Category: Emigrants
The earliest known emigrant family was that of Alexander Martin, Alasdair Buachaill, of the original North Tolsta. He left with his wife, Mary Macrae, about 1842. They had three children when they left, Annie (Mrs John Murray), Mary (Mrs Angus Morrison) and Donald. A third daughter, Margaret (Mrs Donald Stewart Macleod), was born aboard ship the day before she docked in Quebec. Alexander is believed to be the person who named Tolsta in Eastern Quebec after his native village. Annie and her eldest son were drowned in Lake Megantic. Her brother-in-law, Donald Stewart Macleod, a nephew of the Back catechist, composed a long poem in her honour.
Between 1840 and 1850 most of the family of Donald Ban Maciver emigrated to Eastern Quebec. They were all tall, fair and very handsome. Their names were Murdo, Rory, John, Annie (Mrs Hugh Maclean), Catriona (Mrs Kenneth Macleod), Isobel (Mrs Angus Cuisloch Macdonald) and two others, a Mrs Mackenzie and a Mrs Malcolm Mackay. They were joined in 1873 by another sister, Isabella, the widow of Donald Buidhe Mac Macdonald, (37), and her family.
John Maciver married a Mararget Macdonald and had a large family, and Murdo married Mary Macleod, a daughter of Angus Bard Macleod, (36). They settled in Marston. Murdo Campbell, son of Alex Campbell along with his wife and family emigrated in 1841 and settled in Windslow Canada.
In 1852 a William Macleod from Branahuie, Rory Maciver and Murdo Maciver of Lingwick, Quebec, went in search of government land, and after three days reached Lake Megantic where they made a raft and explored the lake shores. They spent a week there and found fish and game to be plentiful. The following year they again went to Lake Megantic where they cleared an acre of land and planted three bushels of potatoes. The next winter John Maciver came across to join his brothers.
It was on 10th May 1856 that families moved to Marston, the new settlement on Lake Megantic. The 30 mile journey through the forest was difficult with children, furniture and provisions having to be carried and cattle driven. Camping out in the snow was far from pleasant. The miniature migration took six days. Lake Megantic being reached on 20th May 1856, and planting began.
John Maciver was an expert at setting up querns and Rory Maciver wintered three cows on one ton of barley straw and brushwood. Once a month provisions were carried from Winslow, using snowshoes in the winter.
Murdo Maciver used to carry 180 Ibs of flour on his back for six miles, setting it down for a rest every mile.
When North Tolsta was cleared of its inhabitants in 1852-53, some of its tenants decided to follow Alasdair Buachaill's example and cross to Canada. They were Norman Morrison, his wife Mary and their children, Donald, Murdo, Donald and Christina settled in Lingwick. Kenneth Gobha Murray and his wife Mary emigrated in 1841 and settled in Lingwick. (A descendant Ivan Murray visited Tolsta recently). Kenneth's daughter Margaret with her husband Angus Maciver and their family also emigrated in 1841.
Roderick Gobha Murray and wife Margaret Stewart and family emigrated in 1851 and settled in Whitton. Alex Macrae and his wife Christina Martin and family emigrated in 1850 and settled in Lingwick. John Macfarlane and his wife Anne Maciver and family emigrated in 1851 and settled in Huron, Bruce County.
John's nephew Malcolm Macfarlane and his wife Marion Macleod and family went with them. William Macleod (32) and his wife Betty Maciver and family emigrated in 1851 to Huron, Bruce County. Alexander Murray (27) and wife Mary Macdonald (widow of Donald Martin) emigrated from North Tolsta in 1851 and settled in Huron, Bruce County. All of Donald Martin's family and Alexander Murray's family also emigrated except Margaret Martin (Mairead Sealagair), who married Malcolm Macleod, Galson. Some of the Martins moved to Eastnor.