Of all the posts on this blog, 1802 Voyage of the Neptune is the one which has received the most comments. I have communicated with some of the commenters (distant cousins?) who also had ancestors on the voyage. Recently Patti de Bruijn-McDonald from The Netherlands and Wayne C. Morrison from Vankleek Hill, Ontario shared unpublished information about my ancestral McCuaigs and Morrisons.
Like many amateur genealogists I came late to the hobby, after all the previous generations of my family had gone. But Wayne Morrison is the exception in that he has been interested in local and family history since he was a teenager, some 50-odd years ago, and was able to hear the stories of his ancestors first hand from the elders of his grandfather’s generation. Some of Wayne’s family have not drifted far from their roots and his son and grandson still live in the ancestral home along the Quebec-Ontario border, an amazing eight generations on from the arrival of the Neptune in 1802.
In the early days of his family history research, Wayne came across a letter of reference written by Rev. Colin McIver in Glenelg, Scotland in 1802 for a Malcolm McCuaig as his family were about to depart aboard the Neptune sailing to Canada. The keepers of the letter were not about to hand it over to a teenager so he could take it away for photocopying. So Wayne transcribed it in long-hand and it was a good thing he did, because the original letter was later destroyed in a house fire. Here is my transcription of Wayne’s transcription provided to me as a digital scan by Patti…
Glenelg June 18th 1802
The Bearer Malcolm McCuaig aged 50 & his wife Janet McDonald age 45 and his sister Mary McCuaig age 52 emigrated to Canada North America with their children Catherine age 21 Malcolm age 19, Rachel 17, Marion 14, Mary 12, Archibald 11, Neil Angus 4, Christena 1 1/2, and always having obtained a good character, we see, no cause why they may not be admitted into any Christian community, where providence may order their lot. Given place and date as above by Colin McIver Min Gill McAully(?)
During his long tenure as the Presbyterian Minister for Glenelg Reverend McIver must have written dozens, if not hundreds of letters for his parishioners as they sailed for the new world. but few, if any of them have survived to the present day.
Although there is no surviving passenger list for the voyage of the Neptune in 1802 we know that Malcolm McCuaig and his fellow emigrants from Glenelg made it to the other side. Many of them settled in Vaudreuil/Soulanges Counties (Lower Canada) adjacent to Glengarry County (Upper Canada). This Land Grant document from 1808 lists 25 property owners in Cote St. George and Cote St. Patrick, three of them were named Malcolm McCuaig. One of them assuredly the Malcolm who carried his letter of reference from Glenelg six years before. The letter had pride of place in the family for the next six generations until it was destroyed in the fire. Fortunately Wayne’s transcription has kept the information from disappearing and, with his permission, I pass it along.