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Most were crofting families from Lewis who had suffered the severe effects of the potato famine of 1846 -51. As a solution to the increasing pressure on landlords and government relief bodies, they were offered free passage to 'Lower Canada' and given land grants in the Eastern Townships. To this day place-names such as Stornoway, Tolsta, Ness and Dell in Canada testify to the strong links these communities kept with their homeland.
The book opens with the historical background before telling oral history as remembered and experienced by the emigrants' descendants, telling of land clearing, 'homesteading', farming, lumbering, bridge building and all the other tasks required to build a new community in the wilderness. Gaelic-speaking presbyterians, the group kept their language for the first three generations and still retain their religion to this day, as well as the tradition of the taigh ceilidh. For more than a century people in the Outer Hebrides have been asking what happened to those who left. This book answers much of that question.
WINNER OF THE 1999 CLIO AWARD OF THE CANADIAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION
Originally from the Isle of Skye, Margaret Bennett comes from a long line of traditional singers, pipers and story tellers Gaelic on her mother's side, Lowland Scots on her father's. She has sung at folk festivals and concerts world wide and has featured in films, documentaries and on radio. She has an MA in folklore and a PhD in ethnology. She specialises in traditional song, customs, folk medicine, and emigrant traditions and has taught in both Glasgow and Edinburgh. She has published several books and many articles.
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