The Silver Chief by Lucille H. Campey

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Belfast, Prince Edward Island, founded in August 1803, owes its existence to Lord Selkirk. Its bicentennial is a timely reminder of Selkirk’s work in Canada, which extended beyond Belfast to Baldoon (later Wallaceburg) in Ontario, as well as to Red River, the precursor to Winnipeg. Aptly named "The Silver Chief" by the five Indian chiefs with whom he negotiated a land treaty at Red River, the fifth Earl of Selkirk spent an immense fortune in helping Scottish Highlanders relocate themselves in Canada.

Selkirk has been well observed through the eyes of the rich and powerful, but his settlers have been neglected. Why did they leave Scotland? Which districts did they come from? Why did they settle in Canada? Why did Selkirk help them? How successful were their settlements? What impact did they have on Canada’s early development? Did Selkirk realize his ambitions for Canada?

In answering these questions, Lucille H. Campey presents a new and powerful case for re-assessing the achievements of Selkirk and his settlers. Using a wealth of documentary sources, she reconstructs the sequence of emigration from Scotland to the three areas of Canada where settlements were founded. She shows that emigration took place in a carefully planned and controlled way. She reveals the self-reliance, adaptability and steely determination of the Selkirk settlers in overcoming their many problems and obstacles. They brought their rich traditions of Scottish culture to Canada and, in doing so, helped to secure its distinctively Canadian future. Together, Selkirk and his settlers succeeded against overwhelming odds and altered the course of history.


About Lucille H. Campey

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Dr. Lucille Campey is a Canadian, living in Britain, with over thirty years of experience as a researcher and author. It was her father's Scottish roots and love of history that first stimulated her interest in the early exodus of people from Scotland to Canada. She is the great-great-granddaughter of William Thomson, who left Morayshire, on the northeast coast of Scotland, in the early 1800s to begin a new life with his family, first near Digby, then in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He is described in D. Whidden’s History of the Town of Antigonish simply as "William, Pioneer" and is commemorated in the St. James Church and Cemetery at Antigonish. Lucille's mother, Cecile Morency, who was born in Ste-Marie-de-Beauce, is a descendant of Guillaume Baucher dit Morency, who settled in Île d'Orléans in 1659. Lucille was awarded a Ph.D. by Aberdeen University in 1998 for her research into Scottish emigration to Canada in the period 1770-1850. Lucille has published six books on the subject of emigrant Scots to Canada. Described by the P.E.I. Guardian as "indispensable to Islanders of Scottish ancestry," her first book, "A Very Fine Class of Immigrants": Prince Edward Island's Scottish Pioneers 1770-1850 (Natural Heritage, 2001), gives the most comprehensive account to date of the Scottish influx to the Island. Her second book, "Fast Sailing and Copper-Bottomed": Aberdeen Sailing Ships and the Emigrant Scots They Carried to Canada 1774-1855 (Natural Heritage, 2002), gives a gripping account of emigrant shipping from the north of Scotland to Canada in the sailing ship era. Her third book, The Silver Chief: Lord Selkirk and the Scottish Pioneers of Belfast, Baldoon and Red River (Natural Heritage, 2003), examines the three Selkirk settlements in Canada. According to the distinguished genealogist and author Ryan Taylor “the three titles now stand as a significant contribution to Canadian immigrant literature.” Her fourth book is After the Hector: The Scottish Pioneers of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, 1773-1852 (Natural Heritage, 2004), her fifth is The Scottish Pioneers of Upper Canada, 1784-1855: Glengarry and Beyond (Natural Heritage, 2005), and her sixth book is Les Écossais: The Pioneer Scots of Lower Canada, 1763-1855 (Natural Heritage, 2006). A seventh book, which will deal with emigration from Scotland to New Brunswick, will be published by Natural Heritage in Spring 2007. A chemistry graduate of Ottawa University, Lucille worked initially in the fields of science and computing. After marrying her English husband, she moved to the north of England, where she became interested in medieval monasteries and acquired a Master of Philosophy Degree (on the subject of medieval settlement patterns) from Leeds University. Having lived for five years in Easter Ross, in the north of Scotland, while she completed her doctoral thesis, she and Geoff returned to England, and now live near Salisbury in Wiltshire.
Published May 20, 2003 by Natural Heritage. 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Travel. Non-fiction

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