Chisholms in Canada
Most of the Chisholm and other clan members evicted from their Highland tenancies ended up in Antigonish county in Nova Scotia. The first vessel with emigrants was the Nova which arrived at Pictou in 1801. One of the 500 passengers on board that vessel, Margaret Chisholm, lived for another seventy years. She recalled in later life the horrors of the voyage
Smallpox had broken out on the ship and sixty five children died during the crossing.
The following is a list of some of the early Chisholm migrants to Nova Scotia and where they settled.
Chisholm Settlers in Nova Scotia
Family Head Settlement
Roderick (and Margaret) Marydale
Chisholm family on the Sarah North River
John and Donald Malignant Cove
Duncan Little Harbour (Pictou)
Colin, Alexander, and Archibald Long Point/Lismore
Donald, Finlay, and Alexander Gow
Donald (Og) Tracadie (Prince Edward Is)
Archie and Donald (Mor) South Side Harbour
Alexander (and Mary) Salt Springs
John (and Margaret) Brierly Brook
Donald and Dan South River
John (married to a Miss McPherson) Gaspereaux Lake
Some Chisholms also headed for Prince Edward Island. This was the destination for the Skye islanders, commencing in 1803. William Chisholm and his family were onboard that first ship. They didn’t stay. But Michael Chisholm, who arrived later in 1829, settled in Uigg, Queen’s county.
There were hardships in the early years; as log cabins were built, land cleared, and the cattle and sheep raised were prey to attacks from wild animals. What goods they required in Antigonish had to be laboriously brought from Pictou as there was no road but a track on the route and no bridges across the rivers.
However, these hardships were endured because the new settlers could re-create their own Highland community without too much interference. They could remain clansmen in their new land. It was a strange but true fact that, some thirty years later, many of the evicted Chisholms still swore allegiance to the “Chisholm” back in Scotland. These Highlanders held onto their customs and their music. They stayed Catholics; and the Catholic priesthood flourished. They started the Antigonish Highland Games to fund the construction of St. Ninian’s Cathedral. And this tradition has been handed down through the generations.
Descendants. Father Daniel Chisholm played a key role in the formation of St. Francis Xavier University in the 1890's. But perhaps the most prominent Chisholm from this community was Joseph Andrew Chisholm, born in Marydale, who became the Chief Justice of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in 1931. Today, John Chisholm from Antigonish owns Nova Construction, a company which plans a controversial strip-mining operation on Cape Breton Island.
migration to Canada in fact predated the clearances. George
Chisholm had left Croy (near Culloden) for America in 1773. After the Revolutionary War, he ended up in
Canada. He settled in Burlington Bay on the
SW corner of Lake Ontario and died there in 1840, a Chisholm loyalist
to the last, at the ripe old age of ninety. His son
Chisholm, the founder of Oakville township nearby (where the family
later created their own
estate), and his great great grandson, Brock
Chisholm, the first
of the World Health Organization.
In 1784, Glengarry was formed on the banks of the St. Lawrence as the first-ever Highland community in Canada. John Chisholm from Strassglass was an early arrival, settling on Indian land along the Black river. Alexander Chisholm, who came in 1817, later represented the district in Parliament. The Highland tradition here still flourishes.
Later Immigration. Later
arrivals came more from the sense of economic opportunity than from the
need to preserve old traditions. In
the 1850’s, William Chisholm arrived in western Ontario from Caithness
and set up a lumber
Roslin on the banks of the Moira river.
The company that he founded is today the Chisholm Group.
sons of these immigrants became prominent industrialists across the
border. Hugh Chisholm, born in Chippewa
(where he was a childhood friend of Thomas Edison), helped
found the paper giant now known as International Paper.
It started in the 1890’s with his company,
Oxford Paper, and a mill town in Rumford, Maine. Archibald
Mark Chisholm, the
son of recent immigrants into Alexandria Ontario, later became known as
“iron man” after he had helped found the iron ore mining
Chisholm in Minnesota.