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The Last Laird of MacNab An Episode in the Settlement of MacNab Township, Upper Canada


been duly published. The mode

of publishing banns was by fixing written notices upon three of the most conspicuous pine trees in three public places in the township. The first marriage after this primitive fashion among the settlers was celebrated by the Chief at his residence, between Mr. Matthew Barr, a lumberer, and Miss Elizabeth McIntyre, daughter of John McIntyre, the oldest settler, who came out in 1825. After Mr. Barr's marriage, frequent inter-marriages occurred among the settlers, and since the trial of Alex. McNab, matters had subsided into a state of tranquility. Alex. McNab left the township, but his family still remained, cultivating and improving the farm. He, himself, travelled westward, and obtained a school which he taught for some years. About this time (1830), a fresh accession of settlers increased the numerical strength of the inhabitants. They consisted of the McNabs, the Camerons, the Campbells, the McKays and the McNevins from Isla, and they took up land in the rear of the township, where there was a good hardwood country, viz., on the first, second, third and fourth concession, embracing the part of the country lying around White Lake, and what is called Canaan. The arrangements entered into with these settlers, whom McNab met in Montreal and induced to settle in what he called "his township," differed from all the rest. It will be borne in mind that they paid their own passage money and expenses to McNab Township. It did not cost McNab or his friends in Scotland one single penny--yet,
in direct violation of the Order-in-Council, quoted in the second chapter of this narrative he located them as follows:--


I, Archibald McNab, of McNab, do hereby locate you, James McKay, upon Lot No. 18, in the Second concession of McNab, upon the following terms and conditions, that is to say:--I hereby bind myself, my heirs or successors, to give you the said land free of any _quit rent_ or free rate, for three years from this date, and also procure you a patent for the same at your own expense, upon you having done the settlement duties, and your granting me a mortgage on the said lands, that you will yearly thereafter pay to me, my heirs or successors in the Chieftainship of the Clan McNab forever, three barrels of flour, or Indian corn, or oats of like value, in name of Quit Rent, and fee duty for the same in the month of January.

Your subscribing to these conditions being binding upon you to fulfil the terms thereof.

Signed and sealed by us at Kennell Lodge, this Twelfth day of August, 1830.

(Signed) ARCHIBALD McNAB, [L. S.] (Signed) JAMES McKAY, [L. S.]

In Montreal he met these people, told them he had a township of his own on which he would place them at a merely nominal rent--a trifle--that the land was fertile. It was a Highland settlement, etc. His affable manners, imposing appearance, kindness and condescension had its desired end. The poor settlers in their inexperience and simplicity, thought that three barrels of flour for 200 acres of land was a mere song. These people had been accustomed in the old country to see two or three hundred pounds annually paid as rent for similar quantity of land, and they eagerly embraced his offer and settled in McNab. It was there they found out by experience the difficulties and hardships and labor they had to surmount in the arduous task of clearing the land for agricultural purposes. They then discovered that a lien upon their lands of three barrels of flour a year in perpetuity, was a heavy tax upon their industry and the proceeds of their labor, crippling their resources and cramping their energies, when they considered that it was imposed on themselves and descendants for ever. Both the settlers and the government were imposed upon, the settlers in being led to believe the township was _bona fide_ the Chief's, the government that there were new settlers brought out at McNab's expense. The first settlers had now began to pay their rents. They found that the bushel per cleared acre was a heavy burden, and they had to subsidize the amount by working on the Chief's farm at Kennell. From some (the Flat Rapid settlers), he had as yet received nothing. They had become involved in the Miller suit and fell into arrears.

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