Hector had found out that Pictou had a replica of the ship that brought the first Scottish immigrants to this area, the Ship Hector. They also had a Hector Heritage Quay and a Hector Festival. This was too much to pass up.
So we headed to Pictou, a fairly short trip, about 2 ½ hours, and spent the afternoon visiting the ship and the Quay. And it turned out to be another very interesting history lesson about the Scots and their journey to New Scotland or Nova Scotia.
As I’d mentioned in my earlier post on Baddeck, Scots emigrated for a number of reasons. And it turned out to be a very familiar story of immigration: the heart wrenching decision to leave the place and the people you know and love for a place that offers better opportunities; the challenges of the journey to your new home; the obstacles and challenges when you arrive there; and, hopefully, finding a better life despite of or perhaps because of all of those hardships.
There are still people in this world living this story every day.
This first group of Scots who came here were lured by some slightly misleading advertisements promising land in Nova Scotia. The Ship Hector, not the most well built ship and also a ship with some miles on her was to bring them.
They were forced to spend all of that time in the hold of the ship. Looking at the size of the hold in the replica ship, this was unimaginable to us. Disease, particularly smallpox, spread and killed several of the children, who were most vulnerable. The children had to be buried at sea, to their mothers’ horror.
Unfortunately, their arrival resulted in further hardship, as it too late to plant crops and they had to build shelters before winter, which, since they’d been delayed due to the storm, was coming soon. Having come from the green highlands in Scotland, they weren’t familiar with building log buildings.