Re: John Murdoch + Islay emigrants


John Kemplen
 

Hi Toni

Would it be possible for you to share with us images of the handwritten place and person names, which would allow us to make our own guesses about the letters making up the words?  Some of us are quite used to the letter combinations that you tend to get in Gaelic.  My initial guess about the lady's name would be Ceit Ruadh (Red-headed Kate).

Regards

John


On 14/02/2021 18:39, tsinclair@... wrote:
Hello everyone, and Happy (?) Valentine's Day

I've been reading "For the People's Cause" by James Hunter, based the writings of John Murdoch, Highland and Irish Land Reformer.  Much of his boyhood was spent on Islay, and eventually returned there as an Excise man.  Murdoch wrote about Islay frequently, and Chapter 5, "An Islay Clearance 1859" seems to be completely Murdoch's own perspective.  The book also covers his passion for desperate living conditions throughout the highlands, the unfair treatment of the crofters, and his involvement with "The Highlander" a newspaper echoing his beliefs.  In1879/80 he came to North America where he met up with several Islay emigrants to see for himself how they were faring and to get their impressions of their homeland from their new perspective, which he later wrote about in his editorials.

However, the book seems to cover only excerpts of this travel journal. In Glasgow (probably Mitchell Library) a few years ago, I got my hands on a handwritten copy of the journal of this trip, and was allowed to photocopy a few pages, and I photographed some more pages which were relevant to my own research. In it he refers on two occasions to a place on Islay - once to John Sinclair, son of Neil Sinclair of Torranhungari (sp?), and also "Here we had several of the Torrantungary (sp?) Sinclairs and the sons of Cest Ruadh (sp?) and her husband Donald Brown, originally from Teana shefoi_g (spelling actually could be anything).  Does anyone in this group know about this Brown family?   I know that the above Neil and family lived at Neriby farm before emigrating to Ontario in 1842/43.  Their oldest daughter, Catherine married Donald Brown in May of 1829, and their oldest son, Dugald was born there in 1832.  The Browns emigrated first to Cape Breton in 1833 and the rest of their children were born there. Later (1850s) they migrated to Fenelon township, Ontario to join the Sinclair family when old Neil died.


I've looked everywhere for "Torranhungary" on old Islay maps and tenant lists, but can't find it anywhere.  Could this be a Gaelic version of Neriby or another township in that vicinity?   He was certainly an advocate for saving the Gaelic language!


Finally, I'll try to read any other name I can find on these pages, and type up a list of them.  If any of you recognise them, I'll be happy to give you any further details which Murdoch mentioned.
Toni



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