Rev. William Drummond's Journal April 5, 1770 to May 12, 1771


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Rev. William Drummond's Journal April 5, 1770 to May 12, 1771

Rev. William Drummond journeyed from Cowden, Scotland to St. John's Island (now Prince Edward Island) in 1770 aboard the Falmouth. He kept a journal of his experiences of both the voyage and his first eleven months on PEI.

The whereabouts of his original journal are unknown.

On November 12, 1946 an eleven page typewritten copy of his journal was given to the National Archives of Canada. Its reference number is MG 23J1 Volume 1. The following is a transcription on that document, preserving the exact spelling, punctuation and grammar. The document contains some hand-written annotations which have been included as {italicised within brackets}.


The attached typewritten copy of a Journal kept by the Rev. William Drummond, who proceeded from Greenock to St. John's Island in April, 1770, is a gift of group Captain H. R. Stewart, 165 Carling Ave, Ottawa.


Remarks and observations by Mr. William Drummond in his voyage from Cowden to St. John's Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in North America.

April 5th, 1770. Set out from Cowden about five o'clock Morning, came to Glasgow at 9 evening having got a chaise of Mr. Grahams in Sterling.

April 6th. At one morning set out for Greenock where I arrived about 6 forenoon where I stayed all day being Sunday. Preached in the old Kirk of Greenock and baptized 9 children, same evening baptized 2 more.

April 8th. Spent the forenoon in Greenock buying several necessaries, at Midday went on board the Ship Falmouth, John MacWhae master, Messrs. Buchannan, Morrison, and Company merchants in Greenock, owners. At 5 afternoon the Capt. came on board, anchor weighed and set sail.

April 9th. Blew a northeast wind till 4 P.M. then north and 8 west which caused us to take the South Channel from the Point Kintyre although it was not intended.

April 10th. Same wind continued, at 4 A.M. passed the Isle of Man, at noon passed Holyhead, at 6 P.M. passed Baxis Isle.

April 11th. At noon passed Waterford Ireland when we were in Lat. 51:57. At 8 P.M. passed the Cotton Island, and at 12 the old Read of Kingsdale Ireland.

April 12th. At 8 P.M. passed Cape Clear, at noon the wind south in Lat. 51:57.

April 14th. We made little way, at noon found ourselves in Lat. 50:57 At saw a ship steering to the eastward.

April 15th. Sunday. Preached the afternoon on ship board. Eph.2:3rd.

April 16th. The wind still west and southwest we were obliged to tack back and forward whereby we made little way. At noon Lat. 47:52

April 17th. Wind still west and northwest prevented our course, some showers of rain. Lat. 47:34.

April 18th. Some winds and rain. 19th. The same contrary winds and thick rain. The sickness which seized most of our company three days before was this day very severe.

April 20th. Saw at five this afternoon a ship steering eastward. Sickness still severe. At noon Lat. 46:52.

April 21st. The wind still west and some rain. Our company still bad of the sea sickness.

April 22nd. Sunday. The ship still sailing to south and southwest. This afternoon preached on shipboard.

April 24th. The ship tacked three times north and south. The people now almost free of sickness except David Lawson. At noon Lat. 42:34. This afternoon the winds high and squally with rain which made the ship roll exceedingly.

April 25th. The wind still high and the vessel tossing our company began to complain. Steering still to the north found ourselves at noon in Lat. 43:47. April 26th. About the same as yesterday.

April 27th. This forenoon the winds very low, being sultry, warm. and foggy. Lat. 45:50 afternoon almost quite calm. All our company except D. Lawson are quite recovered.

April 28th. This whole afternoon a pleasant gale from the southeast.

April 29th. Sunday. The same wind continued, only brisker. The vessel ran at the rate of 6 and 7 miles an hour. Preached forenoon and afternoon.

April 30th. Winds still easterly though not quite so brisk. Ran 4 and 5 miles an hour. Lat. 45:06.

May 1st, 1770. Winds still easterly and favorable. Ship running at the rate of 5 miles an hour.

May 2nd. Very moderate winds, the ship running at the rate of 4 miles an hour.

May 3rd, 4th, and 5th. Winds about the same. Saw a whale to the south east of the ship at six P.M.

May 6th. Sunday. Fresh westerly breezes, at 4 this A.M. spoke a French brig from Martinique bound to Rachelle {Rochelle}. At 2 P.M. saw a ship to southward. At seven had a severe squall and the remainder of the night it blew very hard with heavy showers.

May 7th. Severe squalls and showers. At 10 P.M. spoke and English ship Bristol from Carolina to Lisbon.

May 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th. Winds and weather about the same and nothing of interest occurred.

May 12th. The same winds continue, at 4 P.M. spoke with a French schooner in company with another ship from Gn{u}adalupe bound for Havre de Grace.

From May 13th to 19th. Nothing worth noting occured wind and weather about the game.

May 19th. Wind southerly and moderate. We made good way steering to the northwest as is out point thick and foggy. At 6 P.M. sounded and found ground in 60 fathoms of water. Saw a whale and a great number of little fish.

May 20th. Same wind and weather.

May 21st. Saw a schooner from Grand Bank to Marblehead in New England with 13,000 fish. At five saw another schooner from the Bank to the same port with 12,000 fish.

May 22nd. This and the five preceeding days saw vast numbers of fowls and some whales.

May 23rd. Fresh gales with fog. At 8 saw a sail to the north steering the same way. At 10 Saw the Island of St. Peters about 4 leagues northward with snow on the hills. It lies on the southwest point of Newfoundland. At 6 P.M. spoke an English brig from London to Quebec, out six weeks and one day.

May 24th. Very moderate winds with heavy rain. This forenoon saw the coast of Newfoundland above 200 miles, being about 150 miles from it in the nearest place. Almost calm till toward 7 o'clock when a brisk breeze blew from the Northwest running sometimes at the rate of 8 miles an hour.

May 25th. Wind North, we sailed towards southwest, about 11 o'clock saw the land of Cape Breton from the Mast head lying to the Westward about 18 or 20 miles distant. At noon Lat. 46:15.

May 26th. This whole day the fog very close and thick that we could not see a hundred yards round. At 10 A.M. came to a great field of Ice which made us to return eastward. Sounded and found 40 fathoms of water. At 12 turned the ship westward. Came again to Ice at 2 P.M. and turned again eastward. Either end or other side of Ice could not be seen.

May 27th. This day saw Cape Breton to the Westward about 7 or 8 miles. The wind still northerly prevented our fetching the North Cape. It made us turn to the Eastward. At 12 Lat. 46:21 afternoon wind fresh and northerly confined us the rest of the day in this Bay.

May 28th. Wind still northerly, we tacked back and forward several times but could not fetch the north Cape of Breton, which we saw about 20 miles North in Lat. 46:34.

May 29th. At 4 A.M.. saw Cape Ray in Newfoundland. Northeast about 16 miles distant, at 10 saw St. Paul's Isle. To Northwest about 20 miles distant Lat. 46:55. At noon almost calm when we saw vast numbers of Porpoises playing around the ship. The wind shifting to the eastward, we bore to the Northwest and came between St. Paul's Isle, the places are about 14 miles distant and the North Cape of Cape Breton when we entered into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. About 10 this night fog came and about 12 came broken ice.

May 30th. Wind easterly we bore on through broken Ice. About 7 the ice was very close and heavy continuing so till 12. It rained heavy thick fog all the time. At 3 saw a great field of Cose ice which made us steer Northward to be cleared of it. About 4 the fog somewhat removed, we saw the Island of St. John southeast about 15 or 16 miles from us. At 6 came near the coast point of the island, but the wind hindering us from going to the north side of it. During the whole day we saw great numbers of sea fowls, Cows, Bulls, horses among the ice.

May 31st. Wind northwest steered to the east point of the island again. We intended to pass said point, but wind still contrary made us return when a severe gale came in and carried us out toward Cape Breton, about 10 miles. About 10 calmed continuing so till 6 P.M. In this time saw several ships steering different ways. At 2 launched the yawl when five hands and three of our company went in her after Sea Bulls, But not being well provided with ammunition returned without doing any execution. At 6 a fine breeze arose which gradually carried us to the north side of our Island.

June 1st. Proceeded at 9 to launch the yawl. Capt. David, Will and Bell Lawson went on shore at St. Peters Bay which is with 10 miles of Stanhope Cove. At 4 P.M. came of board and wind fair set off towards the Cove. Night coning on and a strong current, not knowing the particular place of landing passed it and next day arrived at Richmond Bay.

June 2nd. At 1 o'clock a Pilot came on board who took us into the harbor. About 2 P.M. we came to anchor. Most of our company were sent ashore, about 11 the ship ran aground. We went out to see them where they were accommodated in Princetown where are a great many Scotch, Irish and French families.

June 3rd. Sunday. Being still at anchor at 1 P.M. the Capt. and the rest of us went ashore, and being convened in a house we performed divine service in Princetown.

June 4th. Stayed on board until after dinner then went ashore where we saw a great number of French people who were very kind. Spent this afternoon sauntering about till about 7 when I baptized a child of 2 years old. At 9 went to another house where the French were convened, had a dance and spent the evening in jollity.

June 5th and 6th. These two days spent doing nothing. Sometimes on board, sometimes on shore. No wind.

June 7th. At 5 A.M. set off for Stanhope with a fair wind and anchored off it at 7 P.M. Mr. Higgins having come on board on the way.

June 8th. Wind inshore. Spent the whole day employed in landing the people and provisions, I stayed on board.

June 9th and 10th. Wind still hard inshore. We weighed anchor and set off for three Rivers. Our Cable was ruined here by rubbing on the rough bottom and we lost our buoy and rope.

June 11th. Arrived at Three Rivers about 2 P.M. went ashore to Mr. Higgins house where I stayed until Friday in which time nothing remarkable happened only I visited the Indians in their Wigwams, who came to Mr. Higgins house and showed their manner of dancing and scalping.

June 15th. At 6 evening set off in Capt. Hadleys Schooner with provisions for the people at Stanhope, on board which I was till Monday 10 A.M. when we came to anchor in Arcadie {Tracadie} Harbor within two miles of Stanhope.

June 18th. Passed this and the following week without anything worth remarking.

June 29th. Came Capts. Air and Hamilton in a boat from St. Peters to carry me down there to preach and baptize children. The wind proving contrary we were stopped till Monday.

July 2nd Early this morning set off to St. Peters where we arrived about 2 P.M. having stopped on our way to kill fish. In this place stayed till Thursday 12th, when I set off with Mr. Watts and Mr. Wrynhart for Fort Amherst.

July 12th. Arrived at Fort Amherst about midnight. Stayed there till Monday morning eating and sleeping on board the Cancean {Canceau?} Man of War. Capt. Samuel Holland and {Henry Mowat} John Mowet Lieut. Nothing remarkable here only Sunday badly kept.

July 16th. Set off very early with the tide, rowed hard and arrived at St. Peters about 10 A.M. after a jaunt of 30 miles, here I stayed till Wednesday when I set off for Stanhope on horseback under the direction of a guide who mistaking the way caused us to swim Savages Harbour. Proceeding on our way we attempted to swim Iracadie {Tracadie}, but my beast being young, failed under me in the br{m}iddle of the harbor when I threw myself out of the saddle and swam back and so returned next day to St. Peters after spending all that day and night in my wet clothes on the beach and stayed there till Friday morning.

July 20th. Returned this forenoon to Stanhope in company with Capt. Air in his own boat. Found the people all in health but some of them mutinous so that David Lawson on Sunday carried six of them to Three Rivers.

Aug. 2nd. This day at Three Rivers a log of wood rolling down a steep place struck William M Swam in the back of which he died in five hours, after and the day following was buried with decency there. Nothing remarkable for 10 days, only several storms of thunder and rain.

Aug. 6th. Set off this morning in an Indian Canoe to St. Peters and stayed till Wednesday the 8th and returned Aug. the 12th at 3 P.M. set out for St. Peters and stayed Monday. Tuesday morning set out for Three Rivers in Company with Dr. Fergns where we arrived about midnight. Next day returned alone and arrived at St. Peters at 10 evening and stayed there till Monday 20th. Returned that day to Stanhope on board Mr. Monroes schooner.

Aug 22nd. Went to St. Peters and delivered the papers concerning the debt against James Grant to Capt. Aire who that evening set out for Quebec. On the way met our people on their return from Three Rivers on Friday 24th returned to Stanhope in company with our people who were making hay at St. Peters.

Aug. 25th. The Schooner Rawley Thos. Full master ran aground off Stanhope which was got off that night. Nothing remarkable. Today David Lawson with the rest of the people arrived from Three Rivers. The people still discontented and mutinous.

Sept. 3rd. Wi11 Dewar with his family set off for Three Rivers having parted with David Lawson.

Sept. 4th. This and three following days a severe wind from the Northwest blew excessively, cold afterwards and frost every morning but temperature through the day.

Sept. 22nd. This day the two Taylors having differed with David Lawson set out for Three Rivers but by advise returned. Same evening Mr. Higgins and Mr. Creed arrived from waiting on the Governor and stayed till Wednesday 26th when they and I set out for St. Peters where we stayed doing business till the 29th.

Sept. 29th. Set out from St. Peters with Mr. Higgins and Mr. Creed and arrived at Fortune toward evening. Next day went to Three Rivers where I staid till Oct. 15th.

Oct. 15th. This evening went aboard Mr. Higgins sloop with himself. Sailed immediately with a south west wind. Came to anchor about midnight, a smart gale next morning from N.E. carried us to Thousand Islands where we spoke the Glasgow man of war. The wind contrary we anchored that night.

Oct. 17th. Winds still contrary tacked this whole day and by a favorable change of wind arrived in Port in the evening and came to anchor where I stayed that night.

Oct.18th. This and the following day with the Governor.

Oct. 20th and 21st. Spent those two days at Fort Amherst and on board the Mermaid man of war. James Smith, Capt.

Oct. 22nd. This day set off from Port Lasay {LaJoy Lajoie}in the Mermaid Pinnace with ten hands and arrived said evening at St. Peters where I stayed till the 31st. and came same day to Stanhope.

Nov. 1st. At Stanhope this and the 4 following days nothing remarkable. On the 2nd. Mr. Will and Mr. Eben Taylors were married.

Nov. 6 In company with Capt Stewart from Campbellton two servants and two Frenchmen set off in Lawsons boat for Maljue {Malpeque}. Stayed same night at Grand Hostice {Rustico}. Next night arrived at Little Harbor {now Grenville Bay}. There lodged in a wigwam as the night before and the next day went to Maljue {Malpeque} this being the 8th. It snowed very thick and blew hard from N.W.

Nov. 9th. Spent this and the nine following days in Mr. Davidsons house. Baptized several children some of considerable age. Nov. 19th in Mr. Wrynharts (Urquhart) shallop with himself came to Stanhope.

Nov. 26-27-28. These three days a very intense frost which affected every liquid in the house and froze the tanks in one night.

Nov. 28th About 6 this evening it began to snow from the east and continued very thick with a strong wind till ten the next day. The sea swelled high on the beach.

Dec. 1st. This day a south wind melted some of the snow; same evening frost returned and continued very intense till the 5th when it was foggy and temperate, little thaw, the weather variable but always clear till the 21st.

Dec. 21st. This evening Lawrence Brown and Jean Jamison were married and bedded in the new house.

Dec. 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, to the 28th. Hard frost with snow and extremely cold. Sea much frozen.

Dec. 29th and 30th. A very moderate thaw. These last two days I was confined to bed by a slow fever.

Dec. 31st. This evening attended a French Wedding with the two Mrs. and the two Misses Lawsons. Was still ailing.

Jan. 1st. 1771. Hard frost and extreme, cold, wind from the, north. Alex McNale his wife and four others of our company set off for Three Rivers. At evening the French came to us and made a frolic.

Jan. 2nd. This day the preceeding and following nights intense frost which congealed the sea as far as we could see it. From the 3rd. to the 9th continued very cold.

Jan. 9th. This whole day a very intense frost such as we have not had this season, slept this night in a new house for the first time.

Jan. 10th. Set off this for Grand Hastice {Rustico} stayed there this night.

Jan. 11th. Hard frost, this day returned to Stanhope. The next two days the same weather.

Jan. 14th. This afternoon solemnized old Handel with feasting and dancing. The next 7 days the same cold weather nothing of interest to relate.

Jan. 22nd. Set off this day for St. Peters with the Smith and Shoemaker, where I stayed till the 6th and then returned all these days extremely cold with keen frost. From Jan. 26th to Feb. 11 the same intense cold.

Feb. 11th. Cold N.W. Wind with severe frost through the day. Urquhart set off St. Peters and Hart for Charlotte Town where we arrived about 3 P.M. and slept that night. Feb. 15th. A moderate breeze with frost through this day, towards noon it rained alittle. Staid this day with the Governor.

Feb. 16th. A fine warm day. Went to Capt. Manlys and stayed over night. From the 16th to the 20th Feb. the same cold weather.

Feb. 20th. West wind dark and frosty in the vening returned to Charlottetown. Next two days much the same.

Feb. 23rd. Dark and cold till noon, afterwards clear and temperate. Left Charlottetown at 11, parted with Mr. Spencer about 4 P.M. arrived at home about 8 P.M. From Feb. 23rd. to March 3rd. Nothing of interest occured. This day baptized John Lawsons son John.

April 11th. John MacLaughlin and Alex Jamison were drowned in Francadie {Tracadie}harbor. Janison between 4 and 5 P.M. McLaughlin about 6. Lads killed a goose.

April 15th. Southwest wind till midnight. Ice left the shore sea open for the first time.

April 22nd. North west wind and clear. Set off in a boat for St. Peters being stopped by ice the boat returned, but I preceeded with a Frenchman on foot, passed Sarage {Savage}bay on a cake of ice, arrived at 5 P.M. and remained there till May 1st. April 25th mist and rain till night then heavy rain which in the night changed to snow and frost. Went to Marrells to dinner to-day.

April 26th, 1771, Cold north wind hard frost and thick almost till mid-day such as I seldom saw in Scotland. Snow ceased but frost and cold continued thro the day and night.

April 27th. Thaw all day. Frogs silent for two nights, began their music April 26th South W.W. and thaw carried most of the snow and frost, sun pretty warm.

April 30th. Calm foggy and dark, Lawsons boat came to St. Peters. Dined at Morrells.

May 1st. North wind thick fog till ten, clear and sultry, little wind the rest of the day. Set off in the boat from St. Peters at 8 arrived at Stanhope at 6.

May 2nd. East wind and fog till noon. This day packed my things in Bell Lawsons and Sam Browns chests, I exchanged with Bell Lawson for my trunk.

May 4th. This whole day south wind and heavy rain, about 11 a whaling sloop from Nantucket ran aground off Little Hastings {Rustico?} harbor.

May 6th. Excessively cold this day and night such as I never saw in May.

May 7th. Went in the boat to St. Peters with Mr. Lawson and slept that night in Mr. Urquharts house.

May 8th. Returned this day to Stanhope.

May 10th. Left Stanhope in Lawsons boat, stopped at Hastice {Rastico}, went on to G. Rastice {G[rand] Rostico}. Left there at 5 P.M. came five miles above little Harbor and slept that night in the woods.

May 12th. Quartered with Mr. Davidson. Preached this day in Mr. Kerms house. This whole day clear and fine weather.

End of Journal


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