My three times great-grandfather Alexander William Reid was born on April 9, 1800 at Killmaveonaig, Blair Atholl Parish, Perthshire, Scotland. His father John was born at Blair Atholl Parish, Perthshire, Scotland on August 14, 1777. His mother Elizabeth Stewart had been born at Blair Atholl Parish on May 15, 1777.
John and Elizabeth married on April 2, 1799 at Blair Atholl Parish. Alexander was their first born. His sister Ann was born in 1802 on April 14. While John and Elizabeth, who was known as Betty, eventually had eleven child over a space of 24 years, when they left Scotland they only had Alexander and Ann.
The little family arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada, on August 10, 1803 on the Commerce. They arrived with a shipload of passengers from Perthshire. John was listed as a farmer who had immigrated to Canada because his farm had been taken from him.
The family settled in Murray Harbour North, Prince Edward Island. In August 1803, the only way for the family to travel to Prince Edward Island from Pictou would have been by boat. In the winter they might have been able to cross the ice but while details on when they arrived in Murray Harbour North are not yet known, it is a good assumption that they would not have tried to settle in the Prince Edward Island wilderness in the middle of the winter.
There were few roads on the Island in those days and in the Murray Harbour area, there was no road until 1806. Travel was by boat. Murray Harbour North was just around the corner from Murray Harbour and these two communities were more like one community in those early days of settlement. It was a fishing community for the most part.
This was barely a road as we know roads. It was very narrow and basically a walking path. There were no horses in the area until 1812.
By 1812, Alexander had more brothers and sisters. He was twelve, Ann was ten. His sister Charlotte was ten, brother James was six, Jane was five and Elizabeth was a year old. John, Katherine, Daniel and Janet came later.
On December 10, 1823, Alexander married Ann McLure. He was 23 and she was 18. She had been born in Mauchline, Ayrshire, Scotland in January 1805. She was baptized in Mauchline on February 3, 1805. She immigrated with her parents on the Margaret (Peggy) from of Plymouth, England, on May 10, 1821.
Alexander and Ann the following children. Elizabeth who was born in Murray Harbour North on November 1, 1824. Elizabeth died on May 20, 1849. She was never married. Their son Gavin was born in 1826 and lived until 1897. Their son John was born July 27, 1828 but died on June 20, 1834. Their son Alexander was born in 1830 and lived until 1894. It is interesting to note that their first son was named Gavin for Ann’s father Gavin McLure and their second son was name John for Alexander’s father, John.
The third son, David William was born in 1832 and he lived until 1911. Their daughter Anne was born on March 5, 1835 but she died on November 18, 1847. Her sister Jane was born on March 26, 1837 but she died less than a year later on January 10, 1838.
The next son was born in 1839 and named for the late John. In 1840, they had another daughter, Agnes Jane who was born on December 30. She died November 15, 1847, three days before her older sister Anne. Their daughter Charlotte was born on March 17, 1843 but died on November 23, 1847, just about the same time that her two older sisters died. Margaret Catherine was born in 1846 but survived the influenza that took her three sisters and survived until 1892.
In 1848, William McLure Reid was born and he lived until 1918. Around 1852, 47-year-old Ann gave birth to Joseph who was labeled as “retarded”. He showed up in the 1891 census living with his brother William and his widowered father Alexander, who was then 91. The census took note of people who were “deaf and dumb,” “blind” and of unsound mind. Joseph was noted as being of unsound mind.
Joseph was their last child. Before Joseph was 10, his mother died leaving Alexander a widower with seven children. That was on February 8, 1862. He had four grown sons, Gavin, Alexander, David and John. He also had a daughter, Margaret Catherine who was 16 and two sons, William who was 13 and Joseph.
Four years later, Alexander married Jane Farries on October 3, 1866. Jane had been born in Hoddam, Dumfries, Scotland in June 1801. Jane died on January 29, 1879. She had been married to George Graham in 1832 until his death in 1839. They had a son John George who was born March 12, 1837.
On April 15, 1867, less than a week after Alexander’s 67th birthday his father died. In the 1881 census of Canada, two years after Jane’s death, Alexander is shown as the head of the household. Joseph is still living with him and so is William and his wife and family. Margaret Catherine had married James Irving in 1866.
Alexander was 80 and William was 31. His wife, Priscilla, was 29. They had eight-year-old David, six-year-old Annie, five-year-old Lizzie, and three-year-old Margaret, known as Maggie.
Ten years later, William was the head of that household. His father Alexander and his brother Joseph were still living with him and Priscilla. David ten years older. So are Annie, Lizzie and Maggie. Daughter Lamira is new – she’s ten. Beatrice is a new addition too. She’s eight. Baby Arthur was a mere two months old when the census was taken on May 7, 1891.
On February 5, 1894, Alexander died. Thus ended a life that began in the peaceful hamlet of Blair Atholl, Scotland. All but one of his daughters died before they were fully grown. He ended his life having lost two wives to death, living with his son William and caring for his disabled son Joseph who followed him in death before another six years passed.
His son Alexander was estranged from the family. His son David, brokenhearted by the loss of his wife in an influenza epidemic in 1856 had gone to California to seek his fortune. His sons Gavin and John were still alive. John had taken on the care of Alexander’s aging sister Janet and her child.
The photo was taken during the 1880s.