Letter from John Dobie of Hardbush, Scotland
to Walter Bell of Mirimachi, New Brunswick,
August 22nd, 1819

Many thanks to for this transcription and the photocopies of the original letter.

Derrick says in part: "I have been able to trace my Bell family as far as my gggg-Grandfather John Bell of Wyliehole, Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire, Scotland (b. ca. 1770-1775 d. ?) and his wife Janet Steel(e) (b. 12 Dec 1777, Lochmaben d. 24-Sep-1856, New Brunswick Canada).

They had one child Walter Bell (b. 25-Dec-1802, Lochmaben and d. 7-Nov-1854, New Brunswick Canada). Walter emigrated to Mirimichi Canada in 1818 and settled in the Burnt Church area Alnwick parish Northumberland County. Walter married Margery Loggie (1801-1884) and had seven children.

Walter's mother Janet Steel re-married to William Drummond (b. ca.1786 Londonderry, d. 18 Oct 1858, New Brunswick Canada) and emigrated to Canada in 1816 settling in Burnt Church area. They had five children:

  1. Janet Richardson Drummond (b. 6-Oct 1816 Hightown, Tinwald Parish, County of Dumfries Scotland),
  2. William Drummond
  3. Catherine Drummond (b. 26-Feb-1820, d. 22-Apr-1905),
  4. John Drummond
  5. Hugh Drummond
--end quote--

Outer Envelope :
See photocopy of the original.
Ship S
Walter Bell care of the
Rev. James Thompson
Mirmichi, North America

First Page :
See photocopy of the original.
Hardbush, August 22nd 1819

Dear Walter,

I received your kind letter dated Mirmichi
29th June 1819 and was happy to hear you are all
well as this leaves me and my family at present for
which we ought to be thankful and as I hope we in some
degree are to Him from whom all our mercies come.
You mention your liking the place this also gives
me a deal of pleasure being always much interested
in your welfare, but Walter, would you not love
much better to be traversing the pleasant fields
of your native home. I am sure you would, but your
answer I cannot get until you send me another
letter. With regard to last winter, we have not had
such a pleasant one for a long time past and the
fields are now clothed with crops of the most luxur-
-iant kind, partly cut and in general ready for the
sickle. You give me a very correct account of both
mens wages and prices of provisions, but I cannot
say that I am so well acquainted with what the
barrel holds as to form any just idea of the difference
betwixt your markets and ours, but every thing here
has been very moderate this last season. Meal is
selling here at present from 2s:5d to 2s:7d per stone
other things in proportion and on account of the
abundant crops they are expected to be lower
this is so much for the good of the labouring poor.

Second Page :
See photocopy of the original.
Dear Walter,

I am likewise very happy to hear that
your stepfather [William Drummond] has got a lot of land and that you
intend to become farmer. I ought to say laird in
a short time yourself, that you may both prosper
in every lawful undertaking is my most earnest
wish and shall always be. You speak also of your
seeing Tinwald again and I assure you nothing
would be more gratifying to me to have
a hold of your hand here should it be for your
good for I have still as great a regard for you
as ever yess, that regard which even the ocean cannot
efface to go on.

I have been from Amisfield
since Candlemass last; this perhaps will surprise
you but stop till I explain. Mr. Gavin has tak-
-en a farm about a mile out of Dumfries on the
Galloway Road. I have been there since, managing in
his absence. They call it Watterside of Carrucken.
It is not so large as Amisfield town but it requires
two plows to work it. Mr. Gavin has been very
poorly for sometime past and is getting better but
slowly. The rest are in their ordinary state of health.
Joseph Rae has got his Hightae lairdship and
nothing will serve him but a wife, it is valued
at 1800 pounds.

Third Page :
See photocopy of the original.
Walter, you will send me as particular an account
of America next time you write as possible whether you
think a man with a family has it in his power to be
better there than here. Keeping everything in view
both as to wages for labour and the expense attending
the necessities of life. Contrast the two countries
together and send me an accurate description of the
whole. You are now acquainted with both. I therefore
want from you an impartial account that I may
there by learn whether there be any encouragement
for people to emmigrate or not. This will be an obligation.
There is nothing particular here at present (have?) (that?)
(have?) stated. Mary Gilchrist sends you her [hole in the paper here]
along with her most hearty wishes for your welfare.
Friends here are happy to hear that you are well. My
family joins me in sentiments of love towards you.
I now conclude wishing you health and prosperity.
Remaining dear Walter,

P.S. You will be so kind as write the first
convenience and oblige.