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Puslinch Historical Society Receives A Letter From 1857

historical society letter from 1857

The Puslinch Historical Society received another valuable contribution in January
2018, when our e-mail correspondent, Chris Bowman was notified by Bruce Dawson, that he
was searching for a descendant of Alexander McLean of Badenoch, Ontario. We were excited
to learn that Bruce Dawson was in possession of two letters, written 1855 and 1857, by
George McMartin of Insh, Badenoch, Invernesshire, Scotland to his nephew, Alexander
McLean of Badenoch, Ontario, as well as a farm journal or drover’s account book from 1755,
which belonged to Donald McLean.

Bruce Dawson was put in touch with PHS member, Lois McLean, great-granddaughter
of Alexander McLean and it was determined that the letters were, indeed, to Alexander
McLean of Badenoch in Puslinch. He kindly scanned the letters and the journal and sent
those scans to us. As a result, we were able to research family members and friends, left
behind in Scotland by the emigrants and to add to our knowledge of many of the Badenoch

Transcriptions of both letters and of the journal are available for study in the PHS
Archive, as well as researched information on the family members remaining in Scotland. If
anyone at a distance wishes to see this information, please contact
[email protected].


George McMartin was a brother of John Martin and Donald Martin, Margaret Martin,
who married Peter McLean and Annie Martin, who married Peter “Linnhe” McPherson, all of
whom emigrated to Puslinch Township and settled in Badenoch.

George, a mason, retired by 1851, stayed in Scotland, living in Insh village in 1841-
1851. His wife and daughter lived in Insh village in 1861.

George born in Insh Parish in 1785, died on Oct. 28, 1857, five months after this letter
was written, and was buried in Insh Churchyard. His wife was Anna McDonald, born in Alvie
Parish c.1809.

They had one daughter, Penelope McMartin, b. Oct. 27, 1836 in Insh Parish. Penelope
married Angus McPherson on May 25, 1871. In 1901, she lived in Insh village. She died in
1916 and was buried in Kingussie Churchyard.


The introduction of Robert Moore’s book, “Puslinch At Work” on Saturday, June 23rd was a
decided success. Robert Moore, a former Puslinch resident, now retired to British Columbia,
had been researching and writing this book for about a year. Under the sponsorship of the
Puslinch Historical Society, he presented the book for sale at the Puslinch Library.

This book covers the history of work in the township from the earliest days on record,
beginning with the agriculture of the Neutral First Nation, to the mid-1960’s. In particular, it
emphasizes small business in Puslinch during the early to mid 20th century, a subject that had
not been well-covered previously, with much of the information not documented at all. This
makes the book a very valuable addition to the written history of our township. Robert has
done an excellent job with a difficult and wide-ranging topic, which led to contact with many,
who were children helping in their familiy business during that time.

The crowd, assembled in the Brad Whitcombe Room of the library, listened intently while
Robert explained his approach to the book and answered questions. All of the copies, which
he had brought with him were sold, with several more requests placed. Due to the demand,
Robert released a second printing. A limited number are available at the Puslinch Township
Office at a price of $22.


This article is from the August 2018 newsletter of the Puslinch Historical Society. The original PDF version can be downloaded HERE.

One Comment

  1. My twin brother, Peter, and I began life in Insh in 1951 and spent happy times playing in the woods, on the moor and on croft land, including Croft Martin, an area of land on the righthand side of the road as you approach Insh from Kingussie. As children we were told that the croft was named after the person who once lived there.
    Shirley Nield (nee Fullerton)

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