Emigration from all parts of the Hebrides, including all four parishes of Lewis, has been constant since at least 1750, but there are particular periods of concentrated activity, described briefly below. Our emigration stories are here and the following links may be useful.
Early emigration (1770s)
To follow. The Hudson’s Bay Company was for many boys a path away from the island; some returned, and some settled in Canada after their tour of duty with HBC was complete. We have a page on the subject.
Clearance and Canada (1838)
At the Seaforth ownership of Lewis was winding down amid deaths and debts, attempts were made to rationalise the tacks in Lewis that were not yielding any income, principally by means of evicting the small tenants and letting the land as larger sheep farms to new tenants – mostly incomers. The displaced families were in some cases moved to new ground in other parts of the island, and in some cases offered the chance to emigrate to Canada. In Uig, Mealista was cleared in 1838 (see letter) and some 24 families acquired plots in the Eastern Townships of Quebec from the British Land Company.
At Sir James Matheson’s Suggestion (1851)
To follow. Chamberlain John Munro Mackenzie’s accounts of the final preparations of the Marquis of Stafford and her departure in May of 1851, and that of the much-delayed Barlow a month later are detailed and illuminating. Most of the 1851 emigrants settled in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, but some went to what became known as the Lewis Settlement in Bruce County on Lake Huron.
The Metagama (1923)