SHDP Spring 2020 Newsletter
So much has changed already in the early part of 2020!
History is being made in so many ways this year, like the Spanish flu of 1918, but much worse.
Hope you are staying well and safe right now.

´Hector’ History at Alma Cemetery, contributed by Shirley MacLeod

Many family researchers expect to find their ancestors in Pictou County’s first cemetery at Durham, or at larger cemeteries, ie the Pioneer Cemetery in New Glasgow, for example. At the Alma Cemetery, we are proud to have nine of the ‘Hector’ passengers interred as well as many of their descendants, especially of the early generations.

They are: ​Alexander Fraser (1728-1803) and wife, Marion Campbell (1743-1798)

​Donald MacDonald (1739-1821) and wife, Mary MacLean (1742-1811)

​Colin Douglas (1731-1801) and wife, Catherine MacLean (1745-1818)

​Kenneth Fraser (1737-1792)

​Alexander Ross (1759-1791)

​Hugh Fraser, (1768-1861), son of Alexander & Marion

The first burial indicated by a marker is that of John Crockett who died in 1790. He was a passenger on the first voyage of the ‘Lovely Nelly’ to PEI in 1774.

The Trustees of the Alma Cemetery endeavour to maintain the property and keep it both attractive and safe for visitors. There is a large new section of lots available for purchase. While grants are available for capital projects such as stone repair and new construction, funding for ground maintenance is not. It is a constant challenge to budget for mowing of the property from early summer to October each year. Although the cemetery is not a registered charity, any donations in support of ground maintenance would be greatly appreciated and may be submitted to the
President, Valerie MacDonald at 3 Daisy Lane, RR3, Westville, NS, B0K 2A0.


Children of the Hector,
by Ann Stevens & Pamela Edwards

(Description of the book on the back cover)
The past.  In 1888, Annie Fraser reconnects with her older brother, Edward, after more than thirty years.  She is determined to learn about her family's past, yet is wary of the dramatic secret he promises to reveal.  She hopes it will explain her traumatic childhood loss.

The present.  One hundred and twenty-five years later, Ann Louise Stevens, Annie's descendant, has been investigating this family.  Her earliest known ancestors were Hugh and Sophia Fraser* who made the treacherous voyage to Nova Scotia in 1773, aboard the Hector.  Ann's research reveals the challenges they faced, and those of three subsequent generations of this immigrant family, including a grandson, Edward.  He left Nova Scotia to work on a Jamaican sugar plantation and fell in love.  His two children, Edward and Annie, eventually return to Nova Scotia and, in the end, come to a decision about the family secret.  Seeking to confirm her suspicions about this secret,  Ann has a DNA test in 2014 and discovers the truth.

Ann and co-author Pamela Edwards, have created Children of the Hector by weaving together fact and fiction, bringing to life a family's struggles, successes and a long lost secret. 

(The book features Hugh « Weaver » Fraser & Sophia McPherson, as well as other Hector passengers, the Murrays, MacLeods, John Patterson and a few more!)

This newsletter is dedicated to the 22 victims of a terrible tragedy that occurred in our province on April 18 & 19, may they Rest In Peace.  A beautiful song by Johnny Reid that is dedicated to them, can be heard here.

« MacKay Descendants Meet up in Pictou »

The Irish Rovers came to Pictou, March 1st, with their Promotions Manager Jennifer Fahrni. We met Jennifer and her partner Hamish Burgess to make arrangements to visit Brown's Point, the landing site of the Hector in 1773.  Jennifer's mother was Isabel Roberta "Jean" MacKay, a 5th generation descendant of Donald MacKay, a Ship Hector passenger. Jean lived to be 100 years old, and Jennifer and Hamish came to Pictou to honour Jean's wish to have some of her ashes sprinkled at the landing site of the Ship Hector.  We spent a lovely evening at a local restaurant where Jennifer met a distant cousin, Dan Panting, who is a 6th generation descendant of Roderick MacKay, Donald's older brother.

It was a great evening with lots of stories shared. The group arranged to meet and walk to Brown's Point on the following day. They met another cousin, Margie MacKay, also a descendant of Donald, who accompanied us. It was a very sunny and snow covered day. At the monument at Brown's Point, Hamish read the Gaelic on the memorial stone, and Jennifer read a poem that her mother had written. We talked for over an hour, not wanting to leave this beautiful spot. It was an honour to be a part of this touching day.

Contributed by

Donna Bullerwell, descendant of Hector passenger, Alexander Cameron & Janet Ross (and member of Pictou County Genealogy and Heritage Society)

Carol MacKay, descendant of Hector passengers, James Murray, his wife, Lily Sutherland, and their daughter, Abigail. (Carol is also a member of Pictou County Genealogy and Heritage Society)

You can listen to the A Celtic tribute to Jean MacKay Fahrni on Hamish Burgess’ radio show.

Pictured standing (l-r) Hamish Burgess, Dan Panting, Donna Bullerwell, Peter MacKay, Carol MacKay
Seated: (l-r) Jennifer Fahrni, Joan Panting
Absent: Margie MacKay
September 20th has been chosen as the date for the Celtic celebration church service at Pictou United Church and the 2nd Annual Ship Hector passenger descendants reunion. However, given the current COVID 19 social distancing rules, this event may not proceed as planned. More information will be provided later in the summer newsletter and on Facebook.
The Ship Hector Descendants Project shop features books, pewter items, decals, posters, cards and prints.  All items are related to the Ship Hector.  A small portion of the sale of each item goes towards the costs of the project, eg website costs, cemetery signs, office expenses, etc.  Thanks to those of you who have visited the Shop so far.  If you have suggestions for additional items, please get in touch.  You can visit the shop here. These items make great gifts, for yourself, or for the Hector descendant in your life!
This document is from a Family Bible of the McLeod family which begins with an entry re Donald McLeod, born Sept 15, 1772 and was married on December the 7 1797. Ebenezer McLeod was born the 11th of January 1799.  The entries also list other family members and their birthdates.  Family bibles are such a treasure to have, especially when they contain valuable genealogical information, like this.  The source of this document is the HAGGIS section on the website of the McCulloch House Museum & Genealogy Centre.  
Donald (Daniel) was an infant on the Hector with his parents Alexander McLeod & wife Elspa.  Donald married Ann MacLellan (Betsy passenger) and they had at least 3 children. Donald is buried at Durham Cemetery.
Have suggestions for content or information you'd like to share in this newsletter? 
Please send your ideas to
It would be great to hear from you!
Copyright © *2020 SHIP HECTOR DESCENDANTS PROJECT  All rights reserved.

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Ship Hector Descendants Project · 80 Haliburton Road Pictou · Pictou, Nova Scotia B0K 1H0 · Canada

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