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The Wreck of the Brig
Earl of Dalhousie
Copyright  © 2008, Cecil J. McPhee, All Rights Reserved
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Farewell to Scotland
       Home of our hearts! --- our father's home ---
              
Land of the brave and free!
          The sail's flapping on the foam
          That bears us far from thee!
          We seek a wild and distant shore,
          Beyond the Atlantic main;
          We leave thee, to return no more,
          Nor view thy cliffs again!
Thomas Pringle  of Edinburgh, January 19, 1820
Reprinted in the Quebec Gazette, September 19, 1821
The Revelation
In the late 1950s my great aunt, Mrs Thomas Young nee
Catherine
McPhee (1888-1973) of Avoca, Quebec, told me the most amazing story.  I was
taking advantage of her visit to my family in Dauphin, Manitoba, to quiz her
about our early McPhee ancestors.  She didn’t seem to know much about them,
except that “they came from Fort William.”  In fact, whenever I asked her a
question about the McPhees, she ended up talking about her great
grandparents, the Murrays. “Oh,” she said, very matter-of-factly, as if to belie
the obvious drama of the event, “they were shipwrecked off the coast of
Anticosti when they came out to Canada.”  I was astounded.  Did she know the
name of the ship?  No.  When did they come out?  She really didn’t know.  She
went on to say, however, that “they lost everything”, except the “mugs” that had
been given to their two little daughters as souvenirs just before they left
Scotland.  What happened to the mugs?  That, she didn’t know, either. Since I
couldn’t think of any other probing questions, young and inexperienced as I
was1, we went on to talk of other things. 
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