Arrival

Imagine being an early immigrant arriving in Murray Harbour; you’ve been on a ship for weeks, and you’ve left your home far behind (in the case of most of our ancestors, that home would be the UK or Channel Islands). After the long voyage, you’re feeling relief that you’ve made it alive, and the excitement of seeing the place you will call home…. But wait. It’s very…. Different. A little foreboding, even. Covered in trees, it looks nothing like the place you left behind. There are barely any homes….

Immigrating to a new place is daunting under the best of circumstances, and the early immigrants to lot 64 had a long, hard road ahead of them when they got here. The area was nothing like it is now; there were few open pastures or fields, no roads (until 1806), and maybe a few houses on a couple of acres carved out of the dense woods (including, of course, John Cambridge’s). Lot 64 wasn’t unique in this regard, as all of PEI was covered in forest; one paper in Britain wrote that “on approaching the island it looks like an immense forest rising from the sea.”1.  This was written in 1818, after there had already been many years of settlement. It would have been a disheartening sight for people who weren't used to that kind of landscape, who'd immigrated so far with a wish to live off the land. Some likely had a good idea of the hardships they would face when they left Europe, while others were probably caught off guard. But by this point, few could afford to turn back.

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