Your time line is similar to mine. Your reference to
Hawick, which is very close to the towns where my
direct relations lived when they left Scotland, is
also more than coincidence to me. It seems that there
is an identifiable common thread (yet to be concretely
identified) as the connection from Roxburgshire to
For my relations to give "Bovina" as their destination
on the 1851 ship's passenger list implies intention.
Sure, word of mouth from countryman to countryman
about possibilities in Delaware county could be the
answer, but to up and leave is a huge move.
Interestingly, my first relation (1842 arrival) came
to Delaware county for a brief time, but he settled in
Cortland county in an area that exactly looks like the
hills in Roxburghsire Scotland. I do not find him in
Castle Garden port lists and family lore suggests he
came in from Canada. His father died in 1837, I am
told, but I do not know on which side of the world.
(See my reply to Jeanne Flye.)
PS As an aside, Castle Garden Port in NY (before Ellis
Island) is a place to look at passenger lists. For my
relations, under "last residence", they actually
listed the place where they were born. This was great
for me because it confirmed other birth accounts.
--- "Alan J. Downie" <adownie(a)hughesarchitects.com>
Thanks for the good inquiry. My Downies sailed from
Glasgow relatively late in 1854 and they came with
hopes of obtaining land, which by then was being
parceled out in what is now the Midwest. What
enabled them to come were relatives of John Downie's
first wife Elizabeth Thomson - the Scott families
already living in South Kortright and Bovina, NY.
Elizabeth died in 1862 and in 1868, John married her
cousin, Mary Ann Scott. They had one son, James
Scott Downie, my ggrandfather. In 1874 John heard
about the land rush in Iowa and moved there. The
story goes he never obtained land because once he
arrived he discovered they required American
citizenship and he utterly refused to renounce his
Scottish citizenship, or as he put it: "go back on
ole Queen Vic". He then moved to Norfolk Virginia
where he died, although I now live in Virginia and
haven't been able to confirm. John and both wives
are buried in Bovina. It is apparent the decision
to leave Scotland was not under!
taken lightly - John lost two young daughters on
Mary Ann Scott's line starts with her grandfather,
Robert Scott who was born in Hawick, Scotland abt.
1769, sailed to America around 1800, and died 1838
in Bovina. Her father had a farm in Stanford
(valued at $3,500) and belonged to the South
Kortright Presbyterian Church, so one could
speculate owning land and freedom of worship were
factors. His wife, Christina Thomson's (relative of
Elizabeth Thomson) father, Andrew was another
Scotsman who made the journey around 1800 and
settled in Bovina. So I would say that having a
safe place to stay while they got settled was an
obvious motivator for Scots who continued to arrive
in Delaware County.
As for the similar climate, I was born and raised in
Otsego County and also spent 2 weeks once in
Scotland. The topography and vegetation is similar,
but believe it or not, upstate New York is much
sunnier than Scotland.
Alan Downie (downies4(a)netzero.com)
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