family history Archives - West Wind Hardwood

Near and Far – At Home in the Tay Valley

1800’s – Ontario, Canada

The Nielsen Family is not the only folk here at WWH that have deep roots. My great-great grandfather (maybe another great is needed), Abraham Ferrier immigrated from Kirkintilloch, Scotland with his brother (and families) in response to the British Government’s offer of free land and promises of government support – those often proved unreliable.

Jean S. McGill researched the Ferrier family. In McGill’s book, “A Pioneer History of the County of Lanark” she provides a vivid description of the economic unrest that followed the Napoleonic wars. Two years of unusual prosperity were followed by severe depression – unemployment, low farm prices, reduced demand, and political disruption. Certain areas of England and Scotland suffered particular hardship, including the western Scotland area of Paisley and Glasgow. There, the weavers were especially hurt as wages, which had peaked at 25 shillings per week in 1803, fell to ten in 1816 (and then to around five in 1819).

This depression was the direct result of the war, during which prices in Britain were driven up by reduced competition from closed borders. The weavers, who, according to McGill, practiced their trade at home, extended their hours continually as competition increased and markets dropped after the war. Coincidentally, soldiers were returning in large numbers from the war to that same region – as it had been the largest supplier of troops–and seeking employment.

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