Thursday, 22 October 2015

Seeking Security

"We must plan for freedom, and not only for security, if for no other reason than that only freedom can make security secure." -- Karl Popper

People emigrate for many reasons: war, famine, the promise of land, a job, or a better life in general. The Archibald family of Londonderry Ireland went first to the United States, and then to Nova Scotia, becoming one of the largest and most well-known families in that province's history.

John Archibald was born in 1671 to Robert Archibald and Ann Boyd in Maghera, a small town in what is now Northern Ireland. He married Margaret Wilson of Londonderry in 1716. The family left Ireland not long afterward, most likely to escape the burgeoning violence of the first Jacobite Rebellion and persecution of non-Catholics. They settled in Nutfield, New Hampshire, later known as Londonderry.

There are conflicting accounts as to how many of their nine children were born in Ireland and how many in New Hampshire. Several sources, including Miller's Historical And Genealogical Record of the First Settlers of Colchester County (pub. 1873) state that all were born in Ireland. However much of the information therein was gleaned by oral family tradition, so it's quite possible that the stories were misinterpreted. The Vital Records of Londonderry New Hampshire (pub. 1914) clearly shows that the seven younger children of John and Margaret Archibald were in fact born in New Hampshire.

John Archibald's name appears on the list of proprietors in the Londonderry NH Grant of 1722. His farm was located about 3 miles east-southeast of the first church building, and was designated in the records as "John Archibald North" to distinguish him from another settler of the same name who had been granted land in the community two years earlier. By 1728 he had amassed 257 acres of farmland and he was doing well.

Both John and his wife Margaret died in 1751, within months of each other, and are buried in Forest Hill Cemetery, Derry, New Hampshire. But that's not the end of the Archibald story.

In the early 1760s things were changing. The Archibald children were grown and most of them had married and started families of their own. But difficulties soon emerged on the horizon. Britain had declared war on France and Spain, and the consequences were spilling over into colonial America. Perhaps in an effort to preserve the clan from more violence, the Archibalds decided to leave for a safer place. So in December of 1762, seven siblings and their families packed up and left for Nova Scotia. Only two brothers with their families remained in New Hampshire.

Once resettled in Truro, Nova Scotia, several members of the family became leading citizens in the community. The eldest, David, was the first Justice of the Peace and also was the first who represented Truro Township in Parliament. His brother Samuel became one of the first elders of the Presbyterian congregation.

The many Archibald descendants (estimated at over 20,000) are spread throughout the Maritime provinces and New England to this day. They included doctors, politicians, lawyers, scholars, tradespeople, and at least one prominent historical figure: a great-great grandson of John Archibald was Sir Adams George Archibald, Solicitor General of Nova Scotia, later the first Governor of Manitoba, and a father of Confederation.

*This is a re-post from the original Cinquefoil Heritage blog on Blogster which has been removed by the author.

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