DGJ_4066 – The Hector

DGJ_4066 – The Hector
dennis gross
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The Hector Heritage Quay is one of Nova Scotia’s major cultural tourist attractions. Through the depiction of the story of Scottish migration to the New World, the Hector Heritage Quay introduces visitors to the history and culture of the area. A series of imaginative and informative displays retell the story of the Ship Hector voyage in 1773. The centerpiece of the attraction is a full scale reproduction of the ship Hector. This three masted, fully rigged ship is found on Pictou’s historic waterfront.

A full rigged Fluyt, the Hector (built in Holland before 1750) was employed in local trade in waters of the British Isles as well as the immigrant trade to North America, having made at least one trip ca. 1770 carrying Scottish emigrants to Boston, Massachusetts.

Her most famous voyage took place in 1773 with a departure date around July 1, carrying 170 Highlanders who were immigrating to Nova Scotia. The vessel’s owner, Mr. Pagan, along with Dr. John Witherspoon, purchased three shares of land near Pictou, Nova Scotia. Pagan and Witherspoon hired John Ross as a recruiting agent for settlers willing to immigrate to Pictou with an offer of free passage, 1 year of free provisions, and a farm. The settlers (23 families, 25 single men) were recruited at Greenock and at Lochbroom (Rossshire) with the majority being from Lochbroom. The settlers that boarded the Hector were poor, "obscure, illiterate crofters and artisans from Northern Scotland, who only spoke Gaelic." The school teacher, William McKenzie was one of the few passengers on the Hector to speak both Gaelic and English.

The Hector was an old ship and in poor condition when she left Europe. The arduous voyage to Pictou took 11 weeks, with a gale off Newfoundland causing a 14 day delay. Dysentery and smallpox claimed 18 children among the passengers. The vessel arrived in Pictou Harbour on September 15, landing at Brown’s Point, immediately west of the present-day town of Pictou.

The year’s free provisions never materialized for the passengers of the Hector. They had to hurry to build shelter without those provisions before winter set in and starved them.

Year built: ca. 1770
Location: Holland
Length overall: 25.9 m (85 ft)
Beam: 6.7 m (22 ft)
Gross tonnage: 200
Number of masts: 3
Owner: Mr. Pagan, a merchant in Greenock, Scotland

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