The first McTavish's in our particular clan began with Duncan McTavish a native
of Argylshire, Scotland. Duncan was born in 1794, died in 1879. He
married Elizabeth Husband a native of Northern Ireland, born in 1819
and died in 1898.
We do know that Duncan Mc Tavish was a butler in early life to a Scottish Lord.
He played the bagpipes and carried drinks. The story that has come
down across the years is that he first met his wife while performing
at some Scottish games in Ireland. Her father took a great fancy to
this Highland piper and invited him to his home. When he started to
play the pipes, Elizabeth, then a mere child, got frightened and hid
under the table..thus this romance began. It is said that his pipes
were a very beautiful set mounted in ivory. He loaned them to a
friend to play at a wedding . The friend undertook to play on
horseback. The horse became frightened,threw the rider off and broke
the pipes beyond repair, which, no, doubt, accounts for the fact that
there were no pipers in the family. He was a Liberal in politics and
read the Globe religiously. His early life being that of a dressed-up
gentleman stayed with him through the years, and he found it hard to
adjust to living in the primeval forest. It is said that he insisted
in always having his shoes shined even when he went for the mail. One
can imagine that his wife and the army of boys must have done the
most of the work in making an early clearing in the woods
There is good reason to believe that the Husbands came from an aristocratic
background.. It was learned from her brother that some of our
ancestors were with Clive in India; that Grandmother's Mother once
lived in a castle but ran away with the coachman and married him.We
believe that they came to Canada in 1852.
One of their sons was John born 1839, born in Scotland, died 1923. He
married M. Elizabeth Lofft. They had many sons, one was Will . Will
was my grandfather he married Lucy Bradley in 1888.
I obtained the above information from a family history put to-gether by Duncan
McTavish in 1966.
Will and Lucy came to Prince Albert Saskatchewan and homesteaded in
In 1980 Ruby McTavish Whitter had this to say about her parents Will and
In April of 1908 Will and Lucy McTavish and their five daughters left their
nice home in Kincardine, Ontario on the shores of lake Huron and
travelled by train to Prince Albert. Will was anxious to homestead
and there was at that time land available 20 miles north of Prince
Albert. For the sum of $10.. per acre you could acquire land, you had
to erect some sort of a building and break so many acres of land in
order to obtain title. It is said that he waited at the land Titles
Office in some sort of a corral for a day and a night but finally was
able to obtain the quarters that he wanted.
Moving day was the 5 of April 1911. The calvacade left around nine in the
morning with three teams pulling flat racks on which all our worldly
possessions were loaded. Dad was leading the procession, then Neil
McDonald ( married daughter Mabel, shortly after ). The third load
was a neighbors boy.
Bringing up the rear in a nice buggy, drawn by a sturdy pony, rode Mabel,
Jenny and myself. On board also were two large cats, the property of
Mabel and myself. We had them in a sack with their heads sticking out
of two holes for air.
We had a large lake to cross before reaching our destination. Before long we
came to it, and were slightly apprehensive when we saw such an
expanse of what looked to us rather thin ice, with water lying here
and there. The trail across was built up high and looked as if it was
still being used so we slowly proceeded. Half way over we could see
Dad out on the hill waving us on so all was well. His helpers had
assisted him in setting up the stove and cramming what had come out
of a six room house into a two room log cabin. Of course there was
the attic, minus partition and reached by a ladder nailed to the
That log house had one redeeming feature and that was the location. Sitting on
quite a high hill it afforded a really lovely view of the lake to the
South, in which two islands reposed to add to its beauty. The well (
you guessed it) was at the bottom of the hill. However, the water was
cold and sweet and served us faithully until such time as a new one
was dug on top of the hill close to the house.. Eventually a new
house became a reality and what joy! Four bedrooms no less - result;
We were able to board the teachers and preachers and give night
lodging to any one needing one.
If perchance in the Great Beyond,
A wish we are privileged to make,
We will wish for a homestead, high on a hill,
O'er looking a shimmering lake.
Poem by Ruby McTavish Whitter
Information from a write up that Ruby did for a book
titled Buckland heritage
Two of my memories of going to the farm in the summer months.are
1. We were not allowed in the yard at twilight, this was the time that the bears
came to have a drink at the water trough.
2. One summer my sister Joan and I were playing on the log fence that we
were riding horses. Joan decided that the dog Tippy should join us.
She got off her horse, handed me the dog. I somehow lost hold of the
dog and fell and broke my arm. It was a long trip into Prince Albert
to have it set and a cast put on it. My right arm of course.
My Mother who was Wilma used to tell us that her Dad always told them & quote;
If you can't say anything good about someone, say nothing.
I think this was good advice.
Link to Clan McTavish Webpage