Sunday, 10 July 2016

Memorial Cairn for Sir John A Macdonald's Grandparents

When I was in Scotland in late May, I wanted to visit the area affected by the Highland Clearances. I detoured slightly into Rogart. Sir John A Macdonald’s grandparents were from Rogart. They were part of the Clearances. I was struck by just how desolate Rogart was. However, I was able to find the memorial cairn erected on the sight of the former home of Sir John’s grandparents. The cairn was built using the stones that remained from the original home and was unveiled in 1968 when John Diefenbaker visited the area. 

John Diefenbaker’s maternal great grandfather was a Bannerman. The Bannermans were cleared from Kildonan and emigrated as Selkirk Settlers. They were to have been taken to York Factory, but ended up in Churchill and needed to make their way to the Red River Settlement from there. Diefenbaker’s great grandfather played the bagpipes along the way to help the Scots settlers keep their spirits up. Diefenbaker made an ancestral pilgrimage to Kildonan along with his brother in 1958 and returned in 1968.

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