Direct from Scotland: The First Scots
- Jim Wade
- November 1, 2018
- 4 Min Read
The first settlers, in the area now known as the “Scotch Settlement”, came to Almont in 1833. James Thomson, David Taylor, John Hopkin and William Robertson settled southeast of Almont along Bordman Road.
James Thomson purchased property in Section 36 on June 12, 1833. His homestead is on the northwest corner of the intersection of Scotch Settlement Road and Bordman Road. He was born in Paisley, Scotland and immigrated to America a few years before coming to Almont. At the time he purchased his Almont homestead, he was living in Macomb County. James was born about 1805 and died in Almont on February 3, 1881. Nothing is known about his family in Scotland.
David Taylor was born about 1801 in Scotland. Sometime in the late 1820’s, he traveled to America and settled in Connecticut. He married Lemira Susannah Burr on November 21, 1830 in Granby, Hartford County, Connecticut. Sometime during the summer of 1833, David purchased property on the south side of Bordman Road in Bruce Township, Macomb County. This property is located across the road from the Borland home.
On June 29, 1833, John Hopkin and William Robertson each purchased an 80-acre property in Section 35 of Almont Township. The Hopkin property was off of Hough Road and the Robertson property was on Bordman Road. They had a common boundary in the middle of the Section.
John Hopkin was born May 4, 1797 in Galston, East Ayrshire, Scotland. On June 1, 1823, he married Jean Hunter, who was born on March 27, 1802 in Ayrshire, Scotland. John and Jean would have three children before coming to Almont. After arriving in Almont, John and Jean would have four more children. John died on April 17, 1885 in Almont and Jean died on August 16, 1866, also in Almont.
William Robertson was born November 21, 1798 in Stewarton, Ayrshire, Scotland. On August 7, 1827 he married Margaret Gray in Riccarton, Ayrshire, Scotland. William and Margaret had two children born in Scotland; they would have two children born in Almont. William died on July 15, 1852 in Almont. Margaret Gray Robertson died on September 26, 1840 in Almont. After Margaret’s death, William married Margaret Braidwood on November 29, 1844 in Bruce Township.
John and William were friends in Scotland. They traveled together to America. The first phase of the journey was by ship to New York. The next leg of the trip was to take a ferry from Castle Gardens to Waterford, New York, which was the starting point of the Erie Canal. They traveled on a “pocket barge” to Buffalo. At Buffalo they would have again boarded a ship that would take them to Detroit.
Once they arrived at Detroit, Hopkin and Robertson each bought an ox. They jointly bought a wagon and hitched up their ox team. They bought the equipment and supplies they needed to establish their homesteads and loaded them into the wagon along with their belongings.
When they reached Bordman Road, they turned right headed east along a narrow path, much of which was only recently cleared. When they reached the Robertson property, they slowly cut a pathway to the boundary of their properties. At this boundary they set up their camp. The first order of business was to construct a log cabin – a duplex – which would be shared by the two families. Each family would use the portion of the cabin that was on their land.
Upon completion of their log cabin, John and William cleared the underbrush from about two acres of land and planted potatoes. They didn’t take the time to remove the tree stumps, they just planted around them. They then returned to clearing the land of trees.
They would take the logs to the saw mill in Romeo and return with milled lumber. After numerous trips, they had one large pile of lumber. John and William agreed that William would separate the one lumber pile into two piles. John would then get to select which pile he was going to take so he could construct his wood frame home. Once they had made their selections, they moved the piles to the road sides of their properties. They then constructed their homes.