The Cameron Family Papers


Cat No.:   CA0419:

This is a first publication of some historically important documents which are passing down through a Canadian branch of the ancient Clan Cameron, of Inverness in Scotland.  The papers are mostly about the descendants of the Camerons of Clunes, Camisky, and Lindally who, in turn, originated from the Camerons of Erracht. 

Like many family collections while there is some attempt at organization there is still a “learning curve” to climb before gaining their full benefit. In this digital publication we have respected the order of bound papers as they reached us, but otherwise, and in our indexing, we have attempted to group like items together. Two previous family researchers have made valiant attempts to bring some order to these papers and their results form a major part of the collection as two bound volumes:

V1. The work of Dr. Kenneth Cameron (1863-1939)

• This was intentionally loose leaf bound so later members of the family could add new information when and where they could.

* The volume is structured, firstly along Major Family Lines, and then by selected Individuals.

• For each individual Kenneth wrote a biography of them and any children; also gathering records of their carer, their accomplishments, and their correspondence. Anything in fact which identified them as individuals rather than just names.

V2 Mrs Ann Guthrie’s monograph, The Camerons of York Mills, (now a suburb of Toronto.)

• Ann’s work is the most recent addition to this Cameron family history and she has kindly allowed us to include her work in this digital edition. It provides a narrower overview of the Camerons, focused on Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Cameron who was among the numerous Highland soldiers who came to Upper Canada to settle in 1853. Duncan had a distinguished military career before he & his wife Katherine Baillie emigrated. After some exploration, Duncan purchased most of a 200 acre lot bordering the village of York Mills and built his family home, named Lindally after his Scottish home.  

Other documents in the collection consist of:

• A c.v. and Genealogical charts drawn up by Kenneth and relating to his written work but physically unsuitable for binding with them.

• Illustrations, consisting of original paintings, sketches, printed and hand drawn maps, and photographs.

• Printed announcements, invitations & Share certificates.

• Newspaper clippings & Miscellaneous correspondence

We want to recognize the generosity and far-sightedness of Betty (née Huycke), who married into the Cameron family in Toronto, Canada, for requesting that these Fonds be made widely available so the history and traditions of the Cameron family may live on. The majority of these Fonds have been donated to the Archives of Ontario.

No. of CDs is:  1 ;   Format is:  PDF ;   Searchable?:  YES;

FastFind:  Yes;  ISBN No.:   978-1-927503-33-1 ;


We are pleased to bring you this first publication of some historically important documents which have been passing down through the Canadian branch of the ancient Clan Cameron, originating in the county of Inverness in Scotland.  The papers are mostly about the descendants of the Camerons of Clunes, Camisky, and Lindally, all of whom originated as offshoots of the Camerons of Erracht.  As well as access by the family for educational purposes over the years, “new” materials and comments have also been added. In this process the papers - some well over 100 years old - have experienced a lot of handling.  Also, their storage has been in regular domestic dwellings which are less than ideal for the storage of artifacts of this age.  The current custodians of this wonderful collection approached us with a view to converting the information they contain into a more durable and accessible form (e.g., digital) so the actual paper originals can be  placed in the Archives of Ontario. In this way they hope to ensure the continued existence of these valuable originals and, at the same time, enable a wider and more convenient access to the history of this significant family.

While the appeal of these papers to descendants of this branch of the Cameron Clan is clear and obvious what may not be so obvious is the value they have to students of “life and times” in this period from the early 1800’s through to the early 20th Century. Inherent in many of the documents are personal impressions, and some recounting of activities and times the correspondents were living through. In many instances such personal impressions provide a very different view from the “officially” sanctioned view, which usually makes its way into history books. A few random examples seen to be included here are: details of the construction of a “grand” house in 1830’s Upper Canada, the difficulties and frustrations of attempting to get funds transferred to the “colonies”, and some harrowing personal accounts of battle actions during the Napoleonic Wars.

Like so many similar family collections this, at first sight, appeared to have little or no organization, making appreciation of the family’s story difficult without first having read and understood a majority of the contained materials.  Fortunately, two family historians had, at different times, undertaken this daunting task and had placed copies of the results of their work in the family “cache.” Using these as guided introductions greatly reduces the steepness of the learning curve towards a full appreciation of this fascinating family history.

THE EARLIER of these two works was created by Dr. Kenneth Cameron (1863-1939), a Surgeon and ex-military officer, who undertook not only to find, but also to transcribe, a number of letters and other documents marking important events in the lives of the Camerons and to collect, through correspondence, additional information from historical papers held by other relatives.  He assembled these papers into groups concerning the Camerons of Erracht, the Camerons of Clunes, and the  Camerons of Camisky and Lindally, each of these sections being subdivided as appropriate to highlight the history of individual family members and collections of information on specific key subjects.

A strong theme running through all of these papers is the family’s association with military service, early in support of Scottish independence, specifically under the rule of Prince Charles, (a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Charlie).  Following the decisive, “Battle of Culloden” however surviving family members were instrumental in the formation of the Cameron Highlanders, later to become the 79th Regiment of Foot and later still the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, a division of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.  This regiment took an active part in various European wars and actions including the (then) ongoing campaigns in Europe, the West Indies and Egypt and some garrison duties in various colonies and protectorates - including North America. 

Either as a result of these military associations, or in keeping with the tradition of younger sons of the “well to do” moving to the colonies of the British Empire to make their fortunes, many descendants of this part of the Cameron Clan took up residence in the “British North American” colonies.  Initially in the (now) Canadian Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario, but eventually spreading to Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia, and to the states of California, Maine, Louisiana and New York in the (by then) USA.

Coming from a family which had significant position in Scottish society and in the Military it is not surprising that the Camerons should also make their mark in Canadian society, counting amongst their numbers a Colonel who was also Adjutant General of Militia of Canada, two Ships Captains, a Newspaper Editor, brothers who became Ranchers, a Justice of the Peace and a number of Religious Ministers including (by marriage) a Bishop of the Holy Roman Church, who was also a founder of the County of Glengarry in Ontario.

Even those who weren’t quite so “visible” left their mark in Canada’s history; such as the retired Lt. Col. Duncan who built a “grand” house - “Lindally” - just off Yonge St., the main North-South route to York (Toronto), and coincidentally, just a couple of miles south of the point where William Lyon Mackenzie started his march which is taken as marking the beginning of the 1837 Rebellion. Consequently Lindally was one of the locations where Mackenzie stopped to demand arms for his band of followers.  In later years, after Duncan’s death, the mansion was rented to Sir Oliver Mowatt, (Ontario Premier and Father of Confederation) and later still sold to St. Andrew’s College, eventually becoming the clubhouse of the St Andrew’s Golf Course.

In addition to family matters the papers transcribed by Kenneth also provide fascinating insights into the everyday life in early Upper Canada in, for instance the construction of “Lindally,” the operation of its farm, and the difficulty of doing personal business between Canada and Britain. 

Although not suitable (physically) for binding into his “book,” Kenneth also made a number of genealogical charts showing many descendants of the Camerons through the 1600’s and 1700‘s, and later.  We suspect he may have used some of these when consulting other family members for genealogical information while conducting his researches.

While I called the main body of his work a “book” it would be more accurate to term it a “cache” as it is more of a collection of standalone documents than what you might expect of a book.  This being the case we, in this digital edition, have taken the opportunity to add additional items such as: reproductions of a curriculum vitae of Kenneth himself, his genealogical charts, photographs of family members and groups, unfiled letters, news clippings, printed and hand written notices and greetings, maps, oil painted portraits and a watercolor of the Cameron mansion, “Lindally,” in York Mills.

THE SECOND book reproduced here was written by Ann Guthrie, a friend of the document holders family, and titled: The Camerons of York Mills. Ann has kindly given her permission to include a digital reproduction of her book which she wrote using Kenneth Cameron’s work as a primary information source.

This book provides a narrower, but more conventional, overview of one branch of the Camerons, focusing on Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Cameron who was among the numerous Highland soldiers who came to Upper Canada to settle in 1835. Duncan had a distinguished military career before he and his wife Katherine Baillie emigrated. After some exploration, Duncan purchased most of a 200 acre lot bordering the village of York Mills and built his family home, named Lindally after his Scottish home. Researchers first faced with the mass of information reproduced on this CD have found Ann’s book a good place to start, as it offers a more “user friendly” entry to the breadth and depth of the collection.