Township of Chatham, Argenteuil, Quebec
The Scotch Settlements of Chatham, Agenteuil, Quebec


The MacKerchers of Dalesville

Dalesville is a small town off of the Rivière du Nord, a tributary of the Ottawa River northwest of Montreal and north of St Andrews East of Argenteuil. The towns roots began in 1825 while the township of Chatham where it is located began in 1799 when a proclamation was issued declaring its creation. Following the proclomation, lots were drawn up and surveyed and by 1818 the lands were allotted to both immigrants and United Empire Loyalists. The front two-thirds of the township fronting the Ottawa river consisting of most of the arable land were populated by wealthy Americans who remained loyal to England. The rear portion, situated higher on the fringes of the Laurentians with rocky and poor soil for farming was granted to the Scottish immigrants. The conditions would force some to later move on from the area.

Dalesville Farm House circa 1920

Dalesville Farm House circa 1920

The first settler at Dalesville was Donald McKercher, his family originating from Glenlyon in Fortingall, Perthshire. He arrived in Montreal around 1818, where he promptly applied for land on the 2nd of May 1818 in the newly surveyed Chatham township in Argenteuil County. He settled on Lot 17 of the 10th Range of Chatham, township. His family would style their last name McKerricher or MacKerricher.

"For three weeks he pursued his labor here in the forest with no neighbours nearer to him than Lachute, when one day he heard the sound of an axe in the woods adjacent. Astonished, yet no doubt glad to know that some other human being was near, he repaired to the spot whence the sounds proceeded, and found a man named John McGibbon, who had come from his own native place Glenlyon, Perthshire, and taken up Lot 16, 10th Range, adjoining his own. Soon after the advent of these two pioneers came two brothers, Peter and John McFarlane, and about the same time also came Archie and John McArthur. Among others who soon followed were Peter and Alexander McGibbon, Malcolm McGregor, John, Hugh and Duncan McCallum, Donald and Duncan McPhail all from Glenlyon." ~ History of the counties of Argenteuil, Que. and Prescott, Ont., from the earliest settlement to the present.

Donald was not the only McKercher to apply for land in Chatham. John McKercher - likely his brother applied for Lot 13 of the 12th Range. On July 26th, 1824 Donald had completed the necessary improvments to his lot to be granted ownership. John McKercher either did not occupy his lot at all or did not make the necessary improvments. The land conditions of his lot may have made it impossible to do so. Donald's brother John - if this was indeed him applying - returned to Scotland. Or this John was a cousin of sorts and went on to apply for a different patent at Ramsay, in Lanark County in 1824. Donald's family are the only McKerchers in Chatham for the 1825 and 1842 Lower Canada Censuses.

While Donald's father may have originated from Glenlyon, Fortingall, Donald himself did not. He and his siblings were born at Craiguie, Balquhidder, Perthshire. His father Duncan moved to Balquhidder for his marriage with Donald's mother Jean McNab. It has been claimed that this Jean was a daughter of Francis McNab. This has not been proven, and may be a long tale. Donald's father Duncan was born at Balnahanaid, Fortingall to Donald McKercher and Mary McKercher. It is recorded that Donald's sister/Duncan's daughter Margaret married her first cousin Donald, son of Finlay McKercher and Mary McKercher. Finlay of Balnahanaid was brother to Donald's father Duncan.

On the 1st of February 1822 in Montreal, Donald married Jane McMartin of St-Eustache, likely the daughter of Donald and Mary McMartin who immigrated from Duncroisk, Killin to that area.

In 1825 fellow immigrant Duncan McPhail who was working as a school teacher for the area, started discussions for and than followed up by establishing the Dalesville Baptist Church. Donald and his family were active members of the Church. There were 5 people in the family recorded in the census this year as the couple had by this time had 3 children. By the 1842 census 10 people were recorded with 8 of the children residing on the farm. The records for the 1851/1852 census for Chatham were lost.

Donald and his wife Jane would have 9 children, 7 girls and 2 boys. Donald would remain engaged with his farm and would live to the age of 95, passing away in 1885 with his wife 3 years prior at the age of 78.


Born 8th of January 1790 at Craigruie, Balquhidder, Perthshire. Son of Duncan McKercher and his wife Jean McNab. Died 10th of February 1885 at Dalesville, Chatham, Argenteuil, Québec.


Born 1804 at St-Eustache, Deux-Montagnes, Quebec. Daughter of Donald McMartin and Mary McMartin. Died 15th of July 1882 at Dalesville, Chatham, Argenteuil, Québec.


Born 21st of March 1823 at Chatham, Argenteuil, Québec. Died 18th of June 1902 at Hawkesbury, Prescott, Ontario.

She married Duncan McGibbon on the 24th of March 1843 at Hawkesbury. He was the son of Alexander McGibbon and Christian McIntyre. He was born 1818 at Lachine, Quebec and died 1882 at Hawkesbury. He was a carpenter. They had 8 children.


Born 16th of June 1825 at Chatham, Argenteuil, Québec. Died 27th of December 1894 at Dalesville, Chatham, Argenteuil, Québec.

Margaret would live with her parents and siblings until her death in 1894.


Born 27th of June 1827 at Chatham, Argenteuil, Québec. Died 24th of May 1897 at Dalesville, Chatham, Argenteuil, Québec.

Mary would live with her parents and siblings until her death in 1897.


Born 24th of February 1832 at Chatham, Argenteuil, Québec. Died 24th of July 1897 at Saint-André, Argenteuil, Québec.

Christina married Finlay McMartin on 4th of April 1850 at Chatham, the son of Donald McMartin and Marjory McCallum who resided at St-Eustache. He was born about 1812 in Perthshire and died at Saint-André in 1874. They had 11 children.


Born 7th of April 1834 at Chatham, Argenteuil, Québec. Died soon after 1852 in Ontario.

Catherine married James Kennedy on 27th of May 1851, the son of Samuel Kennedy and Ellen of Ireland. He was born 1820 in Ireland and died at Wellington, Ontario in 1906. They had 1 child named Samuel James Kennedy born in 1852 at Dalesville.


Born 11th of July 1835 at Chatham, Argenteuil, Québec. Died 21st of March 1909 at Dalesville, Chatham, Argenteuil, Québec.

Elizabeth would live with her parents and siblings until her death in 1909.


Born 13th of April 1836 at Chatham, Argenteuil, Québec. Died 23rd of February 1926 at Mendocino, California.

He married Jessie Stewart McArthur of Dalesville on the 14th of October 1864 at Chatham, the daughter of Archibald McArthur and Margaret Stewart. She was born 17th of May 1837 died at Mendocino, California in 1923. The newlyweds move to Big River, Mendocino, California where they started their family. Their estate would later become MacKerricher State Park. They had 7 children.

  • Edwin Donald McKerricher b. 1866 d. 1938
  • Margaret Stuart McKerricher b. 1867 d. 1938
  • Miriam Jean McKerricher b. 1869 d. 1950
  • Russell Arthur McKerricher b. 1871 d. 1941
  • William McKerricher b. 1873 d. 1894
  • Evelyn McKerricher b. 1875 d. 1966
  • Edith Jean McKerricher b. 1881 d. 1980

Eva and Edith MAcKerricher at Laguna Ranch, Mendocino, California

Eva and Edith MacKerricher at Laguna Ranch, Mendocino, California

"The lineage of the MacKerricher family in America is traced back to an old Scotch Highland family inseparably associated with the early history of that section of Scotland and illustrious in the affairs that tended to make history stand out prominently in the annals of that country. The maternal grandfather of Duncan MacKerricher Sr was Francis McNab who bore the distinction of being the chief of the McNab clan in Scotland. The immigrating ancestor of the MacKerricher family was Donald MacKerricher Sr who upon coming to America made settlement in Quebec and near Dalesville carried on a farm which engaged his attention throughout his remaining active years. He lived to reach the remarkable age of ninety six years and his wife also reached a goodly age being seventy six years old at the time of her death. Prior to her marriage she was Jane McMartin, a native of Scotland. Of the large family of children that gathered around the fireside of this worthy couple eleven grew to mature years and reflected in their lives the qualities of thrift industry and the high principles of honor instilled into their characters through precept and example. It was on the paternal farm near Dalesville Quebec that Duncan MacKerricher was born April 13 1836. His boyhood and youth were intimately associated with that Canadian environment, but on reaching young manhood he severed his connections with it and came to the Pacific coast. He was accompanied on the journey by his wife, whom he had married in Quebec October 14, 1864, and in reality this was their wedding journey. She was formerly Miss Jessie McArthur, and was a sister of the celebrated Baptist clergyman Dr Robert Stuart McArthur, who preached for forty one years in the Calvary Baptist Church in New York City. Her parents Archibald and Margaret Stuart McArthur were also natives of Scotland. The journey of Mr and Mrs MacKerricher was made by way of New York and the Isthmus on the Vanderbilt mail line to San Francisco, reaching that port in November, 1864, and from there they came on a schooner to Mendocino City landing December 8, that year, the trip from San Francisco consuming eighteen days. For two years he was employed in the Caspar mills, and while the work proved timely, it was not to his liking and as soon as he was able to do so he left his position and started to search for something more congenial. Going up the coast he finally reached old Fort Bragg, where he made application for a position with EJ Whipple, who had charge of the Indians at Kibesillah. For two years he was engaged in starting the dairy on the ranch and in breaking in the wild cattle with the aid of Indian help. Mrs MacKerricher was the only white woman in the vicinity at that time. Mr MacKerricher's dairy was the first one started north of Point Arena. The undertaking was a venturesome one, for the country was sparsely settled and wild cattle and deer abounded. With the help of some good Indian boys he was enabled to break in sixty nine cows to milk and at the end of two years he had a very creditable dairy. He was indeed a pioneer of that section of country, and he had the distinction of running the first mowing machine ever operated north of Point Arena. In July, 1868, he located on the Laguna ranch at Cleone, having purchased the property from the government at 1.25 per acre. The original purchase comprised six hundred and forty acres, and later he added a like amount to his holdings by private entry, the land adjoining his ranch at Cleone. As rapidly as possible he cleared the land and stocked it with cattle and hogs, also raising sufficient hay for his needs. The record of his efforts is best told in the statement that some of the best draft horses in Mendocino county were raised on his ranch. After many years of hard pioneer work he deemed it advisable to lessen his responsibilities and for this reason he at different times disposed of half of his ranch. In 1913 he sold off three hundred and twenty acres more, and he still owns three hundred acres on the lake, ideally located and forming one of the most beautiful ranches in the county. Since 1908 he has made his home in Fort Bragg, where he erected a fine residence which is still the home of the family.

Mr. and Mrs. MacKerricher became the parents of seven children, as follows: Edwin Donald who is interested in the real estate business in Fort Bragg; Margaret Stuart, Mrs Lord residing at Noyo; Miriam Jean Mrs Geary of Red Bluff; Russell Arthur of Oakland; William who died at the age of twenty one years; Evelyn the wife of Prof JS Cotton of Fort Bragg; and Edith Mrs. Tibbitts of Berkeley. The family are adherents of the Baptist Church, and politically Mr MacKerricher is a Republican." ~ History of Mendocino and Lake Counties, California


Born 5th of December 1840 at Chatham, Argenteuil, Québec. Died 10th of January 1922 at Regina, Saskatchewan.

She married Daniel Dale on the 4th of August 1881 at Dalesville. He was the son of Samuel Dale and Mary McFarlane. He was born 1843 at Chatham and died 1917 at Montreal. He was a millwright. They had 1 child.


Born 1st of February 1846 at Chatham, Argenteuil, Québec. Died 4th of April 1938 at Vancouver, British Columbia.

He married Annie Stewart McArthur of Dalesville on the 3rd of February 1868 at Chatham, the daughter of Archibald McArthur and Margaret Stewart. She was born 7th of May 1844 died at Vancouver, British Columbia in 1914. The couple would cross the Ottawa to farm at Plantagenet, Ontario before moving to Pincher Creek, Alberta around 1900 before finally ending up on Canadas west coast. They had 7 children.

  • Margaret Stuart McKerricher b. 1868 d. 1938
  • Mary Ann Jennie McKerricher b. 1871 d. 1967
  • Catherine Ann McKerricher b. 1873 d. 1920
  • Daniel Arthur McKerricher b. 1876 d. 1972
  • Archie Douglas McKerricher b. 1877 d. 1967
  • William Ruthven McKerricher b. 1878 d. 1949
  • Edith Jessie McKerricher b. 1882 d. 1965

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