Catherine Sutherland 

was born in Cathness, Scotland in 1820. She married Thomas Murrant in 1847 in St George's Anglican Church, Sydney and died on December 30, 1893 in South Head , Cow Bay, Cape Breton.

Catherine was born in Olrig parish, Caithness, Scotland and migrated to Nova Scotia.  She was the daughter of George Sutherland and Bell Steven who were married just a year before her birth on the 4 December 1819. Catherine was born on the 20 October of the following year. It is not certain if George and Bell accompanied her to Canada or not.

Caithness is a county on the north east corner of Scotland, bounded on the north by the Pentland Firth, on the east and south east by the north sea, and on the west and south west by Sutherland county. It is about 43 miles in length and about thirty miles in breadth and comprises an area of 618 square miles. A topographical dictionary of Scotland 1951 states " On account of its remote situation, Caithness has little intercourse with the principal parts of the country, and consequently is connected with few historical events of importance except occasional hostilities with the Danes and Norwegians." Catherine immigrated to Canada during the "highland clearances", the practice of the British to drive the Scottish peasants from their land, seize the land and give it to the English aristocracy for their enjoyment or industry.

Catherine classifies herself as Scottish Presbyterian in the various early censuses. The IGI from extracts from parish records in Olrig has her birth on 20 October 1820 however,  in 1881 she registered in the census as 59 years and her daughter as 29, in 1871 she was registered as 47 and her daughter was 20. Therefore, Catherine the mother was born in 1820, 1822 or 1824 and the daughter was born in 1849, 1851 or 1852. The IGI parish records from Scotland are assumed correct.

Catherine Sutherland married Thomas less than a year after Aurelia died; Catherine was 27 years at her marriage. Thomas was at the time 60 years and his family all grown and married. Two years and six months later, Catherine the daughter was born and six years after they were married, Thomas died leaving them alone to fend for themselves. My grandfather often spoke of aunt Catherine and pronounced it  "cather - ine". He called the daughter Catherine "kitty" Catherine the mother, was a farmer, very poor and according to my grandfather, David, a very strong willed woman, respected for her strength and endurance. She apparently walked frequently from South Head to Port Caledonia.  One can assume that she was an embarrassment to the children of Thomas and Aurelia as the youngest of them were her age or her senior.  She probably inherited the Thomas estate, maps of the period has her residing at the homestead after Thomas's death.

 

The A.F Church map of 1877 has her living in a house on the North side of South Head adjacent to C. Peters on one side and Anthony Murrant , her step son on the other. Land grant records show that she owned 110 acres of the land at the tip of Cape Morien and 40 acres around the house she occupied.

 

The census of 1871 attests to her reputation and lists the following amongst her processions:

100 acres of land, 4 acres of which she improved, 2 was in pasture, one acre rendered 2 tons of hay and half an acre about 40 bushels of potatoes. At the age of fifty, she had 3 cows, one goat and made 180 pounds of butter. and had also cut 4 cords of firewood that year.



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