More than Sentimental Journeys
More than Sentimental Journeys

At first glance, a horse bit, even one made of iron, is just a horse bit. On deeper thought we remember that horse bits, collars, shoes and stirrups set off a revolution. Harnessing horse power meant people could travel farther, do heavier work, become more efficient warriors. The simple horse bit directed an animal to perform its master’s bidding. –Heather Dau Collection

Without good history, we’re obliged to compose stories about ancestors and communities to explain how things came about. The story of McCleland’s arrival by raft is such a story but since McCleland’s time, historians have found documentary evidence that larger-than-life Peter McCleland may have been credibly large-in-life without any fabrication. We now have the luxury of using both our heads and hearts in studying the past.

There’s benefit in examining past events over and over again to consider them with differing points of view, and, in the process, discover new insights about our past and present. It is frequently the information between the lines that brings the bare bones of vital statistics alive to us in another generation. After all, a more carefully-documented, yet sympathetic, examination of the people who came to struggling colonies along the Atlantic coast might interest us for deeper reasons than simply the filament of inheritance. For better and for worse, good genealogy should offer something more than just a relative can love.

For a historical consideration of Peter McCleland/McLellan, see Planters & Grantees of Cobequid, Nova Scotia 1761-1780, Vol. 2, L-Y, Carol Campbell and James F. Smith, pp 613-617, Colchester Historical Society, Truro, NS, 2011.
The Uses and Abuses of History, Margaret MacMillan, based on the Joanne Goodman Lecture Series of the University of Western Ontario, Viking Canada, 2008.
Photos on pages 2 and 3 by: