There are few recorded McCubbins in Canada in the early part of the 19th century. An early arrival was Robert McCubbin, born 3 Oct 1783 in Scotland. He married Mary Carson in Scotland about 1803. They landed in Halifax from Liverpool in 1818, travelled further west and settled in Chatham, Kent, Ontario.
In Lambton County, Ontario on 6 July 1846, Cottrellville, William McCubbin, 21, of Chatham, Canada West, married Manda M. Darby, 19, Harwich, Canada West.
The most important factor in the advent of mass emigration was the development of the steam engine. Steamships could cross the Atlantic in a week compared to a sailing ship crossing of six weeks. Rapidly expanding railway networks in Scotland and in North America allowed people to travel rapidly both to ports of departure and away from ports of arrival. Emigration was facilitated by specialist passenger line steamship companies & newspaper advertising, such as the one for Western Canada in the above heading.
McCubbins with a restless spirit were lured by the advertisements of free land in Canada in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s. More McCubbins arrived during this time than any other. Many hoped to have a better life in Canada than in Scotland. Some moved because of the Highland Clearances. Large landowners in the lowlands were beginning to clear their lands of cottars and small farmers.
Thomas McCubbin (1891 – 1969) left Stoneykirk, Wigtownshire, Scotland, for Canada about 1909. Applying for a homestead parcel, near Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, he was required to have a certain amount of work finished in order to have the land registered as his own. His brother Peter joined Tom, but found the winters too cold and went back to Scotland.
Tom soon realized farming was terribly difficult in the harsh, often dry area and he gave up his claim. He moved to Calgary. When World War One broke out in 1914, Tom was in the First Canadian Contingent. He spent four years in the bloody trenches of Vimy. Back in Calgary, Tom married Rebecca Laycock. They had three children, Doris, John and James McCubbin – all living. (pictured in the heading)
North Bay, Ontario, attracted James McCubbin, born 1858, and his wife Elizabeth Ann (nee Clarke). Jame’s parent’s were Robert McCubbin and Janet Carlyle of Annan, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. James came from a family of fishermen, seamen, ship carpenters and master boat builders. It would have been an enormous decision to leave family and friends (about 1906) and travel by boat across the Atlantic with their eight children. The family skills carried on in the family. They worked in boat building, carpentry and the train yards in and around North Bay.
Recalls John McCubbin of Kingston, Ontario, “They were big into boats, renting canoes and rowboats down by the government wharf in North Bay. I recall as a youngster, visiting the McCubbin boat building shop by the wharf in the 1945-1955 period.”
The war memorial honor roll of North Bay lists some of James & Elizabeth’s sons as having served in the First World War. Many of their descendants live in Canada and the US today.
Another McCubbin family in North Bay came from a different line in Ayrshire, that of Daniel McCubbin, born abt 1759 and Margaret McGhie. One of their descendants, Norman John McCubbin moved to North Bay about 1900 with his family of two boys and five girls. Norman had a men’s wear store in North Bay. His son, Harold Bruce McCubbin took over the business until about 1980.
In Canada there are several descendants of William McCubbin of Ayrshire, born 1811, Ireland, son of Shaw McCubbin (of Ireland) and Sarah Chapman (evidence recently found in Irish records indicates Shaw’s surname was spelled McKibbin). Relates a descendant now living in Alberta, “Dad wanted to immigrate for better opportunities for the family. It was a toss up between Australia or Canada. Canada won out since he had a Aunt in Vancouver. Dad came over first to find work.”
A descendant of Alexander McCubbin and Jean Gray of Ayrshire, Bill McCubbin of Saskatchewan has been in contact with distant cousin, Penny McColm, and told of his father’s life:”Dad, Reynolds McCubbin, was born 1884, in Liverpool, England, at 57 Merton Rd, (this home being a landmark today we understand). He was the youngest of 12 children born to James and Ann McCubbin. He went to a boarding school, at a fairly young age, which he was not fond of. He developed asthma and was told to move away from England if he wanted to live a longer life. As a consequence, he came to Canada in 1904 at age 20. He started a new life in Alberta, then worked his way eastward to the Lipton area of Saskatchewan, where he worked as a farm labourer for the Hays family. When WW1 broke out he joined the Canadian Army and went overseas to the battlefield. He was wounded once in the hand, also gassed with ‘Mustard Gas’. After the war he took up homestead rights on a quarter section of land four miles from Mr. Hays farm. He lived in a tent all summer and one winter, until he had some land cleared and a house built, all the while courting our mother, Ada Hays, whom he married in Dec. 1922. They proceeded to raise we five kids. They went through some good times and bad on the farm – the dirty 30’s being the worst. But somehow they managed and we never went hungry. Still suffering from asthma, at age 62, he gave up farming and moved to Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask, near Lipton where he worked at the local hotel. He passed away at age 86 and is buried at Lakeview Cemetery.”Abridged copy, by ‘Bill’ William Reynolds McCubbin of Canada (above was first written in the CUB Report 2006).
Also, migrating to Saskatchewan was Alexander McCubbing, born 1885, who became known for his Clydesdale horses.
In British Columbia we know of McCubbins from three different Scot families.
Ira Case McCubbin lived in the Fairmont area of Vancouver. His family “came to Brantford, Ontario from New York via Boston.” Many descendants live in the Vancouver area.
Thomas Hazle McCubbin, born Ayrshire, 1877, died Prince Rupert , B.C. 1935. His ancestors were Alexander McCubbin and Jean Smith who married in Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland, 1765. Several of their descendants live in British Columbia, other parts of Canada and the US.
Robert McCubbin, born Kirkmaiden, 1866, to Agnes Johnstone, widow, daughter of William McCubbin and Anne Chalmers. Robert worked as a draper (tailor or travelling salesman) in England then emigrated to B.C. where he “set up an implement business.”
After the Second World War, more and more single women began to travel to Canada. It took an adventuresome woman to leave Scotland alone. Some had no idea they were leaving for good – the trip to Canada started as a working trip, an adventure, or a vacation. Others knew they were uprooting themselves, leaving family and friends, at a time when the world seemed larger than it does today.
Agnes McCubbin of Toronto tells of her trip to her first position as a domestic helper, “In June of 1962, I bade a sad farewell to my family and boarded HMS Carinthia in Glasgow. Feelings of nostalgia overwhelmed me as the ship sailed down the River Clyde, out into the Irish Sea and then on to meet the Atlantic Ocean.
The sailing trip however, turned out to be an adventure. The excitement of the passengers, the vastness of the ocean, the sight of a huge iceberg, an ocean storm, and the anticipation of arriving in Canada became almost too much; I truly felt like an all time pioneer!
From the shipyard at Montreal, I went to the train station where I embarked on a train bound for the Soo (Sault St Marie). I was overwhelmed by this journey as I could not relate to the vastness of the country or to the barren wilderness that I could see from the window of the train. In short, I remember thinking that somehow I must have landed on the moon!!”