Friday, March 9, 2018

Nellie's Rock - Cnoc Neilliadh - Aldborough

On International Women's Day it is important to honour the founding women of our communities.  Today we celebrate Nealliadh Helen "Nelly" Campbell of Aldborough Township.  

Nelly Campbell, was the first to charge ashore at Port Glasgow in June of 1818 when she and 18 families arrived in Aldborough Township (now West Elgin).  These settlers were from the western Scottish Highlands, particularly Argyle.  This site was called Cnoc Neilliadh or Nellie's Rock in her honour.  Some stories include that she carried a barrel of salt up the hill.  

According to the West Lorne Women's Institute Tweedsmuir, Nelly was born in Kilmartin, Argyleshire, Scotland.  The story is she was a daughter of the Duke of Argyle and fell in love with her father's butler (a cousin), Donald Campbell.  They eloped and married without permission.  Her father was opposed to the marriage so requested they leave for the colonies.  I'd like to do more research into this Duke of Argyle connection.  Eventually, Nelly and her 9 children immigrated and she brought kegs of gold.  Her husband arrived in October 1818. 

Nelly prepared the first meal for the settlers of potatoes she brought from Scotland and fish caught in Lake Erie.   At the time of the Tweedsmuir the kettle was part of the Old Boy's Association artefacts.  She was said to be a sharp businesswoman and once walked alone, along a blazed trail all the way to York (Toronto) to get the deed to land she wanted for one of her sons.

At some point Nelly and Donald and their sons moved to Southwold Township.  Her daughters lived in Brook Township near Alvinston.  Nelly passed away at the age of 81 on December 18, 1851 at her daughter's home.  Her body was taken on a bob-sleigh to Fingal Cemetary, near Fingal in Southwold Township for burial with others of her family.

In 2019 we are commemorating the Landing of the Settlers in Aldborough and are searching for descendants.  Please contact our office 519-762-3072

Angela Bobier, Cultural Manager  

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