A Landmark Volume on the English in Atlantic Canada

Planters, Paupers, and Pioneers: English Settlers in Atlantic Canada. By Lucille H. Campey. Softbound (2010), 470 pp., indexed, $35. Published by National Heritage Books/Dundurn Press, Toronto.

Review by James Pylant

Planters, Paupers, and Pioneers is the first in a three-book series on the history of the English in Canada. It is also touted as the first comprehensive and detailed study ever written on English emigration to Canada. Indeed, author Lucille H. Campey is a meticulous researcher, relying heavily upon not only the resources found in Canadian national and provincial archives but English county record offices as well.

The emphasis on the English, as an immigrant group to Canada, has long been overlooked. “The Scots came in the largest numbers initially, with the Irish quickly overtaking them, but the English were actually the dominant ones overall,” says Campey. By 1865, in fact, Canada gained more than a million British settlers, with the largest number coming from England. Not surprisingly, the 1991 census reported 82 percent of the Canadian population claimed English ancestry.

Through original research, the author traces the English as they settled in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. Campey examines motivation behind emigration. “The emigrants who came from England to settle in Atlantic Canada were driven primarily by a desire for economic self-betterment,” she says, while pointing out that this occurred even during the rise of England’s industrial age. The author devotes a chapter to the first largest group that came—Yorkshire emigrants. Other chapters follow with stories of the loyalists, the two types of Nova Scotia’s English settlers, the New Brunswick settlers, the Prince Edward Island English, and Newfoundland’s West Country settlers. She also devotes a detailed chapter about those known as the “home children.” Placed in British charitable homes, they came to Canada during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to toil as indentured workers, thus alleviating the Canadian labor shortage. Campey’s chapters are well-written and hold the reader’s attention.

Appendices include a detailed abstract of Yorkshire Passenger Lists, 1774-1775; Ship Crossings from England to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island; Emigrant Ship Crossings from England and Nova Scotia; Emigrant Ships Crossings from England to New Brunswick; Emigrant Ship Crossings from England to Prince Edward Island.

Carefully documented and nicely arranged, Planters, Paupers, and Pioneers is an outstanding contribution to Canadian genealogy.

Planters, Paupers, and Pioneers: English Settlers in Atlantic Canada (The English In Canada) is also available from Amazon.com (affiliate link).

Book Review and Material Connection Disclosure: GenealogyMagazine.com receives complimentary copies of books with the understanding that they will be considered for review without compensation. Some of the links published on this site are “affiliate links,” meaning that if a site user clicks on the link and purchase the item, GenealogyMagazine.com will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we will only recommend products or services that we would personally use and believe will add value to our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”