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Book focuses on history of Early Skye settlers

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Selkirk Stories, an independent Prince Edward Island publisher, has announced the publication of a new edition of Skye Pioneers and “The Island” by Malcolm A. Macqueen (1878-1960), which will be launched at 2 p.m. on June 16, at the Montague Rotary Library. - Submitted

Selkirk Stories, an independent Prince Edward Island publisher, has announced the publication of a new edition of Skye Pioneers and “The Island” by Malcolm A. Macqueen (1878-1960).

It will be launched at 2 p.m. on June 16, at the Montague Rotary Library. John Westlie, publisher of the book, will speak about what he has learned about Macqueen and how he came to write Skye Pioneers. He will also outline his plans for further research.

Copies of the book will be available for sale for $30 (tax included) at the launch. Cash or credit cards will be accepted. In the meanwhile, the book is now available for purchase online. After the launch, copies will be available locally at Bookmark and Indigo in Charlottetown.

This book, first published in 1929 by the Stovell Company in Winnipeg, has long been out of print and unavailable except in costly used copies. This edition, published in conjunction with the Belfast Historical Society of Prince Edward Island, seeks to make this difficult-to-find work available to the general public in a reformatted and easy-to-read edition.

Skye Pioneers is one of the first, if not the first, published work of genealogy and family history treating the settlers from Skye, Scotland, who came to P.E.I. in the 19th century and went on to occupy positions of prominence in Canada and North America. This book is frequently cited as the source of information for later published works. This makes it an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the settlers aboard the Earl of Selkirk’s three ships (the Polly, Oughton and Dykes) in 1803 or aboard the Mary Kennedy in 1829, as well as for those studying the founding of communities like Belfast, Orwell and Uigg.

This edition has an additional feature: an introduction, written by the publisher, on “Malcolm Macqueen and the Writing of Skye Pioneers.” The introduction is based on archival and genealogical research into the life of Macqueen, as well as into other early publications on Island genealogy and family history.

At a glance

  • Malcolm A. Macqueen is an immigrant success story. Born in Orwell, a graduate (and later principal) of the Uigg Grammar School, he left Prince Edward Island to pursue a bachelor of arts from Queen’s University in Ontario in 1903 and then went west to Winnipeg where he began a legal career.
  • Macqueen seized the opportunities offered by the real estate boom in Manitoba, in partnership with Major Schurman of the Schurman family of Summerside. From all appearances he prospered and led a comfortable life. His wife, the former Harriet Murgatroyd (“Maud”) Riley, was the daughter of one of the most powerful and influential men in Winnipeg.
  • In 1918, at barely 40 years of age, Macqueen seems to have retired from his real estate law practice to devote himself to studying the history of his native province, more specifically of the Belfast area. Skye Pioneers (1929) is the first publication to come from this study, with a second book, Hebridean Pioneers to follow in 1957.
  • Malcolm Macqueen died in 1960 in Winnipeg, where he had continued to make his home despite his devotion to the past of Prince Edward Island.

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