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On June 16, 1820, Sarah [Wood] Turnbull, a 46 year old widow from Jedburgh, Roxburgh, Scotland, started for America with her family of nine unmarried children (aged 7 through 28). Sarah's husband, Thomas Turnbull, and four of their children had died in Jedburgh prior to the family's departure. Sarah and family sailed from the port of Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland on a Brig named "Margaret". They were at sea for eight weeks arriving at Quebec City, Quebec, Canada on August 10, 1820. Three days later, on August 13, 1820, they boarded the steamer "Malsham" for Montreal, Quebec, Canada.(See> for passenger lists). Arriving the next day in Montreal, the Turnbull family boarded boats to go further upriver to Ogdensburgh, New York, USA

According to the book "A Centennial Souvenir History" by Jas. S. Corbin (1905) page 126: "Emigrants sailing by way of Montreal were transferred to "Durham" boats (click here for pictures)to navigate the Saint Lawrence River. The "Durham" boats were crudely constructed, some having neither sail nor spar but had an enclosed cabin in which emigrants might eat and sleep. Some were powered by sails. They were sometimes drawn by horses, and sometimes were rowed or poled along. Sometimes the men took a pull at the hawser. As they did not travel at night, the time usually consumed in making the trip to Ogdensburg, a distance of 140 miles, took seven days." The family then proceeded another 20 miles, to the town of Rossie, New York, which was a wilderness town that had been settled two years earlier, in 1818. Rossie, still known today as part of the "Scotch Settlement", attracted many Scottish families between 1818 and 1828. Most of these immigrants came from the lowlands of Scotland in Roxburghshire near the Scot-English border.

Sarah and her family of nine children settled outside Rossie in a small stone house on a farm purchased from George Parish. The house is believed to be the same house which still stands on the road between Oxbow and Rossie, New York. Sarah and her family were staunch Presbyterians from the old country and were active in the formation and support of the Oxbow Presbyterian Church that formed in Oxbow, NY in 1820. Sarah died in 1834 and is buried in the old Presbyterian Cemetery in Oxbow, NY. A memorial plaque was installed at the foot of her stone and was dedicated at a family reunion held at Oxbow, NY on August 13, 2005

The family has prospered and multiplied, and now has documentation of more than 3100 descendants in the nine generations who have followed Thomas and Sarah. Turnbull family descendants now live throughout the United States and Canada, and are justly proud of their fine heritage.(And more to come!).

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Sarah's Memorial

Picture by Gordon W. Turnbull.

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Sarah's Headstone

with memorial plaque at the foot.

Picture by Gordon W. Turnbull.
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