SCOT­LAND

Antelope Valley Press - - Life­style -

land of the set­ting sun.” (Los Angeles Daily Her­ald,

Jan­uar y 29, 1885).

“At ‘Scot­land,’ one-mile north­west from the arte­sian well, is a busy thrifty set­tle­ment of half-adozen Scotch fam­i­lies who are push­ing things and will be able to make a good show­ing at har­vest­ing time. They have es­tab­lished a pri­vate school of which Mrs. Whit­taker is the teacher.” (Los Angeles

Her­ald, Fe­bru­ary 22, 1885).

Val­ley pioneer, Mrs. Joseph E. John­son (18531942), for­merly Mrs. Howard Mathew Forsyth née El­iz­a­beth Ann Spencer, was very knowl­edge­able about New Scot­land. In June 1883, she set­tled by Wil­low Springs, which was about twoand-a-half-miles North of the fledg­ling com­mu­nity.

In her mem­oir, she wrote: “They came about 1882. There were Jef­freys, Louis and Youngs. The place in which they resided is now called Esper­anza. They came di­rectly from Scot­land. They had heard of the place just as we had. When we were leav­ing Lon­don to go through to New Orleans on the boat, some­one gave us a pam­phlet. We came from Birm­ing­ham, Eng­land. Mr. Wicks’ pam­phlet spoke of the val­ley as be­ing a healthy lo­cal­ity … We wrote through the May­nard Post Of­fice to some of these Scotch fam­i­lies.”

El­iz­a­beth later set­tled in Del Sur around 1886. She and her sec­ond hus­band ran the Del Sur gen­eral mer­chan­dise store and post of­fice. She is buried in the Lan­caster Ceme­ter y.

Un­for­tu­nately, the New Scot­land colonists re­lied on farm­ing tech­niques they had uti­lized

suc­cess­fully in their home­land and had prob­lems ad­just­ing to the meth­ods needed to farm prop­erly in the AV. Only af­ter a few years, most of them aban­doned their prop­er­ties. Some moved away, while others re­mained here. John­son also wrote: “The Scotch fam­i­lies grad­u­ally starved out. They tried to raise just grain, but the soil was too heavy.”

The “Pall Mall Bud­get” (July 14, 1887) gave an in­ter­est­ing re­port by the Bri­tish Vice Con­sul at Los Angeles, Mr. C. White Mor­timer, de­scrib­ing the sit­u­a­tion of English and Scot­tish peo­ple who had been de­ceived by AV ad­ver­tise­ments: “Many English­men who have come here have been un­suc­cess­ful, ow­ing to the un­prac­ti­cal char­ac­ter of the ed­u­ca­tion they re­ceived. Many, too, have been ru­ined ow­ing to their hav­ing re­lied on the false rep­re­sen­ta­tions of in­ter­ested par­ties in Lon­don. The AV, the poor­est part of this district, is full of English and Scotch fam­i­lies, many of whom have not now means to get away … Many of the res­i­dents in the AV had ar­ranged to set­tle there by the ad­vice of rail­road agents in Lon­don be­fore leav­ing their homes in the old coun­try. The farmer who is used to the meth­ods of agri­cul­ture preva­lent in Eng­land and Scot­land would un­doubt­edly fare badly by plung­ing into AV.”

To­day, there are only a few re­main­ing scat­tered stone ru­ins in­di­cat­ing where the aban­doned New Scot­land colony once ex­isted.

Ru­ins of a stone struc­ture from “New Scot­land” (c. 1968). Cour­tesy of Zella Scott; In Love with Life in Lan­caster, Hard Times (1927-1932) by Grace Gra­ham Pickus.

AV Pioneer El­iz­a­beth John­son

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