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