They may be many thousands of miles away from Cardigan’s 2010 festivities, but the people of New Brunswick are taking a particular interest in what’s going on.

Nearly 200 years ago, emigrants set sail from Cardigan to make a new life in Canada. They founded the Cardigan settlement in New Brunswick. Today many of their descendants still live in the area and celebrate their Welsh heritage.

One of those is Colleen Williams who has sent a package of information to Cardigan’s 2010 committee including an article she wrote on the Cardigan settlement.

“It would be hard to imagine the thoughts and the emotions of these people during the early months of 1819, when they were trying to decide whether or not to leave their homes in Wales and journey to a new country.

“These people were following a dream of “starting over” in a new world in a place where both land and opportunities for a better life seemed plentiful. However this dream did not come without a price. It meant that they must leave their families and all the familiar things that they held dear. They knew that once they stepped aboard the ship in all likelihood they would never see their families again.

“Shortly after their arrival in June 1819 they made their way from the port of Saint John to Fredericton. Within a few weeks, many of them peititioned for land grants in the newly opened area of what would become the Cardigan settlement. According to the land survey maps of that period and the information contained in the Actual State of the Cardigan Survey issued in August 1820, lots were granted based on the family requirements - with 200 acre lots given to men with families and 100 acre lots to single men.”

Colleen has managed to gather information on all of the original Cardigan settlers - with some colourful stories.

“David Saunders and Elizabeth Bowing emigrated aboard the Albion in 1819.

“David was born in 1771 and became a gardener for the Earl of Bowing, Cardigan.

“There he met his wife Elizabeth who was the Earl’s daughter. After a period of time they eloped and as a consequence of their actions, the Earl disinherited her.

“David and Elizabeth had eight children - Ann, Martha, Frances, David, Thomas, Maria, John adn Rachel - all of whom were born in Wales. It is not known for certain whether all the children came to Canada as we have never been able to collect information on Ann, David and John.

“David petitioned for Lot 6 East in 1822 and received full title for this along with half of Lot 5 East in 1826. David was among those who helped form the Baptist Church and also signed the letter for the Blaenywaun Church. He signed the petition for roads as well. His son Thomas formed the first school in 1825 and taught there until 1827.

“David died January 8, 1851 and Elizabeth died March 2, 1852. Both are buried in the Cardigan Welsh cemetery.”