The ancient “Castalia Stone” has distinguished origins from the Scottish Highlands of Victoria County, New Brunswick. It’s glowing heather-green color naturally alludes to the founders of this part of New Brunswick. And, if the light is just right, you may view the elusive Scottish Thistle embedded within its mineral arrangements!
This wonderful representation of our region’s Scottish roots was recently discovered by a trio of visionists who braved the frigid, melting waters of the Muniac Stream in search of “the perfect stone”.
After considerable time and effort, these original “stone-founders” proudly stood along the roadside that parallels the Muniac admiring their discovery. She was a beautiful 270 lb. stone with a strong green color washed smooth by the rushing waters of Scotch Colony. The trio decided then that this stone would become the “Castelia Stone” – in recognition of the emigrant ship of the same name that carried
the original Scottish settlers to this part of our Province in establishing the new settlement of Kincardineshire.
Leaving their homes in the Kincardineshire/Aberdeenshire regions of Scotland on April 25th, 1873 a special train carried these 198 brave souls to Glasgow and to an uncertain future. Here, at the Warf of Mavis Bank, they boarded the ship Castalia under the guidance of Captain William Brown departing the land of their ancestors forever! After a 2-week voyage fraught with cold temperatures, heavy gales, and with many immigrants suffering sea sickness, they finally made port in Saint John, NB on May 10th numbering 1991. A new baby was born along the way and historically named “Castalia Butler Ferguson Brown Morrison”!
Final transport to their new settlement of Kincardineshire, NB was provided by river steamers via Saint John, Fredericton, Woodstock and finally to their destination along the upper Saint John River at Kilburn’s Landing on May 13th and 14th – the nearest point to their destination.
Immediately overwhelmed with unexpected diversity and personal hardships, this group of hardy Scottish colonists persevered. In the years to follow, many others arrived to settle in expanded sites nearby such as Kintore and Stonehaven. What we recognize today at the quiet farming community of the Scotch Colony was carved out of the steep side hills and rocky soils by a wondrous group of unfaltering Scottish immigrants that simply refused to give up!
Back to the stone. . . The trio of discoverers looked again . . . what is that? Is it a thistle? It is! Carefully disguised within the complex mineral arrangements of the stone’s surface was the elusive image of a single Scottish thistle!
Carefully wrapped in a blanket, The Castalia was transported to the historic home of Robert LaFrance and Darlene Morton, a mile or so mile upstream to the “old parsonage” where this community’s most celebrated visionary Dr. Gordon C. Pringle long resided – a fitting beginning for this wonderful stone’s journey!
The Castalia’s next stop will be at the 2017 Gathering of the Scots festival in Perth-Andover on Saturday, June 3rd where she will be awarded her first “Keeper of the stone” in a special ceremony. This prestigious responsibility of caring for the stone will be annually passed on to deserving individuals each year at the Gathering’s closing ceremonies. Accompanied by an official “Journal of Records”, the Castalia will then be relocated to the new Keeper’s choice of location where she will remain for another year.
Described as a “Stone of Passage”, the Castalia will be available throughout the year for anyone wishing to visit. The Keeper of the Stone will maintain a detailed record throughout their tenure of stone visits and lifts attempted. Three categories will qualify for recording in the Castalia’s journal:
1) the touch of knowledge
Shortly after the 2017 Gathering of the Scots, an on-line link to the Castalia’s Facebook page providing her first coordinated location will be advertised via our festival’s Facebook and web pages. This will provide information throughout the year on how to locate the Castalia as well as details on past visits and individual accomplishments.
The Castalia is the first “lifting stone” to be officially recognized in New Brunswick! She has wonderful providence and amazing hereditary significance! Stop into the Gathering of the Scots on 2017 and see this amazing stone – up close and personal! Run your hand over the elusive Scottish thistle within and help us begin the journey of the Castalia Stone!