Hector (ship)

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Hector (ship) Museum
Established 2008
Location Pictou Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Type museum shop
Website www.townofpictou.com/hhq/

The Hector was a ship famous for having brought the first Scottish settlers to Nova Scotia in 1773.


A full rigged Fluyt, the Hector (built in Holland before 1750)[1] was employed in local trade in waters of the British Isles as well as the immigrant trade to North America, having made at least one trip ca. 1770 carrying Scottish emigrants to Boston, Massachusetts.

Her most famous voyage took place in 1773 with a departure date around July 1, carrying 170 Highlanders who were immigrating to Nova Scotia. The vessel's owner, Mr. Pagan[2], along with a Dr. Witherspoon, purchased three shares of land near Pictou, Nova Scotia. Pagan and Witherspoon hired John Ross as a recruiting agent for settlers willing to immigrate to Pictou with an offer of free passage, 1 year of free provisions, and a farm. The settlers (23 families, 25 single men) were recruited at Greenock and at Lochbroom (Rossshire) with the majority being from Lochbroom. The settlers that boarded the Hector were poor, "obscure, illiterate crofters and artisans from Northern [Scotland], who only spoke Gaelic." [3] The school teacher, William McKenzie was one of the few passengers on the Hector to speak both Gaelic and English.[4]

The Hector was an old ship and in poor condition when she left Europe. [5] The arduous voyage to Pictou took 11 weeks, with a gale off Newfoundland causing a 14 day delay. Dysentery[6] and smallpox claimed 18 children among the passengers [7]. The vessel arrived in Pictou Harbour on September 15, landing at Brown's Point, immediately west of the present-day town of Pictou.

The year's free provisions never materialized for the passengers of the Hector.[8] They had to hurry to build shelter without those provisions before winter set in and starved them.


During the late 1980s and early 1990s, heritage officials in Nova Scotia sought to commemorate the Hector's contribution to Nova Scotia's Scottish history. In 1992, the Ship Hector Foundation was formed from a group of volunteers in Pictou County and elsewhere who began to raise funds for the construction, maintenance and operation of a replica of the Hector.

The Hector Heritage Quay, along with the Ship Hector Company Store were opened on the Pictou waterfront in the ensuing years. The marine architect firm J.B. McGuire Marine Associates Ltd. was commissioned to research the particulars of the original Hector and to develop blueprints for an accurate replica. Scotia Trawlers of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia were commissioned to complete phase one and two of the construction at the Hector Heritage Quay, which allowed visitors to the Pictou waterfront to observe the ship's progress, making it an important local attraction. After several years of construction, the replica Hector was launched with great fanfare and media coverage on September 17, 2000. The date had been delayed due to poor weather on the 16th.


Year built: ca. 1770
Location: Holland
Length overall: 25.9 m (85 ft)
Beam: 6.7 m (22 ft)
Gross tonnage: 200
Number of masts: 3
Owner: Mr. Pagan, a merchant in Greenock, Scotland


Boudreau, Michael. “A ‘Rare and Unusual Treat of Historical Significance’: The 1923 Hector Celebration and the Political Economy of the Past.” Journal of Canadian Studies 28 (4) (1993): 28-48.

MacKay, Donald. Scotland Farewell: The People of the Hector. Toronto: Natural Heritage/Natural History Inc., 2001.

Reid, Leonard M. Sons of the Hector. New Glasgow, Nova Scotia: Hector Publishing Co., 1973.

External links


The Museum is affiliated with: CMA, CHIN, and Virtual Museum of Canada.


  1. Leonard M. Reid, Sons of the Hector (New Glasgow, Nova Scotia: Hector Publishing Co., 1973), 9.
  2. Ron Wallis, “History of Pictou,” Town of Pictou Nova Scotia, http://www.townofpictou.com/pictou_history.html (accessed November 2, 2008).
  3. Donald MacKay, Scotland Farewell: The People of the Hector (Toronto: Natural Heritage/Natural History Inc, 2001), vii.
  4. Leonard M. Reid, Sons of the Hector (New Glasgow, Nova Scotia: Hector Publishing Co., 1973), 13
  5. Leonard M. Reid, Sons of the Hector (New Glasgow, Nova Scotia: Hector Publishing Co., 1973), 9.
  6. Randal W. Oulton and Penelope Chrisholm, “The Hector Passenger List, Arrived in Pictou 1773,” Pictou County Nova Scotia GenWeb, http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nspictou/ (accessed November 2.2008).
  7. “The Hector Story,” Town of Pictou Nova Scotia, http://www.townofpictou.com/hector_story.html (accessed November 2, 2008).
  8. Leonard M. Reid, Sons of the Hector (New Glasgow, Nova Scotia: Hector Publishing Co., 1973), 18.
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Coordinates: 45°40′29″N 62°42′37″W / 45.67465°N 62.71022°W / 45.67465; -62.71022