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Rev Norman Macleod
Rev Norman Macleod
Norman Macleod was born at Port na Chreadhaich, Clachtoll, Assynt in 1780 to Daniel and Margaret Macleod. He entered King's College, Aberdeen and graduated in 1812 with a gold medal in Moral Philosophy and an Arts degree. He continued his studies in Edinburgh but left after two sessions and took up an appointment to teach at Ullapool. Because of his religious beliefs and his inclination to air them he was frequently in trouble with the church - and such was his persecution by the church, emigration seemed the only path open to him. In July 1817 he left his wife and children in Ullapool and sailed on the 'Frances Ann' to Pictou, Nova Scotia. His talents as both sailor and preacher were utilised on the voyage and soon he had gained a faithful following that remained with him after reaching land. He was later joined in Pictou by his family and friends from Assynt.
Highlanders in Ohio who had heard about his preaching invited him to be their minister and, with his flock willing to follow him, an 18 ton schooner was built to ferry them. They reached as far as St Ann's Harbour where they found fish in abundance and land so fertile that they decided to settle there. Within a few years a school and church was built, Norman was ordained minister and by 1826 he was their teacher, minister and magistrate. He ran the community with a religious zeal suffering no infringement of his rules but they were relatively happy and prospered for twenty five years until disaster struck in the form of a ruined harvest. The settlement was facing starvation but a letter from Norman's son Donald who had migrated to Australia previously set Norman's mind on moving again. He persuaded many of his followers to make the move with him and in 1851, with 140 people on board, the first ship set sail for Adelaide. But that town was not what they expected nor had wished for, so in 1853 they set sail again and landed in New Zealand establishing a settlement in Waipu.
All-in-all six ships and 800 people followed Norman and his descendants are still in Waipu to this day.