46324: Visit to Patagonia II

Margaret Smith, along with her siblings, Donna and Iain decided to visit Patagonia in 1994 in order to retrace their father’ Malcolm Smith’s footsteps and those of the many scores of Lewis and Harris people who had made this distant land their destination at the beginning of the Century. Below is an account of their visit in 1994 and another visit made in 1996.

previous page

Everything had to be carried over the untracked pampa in bullock cart. Nowadays, there is a road to the farm and lorries make the transporting of animals and materials a lot easier. Employed on ‘Brazo Norte’ for a number of years was Murdo Buchanan of 9 Mangersta. After his retirement, he moved north to the region of the capital city, Santiago, where his son Donald John and his daughter Mary Ann, reside. Murdo Buchanan died there several years ago.

On our return trip from Peggy’s farm we diverted in order to have a look at ‘Estancia San Gregorio’ where many of the men from the Lochs area of Lewis worked. The farm of 222,000 acres, close to the Magellan Straits, at one time carried 100,000 sheep and was one of a number of such huge farms owned by Jose Menendez, the sheep tycoon of Patagonia. Donald Macaulay, 10 Keose; Ewen Macdonald, 38 Balallan; Murdo Macleod, 5 Keose; Murdo Smith, 2 Balallan, Angus Macleod, 50 Balallan and Peter Maclennan of Seaforth Head were some who are known to have spent many years there.

Of the numerous impressive monuments to be seen in the city of Punta Arenas, is one that was of particular interest to us as it commemorates the shepherd. Magnificently fashioned in bronze, the statue depicts a life-size shepherd with his sheep, horse and dog, all struggling against the eternal strong wind of Patagonia. How proud our Island emigrants would be of it. Close by is the municipal cemetery where several Lewis and Harris exiles, once well acquainted with shepherd life, have been finally laid to rest. We went there to look in particular fort the grave of a relative, Donald Smith, 1 Keose, son of Angus and Addie Smith. We knew little of him except that he was married to Josephina Yung and that the family at Keose had had word of his death in the early 1960s. We did not know if they had a family. Eventually, after much searching, we found their inscribed gravestone. Alongside them were the graves of their two sons, Donald and William.

Two days later, on our return from a visit to a National Park, we were very surprised to be met at the bus terminus by the two surviving members of the family; Angus Roderick Smith and his sister Isabel. They had learnt of our quest for the Smith family and were overjoyed to meet relatives of their father for the first time. That evening was spent in trying to catch up on almost a hundred years of family history. The fact that they were Spanish speaking and could not understand us too well made little difference to the joy of the occasion.

When we returned to Punta Arenas two years later, it was like a home coming, with several Smith families waiting to welcome us.

Angus Roderick and his wife, Adelina have a son Roderigo and a daughter Lilliana, who is married and has a baby daughter, Barbarita.

Isabel Smith is married to Jorge Pavicic and have two daughters, Isabel and Alexandra. Juanita, the widow of William Smith has two sons, Patrico and Eduardo and a daughter, Zaira who had two children.

next page

Record Type:
Story, Report or Tradition
Record Maintained by: