In 1834, the community of Fergus, Ontario, consisted of one rough shanty and two unfinished log houses surrounded by endless old-growth forest that teemed with deer, bears and wolves. Into this harsh Canadian setting ventured Hugh Black and a small band of Scottish pioneers, all hoping to find a new life of freedom on land they could call their own. Along with seed to plant oats and wheat, they brought their Scottish traditions, their faith in God, their courage and precious little else. “The Precious Seed” is a fictional account of three years in the life of these early settlers. Through their eyes we see struggle and failure, but in the end, through their steadfast efforts, we see triumph and prosperity, as a new settlement took root in an untamed land.
Author Hugh Templin (“Fergus: The Story of a Little Town”) was the great-great-grandson of settler Hugh Black. In “The Precious Seed” he weaves a compelling story that draws heavily on actual historical events and local legends. Almost all the characters are taken from the pages of local history. The family names will be familiar to readers from that part of Southern Ontario: Anderson, Allan, Barnett, Bell, Clephane, Fergusson, Ferrier, Gardiner, McQueen, Munro, Perry, Skene, Walker, Watt and Webster. These were some of the first settlers of Wellington County, and this story gives us an inside view of what their lives must have been like during the first tenuous years of their new community.