From Loudoun To Argentina

Thomas Young and Mary Richmond lived in Alton in the parish of Loudoun and they had 8 children that we know of.  Two of their sons, Andrew & William left with their families for a new life in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

We don’t always know the story behind families leaving their home country so when Jorge & Patricia Young visited Loudoun Kirk, they told us some fascinating details of Jorge’s ancestors departure and we appreciate the information they have passed on to us.


The Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation signed between Great Britain and The United Provinces of the River Plate (predecessor of modern Argentina) on February, 1825, initiated an important British immigration period.

One of the most interesting migratory waves was led by John and William Parish Robertson, already established in Buenos Aires, who wanted to develop a Farm Colony with people from the West and Southwest of Scotland in Argentina.

The establishment of the colony had been arranged between the brothers John and William and the Argentina Government (President Bernardino Rivadavia).

In effect, the colonists were mainly from the West and Southwest of Scotland and were chosen based on their agricultural skill and their religious and moral character. Each of the farmers brought their own agricultural implements, tools and machinery.

The Scottish colonists were to be settled near the city of Buenos Aires at a place called Monte Grande, consisting of about 16.000 acres of land, some of the best for agriculture and in which was located the charming residence of Mrs. Robertson, afterwards called Santa Catalina.

A large group of Scottish farmers came to Argentina in 1825 on board of the “Symmetry” (a windjammer, a “full-rigged ship” built in Scarborough, Yorkshire in 1823).

The Symmetry departed from shore of Leith, Edinburgh, on May 20th  with 211 passengers and arrived in Buenos Aires on August 8th with 213 after two births had taken place during the voyage. The disembarkation was successfully completed on the 11th.

Within two years the settlers had changed a thistley waste into a model of industry, comfort and agricultural improvement. Their production included numerous dairy and agricultural commodities. A mill was built to grind corn-flour from the local maize. Nonetheless, they acquired great renown as producers of butter and cheese and managed to make the first butter to be well made and divided up into pats of 1 lb. to be sold in the city of Buenos Aires.

The colony fell through after only three years, when President Rivadavia was obliged to resign. Chaos reigned everywhere as the country became engulfed in war with Brazil and in increasing civil war (between Unitarian and Federal factions). Marauding soldiers as well as indians looted, plundered and murdered everywhere they went. Nine members of a Scottish family were murdered during this period. The colony dispersed, many of them found employment in Buenos Aires itself, where some fared better than others.

However, in the short-term some farmers settled down in the rural districts and founded some of the most important farms in terms of productivity. Many of the ploughmen, after a few years of successfully dairy-farming, became land owners.


Passages extracted from a book detailed below:Publication:

‘Records of the Scottish Settlers in the River Plate, and their Churches’Author: James DoddsSource: Pages 11-12-13-14-15-16

Actual text:

‘The colonists were assembled at Edinburgh, about the middle of May 1825. They numbered, more or less, 250 souls including children. It had been arranged that they should embark at Leith, and they sailed, from that port on the 22nd of the month on board the ship Symmetry, William, familiarly called ‘Wullie’ Cochrane, commander-an honest Scot

The great harmony prevailed throughout the voyage: a long sea voyage of nearly 3 months in an emigrant ship. The passage, on the whole was a pleasant one, and not devoid of the usual fun and frolic.

They reached the anchorage in the outer Roads of Buenos Aires on the 8th of August, all in good health, after 78 days of life on the ocean wave.

Before leaving the ship they sang the immortal ‘Auld Lang Syne’ in full chorus and the debarkation was successfully completed up to the 11th

The colonists were much surprised and amused at the primitive mode of landing from the boats in queer looking horse-carts. The carts were large wooden axles and most enormous wheels, towering both above horses and driver, who was seated on one of the animals. Such was the landing of the colonists on a tempest-worn beach, without breakwater or landing stage.

They remained a few days in the city before making their exit to Monte Grande: many of them who had visited the public buildings were agreeable surprised at the splendid interior of some churches, and were delighted with a stroll over the grounds of some of the charming ‘Quintas’ of the wealthy countrymen in the suburbs, etc…..

They made their exit from the city in the time-honored ship of the Pampa – a troop of bullock-waggons – and as they emerged into the bright sunshine and bracing air of the country, their spirit rose at the novel sights around them, the wide extended view over treeless plains…..etc.

They arrived safely at their destination early in the day, and were comfortably placed in temporary quarters at Santa Catalina, until they could be distributed on their respective allotments…’

Jorge & Patricia Young

Many thanks to Jorge & Patricia Young for the above information.



Copyright Friends of Loudoun Kirk © 2018



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