Photograph of George Paterson and his family in the stackyard of his farm at 6 Crossapol in 1937. L-R: (back) Sarah MacPhee née Paterson (George’s sister); George Paterson; his wife Margaret (Meta) with baby Angus; (front) Hamish MacPhee, Sarah’s son; George and Meta’s children, Iain and Mairi.
George’s father, Donald Paterson of Balinoe, emmigrated to Pategonia in the 1880s. Patagonia, in the south of Argentina and Chile, was cleared of its indigenous people in the 1880s to make way for large sheep farms. Many men from the Hebrides went out to share in the bonanza.
In 1885 Donald wrote to his brother asking him to send out his birth certificate and baptismal record so he could take possession of twelve square miles of land. He found the native Indians very kind and friendly and recommended shepherding in Patagonia where the pay was good.
Donald married in Patagonia and had a family. He brought his two sons George and John home to Tiree. George was seven years old at the time and could speak Gaelic and Spanish but not a word of English.