Conditions had grown nearly miserable for the Buies of Jura as the fourth
decade of the Eighteenth Century closed. Essentially, the clan system on the western islands of Scotland was finished, since the Earl of Argyll and his Camp-bell aillies controlled the local governments. The Campbell lairds had no use for the tenant-farmer and could make more profit by leasing the land for pasture or create large deer hunting estates. Consequently the rents soared to unpayable levels. Also, the tacksman, a form of sub-leaser in some areas, was eliminated so the landlord could exploit the tenants to whatever degree he desired. As a result of these economic perils, crime became prevalent. Thievery and vandalism wes common. The Buies had no means of protection except through their despised landlords. Moreover, another factor was overpopulation. One person noted "a half-starved Highland woman frequently bears more than twenty children."
Reports from America, especially North Carolina, told of fertile land which an individual could actually own. Donald Campbell of Jura wrote to his friend Collin Shaw in North Carolina, "I find by your letter to Neill M cArthur that you are in a good way of living." Mary Clark of Islay begged her father in North Carolina,"... now if you could write me and send me some way or another what would help me go over myself, my husband, and five children, as I would fain wish to go where you are if I could, and if you are so well off as what I am informed you would not miss it much would you take us there." Alexander Brown of Islay wrote his cousin, Neill Brown the son of Hugh Brown and Mary Buie, "... when people come to age in this country (they) always come to poverty, which makes me willing to leave it because of my children ... we are under bondage in this part of the world." An anonyomous pamphlet circulated in Islay voiced, ..." the Highlander should seek help for refuge in some happier land, on some more hospitable shore, where freedom reigns and where, unmolested by taskmasters, they may reap the produce of their own labor and industry."
One of the first to leave Jura for North Carolina was Alexander Clark in 1736.
He paid the passage of many poor immigrants, and provided them employment until the debt was repaid. A large group left the the Herbides 1739 carrying many emigrants from Jura including Archibald Buie and also probably Daniel Buie and others. Between 1747 and 1750 Baliol of Jura ran a vessel regularly from there to Wilmington, each ship packed with Highlanders filled with hope. A ship from Jura landed in Brunswick in 1767 with fifty Scotch settlers. In 1771 a magazine reported, "upwards of 500 souls from Islay and the adjacent islands, prepare to migrate next summer to America." Another boat left Jura in 1774. The exodus halted during the American Revolution, but resumed at the restoration of peace. In 1792 Rev. Francis Stewart of Jura stated "Emigrations to America have proved once and again a drain to this island."
The earlier emigrant groups were organized by tacksmen. The Highlanders sold their stock and farm implements for funds some of which was paid to the tacksman as a down payment. The tacksman then contracted a shipowner to provide the vessel, crew, food, water, and accomodations. After the Revolution commercial ship companies ar-ranged for transportation.
As the Scots left Jura, they took one last look at the Paps. Each would pick
up a stone and collectively erect a mound known as a cairn. The pile of stones was a monument to their homeland signifying that the memory of their island friends and relatives would never fade. And, as they boarded the waiting ship, the emigrants would turn tearfully and bid farewell to their relatives and friends, "Cuiridh mi clach 'nad charn" meaning that upon arrival in North Carolina "I will add a stone to your cairn."
Conditions on the trip were terrible. The Scots were placed in filthy, unventilated, crowded compartments below deck. Meals were composed of spoiled pork, moldy
bread, or raw oatmeal. The water was often brackish. Death, particularly among the children, was common. The Ships' captains and crews were mostly indifferent to the
sufferings of the passengers.
One traditional story handed down by several generations of Buies states that their forefathers were part of a large group of about 300 Scots who either purchased an old ship or used a tacksman to contract one. The overcrowded vessel stopped briefly on the coast of Northern Ireland for supplies then launched for America. The trip was long and difficult. Food and water became scarce. Several of the people went mad and jumped overboard. Finally, the ship arrived in North Carolina but during a storm the vessel wrecked or ran aground at the mouth of the Cape Fear. The starved survivors of the voyage disembarked to begin their new life. This story may be a personal account of the 1739 crossing.
Scots remaining in Jura watched sorrowfully as ship after ship left the island's shores carrying old friends and beloved kinfolk to America. One who stayed, Duncan Campbell of Ardmenish, wrote Collin Shaw in North Carolina in 1764, "I desire that you mind me kindly to the Jura people who were my good neighbors. My wife and I join in our compliments to you and your sister, to Hugh McLean and his family, Malcolm Buie and his family, Archibald Buie Smith and his family, Alexander Clark and his family, Donald Peterson, and all the McCrains and tell them I am very well and want to hear the same account of them." Then, in a nostalgic tone, perhaps fondly remembering old friendships, he closed, "And tell them I have killed a deer this same year on the moors of Tarbert."