Thomas Grimshaw’s Diary of a Journey to Canada in 1850 in Advance of Emigrating There in 1852
(Note: Webpage in preparation)
Thomas Grimshawe was born in 1815 in Lancashire and married Helena Brettargh while still in England. In 1852 the family emigrated to Cobourg, Ontario, Canada, on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Thomas and his descendants are described in some detail in a companion webpage. After about 20 years in Ontario, most or all of the family relocated again, this time to the Cashiers Valley area of North Carolina. Thomas is descended from the Pendle Forest line of Grimshaws, but added an “e” to the surname.
Before the family emigrated to Canada in 1852, Thomas made trip to Canada in 1850, possibly as an exploratory visit with an eye toward potential emigration. During this visit, he kept a diary that is very interesting in the detail of his experiences and the people and places he encountered, as well as his own values (and prejudices!) The text of the diary is provided on this webpage.
Thomas’ diary begins on August 31, 1850, when Thomas departed Lancashire by rail. He sailed on the Asia British North America mail steamboat, presumably from Liverpool, and landed in New York City on September 12 after a brief stop at Halifax, Nova Scotia. He traveled by boat up the Hudson River to Albany and by rail westward to Buffalo, New York. He then visited Niagara Falls and arrived in Toronto on September 15, where he stayed until September 23. Next he traveled north to Georgian Bay via the Coldwater River portage, apparently arriving at Port Phillip on Sturgeon Bay. Then he went by boat to Penetanguishene, and then on to Owen Sound, arriving there on October 1. From there he traveled inland (south) about 70 miles to Fergus and Elora. The diary ends on October 11 with an entry describing Elora as “the most beautiful place I ever saw for river scenery.”
A copy of the final page of the diary (October 11, 1850) is shown below. When the family immigrated to Ontario in 1852, apparently they settled in Cobourg, on the north shore of Lake Ontario, about 50 miles northeast of Toronto, which is not among the places Thomas visited in 1850. A transcription of the following image can be found at the end of the full transcription below.
Thanks go to Hilary Tulloch, Redvers Grimshaw and Nancy Flesch for making this webpage possible. Redvers provided the diary referenced below, which apparently was in the possession of Campbell King in Flat Rock, North Carolina in 1986.
- Text of Thomas Grimshawe’s Diary
The handwritten copy of Thomas’ chronicle of his two-month trip to Canada in 1850 has been transcribed and is presented below. The typist commissioned to do the transcription left many blanks for words that could not be read. And in many cases, the spelling (and some grammar) was changed during the transcription. A more complete and accurate (literal) version is planned for the future.
Notes on my journey to Canada west during the months of September and October 1850.
August 31, 1850
Started from home ___the East Lancaster railway about 7 am in no pleasant or comfortable mood I can truly say I would rather be at home. I got on board the Asia British North American mail steamboat about ½ part ___ the river to take on board the mail and depart 1 p.m. They fired a gum and away we went for the New World. The weather beautiful and the sea calm as a fish pond. We kept close in shore of Ireland with its beautiful green fields all day and part of the day after, Sunday, we saw the last of land. Cape Clear
September 1st Sunday
got up about 9 oclock and had breakfast. The sea still so calm, I think there was no one sick. There were many Americans on board. I hear very little grousing the greater part of them were clergymen of some kind or other returning from the peace conference in Germany 18 or 20 in number of all denominations a very self opinionated ignorant set as anyone would want to see. We had 176 passengers on board 110 of a crew. There was a church in the saloon at 11:00 oclock for the crew off duty and passengers attended except self and a young man nephew to Dr. Bowiery who lives in Newfoundland and was returning there having left his wife and children at home somewhere in the South of England. I had with me many letters of introduction and two hundred pounds cash. Captains name Ludkins. Officers names I forgot.
A fine day saw a ship American liner and 4 or 5 others afterwards had a talk with a Frenchman who resides near New Orleans. He said he had a slave, a young man worth 250 pounds sterling and had his life insured for that amount. This slave was married but his wife belonged to another man and the children to the wifes owner. This man had a house of his own and all he could make after a certain time was his own he was not black by any means but very near white. This Frenchman had occasion to purchase a washer woman I forget the price and she desired him to also purchase her daughter, he did so and had to pay 20 pounds more than she was worth someone else desiring to posses her he afterwards found of the child was an Indian. She was a pure Negro however the Frenchman says his humanity was rewarded as the child was worth more than the extra 80 pounds he gave a most awful description of the condition and morality of the female slaves there. The passengers appear to be German and Yankee there are 20 to 30 ladies variation of time the 3/4 of an hour. Cigars and wine very much dearer than on land in England. There are some second class passengers passage 20 pounds instead of 35 for the first cabin, a young Roman Catholic priest one of them, he was rather a bad sample of humanity born in the worst of the slave states half educated and a good opinion of himself and his ability.
The center of the main crank of the engine heats red-hot and water is continually pumped upon it ___ the weather is still very fine but rather inconveniently hot.
The ladies sing at the other end of the cabin. There is a Scotchman also from Georgiana and a slave keeper. 6 PM there begins to be a little motion in the sea the ship heaves. Still there are not many sick. I hear them walk overhead and the ladies still sing. There are many French or rather Swiss with beard on the lip of their chin and no where else.
Felt rather sick this morning could eat no breakfast and though my time was come as everyone except the sailors was sick and all down below. I went on deck and Irishman from Alexandria said I should not be sick at all as he could see any symptoms of anything of sort. I felt much relieved and the sickness went away and at lunch time 1200 I was quite right, everyone however seems very uncomfortable and there is nothing to denote anything like enjoyment. Here and there you see someone with a cigar but not many. Tobacco is not a favorite yet. I feel no inclination to smoke. The few on deck look the very picture of miser.
Strong wind, sailors call it a stiff breeze. There is a great swell in the sea and I walk about with difficulty not having got sea legs yet. The few ladies above board look miserable they are however nothing to talk about at best they are very ugly. We made about 12 ½ knots, or about 300 miles in the 24 hours the weather warm.
Stormy day all very near below and a few people on deck the weather very cold. Had to put on a topcoat. We came close to a ship in the broad daylight however. Strong wind all day saw land off Cape Race this afternoon being 5 days from land to land. Today is what seamen call greasy. Walked around the deck most of the day with Mr. Bowing of Newfoundland. He is now 300 miles from home and will have to go a 1000 to Halifax and 1000 from these to St. Johns. I advised him to take a life preserver or two and go overboard. He said if we came near a fishing boat he would do so.
Listened to the Yankees talk with a scotch parson about religion, slavery and fish. They, the Yankees have a particularly good opinion of themselves. The Scotch person was however about equal to them in that respect (They say in Canada that the devil himself is a scotch; Yankee meaning a Yankee of scotch parentage). Variation of time is 3 ½ hours, every day is like its ancestor. There is nothing to notice but talk to the gentlemen in my cabin. The English officer named Luft Humprise stationed at Niagara Falls spent last winter there and likes very well. There Mr. Dickson of Galt, Dumpees on board and a lady, the wife of a crockery merchant of New Orleans. The granddaughter of one whom signed the declaration of American independence. She is however a great flirt and sites much closer to the captain than she does her husband when he is able to come on deck from sickness. She had enough of him at home I suppose. American ladies I understand like variety. People begin already to talk of a short run expect to shake hales as on Sunday. .
A little lady bird came on board this morning they call it an American wren but very like a linnet. 1,000 miles from land. The sailors say it is a sign of storm. Sir John who occupies part of Mr. Bowerings stateroom takes full 2 hours to dress. Mr. Bowering says if I look at him when finished I shall see that he is nothing particular to look at. The rails are put around the tables today to keep dished plates on the table and the ship rolls and pitches very much. (I shall have more to say about Sir Johns something bridges) The run today 14 knots. . saw iceberg latitude 45 about 100 ft. High. The ladies and other passengers came up to see it. Off Cape Race and can see land so they say but I am not able to do so. ½ after 11 oclock went to bed.
Made Cape Race plain enough 5-½ days from land to land. Saw whales spouting in the distance say 2 miles. Spoke the Europa mail steamers about 12 oclock.
8th Sunday continued
A heavy gale of wind about 10 clock and obliged to put back into the sea. Could not stand on deck and went into saloon with Mr. Bowering to get a glass of whiskey and water. Ship heaved and pitched and rolled heavily continually ___ still the candles and glasses and bottles kept their places. At last she gave a lurch to the leeward the candles plumed onto the floor or anyones knees and the bottles and glasses also. I saw a book slip in the pot shelf overhead and jumped up to save myself. Lost my balance and fell over the back of the seat and rolled under the table on the other side. However I received no damage. When I got up I found Mr. Bowering with a glass of whiskey and water in each hand and the kettle of hot water on his knee. He said you have to hold on to the leg of the table with your leg and to the glass with your hand as there was no more to be got the bar being closed for the night.
Made Halifax about 10 having been delayed 18 hours by the storm. Found the telegraph poles blown down and other damage done by the wind. A most beautiful bay and nice guilla town. Walked about an hour or so and then went on board and oof a heavy swell in the sea but no wind.
Fine morning and beautiful sky still a heavy swell in the sea. Talked all day to the Irishman from Alexandria been very fortunate made 20,000 pounds. The sailors now say that last night was a storm and that we were in some danger being so very near land. . .
All bustle on board brass cleaned ship washed and masts greased. Off sandy nook and expect to make New York by 12 oclock particularly fine weather. Came along side the wharf at house and got dinner by about 4 oclock
Had great difficulty in getting a place to sleep on act of ___ William Merryweather was much ___ se to me. New York a hot dirty place and a ___ place for the cholera and no wonder. The __ people like out of town ___.
Went on board the New World Hudson river boat about 7 oclock fine scenery and a has been every five minutes all the way to Albany. 180 miles. Got there in the evening about 6 oclock having been stopped on a sand bank for some hours. There found I had been tricked in New York by taking a through ticket to Buffalo and could not go until morning without part of the price. I also was attempted to be swindled and was so green that should have been had the scomp not been too greedy. As I entered the gateway to the station house a man gave me a tap on the arm and said this way to the office. I of course followed into an office with railway office over the door on board, and laid down 3 ___ in gold inside the little door for them to take pay out of and return me the balance (I did not yet understand much about dollars) The two men inside talked together in an under tone for so long that I was afraid I should lose my baggage and I took up my money and said I would wait no longer but get ___ take my chance. I mentioned the matter to the conductor in the car and he said if I had got a ticket here it would not be worth a fig as it was an office simply for greenhorns. The board was put up towards evening and then they looked out for emigrants and simpletons and made it into a business and a good one too. We got to Buffalo about 12 oclock. A rough shaky railway. There was an accident a day before and many people killed, 4 gents and 2 ladies, and others hurt. I went to see Dr. Timer the Roman Catholic bishop but he was not at home. Buffalo a dirty place the Yankees call it the gem of the west state ___ here only 4 hours.
13th Sept Friday (cont.)
Walked around Buffalo until evening. Stopped at the Wellington Hotel, just at the railway terminal, went to see the Mayflower, a large river steamer and beautifully fitted up, goes west to Chicago, Racine and Lake Michigan. A young Irishman going by it, but intends to go and see Niagara Falls first. The Mayflower took out the first emigrants from England and the Mayflower now takes thousands yearly west. There were many English here on their way west and amongst the rest a whole village of Norwegian who could not speak a word of English. There was clergyman doctor and every man woman and child and every ___ of old furniture, old shinniny wheels and whole wagon loads of nothing but rubbish. Theres no doubt that they were humbugged out of most of their money. They could not event tell where they were going. We the young Irishman and self left here about 5 oclock for Niagara and got there about ½ 6 or 7 and by the time we got our baggage into our rooms and got tea it was dark or rather moon light. The Irish chap saw the falls of Niagara by moonlight and said if he had though there was no more to be seen he would never have given himself so much trouble as to come. He left in the morning at ½ past 5. I wished him good night and a good voyage to Racine and went to bed glad to get rid of such an ass. He was a pure Irishman and though it made him great to find fault with everything. I should think he was better for the Emerald Isle than anywhere else, it is the only place after all where an Irishman can be truly appreciated when in full blow.
13th Sept (cont.)
The people do not seem to care so much for danger as in the old country. The rails are laid down the street or road as maybe, without protection of any kinds. The children run along side the train. Cattle, sheep, pigs and there are plenty of them, take their chance along with all other kinds of cattle. There is a contrivance before the engine to shove all such things off the rail. All the American railways are to say the least very dangerous and various accidents are very common everyday occurrences as you may say. I understand accidents happen everyday on the Chicago railway. The farmers have had some cattle killed by the trains and not been able to get paid for their loss. In revente put logs or fall a tree upon the tine to throw the cars. I have not seen a railway anywhere in the states where I have been with a fence or other protection to keep stock off. The houses though made of wood, do not look much different to what they do in this country. There are however many stone houses in Buffalo. Dr. Limer lives in one just like a Manchester house of 70-80 ___ annum. The snake fence and log houses on the side of the railway appeared to be very dirty and looks miserable in the entreat dirty and very like Irish. Do not know however if so. The American people so far seem to be and understand a genuine Yankee is so. I have already seen plenty of wine ale and porter and spirits drank and wonder where Mr. Printice could have had his eyes without he went to a temperance hotel for there’s many of that kind. If he had gone into the bar he would have seen more spirit drank in a short time than ever he saw as marchette or anywhere else I think.
14th Sept. Saturday
Got up just at breakfast time, very tired ___ eat and had not slept for 3 days and nights before breakfast here by ½ past 7 ___the farmers here use four wheeled carriages for carts and a pair of horses geared as carriage horses with poles. I saw a lad drive one (the wagons are some thing like the breaks we use) with tung under the field and put the seat upon the top of the tongas trotter. I have only seen one cart and that was in the town and had a pair of old wagon wheels. The wagons and horses are however just the things for the country and they can drive them anywhere and on any kinds of road or where there is no road at all. Oxen here worth 3-10 sterling and cows less. They use oxen for the plough until all the stumps are out of the land and for their wagons and all but when the farm is clear. Horses do better and some farmers begin to wish for heavier horses than the native ones. The cows are like the little sort of Irish or something like our common stock. A great number of them have white faces and necks like the old Hereford. . I saw today 2 horses and 2 oxen in one I though the oxen had collars on I found afterwards that this was now common as to the collars the oxen commonly have yokes. The horses are good about 15 hands they are rather narrow before ___ necked have small feet and drop off from the hip joint very much still they are good useful animals and can do a deal of work. Many of them run in the harness without pad and a common bridle on. I have seen one beggar at the falls on the Canada side he had lost one arm and was an old soldier. I took a coach to look about and see the falls. The coaches and buggies are of a very good sort open all round and leather curtains to batten down when required paid 3 dollars for the half day this was however an over charge of about one half. I think I have forgot to say that I stopped at the Cataract Hotel. There are 5 or 6 in the village and as many on the Canadian side I understand this is a regular show place which\ let it down a pec or two in my opinion and all the fine romantic feeling you would suppose a man to have first seen nature here in all it grandeur receives a severe check on seeing every nook and corner ___ than common occupied by ___ and those kind of cables. Never the less you may say there is no place so fit or likely to call forth the better feeling of the human heart as a midst the hum and din and ___ of this great whirlwind of water – to my mind the association is too common place, I expected seeing folks enjoying nature in all its greatness not following a sample low of nature itself common to the name of clodhopper and his ___ Yankees however know nor care anyway about nature except it comes in the shape of dollars. ___they follow in the ___ who ___ these places for the name of the thing and nothing else ___ I afterwards ___ 20 couples on the bridge to Goat Island by moonlight. ___ the cab man drove me to drummon miller (on the Canadian side) about 4 miles and drew up his coach at the door of a spirit store I was then invited to go up some steps or wooden stairs called an observatory about 40 or 50 feet high or perhaps more and when I got to the top I found an old man with a telescope which he turned and told me to look through. If you look to the right you will see General Brocks monument I said it seems to me I have lost the top or never was finished he said that was the work of the rebels in 1837 and that some money was raised to renew it again but Sir Allen McNab had got it and kept it and would do no doubt and there in that opening in the bush were drawn up the American army extending to where they are raising a new barn, there across that graveyard the British army threw out their forces, in that lane 800 men lost their lives ___ where you see that small name the British dead were burnt (the weather was so warm to dispose of them any other way) even you see that dea ___ the America were done the same to I said the Yankees were so sour that the tree could___. This place is named after Col. Brumond. I had given an English shilling to buy I saw from the top of this place some beautiful places and good land real fine farms and looking comfortable and all settled the old man said in the same way ___ when all the grown crop was harvested and had been two or three weeks except Indian corn in small quantities buck wheat a kind of grain I cannot well describe but not wheat at all they use it for pigs and sometimes in the house in the shape of mush or porridge they sow it when they are too late for other crop, I went from here on a good plank road most of the way to the burny spring, this would be a great curiosity if I had it here a ___ but there among it was not muck. I found also after that this kind of springs are ___ in Canada. The gas I understand is sulphurated hydrogen, the place is covered and a private property. The owner lighted the gas. I lighted a cigar by it, he then gave me a glass full it had no taste. I asked him what it was good for, he said he did not know. Had to pay another c/4 as I came out I saw a lad taking fish with a rod. I went to him and found he was fishing with the grasshopper and the fish sure ___. I helped him a bit and he caught the grasshoppers and I the fish – about 1 lb. each and very plentiful. The grasshoppers and crickets sing like birds. It was some time before I found out that was singing and very lucky I never asked anyone ___. The ___ spring is at the edge of the river and about 8 miles I should think above the falls, there are Indian curio stores in way near every house. I now went to the horse shoe falls Canada side of the river. Gentlemen and ladies walking about here again Indian curiosities ___ tame buffaloes, bull and cow, wolf, bald eagles. I did not go under the curtain of the water as they call it that is under the falls, was however a good deal of trouble having your clothes to change and covered up with oil skin. I was not so much impressed at the falls as ought to have been perhaps indeed it takes some time before you it all understand the immensity of the ___ before you and having made up your mind that you have before you the greatest wonder in the world very near. You find that your ideas of thing have lead you to expect something more than nature and at first sight you experience a feeling of disappointment. I saw the canal boat on the edge of the fall and where the cordline went over stood on the table rock and walked about sometime and then back to the iron suspension bridge a very high affair I understand a Yankee ___ not at all what it should have been. I only began to understand the creations of the natural objects before me when I got back to the Inn and had eaten dinner and go a cigar and began to think about the matter. The whirlpool is about 1 mile below the bridge and the banks are so high we cannot see much. The river there is very narrow and of course ___ turmoil in the water. There are many contrivances for making use of the water for power some have long shafts from the banks to the river and a horizontal water wheel. The place is much frequented by wedding parties, picnics and so on particularly on the Sunday. I think the English side is the more comfortable.
15 Sept. Sunday
Breakfast ½ past 7 and walked about Goat Island, a most beautiful day. There are seats all about and walks and so on. I understand that most of the place on the Yankee side private property; I shall make no attempt to describe what I think is indescribable ___. Here at 2 oclock for ___ by the cars, somewhere about the time when I was about to be able to busy my capacity of mind to understand things, I should however like God willing to see these things again. It is worth anyones time no doubt to cross the sea visit the falls and return home if nothing more. I noticed here for the first time the garter snake, sugar maple, saddle leaves, tulip tree bugenean creeper. The railway a very ___ one and like the sort without fence crossed road without guard and so on but ___ asses through a fine county Lowston is a green looking place at first sight and the first American town or rather county town I have seen. Went to the American hotel, the charge a dollar per aun three meals ___ value of cows like good ___ about to ___ 3-10 sterling this is a most beautiful place ___ in the rough and new – – but begins to come up to what my idea of a place should be, the crickets sing like larks and the only other sound you hear except the hum of the town is now and then the croak of a crow. Just as black as usual. I went down to the riverside about ½ mile from the Inn there was not a ripple upon the water and I could not tell which way it ran. The banks are elevated perhaps 40 feet above the river and are not very picturesque of themselves but the river and all together pleasing and beautiful. While I was standing and admiring the place two men came to look at a boat. I went and asked them which way the water ran gave them each a ___ and got into conversation with them and one of them a scotch man settled here 20 years and asked me to go and look at his orchard and was remarkable civil as indeed all the county people are and mean to have a great respect for anyone they take for a gentlemen. I found this unusually the case in county places everywhere I went. This man said he had enjoyed good health and his family also during the whole time they have lived here the place is not ___ considered health.
As I was leaving the hotel at the falls I asked the landlord, a real Yankee who was standing at the door if he would be kind enough to tell me the name of the best hotel in Toronto, a very common question for a stranger to ask. He looked at me in a very disdainful manner before he answered and then said, no I cannot tell you, they are not able to ___ an hotel there and they are all alike such as they are. I said I only asked for informations sake being a stranger and if he did not think proper to answer a civil question he could let you alone as it would make no difference to me what he said, he then said he had heard folks say, but for his part he knew nothing about it that Beards was the best.
Now I found Beards hotel in Toronto quite as good as his and the difference with two ___. The Yankee with all his talk and ___ of greatness did not own a single bit of property, not a table, chair or anything else in the place, any more than one of the black waiters. He just paid so much a week in shape of rent for the place and the owner would not trust him 3 days longer ___. Mr. Beards was his own property. Was so all through with the country.
I went with the Scotchman as I said before to look at his orchard and was repaid with a splendid sight apples, peaches, and plumbs of all kinds. His trees, he said, were all grafted and of the best sorts and his apples were all carefully gathered and into barrels for exportation when ready they were robbed like onion on the trees and not small bushes like our trees, but about the size of the plano trees close to the vasandale at pevo clogh ___ the apples are worth ½ 28 per barrel he pays 25 or 17 sterling for 40 acres rent he had also ___ quantities of onions not better than ours or I think scarce as good ___ they were grown along with the wheat. He had 8 cows, 15 pigs, a team of horses, Indian corn and everything in the eating way in abundance and a small but comfortable cottage. His wife and two or three daughters looked well and healthy. The land about here belongs to an Englishman who resides in Philadelphia. I noticed here in the fields the elder tree, scotch thistle, Canadian delto, night shade, michaelmas dairy, golden rod, or eye everylasting, Jacobs ladder, and many other that I knew by look but not by name. The plank roads are just as good as anyone could wish a road to be. Good horses are I should think rather scarce however you might buy as good as my chestnut mare for 20 or 25 ___, say 16 or 18 sterling. Nice looking females seem to be very scarce. I think I have not seen one even tolerable looking yet. I offered 3 English penny pieces for a cigar and barkeeper refuse to take them he said he would rather have three half pence and that they were like all English things two big and clumsy for any. The landlord in Louiston said he knew any who came from Europe to there less than 18 days I could have done it in 13, but was 15. The river, the county and the sky are beautiful and must be seen to be understood. Description is useless. I was much deceived in the size of the trees until this time, I though I had not seen one as big as the ash at peersclop. I found when I measured them to be some 6 feet in circle and 90 or more high to the branches. They do not however look so at first sight.
Louiston is 7 miles from the falls and 7 from the town of Niagara. The cows very neat all carry bells around their neck, so that the sound the bell enables the owner to find them when look in the bush as the people call the forest, there are lots of dogs everywhere. Many fine well bulldogs, hounds, pointers, and very large sheep dogs. The dogs are all very good tempered. I heard it remarked often that all kinds of animals were so. Bulls and such like, I wondered if the climate would have the same effect upon ladies. All the steamers upon Lake Ontario are low pressure and I understand all the English lake and river steamers are so. Difference in time between home time 6 hours and 12 minutes. There is a suspension wire bridge in ___ of erection about 1/4 mile below Lowston (this town may be Louiston missing) The soil seems to be strong clay mixed with sand in some places. There are two or three hotels and some good land in the valley above the town but worth I understand 5 or 6 dollars an acre and some very much more. I had heard some there are a lack of ___ somewhere near Niagara but to follow ___ here is ___ on foot or horseback is out of the question.
Sept 16 Monday
Breakfast at 7 oclock. The breakfast hours of ___ waited for the boat until gock chef ___ Robinson. I noticed here a great improvement in double harness late day from heavyweight. A young medical student was very polite to me in telling the name of places and as I asked him he was an American citizen but ___. ___ for the lectures in the college there got to ___ about. The lake very calm anywhere, then very pleasant and comfortable. This Lake Ontario is subject to heavy gales of wind but not very frequently. During the time I was in Toronto a captain of a schooner on the bay is attempting to get on board his vessel in a dugout a boat made of a single log was drawn out into the open lake and by keeping the brodcraft dead before the wind drove right over to the American shore say ___ owners in 14 hours and got back to Toronto in time to attend his own funeral. The day after there were not many passengers on board but among the rest a young man in business in Toronto who came over as the Asia, a Scotchman.
Toronto is ___ the market town I have yet seen and though there is not the bustle of New York or any Yankee town still there is a very considerable business done but in a quiet way more like Liverpool or Manchester. I went to the Beards hotel and for all the Yankee hotel keeper at the falls said found it a good and comfortable place. Not so much show as the American hotels but in some respects more comfortable and just as good a table. There are no gents sitting in chairs smoking in the streets with their legs over their neighbors chair back, or with their legs through the window upstairs. The inhabitants of Toronto seem to have some idea of decency. The Canadian and American hotels are all upon the same principal or very near so, they find you a bed room with a bed comfortable enough wash stand two chairs and small table in the middle of the room and looking glass against the wall and made fast and often no carpet at all and inside the door a printed notice to the effect that if you do not lock the door and take the key or give it to the barkeeper the owner will not be responsible for the luggage left in the bedrooms. There are two doors, one a green one with venetian blind and the other a common one. Down stairs there are the news room one or two other rooms for writing letters, and the bar where there are callers, there is a drawing room upstairs and much better bedrooms, and in some of them there are private rooms if you desire, and the public dining hall. A couple of black porters sit in the entrance hall to attend upon newcomers and at dinner there is a black waiter to about every six people and the charge is 17. I went with my letter of credit to the branch bank of Montreal and found my 100 grown into 123-68. I walked about the town and inquired the price of things. I found however difficulty in getting proper information as to the best routes from place to place as they forwarders always said theirs was the best which in many cases was from true. I found the best plan to inquire of the gentleman in the news room or of the hotel keeper a forwarder would not care about sending you too much out of your way to put 5 in his own pocket, these kind of people are complete rogues in all countries under the sun.
I find that horses worth from 10 to 15 pounds in England are worth the same here in Toronto as near as I could tell. I suppose this is on account of there being so many cabs and hacks of all kinds and 10 pounds is a very handy price, however if you increase the price to about 28 pounds you will get as good a horse as you will at any fair in England for 45 or 50 and you could not find a much greater price asked for any except fast trotters or some of that sort. I saw a great number of very good sheep and some moderate fat oxen in the market, there is a market here every day except Sunday. A fat oxen worth from 8 to 12 pounds and are very large. Sheep (like good draven white faced sheep worth this year at chathau fair 1 1/1 lean) were worth fat in Toronto market for 6 to 8 currency. There is a food market for all kinds of things in the same proportion and very large and convenient in every respect and plenty of venison for 61/2 or 7 pound and lots of fish trout, lake herrings and bass and other kinds common in the lakes and rivers and very cheap and very often not more than 2 or 3 pounds ___ sometime for very much less. The trout and herrings are good but I did not admire the other.
I hired a cab and went up ___ about 7 miles to see Mr. Nightengate late of Gervurne. I have a letter for him from his sister in Clithesor Mrs. Asherford. When not at home he keeps a tavern and has a small farm. I went with his son a very fine lad to look around his farm. Found them gathering ___ and a very good crop. I passed on the way many good houses and fine farms but the country is too flat for my liking. The road, however, is very good so far and I understand all the way to Roland Landing 28 miles. I met both going and returning a great number of carriages of all kinds so far as expenses of buld go, but otherwise very near all of one description. Some of the turn oats were as good as you will see anywhere in this country as far as stile is concerned they however build better and more convenient carriages and ___ then we do. Here and there harness double and single much better and not one half the weight that ours is.
I paid the cabman when I returned to the hotel I found the curio shop. Sir John Jones Bridges reading the newspaper. I asked him where he was going and he pointed over his shoulder with his thumb and said north that was all.
The weather so far has been most beautiful. I can compare it to nothing that I know of but a beautiful summer morning or perhaps a very fine May day but rather warmer ___ as however from ___ inconveniently hot. I went to see the college green a nice place and all seasons growth of the forest are young pine, say 20 or 30 years of age and without except as far as I could see ___ pine. I called on Mr. Dugdale come out from Liverpool. He said coffee and tea were about the half price then were in Liverpool and that he could buy good meat by the cut for 1 ½ per lb. Went into a saddle shop and found I could get a good saddle and bridle for 41 currently very much cheaper than I could from Old Brosa in Bronley and all other horse furniture just as cheap English harness ___ no one here. Mr. Dugdale said that common clothing was not dearer than in Liverpool. I had a letter of introduction to Mr. Stock and Mr. Dugdale went with me to his son a storekeeper in Toronto. His father lives 10 miles away in the township of Elobedoke on the shore of Lake Ontario.
Mr. Stocks junior and self left Toronto about 7 oclock to go and see his father. His farm is 8 miles on the Denton Road a good plank road all the way very near and the rest so that a buggy can go. ___ I however, though that the road was impossible when we left the plan and expected being upset anytime not having experienced anything of bark road yet, for instance the bridge over a creek being washed away last winter and only being replaced by a ferry bridge that did not come to the land by 2 feet or more on either side. Mr. Stocks did not appear to take any notice of but drove over great unconcerned. A very ___ sort of a cow worth 2/10 sterling here is I understand a great difference in price according to the time of the year. There is a farm for sell here 770 acres and good house and barns – beautifully situated on the lakeshore say 1/4 mile. About 200 acres cleared and timber – valuable price asked 16 sterling per acre but I understand might be purchased altogether for less, say 10 pounds. Old Mr. Stocks says that if it could be purchased for 7/10 it would be about right. It would make a beautiful dairy farm and would pay well as Toronto is not well supplied with milk. It belonged to the estate of a bankrupt. We found Mr. Stocks at home engaged in making a new barn and looked that he had help except in the rearing from no one. He seemed to be a very healthy man; his wife also seemed very healthy – was not much astonished this dairy part I had seen is usually like the picture of a Canadian dairy in the views of Canada. The lumber was all very near pine this was not the first farm that Mr. Stocks settled on that he lets for 100 pound per annue 150 acres and talks of doing the same by this when ready as he prefers clearing land more than being a regular farmer he seemed to have everything in real plenty and had settled 3 sons on land in the Huron tract and one in Toronto storekeeper and had 300 pound here and besides and all from nothing in 18 years. They are native of near Chorley and all their children were born in England and were small farmers. They lost all their property from a loan the ship on the ___ river and two small children died on the passage or soon after. They found Mr. Stocks who had come before his family ill of ___ and all of them took it and the long and short of the matter when they all recovered their health then lot of money was all gone.
The country is very much to flat for my fancy here however it is pretty plain that a very small amount of capital would ___ a man with a family in a farm here so that he would be comfortable and independent all the rest of his life we returned to Toronto by moonlight and enjoyed the drive very much everything was so beautiful and different to what I had know or seen before anywhere ___ a buggy is a very comfortable thing to ride in and anyone might travel through all this country. Two or three people with a team for very little expense say 5 or 6 per day. I should think for 2 pounds per week each you might travel in this way anywhere.
Mr. Stocks house was made of wood boards everything about was rough and ready but not very tidy. They invited me to stop all night and on my return to Toronto to come and stop for 6 days. Mr. Stocks said the mosquitoes were not much trouble with them. In the dirty towns and swamp they are a real pest. I have been some days covered as to hand and face with ___ and heat lump. I found afterwards they were the old mag bites which return and swell ___ whenever you get hot for 4 or 5 days after.
19 th Thursday
Rather wet for an hour or ___ but still very pleasant. The shop area very much better than in Burnly and as wide again, there is a greater variety of things to sell of all descriptions. I should think very near any kind of article may be purchased as easily as in March and a great many things very much cheaper. House rent is very dear. Mr. Robinson from Burnley who I met today says the cost very near as much building as in Burnley and the land or ground rent was considerably dearer. I got my hair cut by a blacky and was much amused by the antics he cut. They use wishs made of the broom tops a kind of corn grown for the purpose for everything clothes brush, horse whip or floor brush and my ___ felt they are for the purpose indeed about the most useful thing I have ever seen anywhere. Went this evening with a Mr. Stewart from Glasgow to meet a Dr. Crimson and there we met a Mr. Mayorbanks who intends to write a description of Canada from ten days residence in Toronto and a description of the United States from three days residence there in New York, on his return home. Rather cloudy today but most beautiful.
I walked about today inquiring about matters and things a very nice open carriage maybe get for 60 sterling and a good and handsome buggy for 20 or 25 finished so that no gentleman need be ashamed of it. The farmers and their wives bring anything they have to sell to market in their wagon, three or four live fat sheep with their legs tied or so, many dead and dressed but not cut up or a fat cut in quarters in this state meat may be purchased for 2 per lb. At a guess by the lump, ducks fowls, turkey, ham, bacon, and cheese by the wagon load, potatoes, meal flour, eggs, plumbs, peaches, apples, melons, pumpkins, and in so in quantity, a decent goose 4 pounds and the rest of the things in proportion, a good fat balrick is worth 6 pound not 8 or 10 as I saw before. There were many well-dressed ladies in the market, 3 ___ fish about 3 lb. Each for 1 pound. The wagon were placed down both sides of the street near to the market house and the farmers sold their produce mostly to the store keepers, if however they did not dispose of them quick enough, they turned auctioneer and sold what they had to the highest bidder. Some of them came 30 miles that morning and would return home and perhaps some of the roads not real good. In the afternoon young stocks drove me for 10 miles on ___ we saw many nice farms, really comfortable places and some of them good gentleman houses. The land here is very dear 10 or 20 per acre. We met many respectable carriages and some ladies driving buggies. The ladies are all remarkable ugly. I should think that a real handsome woman would be a curiosity. The roads are all in straight lines called conversion lines and a crossroad every mile call side lines. The conversion roads are all good near the towns but the side lines are nothing done to but cleared of wood they however when cleared of stumps leveled with the plough are good roads in dry weather, which means very near always. There are no heavy carts to cut them up, the farms all about are still full of stuff which shows the rapid progress of things here as 8 years will clear the stumps out without much trouble. This is a fine place for rides or drives as you are not much trouble with toll bars, the law not allowed them nearer than five miles from one to another, the farmers as they get on build good brick houses instead of the log ___ but without any attempt to taste.
I met Mr. Geard the landlord at the market this morning, and went with him. Common vegetables seem to be the same as at home and the same price. I have no doubt as good market garden would pay well here there were many kinds of cucumbers I never saw before, plenty of grapes and millions of plumbs for vin ___ a man would have to be very particular if he could not purchase a good dinner for a trifle. Venison 71/2 per lb. And in abundance in fact anything from ___ to a ___ or game however was not plentiful. Mr. Beard said the best market was about 7 oclock in the morning and that most of the things were gone, the market people are very civil, indeed they are of all kind, seem so except now and then a new imported Irishman, I have a great difficulty however in getting information as to the best routes from place to place, the people both there and in the states go by direct routes from place to place on business and go on and neither inquire or know anything more about anywhere, therefore you leave the common road you are at a loss for information a man would travel through Canada very comfortable after having been through it once. The weather still remains very fine imagine the most beautiful summer day you ever remember, suppose it about twice as pleasant and you then may have some idea of the weather here. It continues this way until the end of November and sometimes when the Indian summer is late until Xmas. I do not however like this neighborhood very much as a settler it is far too flat. I think to be always healthy. I understand the timber was very nearly all pine and there is no doubt a good deal of swamp here and there. Land also is very dear. Farms will let the same as at home. I think there would not be near the difficulty about servants generally understood or their wages much more than I pay at Piersclogth. Blacks are in abundance no doubt good servants. The waiters at hotels are all of them and the new law in the U.S. will take over lots in the neighborhood of ___ they have blacks for farm servants and no other kind. The Catholic Church is a very large and the priests go about in full rig, ___ in casock and ribbons around their waists. I have seen the resident ones often go walking about the streets.
Sept 22 Sunday
The 4th from home. I walked about to see the people going to church. They are all remarkably well dressed, including some rather elderly ladies in white. Very near all the young ones were so dressed. The ladies walk about the street in Toronto until 11 oclock alone or two together without gentlemen everyday in the week shopping and so. On with the high lust fear of insult though there are no policemen. Thought a great number of people in black a greater number then the average quantity that should have been.
Colonel Carathers had a fine farm 100 acres and good house to sell, I promised to go see it and if like the picture he had of it a very pretty place he wanted 1000 pound for, I saw an eight row wheat drill on the wharf well made and of very handsome wood the maple. I had come from the show at Niagara the agricultural show for Canada. I understand there is much difficulty with the foundations of houses on account of the whole building lifts and when the thaw comes settles down out of plumb. They cover the houses with tin or wood as stone slate of any kind breaks with the frost.
The houses in the suburbs are raised ½ story with stone and then a veranda and one story above. By being raised above the ground all about may be rather rough without looking so very untidy. Bills of exchange are the proper sort of thing to ___ here and are worth 2 percent more than a letter of credit or bank notes. I however got 53 odd for 45 ___ and currency will got at any rate as far here as cash will in England which is something. I met Robinson and wife late Miss Fielding of Pendleforet going to church about 9 oclock, there are hundreds of dogs in the streets and I have not yet seen a fight. Beards charges to keep is 1 pound per week for anyone and ½ for children ___ and find a private sitting room. It is soon dark at night seldom light either summer or winter the evenings are ___ beautiful and people generally go soon to bed and are up soon in the morning. I got 25 pound worth of small dollar bills and cannot for the life of me keep from thinking they are 5 pound notes.
23 Sept. Monday
I left Toronto by stage about 2 oclock p.m. for Holland Landing 36 miles far 4 pound sterling and got to Holland Landing about ½ past 11 ___ having to stop at every tavern I should think on the way. There was on board the stage lawyer going to the Azores al Barrie who was very much vexed at the delay as they would miss the stage at 8 oclock the time about that we should have bot there the people on laughed at him, whiskey or any kind of spirit is 2 pound per glass as much or as little as you like as they give you the bottle to fill for your self. I treated the whole stage load and two or three who were in the bar here all for 2 pound. The stages are something like the pictures you see of old French stages not much iron about them and swung on leather straps instead of springs and hold 20 inside and a good lot outside. ___ as mile without a tavern the country is very flat the road is good all the way and very near covered with farmers wagons all the way going or returning to market. The people in the stage were all sorts and were very ___ and well behaved one with another and seemed fonder of jokes and fun in their talk than ___ or anything of that sort. It was a very warm day and continued so all night you could sit comfortable ___.
24 Sept. Tuesday
I stayed at Holland Landing waiting for the stage until ½ past 2. I was much bit with bugs; I should have gone to see Colonel Caruthers farm 8 miles from here, but did not like the country and indeed had scarce time. I only got to know that David the prophet lived close by when I was too late to go and see him. The landlord gave him a very bad character. They call themselves the Davidiles and he the prophet is waited upon by 20 young women.
Holland Landing is the most sickly place imagination could conceive, in the midst of a large swamp and perfectly flat. Everyone here is troubled with the sickness, fever and ___, I paid ½ pound or English1 pound for bed and breakfast and had luggage taken out of stage and put ___ into the bargain, saw a very curious reptile a kind of lizard the landlord said they were very generous it was in the street and about the size of your finger. There had been some housebreaks about here a thing very uncommon in Canada they run however great risk as the people would shoot them down as they would a bear if they got a sight of them. There also seemed people about without any occupation living in taverns, gambling, and this neighborhood might be called the dismal swamp. From Holland Landing stage about 3 miles through the bush through a perfect swamp and narrow river like a canal in the midst amongst the hedges and there was no house or covered place of any kind only as wooden stage through the hedges for the people to walk to the boat there were six or seven passengers besides self and some Indians of the Chipaway tribe with their canoes, we had to wait until 4 oclock for the boat called the Mormons and a very near comfortable boat it seemed to be uncertain whether it would come or not. There met Miss Anderson and her uncle and a young Hanovarian intending to settle on Lake Semcoe. I think a lawyer by trade, one of the Indians took a bog turtle would weight 60 lb. And a very dirty looking ugly thing the Indians eat it. This tribe and the other about here are and methodical, two of them took their canoe and went to see for the steamer and return and said it was fast in the mud at the devils elbow, in a short time it made its appearance, and in about an hour we had wood and all on board and had tea and very hungry we all were having had nothing since morning. It is a nice clean boat and very comfortable in every respect. There is another on this ___. The river called the Holand River wings through a dreary swamp 5 or 6 miles the swamp to be seen, 3 or 4 miles wide. A few ___ jamorine trees a kind of ___ that grows only in swampy land. Cranberry bushes, about the size of gooseberry trees and such like. There are however abundance of ducks and snipes. Lake Seneco is as beautiful place when you get to it, and it was a beautiful evening. The banks seemed to me to be low and nothing of the bold headlands you would expect. There is nothing to be seen but forest and the boat kept the middle of the lake. I understand it is well settled and of very respectable people in most places. We passed through the narrows very fine scenery by moon light near as light as day, saw Indians fishing and got to Brilla about 91/2 past p.m. A very nicely situated village and said to be healthy and the accommodation at the inn as good as you could expect in such a place. I was again dreadfully bit by bugs, and here I found a cure or rather preventative for the future spirits of camphor and warm water and washed all over. I understand the same then will in a great measure do the same for mosquito bites.
I soon got friends with the Indians on board the morning and gave them a cigar each; there is an Indian village on one of the islands built by the government. The Indians by law are not allowed to be supplied with spirit of any kind either by gift or otherwise under a fine of 5 pound they seem to be a simple people but not at all so well made or nice looking as we are given to understand. The village is scattered about much and like most American towns laid out in streets and sufficient for a very large town, I however do not like this part of the world much there is too much swamp and too flat country and only one road to anywhere. I should be inclined to think that it will never grow to anything their is I understand plenty of game. It was the time for the Indian presents and a number or tribes were here in camp on a cleared space near the tavern. I sat outside with the Hanovarian smoking a pipe and drinking coffee until 12 oclock. A fine warm moon light night and then to bed. I turned down the bedclothes and saw some thousand bugs big and little, therefore slept on my plaid on the floor.
The Hanovarian was a very ___ one ___ and intended to settle near here on account of the little price wanted for land here. I suppose good land might be bought for 8 pound per acre though some was worth 2 or 3. The Indians were dressed much like other people though I fancy they were all in their best clothes on the present occasion. I had to stop here 1 day waiting for the stage at night I went to look at the Indian camp. I lighted a cigar about 12 oclock and went to look at it, I however did not like to go too near as there seemed to be great number of dogs about. I stood still doubting, all at once I perceived someone near me and found it to be an Indian he asked me if I wished to see the camp and I said I had intended to do so but was afraid of the dogs he said he would show me and I went with and when we came to the light I found him to be the same I had given a cigar to the day before. The Indians were all laid about the fires, large fires, fanced around into ___ with mats and skins but not covered overhead and folded up in blankets and rolled up like a dog in a lump and upon the whole seemed comfortable, the Indian buy a cheap necklace up some of them for me to look at they had also many tame toxes of different sorts.
I noticed many plants of the large leafed hawthorn a good kind for fance and covered with berries as large as Siberian crabs. The American and Canadian farmers say that quick hedges will not grow. I said it was curious of them, would not grow of themselves. The Indians all collected to have their names called over this morning, two very surly people belonging to the Indian department were there for that purpose. I stood by and watched the proceedings until I lost all patience at seeing the Indians treated in such a nasty manner by two asses. Col. Anderson the head of the Indian department was one of man much disliked by the Indians and everyone else and a great rogue. I understood there would be 500 Indians here. I left here by stage for sturgeons by Lake Huron 25 miles 6 oclock in the morning with Miss Anderson her uncle a scotch Yankee and two or three besides. The stage was a long wagon and the seats on springs but no cover. The conductor however was the only man I ever saw who could drive four horses, as they ought to be. I offered to treat the Indians with some whiskey, but they would not have any seeing I was a stranger and did not know the law.
The road or portage as it is called to sturgeons bay is through the bush and very little settled. There had been nothing done to the road but the trees chopped and the swamp of which there was many bridged over with trees laid side by side called a corduroy road perhaps a quarter or half a mile at a time. It is called the Coldwater portage road after the river of that name. A river that used to be navigable but of late years is changed by filling up with sand and is not navigable at all. Though it use to be for 15 miles so the captain of the gov Lake Huron steamer said and a very intelligent man married to an Indian woman and shako French and German and many Indian tongues. He lived at the gault if St. Mary on Lake Luheren. We changed horses once, the forest is so thick that you cannot see more than 20 or 30 yards into the bush and the trees very near over hang the road there were however many pretty bit of acres presented themselves every now and then the road was also grown level there were considerable levations as high as ever ___, I could and did gather blackberries by cutting the branch as the stage went on just like ours, in tarts and size. The people on board the stage were very chatty and friendly and we got to port Phillip early in the afternoon. There was a real Yankee on the look out for anything to make a penny by. He said to the young (who had a strong scotch twang). I guess you would not take me for a scotch man. He however said that his father had come ___ into the states many years ago and considered himself a Scotchman. He was however a real Yankee humbug. We found that the boat would not sail until Saturday instead of this afternoon Thursday, having to wait for the owner Mr. Thompson. The inconvenience of the passengers they never seemed to think about, the accommodation was most miserable in every respect, nothing but very small potatoes and a very little bit of mutton and some tea, they use tea to every meal in Canada, and nothing to drink until Friday night when the landlord came home. The landlady was ill of the fever and ague and the servants and people about had eaten and drank up everything during the landlords absence. The tavern is the only one or house for miles having been made to the accommodation of the boat and a speculation of the owner an attempting to make a town. It is a miserable situation in the midst of a swamp and about the only spot you would think where there are so many places to choose out of that no one would have a gift. The scenery about is beautiful and seemed very strange to one there being nothing but trees and the smooth surface of the lake to be seen. I noticed here all the trees I had seen before and the sumac and grapevine, my geological knowledge were her at fault. I did not know one half of the rocks and stones under my feet at every turn. I walked with Miss Anderson and her uncle up the shore of the bay towards the cold water river 3 or 4 miles a most beautiful afternoon and we came to an old Indian settlement, pretty spot on a little ___ jutting out into the lake it had been cleared and was grown up with hundreds of plants and flowers, I knew nothing about and some did and what I have named before we went so far that night came before we got back however when we were ½ mile of we met the Yankee and an Indian and two or three other people on the look out for us. The Indian said in the night the bush very bad ___.
There was a canoe near the landing place and the Yankee said he understood a canoe as well as an Indian (he was a regular humbug). I got my life preserver and Miss Anderson and self went with him keeping in the shallow water about a yard deep and 60 or 70 from shore. The water was so beautifully clear we could see the bottom very well. We however soon found out that Yankee with all his talk knew little or nothing about a canoe. I however did not care much as the worst would be a ___. There were some large rocks that we took to be a settlement until we came to them. There came on a heavy shower and we were all wet through my life preserver made a very good seat and dry as the rain filled the canoe an inch or two deep. I enjoyed the sail very much particularly as I could see away out in case of accident. This was the first cool day there has been since my arrival in this country. I invited the captain to come and have a glass and a pipe and he talked about the tides on the lakes and the period ___ rise and fall of the waves of the lake. He said that in summer there was a kind of fly so numerous that they kept you from the deck of the steamer on ___ every hour or two.
We went on boat at night expecting to sail at 5 in the morning. The steamer called the gore a very old boat but a good one and a strong, a good strong boat as useful and necessary on Lake Huron as on the Atlantic. There being very heavy weather here. A Yankee riverboat would not have a ___ on Lake Huron anymore than it would be fit to cross to Liverpool. The accommodation was sufficient but dreadfully full of bugs. The captain said there was a storm on the lake and that he would not go until it subsided he judged from the rise of the water everything being comparable. ___ and calm here in the bay we therefore went back to the inn at night. I had found a small garnet in a piece of granite but Yankee scratched it out with his knife and lost it. I found out that Yankee pretended to play on a flute and that the land lord played on a clarinet and one of the boats crew on a fiddle. The set be to be the judge and after a time I gave my opinion that the fiddler was far superior to the rest. Much to the disappointment of Yankee who had a good opinion of himself. I however had not forgot the damage he had done me by the loss of my garnet.
We left port Philip in the morning and had a most beautiful sail to Pentangushere about 20 miles we kept close in shore the bay the gorgeous bays most beautiful and past description the whole seems to be an unbroken forest and I understand without inhabitants of any kind there is no inducement for settlers the land not good climate ever and no communicate ___ the Yankee talked much about his seamanship but was soon sick. Pentangushere is beautifully situated in a small sheltered harbor land locked on every side but quite a small place a very small village with a tavern store and so on there are plenty of Indians and many half-breeds and French Canadian, at catholic chapel made of logs and an English church 2 miles off near the barracks there is also a road through the bush to Barrie on Lake Simcoe, the captain said the storm continued on Lake Huron and that he wants to be here until morning we therefore had time to look about us, the weather was showery I went into a store to get some tobaccos and had 1 lt of 9 ___ the people seemed all to talk French ___ Indians and all they also seemed to have nothing to do. We met the priest a French Canadian coming on boat he did not speak English at all.
We walked to see the garrison 2 miles a good road and real ___ scenery you might fancy robin hood and so on we went it is indeed beautiful here and there glimpse of the bay and now and then a settler hut, and an Indian with his rifle, dogs or a settler with a couple of oxen in their wagon going to the mile, I went into a neat house to light my pipe and I found the inhabit an Irishman who said he was indeed seemed comfortable he had settled here 5 years and had 50 acres of land allotted to him he had many questions to ask about England. The most of the forest is pine of different kinds but none like our scotch the barracks is nicely situated and the married men allowed to build themselves houses here and there and the officers had houses in the same way some of them very nice ones. I understand both men and officer are sorry to leave here they have been here some time, in the grave yard there are little bits of wood and some crosses put up at the head, the Roman Catholic Indians are by the acknowledgment of all parties the most ___. The ceremonies belonging to that religion take the fancy of the wild man and fix his attention to being with, and I believe the catholic missionary are more attentive and more ___ than others.
I should have liked to have stopped here a few days could I have done so we left Pentangushere sometime in the night and I for fear of the bugs slept on the table in the middle of the saloon but got off no better. Bugs will not bit Yankees for some reason or other. In the morning we were in a complete storm and except the rough night off Halifax I experienced nothing like it, the sea broke over the head of the boat and knocked over many times a lot of oxen and sheep and washed them midship. I with great difficulty could move about never ___ the whole scene was exciting and grand, it was however evident that we made no headway and the captain said if the storm increased he would not answer the consequences as it might be a chance that we should go to the bottom of the lake. We therefore put back under the lee of the Christian island about 10 oclock into a little smooth quiet bay without a ripple on the surface of the water and no sign of a storm except in the tops of some of the tall trees. The largest Christian isle is 28 miles by 8 quite without inhabitants as are all the islands in the Georgian Bay. They belong to the Indians and are about the same use to them as a pig is said to have for a side pocket.
Mr. Thompson the owner asked me if I had any objections to go and shoot some partridges as being an Englishman I was sure to know how to shoot. They gave me an old single gun and Mr. Thompsons son had another and the priest and five or six others got into the boat. We however found that we could not get within a 100 yards or so the water was so shallow, about 1 foot deep. I waded on shore with Mr. T. Son and the rest went back. We walked up the lakeshore some time but could see no game. The Indian had been lately the boat came for us and we were much laughed at when we got on board. This is the place where the ___ of Christianity was first planted in these parts and the bell was found some years since and is the one used at the church at Pentangusheen. Many other old things have been found here, the old priest seemed to take great interest but I could not converse with him, he had a grammar of the Indian tongue with him and was going to Lake Superior on a visit to a brother chip. There were three or four Indians with him, the captain said he was a man well known and much respected by the Indians and every one else who knew him.
We sailed again in the night and got to Owens sound about 4 oclock in the morning. The town is called Sydney and appears nothing like the place I had expected to see, there was not a living soul to be seen. I left my luggage on the wharf and went to the town ½ mile or more Owens sound the bay is beautiful but very like the other bays in the Georgian bay, we were directed by the captain to the inn and called them up it is kept by an Irishman and a very rough sort of chap. We had breakfast about 7 oclock and I then went with Miss Anderson and her uncle to see an old servant of theirs settled on the 6 ___ in the county of Derby. The uncles name Mr. McDermont, and the old mans name was Fleming, he was a disabled old man and had been kept at the expense of the employer in Scotland 8 or 10 years since he had 3 sons and they had managed to buy and pay for 600 acres in Derby with the fruits of their labour since they came into this country. He was as ___ and a canting religious chattering old fellow, he intends to settle each of his sons 200 acres as they get ready for it, Fleming is a sample of what care and industry will do in this country for at any rate his sons will be independent of everyone if they do not grow ___. We got directed as well as we could. Yankee went with us, the road or rather track was through the bush and the houses so far between that there was no one to ask. When we inquired they said we must keep the conversion line and we should be right as Flemings house was close to it. So long as we were in the inhabited part we did very well but when the conversion line was nothing but a blaze which is a small chip cut out of the bark of the trees every 100 yards or so some 6 or 7 years ago and now quite black. We came to a stand we knew it was useless going into the forest at a guess we there fore took the first track we found which lead us to a farm and we got a little girl to show us part of the way. I enjoyed the whole thing very much. It was something out of the common way. Here and there we saw the places where they made maple sugar in spring now and then could hear the sound of the ax and the crash of the king of the forest when the small arm of some lad made him hit the ground every and now we flushed some partridges and continuously heard the jingle of the cow bell the scene altogether was new and pleasant. We found the place at last and right glad they were to see their old friends having seen no one from Scotland before.
We passed many farms comfortable but small bad houses, a log hut here, one room with the fireplace occupying one and the sleeping places the other. Sometimes there is another small room, in this clearing there was about 60 acres cleared all done this spring so you could not expect much house. Barn and cow place all made by three or four lads and an old man in a few months everything in or about the place was their own manufacture – Furniture beds, shoes, and clothes. They made us some tea, found some salt pork and fine potatoes and cakes and preserved gooseberries wild they grew upon the old beaver meadow close by. They all spoke Gaelic. I found the distance 8 miles and was easily persuaded to stop all night. I however could not understand how we were to be accommodated, as everything seemed occupied. However when night came after the old chap said prayers in Gaelic apologized to me by saying that he could not pray except in his native tongue, we all went to bed. Mr. McDermont and I slept together very comfortably. I could see the stars through the chinks of the roof and a great blazing fire all night. We were all up by six oclock.
This morning was very wet and continued so all day we were therefore weather bound. Had long talk with the old man in a clearing like this you can only see the sky over head. I went with the sons to chop and here cut my first stick in Canada. I stood by and watched them the two lads 18 and 16 years of age cut down a hemlock tree a large one which came down with a tremendous crash, up to this time I had not considered the trees very large. I however found my mistake for once stepping the length of this I found to be 45 yards to the branches and 4 foot 6 inch in diameter or thereabouts the lads said they had cut much larger ___ and butternut the American ash is different much from ours and very effective. I also got the gun and went to shoot some partridges but had bad luck. They perch in trees but look like partridge. They had good ___ of wheat and potatoes and pumpkins. The fallen trees lay about in all shapes there was a beautiful spring and the stone was limestone. This part of the world is new from the forest being quite without people 6 years ago. I found it impossible to leave single trees for ornament. They are so long in the stem and heavy in the head that they would break with the first wind.
There is not much government land here to sell. Not more than 1000 acres in derby. 100 acres at government price of 8 would cost 30 and Fleming said a man with 100 pound would set himself comfortable with every thing he would want and 1 years provision. A servant girl’s wages is 4 per month and a man’s 10. Its very fine fun chopping and even these lads who had done nothing else for 8 years seemed to take pleasure in it and said they liked it better than regular farm work. We took tracks and made our way back. Fleming daughter came with us, (I forgot to say I was new and showed myself by the spring) to show us the way by the falls on the way we saw 4 or 5 snakes. Garter snakes and I killed some with a stick. They are quick in their movements but harmless. We passed two or three nice trout streams and full of sih, the Virginia creeper was everywhere and a very small berry on the ground. Miss Fleming cuperoud to any one of they eat it. The falls at the mill was the most beautiful sight I ever saw and altogether a completed romantic place if the mill was away, they never look upon water here in another light than as mill knowledge. This and the farm 200 acres were a gift to anyone to create a mill. I was sorry when it was time to move. The Syndhnian River is navigable to within two or three miles of these beautiful falls for small craft and a canoe would go much further or nearer. This is the most beautiful place I think I ever saw, the falls are not large but picturesque and romantic. In the stream plenty of bare rocks rolling hemlocks and so being at a considerate elevation above the lake there is a most beautiful view of the forest and the Bay of Owens sound. The river below is full of fallen trees and sticks and all kinds of rubbish and is also dammed across for miles, saw milk corn ___ there is no road ___ and we met many farmers bringing their wheat on sleds about one sack full for two bullocks. The farmers have abundance of rough provision as soon as they produce anything, that is in about a years time, from here back to Sydhnian 6 miles through a beautiful rolling country but in some places quite covered with stones like the beach of the sea, no doubt the lake shore sometime, it is all lime stone and there found out how to burn lime with turf. A thing I have tried many times and a very simple thing the way they did with wood, we got to Owens sound in the evening and Miss Anderson went to see Miss Brown, a young lady who caused some talk by taking ___ over when she got on ship at Glasgow.
Owens sound is not at all the kind of place I expected being got up by speculator and having no advantage naturally of any ___ the harbor good but leading to no where it being six weeks sail to Toronto. The village town is in the middle of a swamp and the only swamp to be found and the land place from the lake is a mile or more off a tavern keeper or two and the store keepers have the say of everything. There are however most beautiful places about and close to the Indian reserves, a working man would here do well if he could get onto some land there is not a shadow of a doubt. The timber is not heavy and there is little ___. They talk much about the mouth of the Saugeen River on the other shore of Lake Huron. There settlements have been much kept back on account of some misunderstanding with the Canada company and about the school grants and the ___ that no land has been in the market for above a year, belonging to government. They say had the land been put up every acre of ___ land would have been sold before this time. Government manages some matters very badly but still the Canadians have no occasion to complain of want of liberty or of much taxation. The appointment of all officers is by the people except sheriffs and merchants, the store and tavern keeper is often the magistrate in the village, the surveyed lands are expected to be in the market very soon. We all went to a party through Miss Brown to the storekeeper Mr. Patterson. I stepped many elm and maple trees up the bay 25 or 30 yards long. The Indian village close by on the other side of the bay is a most beautiful place and well elevated, the Indians in this respect have better land than in Rossendale and I have seen nothing of the free and easy manner talked about. I saw the first two drunken men in the streets very early in the morning, two newcomers and who have done nothing else since they came to the landlord said they could get drunk for 4. Owens sound will be nothing but an out of the way village for many years and I should think never will be of much importance as there are very many better places in Canada. Post office matters are managed very badly and I understand a letter will very change if prepaid as the postmaster would take the shilling and put the letter in the fire, this I know nothing about, but I waited at one place and another many a day for nothing.
This morning was rather wet but afternoon a very fine day and the Indians here are Methodist. There is a missionary clergyman who however does not understand the Indian tongue at all, but in the service on a Sunday talks a line or two and the matter is explained to the congregation interpreter. The lay of land marked up the map Indian reserve is understood to be the last resting-place. Is all human probably of the seaman on the shores of Lake Huron, already greedy people have their eye upon it, as it is a remarkably fine territory, there are many bays on both shores and a small lake about halfway up which I understand might easily be made to communicate with both shores. It is too good for the Indian to be allowed to keep long, if it was not for a feeling of pity for the former owner of all this fine country now drove into one small corner, by the grabbing of the white man. Anyone might see this nice corner it is about 30 miles across at Owens pond and about the same in length. Yankee says this is a very hard place for money, and that he must be of I could never understand what he came for, the landlord says he is sent by some Yankee speculator to see if anything can be picked up in this part. I should think a life in the bush after all not as unpleasant way of getting ___ the world. I know a great many of the plants I see by sight, their names I know nothing of. It would be a difficult thing for a stranger here intending to settle to bet upon the right shot for a location, there are so many and so different in every respect. Rattlesnakes are very uncommon, very few people have seen one. I believe there has been one found about here some years ago, the small garter snake is common but quite harmless. There are great quantities of ducks in the season and I saw today two or three lady snipes running up and over the st. ___ The landlord said he had seen 30 ___ the people in the bush have long boots over their trousers like fishermans, though I have never seen it as dirty as it is at home by long odds. In the fall they say just before winter starts there gets to be mud holes in the bush roads 2 foot or so deep, and their boots do to walk through with. This sounded to me queer when I never saw anyone walk, it is like many things just a fashion they have got and by to make an excuse for it. Great clumsy boot are unlikely things to take a long journey on foot in, in the bush however there are some places where neither horse or wagon can get at all wither 8 or 10 miles.
2 young men we met at Mr. Pattersons offered to take us to the Indian village in a boat and to look at the falls on the Indian River. One was the magistrate of the place, he was a surveyor. I wanted to have an Indian guide to the Saugeon River. Miss Anderson, her uncle and Yankee Miss Brown and Mr. Patterson. We had a beautiful sail across the bay and when we came to the landing place at the Indian village we found only a single log from the shallow some thirty yards or more. I got out first and handed one of the ladies out and then went on ___ as the tree was not more than 1 foot thick at that end when I got within 2 or 3 yards of the other side. I had to make a jump and got in up to my knees, and shoved a cane up for the rest. This village was built by government and the Indians keep a cow or two and grow a little corn, there is a large burial place and chapel. We found George Ryson, the Indian guide, busy making paddles and he said he was engaged, as the whole tribe were going fishing. He however agreed to come to Owens sound and let me know in the evening. The place seemed neat and clean and there were few Indians to be seen, they do not run gaping and staring like white people at every strange face. We embarked and sailed up the lake shore 8 or 10 miles until we came to a small promontory with a single Indian hut upon it a most beautiful place, covered on every side with small sumac trees, perfectly scarlet. There was an Indian and two or three squaws and some children. I went into the hut through a low door. It was, I think, made of mud covered with bark. An Indian canoe is sometimes made of a single sheet of bark. I gave the old Indian my piece of tobacco for a smoke and he put it into his pocket. The hut was hung over on every side and the top and all with the beads of Indian corn cut dried pumpkin and dry fish and a fire the whole length. The old Indian seemed put out of the way about some dispute with the settlers about falling trees on the Indian reserve and said white man cut no more stick without line from Queen Victoria. From here to the falls 2 or 3 miles through the woods aromatic place. The bush here not at all bad to travel through. The river about the size as at white well 40 feet perpendicular falls so that anyone can walk behind the falling water without being much wet. Yankee was afraid to walk and stopped with the Indian, the wind changed and we were long in getting home after dinner. I went with Miss Anderson and her uncle and Yankee half way to the shore; Yankee tried to shirk the landlord out of his money.
I inquired here the price of things: horses from 12 to 30 pound currency, the 30 for male; good yoke of oxen from 12 to 15 pound; sheep 10 each; good rams 1/r plow iron 3/10 wagon 15 to 25 pounds. 100 acre here worth 50 chopped 150 common harness 7/0. This was a very wet morning and considerable gale of snow. This was a remarkable occurrence the landlord said it will be so another night and then time meaning the three days will be over. The village contains 500 people. I saw a Indian and squaw and children paddle across the bay today in the storm they can see with the wind but not along side of it as they drift or whales can lose the way. The French Canadians and Indians are much mixed and they prefer the Indian women for whites. Miss Brown and Mr. Patterson walked through the woods with each a gold watch and flashy chain hung at their sides. The Indian came and I agreed to hire him for 1 per day to pilot me to the Saugeen and back. I measured many trees 25 to 30 yards long and 8 foot in diameter but most of them unsound at the heart. The rain and show will have so swelled the creeks and small streams on the Indian path to the Saugeen that I understand it will be impassable. The townships here are unsurveyed and all the best ports are squatted upon, the real truth of matters are kept as well as possible out of sight by speculators.
Oct. 7th Monday
This morning before I got up the Indian George Ryson came into my bedroom and said it was time to start 7 oclock the time agreed on I said I would have breakfast first, and I took him with me at breakfast time. Some of the people looked not pleased but said nothing and he behaved as well as anyone there, we agreed to go to the Saugeen about 10 or 12 miles from its mouth as he said there would be no creeks to get over of any consequence. He had a good double bun and two little dogs. I cannot remember the Indian name of them and my knapsack. 601b after we got through the settlement he mended his pace into a kind of trot and I had to run to keep him in sight. He, however, would stop when called upon and squat down and smoke his pipe. I had a shot or two at some partridges up in the trees. The dogs put them up, about 20 and they everyone might have been shot, as they never moved from the gun crack. I was very tired and foot sore. The Indian lent me a pair of moccasins and I found them the very things for sore feet, I called to him to stop just on the bank of a small stream and when I came up he was smoking his pipe. I strode over the log and sat down intending to do the same and began to shop up some tobacco and a very great deal of trouble.
7th Oct. And 8th
I heard something move close behind where I sat and turned my head and saw a small creature about twice the size of a tinker getting very leisurely up a tree. I took it to be a young raccoon. I had not seen anything of the sort, in less than ½ a minute I would have had hold of his legs. The Indian put out his hand and prevented me moving and said old one close to I said old what, he said old bear. I jumped up without another word and off we went without feeling at all tired as I was before. The Indian path means no path at all according to our notion, but simply a knowledge of the coming places in the rivers and how to ___ the swamp. The distance was over 30 miles and it was night when we got to the squatter hut, called the travelers home. There was however no accommodation at all and I slept in my plaid besides the fire amongst a lot more surveyors and their assistants. I could make nothing of the Saugeen here it however seemed a good sized something the size of the Ribble at Preston. The water black like peat water after heavy rain, still clear, I came back much easier than I went, and the Indian much more talkative, and the most of his inquiries was about London and the Queen. They are quite safe to travel with, except stealing tobacco and food if you happen to have a nap.
I had agreed with a farmer from Hamblete to take my luggage to Fergus and had told George to come at 7 oclock to carry my knapsack as I intended to walk on the Indian paths to Fergus or Elora and have a shot or two at partridges and so on. He however did not come at the time and I was afraid of missing a chance and also felt rather tired. I bargained with them, father and son, to take me to Fergus for 3 dollars. 71 miles in their wagon. They had come up here intending to settle if they liked this part of the world however they did not go so and said they would go back and take their farm on a new lease. They had come to this country 8 or 10 years ago with very little money from Scotland. The father said they had not got much money but had been very comfortable and never had possessed any land of their own. They were both very civil people, the old man said he was much afraid of snakes and the first summer he hired with a farmer at haytime and mowing he saw something move in the grass and killed it with his scythe, which proved to be a large black snake and a very bad kind. This he said was the only snake except the common garter snake that he had seen from that time to this he said that for twelve months. He never was free from fear of rattlesnakes.
The first day we got 28 miles. The road was rather bad in some places to a place called Author. Here is a government agent and 50 acres is granted to any respectable person the conversion lines for nothing. All the roadside from Owens sounds is settled this way. The settler clears 4 acre her annun for 4 years does the statute labour. Upon the roads and then as his deed, the road is made upon the ridge of the hill 800 feet above the lake which will make it 1400 above the sea about. The whole country is some places covered with stone, and very surely the bed of a lake sometime, the road is only cleared of trees and the stumps left and the swamp bridged over with logs. We got to Fergus at 6 or 7 oclock PM and the farmer who brought me refused to have any pay. We passed over many creeks and rivers and the Saugeen amongst the rest. The inn at author is very comfortable and I had a very good bed free from bugs or anything of that kind. We met numbers of emigrants on foot in wagons and all way many seemed in absolute poverty. The inn here is always full of people and the landlord got rich, the farmers son made a mistake and called us up about 3 oclock instead of six daylight, and the landlord was rather cross and said we might as well never have gone to bed.
There can be no doubt that good farms can be got up here cleared and all that for a very moderate sum and a man with 100 or 150 would be a gentlemen soon if he was at all industrious and knew how to work it all. (From Owens Sound to Fergus is 71 miles) The accommodation at Fergus is good and upon the whole a nice place situated upon the Grand River, a stream about the size of the Ribble at Whalley, of course when I saw it the water was low. There are plenty of saw mills and grist mills everywhere, where there is any power, a great number of the houses are built of stone, and lime of a fine kind is very plentiful. The nights are intensely dark; it is as much darker at night as it is clearer in the day, than here. Today was rather inclined to rain, and I walked to Elora 3 ½ miles down the banks of the river. A beautiful country and saw a farm to sell with good house and farm buildings upon it and all very near cleared. I forgot the price, I think about 400 and 200 acre it came down to the riversides and the battery were very nicely situated and seemed a very comfortable place. The river was full of trout but not very large. I could see them rise as I went along 100 at a time.
Elora is I think the most beautiful place I ever saw for river scenery. There is a very comfortable inn or two, the land also is good and I understand cheap. The town is mostly made of stone. This would be a good place for a joiner or two and a mason or two. These people are all doing well and stone and timber is abundant. They get 5 per diem and paid 8 for their keep. The work is however contract and they have to wait long time to sometimes for their money. They two joiner and a maison. I talked with each 2 or 3 hundred acres of land which they let. The people seem to have a great respect for anyone they take to be a gentleman much more than in the old country. They are no doubt a kind of curiosity up here. The store keeper, the tavern keeper, and one or two of the inhabitants always come and have a chat with a stranger about the old country and generally with a strong feeling of respect and pity for the good old has been, much in the same style as you would about an old done horse, there are not many who talk of making a fortune and returning home as they would have to make great description of real comfort, for ideal ___ appearance.
Webpage posted May 2005.