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Title: Henry Johnson, Niagara District to Jane Johnson, Antrim.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileJohnson, Henry/20
SenderJohnson, Henry
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationfarmer
Sender ReligionProtestant
OriginNiagara District, Canada
DestinationCo. Antrim, N.Ireland
RecipientJohnson, Jane
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceT 2319/1: Copied by Permission of The British Museum, London WC1.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9404128
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 20:04:1994.
Word Count1581
TranscriptLetter 4
Henry Johnson, Niagara District, Canada West to Jane Johnson, Dungonnell,
Antrim, 3 December 1848.

Niagara District Township of Grantham Canada West December 3rd., 1848

My Dearest Jane

Since I wrote to you from Hamilton which letter I hope you received
I have travelled many a weary mile in Search of a Situation Such as I had
been accustomed to. I was greatly annoyed with my box which I was
obliged to leave behind me in a farmer's house in which I had been
stopping for three weeks waiting on a School that I was going to try for
the winter but after a great deal of trouble and time spent I was obliged
to give it up as I could not make as much out of it as would pay for my
board. I then packed up a few shirts in a small travelling bag and started
on my feet. I knew not at the time where to. It is useless to tell you
the fatigue I underwent or the heart breaking I suffered in my travels
amongst Strangers in a Strange and wild Country. It is enough to say
that after wandering through the principal towns of Upper Canada and
trying every means in my power to obtain a situation of any Kind I have
at last lighted into a farmer's house near the far famed falls of Niagara
where I am doing a little work for my board and washing. I have not
got my box here yet nor Cannot untill [until?] the river opens up in the
Spring So that I will have to buy Some clothing for the winter which is very Severe. I have five persons in different places looking out for a place for me about here So that I may get one in a week or I might not untill [until?] Spring as business is nearly all closed up in winter. However, when I think of the way I came out without a friend before me or a Single letter of introduction to any person, I cannot grumble much that I have not Succeeded to my wish. It was a great mistake in Me Coming away without you with Me as I am perfectly confident had you been with me I could have settled down at once and done well and made Money. It cost me more for washing and travelling than would have kept you and the
children Comfortable for a year provisions are So cheap. I suffered a
good deal from the bowel complaint and at these times of sickness my
heart was like to break thinking of you and the children and not a
creature to give me a drink or a word of Sympathy

As some love-bird without a mate
My weary heart was desolate
I looked around and could not trace
One friendly smile or welcome face
And e'en in crowds was still alone
Because I could not love but one.

Well, Dear Jane, after all when I look back on the past and See the Many
errors I have been guilty of I am Content that God has punished me and
led me by a way which I knew not and although My present Situation
is not the best yet I am more content in it than ever I was at home where
I was harrassed [harassed?] by Creditors and the tongues of Slanderers. No
matter what kind of place you are Situated in here you feel a Kind of
independence you Can never have in the Old Country and Neither man nor
woman need want here who are willing to work and Conduct themselves
properly. Drinking is the great curse of this Country as well as our
own. Many a dreadful Case and Consequence of it I have Seen Since
I came here. In order to Save myself from temptation I went to the
Presbyterian Minister in this place and took the temperance pledge so
that as far as that is Concerned I am Safe and if I had you out here I
think I would be happy. Persons Coming out here at first are very much
annoyed and discontented untill [until?] they get Settled down and then they like this Country much better than the old. Farmers having about £100 to Start on, Labourers who are young and able bodied tradesmen &
mechanics - Young women who can go to Service, dress-Makers, bonnet-makers
& & Have all a fair chance here to make money and live independent.
Rents, poor rates, and so on are unknown to the farmer. The servant
eats at the Same table with his master and altogether it is a better
Country every way for those who have any Kind of independent feeling.
I cannot give you much more description of the Country than this as I
have not been long enough in one place to form a very Strict opinion
but generally speaking the above is my mind on the matter. What is
very Strange - Since I left New York untill [until?] I came here I did not
meet a Single face that I knew and when I got this length nearly the first
person I met was Thomas Lyness & the wife. They are living a few
rods of the house I am stopping in in a Small Shanty & 25 acres of land
partly bush which he holds a five year lease of at 4/ per acre. I have
heard his history since he came here and a most miserable beginning
he had. Untill [until?] last year he has been in great poverty and I may as well warn you now to beware of the most American letters you may hear.
They either greatly overate [overrate?] the matter or through ignorance put a false face upon the nature of things altogether. Dear Jane I would Scarcely have written at this time untill [until?] I had got Some Kind of better Situation to give you an account of but that I am very anxious to hear from you and know all that has happened you Since I left the Country. I hope,
Dear Jane, you Sometimes think of me in pity and Sympathy as you have
never been one moment out of my thoughts and it grieves me greatly
Sometimes that I am not in Some situation where I might be making
Something for your Support; however I have Still Confidence in myself
and the Providence of God that he will protect and Support you and
make me what I have not been yet, a good and providing husband for
you. Write immediately when you receive this and let me Know without
any reserve all that has occured [occurred?] since [?] I See things past in a very different light now besides as I viewed than at home and I believe
I am by the blessing of God a better man. I am 14 lbs heavier
than I was when I left and I Can go into the bush and chop a log with
Some of them. I think if I Stop here much longer I will be a pretty good
Canadian Farmer. So that I am not altogether losing my time. I could
get 25 acres of land here the Same as Thomas Lyness has but I need not
attempt anything of that Kind untill [until?] you are here with me if such a thing is allowed. I was about trying the pedling [peddling?] but could not do So without paying £5 for a license now and the same in January. I may try it in that time if nothing better turns up. You can write to me how you will be prepared to come out in the Spring and who you will get to Come with you as I am afraid you Could not manage the children yourself.
However, I can give you directions in my next letter when I receive
yours. Tell me how Wm. [William?] McKeen & family are doing and where they
are living. If I Settle here you Could Come to their place and stop
untill [until?] I would go for you. This part of Canada is a great deal
better for farmers & others than where they are. The winter is not So long
nor Cold nor the Summer So hot. My Dearest Jane I will Continue with this
I could fill a quire of paper in writing to you but my present space will
not permit more. You will observe the directions below.

I am now as ever
Your faithful and affectionate husband
Untill [until?] death
Henry Johnson

Henry Johnson
To the care of Mr. John Heany,
Niagra [Niagara?] District
Township of Grantham
Canada West

P.S. I forgot to Say that there is living in the house here a young woman
married to a fellow the name of Gibson from [?]. She was
formerly a Sweetheart of your friend there beside you, Samy Whiteside,
and her Aunt who is the Mystress [Mistress?] here Says She is very
sory [sorry?] she did not get Samy as she thinks he would have done better
that the one She has got. Don't forget to tell Sam this. Her name was
Betty Ann Andrews. She lived at Cloverhill over.

Dearest Jane, dont forget to postpay your letter as if it is not it will not arrive here. There is a dispute between the American and British
about the letters. Unless they are prepaid they will not send them. In
writing Say many things in few words so that I will get the more news.

My Dearest Jane
God bless you
H.J. [Henry Johnson?]