|Stewart, Frances to Beaufort, Harriet, 1825
|Revisiting Our Forest Home, The immigrant letters of Frances Stewart [J. L. Aoki]
|Douro Township, Newcsatle District, Upper Canada
|friends (ex-pupil - ex-governess)
|news, family life
|1825: September 5
To Harriet Beaufort, Ireland
Extracts, bound with ribbon
F.S. to H. Beaufort
Douro Sept 5th 1825
This house has been like a Hotel for sometime past. This you will wonder
at in this remote place where I formerly complained of solitude. First
about two months ago came a Capt. Stewart from Ireland who brought
letters from Mrs. Frood. He and his luggage settled themselves here just
before my confinement and here he staid six weeks. I think it was rather
inconsiderate of him when he found the situation I was in having my
monthly nurse in the house and living in such an unfinished cabin with
scarcely accommodation for my own family. However, poor creature, he
certainly was not hard to please, but partook of our homely fare and
slept in a loft with all sorts of sundries about him and bore it all good
humouredly. He was always ill and taking medicine and obliged to be
attended like a lying in lady with his bowls of gruel, and toast and tea
travelling up stairs. At last he and Tom agreed that farming would never
suit him and Tom advised him to try merchandise.
So he and Mr. Bethune have entered into partnership and he is to
keep a store just near this at Scott's Mills, which will be a great convenience and advantage to all the back settlers as they can dispose of anything they wish to sell and procure what they want to buy as Mr. Bethune
is to keep it constantly supplied with goods to be sold at the Cobourg prices. He is getting a house built and has taken lodgings in Smithtown
about two miles from Scotts as he says our early hours "destroy him" and
he wished to go where he could have plenty of milk and whey. He comes
every day to take away a few of his things in little bundles.
Mr. Robinson has formed an encampment of Irish Emigrants at
Scotts and it is quite a gay place. He is a native of Halifax and is I hear
very gentlemanlike. He lives in the midst of his Paddies in a grand tent.
They are all in huts round him and every day parties are sent out to their
land. Several are placed in this township. They are all from the south
of Ireland and have hitherto conducted themselves well. They will be
settled five or six miles behind us.
There is a Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong come out. Mr. Robinson mentioned
them to Tom as pleasant companionable people, as he termed it. They
arrived the other day when Tom was at the camp, wet to the skin and wearied
nearly to death. They had no shelter or fire to dry themselves so Tom
requested they would come here and he brought them all to remain till their
house is ready, which is to be two miles from us. She is an unassuming person who has been in a bettermost style of life; they have four little boys and a baby of 17 months and a servant maid. All have been living here and will probably remain much longer. They do not give much trouble considering all things. The boys are fine manly fellows.
There is a Mr. Smith employed by Government to place the settlers
on their land or to locate them as it is termed. He is a surveyor and a very agreeable man. He lives at the camp and has dined and breakfasted here
and is one of the most gentlemanlike men I have seen since I left Ireland.
We are soon to have another neighbour, Dr. Read and his family. He
has been in this country for some years but went back to Ireland last
year and returned with the emigrants. He is appointed by Government
to attend those settlers in Douro and is to have a house at Scotts Mills for a year and after that to have land in Douro. Mrs. Armstrong says he is a very nice man and a good physician. I am told he has a very pleasing wife
and three children. She is very dressy and Dr. Read has brought quantities
of fine clothes for her and his children. I'm sure I don't know what
she will do with them here. When I have such gay people around me you
may expect to hear that I am become quite a dasher. Col. Burke is also coming and is to live at Scotts during the winter so
we shall have a village there directly and abundance of Society.
There never was so unhealthy a season as this has been and is,
scarcely a family without illness in some shape, either ague, dysentery or
lake fever. Numbers have died. At Kingston many of the emigrants died.
Many now are ill at Cobourg and some are ill in our camp. However, the
hot weather is now over and we have had frost for the last four nights
which will cool and purify the air, and drive away noxious vapours.
How thankful should we be that we have escaped illness of every
kind. Neither the Reids nor we have had the least illness. Our children
are very stout, Bessy recovering her [ ], William thriving and growing
wonderfully and is a fine stout fellow.
Thank you for the mignotte seeds and all the others. I have great
fears about them and the Laurels too.... This year we are annoyed by
swarms of fleas such as you couldn't conceive. They crawl on the floors
and on the beds, all from the dryness of the season. They are in the
woods amongst the dry leaves, earth and dust in great numbers.
My head is quite confused with the bustle we live in after the sameness
we had so long. This house is full of comers and goers, chiefly poor settlers. They make much noise and give some trouble occasionally.