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Title: Stewart, Frances to Waller, Maria, 1822
CollectionRevisiting Our Forest Home, The immigrant letters of Frances Stewart [J. L. Aoki]
SenderStewart, Frances
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationhousewife
Sender Religionunknown
OriginCobourg, Newcastle District, Upper Canada
DestinationAllenstown, Co. Meath Ireland
RecipientWaller, Maria
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1934
Genresettling, family life
Transcript1822: December 14
To Mrs. Waller and Maria [Noble], Allenstown, Ireland

Cobourg — Newcastle District
Upper Canada
Saturday 14th December 1822

My dearest Aunt and darling Maria

I am sure you have heard all about us & our proceedings from Clongill &
Merrion Street, but you cannot hear from any creature how often I think
of you all nor how sincerely I love you. You may guess how impatiently 1
watch for the arrival of English mails. But this month has hitherto been
blank & no letters have we received since the 5th November when I had
one from dear Kate dated 17th Aug't mentioning the intended trip to
Cheltenham & also one from Harriet telling of their safe arrival there, &
giving so very indifferent an account of our beloved Bess that I am miserable for the next letters. From what Harriet said I much fear she was
not able to return to Ireland before winter. It must have been very disagreeable as well as inconvenient in every way wintering at Cheltenham.
I dispatched a long letter to Catharine from Montreal, Ditto to Bessy
from York, a short letter to Catharine from York, and a long one to Aunt
Sue from this, all which have I hope reached Clongill long ago. So of
course you know that we have long reason to hope for success in our
undertakings here. So far we have succeeded to the full extent of our
wishes and expectations & our prospects look well as far as we can see.
There are certain "Settlement duties" such as clearing a stated number of
acres & making roads which must be done within two years, which (on
so large a tract of land) will be rather expensive. But when these are performed & the Government fees paid, we shall have only our own wants
& comforts to satisfy & I expect to enjoy more comfort than we have had
yet since our marriage.
The first two years after Emigration are the worst because of being
obliged to buy all sorts of provisions as well as having to build and clear
land & pay Gov't fees & perform settlement duties, all which are greater
in proportion as the number of acres is greater. But we are unusually well off, for the land is remarkably good & the situation one of the most wholesome in Canada as well as beautiful. It is a new township which is not yet surveyed & we are the very first settlers in it. But we have neighbours very near us, not any of our own class, however, nearer than 6 or 7 miles. There are a great many farmers from England & Scotland in the two adjoining
townships & there is a Flour Mill & Distillery within three miles
of our Loghouse, so that we are not like our curious countryman Col'l
Talbot, 180 miles from any European. I regret that we have not become
acquainted with this oddity but indeed I am rejoiced that we are not settled in his District which tho' fine land is so far back that I should indeed have felt in banishment. Here we are between Kingston and York & in a very few years a public road will pass close to our land from Kingston to
Simcoe which will be a great advantage to us. There is a constant intercourse between this village & the settlers up there & we can have frequent opportunities both in summer and winter of receiving letters &c from this place which will be our post town altho' 35 miles from us.
About 6 miles from us there is a family of whom everyone speaks the
highest terms, & I expect to have a great deal of pleasure in the society of Mrs. Rubidge. Every one says she is a most charming woman & a perfect
gentlewoman. Since our arrival here we have met with great civility &
attention from everybody. Indeed I never met with kinder or more truly
friendly people. Mr. McCauley our own clergyman is a most excellent
young man. He is Canadian & was educated by Dr. Strachan but went
to Oxford to study there & take his degree & is a very well educated
& I believe a clean man but very diffident. He has 5 or 6 young men
who live with him as pupils & he is most active in doing good in every
possible way. When Tom & Mr. Reid came first here to explore & visit
Douro you know poor Tom was taken ill. He was at an uncomfortable
noisy inn but our good friend Mr. McCauley sent his waggon for him
& had him removed to his house, where he had every comfort & attention
that could be. He had a very severe bilious attack with a high fever
& was so ill that the Doctor visited him twice a day for some time but I
never heard this till lately as he never told me how ill he had been. He is
now perfectly well again & only impatient to get to our own house but
we must wait patiently till the snow comes & till the sleighing begins as no waggons can run on the roads in their present state. We were to have
gone a month ago but we were prevented by poor little Anna Marias
being ill with I believe a worm fever. She is now a great deal better & able to walk out but looks miserably pale & thin. However, I trust the bracing winter weather will bring back her chubby cheeks & strength. Ellen is a going Lioness & as rosy & stout as possible & very bold. Bessy is grown very fat & strong. She can walk very well when she has anything to hold by & is very amusing for she imitates everything she either sees done
or hears & she is a great coaxer but very passionate. In this little bill of health I suppose you would be very mad if I did not mention my own
ladyship, so I must add to it that I am perfectly well now & have quite
regained my strength. Indeed I find the frosty weather agrees remarkably
well with me & I have never yet felt it as cold as I have often been at home tho' in reality the air is much colder than it ever was in dear little Ireland. This morning the thermometer was down to 8 & a few days ago it was
10. Between these two days we had some very warm delightful weather,
so warm that on the 12th of Dec'r we breakfasted with the window open
from really finding the room too hot. The weather has been very changeable
all this Autumn & winter & there has been more rain than ever was
known before in this country. We have had some snow too.
I generally contrive to walk a little every day & when the roads &
fields are too wet I walk up & down our little court by the door. The
country about here is very thickly inhabited for three or four miles on
every side & there are a great number of half-pay officers, both Naval &
Military, who have brought their families here, so that civilization is very fast spreading & this nice little town is increasing in a wonderfully rapid manner. Since we came here in the beginning of Oct'r, 5 houses have
been built & are now inhabited & there are 3 more building now & in
this village which is not larger than your Greta or Gretagh there are three
very extensive shops or stores, a post office, a Cabinet Maker, shoemakers,
tailors. Butchers, Smiths, Carpenters, who all carry on their respective
businesses. Besides, we have the Sheriff & two Inns & two Schools
so you see what a busy little spot it must be. We have been visited by two
or three families but as we don't like to hire a Waggon we don't keep up
any great intercourse beyond a walking distance. Mr. McCauley & Mr. & Mrs. Henry & Mrs. Bethune who all live about a mile or a mile & 1/2 off
are our principal friends & we go there very often & find them friendly
and pleasant.

15th Dec'r Sunday evening. Tom has gone to dine with Mr. McCauley
who carried him off after church. I was too lazy to accompany him so
here I am seated in my odious little den of a parlour which, however, is
very snug this cold evening — thermometer 12, but we have got a stove
which heats the room delightfully & sitting at the far end of the room
we are as warm as near the stove. The heat spreads so equally all over
the room, which is not the case with a fire, for at a fire your face may be
nearly roasted when your back is freezing. In our kitchen we burn very
great fires indeed sometimes & we keep on a good fire there all night
notwithstanding this one night last week & last night too. Indeed, water
in a pail at the opposite side of the kitchen was frozen over & our kitchen
is not more than 10 feet across, but we take good care to keep ourselves
warm & we all wear flannel next our skin.
How often do we talk of all our friends & how often do I wish to
know what you are all doing. If there could be some kind of glass to see
how you all go on, how delightful it w’d be. But I try to prevent myself
from regretting what cannot be helped & I try to look forward with a
hope that we may be allowed the happiness of meeting again in four or
five years. In the meantime I must turn my mind to the many blessings
I enjoy & be thankful for them, & surely few have more reason to feel
grateful to the Almighty than I have, who have so many sources of happiness, & tho' I have been surrounded by adversity in many of our connections & have had some trials ourselves, yet I cannot say I have met
with one real misfortune, for even in the midst of these trials I have seen
good arise. The greatest trial I ever met with was leaving my friends but
I believe in my heart it was the best thing we could do & I am sure it was
a right thing to do & this alone ever could reconcile me to it. I must now
feel rejoiced for I see every reason to hope that we shall be very comfortable & quite independent & we need not entirely give up Society for in a year or two we may enjoy & amuse ourselves as much as we please. I wish some of your idle boys, James or [Wm], w’d come over next summer &
pay us a visit. I am sure they would like it & they could give you a good report of us. I almost come to the end of my paper long before I have said
half what I want to tell you but now I must end as I cannot cross this for I am sure you find it quite hard enough to read without it. Adieu then my
dear dear friends. Give our fond love to your fireside & to Clongill & ever
believe me your affect' child & sister — Fra's Stewart