Main content

Title: Stewart, Frances to unknown addressee, 1833
CollectionRevisiting Our Forest Home, The immigrant letters of Frances Stewart [J. L. Aoki]
SenderStewart, Frances
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationhousewife
Sender Religionunknown
OriginDouro Township, Newcsatle District, Upper Canada
Recipientunknown addressee
Recipient Genderunknown
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count670
Genrefamily life, account of the Aboriginals
Transcript1833: November 16
"Extracts": addressee unknown

Douro Nov. 16, 1833

Our mill is going on prosperously. We are only to have the saw mill now
& the grist mill is to be added & the dam finished in summer when the
water is low. Scott says he will engage them to be the best mills in the
District. The foundation of the Dam is completed which was the heaviest
work and the carpenters are now preparing wooden patterns of the
wheels which are to be sent to the foundry at Rochester to have metal
castings made from them. There are 2 other carpenters morticing the
great beams for the building & it is to be raised in a few days. We have
a blacksmith at work & it is a source of great pleasure to the young
things to go to the forge. They never saw a Smith at work before & their
delight at seeing a horse shod was amusing to us. The workmen are
quiet civil men. One poor man who had his leg broke some time ago
is very useful to me as he darns stockings & is glad to have something
to do. The wood for the wheels had all to be boiled & dried at a fire to
harden & season it before they began to turn the moddels of the wheels.
Dec'r 20 — The mill is half up. It has been delayed by severe weather &
sickness & accidents among the men but a few hours now will put up
all the frame.
There is an Indian encampment about a mile from us in the woods
near Mr. Reids & we are beginning to get acquainted with them. They
are terribly shy & so much afraid of our Dogs & Turkey Cocks that we
can seldom get them to come near. They go to Mr. Reids frequently &
are much delighted with looking at prints or maps. Every Sunday 7 or
8 Indians & Squaws sit round the parlour table there looking at them. I
went to the Wigwam one day where 4 or 5 Indian families live. The hut
was not more than 10 feet long & about 6 or 7 wide, of an oval shape, made of poles covered with Bark of Birch. The floor was made merely
of branches of white Cedar spread over the ground. Deer skins and
blankets were laid over & on them they sit in the day & sleep by night.
There was a fire at each end & a pole across from one to the other near
the roof where they had bits of inside parts of deer hung up to dry in
the smoke. One Squaw who had an infant only a few weeks old was
making a very nice little frock of dark cotton for it quite neatly & putting green braid on the little band round the top. She wore a thimble
& held her needle quite nicely. Another was preparing a deer skin for
moccasins. Another was making a pair, an old Squaw making a Basket.
An old Indian whose name is Squire Martin was making a pair of Snow
Shoes & his son, a boy of 18 or 19, helping him. The young man (called
Jim Bigman) was our interpreter as he spoke English tolerably well.
Four Squaws & a boy came to me today with Baskets & sat for a long
time at the kitchen fire. I shewed them some Beads I had in ancient
days on a gown. The Squaws laughed & seemed much pleased & promised
to bring me some more baskets for them. I want to tempt them
here. There is one very nice girl among them called Charlotte McCue.
Her father is a white man.
I am much better in health than I was for 2 years past. The children
all well & improving much tho' sadly uncultivated. Mr. S. is gone for the
1st time to York to take his seat in the Legislative Assembly.