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Title: Stewart, Frances to Waller, Maria, 1846
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
DestinationAllenstown, Co. Meath Ireland
RecipientWaller, Maria
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1343
Transcript1846: December 7
To Maria Waller, Allenstown, Kells, County Meath, Ireland

I can tell you of another family, Scotch people who came three years
ago & purchased a farm in Douro from one of those poor south Irish
Emigrants who had been twenty years doing nothing. Old Waddell the
Scotchman had to pay the purchase money by instalments & the second
year he cleared £100 by his wheat! He now has a good farm, plenty of
everything, a good pair of horses & waggon & has paid all the instalments.
He has two Sons to help him on the farm but he is an old man
himself & has had some severe attacks of illness. He has two other sons who live in Peterboro & are going on well & I believe they have helped
their father a little. One is a blacksmith & Iron founder & Wheelwright
& another a shoe maker. I believe there are three in town but they are
prospering. However, I am told they work like Negroes.
Amongst our own tennants we have great prosperity. David Porter
who rented our farm for 10 years came here in debt. He owed £7. He had
lost his wife of a lingering illness, cancer, which had kept them all back & had caused his debt. His children, six in number, were young & only one,
a boy about 14 {his eldest) at all able to help him, the eldest girl only 12 & she had the care of all the rest! Tom charged him no rent the first year & half as he found the farm bad order & had no profit at all the first year.
But every year after he paid 7s 6d an acre. He got on by sheer industry, he
& his boy alone, for at first he could not afford to hire people to help him & his children at that time could neither save nor earn nor manage for
they were very ignorant & idle. But in a little time he hired a good woman
as housekeeper who attended to his children & all the domestic affairs &
when she left him he married & by the time his term with us was over he
was an independent man. He now has a property for which he would not
take £1,000. He purchased 100 acres of wild land from Mr. Reid adjoining
Edward Browns farm & has all sorts of cattle & sheep & horses & plenty of
c r oPs & not one bad potatoe this year. This mans brother William Porter
is another of our best tenants. He also came here without any means to
begin with & Tom charged him no rent the first six months. Ever since
that he has paid regularly at the rate of a dollar & half or 7s/6d per acre.
He had about 15 acres & pay his rent in produce, work or firewood as we
require. Tom Martin came here so poor that he was obliged to pledge his
bedclothes to pay his expenses coming up & Tom was obliged to lend
him a few shillings to go & redeem them. He then hired out as often as he
could as he had but a small spot of his own to work on having only taken 5
acres. This he cultivated by degrees & raised some potatoes & then wheat
& by degrees has got more land. He now has 15 or 16 acres cultivated &
cows, oxen, sheep, pigs, a comfortable house, a good garden & his wife
makes pickles & preserves every year. They have been here 9 years I think
but they are Papists & very bigoted ones too tho' they are from the North.
We have another Papist tennant & he is from Tipperary. He has been only a year here & took a cleared farm & he is likely to get on as well as the
others. He has a large family of young idle children & an ignorant wife
but works hard himself. Tom charges all his tenants the same rent for the
land & built houses for some of them. We have now only four tennants of
this kind as David Porter left this last winter & our Willy took the farm he had as well as some more & now has about 200 acres in his own hands &
under cultivation and I hope & trust the same prosperity may attend our
dear boys as has been with David Porter.
Saturday Evening. Yesterday evening I was interrupted in my writing
by a visit from dear Ellen who we kept all night & now she is gone
to see her Aunt Fowlis & I take advantage of her absence to write a little
more. You see I have given all the information I can about settlers as
Maria wished to be able to tell anyone that might wish to come out, & as
I have no other way of being of use to my poor suffering countrymen and
women I will try to let them know something of this fine country, & I do
think all these people that I have mentioned have got on so well that it
might encourage others. Wherever Protestant settlers are they certainly
do thrive best but they must be of sober steady industrious habits or they
cannot get on at all. We see too many sad instances of the contrary tho' I
am happy to say almost all this part of the country is fortunate in having
good settlers now. As for the States 1 don't know much about them. Mrs.
Fowlis lived only in the towns & had no opportunity of knowing much of
the poorer settlers & farmers but the Irish were hated in the part where
she lived & generally are considered quarrelsome & bad settlers. Here we
have a mixture of Scotch, English, & Irish & certainly the Southern Irish
Catholics are the worst — everywhere — & often, if they do get on for
a time do something dishonest which sends them to jail & so to ruin &
destruction. We must all work as hard as we can & spend as little as we
can & save & make all we can & by dint of all we can gain independence
but nothing can be gained otherwise.
As I am writing to you I think I need not write to dear Aunt Sutton
but pray give her my fond love as well as Tom & Bessies. We all thank
her for her amusing account of Old Peter, poor old creature. I fear he &
Betty will feel a sad change this winter for they had every comfort here
& plenty of everything & at Christmas had a good fat Goose & plum pudding & plum cake too in her own house of her own. Can she have
that in Ireland? Give my love also to dear Harriet & Louisa & all the dear
friends everywhere who you know I love....
I have I fear wearied you saying so much about our poor tennants
but it is a subject upon which I feel great interest as I am partial to dear Canada & wish to encourage people to come here but only a particular
class of people ever do well here, hardworking, steady managing people,
but spendthrifts, drunkards & idlers never succeed. We have plenty of
them. Thank you for the fine package of Quinine which was most welcome
as we had a few poor lingering invalids longing for its arrival & it
has cured them now & they are beginning to look less death like for the
Ague is a ghastly looking complaint you know. I hardly expected it so
soon. Indeed you were good to send it off so quickly.
Give my best love to dear Rob't & Catharine, James & Julia & to
all my old friends in your neighbourhood for I love & think of many.
Goodbye my own loved Aunt.
Ever your own child Fan