From Henry2 York. Original of a handwritten copy.
Dear Friends, Having received a letter from Henry, I now sit down to copy it, knowing you would be glad to hear of them. He writes as follows:
Dear Friends, I received your letter April 1st. Was happy to hear from you, the first time after leaving home, and also to hear that you was all well, and that Samuel is at home again. As you are anxious to know how I am going on, I must inform you that I left Mr. White's employ just after I wrote last, and have been since at Mr. Spafford's.
Fred is with Mr. Spafford's brother at 3 dollars a month, has his board, lodging, washing and mending. They like Fred very much and he is so well satisfied he has no wish to come back whatever.
Sarah is with the people I work for. They are very fond of her, and want me to let her stop with them till she is of age. They have but one child.
The old genetleman came from the United States 41 years since, and has offered to let me his farm several times, and take the rent in produce. He has also offered to find team implements and seed. The use of six cows between us, half the wool, and two rooms in his house, and divide the produce equally.
I was to do all the work, chop firewood, look after the dairy, and wash for them. I was obliged to decline the offer, having lost my beloved wife, I could not perform the latter part of the contract.
I find these country people better to work for than the English. They don't expect so much work from a man, and are willing to pay more wages.
The old gent wants to sell me a lot of land - deeded 50 acres for 3 dollars an acre, in the Township of Hungerford, about 30 miles from here. He will take 20 dollars in cash, and take Fred to pay the rest, and find his board and cloathes while paying for it. I think of going to see it next week.
When I began to work for Mr. Spafford, he offered to build me a house if I would stay and work for one year for him. We built it and was in it in three days. He lets me the house, and an acre of good land, and firewood and pasture for a cow for the sum of 6 pounds payable in labor.
I have bought a cow for 16 dollars in cash, and 8 in work. She has a calf, and we have 5 fowls and 2 pigs. Eggs are now 3 pence per dozen, so the children eat them. I have had my board out since we began plowing, and have been at work a month for half the crop off 8 acres; 6 to be planted Indian corn, and 2 buckwheat. I shall have to hoe the corn, the master to do the other work. He has bid me 10 dollars for the next month. I could make more by the day working for different people.
They live different here. They eat butter and cakes, pickles and preserves, plumbs and cherries which grow in great quantities in the woods. I have been out to supper several times this winter, and have had meat, potatoes, pickels, preserves, apple sauce, and pumpkin pye all heaped on my plate at once, like a mess for a mad dog. All very good if kept separete, but such a mixture I don't like.
We have butter and meat allowed us while at work 3 times a day, and tea without sugar. If a man is ever so poor here, he may get plenty of bread and meat and if industrious he will get himself some cattle. They are easier got than money.
When a man has some pigs, which nearly keep themselves, and a cow or too, his family has something to depend on beside his labour. But with all these prospects there is an aching void on my part, for the loss of my wife embitters everything, and is always uppermost on my mind.
Am sorry to say that Mary manages but poorly. Am grieved to see the cloathes and things spoiled, but hope she will do better as she gets older. She does not wish to come back. I asked Sarah if she would like to come back. She said she would like to go and see if her Aunt Mary's baby could walk.
John talks more about old friends, and especially his Grandpa, and has wished himself back many times in winter, but now we have got a cow, calf, pigs and fowls, he is very well satisfied. I think Henry has entirely forgot you, as I cannot get a word out of him respecting you. His eyes are very weak.
The rest of us are all well by the blessing of God, and healthy. I began to write a letter to be put in the Mercury some time since, but am waiting for a little more practical observation and information, having found that derived from others incorrect.
Since writing the above, I have been to see the land at Hungerford, and found it very rough and stoney; stones weighing from a hundred lbs. to 3 tons by appearance, and the land full of large timber, so I declined buying it, and I still think of going up to the Huron tract, and settle on some land, while I am able to chop and clear of the timber, and if I do not get the fifty acres allowed by government, I shall settle on a hundred acres of the Canada Company's land, who do not require any money to be paid down but give 12 years credit, and take the money by installments.
This is an old settled place, and it is impossible for a poor person to get land here, but by going back into the new townships lately laid out, a person may get land on easy terms. The present being a good time to pay for it.
There are many private persons that own lands in distant townships who are not able or willing to clear it, will sell it for any kind of pay they can get. My master tells me he sold a hundred acre lot for 100 dollars and the most solid property he ever got for it was a yoke of oxen. The rest he takes yearly in maple sugar. This may appear strange to you, but it is a fact, and past all contradiction.
We are about 180 miles from Toronto. Do not think I shall have an opportunity of seeing either Mr. West or G. Cleaver. Give my best respects to Mrs. L. Robinson, and tell her that I hunted up and down the government works at Montreal for George, but could not find him. Was informed that all the emigrants of last season went on up to Toronto.
Give my kind love to all my brothers and sisters; also to our Claybrook relation. My respects to the following persons: Mrs. and Misses Madcock, Mr. Ashley, Mr. Bates, Mr. Robinson gent, Mrs. Warren, Mrs. Eden - thank her for the childrens books, William How, John Russell, Mr. Tibbet the gardener and footman, Mr. Mabbotts, cousin Dickens, Mr. & Mrs. Green - am sorry to hear they had the fever.
My respects to all that rendered me any assistance or that enquire after me, wishing them all every blessing both for time and eternity. Was sorry to hear of the death of Mrs. Askew. She was truly a kind hearted person and I hope she has gone to her reward.
Tell John Thompson, Wharf, that it would be the best thing he could [do] for his famely to bring them here, there being so many situations for young people and a chance of getting them land.
I have enquired of the agent and he informed me that every emigrant or head of a family is entitled to a free grant of 50 acres of land in the Huron tract, and a chance of purchasing 50 more in 5 years side of it. They require a man to settle on it when he applies for it, build a log house, clear and fence 13 acres. Then they give him a deed to sell it or keep it, as he likes.
Have also heard that there is 50 allowed for each son side of it. This I doubt, but know the first to be correct.
We live about 2 miles from Picton, at the edge of a small wood. There is three more houses close by, and we are so little afraid of being disturbed that we never fasten the door. The people here are kind and not so envious as in England.
We have cedar bushes growing round our house, and along the road. It would look like a shrubbery if it had a gravel walk. There is a great deal of cedar here, both red and white. They say it will not rot, and split it up for rails.
There are many Methodists here, Picton being their headquarters. I was present at one of their quarterly meetings when they administred the sacrament to about 200 members. They came from a distance with 50 or 60 span of horses and waggons which stood around the chappel, and looked something like a fair.
I sent a newspaper the 1st of April, the day I received your letter, and as they come and go free, I hope you will send me one sometimes, I will do the same.
Here they put bells on the cows necks so that they can find them in the woods, and are tingling about all hours in the night.
I cannot conclude this scribble with a better prayer than you did in your letter. That is the sincere desire of your affectionate son,
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