Search billions of records on

From Henry2 York.  Alton originally treated this as two separate letters, one written in February 1846 but missing the latter pages, and one written in March 1847 but missing the early pages.  An inspection of the originals suggests that they were all one letter written in 1847, and are treated that way here.

The upper right hand corner of the letter is missing..

Dear friends.  Some time haveing elaps[ed], ... now try to answer your letter bu[t] inability to write or indite a letter for ... begin knowing that several of the ... being my bad writing I have no other ex[cuse] ... writing sooner and I think you will admi[t that] a lame excuse is better than none.

I was glad to find that you heard of me by Mrs. Badcock and that your [?] was so pleased with my acount of things here.  Likewise that you had the happiness to see my brother T after so long absense.  I think you found him very much altered both in maner & appearance.  I hope and trust he now well.

You say that David H would like to come.  I now that if he was here he would get a good deal more wages either as a barber or a shomaker.  They charge 3 pence for shaving a person an 7s 6p for making a pair of mens boots and never put a stich in the bottoms but peg the tops, insole and outsole together at once, with it soon done without much labor, and 4s for womens.

I should be happy to have them come, knowing that it would be well for them if they was here and would doe all in my power to give them a start, but they both being of a weakley constitution, I would not for all Canada lead them into an eror not knowing what effect a sea voyage might have upon them.  It might prove unfavorable or it might not.  Some are not the least sick, while others are brought very low.

If they do make up their minds to come, and can get a free passage, I would like to say to them as to all others, come wolley on your own responsability as I did on mine; and if aney unforseen circumstances should ocur to prevent your well being, I could not reasnobly be blamed.  I hope you will not take this unkind, for I think it best to speak plainly on a point like this.

I having no relation in the country, you may depend upon it I should be happy to have you come, and would do all in my power to make you comfortable, and find you a home till you could make out for yourselves.

Give my respects to J Townsend.  He being possest of a good share of strength and industry, wood soon get a farm of his own if he were here.

I will now give you an account of a journey me an a fellow contreyman took on the last of Sept.  We walked up to Coburg, witch is a hansom place, as large as Daventry, situated on the side of the Lake Ontario.  All kinds of goods to be sold here.

We waited a few hours for a steamboat to take to city of Toronto.  Having got aboard, we reached the capitol of this province before daylight.  There I asked about for Mr. West, but could not find him, but by what I could learn, a person of that name had left for England.

This is a large place, well built with wide streets with cross at right angles, and brings the city and buildings into squares.  There is a grait maney noble buildings here, population 20 thousand and 565, stands on side of the lake.

Our road now lay up Younge St witch [is] 36 miles long.  On this road we found them cutting down the hills and men breaking stones to macadamise the road the same as with you. Several toll gates and an imence deal of traffic and severell stages bringing their produse to the city for sale.  This is the finest part of America that I have seen.

This road, or street as it is called, is settled chiefley by old country Quakers who are rich and have good buildings and large orchards the like of witch I never see in my life before.  We could not go half a mile the whole distance without passing the trees loaded with fruit most wonderfully.  Land cleard up and not a stump to be seen.

Traveled next day through a tolerably settled country and then came to the edge of the Township of Tossoronto, went into a log hut and took breakfast, then walked through a piese of woods sixteen miles long without coming to a house.  This woods is all pine with no soil but clear sand, with is one reson I supose why it is never been settled.  This took us 4 hours and half hard walking.  Then we issued out into daylight

[start of page 2 with torn corner] ... settlement with some good land and cattle, ... of clearence, took dinner and set off again.  ... miles woods, here we came to house on low ground.  ... people who went some years ago from the neighbor[hood]. ... it being wet, we staid all night, and the old man entertained us well by relating a great many bear storeys witch happened when he was young.

It appears that he had the offer from government of one thousand acres of wild land, to go and settle a township, and by his account, he traveled almost all over upper Canada, thru woods and swamps for days together without coming to a house, depending on is ax and gun for suport.

However, with such intelegance, could fix in such a place witch I should term the ass end of the world, I cannot imagine.  Surrounded on all sides with high [h]ills.  However, he had one natural advantage I must not forget to mention - having heard a noise near my bed of water running, I looked [near the] dairy and see a small waterfall by witch he could set his churn in motion and get butter without the help of a dairey maid.

Next morning walked a few miles before breakfust, came to a house were the old man's daughter lived, went in and took breakfast.  I remarked while we was eating that they had but few neighbors.  The woman replied that they had a good many when they was all together.

I asked her how far on our road it was to the next house.  She said it was ten miles, witch answer made me laugh most heartley.  About noon we came to an unsurvayed township called Osprey, with but 6 settlers in it, Scoch squatters.  They had the range of ten 1000 acres of good land with some famous looking cowes, and as miserable looking huts as a man would witch to see in a day's walk.

This is called the Queen's bush.  Aney one may settle in it ... prise on purchase, but I did not envy them their possessionn or their happiness, but went on till we came to the township of St. Vincent where I intend to settle.

Here the land is very good, and plenty of settlers who are able to hire.  Here we hunted up and down severl days to find the best lot witch was most conveinent.  At last, I fixed on the 20 lot in the 7 concession, it being near too mills, a store, and the bay witch puts up out of the lake Huron.

I had walked about 3 hundred miles, and stoped here a week, found the farmers very sociable and friendly.  Will not be surprised at my walking so far, for I must tell you that a person looking for a farm who wants to juge of the quality of the land, as no business whatever on a steamboat in the middle of a lake, but however, I took a ride back on board the Princess Royall which was laden with eleven hundred barrells of flouor bound for Qubec market.

Give my respects to John Smith.  I am obliged to him for the book.  Tell him to give my love to his sister Sarah.  Tell her that I can't help thinking that I should like her for a companion, but can scarceley think she would venture so far.  I have often thought of writing to her but have not.

If John Leeson comes, please to send me the ... house things, too pound of ..., 1 pound traybe foill, turnip stone white.  Tell Leeson to get a little hayseed out of the hayloft, little wheat lamas - golden drop - bounded about a quart or more of each sort.  Sew it up in small bags.  Perhaps Mr. T. Ashley would give me a little.  Tell him I will pay him when I come.  A few vetches of celery cabbage canery.  Be sure and not forget the rygrass as there is none in the country.  If my sisters would make me a coller or a front, I would be obliged to them for them.

If J. Leeson has money to spend, tell him to get me a pair of white moleskin trousers like those I have bought before I left home, and I will pay him for his trouble.  Good ones.  Tell him not to buy himself breetches for they all wear trousers here.  Would like a neck handkerchef like the one I used to wear on Sundays, light coulers.  Perhaps can you remember it if you get one.

[start of page 3 with torn corner] ... thing left that came frome home ... neckerchief Mary has the old green ... rown coat is uncle gave him ... frying pan are the only things left ... with us any thing that I could ... should set double store by it.  The loss of my wife and goods and abcence of friends has presed graitley on my spirits butterly.

A little before Christmas I was driving a waggon load of wood to Picton.  The horses was on the trot as is the custom of this country.  The whell ran over a root and it threw me off so that I was unable to work for a month and then I had not been at work more than 3 dayes before I had lame finger, what these country people call a fellon.

It came on the second joint and is much such a finger as I remember father had some years ago.  It is getting better but I canot handle an ax as I had used to do yet.  I find my spirits are keeping paces with my health and are both better than they have been latley.

I received brothers paper.  Was glad to hear that he's better.  You did not send me his direction or I would have sent him a paper.

Give my love to cousin Dickins, hope she is better, and to all brothers and sisters and friends, to Mrs. Badcock and servants.  I received her letter.  Was much pleased with it.  I am ashamed to write to her again, being such a wreched scribbler.  To Mr. Mabbott. Sarah sends her love to Mary M.  Remember me to T. Russell, to Mrs. Warren, also to Sam Wright, Ware, M Kilsby, Tom Bamfore.  They might do well here, to Mr. Robinson and Lya Robinson.

At the time I was up country, I was within fourteen miles of George Cleaver at Owen Sound.  Had not time to go to him, for I had left my corn out in the field, and was anxious to get home.  Was away three weeks.  Intend to go to him when I go up again.

Please to send me the ages of the children.  I am not certain wether I have them all right or not.  Fred is at work for Luss[?] Holt for five dolors a month and [h]is board.  Sarah out at 1 dollar a month and her board.  She is grown a fine girl, and is praised by almost everyone.  She will be more like her mother to manege in a house than Marey.

John is not grown much this last year.  I bought him a new pair of knee boots to go in the snow, cost 11s and 3 pence.  He [h]as burnt one of them by setting it near the fire so they useless and destroy all I can get for them, and I cannot keep them dresed decentley for the life of me for want of some one to mend and make for them.

Henery is strong boy at last, and looks heartier than John but [h]is eyes are weak.

Are very sorrey to hear of the death of my brother W.  I had some strange and unacountable dreams about home at that time, witch caused me some uneasy, but I little thought of what had happened or watt it will be if we have the happiness to mett all our departed relatives in that uper and better world, were sin and sorow never enter, and were friends meet to part no more.

The harvest was began in the early part of July.  I had 25 bushell of white pease, 10 of oats; spring wheat did not pay for raising this year.  65 bushell Indian corn for my share, with witch I fatted my pigs.  I have a good grey horse worth 13 pounds with witch I mean to travell up to Lake Huron.  Intend to go shortley if we have snow enough for the sleigh to run.  We have had little this winter, and that [h]as not lay maney dayes together.

If there is aney letter or paper comes to Picton, after I am gone, I have agreed with a person to redrect them and send them to me.  Will write u as soon as I get in there.  When there is no snow, the people think it quite a calamity, because they cannot draw so loads on a wagon they can on a sleigh.

They are getting out masts here for shipping. It takes 15 span of horses to draw them.  Some of them will measur from 90 to 100 ft. long.  Will square 18 inches at the top.  They raft them to Quebec.  Fred is driven one span - nine in the train.  They want my horse, but I will not let him go.  They often get lamed.

My letter was to late.  The mail goes out but once a month.  H. Barber will sail in Aprill.  Please to write. Send word wether Leeson is coming or not.  February 20.

Now I must conclude.  Please to accept of our best wishes, from your affectionate son, H. York.

Wrote at twice.  If J. Leeson does not come, you could send me few things in a little box by Mr. Phillip Barber, Ashfield farm, Staplefield comon near Croley, Susex.  He is coming as soon as the line of packet ships sail in the spring.  He as a son and daughter here, married people, who I am acquainted with.  Staplefield is near Brighton.  If you was to send it to Thomas, he could send it to Mr. Barber.

Previous Letter   Summary of Letters   Next Letter