From Henry2 York. Original of a handwritten copy.
Dear Father and Mother, Brothers and Sisters,
I received your letter 22 days after you posted it, likewise the express. Was well pleased to hear from you, particularley to hear that you was well.
As you wished to know how we bake bread, I must tell you the Canadians are a shrewd people, and far before the English is [sic] this and in some other respects. If a person comes unexpected to dinner or tea, and they have no bread, this causes them no uneasiness, as they will mix flour and make short or sweet cakes, and bake them in a tin oven in a quarter of an hour, and eat them hot. I suppose they are similar to the Children of Israel's unleavened bread we read of in scripture. At any rate they are very good.
Some people bake bread in their stoves, others in a tin oven before the fire. Some build an oven outside the door in shape of a beehive of clay or brick. They puzzled me greatly before I knew what they were. We bake ours in what is called a bake kettle with a flat bottom with 3 legs and a lid. We put hot coals under and over it. When baked, it turns out a loaf the shape of a large cheese. This kettle will roast, bake, fry or boil.
To make yeast, mix a little flour, salt and warm water in a bason, keep it warm till it rises. Some steep hops and mix with flour and water, other steep bran and use the water. Some keep out a peice of light dough from the last baking. Others make what they call turnpike out of hops and Indian meal. This being a free country, every one may make yeast and bake bread whichever way he likes best.
Tell my sister Sarah that when she comes here, I will make her a present of a barrell of salmon trout 196 pounds, and a barrell of flour.
This township is in need of a shoe maker, and George or David might get double what would support them, but if they cannot come, tis of no use to unsettle their minds about it. My means will not allow me to come again to England and back. If I were able, I should be very happy to see you all. I have not gave up the idea yet, but have been labouring under great disadvantages.
Give my respects to Mrs. L. Robinson. Tell her I have written to George Cleaver, but have had no answer yet. There is more than 100 - 1000 acres of land to be given away in free grants of 50 acres each, and a reserve of 50 acres more at the rear end of the grant, to be paid for in 5 years, at 6s per acre, making each lot 100 acres.
I am acquainted with the agent, who has given me the chance of choosing a lot for myself, and one for Fred. The two lots, with the reserve belonging to them, would make 200 acres. This seemes too good a gift to miss and yet without selling my own place, I cannot accept it, as it would require money to go to another place, and live through the winter. I can live here cheaper with what I have about me, and keep making improvements. So am undecided which course to take at present.
Am sorry to say, I have had six weeks sickness. Am not able to work at present though better. I think it was brought on through over exertion, and drinking too much cold water.
I had a cash job in hand clearing a piece of road. I worked hard and was anxious to get it done, fancying the money would put me in possession of a cow and a little oven, but oh how frail and uncertain are all our hopes and schemes for this world. I think this will have a tendency to make me place less reliance on things of this nature, and to seek after things more substantial.
I have attended the meetings of a class of people called disciples, who preach and explain the scriptures. The greater part of the people here are Methodists. We have 2 preachers at St. Vincent.
You wish to know what sort of house we live in. It is a log house, 20 feet by 18, with plank floors, 2 windows, and an open chimney, and as wood is plentyfull, we make the house as warm as we wish in winter.
I have been ill now 2 months, have had two relapses, am now recovering the third time. Hope the means used this time will prove effectuall to my ultimate recovery. The rest of us are all well, and desire our love to you with all my brothers and sisters, and all my acquaintance.
Wishing you health and happiness and every blessing, and a happy meeting in the better world, where sin and sorrow never enter, is the desire and prayer of your affectionate son,
My respects to G. Green and my friends at Claybrook. Sarah is 4 miles from home.
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