UWInfo | Young Immigrants | 19th Century Immigration | Genealogy | Local History
In 1842 the Canada Company sent out an agent to collect statements from various settlers in the Huron Tract to use as encouragement to other emigrants. Owning a great deal of land, the Company was interested in selling it to new settlers. These letters and statements, however, do give us some insight into the lives of these new emigrants.
Stratford, 23d September, 1842
I last night completed my taking notes from the settlers, as you requested me; I travelled through a part of North Easthope and in South Easthope, [today in Perth County, Ontario] and took notes from those who I considered would make a fair statement, such as to shew the general progress and success of an industrious emigrant. They are:
Andrew Riddell, jun.
Andrew Riddell, sen.
Robert Frazer, and
John Stewart, sen.
And I also went into the back concessions of Downie, and took the same from
George Wood, and
having, of course, on the spot taken notes only (some of them taken in the harvest field, as the settlers were all very busy at the time saving grain.)
I am respectfully,
Your most obedient servant,
(Signed) John J.E.L.
To: T.M. Jones, Esq.
South Easthope, Huron Tract,
19th Sept. 1842.
I came from Berwickshire, in Scotland, from near the town of Lauder. I settled in this township in the summer of 1832, when this and the adjoining township began to be settled. There were but few indeed had emigrated to this quarter previous to this year, and if I recollect well, the main road to Goderich between these townships was only begun to be cut out, two years before this. At any rate it was not altogether finished in 1832, for I was employed that year on it. A sleigh or bush road had been previously tracked out, but the main road I refer to is sixty-six feet wide, the trees on which breadth were all cut down, and burned or hauled off the road, and crossways made with logs, where there were wet spots. This road is in length from the east end of the Huron Tract to Goderich about fifty-eight miles.
I had no family then, except my wife, (I have now six children,) and for some years we lived in what is called a "a Shanty,"[sic] being a small house built of logs, and notched down at the corners, and having a shed-roof, or a roof sloping one way only. I settled on Lots 16 and 17, in the first concession of this township, fronting the road above mentioned, and containing 100 acres each, and having a good creek (or "burn," as we call it in Scotland) running through part of the lots. The price of this land was 1½ dollar per acre. I began to chop and clear the ground for spring crops. My means were but scant, for the money I had being 60 dollars, I paid on the lots to the Canada Company; and what we required for provisions, till I had my own crops, I obtained by my labour. When the above main road was turnpiked in 1835, I wrought on it and saved money, as did many others of my neighbours. There is, therefore, now since that year a good road all the way to Goderich.
I have now about forty-five acres of cleared land, which produce good crops, and I am clearing four acres more this year. I have built a log-house, the logs of which are all hewed or "flatted," and the roof is covered with shingles. I built, also, a log-barn, but this year I have got raised, and expect to have completed before winter, a large frame-barn, 62 by 40 feet. It is now so far finished that my crops, as far as yet saved, are in it. It is an advantage to have a large barn, and, if possible, a frame one, to hold all the crops. They are generally constructed to include in the building a place for horses and cattle, and if raised on a slope, (as mine is,) and where part of the ground can be excavated, so much the better, as the divisions for cattle, &c. Can be all under where the grain is, and also under the thrashing floor. This barn when finished I can safely value at 500 dollars, but to me, and to others who are farmers, who perform part of the work, it will not cost this in cash, as the excavations, and many things connected with the building, I have done myself; but the value above stated I think is correct.
My crops this year consist of fall and spring wheat, oats, peas, barley, potatoes, and turnips. My crops are good, and the field of oats I am now saving is a fair sample. At a moderate estimate the value of my crops may be 240 dollars, and in this I have not included the hay grown on eighteen acres. My land I would not sell for less than 2500 dollars, and it is worth it, for the situation is good, and it is well watered. I have paid to account of the price of the land to the Canada Company, since the first payment, about 160 dollars, which makes 220 in all. My stock of cattle at present consists exactly of the following:-5 milch cows, 1 yoke of working oxen, 1 odd ox, 1 yoke of three-year old steers, 1 bull, 2 heifers (rising three years,) 2 ditto (rising two years,) 15 sheep, 1 year old steer, and 4 calves of this year, besides hogs. I have occasionally sold off some cattle. I have a waggon, fanning-mill, and other articles required to carry on the operations of a farm.
I have been asked, would I advise Emigrants to come to this country, or to this tract, and my reply is, most certainly I would. It may be said or thought that my success is not to be generally seen in others. I reply, "visit my neighbours," and the extent of their clearances, and stocks of cattle, will very plainly shew that my case is a very common one. In many cases Emigrants, with families, defer leaving the place of their birth, where, it may be true, many and tender associations endear it, but where there is no prospect of providing safely, and to some extent, for their families; this country is before them. I have advised my father (who lived a year or two before he left, near Melrose and Galashiels) to come here, and he came with his family; and when he arrived at my then humble abode, he had not, I know, (and which he has often said to others,) "a shilling;" but his success is far beyond mine. My father-in-law, Robert Patterson, (also from near Lauder,) came, acting on my advice, and his success is beyond either my father's or mine. Many others followed. In advising any to emigrate, I allude to the industrious, sober, and persevering.
(Signed) Andrew Riddell, Jun.
North Easthope, Huron Tract,
19th Sept. 1842.
I am a native of America, and came to reside on the Lot I live on, being No. 1 in the third concession of this township of North Easthope, in April 1836, a few days after I was married. I had lived at St. Catherine's, at the head of Lake Ontario, some time previous to 1834. In this year (1834) I got this Lot, and I began myself, being a single man, in the summer of that year to chop and clear ten and a half acres, which I accomplished, and I put in that fall a crop of fall wheat. I had hired a man for two months, and another for five days, to help me. My personal property, or property exclusive of the land, was then about the value of seventy dollars, after paying my debts, and in this property is included a yoke of oxen, which I afterwards sold.
I went out to work the following year, 1835, having previously sold the crop of growing wheat on the ten and a half acres. I, however, got sick, and being some time unwell, the expense attending this sickness was as much as I gained.
In March, 1836, I married, and removed to my lot of land shortly after, as I have stated in the outset. I had then the loan of a yoke of oxen and a cow. I gave out a job of chopping and clearing about fourteen acres, and I boarded the men, and this assistance, with what I have first mentioned, is all the help I have got in clearing my land, and I have now fifty-eight acres cleared, besides about two acres to log up. By perseverance and by hard labour, and from the produce of the farm, I have "got along" very well. My health, too, and that of my family, has been good, for this place is healthy.
In logging land, that is, putting the cut timber together in heaps to burn, four men are required, and sometimes where possible to be got, five. Three men or four put up the logs, and one drives the oxen. From a desire to do all myself, and to save as much as I could, I have without any help but a yoke of oxen under my own charge, logged together many an acre, though it is hard work for one man to manage. I am averse to incur any debt I possibly can avoid, and I have endeavoured to pay all my outlays from the sale of farm produce and cattle. I have now a span of horses, 3 cows, 2 steers (rising three years,) 3 yearling heifers, 3 spring calves, and 14 sheep. My dwelling-house is a comfortable log building, and my barn is built of logs also, as well as other small buildings.
I have paid all the land up to the Canada Company, except about 72 dollars, including interest. I would not sell my farm and stock for less than 1500 dollars, which is but a moderate estimate. I do not include in this my house furniture or farming implements, such as fanning-mill, plough, &c., or my crops.
My crops this year are 9 acres of wheat, 5 acres of oats, 2 acres of peas, and 1 acre of potatoes, and about 12 acres in hay. The rest of my cleared land is in pasture and fallow. I am now, having got all my crops saved, finishing the ploughing of the first field I cleared, above ten acres, in which I intend to sow fall wheat. All the stumps I have nearly got out of it. My land is really good, not flat or level land either, but undulating or rather slightly hilly. My neighbours are all doing well, and when health is granted to an industrious and sober man, there is nothing to hinder him to succeed in this country. My land is in the eastern part of the Huron Tract, and the township of Wilmot bounds it on the east.
(Signed) Timothy Wallace
North Easthope, Huron District,
19th Sept., 1842.
In accordance with your request that I would state how I have succeeded in this country, I think the best way for me to convey to you a just idea of my success and prospects is to state, though briefly, the following facts:--
I emigrated from Dumfriesshire in Scotland, in 1836, having had a farm there on lease in the parish of Glencairn, and Minnihive being the nearest post town. In July of that year I came to this Tract, and I considered then that I would buy a lot of land with some improvements on it. I bought out the right and interest of the holder of this lot I live on, being No. 7 in the second concession of this township, consisting of 100 acres, and he had then about ten acres of cleared land and a small log-house (covered with bark) on it. The land had been taken up from the Canada Company some years previous, at the rate of 1½ dollar per acre, and I paid the holder of it for his interest 86½ dollars, and I also paid to the Company one instalment, which, with the legal interest at 6 per cent. on the whole, due up to the above period, amounted to 60 dollars. I had then as much money left as bought me a yoke of working oxen and two cows. What I have stated shews the amount of funds I had.
My improvements on the lot now are as follows: I have rather above forty acres of cleared land, and I have besides ten acres more chopped, brush burned, and about half of it now ready for a crop of fall wheat to be put in at this time, the rest of it when cleared will be put in, if I am spared, in crops next spring. I have this year crops of fall and spring wheat, oats, peas, barley, potatoes, and turnips, besides about fourteen acres in hay, which I think will fully average a ton of hay per acre, and about five acres in pasture. My stock consists of 3 horses and a colt, cows, 1 yoke of working oxen, 3 yokes of steers of different ages, heifers, calves, and 20 sheep, with 9 very large hogs, [In the part of the country I came from, sheep were called hogs, and I thought it odd at first to hear the name of hogs in this part given to swine.] and 21 less in size. The log-house I have enlarged, making some additions to it, and covered it with shingles, and I have built a log-barn 62 x 30, and covered also with shingles, (shingles are thin pieces of split pine laid on the roof, similar to, and as a substitute for slates, as in the old country,) and I have some out-buildings. With my family's help I have cleared for some of my neighbours about twenty-five acres of land, which enabled me to furnish many articles which I needed, as well as provisions, when we required such till the land produced them. As I have alluded to my family, I may state that we had seven children when we came, and two since, and the eldest is now about twenty-one years of age, and is working this season, as he has been before, out at the harvest. I hand you herewith a speciment [The specimen of cloth may be seen at the Office of the Canada Company.] of the cloth my wife got woven last year from our own wool, and this year she has carded above 66 lbs. of wool, from which she expects sixty yards of good common cloth, all woollen, without any mixture, and it will be striped and checked, the yarn having been dyed.
The land I have is good and well watered, there being a creek and springs on it. I have succeeded as well as I expected, and I consider the value of my stock and farm, at a moderate calculation, above 1400 dollars, in which is not included my crops or the farming implements, such as fanning-mill, plough, &c., and also many other things, which of course cost money or labour when they are required. We have all enjoyed good health, for this place is healthy, and there is not a doubt but an emigrant will (allowing him to be industrious) succeed here as a farmer, and particularly so if he has been previously accustomed to farming, or indeed to any labour, whether mechanical or agricultural.
Hoping the above particulars will be satisfactory, and I might have added to them, if time permitted,
I remain, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
(Signed) James Hastings
North Easthope, Huron District,
20th Sept. 1842.
Being desirous to give in as concise and plain a manner as I possibly can, the information which has been requested of me, I beg to offer the following.
I emigrated from Scotland in 1834 to Canada, arriving in July of that year. I came from the parish of Stow, in the shire of Edinburgh, being a steward or overseer there for Mr. Hastie. It was near Dalkeith and Stow where I was, being ten miles from the former, and about eight from the latter place. I was then, and till about three years ago unmarried, and I wrought for some months in this country before I settled on land. I then applied for and go the Lot I live on, being No. 15 in the third concession of this township, and a young man a neighbour joined with me, and we got No. 16 in the same concession between us, he also having another Lot, 17, alongside of it. I have therefore 150 acres. I may state that this young man, Alexander Hamilton, jun. afterwards returned to Scotland, and took out his father and some relations, who are all settled in this neighbourhood. They are from Gattenside, near Melrose.
I commenced to improve on my land (it being then a perfect wilderness, travelled only by the Indian) late in the fall of 1834. The snow was on the trees then I recollect well, for, on beginning to chop down some trees to build my small "shanty" with, the snow at the stroke of the axe would be falling down upon me. I however got the shanty finished and moved into it. This was the first beginning of what, as will be seen in the sequel, has turned out to be a state of prosperity. I had then about 250 dollars, including what wages I earned in the country before I settled in the bush. I was then single, and depended solely, as I do still, on my own exertions. I chopped during that winter, and when the spring came I got my chopping logged up, and sowed four bushels of spring wheat, and other crops, and planted some potatoes. About new year's day, 1835, I bought a cow for eighteen dollars, and a yoke of working oxen for sixty, and this same yoke I continued to work with for five years, and then sold them for eighty dollars. I paid an instalment in 1835 on the 150 acres, which was about seventy-five dollars, being at the rate of 2½ dollars per acre. I have now the land all paid for, except about twenty-two dollars and some interest.
In the summer and fall of 1835 the Canada Company got the main road to Goderich turnpiked, and I wrought on it for near four months, and saved money by the job. I still kept what is familiarly called "bachelor's hall," and I milked my own cows. The case is altered somewhat, for the cares of a married man, besides those attendant on an improving farm, are upon me, but my comforts are increased, and I am happier, and I manage matters so that I have generally my crops sowed and reaped, and in the barn as soon, and I may say, without any praise to myself, if not sooner than my neighbours, and they, to give them their due credit, are not idle, but industrious.
I have now near or about fifty acres of cleared land, and it is all laid out in fields of 6¼ acres; and availing myself of the running water or creek on my farm, I have it in all my fields, except one, and that one is not destitute of water either. I must say that my land is good, but there is as good land on my neighbours' farms. In the above clearance is included above five acres of newly cleared land, which is sometimes also called "fallow," (a term applied also to old land broke up, and made ready to sow fall crops in,) on which I have already sowed my fall wheat for next year.
My crops this year consist of fall and spring wheat, oats, barley, peas, and potatoes, besides about twenty acres in hay, and pasture thirteen acres. My crops are good. While on this subject I may say that I expect an average of thirty bushels per acre from my fall wheat, and the bushel weighs sixty lbs. It would have been a little more I think, but there was a frost this season in May and beginning of June, which affected it a little. I have had in 1840 at the rate of thirty-five bushels of fall wheat to the acre, and in 1841 thirty-two bushels. This I ascertained from actual observation. The average crop however of fall wheat in this part of the country I may state at twenty-five bushels per acre, that is, when the wheat is sown in time and well harrowed in a husband-like manner, and taken care of in the harvesting, and this too on land with the stumps remaining in it. I cannot say from experience what the average would be under a like careful tillage when the stumps are out, and the fields having the even and unbroken appearance which is to be seen in good farms in Scotland. The average crop per acre of spring wheat I consider to be about eighteen bushels, oats thirty-five to forty bushels, barley about thirty bushels, and potatoes about 300 bushels. I state these averages from my own experience, if the crops are put in as above-mentioned they should be. I consider it of greater advantage to a farmer to put an extent of crops in which he can manage with care; for then the labour is less, the return more sure and certain, farming is done on a 'system,' and there is less cause, if any, for grumbling against bad weather, if any should come, and if so, such a farmer is prepared to meet it, but not the farmer who is engaged in husbanding crops of an extent beyond the labour he can command. My attention has been directed a good deal to this, and a great part of my success in farming and raising heavy crops, I may say is owing to my acting on the observations I now make. I have seen farmers, as good farmers as myself, and probably better, struggling hard to get in large crops in the ground, some of which put in in proper time and others out of time, but hurriedly, and perhaps slovenly put in, and then the harvest, when it came, brought its own difficulties, owing to the extent, in comparison with the labour ready to meet it, even though the cradle scythe be used in cutting down. The proper time for sowing fall wheat is from the 1st to the 15th September, the sooner the better after the 1st, whether on new or old land. I mean by new, land that is recently cleared and has never been cropped, then seeded down with grass, and afterwards ploughed up. Spring wheat should be put in from the 20th April to 15th May, and it is ready to be cut and harvested after the fall wheat is cut and saved. As regards crops, I may, in concluding this part, say that my neighbour Robert Patterson, jun. (there is another neighbour of the same name, though no relation, who is senior) has an extraordinary crop of oats this year. He calculates on having sixty bushels or above that per acre, and though this is a high estimate, yet the crop is the best I have seen, and he has nine acres of them. He is an industrious farmer, and has his place in good order.
My stock of cattle at present consists of two horses and a colt, one yoke of working oxen, three cows, three yokes of steers, of ages from three to one year, three young cattle, fourteen sheep, and some hogs. I have a well-finished log-house, lathed and plaistered in the inside, with a brick chimney, the house containing a kitchen and two rooms, besides the upstairs. My garden is at the side of it, surrounded by a picket fence. My barn is built of good logs, which, with a new addition to it, is ninety-six feet long by twenty-six wide, covered with shingles, and contains my stable. I have let out small jobs of chopping and clearing land at different times, and paid these always from the produce of my farm. I have chopped and cleared about eighteen acres myself.
The situation my land and the neighbouring farms are in I consider to be a very fine one, for from the nature of the ground it commands a fine view, and there is a good expanse of clearances to be seen all well fenced, and here and there marked with the comfortable "farm steadings" of my neighbours. What a contrast there is between the appearance of the place at the time when the snow was falling down upon me when I was chopping my "shanty" logs, and what has been accomplished in the few years by the industry and perseverance of my neighbours.
As it may be expected I should state what the probable value of my property is now, I have made a moderate calculation (exclusive of my crops and farming implements, and household furnishing) and it amounts to about 2500 dollars. This sum I would by no means take for it though counted down in cash on the table before me.
The neighbour I have referred to as having the good crop of oats settled here in 1838, and had no money when he settled. He has a wife and six children. Since he settled, his father and brothers and sisters have come out from Scotland and settled near him. They came from Liddesdale, about nine miles from Langholm, in Scotland. My near neighbour, Robert Patterson, senior, settled here late in the fall of 1833; one of his sons, Walter (who married a few years ago), is on a separate farm from the old man's, and his brothers, Henry and John, have each farms with houses and clearances, and their brother George has also a lot of land. The old man has a large clearance, good dwelling house and barn, and the extent of his clearance with his sons Walter and Henry, who adjoin him, may be about 140 acres. They emigrated from near Lauder, in Berwickshire. I merely mentioned the above families of Patterson's as instances of settlers who have succeeded as well, if not rather better than myself, and there are many others around me who have done as well. Some hundreds of acres of cleared land can be seen from the rising ground east of my house, and the view as I have before observed is a good one.
(Signed) John Kelly.
20th Sept. 1842.
Andrew Riddell, Sen, lives on Lot No. 19, on the third concession in this township, containing 100 acres. He has Lot No. 18 also. He emigrated from Scotland in 1833, from Roxburghshire, near Melrose and Galashiels. He was a farm-servant there with Mr. Church. He lived there only about two years, having come originally from near Lauder, in Berwickshire, where he was also a farm-servant.
His son Andrew (Junior) was in Canada before him, and settled in South Easthope, on the Canada Company's Tract, from which place he wrote home to his father and also to his wife's father, (Robert Patterson, Senior,) and on his suggestions and representations they left Scotland and came here. His family consisted of his wife, son (James), and three daughters, but one of the latter died on the way, and the other two have married since he came here. His son James lives with him.
He settled on the land in October, 1833, having built a shanty on it, and commenced immediately to chop the trees down. When the teamster which brought his luggage and family up was paid, he had not any money left, or, as he says in his own words, "no, not a shilling."
The land is particularly good, high and dry, and there are two small hills behind his house, from which there is a good view of the country round about. He has about 67 acres of land cleared and cultivated. His crops this year consist of fall and spring wheat, oats, barley, and peas, turnips and potatoes, and about 13 acres in hay and 18 in pasture. He is finishing a fallow of new land for fall wheat, about 6½ acres. His stock of cattle, &c. Is as follows:-two horses, one yoke of working oxen, one yoke of steers, 4 years old, three yokes of steers, from 3 years to 1 year, six cows, one bull, eight head of young cattle, eight sheep, and about thirty hogs.
In 1834, he had a job of turnpiking and fixing the main road to the eastward of the Huron Tract; and in 1835, when that road was turnpiked the whole distance of near fifty-eight miles to Goderich, he took a larger job of turnpiking, and he and his son worked at it. This work paid him very well, and a part of the money made he paid on his land. He has paid the whole of Lot No. 19, and a part of the purchase-money of Lot 18. The price to be paid the Canada Company for No. 19 was 1¾ dollar per acre, and the other lot two dollars. The land was at first 1½ dollar, but as it increased in value the price was also progressively risen, but it is now, and has been for some time, at 2½ dollars per acre in the back concessions of this township. The land is all sold in his neighbourhood, and a flourishing settlement it is.
This season, early though it be, he has had the thrashing-machine at his barn, and thrashed out a part of his fall wheat of this year's crop, and sold near forty bushels of it for seed, sown this fall, at one dollar per bushel; the bushel weighs sixty pounds. It is a very great convenience and advantage to a farmer to have moveable thrashing-machines; they are wrought by horses, and they thrash out fully 100 bushels per day. They are attended by a certain number of men, one or two to throw the grain to the person who feeds, and the feeder has enough to do to keep sheaves to the machine, and there are some who attend to the taking away of the grain, &c. These machines can be carried about from one part of the settlement to the other, but there are a good many now in these four townships.
The barn he has is a large frame one. The value of this building, moderately estimated, is £100=400 dollars, and if the stables were under ground it would cost more. His dwelling-house is a comfortable log-house, very well finished. He has valued his land and improvements, with the above barn and his stock of cattle and this year's crops, at 3000 dollars, and, as he says, "he would take nothing less." In this estimate is not included his farming utensils, such as a waggon which cost 80 dollars, fanning-mill, plough, &c.
From one of the small hills behind his house, as before-mentioned, there is a view of eleven farms, from Lots 14 to 24, the clearances on all which are above 500 acres; and the buildings of another farm (Mr. Bell's) are also seen; the cleared land of all the twelve farms being nearly 600 acres; the value of the cleared land, with the crops and cattle on the whole (not including the uncleared land, with other additions, such as farming implements and house furnishing, &c.) Is not far under 20,000 dollars.
(Signed) Andrew Riddell
He emigrated from Glenquaich, in Perthshire, Scotland, in 1833, leaving the Glen in June, and arriving in North Easthope in the month of August following. He was a farmer, on a lease, of a small farm of eight acres, with the right of pasture on the hill for cattle. The "holdings" of all his neighbours might average from six to fifteen acres.
He took up 300 acres of land three lots, one of which he paid when he came, and he had as much money left as bought a yoke of oxen for 70 dollars and two cows at 20 dollars each, and as bought what provisions were needed by the family till the crops came off the ground in 1834. He had no other money.
He commenced first by clearing a small spot, where he raised his house, or "shanty," and afterwards continued chopping during the winter, having the help of his two boys, who are now twenty-one and eighteen years of age. He has two girls besides. When the spring came he cleared the chopped land and put his crops in. He increased his clearance every year, working hard, and each year his boys were more able to help and assist him. He is fifty-five years of age.
His cleared land now extends to about eighty acres, and besides he is harrowing in his fall wheat on a new piece of twelve acres. His crops this year are ten acres of fall wheat, four of spring wheat, ten of oats, and about seven in other crops, with twenty-five acres of hay, and his pasture is also twenty-five acres. His stock of cattle is one span of horses, one yoke of oxen, three steers, six milch cows, four heifers, six yearling steers, and five calves, twenty-nine sheep, and eighteen hogs. He sold in the spring of this year two yokes of oxen.
He has paid another of the lots and part of the third. The most of the land in his immediate neighbourhood is now settled upon, and all the settlers are doing better than he can describe, or a person not acquainted with the country would believe. Their stocks of cattle and clearances in many instances are equal to if not above his. There is a saw-mill to the north of his land, which is a great benefit to the settlers in sawing up lumber or boards, and along the side road, from south to north for thirteen concessions, there are settlers now living, and that within these three years past.
The settlers generally, after the first few years they are settled, endeavour to provide their own clothing by rearing sheep. This year he expects to have eighty yards of home made cloth, and last year he had the same quantity. It is mixed in most instances with cotton, yarn, and also with flax, although wholly with woollen yarn is preferable, and which, as it is made, after being "fulled," is good cloth.
He has no inclination to dispose of his land and improvements, which he considers worth 4000 dollars. Indeed he says he would not accept of that sum in money, if offered to him.
He settled in North Easthope the same year as John Crerar, in 1833, he also came from Glenquaich; he has four sons, all able to assist in farming and in clearing land. He says his was the first family which moved into the back lots off the main or Goderich road. He applied for and settled on lots twenty-three and twenty-four in the third concession, and also lots twenty-four and twenty-five in the second.
The farm which he occupied in Glenquaich was a small one, being three acres of arable land and five of meadow, with the same right as the rest of his neighbours to a portion of the "hill pasture." He considers his situation now as far different, having about ninety acres of cleared land on his lots, and ten acres chopped. His barn with additions, built of logs, is 104 x 24 on lot 25, and he has another barn 75 x 28 on lot 23, both covered with shingles.
When he removed to his land in the bush, and when the many difficulties of a new settler were before him, he had only in money £20 or 80 dollars, and part of this money he paid on the land.
As before mentioned, his improvements in cleared land consist of ninety acres, and ten acres ready for burning off, all which has been effected by the persevering industry of his sons. He is an old man, about eighty years of age, and only three of his boys were able to work and assist when he first settled. He has in cattle, one yoke of oxen, one span of horses, and a yearling colt, two yoke of steers, four years old, one yoke of two-year olds, four yearling steers, one bull, one two-year old steer, eight milch cows, six calves, six heifers, fifty sheep, and forty hogs. He has of crops this harvest, fourteen acres of wheat, six acres of oats, and nine acres of other crops, with above thirty acres of hay, and about twenty-six of pasture.
His sons took a job of turnpiking the main road, and saved money by it, which was a help, in addition to the sales of flour, wheat and cattle from the farm. He would not take now $3500, or even more, for his improvement. His land is well watered, the river Avon passing through part of it.
He is an elder in the Scotch Presbyterian church. In his neighbourhood the settlers have a meeting-house, and are in contemplation of building a framed church. The same congregation have a church erected in the village of Stratford. A clergyman officiates regularly at both the church and meeting-house.
He came from Turrerich, in Glenquaich, in 1832, having left the glen that year about the middle of June, and arrived at North Easthope on the 1st of September; eight families from the same place emigrated and travelled together and settled in this township and in the adjoining one, South Easthope.
This settlement was only then beginning, for in the distance of twelve miles and a half between Stratford, (called then the Little Thames,) and the easternmost part of the tract bordering on Wilmot, there were only three houses or "shanties," occupied by Mr. Helmore, Mr. Fryfogle, and Mr. Sargint; one other settler, Mr. D. Bell, had just arrived, but he had no house up. These settlers were on the road side, for it was in 1833 and 1834 when settlers moved to lots of land off the main road.
The farm which he leased in Glenquaich was a small one, a few acres, with a privilege of pasture on an adjoining hill. His neighbours were similarly placed; possessing only what may be called "small holdings" from five to fifteen acres each.
His family then were six in number, but not of age to assist in chopping and clearing but very little. There are three of them now well able to help, and they perform the most of the work.
He applied to the Canada Company for three lots of land, 100 acres each, situated on the road side, and the following year he also applied for the three lots in the rear, in all 600 acres of land. He commenced at once to chop and clear the land, and built a small house. There were so few settlers at that time that the houses though small took no little trouble to put up, but the same difficulty was not experienced next year, as the settlement increased rapidly. When he came he paid and got a deed for one of the lots, and paid part on the other two, an instalment; since that time he has paid money on the five lots.
When the spring came, or rather towards the commencement of summer, his money was exhausted, but the provisions bought were sufficient till the crops were ready. From the crops of oats and potatoes this season he made some money, and particularly as they were scarce, and a brisk demand by increased emigration and traffic by the main road. The land since that time has yielded sufficient, not only for support but for sale. His family have been industrious, and he has managed to be economical in every thing.
He has now a good stock of cattle: they had the first winter one cow, which gave milk till spring, when he bought another, and at the same time a yoke of working oxen. He has now one span of horses, one colt two years old, and another one year old, two yoke of working oxen, one yoke of five-year old steers, two yoke of two-year olds, three steers, seven cows, six calves, forty-six sheep, five year old heifers. He sold two cows the other day, and has during these some years past sold a good many cattle.
He has about 102 acres of cleared land. He had this year forty acres in hay, twenty in pasture, seventeen acres in wheat, fourteen acres in crops of oats, barley, &c., and ten acres in fallow. He has nearly ten acres of new land cleared this season for wheat. His home-made clothing or cloth last year was 106 yards, being woollen, cotton and wool, and flax, and expects this year to have 100 yards. He has a waggon and a cart, horse-sleigh and harness, fanning mill and other farming implements. His barn is a log one 74 x 26, stable 40 x 23, and other small buildings. His house is a two story log building with a brick chimney.
He states that all his neighbours have succeeded well. Many have emigrated this season from Glenquaich, and expects that next year all his old friends in the glen will be in Canada, and in this tract. A brother-in-law, who has been settled for some years in the township of Beckwith, has taken up 900 acres of land in the adjoining township of South Easthope, to which he intends removing in the winter or spring.
He would not accept of $4000 for his land, buildings, and improvements, (not including cattle or crop,) and justly believes that he forms no exaggerated value of his property.
Township of Downie,
Huron District (Canada),
22d September, 1842.
I emigrated to this country in 1835, in the month of July, with my wife and five children. The eldest, a boy, then ten years old. I have now eight children. I came from the parish of Rothbury, in Northumberland (England). I was steward or overseer to William Redhead, Esq. of Ryehill, near Rothbury.
My father-in-law, John Gibb, who was a shepherd at Ryehill, and his son George, came to this country, and this township, the year before, in 1834, and they wrote home to me about the state of the country, and a brother-in-law, William Dunn, (who is also married to a daughter of J. Gibb,) and myself emigrated.
I located myself and family on Lot No. 12, in the fourth concession of this Township of Downie, containing 100 acres. I built a log-house and afterwards a log-barn upon this lot, and have cleared thirty acres of land on it. I afterwards, in 1840, when my means increased, bought the right and interest of a neighbour in Lot 12 on the fifth concession, being opposite the lot I then lived on. There were ten acres of cleared land on it and fenced, with a log house and barn, for all which I paid 260 dollars, having, besides this, to pay the Canada Company for the original price, at the rate of two dollars per acre, less a small sum paid on it by the original holder.
Part of the summer I came here I wrought out at the harvest, and also the second, which enabled me to save some money, my wife and family remaining at home. I was enabled also to save my own crops of 1836.
After I bought the interest in the above lot in the fifth concession, I removed to it, and have now rather above thirty acres of cleared land on it, having above sixty acres cleared on both the lots. My stock of cattle consists of one yoke of working oxen, three yokes of steers from two years to four years old (in pairs), three steers, six cows, four heifers in calf, five spring calves (calves of this year), one fat ox, two fat cows, thirty-five sheep, young and old, and thirteen large hogs (that is, swine), and some small ones. My crops this year consist of eight acres of fall wheat, seven acres of spring wheat, four acres of oats, two acres of peas, and three acres of potatoes. I have about twelve tons of hay, and also a field of seven acres in pasture. The hay crop this year was not so heavy as has been in other years. We had forty yards of woollen and drugget cloth made last year from our own wool, and this year I think there ill be eighty yards. The wool this year is about eighty lbs.
I have all the farming implements required for a farmer, such as a plough, drag (or harrow), fanning-mill, &c., and a waggon. Besides clearing land on my own lots, I have assisted in jobs, taken by my father-in-law and me, to clear twenty-seven acres of land for two settlers, and I have chopped and cleared also by myself and family ten acres for a neighbour. The first year or two I was here my family could not give me much help, but now I have three of them well able to assist me; and, besides, we all have enjoyed good health, for the climate of this part of Canada is remarkably healthy.
I consider that the change by emigrating here is to my advantage, and that of my family. I am quite in a different situation now in this country as regards acquired property from what I would have been in had I remained in the old country; and, though I cannot say but that I was at home, as others were, comfortable in one respect, and also as having a good master in Mr. Redhead; still by adopting this country as the future home of myself and family, I am now a master, where I could never well expect otherwise than to see myself and my family as servants. The facility of acquiring property here is great, and any man, single or married, of sober, economical, industrious, and persevering habits is sure to do well. That this is a general remark I am well aware; but I consider my own case, as above detailed, a favourable and further proof of the correctness of the observation.
A stronger proof is yet to be stated, and that is in the comparison of my means when I arrived and what they are now. When I arrived at the village of Stratford (which is very prettily placed at the corner of these four Townships of Downie, Ellice, North and South Easthope), I had sixteen sovereigns, which, at five dollars each, [Money is often reckoned in this country in dollars. A sovereign by law is worth 24s. 4d. currency, but they pass for 25s. in general business. The dollar is equal here to 5s. currency or about 4s. British.] is eighty dollars, and I had assisted my brother-in-law, William Dunn, on the way here to the extent of seventy-five dollars, both sums equal to 155 dollars. This was the amount of all my means. My present stock of cattle, &c. I value at 600 dollars, and my land with the improvements is well worth 2,800 dollars, which sum, in money, I would not take for it. Besides, I have not valued in the above my farming implements and house furnishing, or my crops of this year. I have also more than 100 dollars owing to me by several persons and I have paid on account of my land to the Canada Company, and in buying the interest of the former holder of the lot on the fifth concession, 450 dollars. I am owing, it is true, the Canada Company a balance on both the lots; but, if spared in health as hitherto I have been, and the same measure of success as a farmer I have enjoyed, meted out to me, I expect to be able next year to pay my land. It is certainly in my opinion an advantage to be on the Company's land; and they hold the lands of this Tract, now a District; for a settler may have five years to pay the land by yearly instalments, or by lease for twelve years, paying a yearly rent; and when the instalments in the one case, or yearly rents in the other, are paid, a free deed is granted. The Company, indeed, have given longer time than the period specified to pay instalments, they charging only 6 per cent. interest; and there is no instance here which I recollect of where they have acted harshly, or otherwise than shewing much favour to the settlers in the paying of their lands.
To conclude, I may add that my relations, John Gibb and his son George, and my brother-in-law, William Dunn, are all doing well; and they can also bear evidence, in their own success, to my statement; shewing that there is, generally speaking, a decided advantage in emigrating to this country.
(Signed) George Wood
Township of Downie, Huron District,
22nd Sept. 1842.
I emigrated to Canada in 1835, having come from the County of Northumberland, in England. I lived near Rothbury in that county, but latterly I was in the employ of Mr. Joseph Hopper, merchant and miller, Squirrel Mills, Newcastle-on-Tyne; I was in this gentleman's employment when I left. My family only consisted of my wife, but I have four children since I came here. My father-in-law, John Gibb, (who also lived near Rothbury) with his son George, emigrated to Canada in 1834, and settled in this township, and they wrote home to me and his son-in-law George Wood, giving a description of the country, and particularly of this place, and we resolved to follow them.
When I arrived at the village of Stratford (which is about two miles from my farm) I had not a cent, but I was owing George Wood seventy-five dollars for advances made to me, but this sum I have long since paid. Being a farm servant and labourer at home, and understanding a little of the milling business, I soon found profitable employment here (for I did not locate myself on land when I came) and at the grist and saw mill at Stratford. In the fall of 1837, I bought out the interest of a settler in lot No. 5 in the second concession of this township, consisting of 100 acres, but there was not a tree chopped on it. I paid 110 dollars for the right to the lot, having the original price to the Canada Company to pay besides, at the rate of 1½ dollar per acre, besides interest. I paid sixty dollars in one payment to the Company, and some money since. I did not remove to live on the lot till the spring of 1838, but in the fall and winter of 1837-38, I chopped on it, and that spring I put up a "shanty" (a small log house) and cleared land for spring crops. The first crops I had were in the harvest of 1838. I have now a good log house with a log barn and other additions, and about thirty-five acres of cleared land, and well fenced. This land I have cleared all myself except one acre, which I paid for.
My land is exceedingly well watered, for the river Avon passes through my lot. This is the stream which goes through the above village, and on which the Stratford mills are built. This village is situated at the corner of this township, and the adjoining three townships. My crops this year are of fall and spring wheat, oats, barley, peas, and potatoes. My stock of cattle consists of one yoke of working oxen, one yoke of two year old steers, and two steers one year old, four cows, two heifers in calf, three calves, seventeen sheep, and twenty hogs. I sold a yoke of working cattle lately. The waggon which I have cost me seventy-five dollars, and I have other necessary articles for a farm, as a fanning mill, plough, &c.
I am not inclined to over-estimate my property, but I would not accept of 1500 dollars for my farm and stock; but I feel so comfortably placed, that this sum would not tempt me to sell. We have been blessed with good health, and considering that (saving our luggage, which held our clothing) when we arrived as before observed at this place, our means were small and I was in debt, my success as a settler has been progressively advancing. Many emigrants in this township can verify my statement in their own experience, for my prosperity is not singular. An emigrant needs to be watchful and industrious, and with sober habits there is the same (and perhaps a better) prospect than mine before him.
(Signed) William Dunn
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