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Petworth Emigration, 1832, Letter from Stephen Goatcher to his Wife

From Stephen Goatcher, late of Pulborouth, Sussex

July 6th 1832
Dear Wife,
(The first part is omitted, as it relates entirely to family affairs)

I never was sick at all, but there were a great number that were very sick: the weather was very cold when we came to Newfoundland, snow lay on the mountains: they had a hard winter at Quebec: they were sowing wheat: it is a very cold place. I saw the water-fall (June 24th) at Niagara; our schooner lay about 2 miles off: it was the most wonderful sight that ever my eyes beheld: it is much the same as Mrs........ book relates. James Parker, his wife and family are all well, also Napper, and his wife and family, and hope all their friends are well at home. I cannot give you much account of Canada at present, only most of things dear. The flies are very troublesome; there are great numbers, and are different from those in England. We are now on our way to Kettle Creek, which I expect to be my home. The people seem very bad farmers. Whisky very cheap. I should like to know how you are doing, and how your crop is coming along. I hope you will have a plentiful harvest, and all things going on well. I hear the reform bill is thrown out. It has been reported the Duke of Wellington is dead. The people are very much afraid that we had got the cholera; we have often been inspected by surgeons. I would advise any of my friends not to come to this country in so large a party, if they do, they will find it unpleasant. I had a great deal of trouble, 250 people to feed every day.(Mr. Goatcher was Superintendant of the Party in the Eveline.) When I arrived at York, I went to the Governor; a very fine man: it was like a king's palace: the gold laid on his shoulders: he said he would send us to the best land in Canada. I lived with Captain Royal, in the ship Eveline, in the cabin, on fresh meat and fowls. You will think it long before you receive this letter; I hope it will find you all well with Wm. And his family. I often think of you all. Remember me to my sisters and brother, and Mr. Clements, and Mr. Parry, and my old friend Mr. Comper and all the family, Mr. Challen and his family, and all my old friends, wheresoever they me be. We are now arrived in the woods, but what we are to do, we do not know at present. The musquitoes[sic] are very troublesome. I think of having some land, but it is not settled at present: the land is very good. I think of taking James parker and family with me. When I get settled I will write to you agin. We are too late for any crop this year, but I hope we shall find one another year: the land is very full of timber, very tall, three times a lofty as yours in England. Now, Mr. Comper, you wish to know something about the country: it looks very well to me at present. You wish to know the appearance of the country: by what I can see at present, the land is the best quality, but it is all covered with heavy timber: they say they can clear an acre for about 4. There are no underwoods nor bushes at all, but the timber is cut and burnt altogether. The system of farming is this, they burn it off, and harrow the wheat in, without ploughing. In this place there is not one stone to be found; it's black loam. Their wheat is very fine: barley they do not sow; but I think it would bear good barley. They raise a great deal of Indian corn. Where I think of settling, the government are making a new road through: they say that a coach will pass through before long. There is a mill not far distant, and a saw mill is making. There is plenty of good land for all the people in your country: they would not want to work on the road, as they do in your country. The people are very kind to us: they are very fond of the English. The weather is very hot; more so than in England. Last winter was the hardest that ever they remember. I cannot tell you where to write to me at present. Remember me to the Rev. J. Austin. I shall write to you before long, and then I shall give you more account. John Burchell I forgot. I hope ti will find you all well. So no more from your ever loving and dutiful husband.

Stephen Goatcher.

To Mrs. Goatcher,
Pulborouth, Sussex.

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Last updated November 5, 2002 and maintained by Marj Kohli

1. To afford ample space for the passengers, this ship is restricted to carry 76 fewer than allowed by Act of Parliament.