Immigrants to Canada

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Letters Home in 1835

Letters from CIHM #90035 Emigration - Letters from Canada, Sept 1835.

...some letters from emigrants who left the neighbourhood of Frome in the year 1832, Sussex.

Little York, Upper Canada
Dear Father and Mother,-I have to inform you that John and I are living at his aunt Carpenter's, and we are very comfortably settled indeed. John has plenty of work, and we are doing very well indeed, for John is getting 7s. 6d. a day of our money; and his aunt is very kind to me, and I am just as comfortable as I was at home, indeed more so, for I never knew the want of victuals or drink since I entered my aunt's house, and while I am writing this we have a bottle of good old port wine on the table; and I was wishing that you could enjoy yourselves with the same. But if you were all here, to enjoy yourselves altogether, it would be more comfortable; and if you were here you would find it a great deal better than you do in England, for you do not hear any complaint or any begging here. I should like to fly over to Frome to see you all, but if you would give me all the birds cages you have got, I would not stop there for I never saw a more beautiful, pleasant place in all my life, then Little York is. I shall not persuade you to come, you can use your own mind; there are plenty of your tools used here for combing flax. Please to tell my brother Frank there is hatting business carried on here, and if he had a little money he might soon be a gentleman. Tell Frederick shoemaking is an excellent trade, and so is glazing. Please to tell my brother Richard that gardening is one of the best of trades here, for people are too independent to rise their own garden-stuff, and a cabbage is sold for 4d. in the market: a good gardener is wanted here very bad indeed. Please to tell my dear sister Eliza if I had hearkened to her I never should have been in America; but I only wish she had my spirt to come here too, she would not have to go back again. Ask her if she knew Nancy Pealman(?), in Wire(?)-Street, who used to play with Edith Sheppard so much, and tell her I am living with her, and am as happy as the day is long; and I should have been ten times more so, had it not been for the loss of my poor child, who died soon after we came here-she had every attention paid her. We were five weeks coming from Bristol to Quebec, and eighteen days to Little York; we had a very pleasant passage on the ocean, but very rough up the rapids, and that is the reason Mrs. Carpenter wished me to come New York way. Give my kind love to little Jane, and tell her I wish she was out here, as she could get as much work as she could do, and good work too-it is 2s. 6d. for making a shirt, without any stitching, and I have as much in the house as I can do. Please to tell Mr. And Mrs. F. that I think they were very foolish in going back again, for I am sure they might have done very well here; but that is the way of some people, they just come and look round, and run back again before they know any thing about it, and give it a bad name, but I speak as I find it; I have never known the want of anything since I landed in America; and wearing apparel is just as cheap as it is at home; I have bought a very handsome Leghorn bonnet for 19s., a new hat for John, a pair of shoes each, two new gowns and aprons, a very handsome black silk shawl, and a pair of new trowsers for John, and I have a pound to spare: and this is more than I should have had in Frome in a year, therefore I do not repent leaving it: but if I had you all here I should be happier. Do not delay writing, for I long to hear from you.

From your living Son and Daughter,
John and Sophia Hill


August, Upper Canada
My Dear Children,-I received your kind and welcome letter, and am glad to hear you are well, as it leaves us all at present, thank God for it. How glad we are to hear you are coming. I hope the Lord will bring you safe over the mighty deep. My dear children, I do long for the time to come to see you. What a joyful day will that be for us to be together. We have taken fifteen acres of land, and are going to put some of it in order for you, against you come; you are the right man for this country-a man who likes his work, stout and able like you, there is no fear of coming here. I have a [??] calf, two pigs, and eight chickens: we had a very fine harvest. Your sister Sophia lives at Squire Longley's where she did when she first came, waiting-maid, 10l. a year. Jane is house-maid to Squire Jones's, 11l. a year; I am happy to say she is very steady. Hepseba has not been home to live since we landed: she has 3l. 10s. Henry has his living and clothes, lives at Mr. Hicks a where we took the land when we first came. Daniel and little William live at home with me: he grows a very fine boy, he can talk anything now: sometimes I say, "Baby, I want the cow," he will take a stick and drive him to the door for me to milk. You are desirous to know what I do the farmer's wife is glad with me; I go to market one day, sometimes two days in the week, and go to Prescott to sell and buy for them; and, when they sheared their sheep, I helped them to sort the wool; they asked me if I could spin in the hand-turn, I said yes, so I have earned twenty shillings, and I am going to buy me a gown; they don't pay in money: last week I went and picked up apples, for which I had my keep and a bag of apples. They are very good to me: if I want anything in their garden, I send and have it. Your dear sisters and brothers, when I read the letter to them their eyes were filled with tears of joy to hear you were coming; Sophia says, "Then I shall be happy." We all long for that happy day to come. Give our kind love to my sister French: I hope I shall see her in America. Give our kind love to Mrs. Heel? and Sarah, &c. I am sorry you did not say anything of Thomas Barter; he was at our house about a month ago; he has a very good place: he lives handy our Sophia; sometimes they come here together, they live at one place but not at the same house; he takes my house as home. I am happy to say that in the same place as your three sisters live there is a Church of England and Meetings the same as in England.

From your affectionate Father and Mother,
William and Jane Rawlings.


Upper Canada
My Dear Wife,-I received your letter on the 4th of this month, and am happy to hear that you are all well: I thank God for it. I am happy to inform you that I never had one hour's illness since I left you, that is a blessed thing to say. I don't know that I ever was so ??? or so strong in my life as at present; I thank God for it I have got my house built and the roof put on, and one room finished, it is twenty-four feet long and sixteen feet wide, with four good rooms in it, when finished, what I hope will be in March or April. Do not hide and get rid of all your money, and then say I wish I had went to Canada when I had some. We have no landlord to come at Michaelmas, to say I want my rent: no poor rate[?] to pay, we are in a free country. It is a pretty thing to stand off and aown a hundred acres of land of his own I wish you would go to my brothers and your own, or send and persuade them all to come if they can; not to mind if they have but one shilling in their pockets when they land, they soon get more. You never think if I was had off here, I should not wish a dear wife and family to come and be the same. Edgar, be sure to take care of your poor dear mother, and the little children: may God bless you, and send you a safe journey: so no more at present from your loving husband and father,

Robert Slade

P.S.-If I never see you no more on earth, I hope I shall in heaven. May the Lord bless you all, my little dears. May the Lord bless every subscriber; I hope they will never live to want it.


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