Recollections of a settler in Ontario, in 1822

A vivid and lively reminiscence of an Irish woman who settled in Ontario, in 1822, as published in 1894.

I came across this while researching the Edey family cemetery in Aylmer, Quebec.

From the introduction:

“The subject of this sketch is Mrs. Andrew Forbes, a lady of 88 years of age, of wonderful vitality, and whose experiences will not be uninteresting to many of the other people in this section of the country; more especially as Mrs. Forbes has a wide connection and is, in consequence, known by a great many people in Arnprior and Fitzroy. Her memory is clear as it ever was, and these scattered notes, taken from her own lips by her son-in-law, Mr. Henry Edey, have been handed to us for publication.”

It begins:

“I was born in County Mayo, Ireland, in the year 1806 and sailed for Canada in May 1822, experiencing a most unpleasantly rough crossing, the voyage ending in New York on July 5 – the day following the celebration of that event so dear the American heart, Independence Day.

After three days at the metropolis, we proceeded up the “American Rhine” (The Hudson) by schooner as far as Albany, then on to Rochester by canal boat. In those days, the St. Lawrence River had only two schooners and it was on one of these, commanded by Captain McIntosh*, that we set sail down the St. Lawrence, reaching the Village of Prescott some time during the night. From here we started for Perth, walking every foot of the way and being no less than 12 days on the road. We then made start for Lanark through the bush, our only means of guidance being the blaze cut on the trees.”

*There was a Dr. McIntosh who was the head of the McIntosh clan living in Johnstown, on the St. Lawrence, just east of Prescott, when my mother first came to Canada in 1953. He would likely be related to the Captain McIntosh mentioned above.

I thought this interesting. Presumably the Rebellion of 1837-1838?:

Oswego County Whig, Wed., June 13, 1838

To. Capt. Smith, Steamer Oneida:

We the undersigned, Cabin passengers on board the Sir Robert Peel, Steamer, which was destroyed this morning by a band of Pirates (calling themselves Patriots) at Well’s Island, within seven miles of French Creek, avail ourselves of the earliest opportunity of thus testifying to you the deep obligation we owe you, for the very kind and handsome manner in which you so promptly assisted in relieving us from a situation, at once trying and unpleasant, occasioned by the unfortunate occurrence just alluded to, by receiving and carrying us on board the Oneida Steamer, then on her way to Ogdensburgh, to Kingston, the nearest British port. – Such disinterested conduct on your part, cannot fail to secure you, not only our lasting gratitude, but also the approving acknowledgment of a well disposed community.

We beg also, hereby to tender our thanks to the passengers, then on board of your boat, who, doubtless, at some inconvenience to themselves, simultaneously assured us, that no objection existed on their part, to you returning with the Oneida to Kingston.

Eliza Sampson, Kingston.
Madeline Sampson, do.
Janet Fisher, do.
Theresa Robertson, Montreal.
Harriet Fraser, Brockville.
Aaron Choate, do.
George Auldjo, Montreal.
John R. Auldjo, do.
J.S. McDonell, Toronto.
James Holditch, Port Robertson.
D.McIntosh, Prescott.
William Cossart, Island of Maderia.
C.B. Knapp, Bytown.
Collin Robertson Jr. Montreal.
A. Macdonell, do.
G. Hales, do.
R.K. Bullock, Captain, Steamer Neptune.
F. Togni and brother, Switzerland.

Kingston, 30th May, 1838.

Note. – We cannot be responsible for all the above names, as the chirography of several proves a mystery too profound for the black art. – Editors of the Times & Advertiser.


  1. Holditch said,

    September 21, 2009 at 7:49 am

    My ancestors were aboard the Sir Robert Peel when it was taken by Pirate Bill Johnson.

    • mudhooks said,

      September 21, 2009 at 10:26 am

      Wow! That is really interesting! What were their names? History becomes just a little less abstract when you hear from someone who was or whose ancestors were directly involved!

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