Henry Johnson, Canada West to Jane Johnston, Co. Antrim

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Document ID 9509105
Date 03-12-1848
Document Type Letters (Emigrants)
Archive Public Record Office, Northern Ireland
Citation Henry Johnson, Canada West to Jane Johnston, Co. Antrim; PRONI T 3081; CMSIED 9509105
                      Niagara District, Township of Grantham.
                           Canada West, December 3, 1848.

My Dearest Jane
     Since I wrote to you from Hamilton which letter I hope
you received I have travelled many a weary mile in search of
a situation such as I had been accustomed to I was greatly
annoyed with my box which I was obliged to leave behind me
in a farmer's house in which I had been stopping for three
weeks waiting on a school that I was going to try for the
winter but after a great deal of trouble & time spent I was
obliged to give it up as I could not make as much out of it
as would pay for my board I then packed up a few shirts in
a small travelling bag & started on my feet I knew not at
the time where to it is useless to tell you the fatigue I
underwent or the heart breaking I suffered in my travels
amongst strangers in a strange and wild country it is enough
to say that after wandering through the principal towns of
Upper Canada and trying every means in my power to obtain a
situation of any kind I have at last lighted into a farmer's
house near the far famed falls of Niagara where I am doing
a little work for my board and washing I have not got my
box here yet nor cannot untill [until?] the rivers open up in
the spring so that I will have to buy some clothing for the
winter which is very severe I have five persons in different
places looking out for a place for me about here so I may get
one in a week or I might not until spring as business is nearly
all closed up in winter however when I think of the way
I came out without a friend before me or a single letter of
introduction to any person I cannot grumble much that I have
not succeeded to my wish It was a great mistake in me coming
away without you with me as I am perfectly confident had you
been with me I could have settled down at once and done well
and made money it cost me more for washing travelling &c than
would have kept you and the children comfortable for a year
provisions are so cheap I suffered a good deal from the
bowel complaint and at these times of sickness my heart was
like to break thinking of you and the children and not a
creature to give me a drink or a word of sympathy.
         As some lone bird without a mate
         My weary heart was desolate
         I looked around and could not trace
         One friendly smile or welcome face
         And e'en in crowds was still alone
         Because I could not love but one.
Well Dear Jane after all when I look back on the past and see
the many errors I have been guilty of I am content that God
has punished me and led me by a way which I knew not and
although my present situation is not the best yet I am more
content in it than ever I was at home when I was harassed
by creditors and the tongues of slanderers no matter what
kind of place you are situated in here you feel a kind of
independence you can never have in the Old Country and neither
man nor woman need want here who are willing to work and conduct
themselves properly drinking is the curse of this
country as well as our own many a dreadful case & consequence of
it I have seen since I came here In order to save myself
from temptation I went to the Presbyterian minister in this
place and took the temperance pledge so that as far as that is
concerned I am safe and if I had you out here I think I would
be happy persons coming out here at first are very much annoyed
and discontented untill [until?] they get settled down
and then they like this country much better than the old Farmers
having about œ100 to start on, labourers who are
young and able-bodied, tradesmen & mechanics, young women who
can go to service, dress-makers, bonnet makers &c have all a
fair chance here to make money and live independent, rents,
poor rates and so on are unknown here to the farmer, the servant
eats at the same table with his master and altogether
it is a better country every way for those who have any kind
of independent feeling I cannot give you much more description
of the country than this as I have not been long enough in one
place to form a very strict opinion but generally speaking the
above is my mind on the matter what is very strange since I left
New York until I came here I did not meet a single face that I
knew and when I got this length nearly the first person I met
was Thomas Lyness & the wife they are living a few rods off the
house I am stopping in a small shanty - 25 acre of land partly
bush which he holds a five years lease of at 4 $/ per acre. I
have heard his history since he came here and a most miserable
beginning he had untill [until?] this last year. He has been in
great poverty and I may as well warn you now to beware of the
most of American letters you may hear as they either greatly
overrate the matter or through ignorance put a false face upon
the nature of things altogether. Dear Jane I would scarcely have
written at this time until I had got some kind of better
situation to give you an account of but that I am very anxious
to hear from you and know all that had happened you since I left
the country. I hope Dear Jane you sometimes think of me in pity
& sympathy as you have never been one moment out of my thoughts
and it grieves me greatly sometimes that I am not in some
situation where I might be making something for your support
however I still have confidence in myself and the providence of
God that he will protect and support you & make me what I have
not been yet a good and providing husband for you. Write
immediately when you receive this and let me know without any
reserve all that has occurred since. I see things past in a very
different light now besides as I viewed them at home and I
believe I am by the blessing of God a better man. I am very well
treated in this place and since I came I am strong and healthy.
I am 14 lbs. heavier than I was when I left & I can go into the
bush and chop a log with some of them I think if I stop here
much longer I will be a pretty good Canadian Farmer so that I am
not altogether losing my time. I could get 25 acres of land here
same as Thomas Lyness has but I need not attempt anything of
that kind untill [until?] you are here with me if such a thing
is allowed. I was about trying the pedling [peddling?]  but
could not do so without paying œ5 for a license the same in
January I may try it in that time if nothing better turns up.
You can write to me how you will be prepared to come out in the
spring and who you will get to come with you as I am afraid you
could not manage the children yourself however I can give you
directions in my next letter when I receive yours
tell me how Wm. [William?] McKeen and family are doing and where
they are living if I settle here you could come to their place &
stop untill [until?] I would go for you. This part of Canada is
a great deal better for farmers and others than where they are.
The winter is not so long nor cold nor the summer so hot. My
Dearest Jane, I will conclude with this I could fill a quire of
paper in writing to you but my present space will not permit
more you will observe the directions below.
I am now as ever
     Your faithful & affectionate husband
     untill [until?] death
                       Henry Johnson

Henry Johnson
   To the care of Mr. John Heany
       Niagara District
            Township of Grantham
   Canada West.

P.S. I forgot to say that there is living in the house here
a young woman married to a fellow the name of Gibson from Mr.
Chaines She was formerly a sweetheart of your friend there
beside you. Sam Whiteside and her Aunt who is the Mistress
here says that she is very sorry that she did not get Samy as
she thinks he would done better than the one she has got don't
forget to tell Sam this her name was Betty Ann Andrews. She
lived at Cloverhill once.
     Dearest Jane don't forget to post pay your letter as if
it is not it will not arrive here there is a dispute between
the American and British about the letters unless they are
prepaid they will not sent [send?] them in writing say many
things in few words as that I will get the more news
     My Dearest Jane God Bless you
                   H J.

                      1/2 Paid. 1/4
Mrs. Jane Johnson
      Near Antrim
        County Antrim

(Postmarks): Niagara De. [December?] 7 1848 C.W. [Canada West?]
            Kingston Dec. 10 1848  [U.C?]

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