These two letters, sent to me by Lesley Hall, were transcribed - as written - by Anne Gowland (nee Summers). The original letters are in segments and ... indicates where words were unreadable or missing. Lesley writes:
I have in my possession two letters dated 1869 and 1873 from a Thomas Whitfield addressed to my great-great-grandmother, Mary Summers. I have found a Thomas Whitfield on your site in the burials. I know that he was a teacher, as he mentions this in his letters. He received a pension of $191 a year."
Thomas is listed in the 1871 Port Hope census (aged 62 and from England) and also in the newspaper deaths index for 1882.
Port Hope 1869
Mrs Mary Summers,
I have long contemplated writing
I have now received two papers from you the last one when I got Matthew Keenleysides kind letter, and the other one when I received Harry Bells letter, I am much obliged to you and also the them for letters and papers tell them to write again, and often as they can for anything of that kind from West Allendale is news to us. I often read over these letters, so as to think of old friends and by gone days. We are all well as usual (Rebecca)..."four"? daughters were from Peterboro to ... and stayed about a week. Tell your husband I am still teaching school, I think he was a schoolfellow of mine. I think we were at school together at Robert Maughans at Ninebanks in Low Chapel let me know if he ... living and where, I want your husband to let know if he can about the whereabouts of the following old school mates when at school at Ninebanks on Low Chapel.
Joseph Lee, George Lee, Henry Martin, William Coulson, William Walton, and his two sisters Mary and Sarah, and John Ridley, all these were about Chairheads and Ninebanks and there were others Thos Walton, White Walls James Newton, Thos Liddle and the Hendersons about Low House, of our family, your mother in May 1851 and William ... year in Aug father died in Feb 1842, Rebecca died in March 1858, Betty and her family is living in the same Town as I am Port Hope, William is in the country about 15 miles from Port Hope "Alfred"? Rebecca's Husband and family in Peterboro about 30 miles from Port Hope. Barbara "Swindle"? and her family is in the country, she has 4 children ... Sarah and family is in Port Hope and has six children ... want you to ... about your mother brother and sisters All your ages, I never heard who William (married)? nor Hannah, how many children. Aunt Hannah must be getting old, let us know how her health is
We had a very mild winter until the present month and in this we have had a great ... deal of snow, so much that it stopped up the Rail Roads that they could not run regularly.
What they call the Grand Trunk Rail Road. ... runs through this town and then we have ... the Peterboro and Linsay rail road, ... comes into this town is situated on the shore of Lake Ontario it is one of ... many lakes that divides the British ... "persons"? from the Yankee land ... this is a ... country and it would I think have been better for one half of the population of West Allendale if they had come out to this country ... we came they might and their families ... been comfortably settled you stop about ... mines and a great many dies. When they ... are young men just because being in these ... is these was a man went from ... to town to England on the 1st January last to see his relations and was back again last week ... he told me he could not stop in England the climate is so damp and the people so poor he told me he could make more here in 8 months than he could make in 12 in England and be more comfortable he says there was a ... great deal of sickness in England.
this country is greatly improved, rail roads are being built every year, it is a country well "cultivated"? for agriculture and also for dairy purposes.
We are getting now as a country to raise and produce nearly all we want and a great ... country for fruit
To write this letter in February it is now ... the 17th April, spring is coming ... rather slowly, I am now getting my ... wood sawed up. I have got 90 ... wood which cost me 10.10 (pounds) or $42 ... will last me one year in this ... wood costs $4 per (cord)?.
Wood for fuel is a pile 8 feet long 4 feet high and the sticks 4 feet long which pile ... contains 128 solid feet. Matthew Keenleyside talks about some coming out of West Allendale this spring, we should like to see them very much, we don't know where they may be going, I should like to see them in Port Hope. Now it is very likely we may never see each other again in this world now, let us try to meet each other at our Heavenly Fathers right hand in Heaven.
Yours Truly Thomas Whitfield
Mrs Mary summers
June 17th 1873
Received your letter dated Aug 17 1872 but was sorry to hear of the afflictions of the family but we ... must remember while in this world we ... have to meet with ... affliction ... bereavement and death we ... us let our friends ... depart ... decreed by our wise benivolent ... for us all to die and he who ... has ... appointed we must submit for he, ... who knoweth all things, cannot do wrong
we can never bring them back to us let us then prepare to go to them. We are as well as usual in health only three in the family self wife and a boy we took when ... years of age now he is twenty He's training to be a saddler and harness? breaker? but he is getting rather to lively we know the youngsters brought up in a town often get to be a little to m... fresh. My brother William's Betsy's and Rebecca family's are all well. Williams family with him yet they are all young he was rather late in marring, he has two sons, and three daughters, Betsy has three sons and four daughters, two sons and two daughters married they are all up the youngest is married Rebecca left four daughters they are all women one is married.
My sister Elizabeth and I live Port Hope William and family about 20 miles in the country he is a farmer, his old(est) son was in town this week with grain for sale. Rebeccas family lives in Peterboro about 30 miles north of us, but we can go to Williams and Rebecca's in two hours by Rail Road this has got to be ... good country great improvement since we came here in the ... years when they go back to England, Ireland or Scotland cannot stay there they prefer Canada Iam aquainted with a man in Port Hope who is a native of Newcastle Upon Tyne, he says there is almost as much (ground) covered with wood in Northumberland England as there is in Canada. When we came here 41 years ago Canada was almost entire forest now there is very little ...
... winter in Canada now a ... all wood is getting scarce in ... all the drawback in this country a little too cold in winter it was (pretty)? cold last winter now we have a fine summer it appears we are going to have it a little to dry, the crops would take a little more rain I have given up teaching, I have not "done"? any this last year I have been in Canada about 42 years. I think I will teach no more I get a pension from Government of 191 dollars a year I have no family but my wife, I think I have done better than if I had stayed in England.
But don't you think that I never miss it West Allendale I can Tell you I do there is not a day but I think of it and the people I left and the things I left there, I got hold a few days for the first time since I left Allendale of a ... flower I was always very fond of I kept in water smelled it two or three times a day and brought a sweet remembrance.
there they grew in abundance and then you have the sweet melodies of the Thrush and Lark and ... than probable I shall never see or hear again I would like above all things in this world to see you all again, but I think it will never be. Now you must write as soon as you can and tell me all about your family William and Peggy ... widow and the widow ... up. also Uncle William's family
William fathers they must have been young let me know sickness took them away and let me know at ... Joseph and Mary and something you said ... would let me know about, that you left out in your last letter, I now send you the photograph my sister Rebecca's oldest daughter she is (married), I also thank you for the Photograph of the old school house and church please send me some more of your
photograph. Fare well for this time
Yours truly Thomas Whitfield Port Hope
Copyright © 2001 Lesley Hall
Peter and Barbara Bolton - Port Hope, Ontario