and letters

Letters and diaries provide valuable, first-hand insiginto the daily routines and observations of the early immigrants and settlers.

These 1833 watercolours, hanging in the Port Hope Library, are attributed to "Mr. Syer". Although his identity is unknown, there appears to have been a town clerk by that name at the time. This is the Port Hope that some of the authors knew.
To enlarge the images, hover your mouse or tap the image. Diaries and letters provide valuable, first-hand insight into the daily routines and observations of the early immigrants and settlers of this area. These watercolor images were painted on linen wove paper by Mr. Syer in1833. To enlarge them, hover your mouse or tap the image.

Walton Street, looking east (1833)

Walton Street, looking east (1833)

View of the river with buildings

View of the river with buildings

View south of the Walton Street bridge, Port Hope

View south of the Walton Street bridge, Port Hope

Diaries and letters

maple leaf  A letter from John Thompson to friends in England, describing various aspects of life in "Toronto on Smith's Creek" (Port Hope) in 1819

maple leaf  The diaries of William and Elizabeth Peters of Hope Township, written in 1830 while enroute to Canada from England

maple leaf  An 1831 letter to William Furby, editor of The Telegraph, complaining of the condition of the marshy harbour

maple leaf  A portion of the diary of twelve-year-old Joseph Spencer Wilson of Hope Township, written in 1841-1842

maple leaf  On 01 July 1842 my second great-grandaunt, Ann Skitch, having just turned 17, emigrated from Cornwall, England to New Zealand aboard the Blenheim. The trip, which lasted until 17 November, was recorded in the ship's surgeon's diary, and, while not 'local' material, nevertheless makes for interesting reading. It is suspected that Ann's description of the trip was a factor in the decision of her siblings to settle in Port Hope, rather than make the arduous trip to New Zealand.
A complete list of the passengers on the Blenheim (plus those of 574 other ships bearing immigrants to New Zealand!) can be found at Denise and Peter Wells' website.

maple leaf  Letters written by members of the Boardman/Topley family of Crewbeg, emigrants to Port Hope c1850, reproduced with the kind permission of the Poyntzpass & District Local History Society

maple leaf  Two letters from Port Hope schoolteacher Thomas Whitfield to Mrs. Mary Summers (1869 & 1873) and his obituary from the 13 Jan 1882 Guide

maple leaf A letter written by Port Hope resident Nicholas James Winters to his brother, Silas, in 1880

maple leaf  Three letters from Isabella Pringle, intended governess for the children of Harold and Lauretta (Wallace) Barrett, to her mother and sister-in-law Juliana, following an outing to the Opera House in 1887

maple leaf  A written log describing daily life at Sylvan Glen Camp (along the Ganaraska River three miles north of Port Hope) in the summer of 1890. There were some 617 visits to the camp that summer and many of the names are recorded.

maple leaf  A most interesting article by Darlene Polachic appeared in The Beaver [85, 1 (2005): 26--32] and is reproduced here with her gracious permission. In her opening paragraph, she writes

Some years ago, a yellowed letter penned in 1891 was discovered in an old trunk, glued to pages of The Model Encyclopedia. Written by George Healy, Jr. to his father who lived in Port Hope, Ontario, the missive proved to be more than a nostalgic link to the Healy family's past. It contains a detailed, first-hand account of the voyage George, Jr. took to Siberia on a whaling ship in 1889. The letter gives a frank, unbiased look at the North American whaling industry which was at its height in the 19th century, and closely paralleled the better-known commerce of fur trading.

maple leaf  A letter to the Editor of the 14 Feb 1896 Port Hope Weekly Guide from Willis Powers, promoting the idea of Port Hope as a Summer Resort

maple leaf  A c1950 memoir written by Katherine Maude Baines (1887-1962), daughter of Thomas Trevor Baines (1850-1897)

Peter and Barbara Bolton - Port Hope, Ontario