By Fred Blair, OMAH Family researcher and guest contributer
Eleanora’s Diary, November 4, 1833
“In the morning, before we went out of the steam vessel, George put his fish [line] in as he saw a good number of fish. He caught nine very soon, but he had not time to ketch more … We stayed on some trunks of trees whilst father went to … [see] about the luggage. We saw three Indian woman and a man come down the lakeshore with a canoe. One of them and the man got in and away the woman rowed … very fast. The other two filled two bark baskets with water and went up again. A great number of Indian houses are here that [the] Government has built for them, and there is a scool. We went to the inn, a log house … We had the fish done for breakfast; they are perch; they were very nice. My father saw Mr. Drinkwater; he spoke to him.
“After breakfast the wagon was ready with six oxen. My Mother and the little ones got in; the others walked. I found several flowers like violets tho they had longer stalks. The road was very bad indeed. Mary and I rode some of the way; we got very hungry and were glad to stop at [Price’s Corners] for some bread and butter. It was a neat log house. It seemed a great way; my father thought we had passed the turn into Mr. Steele’s but the man said he new the way. He at last turned in, but before we had proceeded far the oxen refused to proceed. The man went forward: he found that the ground was so soft that the wagon could not go along it.
“At last to our great joy we saw a man on horseback; we ran towards him and asked him to stop. He said the road was impassable [and] that we had passed the right road a great while. He advised to leave the wagon and for us and the oxen to go to Mr. Steele’s. The oxen sank up to the top of their legs in the mud and we had to follow the best way we could. It got quite dusk; at last, we got to a firm road and went on pretty fast. We were obliged to call to the driver to stop two or three times, he went so fast. At last, we saw the clearing and I never felt so delighted … seeing light in the window. We waited own in the fields whilst my father went on to prepare them for such a host of hungry and weary travelers.”
George and Mary were Eleanora’s siblings. Mr. Drinkwater was John H.S. Drinkwater. Mr. Steele was Elmes Yelverton Steele, father of Sir Samuel Steele. The drawings here are from one of Eleanora’s 1835 sketch books.
The book ‘Eleanora’s Diary’ with text transcribed from Eleanora’s original diaries, paints a vivid picture of life as an early pioneer in Canada. Click HERE to purchase this book from the OMAH Shop.