Diaries and letters provide valuable, first-hand insight into the daily routines and observations of the early immigrants and settlers of this area. The following make for some interesting and informative reading.
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' excellent web site.
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
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.
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.
Peter and Barbara Bolton - Port Hope, Ontario