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Samuel Baker & family, from county Wexford, Ireland, to Ontario, Canada in 1819

A Quaker family looking for religious freedom, emigrated from County Wexford, Ireland and settled in Hallowell, Huntingdon, Ontario. It is an educated guess that they took passage aboard the brig [bark] Constantia, Captain William Moyne, 58 days from Waterford with 90 settlers which arrived at Quebec on August 15th. From Quebec, they embarked on the Steam Boat Malsham, on August 20th 1819, for passage to Montreal . . on their inward journey to Ontario.

Published here with the permission of family members.
This extract was taken from the biography of J Allen Baker MP written by EB Baker and PJ Noel Baker published 1927, Swarthmore Press London.
The original diaries are no longer in existence but this excerpt written during the voyage from Ireland to Canada will be of interest to family members.


P18
" In 1819 he chartered a transatlantic vessel and with his whole family, servants and possessions set sail for Canada. A few extracts from his diary of their three-month voyage may be of interest.

21.6.1819 This morning, the meridian of the year, ushered in another day of quiet, our rate of sailing at about three knots per hour, still close hauling on a moderate breeze; the capacious surface of the great western ocean participated in the surrounding calm, not a broken wave, not a rolling billow to be seen. All our company quite well and frequently enjoying the agreeable company and conversation of our affectionate captain. At mid-day found our situation latitude 50.29.
22.6.1819 Still slack winds though favourable. We collected our small company of Friends, 19 in number, into the cabin where we held our little week-day meeting, which to some of us was a favoured time. The recollection of our awful posture floating along in our excellent bark on the bosom of the unfathomable deep, alone supported and preserved by that all-sustaining providence whose protecting hand directeth the events of the universe.
30.6.1819 Now two weeks on board, and from our calculation find we have not made more than 600 miles of our voyage from the place of our departure, yet quiet and contentment seem generally to prevail, and as there has not anything occurred to excite alarm as yet, we generally feel cause of thankfulness.
1.7.1819 Last night it blew a smart gale right from the west, therefore we had to veer a due north course through a cross unpleasant rolling sea which sometimes broke in over the starboard side of our vessel; yet all was in safety, and the good order maintained by our humane and attentive captain, and courteous and obliging crew, seemed sufficient to alleviate all anxiety as to the appearance of danger, or impatience about so tedious a passage.
3.7.1819 The wind is still against us. We spoke (to) different vessels on our passage, and this morning heaved alongside the Elizabeth transport brig of London No 37 from Barbadoes to Portsmouth with transports as crowded as the deck would stand. this in Lat 47 Long 20. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon spoke to the Planter ship from Barbadoes to London, a fine ship.
6.7.1819 All our people now quite well, and from the daily care of our captain and committee of inspection for ordering the affairs of the vessel relative to conduct of the passengers, etc, in giving out water and fuel, cleansing and washing out their apartments daily, health has been preserved without exception other than sea-sickness. We saw some of the monsters of the deep.
15.7.1819 We are now one month on board, making about a third of our passage.
23.7.1819 A rough head sea for the last two days occasioned by a heavy squall from the north-west which tore some of our canvas and lasted about four hours, but we soon refitted and this morning are getting on finely.
26.7.1819 About the same hour at about four miles to the northward of our course an enormous island of ice hove in sight which it was supposed would cover twenty acres at its base on a level with the sea, and on each end a mighty tower, supposed to be 300 feet above the level of the water. It appeared like the broadside view of a great man of war. What a wonderful natural curiosity.
27.7.1819 The Wind still in our favour and increasing we made sail at from eight to nine knots per hour, and at four o'clock this morning we were called up on deck by the captain to behold another of those wonderful floating islands of ice which hove in sight right ahead of our vessel. They kept the vessel to leeward of it at a safe distance... Just as we were abroad side of it the great column which was the part next to us gave way and it was considered that no less than one hundred tons of it separated from the mighty mass and fell off with a wonderful noise into the deep, and occasioned a wonderful surge of the sea about it. When it became relieved of this burden and lost much of its former balance, the other end heaved downward and turned up the monstrous bulk which before was under the water when it rocked to and fro. To our great admiration the lower part seemed quite smooth and rounded by beating of the waves. Some of the sailors compared it with the great Rock of Gibraltar.
28.7.1819 This morning at four o'clock we found soundings at 33 fathoms on the great Bank of Newfoundland. At twelve o'clock the Charles William bark of Hull, bound for London, hove alongside. We lowered our boat and wrote Anne Waring of Waterford, giving an account of our health and voyage. This day we dined with the captain, and had the favour of being treated to part of a nice turtle which we caught as before noted.
2.8.1819 We tacked to the southward and providentially in about two hours the fog cleared away and by four o'clock we came in full view of the Islands of St Peter Langley and Acquilon [sic St. Pierre, Langlade (formerly Langley) and Miquelon], and a most beautiful evening and moonlight night set in to our great comfort, and many expressions of thankfulness were expressed for sight of land after so long though pleasant and safe voyage across the great Atlantic.
4.8.1819 This morning we saw a great whale pursued by another monster supposed to be as long as our main mast, and would raise up a great length out of the water, and then with a mighty stroke lash the poor whale, dashing up the water in a great foam and the whale spouting water as high as our top mast. They call this prodigious long creature the Thasher Fish, and the scene was truly interesting. At about ten o'clock we made our grand entrance into the Gulf of St Lawrence. The evening and night was beautifully serene and moonlit, and the great Gulf, in parts unfathomable, was smooth as a lake.
5.8.1819 This morning still beautiful clear weather, with a nice breeze we made five knots per hour, and at ten o'clock bore off Bird island, a small prominent rock about five acres and completely covered with sea fowls that it seemed as if its surface resembled a swarm of bees.
7.8.1819 This day ushered in the most beauteous prospect of the land of New England, Cape Rosier. The hills to the utmost extent of sight are covered with continual forest of trees, with but few abodes of men to be seen below the entrance of the great river St Lawrence.
11.8.1819 This day we arrived off the entrance of the River Battaan, where the first American settlement of about twenty neat-looking timber houses presented themselves to our view. here we took in our pilot, and here lay a brig which had killed a whale and were cutting it up on board, and about twenty monstrous whales playing and spouting around us with a noise like the hollow roar of a monstrous wild beast.
12.8.1819 Still beating up the river against wind and tide. Saw several settlements on the New England side, a quantity of fine-looking corn, nearly ripe, and, and timber on fire for many miles. Though the wind still remains against us against us right down the river, yet we still find our excellent vessel is still the best sailor we come in with, as in the course of this day we have completely run away from ten or eleven very fine-looking barks and brigs and left them quite out of site.

After his long adventure across the ocean, down the St Lawrence, and overland, Samuel Baker finally settled in Ontario, at Hallowell, in Prince Edwards County. Hallowell lies in the Bay of Quinte, on Lake Ontario, forty miles from Kingston. When he arrived at the landing-stage of the little township, he was met by two Friends, Abraham Barker and Sarah Spencer, who helped him to "store the luggage," and gave the hospitality of their houses to his party. Then the diary records:-

9th month (September) 23rd.- Purchased 200 acres of land from James Armstrong, of Hallowell, and on the 29th moved our family to settle thereon. By 4th of the 10th month got 5 acres of wheat finished sowing, to our mutual sensibility of thankfulness for the great preservation we have experienced in so long a journey, coming as it were, direct to the spot on this vast continent which now appears to be the place of our future abode."

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