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
Boat Malsham, on August 20th 1819, for passage to Montreal . .
on their inward journey to Ontario.
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
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
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.
||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
||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.
||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.
||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.
||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.
||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.
||We are now one month on board, making about a third of our passage.
||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
||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.
||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.
||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
||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.
||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.
||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.
||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.
||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.
||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
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
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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