An early Irish Settler in Canada

John Francis Maguire
CHAPTER VI (11) start of chapter

It is now about thirty years since an honest hardworking Irishman determined to go into the woods, and there make a home for himself and his wife and infant child. He had not, as he afterwards used to declare, 'as much as a half-crown in the world.' He however managed to take, and pay for by instalments, 100 acres of land, then covered with forest. Hiring himself to a farmer at some distance, he was enabled to purchase a stock of provisions and an axe; and, thus provided, he resolutely faced the wilderness, and there erected a shanty for himself and his little family. Like others similarly circumstanced, he then commenced to hew down the trees that overshadowed his primitive dwelling. Having effected a certain amount of clearing, he would again seek for such employment as enabled him to renew his stock of provisions; and thus alternately working abroad for others and at home for himself, this sturdy settler gradually succeeded in making a home for his now increasing family. His first crop of wheat, raised from the small patch which he had then cleared, he was compelled to carry on his back to the nearest mill, to be ground into flour. The distance was thirty miles—not of road or river, but through the dense forest, at that time but rarely intersected by open paths.

The Irish in America, first published in 1868, provides an invaluable account of the extreme difficulties that 19th Century Irish immigrants faced in their new homeland and the progress which they had nonetheless made in the years since arriving on a foreign shore. A new edition, including additional notes and an index, has been published by Books Ulster/LibraryIreland:

Paperback: 700+ pages The Irish in America

ebook: The Irish in America