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CHARLES DOBIE : LOCAL HISTORY
SCOTLAND &
LANARK COUNTY, ONTARIO

THE JOURNAL OF
JOHN McFARLANE, 1821.

The journal was written on the blank pages of an almanac of the late 1790's. It had previously been used by someone to record shipments of various types of goods, including slaves.

John McFarlane was not an educated man. Words were spelled phonetically and he recorded only what he thought unusual -- it's not until page eight when they arrive in Montreal that we learn his wife and family were with him. Nor are we told any details of his family other than he and his wife carried the two youngest, implying that there were at least three children. Five children were born and three died on the ship, recorded only with terse entries, and the entry of 24 May: "lay becamed and a mutany on Board" must be a world's record for understatement. He did, however, talk a lot about the weather, so he helped to pass this dominant gene into the Canadian gene pool.

I've transcribed the journal as best I could, line-for-line, with original spelling intact. I've indicated by best guesses with ?? or [square brackets].

May 19th 1821     [We?]
Sailed from Greenock in the
Ship David of London was
towed out with a Steam Boat
to the tail of the Bank about
four oclock and three tugs[?]
brought us clear of Izemp[??]
where we had a fine fair
Breaze M20 Sunday morning
early pased the Mull of
[....??] with a fine Breaze
at about 8 nots an hour
21 M out of sight of land
   9 nots nots an houre
22 te a fine Brease with us [o..]
   with the most part sea sick
23 W 4+1/2 nots and an number
   of porposes passed the Ship
24 th lay becamed

[--page 2--]

   and a mutany on Board
25 th fr. cloudy morning fair breas
   and blos hard throw the night
26 sa Blowes verrey hard
child ) in the morning slakens
b.    ) toward Evening
27th su, litle wind and right
     ahead. Heard a sermon on
     board from Mr. Gemmel
28 mo fine Breeze at 8 nots (do
29 t at 9 nots               chield
30 w  heavey geals against
31 th     do
Jun 1 fr  do
2  S      do Child B.
3 SU      do
4th M     Chield B.
5 t       do
6 w   geale slakend
7 th at 6 nots chield dyed
8 th haled a french Brig
9 [?] saw a ship ahead

[--page 3--]

10 su which we pased this
morning which was the
Provodance of Turnmojth from
which we Spok § Liverpool.
She was 210 days at sea
this morning the wind beca
fair which has been contrary
since the 25 of last month.
a sail ahead which [ponet?] us
in a short time ladend with
staves for liverpool.
Heard a sermon preached
by Mr. Gemmel
11 upon the banks of new
 foundland with a heavey
 gale and vilence cold [??]
12 lay almost becamed.
13 W light Breases
14 th light B 15 vessels
15 f  passed them mostly
16 s  strong Breas on scalded [???]
17 su slight Brease Strong at
 night a Serman Mr. Gemmel
    entered the gulfe of[?] [???]

[--page 4--]

m 18 slight B  Chielz Born
t 19 plain[?] Brease at 10 nots[?]
     saw the coast of novascot(ia)
  which apeared mountanious
  with some specks of snow on them
  and as cloasley cloathed with trees
  to aperanse as b[?]ale in apear[ance?]
  saw labradore on our right
w 20 slight Breas and changable
  a chield diyd of the croup child diys
th21 slight Breas and cheangable
  saw the first houses about
  8 in number closley to gethern
 which had a fine aperance
afterward saw game along
the shore at considerable distances
f22 wind variable River nerrows
   passes the isle of Bee[k?] cloaser view
   of labradore which apears partly
   sandy along Shoar fair Breas at 12
  South side beautiful high hils with
 the wody[?] faces next the river
 more [civil or level] houses numous passed
the Green ile finley woded with
alight house upon its

[--page 5--]

s 23 North side saw houses and stea[??}
 land lases. Sight of the north shore
 with islands in the river which
 stopt the view of the shore but saw
 the tops of the mountains which
 extend some lenth [B.W.h ?] [??] houses
 verrey numerus prospeck beautiful
 fine Brease this morning which contin(ued?)
 to twelve when ebe brought us to
 [techeri?] heaved anchor about 12 oclock
 and came alitel further when we
 lay that night   chield diys
Su24 heaved and came to anchor four
  times this day anumber of vessel(s)
  passed us homward Bound
  saw the iland of Orleans on our (right?)
  which apeared well cultivated
  and peopled and verrey beautiful
  left side apeared so likewise
  weather verrey fogey throught the night
  this day verrey warm
m 25 heaved anchor and came
  to the head of the island of Orlean,
  where we saw the fals of
  Marant and in a short time
    came to anchor at Quebeck

[--page 6--]

Saml:Gooddill           5[...p]
---------------------------------
which show a most striking
apperance on acount of the
Rock where the fortress stands
and the Glaring aperanced
Churtches and houses which are
principly covered with tin
their are some most eligant
houses and shops which have
agrand apperance but the
Streets are badly cacied[sic] but having
only afew houres time in it I can
not be verrey perticuler about it
as I left it about eleven ocloake
at night in the Lady Sherbrook
Stem Boat for Montrial
which is by fare the largest
Stem vessal of the kind that
ever I Saw

[--Page 7--]

June 26th had a heavie Deluge of rain
  which proved to be verrey disagriable to
 the most part as they had made their
 Beads upon deck where they were
complietely drenched with water
and it turned verey coald in the
morning which made it truley
Unplisent I got my ankle
Strained in the hauld of the David
and the cold made it swell verrey
(m)utch which was verrey tublsome
(fo)r afew days this day we had a fine
(vie)w of the Banks of the River
which apeared verrey Beautiful
and in some parts well Cultivated
saw some fine Villages on shore

[and inverted in relation to the above text]

        Tensler and [boy?]

[--Page 8--]

and anumber of ilands in the River
but darknes stopt the prospect
we arived at Montriaul about
eleaven at night lay on board all night
27th got aur loggadge on shore in haste
found my oalde frend James Yong
who healped me to load some carts
and put my Wife and family on
two carts for lochen[?] while I stoped with
Mr Yong for two houres in Montriaul
and got my tea with him and
conveyed me 4 miles of the way
but went in the wrong road
which wase 3 miles [round?]

[Inverted entry "A" is here]

[--Page 9--]

[per?]lower Lasheen and the Boat[?] the(n?)
wewent brought me to upper Lasheen
about nine miles above Montreal where
I had afine vew of the cuntry which was
verrey plesent and well cultivated.
I arrived at upper Lasheen in the evening
and had to return to loues[sic] by the river
where I saw about 15 indians or natives
walking round 3 fires with alarge
[kemel? or bellel?] on one and Rosting meet
on the other 2 in averrey curious
Manner they Roasted their meat by
means of four small sticks set round
the fire at equal distance from each
other in an oblick direction and
inclined togeather at the top  with
the meat stuck on the small points (where?)
the branches grew

[-- Page 10 --]

I arived at lower Lasheen about ten at night
28-29-30-1-2-of Juley lay in lower Lausheen
which is a depo for troops where we saw
numbers of horses cows and sheep and swine
that eet grass like cows we saw grass
in grate plenty both natural and some
with agreate variety of fruits particulary
apel trees which growes in grate plenty
with grate quantiteys of apels their
are fine gardings well stocked with
a veriety of vigetabels with which
I am litel aquainted thier are a grate
aperance of afine crope of all kinds
I saw the wine grapes growing in grate
quanteties with the vine clingin round
taul trees along the shore their are
greate quantities of stones along the

[--Page 11 --]

Shore of the St. Lawrance which extend
about a quarter of a mile from the river
some fields are verrey numerously cover(ed)
with them and some of pretty learge[?]
James Dick the Morning of [afterourvrey??]       [ See another account  ]
went into the river to Bath and was drowned      [ of this event in the ]
owing to astep part he went over after           [ DICK FAMILY LETTERS  ]
going in alitel way and the water                [ on the LCGS website. ]
running verrey rapidley swept him
him

[Inverted entry "B" is here]

{--Page 12 --]

down into adep swirley part of the riv(er)
and his corps has not ben found yet tha(t)
we have heard of he left awife and eleven
children some of them are men and women
he wase much lemented for he wase as agood
sot[??] man as was on Board
We got all our loggage on Board on the
Second and on the Third we embarked on
Board of fiften bataus some of them verrey
deply loaded on the 3-4-5-6-7-8-9 arrived at
Prescot after a most fatigen voage
the first day we came on pretey well we
crossed alake in the afternoon with a fine
Brease and arived at night at the ca[??]ad
canale wher we had ahurrey to get our
supper coocked and make our Bed
on the lee side of a bush and aque[? many?]
in the morning the Batoos were alligted[?]
and part of our logadge taken o[?eant?]
about 4 miles wher it wase re[moved?]

[--Page 13--]

after the Batoos wer draged along [blotted]
each by the party belonging to it and [wer?]
some times up to the hinches among mud
and water and at one part they were
draged by horses for about half a mile
we came on through [carawels?] and rapids
till we came to the long Sound which
is a terable Raped of about half a mile in
length and each Batoo had too horses to
drag it up which coas for each half a doler
I saw a number of islands some of them
beautiful and partly cultivated
likewise some eligant houses Built
of whin stons and exelant lime with
pavilion Roofs of three and four
storeys and of agrate wideth and
length we passed anumber of saw
and flour Mils

[--Page 14--]

I got amost compleet dive head
foremost into averrey rapped part of
the river about five feet deep but
had the fortune to have hold of the
end of the end of the rope by which
I was draged out or the current would
have keept me down and at night had
to strip to the skin and roll myself in
a duffel and ly down to sleep and in
the morning put on my shirt which
which wase completley weet and as
their are verrey heavey deues in the
Night and coald in the morning it
set my teeth achittring till I got
warm with the oar which I had [tile?]
play for five days without intermition
betwixt Bowing and draggen

[-- Page 15 --]

I saw a number of verrey extensive
Rafts of timber which mast be verey
dangerous to the conductors over the
Rappids some of them which have
adreadful apperance from roacks and
large Stones apearing at the surface
of the water which Breacks over
them in amost dreadful mannar
the must part of the stones so fareas
I have seen are lime ston of a bleu[?] kind.
we landed at Prescot on the ninth about
eleven morning where the whole of
the people belongin to the comerse
and part of the Buckingham
Remained and the whole of the comerce
which stopt us from the ninth to the
thertieth of Juley before we got away

[-- Page 16 --]

their is a foart Wellington heare
which did some dammage to atowne
on the oposit side of the river
belongin to the steats of the name
Odensburg which is situate on black
river which joines the St. laurance
and bears the name with propriety
as it is verrey Black. it is prety
siseable and apeares to be rapidly
increasing I wase twise over in it
and purchased some small articles
on reasonable terms their is steam
Boats that pases between this place
and Kingston their wase anumber
of our contrey men wiman and
children died heir after the
fatiges of the voage

[-- Page 17 --]

Mrs Dick died heare that lost
ther husband at lasheen and
heare Mr Purdey braithed his
last averrey Sencable agre(able)
man in my oppinon and I concidred
him badley yused by anumber
which I considred wase partley
the cause of his death.
Juley 13th we begun our march
by land we pased Brockvale
about 10 miles above prescot
it containes anumber of verrey
eligant hous and stands on the
Banks of the St lourance and
has afine apperance hear we
left the course of the River

[-- Page 18 --]

when we begun our march by
land through bad Roads which
took four days we arived at lennark on
the 17th of Juley prescot is aplesent
chearey healthy situation itt is aport
town where the kings Batoos bring
bring avast quantiety of stoares and
provitions for troops and emigrants
and anumber of Merchant vessels
whichis duram Boats and Bataus. The
Duram Boats are of aconsidrable sise
about 06[sic] or 07[sic] feet long with [agangey?]
on each side with small Blocks for
their feet which they push along with
pouls after the nature of [gaberts?]
they yuse sailes for them when [wh..]
the wind answereth.

[-- Page 19 --]

and took a westerly [dero??]
the roads got verrey deep
we traveled along with the
wagans men woman and
children me and my wife
caried our two youngest
for three days nearley
the roads are nothing more
then the trees cut and in
swampy ground trees are
cut to lenthes of 12 feet
or there by and laid across
the Road side by side
and some of the pleaces laid
in that manner are of[ey?]
agrate lenth we arived
at Pearth in the evening
which is increasing in sise
verrey fast ase it is onley four (years)

[-- Page 20 --]

since they were a house in it
we crossed the rideau ferrey
which is as Broad as Clide at [assing?]
ferrey and appears to form a lake
of a learge sise and after some
time we came to the missip and
crossed it at the ferrey which is
likewise large between 2 and 3
miles from Lendrik town where
I stopt with my family till
I got my land in the eleventh
Concessions of Lenrick and front
of the thertenth [boat?] after
looking for land in Ramesy
Dalhousey and Lendrick and after
I wase loketed I had to work at
the making of Roades for three
weeks and did not get them
answerable [??] myself
I ame situated about 11 miles
from the town of lendrick
I ame well satisfyed with
my loat I have got a house

[-- Page 21 --]

19 by 21 built with logs and
covered with logs split in two
and holoued out it is bas wood
in general that is yused
and derives its name from
the Bases that is yused for
packing Being made of the
inner rings of the Bark
it is verrey like what we
called lime tree both in wood
and Bark and I have got
a stone vent Built in the
house which is of grate
Benifeet I supose that I ame
about 10 miles from lendrick
and not 2 or 3 miles further
from Pearth but  Boads are not
verrey good nor plenty as yete

[-- This seems to be the end of the account of the trip --]

This entry is on a separate page, and seems to have been made in 1815.


John McFarlane was born the
in July [scribbled] 1815   36years
of age              1779

[rest of page is blank]

The entries on this page seems to have been written when John McFarlane was involved in road work.

HEAMON

HEIMON

HEIMON 5

[and inverted in relation to the above]

working at the Road
Rollo     2 days   Butter  22 lb.
Millar    [?]      potatus 11 bus
forsyth  -5
         -3  sug so[??]  1.8
Morton    1  meal        1.8
Mcentyre  1
Barkely   3
Mcfarlan  3

The following entries were made in a much different hand. The ink is very black and the writing is strong with large flourishes. Entries "A" and "B" are at the bottom of the journal pages indicated and are inverted in relation to them. The other consists of a full page of entries with nothing from the journal appearing on it.

[   -- Inverted entry "A" --   ]
[-- Bottom of Journal Page 8 --]

Feby ye 10  Recd from
the Governor 200 [Bill?]
of fire wood -----------

[    -- Inverted entry "B" --   ]
[-- Bottom of Journal Page 11 --]

(De)cr 23 Send off 6 women
    2[?] Baggs of Limes
Decr 2[6 over 9] Sent off 6 Slaves
    Viz: 4 women  1 Boy
      1 Man Boy 2 Bags
      Potatoes ----------
      2 Bags of Limes -----

[-- Full page of entries --]

Novr 17 Sent off 44 Em(pty)
Anchor ---------------------
Novr 19 Sent off 2 Bund(les)
Hoops 1 do Rushes -----
Novr 21 Sent off
23 Empty Anchors
 7 Baggs Calavanic
Decr 3 Sent off 32 Emp(ty)
Anchors 1 Bag Orangs
Decr 11 Sent of 2 Slaves
 Viz one Man & one Boy
 one Bag of Limes
Decr 14 Sent off 22 Slave(s)
 Viz 2 Men 1 M:Boy
 1 Boy  16 women 2 Girls
 or[?] Bags Calavanics
2 Bags Oranges -----

Also see a letter written to John McFarlane by his father in 1829, on this website.

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