Revisiting “Our Forest Home”

Overview

Frances Stewart arrived in Upper Canada from Ireland in 1822 with her husband, three children, and two servants. The family settled in Douro Township on the bank of the Otonabee River in 1823. Spanning three-quarters of a century, her letters represent the immigrant experience of one of the first pioneer women in the Peterborough, Ontario, area. Included are transcripts of the extant collection. They chronicle the three stages of Francess life: the years of her childhood in Ireland to her departure for North America; her voyage across the Atlantic and her life in Upper Canada to the time of her husbands death in 1847; and the period of widowhood until her death in 1872. The chapter summaries, annotations, and key passages extracted from letters written by others further the story of Francess nineteenth-century immigrant life. Advance Praise for Revisiting Our Forest Home Presenting the perspective of a cultivated immigrant who refrained from publication, Frances Stewarts articulate letters to her family and friends nicely complement the narratives of her Peterborough neighbours, Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill. Jodi Aokis intelligent approach to the editorial complexities of the Stewart archive has given us a reliable and welcome volume that makes an important contribution to our understanding of womens lives on the Upper-Canadian frontier. Carole Gerson, University Professor, English Department, Simon Fraser University Revisiting Our Forest Home is a welcome addition to the scholarly record of nineteenth-century writing and letters by immigrant gentlewomen to Upper Canada. To have this well-edited and thoughtful record of Stewarts struggles available is a boon to scholars, old and new. With precision and tenderness, Jodi Aoki brings forward these important and culturally revealing letters. In her hands, the original Our Forest Home, initially a project meant only for family members, becomes a valuable and much fuller record of social and family life in early Ontario. Michael Peterman, Professor Emeritus, Trent University, FRSC

Reviews

...Stewart's letters are of indisputable value for the light they shed on the pioneer experience in early Ontario. (...)Aoki and Dundurn Press are to be congratulated for making such an important collection widely available once again.

Ontario History

About the Author

Jodi Lee Aoki

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014

Jodi Lee Aoki

Jodi Aoki is Archives, Special Collections and Art Collection Coordinator at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. She has a masters degree in Canadian Studies and is particularly interested in literary representations in nineteenth-century autobiographical writings. Jodi lives in Bethany, Ontario.