Transcribed by Gary Carroll, email@example.com.
Cumberland Hill Prince Edward Island
June 1 , 1856
Hugh Miller Esq
Dr. sir it is with feelings of no ordinary kind that I sit down to pen you these few iregular lines --and besides I expect you will be a little surprised at me writing you being an entire stranger to you
But having some time ago had a book handed to me by a gentleman called Stark -- that has come to this Island from Glasgow, Scotland, some time ago -- and is school visitor on this Island
To the best of My Recolection it is called My Schoolls and Schooll Masters or My Schoolls and Schooll Days -- By Hugh Miller -- And I se in this Book where you notice William Johnston the old 42 man -- that was game keeper and Forester in Cromarty and in Nigg. Rosshire Scotland and as this William Johnston, you allude to in this Book was my father -- and as it appears By the conclusion of the piece you have in this Book. that you are Ignorant of his after Fate -- after him mortgaging his pension and --Immigrating to Canada -- While I thought over those matters, and of one that my dear old Father Esteemed as he did Hughy Miller as he used
to call you -- I thought that I would write you And let you know that my Father with his family Landed at Pictou Nova Scotia from the vessel that he was bound to Quebec in. While in route for Canada It seems that the Blaggdon for that was the vesels name had to call at Pictou to land a Certain number of her passengers -- And I believe the Cholera was raging in Quebec at the time, So my Father thought it advisable to stay on shore and proceed no further, and my dear mother was entirely sick of the sea -- Being coffered to her bed Most of the pasage with sea sicknefs -- the pasage was a long one Between Cromarty and Pictou -- Six weeks
He only stayed in Pictou about Six weeks -- when he moved with his Family to this Island -- Where he got a grant of land from government of about three hundred acres, which we have lived on since -- it was all woods and Brushwood when my father settled first on it -- not even a road to it But had to find our way to it by what is called here a Blaze on the trees, or a chip taking of the side of the trees, one after the other in a straight line as possible -- and by this mode a path was soon formed through the canes and the Blaze on the trees was always a guide in day light-- and by night we used torches of the white Birch tree Bark --
But it however is changed days with us now for we have good roads all around our farm leading to all parts of the Island -- and plenty of vesels pasing up and down the river in front of our farm and I have loaded over twenty vesels with timber and ship knees at our Shore last Sumer for the United States.
I always stayed with my Father and Mother and rather them with me as they have been very feeble for the last ten or twelve years -- Father in particular - Mother died in January of 1855 My Father died on 16th Feburey last aged about 78 years -- I send you a paper with my fathers death in it along with this which I hope you will get all right -- there is a fine piece atached to my Fathers death in the News
Paper -- it is my own selecting and puting together - and I think you will be Pleased with it, and will read it with much Interest.
My Fathers family and him arriving in this country consisted of 4 Sons and 2 daughters all of whom are still living -- the oldest is a daughter called Isabella who was maried shortly
after she arrived on this Island to a man Called John Ware a Native of Somerset Shire England a good farmer - he died suddenly last March - Peter is the next of Fathers family he is a ship carpenter and joiner and has a farm -- is not married yet -- I myself comes next I got married two years ago last fall to a first cousin of my own (by Mother) from Sunderland England, She came here in the fall of 1853 - the next is a daughter Rose Taylor She is married to one ? Nicholson, a saw miller - then is a son David Stewart Barcly - he is a Black smith - he is married two years ago - the next and youngest is William - a Black smith to trade also he is married 4 years - I always carried on the farm with my parents - until this last three years & kept a store of goods as well as Family and took juniper timber and juniper knees in payment for the same I payed out a great deal of money also for the Ship Knees - and shipped all to the States -- and last fall by dealing with some Characters I have lost about £ 700.0.0 and fall before about £ 600.0.0.
Please write on receipt this -- and I will write you all particulars of our troubles and of my own transactions since we have been on this Island -- Please don't forget to write and you will oblige yours with respect
John Moore Johnston
P.S. Please send us some Newes Papers Scotish ones. Could you posible get up an Epitaph for my deceased Father and send me -- and you would much oblige J.M. Johnston
This letter found on Microfilm A-1781 at PAC
Hugh Miller, Geologist and Lay Theologian born 10 Oct.,1802 at Cromarty, Scotland Suicide 24 Dec., 1856, son of Hugh Miller and Harriet Wright He published My Schools and Schoolmasters in 1854
Mrs. William Johnston (Isabella Dun) died at Cumberland Hill, Grand River 14 Jan., 1855 aged 62