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Reminiscences of a Canadian Pioneer for the last Fifty Years An Autobiography   By:

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Canadian Pioneer.








SAMUEL THOMPSON, Formerly Editor of the "Toronto Daily Colonist," the "Parliamentary Hansard," &c., &c.


Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year one thousand eight hundred and eighty four, by Samuel Thompson, in the office of the Minister of Agriculture.


It was in consequence of a suggestion by the late S. J. Watson, Librarian of the Ontario Legislature who urged that one who had gone through so many experiences of early Canadian history as myself, ought to put the same on record that I first thought of writing these "Reminiscences," a portion of which appeared in the Canadian Monthly Magazine . For the assistance which has enabled me to complete and issue this volume, I am obliged to the kind support of those friends who have subscribed for its publication; for which they will please accept my grateful thanks.

In the space at my disposal, I have necessarily been compelled to give little more than a gossiping narrative of events coming under my own observation. But I have been careful to verify every statement of which I was not personally cognizant; and to avoid everything of a controversial character; as well as to touch gently on those faults of public men which I felt obliged to notice.

It has been a labour of love to me, to place on record many honourable deeds of Nature's gentlemen, whose lights ought not to be hidden altogether "under a bushel," and whose names should be enrolled by Canada amongst her earliest worthies. I have had the advantage, in several cases, of the use of family records, which have assisted me materially in rendering more complete several of the earlier chapters, particularly the account of Mackenzie's movements while in the neighbourhood of Gallows Hill; also the sketches of the "Tories of Rebellion Times;" as well as the history of the Mechanics' Institute, in which though a very old member, I never occupied any official position.

Since the first part of these pages was in type, I have had to lament the deaths of more than one comrade whose name is recorded therein; amongst them Dr. A. A. Riddel my "Archie" and my dearest friend Dr. Alpheus Todd, to whom I have been indebted for a thousand proofs of generous sympathy.



PAGE Preface iii Chap. I. The Author's Antecedents and Forbears 9 II. History of a Man of Genius 14 III. Some Reminiscences of a London Apprentice 19 IV. Westward, Ho! 21 V. Connemara and Galway fifty years ago 27 VI. More Sea Experiences 33 VII. Up the St. Lawrence 36 VIII. Muddy Little York 39 IX. A Pioneer Tavern 42 X. A First Day in the Bush 46 XI. A Chapter on Chopping 52 XII. Life in the Backwoods 65 XIII. Some Gatherings from Natural History 69 XIV. Our Removal to Nottawasaga 78 XV. Society in the Backwoods 84 XVI. More about Nottawasaga and its People 91 XVII. A Rude Winter Experience 93 XVIII. The Forest Wealth of Canada 98 XIX. A Melancholy Tale 101 XX. From Barrie to Nottawasaga 104 XXI. Farewell to the Backwoods 107 XXII. A Journey to Toronto 109 XXIII. Some Glimpses of Upper Canadian Politics 116 XXIV. Toronto During the Rebellion 119 XXV... Continue reading book >>

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