1842 Letter to Mrs. Thomson From Her Son, James Thomson
- Media Type
- Item Type
- Letter sheets
- First shown here is the photograph of the stampless folded letter (SFL) with the broken wax seal. At the time, the postal cost was per "rate", a rate being a single sheet of paper. If the writer had enclosed the 2 page letter in an envelope, they would have paid one rate for the papers and another for the envelope.
Click on "Pages" "Select" to read the two page letter. The letter was written from New York City by James, son of Mrs. Thomson. He tells of his journey from the Sixteen Mile Creek area in Trafalgar Township, through Niagara Falls to New York City as he prepares to sail to Scotland.
At this time, we are still investigating who "Mrs. Thomson" in the Township of Trafalgar might be. Area land registry records mention a "Catherine Thompson" nearby the Chalmers property at the Sixteen and Dundas. She may have been a widow since she is personally named.
The letter may have been sent to the care of Mr. Chalmers as the nearest postmaster, Mr. Proudfoot, would have easily been able to get the letter west to Mr. Chalmers, thereby making its receipt by Mrs. Thomson closer to home. (Chalmers and the postmaster worked together on many governance and business matters in the area.)
There are clues which might result in learning more. A letter of two pages in those days indicated that the writer had money. 25 cents and 8 pence represented a half days pay on average. The young man knew the Earl of Dunmore lands which indicates he had emigrated from that estate or area near the estate when he was more than a toddler.
Donor David Hobden, a specialist in post offices and postal services, has provided much information, deciphering the stamps and postal charges. He notes that contrary to regulations, the Trafalgar postmaster, Mr. Proudfoot, did not apply a Trafalgar receiving handstamp to the reverse of the letter.
- George Chalmers was a Lowland Scot who, after emigrating to the Township of Trafalgar, started as a general merchant at Munn's Corners about 1820.
He began to buy up land along the Sixteen where it crosses Dundas Street in 1816. There he built a saw mill. Chalmers lived in a frame house in the village he had founded at Sixteen Mile creek. He was colonel of the 5th Regiment of Gore Militia and took an active part against the Rebellion. By 1840, he was in financial difficulty and his land and buildings at Sixteen Mile creek were sold.
John Proudfoot purchased the mill, land and buildings at Sixteen Mile creek from George Chalmers.
Trafalgar Township Historical Society, Early Ward 5 History:
"The Trafalgar Post office was opened in 1822 at 9th line in the store kept by Henry Proudfoot. It was the first post office in Halton County and the only post office between York and Dundas. The office was later moved to Post's Corners with the opening of 7th line (Trafalgar Rd.) to the north...In 1833 the mail was delivered along the Lakeshore and a Duncan McColl was the post-boy on horseback who for years carried the mail up to Post's Corners Post Office."
Library Archives Canada lists Alexander Proudfoot as the PM in 1832 through 1854 when J.L Beggar took over. James Appelbe also held the position.
- Address Panel: Mrs. Thomson, Care of Geo. Chalmers Esq, Township of Trafalgar, near Toronto, Upper Canada.
I arrived on Saturday about 6 o’clock in the morning safe & sound. I shall give you an account of my journey. I left Toronto @ 7 in morning reached Lewiston at 4 took car to falls arrived 5 P.M. stopped till 5 P.M. next day. I employed that interval viewing the falls & truly it is a sublime sight from the falls took Cars to Lockport packet from there to Syracuse, then cars to Albany & steamboat to New York on board which I fell in with a young man going to a friend in the City, he keeps a Merchants taylor's shop. I spend the time in viewing the City & in his shops, this is a great Commercial City the streets are literally crowded all the time. I have spoke my passage on board the Garrick a splendid vessel for Liverpool fare £2,,10,, I find myself she sails to morrow 25th living is certainly cheap here. Eating houses open at all times you can make a very good meal for 7 ½ d lsd 7 ½ d there is a splendid fountain in the City park near the far famed Broadway a place where all the fashon & beauty of New York resort I visit it every day the Ladies velvet & satin dresses most fashionable wear satin & silk scarfs or mantilles all have fringes, what a contrast with this and the woods of Canada. I think it is the most splendid & richly variegated scenery I ever saw
gently sloping hill and dale covered not with unseemly pines but beautiful shrubs like Lord Dunsmore's plantains at this season thee the leaves have a beautiful tinge. I am writing this on my new friends desk on a great hurry, the fine scenery I describe is from Albany to Syracuse & to New York, remember me to Andrew for his kindness, I can find out nothing respecting Francis Dykes I don’t think he is in the City. I must be on board tomorrow by 8 O’Clock she is a fine vessel, when I reach Scotland I will write you a long letter
Yours & C
- Date Of Event
- March 26, 1842
- Local identifier
- Trafalgar Township Historical Society
- Geographic Coverage
Latitude: 43.4603297083685 Longitude: -79.7490507836914
- Copyright Statement
- Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
- Recommended Citation
- 1842 Letter to Mrs. Thomson From Her Son, James Thomson
- Trafalgar Township Historical SocietyEmail
Trafalgar Township Historical Society Sponsor: Jeff Knoll, Local & Regional Councillor for Oakville Ward 5 – Town of Oakville/Regional Municipality of Halton