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"Go West" Horace Greely's Advice Taken by Many Canadians
Column published: 10 July 2008
By: Rick Roberts,   Biography & Archived Articles


While doing research for her new book Leaving Ontario, Resources for Tracking Ontario Migrants, Fawne Stratford-Devai discovered much documentary evidence of individuals who left Ontario to seek their fortunes in the USA and other parts of Canada. She has generously offered the following transcription of one of those resources for the readers of The Global Gazette.



    The London Adviser
    Wednesday April 7, 1880

    "Go West"

    Horace Greely's Advice Taken by
    Many Canadians

    Patterson's Fourth Excursion
    Goes Through London

    Complete List of Passengers

    The fourth special excursion train of the season, under the special supervision of Mr. Robert Patterson, the G.W.R. agent at Paris, passed through this city en route for St. Boniface, Tuesday night. The train was timed to leave Paris at 5 o'clock, and at that time a large number of people gathered at the station to see their friends off. Owing to the fact, however, that the quantity of baggage which could not be brought on the Pacific Express, had been left behind at Harrisburg, an engine with a baggage car attached had to be sent back. This caused a delay of nearly an hour, and it was almost six o'clock before a start was made. The train consisted of four Michigan Central coaches, a baggage car and "The Niles" Wagner sleeper. This latter is always attached to the Patterson train, and is in charge of a colored gentleman known as "Henry", and who, from his broad smile and willingness to serve his passengers, is exceedingly well-liked by travelers. As soon as the train was fairly under weigh, the passengers - to the number of seventy - set about making themselves as comfortable as circumstances would admit. The first thing that suggested itself to the majority was to have supper. Hampers were unpacked, little coffee pots were placed on stoves, and soon the aroma of fragrant Mocho greeted the nostrils. It was quite evident that nearly all had made up their minds to live well on the trip, if one could judge by the quantity and quality of the provisions displayed. Everything from Bologna sausage to pound cake was included in the bill of fare. After a square meal had been disposed of, rugs and overcoats were placed in the best manner possible to form a bed and soon quite a number were fast asleep, dreaming no doubt, roseate dreams of future greatness in the Land of Promise - the Great Northwest. The first station stopped at was Woodstock, and here about thirty persons joined the party. A few were expected to join the train at Ingersoll, but owing to some reason they did not do so. At London there was a large addition to the party.

    London, Huron and Bruce
    At Centralia a large number of passengers got aboard the afternoon train , which arrived in London at 5 o'clock. A number of them were going to Dakota, especially was this the case of the young men. Mr. Greenway was in charge of this section, and was ably assisted by Mr. John Knox, G.W.R. agent at Centralia, who accompanied the party as far as London. This party had forwarded twenty five carloads of freight and live stock on Monday. The morning train on this branch also brought about sixty persons from Kincardine, who joined the others at this depot.
    FOR MANITOBA. - Thos. McLaughlin, Brussels; A. Ingram and wife and three children, Wingham; Hector McLean, son., Hugh McLean, Donald McLean, Hector McLean, jr, Archie McLean, George McLean, Margaret McLean, Flora McLean, Janet McLean, Morris; Robert Currie, Wingham; Robert McKelvie, Ethel; John Simms, Stephen; T.G. Hingston, Brussels; Robert John Beil, Wingham; James Burgess, Bluevale, Turnberry Tp.; George McLean, Belgrave; Charles Moare, Seaforth; John Holland, Wrexeter; William Werry, wife and son, Exeter; James Belfour, Wingham; John Dill, Seaforth; Joseph Simms, Centralia; James Miller, Kincardine; Wm. Howie, Bluevale; W.H.Moore, Newry-Downie, Exeter; Benj. Leary and son, Orlando Geary, Wingham; George Crawford, Exeter; Henry Dougall, David Dougall, James Dougall, Rogerville; Charles Crawford, Exeter; Hugh McLean, Belgrave; John Faulkner, Alex. Cardno, Miss Coleman, Seaforth; Alex. Stewart, Ilensall; Robert Ramsay, Clandeboye; Jar. Patterson, Kincardine.

    FOR DAKOTA - Duncan McEwan, Wm. Gilchrist, Brecon; D. McLean, Peter McLean, Hensall; George Walker, John Johnston, Zurich; Gilbert Anderson, Kippen; John Donnelly, Hensall; John Anderson, Kippen; A. Almas, Charlotteville.

    Quite a few Londoners also joined the party, including His Worship Mayor Campbell, who goes up to Winnipeg on business.

    Shortly after eight o'clock the train left here, having about 200 passengers on board, followed by the best wishes of many for their safe journey. The following passengers, in addition to those above mentioned, were on board, as near as could be ascertained.

    London - Mayor Campbell, John Elson, James Hooper, David Harkness, Wm. Bull, - Wannacott, Albert and Orange Howard, London township; Wm. Fralick, St. John's; John Rae, Lobo; John and Henry Hammond, Petersville.

    Woodstock - Mr. E. McManus and family, nine in all; Mrs. Knox and family, five in all; Richard Brown, Andrew Elliott, Miss Drummond, Mrs. Nichols, Wm. Bruce, James Marden, Thomas Boxall, Mrs. Parfitt and family of four.

    Walkerton - Thomas Hazelett, Alex. Marshall.

    Drayton - Mrs. Wm. Byers, Hugh Mann, Alex. Mann, James William Myers.

    Mildmay - Geo. Titmus, Geo. Bridge

    Port Elgin - Geo. Fenwick

    Hanover - Kelly Adams

    Elma - James Nichol, Thomas Buchanan, Thomas McAllaster, Francis R. Curtis, Wm. Stong.

    Listowell - J.W.Grey, R.H.Climic, R. Forbes, Wm. Nesbitt.

    Elora - James Parsons, Wm. Parsons
    Fergus - Alex. McQuarry, wife and family of James William, Thomas and Hugh; Peter McLaren.

    Luther - Wm. Simpson, James Eddie

    Arthur Township - Mrs. Simpson and five children, James Dass.
    Guelph - Alfred Fair, Eli and Enoch White.

    Galt - Robert Millar, Wm. Rutherford, Robert Johnston.

    Paris - Oliver Grey, Mrs. Crandle and two children; Geo. Clark, wife and daughter

    Other Places - Mrs. John Gray and six children; Rev. Prof. Byrne, of Manitoba College, Winnipeg; Mrs. Whitehead and daughter, of Winnipeg; H.G. Evans, wife and child, of Merchants' Bank, Winnipeg; Miss Marling, Toronto; S.K. Moyer, Jordan; A. McNeil, Newcastle; Wm. Griffen, Beverly; C. Pollard, Mitchell; Geo. Mothereill, Washington; Thos. Hall, Melvern; Arch. Young and mother, Toronto.
    After leaving London, quite a large number were added to the party at Komoka, Glencoe, Chatham and Windsor, making a total of probably 250 on the train.

    Mr. Patterson and Mr. Greenway both go the entire distance in charge of the party, and this is sufficient guarantee that the wants of the passengers will be carefully looked after. They are both live men and both know how to run excursion parties. Under this management 1000 have already gone to the Northwest this summer, and it is probable that twice that number may yet go out this season. The next train will run on May 4th. The largest numbers are expected in November, however, as at that time a portion of the trip is to be made by steamers between Grand Haven and Milwaukee.

    Twenty-two cars laden with general effects and merchandise left London about fifteen hours ahead of this passenger train. The cars were from the following stations: Brucefield 1, Wigham 2, Harrisburg (W.G.and B. Branch) 3, Centralia 4, Paris 6, London 6. The latter comprised at least three cars of manufactured goods from London firms. Mr. John Campbell shipped to Mr. Alexander Calder, Winnipeg, 24 ox carts, 12 buck-boards, 13 wagons, 1 plaxton[?] and 1 dog cart. Messrs. E. Adams & Co. shipped to Mr. Wm. Bealor, Winnipeg, a half carload of sundries, and the other half comprising a similar description of goods, was dispatched by the same firm to Mr. A.G. Washington of Rosseau. Mr. George Jackson, of this city, also consigned one carload of ploughs (100) to Mr. Alex Calder. The McClary Manufacturing Company send a carload of stoves, stove furniture, &c., to Messrs. Chalmers & Carney, Emerson. Mr. J. Lawrence of Emerson, almost filled a car with horses and household effects. Messrs. Hobbs, Osborne & Hobbs consigned a large quantity of hardware to Mr. Samuel Babb of Winnipeg. Liquors from J.M. Longs[?] & Co. to Mr. John McQuarrie of Portage la Prairie, and cigars and tobacco from W.T. Rutherford & Co. to Mr. Elward Carriss, of Winnipeg, and a number of horses by J.R. Lewis formed the remainder of the shipments from this city. In all the consignments from London could not have footed up less than $12,000.

    When it is remembered that this party alone takes out of Ontario over $100,000 in money and goods, it will be seen what a sufferer the Province is.

    Rev. Prof. Byrne, one of the party, in conversation with the ADVERTISER reporter, gave some interesting facts concerning the spread of religious and educational institutions throughout Manitoba. This gentleman was in 1871 appointed by the Home Mission Committee of the Presbyterian Church to perform the rather difficult work of founding a college in the North-west. He proceeded to Winnipeg, then a village of probably 500 inhabitants, and all the surrounding neighborhood very thinly settled. His first work was to organize a Presbyterian congregation in the place, and he succeeded by dint of hard work in getting nine members to attach themselves to the church. As time went on, however, the congregation increased and an addition had to be made to the little frame church. Several times the church had to be enlarged to suit the demand for sittings, and at last it was determined to erect a fine brick church. This was completed last summer at a cost of $ 25,000, and is conceded by all to be the finest church edifice north of St. Paul. It is of white brick, with a spire 130 feet high, and is capable of seating 300 people. A fine reed organ was also secured at a cost of $ 2,600, and one of Prof. Torrington's pupils from Toronto appointed to conduct the singing and play the instrument. The minister, Rev. James Robertson (formerly of Norwich, Oxford county) receives a stipend of $ 2,000. The above is a highly creditable record - in 1872 nine members and no church, in 1880 three hundred and thirty members with a $ 25,000 edifice. The Winnipeg College, founded by Prof. Bryce, has now some fifty students. There are also colleges in connection with St. Boniface Cathedral (Roman Catholic) and St. John's Chapel (Church of England). These three institutions about two years since decided to affiliate and form a University, and from this institution alone can degrees be obtained in the Province. The first graduate will receive the degree of B.A. in June. He is a half-breed and a native of Manitoba. One of the students is pure Cree Indian, and he takes the lead in some forms. He is considered very clever and will next year enter the ministry. Experience has shown that it is such men who have the greatest effect in preaching to the Indians. One of the very best and most effective missionaries in the North-west is a Sioux who cannot speak one word of English. Winnipeg boasts of eight churches inside the city limits, beside the Cathedrals of St. Boniface and St. John's. As regards schools there is one Central and two ward schools, besides two Separate Schools - one for the girls and one for the boys; all of which have a very good staff of teachers. As to the missionary work going on among the Indians, Prof. Bryce said there were twenty-five ministers on the roll of the Presbyterian missions, beside five assistants. He had been in Toronto with the Home Mission Committee during the past few days, and after hearing his reports this body decided to grant him $ 9,000, besides sending out three additional ministers and four student catechists. He thought three or four more would also be sent before long, as the work being done there was a noble one. The chief mission stations are at Winnipeg, Selkirk, Kildonan, Morris, Emerson, Portage la Prairie and Gladstone. Some of the missionaries, especially those among the Chippewas, report great distress through lack of food, many cases of a touching nature coming to their knowledge. The fact seemed to be that when the Indian could not get enough by honesty that he would not descend to do anything else even to save himself from starving. There were of course exceptions to the rule, but speaking of them as a rule they "despised" work. Prof. Bryce appears to be well posted about all parts of the Great lone Land and a very clever gentleman, and it was with regret that our reporter parted from him.

Source: The London Adviser, Wednesday April 7, 1880 Issue
Transcribed by: Fawne Stratford-Devia, 2008




Use Fawne Stratford-Devai's new book to help you discover the records required to track your Ontario family's origin and migration:

BOOK - Leaving Ontario, Resources for Tracking Ontario Migrants
By Fawne Stratford-Devai. Leaving Ontario is an essential guide for family history researchers in search of the records of those who left Ontario. As family historians we often hit a brick wall when family members seem to simply disappear from the province. However, in this era of online databases and indexes we now have an opportunity to look beyond communities and countries and track family members across time and boundaries. Leaving Ontario will provide you with an understanding of the traditional and online records that are available to trace your family members who left Ontario to seek their fortunes elsewhere.
ISBN 978-1-897446-92-8    More information
softcover.....$19.95 (Canadian Dollars)
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