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IntroductionBanner: Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill
BiographiesBanner: Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr TraillManuscripts and JournalsLettersBanner: Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill
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Glossary and Explanatory Notes

Agnes and Eliza Strickland as mid-century historians. Agnes and Eliza began writing short biographies of royal ladies for the Lady's Magazine during the 1830s. Out of that activity they proposed a series, Lives of the Queens of England, From the Norman Conquest. It was published in 12 volumes from 1840 to 1848 citing Agnes as the sole author. Although she wrote more biographies than did Agnes, Eliza demanded anonymity. The popularity of the series encouraged the sisters to collaborate on four more works including another series, Lives of the Queens of Scotland (eight volumes, published between 1850 and 59).

The Albion. The New York Albion was a weekly newspaper published in New York by Dr. John Sherran Bartlett (1790-1863). Barlett, a retired doctor from England, ran two papers that provided recent news from Britain to British emigrants living in the new world. The best known was the Albion, for which Susanna Moodie wrote her first Canadian poems, and the other was the Emigrant and Old Countryman. The Moodies were avid readers of Bartlett's papers and often corresponded with him.

Canada Land Company. This company was formed in England in 1824 to colonize Upper Canada and to develop the extensive holdings that it purchased there, especially the Huron Tract extending from Guelph to Goderich. The company founded these two towns as well as Galt, named after its first secretary, the Scottish novelist, John Galt. Scots were very influential in the company and another of them, William "Tiger" Dunlop, became a legendary Upper Canadian figure. Samuel Strickland was hired by Galt and he also knew the "Tiger."

Chamberlin, Brown. Lt. Col. Brown Chamberlin (1827-1897) was a Montreal newspaper owner and lawyer who rose to fame as a military leader during the Fenian raids in Canada East. A friend of John A. Macdonald, he was awarded the position of Queen's printer in Ottawa in 1870 and the same year married the widowed Agnes FitzGibbon, daughter of Susanna Moodie. They settled in Ottawa where they were among the social leaders of that fledgling city. Agnes helped her Aunt Traill to complete and publish her important work, Studies of Plant Life in Canada (1885).

The Depression of 1836-37. The most devastating factor underlying the failure of the Moodies and the Traills in the backwoods was the Depression of 1836-37. Felt powerfully in the cities of North America, the effects were perhaps even more crippling in the back townships of Upper Canada where the market for farming goods sagged, available capital shrank, and the number of new emigrants dwindled. In both Canada West and East the Rebellion of 1837 grew in part out of the prolonged effects of this depression.

Dunlop, Eleanor (nee Stewart), 1819-1907, was the second daughter of Thomas and Frances Stewart. In 1845, "Ellen," as her close friend Catharine Parr Traill called her, married Charles Dunlop (1817-1906), a successful Otonabee farmer. Ellen, with Catharine's assistance, edited Frances Stewart's letters for Our Forest Home (Toronto, 1902).

Fleming, Sir Sandford (1827-1915). Famous for several inventions and engineering successes, Sandford Fleming came as a young man to Canada in 1845. He lived in Peterborough for his first two years, and first met Catharine Parr Traill at that time. In later years he fondly remembered Traill and did what he could to raise funds to recognize her achievements in Canada and to help her overcome the financial losses that befell her. She called him her "valued friend."

Fox, Margaret (b. 1833) and Kate (b. 1834), "the Rochester Rappers," were celebrated Spiritualist mediums of the mid 19th century. The sisters pretended to interpret rapping noises, first encountered in 1847 in their old home near Rochester, New York, which were said to be communications from the spirits. Their interpretations were sought by clients such as Mary Lincoln and other prominent Americans. Susanna Moodie encountered Kate Fox in 1855 when the latter visited relatives near Belleville, Ontario.

Gwillym, Richard, was a well-to-do Church of England clergyman from the parish of Ulverstone, Lancashire. In 1844 he became the second husband of Sarah Childs (nee Strickland) and, hence, brother-in-law to Catharine, Susanna and Samuel. On his death in 1868, he left Catharine (who had been widowed in 1858) a legacy of an undetermined size.

The Literary Garland. The Literary Garland was published by John Lovell, an important Montreal publisher, starting in December 1838 and ending in December 1851, a run of 13 volumes. Its first and longest serving editor was John Gibson who, together with Lovell, produced the first notably successful literary periodical in either Upper or Lower Canada. Much of that success was attributable to the Garland's emphasis on original compositions and its appeal to readers beyond the boundaries of the Canadas. Susanna had contributions in every one of its volumes.

South African years of John Moodie. John Moodie went to South Africa in 1819 to join two older brothers. While there he did some farming, served for a time as a magistrate and pursued his love of outdoor adventure. He returned to England in 1829 to find a wife and to begin a writing career. He first wrote an account of an attack on Bergen op Zoom in the Netherlands; he had participated in it during the Napoleonic war. His second endeavour was a book, Ten Years in South Africa (1835). Moodie's South African experience was later recalled in pieces that he wrote for the Victoria Magazine and in another book, Scenes and Adventures of a Soldier and Settler (1866).

Stewart, Frances (nee Browne), 1794-1872, emigrated with her husband, Thomas Stewart (1876-1847), from Ireland to Upper Canada in 1823. The Stewarts became important early settlers of Douro Township, developing their home, "Auburn," on Lot 1, Concession 1, raising a family of 10 children to adulthood, and assisting settlers -- like the Traills -- who followed them to the area.

Thomas Strickland's business interests. Thomas Strickland, Susanna and Catharine's father, was a partner in Thomas Strickland and Company, Coach Manufactory of St. Giles Gates in Norwich. The urban experience that the Strickland children gained during occasional visits to Norwich is reflected in the plots of some of their books for children.

Wolf Tower was the octagonal wooden tower house built in 1837 near the south shore of Rice Lake by the Reverend George Wilson Bridges. When he returned to England in 1841, Bridges offered the Traills the use of his property, rent-free. They lived at Wolf Tower, the setting for Catharine's children's novel, Canadian Crusoes, from the spring of 1846 to mid 1847.