We continue following the travels of my 3rd great-uncle, Abiathar Millard Harris, on New Years’ Day of 1822. Abiathar was still in Kingston, Ontario. He had just recovered from a lengthy illness and spent an unhappy Christmas holiday. Here is his diary entry for January 1st:
It’s good to know that after his disappointing Christmas, Abiathar enjoyed a festive New Years’ celebration.
Several months passed before he took up his diary again to record that he was moving on from Kingston.
On the 18th June, I started for Montreal, a distance of 180 miles, in a bateau principally manned by Canadians – and spoke no English – I however made them understand. We stayed at Gananoque, a little settlement 22 miles distant.
In the early years of the 19th century, boat travel along the St. Lawrence became very popular for upper-class people taking pleasure cruises. Steamships of various sizes embarked out of Montreal.
Diary entries for the remaining days of June 1822 record Abiathar’s continuing journey to Montreal, where he found employment for a few weeks.
On the 19th we started early, the weather very fine – about 2 P. M. we passed Brockville, a little village pleasantly situated on the bank of the St. Lawrence on the Canada side. Nearly opposite on the American shore is a little village called Morristown. We arrived in Prescott 6 o’clock P. M. This place is small and the houses are very shabby, but considerable business is done in the transportation line. Opposite this place lies Ogdensburgh, a small village, but pleasantly situated, it being on high ground – much business is also done here. I crossed the ferry into this place, enquired for work, could get none – returned to Prescott, put up at J. Warner’s Inn.
On the 20th we started at 4 o’clock, passed Johnstown, C. shore – weather fine and fair wind. About noon it began to rain very hard. We arrived in Cornwall about 3 o’clock – 50 miles from Prescott. Here we took dinner at Chester’s/Charter’s Hotel – at 4 P. M. we started, it rained, thundered and lightened very hard. At 8 P. M., we arrived at the head of Lake S. François, in the County Glengary. Here we were obliged to stop here, the darkness of the night prevented us from proceeding. We put up at a farm house 11 miles from Cornwall.
On the 21st at 3 in the morning we proceeded to cross the lake, with fair wind, and at 8 we reached the Cedars, a distance of 40 miles. Here we went on shore – but soon resumed our journey – the Long Sault commences at this place. We came through, however, very dangerous, without any difficulty – at the foot Salmon River enters Lake St. Louis, we crossed the lake and arrived in Lachine 12 o’clock noon. During the passage from Prescott, Mssrs. Long & Wilson, of Niagara, were in company with me. We took a Caleche for Montreal, 9 miles, and arrived 3 P. M. Put up at Cushen’s Inn, Hay Market.
On the 22nd I walked about the town, inquired for work – got work at Gray’s Herald office – commenced work on the 24th.
On the 30th I took an excursion to La Prairie, in the steam boat, in company with the Mssrs. Burrells and Mr. Demarse, here we met a lady living No. 574 Broadway, etc.
The Montreal Herald was published by a Scottish immigrant, William Gray. Gray began the publication shortly after arriving in Montreal in 1811. Sadly, Gray died shortly after Abiathar started work for him. In February 1822, Gray fell ill while on a business trip to Toronto. He was only 33 years old.