Here you will find Anna Jameson’s account of her “Voyage Down Lake Huron, in a canoe, Aug. 1837” from her best-seller. An accomplished and famour writer, she came to Canada to be with her husband, but the marriage failed and she returned to England. First, she did a little exploring with a crew of Metis voyageurs from Penetanguishene. Unfortunately, most of the records about Metis people in the early days were written not by Metis people themselves. We are always hearing our ancestors voices through the text of strangers: some well-intentioned, some not.
The book is available through public libraries but also on line. You can read it on line or download it as a pdf at:
or read it as a free e-book at:
You can also read her earlier work of 1838:
The illustrations below are mostly not by Anna Jameson but by a selection of other artists.
THE MIGRATION 0F VOYAGEURS FROM DRUMMOND ISLAND TO PENETANGUISHENE IN 1828. BY A. C. OSBORNE.
Lewis Soloman’s Narrative
My name is Lewis Solomon-spelled L-e-w-i-s-though they call me Louie. I was born on Drummond Island in 1821, moved to St. Joseph Island in 1825, back to Drummond Island again, and then to Penetanguishene in 1829. My father's name was William Solomon, Government interpreter. His father, Ezekiel Solomon, was born in the city of Berlin, Germany, came to Montreal and went up to the "Sault." My father was appointed Indian interpreter by the British Government and was at Mackinaw during the War of 1812, then moved to Drummond Island with the British forces, and afterwards to Penetanguishene. My mother's maiden name was Johnston, born in Mackinaw, where she and my father were married. She died in Penetanguishene. My father received his discharge under Sir John Colborne, retiring on a pension of seventy-five cents a day after a continued service of fifty-six years with the Government, and he died at Penetanguishene also.
Neddy McDonald, the old mail-carrier, sometimes went with us, but he was not a good paddler, and we did not care to have him. It is said that it fell to Neddy's lot, on the trip with Lady Jameson, to carry her on his back from the canoe to the shore occasionally when a good landing was not found. As Mrs. Jameson was of goodly proportions, it naturally became a source of irritation to Neddy, which he did not conceal from his fellow voyageurs. Mrs. Jameson had joined the party of Colonel Jarvis at the Manitoulin Island. She was a rich lady from England, well educated, and travelling for pleasure. She was an agreeable woman, considerate of others and extremely kind-hearted. I was a pretty fair singer in those days, and she often asked me to sing those beautiful songs of the French voyageurs, which she seemed to think so nice and I often sang them for her. Mrs. Jameson ran the "Sault Rapids" in a birch-bark canoe, with two Chippewa Indian guides. They named her Was-sa-je-wun-e-qua, "Woman of the bright stream."I was attendant on Mrs. Jameson, and was obliged to sleep in her tent, as a sort of protector, in a compartment separated by a hanging 4 screen. I was obliged to wait till she retired, and then crawl in quietly without waking her. Mrs. Jameson gathered several human skulls at Head Island, above Nascoutiong, to take home with her. She kept them till I persuaded her to throw them out, as I did not fancy their company. When I parted with Mrs. Jameson and shook hands with her I found four five dollar gold pieces in my hand.
In the past people were taught to rever the places of the dead and believed it was very bad luck to disturb or even stop on a grave. Mrs. Jameson’s taste in souvenirs, macabre as it was, reflected the casual attitude many British settlers and tourists had towards native burials. The sense of proprietorship is unmistakeable. This attitude peristed well into the twentieth century. In 1986 an Ojibwe friend quipped that she was going to apply for a Canada Council grant to “dig up white people’s bones”.
Not many years after the arrival of the Mississaugas, the Iroquois, represented by their chief tribe the Mohawks, came north across Ontario and exterminated the Hurons, possessing themselves of their hunting grounds. Coming into contact with the Mississaugas the Mohawks massacred small parties of them, and endeavoured to drive them off. It being a matter of life and death to the Mississaugas, they held a great council of war and decided to attack the Mohawks and, if possible, drive them away. A party of Mohawks were entrenched at an island in lower Georgian Bay, afterwards known as Pequahkoondehaminis, or the “island of skulls”. The Mississaugas surrounded them, and made great slaughter, the island taking its name from this circumstance. The Mohawks were compelled to retreat eventually, but being a fierce and warlike tribe they resisted stubbornly. The Mississaugas then advanced up what is now the Severn River to Shunyung, or Lake Simcoe, stopping at Machinchning, which means “fish fence” at the Narrows between lakes Simcoe and Couchiching in order to get a supply of food. Part of this fence remains to this day. (1904) There they received reinforcements, dividing into two parties, and made preparations for a campaign. The main body proceeded along the portage, now called “Portage Road” to Balsam Lake; the other party went south to Toronto.
The Story of PaudashA History of the Rice Lake Indians by Mary Jane Muskratte Simpson
The old route from Lake Simcoe to Toronto was the portage Trail called “The Toronto Carrying Place”. Highway 400 and Yonge Street could be considered its offspring.