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Title: Diary of Gov. Simcoe's Journey from Humber Bay to Matchetache Bay, 1793
Author: Macdonell, Alexander (1762-1842)
Author [1890 preface]: Anonymous
Date of first publication: 1890
Edition used as base for this ebook: Toronto: Canadian Institute, 1890 [Transactions of the Canadian Institute]
Date first posted: 21 January 2010
Date last updated: 21 January 2010
Project Gutenberg Canada ebook #462

This ebook was produced by: David T. Jones & the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net

This file was produced from images generously made available by the Internet Archive

[Extract from Transactions of the Canadian Institute, 1890.]


[Pg 5]

[The writer of the following interesting account of the above journey was the late Hon. Alexander Macdonell, one of the best known of the early citizens of Toronto. He was born in 1762, at Fort Augustus, Invernesshire, Scotland, and was the son of Capt. Allan Macdonell, who with his family and other relatives emigrated in 1773 to the Mohawk Valley, in the then British Province of New York. When the Revolutionary war broke out in 1776, the Loyalist Scottish settlement, to which the Macdonells belonged was disarmed, and Capt. Allan Macdonell was, with others, imprisoned as a hostage for the neutrality of his kinsmen and neighbors. Sir John Johnston and a number of the other settlers on the Mohawk, in May 1776, started to traverse the wilderness lying between them and Montreal, and in nineteen days reached their destination after undergoing the greatest hardships. Of these Loyalist pioneers young Alexander Macdonell was one. He soon afterwards, at the age of sixteen, enlisted as a cadet in the "Royal Highland Emigrants," subsequently numbered the 84th Regiment. After several years of active service he was transferred to "Butler's Rangers," and as a member of this famous corps he took part in many stirring military episodes. After the conclusion of the war, Capt. Allan Macdonell and his family received grants of land in Canada, then the Province of Quebec, and they resided near Quebec city until the father's death, which took place shortly after their arrival. Mrs. Macdonell and her family moved to Kingston, and afterwards to Newark, now Niagara, when it became the capital of the new Province of Upper Canada. Governor Simcoe, who had himself been a British officer in the Revolutionary war, and had in that capacity become acquainted with Alexander Macdonell, appointed the latter Sheriff of the Home District, which included both Newark and York. As a trustworthy member of the Governor's suite he accompanied him on the trip described in the diary subjoined. Sheriff Macdonell represented the Glengarry district for some time in Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada, and was at one time Speaker of the House. When the war of 1812-14 broke out he was appointed Deputy Paymaster-General, with the military rank of Colonel, while his cousin and protégé, John Macdonell of Glengarry, joined the staff of General Brock, with whose remains his, and his alone, lie interred under the monument on Queenston Heights. Col. Alexander Macdonell was taken prisoner at the capture of Niagara in May, 1813, and was detained till the close of the war at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where his father had been kept a prisoner in 1776, as narrated above. After his return to Canada he held various public positions, and was in 1831 created a member of the Legislative Council of Upper Canada. An active and earnest member of the Roman Catholic church, he rendered great assistance to his cousin, Bishop Macdonell, in building up that religious community in this Province. In 1818 he erected the still prominent residence on the Northwest corner of John and Adelaide streets, and at his hospitable table most of the eminent men in the Province were at one time or another entertained. He was tall and commanding in figure, but quiet and somewhat reserved in manner, and could talk fluently in the Gaelic, French, and Indian tongues. Colonel Macdonell died in his own residence in 1842, leaving behind him five sons, one of whom, Mr. Alexander Macdonell, now Clerk of Process at Osgoode Hall, has long been the careful custodian of the diary here printed for the first time. The Historical Section of the Canadian Institute has passed a resolution thanking Mr. Macdonell for permission to print the diary, and respectfully requesting him to have it placed for permanent preservation in one or other of the public libraries in Toronto.]

1793. September 24th.—Lieutenant Pilkington of the R. E., Lieutenant Darling of the 5th Regiment, Lieutenant Givens of the 2nd Rangers, [Pg 6]and W. Aitkin, D.P.S., with two Lake LaClaie and two Matchetache Bay Indians, embarked in a batteau, and went that night to Mr. St. John's, on the River Humber.

25th.—Got up at daybreak to prepare matters for our journey. His Excellency, Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe, joined us from York. We shortly afterwards were ready and entered the woods, keeping our course about N.N.W., crossed a long pine ridge. About one o'clock, dined upon a small river which empties itself into the Humber, and, to make the loads lighter, took the bones out of the pork. After dinner, re-loaded our horses and pursued our journey. About four o'clock, it beginning to rain, we encamped on the side of the Humber, at the west extremity of the 3rd concession. We here got some wild grapes and a quantity of crawfish.

26th.—At eight o'clock continued our journey. In the early part of the day, went over a pine ridge; but from ten till six in the evening, when we encamped, went through excellent land for grain or grass, the trees uncommonly large and tall, especially the pine. Crossed two small creeks which emptied themselves into the Humber, on one of which (Drunken Creek) we dined, and encamped on the second. The land through which we passed is chiefly wooded with maple, bass, beech, pine and cedar. During this day's march we passed the encampment of an Indian trader, who was on his way to his wintering ground on Lake LaClaie.

27th.—Proceeded on early in the morning. Shortly after leaving our fires went through a ridge of very fine pine, which appeared to be bounded by a deep ravine to the north. After crossing in an oblique direction the pine ridge, went over excellent land, black rich mould; timber, maple, beech, black birch, and bass. Crossed a ravine and ascended a small eminence of indifferent land. This height terminated in a point, and a gradual descent to the River Humber, which we crossed. We dined here, and remained two hours to refresh ourselves and horses. While at dinner, two men with two horses, who left the end of the carrying place in the morning, met us. They were going to bring forward the trader which we passed the preceding day, and his goods. After dinner proceeded on. Went over very uneven ground, the soil in some places indifferent, but in general not bad land. Saw some very fine yellow pine and black birch. About six o'clock came to the end of the carrying place and encamped. Here found Mr. Cuthbertson, Indian trader, and owner of hut we passed the day before, encamped.

28th.—After breakfast, Messrs. Givens and Aitken, with two Indians and two white men, went up the river for three canoes which had been previously provided for the Governor, and I went with three rangers to[Pg 7] erect a stage near the river to put the pork, &c., on when brought down from the encampment. Having accomplished this, upon our return we cut a few trees to make a bridge upon a bad pass in the swamp. Returned to camp about two o'clock, and shortly afterwards to the stage with seven of the rangers, all with packs which we put upon the stage. We here met Messrs. Givens and Aitken, having returned with the canoes. The whole then returned to camp only me, who remained to take care of the baggage. In about two hours the whole came down, and we immediately embarked into five canoes, viz., the Governor, Mr. Aitken, an Indian, and two rangers in one; Messrs. Pilkington and Darling, with their two servants in the second; Mr. Givens and two Indians in a third; an Indian and two rangers with me in the fourth; and Mr. Aitken's surveying party in the fifth. We dragged our canoes till we came to the river, over a part of the swamp where it would be impossible to walk without their support, it being a quagmire, the skin or surface of which was very thin. Proceeded about a mile and a half or two miles along the river, which in this short distance has several turns. Went about a quarter of a mile up a smaller river which empties itself into the former, and encamped. Soon after making our fires, the Great Tail and his family (Messessagues), who were encamped further up the river, came to visit their Great Father, the Governor, to whom they presented a pair of ducks, some beaver's meat, and a beaver's tail. His Excellency gave them some rum and tobacco.

29th.—Embarked into our canoes in the same manner as the preceding day, paddled down the river, which is a dead water, bordered on each side with quagmires similar to the one we hauled our canoes over. About two hours after leaving camp, Mr. Givens came into my canoe and the Indian went into his; but our canoe made much water and we could not keep up with the others; we shortly after got the Indian back again. At twenty minutes after one we entered Lake LaClaie, now Lake Simcoe, so called in memory of Captain Simcoe of the R. N. At the entrance of the lake we saw two canoes, who upon seeing us paddled off to their village, which was upon a point about four miles off, to apprise them of the Governor's arrival. We paddled on towards the point and passed the village close in shore. The Indians who were by this time assembled, fired a feu de joie to compliment His Excellency, which we answered with three cheers, and then doubled the point, and put on shore in a small sandy bay to dine. Soon after our landing the Indians came in a body to wait on the Governor, to whom they presented a beaver blanket, which he declined taking then, but promised to take it upon his return from Matchetache Bay. They were all more or less drunk and made rather an unintelligible speech. They got liquor from four Canadians who had been sent from Matchetache Bay by[Pg 8] Cowan, an Indian trader, to buy corn. His Excellency was sorry that he could not see Keenees, the chief of the village, with whom he was acquainted, as he was dangerously ill. We left our smallest canoe here, and got one Indian in lieu of the two Indians belonging to the village, who preferred remaining to proceeding on the journey. After dinner we re-embarked, and the wind being fair, hoisted sail, and about dark put on shore and encamped in a cedar grove about six miles from the village.

30th.—Left our encampment about ten o'clock. Mr. Givens was taken into the Governor's canoe, and in his place one of the rangers put into mine. Sailed on with a strong breeze about six miles, and it blowing too fresh to cross Kempenfelt Bay, put in at Point Endeavour, where we remained till two o'clock, and dined. After dinner, the wind moderating a little, we again hoisted sail and crossed the bay, which is between seven and eight miles deep and four and five wide. We had scarcely got over when the wind blew hard ahead, and it beginning to rain we encamped in a pleasant spot on the side of the lake.

October 1st.—Embarked about eight o'clock, and having a contrary wind had to paddle against a head swell, which impeded our going much, and frequently dashed water into our canoes. Put in for a few minutes to take the bearings at a bluff point about six miles from our last encampment. This being accomplished we coasted close in shore for some time and, the wind abating, made for an island near the head of the lake, and landed there about two o'clock, and dined. This island, now Francis's Island is pleasantly situated, having a fine prospect of the lake. The Indians used to raise corn upon it, but have not for some time. It is quite covered with long grass. About two o'clock we embarked, and shortly after leaving the island entered a small straight, near the far extremity of which we saw two Indians in a canoe paddling across. So soon as the Indian in the Governor's canoe perceived them he gave the death hallow; the strange Indians made for land, and we, seeing the wigwam, followed. So soon as our Indian got near enough to be heard he made a melancholy detail of the number of deaths that had lately happened among the Lake Simcoe Indians, and closed his speech with saying "that the end of the world was at hand, Indians would be no more." An old Indian, owner of the wigwam, gave a similar unpleasant account of the great sickness in his neighbourhood also, and added that he expected his eldest son would soon change his climate, and that nothing but his being unwell prevented his going to his wintering ground. His Excellency made this family a small present, and we parted. Soon after leaving them, the wind turning fair, we hoisted sail. At this place the lake widens, and is interspersed with small islands, on some of which the Indians had planted corn, turnips and[Pg 9] squashes. About sunset got to the head of the lake, entered the river Matchetache, and encamped.

2nd.—Proceeded down the river, and in the space of two hours had to carry our canoes, &c., over two portages. A short distance below the first carrying place the Black River empties itself into the Matchetache, and changes the colour of that river from clear to a dusky brown, which it does not vary until it enters the bay of the same name, upon Lake Huron. Below the second carrying place the river widens, and at about a distance of six or seven miles from it we crossed a small lake about six miles in circumference. Put on shore and dined upon a point where we got various kinds of berries. Mr. Pilkington's canoe and mine being leaky were hauled out of the water and gummed well. After dinner pushed off, and about sunset came to a third carrying place, where, after hauling up our canoes, we encamped. This place is said to be much infested with rattlesnakes; it certainly has much the appearance of it, being almost a solid rock, with a few scrubby pines and oaks growing on it. John Vincall, of the rangers, cut one of his toes almost off here. To the left of the carrying place is a handsome fall, and below that an impetuous rapid.

3rd.—Had the canoes, &c., carried across early in the morning, and after breakfast proceeded down the river. Went through several rapids and crossed two more carrying places. At 2 o'clock arrived at, and had everything carried over a fifth portage. The scene of this place is pleasing and romantick; the portage is a solid, level rock with a few small pines and oak growing out of the rents. The falls rush, as may be easily conceived to be the case, from an immense body of water, having a great descent, and being condensed between two rocks, at not more than fifteen feet asunder. After dinner continued our journey, and soon after crossed a sixth portage. Shortly after re-embarking it began to rain, and we encamped upon a small island about two miles below the last mentioned carrying place.

4th.—Loaded our canoes early in the morning and embarked. The wind being fair, hoisted sail, and in about three or four hours arrived at a seventh and the last carrying place. Having crossed our canoes, &c., and again re-embarking, at 11 o'clock we entered Matchetache Bay. The Indians being apprised, by an express across the country from Oakland Point, of the Governor's being near at hand, were assembled upon a point a short distance from the last carrying place. Upon seeing them we made towards them. When we got within a few yards of the shore they complimented His Excellency with a feu de joie, which we answered with three cheers, and immediately landed. After all the Indians had shook hands with the Governor, the chief presented him with two dozen ducks. His Excellency thanked him, and told him he would be happy to see him and his band[Pg 10] in the evening at Mr. Cowan's, on the opposite side of the bay. Re-embarked, and sailed across in little more than an hour; it blew so fresh before we arrived that we were obliged to lower our sails. Upon landing, unloaded and hauled up our canoes, encamped in the woods a small distance from the lake, and about half a mile from Mr. Cowan's house, or rather fort, for it is a square stockade; his house is in one, his store opposite to it in another, an out-house for potatoes, corn, &c., in a third, and the gate in the fourth. He does not allow the Indians to get drunk within the garrison. Soon after we had encamped the Indians arrived, and the Governor made each of them a present of tobacco. About eight o'clock, Mr. Cowan, who had been out hunting all day, returned. He sent His Excellency some ducks, and shortly afterwards came to pay his respects. Mr. Cowan is a decent, respectable looking man, and much liked by the Indians. He was taken prisoner by the French at Fort Pitt, during the war of '58 and '59, when a boy. He has adopted all the customs and manners of the Canadians, and speaks much better French than English. He has been settled at Matchetache upwards of fifteen years without once going to Lower Canada. He makes an annual trip to Michillimackinac to meet his supplies there and forward his furs to Montreal. He has in general six Canadians engaged with him, and is well known to that class of people by the name of Constant.

5th.—Mr. Cowan having been desired by the Governor the preceding evening to attend next morning to interpret, arrived after we had breakfasted, and the Indians being met, addressed His Excellency in the usual manner: "They were happy to see him in good health and thanked him for taking the trouble of visiting them in their own country, &c." The Governor replied that he would always be glad to hear of the prosperity of the Indians, and entreated them to attend to their hunts, and told them that he wished for nothing more than seeing them and his children, the whites, live in harmony together, and mutually assist each other. He promised them a keg of rum which should be delivered to them the day of his departure from the bay, and told the chief he would send him from York a silver medal and a flag, the usual badges of distinction which this chief had not as yet received. They then shook hands and went off well satisfied. I must here observe that the Lake Simcoe Indians were much mortified at the Governor not taking the beaver blanket when offered to him. This they communicated to the Matchetache Indians by the express which went overland; and they simply replied that their father did right not to take it, that they should have made his bed upon his arrival at York (as they did, and not waited for his arrival in their village). The Matchetache Indians had made his bed at York by presenting a beaver blanket.[Pg 11] Soon after the departure of the Indians, His Excellency, Mr. Cowan, and the gentlemen of his party embarked in one of Cowan's large canoes, worked by five Canadians, (leaving the rangers, &c., at the encampment) intending to visit Penetanguashin, a place supposed to be a good harbour for vessels. The wind blew so fresh that we could not effect our purpose, especially as we had a wide traverse to make. We, however, landed upon an island called by Mr. Cowan, "Place la Traverse." We got to a point opposite to it, and had an ample view of it, and from its appearance and the account Mr. Cowan gave of the depth of water, I believe His Excellency was satisfied with its sufficiency for the reception of vessels of eighty or ninety tons. To judge from the wood, the land about it seemed to be very good. It lays about six miles within Matchetache Bay, and nearly nine miles from Mr. Cowans'. We walked a mile and a half or two miles further, and had a fine view of Lake Huron, then returned to the canoe and dined. After dinner re-embarked, the wind being fair, hoisted sail and arrived at our encampment about an hour after sunset.

6th.—Between nine and ten o'clock left our encampment, launched our canoes, and set off on our return home. Put in at the point where we had met the Indians on the morning of the 4th instant, and His Excellency gave them the keg of rum agreeable to his promise. After some little ceremony on their part in wishing us favorable weather and a clear day, &c., we pushed off from shore, upon which they saluted as they did the day we arrived in the bay, and we answered as before with three cheers. Paddled on and soon arrived at the carrying place; brought everything across and without halting pursued our journey, went about five or six miles further on, and landed upon an island. One of our Indians getting sick, Mr. Givens, with a white man and the other two Indians, returned to the point to bring back the sick man and get another in his place; but before they got down, the Indians on the point had paid their devoirs so very attentively to the rum keg that they had not the use of their limbs or reason. Finding that none would come with him, and expostulation being vain, he put the sick man on shore, pushed off, and joined us in the evening. Finding it too late to proceed after Mr. Givens' return we encamped where we were.

7th.—Got everything on board before sunrise. In consequence of our losing an Indian the preceding day, the one that was in my canoe was removed to the Governor's, and one of the rangers sent in to mine in lieu. Paddled up the river and got over two carrying places, upon the second of which we breakfasted, the same on which we dined on the 3rd. After breakfast His Excellency and the gentlemen of the party crossed to the opposite side of the river to view a fall which could not he seen from that we were upon. Having satisfied our curiosity we recrossed, embarked[Pg 12] into our different canoes, and pushed off. Crossed two more carrying places, upon the second of which we encamped about sunset, the one upon which we slept the night of the 2nd.

8th.—Some of the canoes being leaky were here gummed, after which we got on board, paddled pretty hard, crowed the two remaining carrying places, and half an hour before sunset got to the head of the lake, and encamped on the spot we had occupied on the 1st.

9th—Embarked after breakfast, and having paddled against a head wind and swell arrived at Francis' Island at twelve o'clock. His Excellency did intend going from this island round the opposite side of the lake to what we had come, but finding only four days' provisions remaining, and not knowing what time it would take us by so doing, he judged it more expedient to return by the way we had come; therefore, after dinner got en board, crossed to the main land and before sunset encamped where we had slept on the 30th of September.

10th.—Got into our canoes before sunrise, being fearful that we would have the wind ahead and wishing to cross Kempenfelt Bay before it blew too hard. Our apprehensions were confirmed. The wind began to rise, but we luckily got over the bay before the lake was too rough. Put on shore and breakfasted at Endeavour Point. Re-embarked and coasted along shore. At one o'clock put in, and dined about two miles' distance from the village. Having dined and got on board we paddled on and soon came abreast of the village. The Indians fired a feu de joie, and we gave three cheers. Got round the point, put on shore in a small bay, hauled our canoes on shore and encamped in the rear of the village. While we were making up the fires and preparing everything for the night, His Excellency humanely went to pay a visit to Keenees, the chief, who, as I have already mentioned, was dangerously ill when we passed on our way to Matchetache Bay, but on his getting to his wigwam he was informed that he had been dead for some days. A man possessed of less sensibility and feelings than the Governor would have been shocked on this occasion, but his were plainly painted on his countenance upon his return to camp. About six o'clock a number of squaws came to visit the Governor. Two of them carried the images of their deceased husbands, dolls about two feet long decorated with silver broaches, feathers, paint, &c., if a chief, as was the case with one of these (Keenees), his medal is hung to his neck, the face painted black. His Excellency gave them some knives and looking-glasses, and shortly after they retired. At 8 o'clock the Indians came in a body, and being seated around the fire each got a dram and a piece of tobacco, after which the chief got up, thanked their Great Father, and presented him with the beaver blanket, which he spread under him. He[Pg 13] then said: "You white men pray; we poor Indians do not know what it is, but we hope you will entreat the Great Spirit to remove the sickness from amongst us." To which the Governor replied that they should certainly be remembered in the prayers of the whites. He then ordered them a keg of rum, and they went away perfectly happy, and highly pleased that the blanket was accepted, and that they had made their Father's bed.

11th—About 9 o'clock left our encampment, embarked, and soon got out of the lake, paddled up the river about three miles, and then got into another river, and about two o'clock got to the landing place at the red pine fort. His Excellency finding that John Vincall, the man who cut his toe on the 2nd, could not walk, desired Mr. Givens, his servant, and me to remain with him, and that upon his arrival at York he would send a horse to meet us at the old carrying place, for the man to ride; therefore after dividing our little stock of provision and dining together we parted; the Governor and the rest of the party going to York by a new route, Givens, McEwen, Vincall, and myself remaining. It beginning to rain we encamped there that night.

12th—Got into our canoe before sunrise, paddled down the river till between 8 and 9 o'clock, then put on shore to eat breakfast, which having done, re-embarked and made the best of our way to the place where we had encamped on the night of the 28th of September, which we reached about sunset. Saw many ducks, but so wild that we could not get within shot of them; killed only one mud hen.

13th—Mr. Givens and his servant went out very early in the morning to hunt ducks. Vincall and I remained behind to pound and boil Indian corn for our breakfast. They returned about two o'clock with two ducks only. About half an hour before sunset Mr. Givens and I went up the river to got some birch bark to make torches with to spear fish. On our way up fired repeatedly at ducks without any success; killed one but could not find it. Having put on shore about two miles up the river and got a sufficiency of bark returned to our encampment at 8 o'clock.

14th—Got up at day break, and while preparing to go to hunt found that we had but two quarts of corn, and a small piece of pork remaining. Mr. Givens and I therefore resolved to go back to the Indian village, to get some supplies. After eating about a pint of corn and a small piece of pork embarked into our canoe, and shortly after leaving camp, the wind being fair, hoisted sail. We were very soon after forced to lower it, as it blew too fresh; cut off about two feet of the mast, reefed the sail, and hoisted it again. We shortly after met the Great Tail and his family in two canoes[Pg 14] going to their wintering ground. We gave him some powder and shot; he gave us two ducks, and promised to take care of our men until we returned. Sailed on, and near the entrance of the lake we met two canoes with two Indians in each. Got eight ducks from them for powder, shot, and a looking glass. Hauled the canoe on shore, made a fire, and gum'd her. Having made her as tight as we could, we again pushed off, hoisted sail and, passing the village, landed in the bay where we dined on the 29th September. Hauled the canoe on shore, turned her upside down, and made a fire. It being late when we arrived we had not time to get much wood, had scarcely sufficient to broil two ducks for supper. It beginning to rain, and the wind shifting suddenly about, we were forced to carry our canoe, &c., to the opposite side of the fire, and turned our backs to the lake. Crept under the canoe, and passed a very uncomfortable night.

15th.—Early in the morning three squaws came down to gum our canoe, and the Indians bartered as much corn with us as we wanted. It blew so hard that we could not possibly set out on our return, and it being too cold to remain on the beach went further into the woods to encamp. We lamented much not being able to return to our men, the more so as they had but a scanty allowance of provisions when we left them, although we took none from them. About two o'clock we broiled a couple of ducks, and breakfasted. Shortly after two squaws came down to our fire with more corn to sell. We told them we had enough to bring us home and wanted no more, that we were chiefs, not traders. We gave them a few broaches and some ribbon, and desired hem to carry their corn home. In the evening two more came on a similar errand, and we made the same reply as to the former two. They brought us a sufficiency of firewood, for which we gave each a ribbon. They then left us, and we had no more offers of corn to barter. Being sleepy we went early to bed, but were both too unwell to get any rest.

16th.—Got up at daylight, tho' still very sick, but, seeing the necessity of returning to our men, launched our canoe, put everything on board, and pushed off to go to Mr. Cuthbertson's (an Indian trader), on the opposite side of the lake. Putting the canoe in the water was a disagreeable task, as it had frozen hard the night before and was then so cold that the water froze upon our paddles. About half way over to the trader's Mr. Givens got so very sick that he could not paddle, and as I was also unwell and not able to work now, we were a considerable time in getting across. Upon our arrival Mr. Cuthbertson received us very hospitably. He gave us chocolate for breakfast which revived us. Finding that in our then situation we could not bring the canoe up by ourselves we hired an Indian, and Mr. Cuthbertson let us have one of his men to help us. Having got a[Pg 15] gallon of spirits from him we started. Soon after embarking we found the canoe still leaked, therefore put on shore at the Indian village, hauled her up and gummed her. We saw there only one old squaw and a boy, all the rest having gone off that morning to their wintering ground, and they were soon to follow. At 12 o'clock left the village. When we came to the forks of the river we saw an eagle sitting on a muskrat house. The Indian in the bow fired, but in vain, being only loaded with duck shot. At eight o'clock we reached our encampment, and tho' we were apprehensive that our men had suffered during our absence we found upon enquiry that they had fared much better than we had, the Great Tail having supplied them with duck and Indian corn.

17th.—A little after sunrise Mr. Cuthbertson's man and the Indian parted with us. We gave them our canoe to bring them back. Soon after the Great Tail (who had encamped on the opposite side of the river) paid us a visit, and brought us four duck. We thanked him for the care he had taken of the men in our absence, and told him that it would please their and our father at York, as he wished for nothing more than such mutual good offices between the Whites and Indians. This being the sixth day since we parted with the Governor, and the day by him appointed for our crossing to the beginning of the portage, we provided corn for two days, borrowed a canoe from the Great Tail, and embarked. We soon reached the stage which we had erected on the 28th, and in two trips carried everything up to our old encampment. When we returned to the stage the second time we there met two of the Great Tail's sons, who came to bring three more duck and bring back the canoe we had borrowed. We gave the boys a few yards of ribbon each, and had given their father at parting in the morning all the powder and shot that we could spare. They were satisfied and we were pleased. Soon after encamping and putting on the fire a kettle full of Indian corn and a few ducks for our supper, Sergeant Mailey and another man of the Rangers, guided by one of the three Indians who went with His Excellency (the other two remained behind them a short distance) arrived from York with a horse for the lame man. The Governor was pleased to send us by them brandy, wine, tea, sugar, pork, and bread. We made a hearty supper, and concluding the evening with a can of grog to his health, went to bed.

18th.—The horse being missed two of the men were sent in search of him, but returned unsuccessful. The Indian was then sent and in a very short time found him. Packed everything up; made our packs, and when ready to start the two remaining Indians arrived. Parted with them at eleven o'clock and marched on. At four o'clock arrived at[Pg 16] the Humber, crossed it and encamped, the horse being too much fatigued to proceed, having had a forced march the preceding day.

19th.—Tho' it rained all the night before, set out at daylight. At 12 o'clock halted at the creek where we met the trader's tent on the 26th, and breakfasted. At one o'clock continued our journey and at three came to the spot where we had encamped on the 25th, stopped for about a quarter of an hour, then pushed on and arrived at St. John's a little past four in the evening, and slept there that night.

20th.—Left St. John's after breakfast, and arrived at the camp at York at ten o'clock, having been absent 27 days, without any accident happening, excepting Vincall cutting his toe.

Transcriber's Note:

Minor corrections in punctuation have been made without comment.

1. Corrected typo in lead-in inscription: changed 'form' to 'from'

2. page 9—corrected typo 'waht' to 'what' in phrase '...Indians do not know waht...'

3. page 10—added right bracket after phrase '(...as they did, and not waited for his arrival in their village.'

[End of Diary of Gov. Simcoe's Journey from Humber Bay to Matchetache Bay, 1793 by Alexander Macdonell]