Adeline’s War of 1812 Journal
©2012 Mollie Pearce McKibbon
A fictional account of a young woman’s experiences living in Upper Canada during the years of the war 1812 – 1815.
Antique Settle or Settee
Sunday, February 12, 1815
It has been so long since I have received a letter from you. I wonder how you are faring with your little family. My two boys are growing stronger every day. Charlie is beginning to creep around after Andrew. It is amusing to watch them chatter away in their own little baby language. Somehow they seem to know what they are each saying. Vickie is a great playmate for them. She is a very welcome visitor when Elizabeth and William stop by which they do every Sunday as Father and Mother enjoy having their grandchildren all together.
Capt. Houghton is a much less welcome visitor. Evidently, he has taken to Evvy and has spoken to Father about officially courting her now that she has turned seventeen. Father said that he would take his request in consideration, but he is reluctant, especially knowing the poor opinion that Charles’ father seems to have of our family. Evvy is curious, but wary. She wonders, as I do, just what truly motivated Capt. Houghton’s request.
Meanwhile, poor Hector is besotted with Evvy and continues to drag our kind neighbour, Robert along with him whenever he visits. Robert spends the visits either conversing with Father and Henry, or amusing Charlie and Andrew. I do think he is rather fond of my boys and I must say it warms my heart to see them being cuddled by a good friend. Robert has been so helpful and solicitous.
Sadly, we do not know the fate of little Adam’s father, Arthur, Robert’s younger brother, who went with the army into America to fight.
Monday, February 20, 1815
I haven’t had an opportunity to add to my journal of late, because of all of the visitors we have had. Now that my sister is seventeen, all the eligible men have been paying her court. I really am not surprised as my sister is quite a lovely person, inside and out. She is a wonderful prospect for a bride anywhere, here or over in England, being so well schooled in the domestic arts. She is an accomplished cook , an excellent seamstress and very pretty with her silky blond curls and sparking blue eyes. She can sing like a lark and carry on a knowledgeable conversation, although she admits that she would not even be a consideration for such a class-minded family as the Houghtons were she still in our dear old land. However, neither would I. No doubt, Charles and I would never have met.
Here marriage arrangements are not based so much on class as on propinquity. Neighbours tend to marry neighbours, although, it might be argued that the attainment of property might yet be a factor. Thankfully, our parents are more concerned with the heart than the purse or land.
Mother and Father have been gently nudging me towards considering a prospective father for Charlie and Andrew, but until I am sure that Bourke is truly tried and convicted I cannot possibly entertain thoughts about such a serious matter. I am much relieved that no one has yet shown an inclination to court me.
Sunday, March 5, 1815,
Oh, how you would have smiled at the goings-on today! Two of my sister’s wooers arrived on our doorstep together. Hector Hamish Hamilton, he of the red mustache, and Captain Everett Houghton of the Houghtons of Buckinghamshire both came courting on the same Sunday. Both men bore the same news – that officially the war between our territories and the Americas is over for which we are all most grateful. The American government ratified the Treaty of Ghent on February 14th and all fighting has ceased.
Soldiers have been returning to Fort Wellington in dribs and drabs. Still, we have no news of Robert’s brother, Arthur. He was in the thick of the Battle of New Orleans and disappeared just before it was finished. From all accounts, according to Hector, the fighting was fierce. It was hard to get all the pertinent details as Hector and Everett both tried to interject them into each other’s narration. I find it hard to concentrate when Hector is talking because his hands wave so wildly and his mustache moves up and down. I am too enthralled with wondering which will happen first – his knocking over a cup or hitting someone with his arm.
Charles’ brother reminded me that his sister will be leaving England soon on a voyage to meet her nephews and , in his words, “take them to meet their Houghton grandpapa”. I suppose my visage must have shown my displeasure, because Father immediately said, “It is good of your sister to come, but of course my grandsons are much too young to travel and my daughter is not going to leave the comfort of her family so soon after becoming a widow.” Whereupon, Robert, bless him, changed the subject.
If you could have but seen Hector and Capt. Houghton falling all over themselves to sit near dear Evvy. It was very comical. Finally, Father invited the three men out to look at a new implement he has purchased from the ironmonger in Johnstown and Evvy breathed a sigh of relief. Having so many people crowded into our small “parlour” is a challenge to comfort. Thank goodness for the two fine maple settles Father and William had made. Mother and I were hard pressed to keep everyone supplied with tea and scones. Eventually the three visitors left and we were able to set the table for our supper.