Newfoundland to Wisconsin

Generously Contributed by Judy Balen.
Did any of your relatives come to Waukesha County from NewFoundland?

Newfoundland to Wisconsin

Letters to Weekly Herald and Conception Bay Advertiser (Harbour Grace)

Owner and editor, William Charles St. John, son of Oliver St.John and Charlotte (Garland)(Pike)

Ann (Kearney) Pynn and Wm Charles St.John were 1st cousins as

Ann's mother, Ann (Garland)(Heffernan) Kearney and Charlotte were sisters.

This is a word by word account as it appeared in the newspaper.

First comment from editor… Jan 24, 1849

"From the very flattering accounts received from sundry parties who lately emigrated from this country to Wisconsin, in the United States of America. Numbers of persons … families as well as single men are preparing to take their departure from this neighborhood early in the spring. Some of these are owners of considerable plantations and tracts of land, and many of them we know to be in very fair circumstances.

Since the failure of the potato, they consider it a hopeless task to contend any longer with the arid soil of this country, while land requiring no manure and admirably situated for agricultural purposes is within so trifling a distance. We believe they are more than half-right. Yet if we are to go on in this way, year after year, losing the cream of our population... the hearty and the energetic... while nothing remains behind but the poor, the lame, and the lazy, what in the long run will become of the Colony? In the long run did we say? No, but what will become of it within a very brief period? We have no objections to emigration provided the tide is composed of persons of a very different standing; but these will never start, and those will….. So what shall be the end of it?"

*Note by JB. Wm. Charles St.John and family, joined the tide and moved to Boston within the next 5yrs.

Emigration … June 6, 1849 Commentary by Wm Charles St.John

"The "Glide", Capt. E. Pike, with 49 passengers, left this port yesterday for New York. As this was the first instance of an emigrant ship leaving the shores of Conception Bay, no little interest was taken in the circumstance by all classes of the community; and one could not witness the deep emotions consequent upon the separation of friend from friend, and the rupture of family ties and old associations without being impressed with the conviction that there is a bitterness in expatriation which none can know but those who have actually experienced it … We regret to say that the "Glide" carries with her some our staunchest and most industrious citizens … more than one whole family that have borne among us an honest repute, and who, we feel assured, will take with them the fond wishes and earnest prayers of those whom they have left behind. We sincerely hope that the flattering accounts which they have received from Wisconsin and the other parts of the United States where they intend to take up their future abode, will be more than realized. The following is a list of the principal passengers.

John Hayward Esq and family Mr. Edward Pynn and family Mr. M. Brine and family Mr. J. Bealy and family Mr. Daily and family Messrs - Bully, Cull, Taylor, Keef, Murphy, Miss Lucinda Pike, Master C. Pike and a few others.

*Note by JB. Capt E. Pike is a Pynn and St. John relative (not sure of connection) Miss Lucinda and Master C. Pike were the Capt's children. They just went for the ride.

July 11, 1849 Ship's News The "Glide", Capt E. Pike, which vessel left this last month with emigrants for New York arrived at her port of destination after a favourable passage. Such of the passengers as intended to proceed to Wisconsin went on immediately.

July 25, 1849 Ship's News Passengers in the "Glide" arriving from New York. Messrs Cull, Taylor, Power. Miss Lucinda Pike, Master C. Pike.

Sept. 5, 1849 ….. The following extracts from a letter just received from Mr. Edward Pynn, who it will be remembered left this town with his family as emigrants in the "Glide" for the United States, in June last, will be perused with interest by many of our readers. The letter is dated from Hartland Village, Waukesha County, Wisconsin, July 29, 1849

"I wrote you on my way from New York to Albany, which letter I hope you received. We took a linesboat at Albany which brought us to Buffalo in 7 days … a tedious passage, but very pleasant. The beautiful farms and building all through the country for three hundred and sixty odd miles are far beyond anything you can conceive of. The great works of nature with those which the art of man has brought to perfection surprise the traveler at every turn. The number of locks, the embankments, and arches are truly wonderful. There are some embankments thrown up to the height of three hundred feet, all done by the hand of man. The boats may be seen floating on the top, while the running water, with the steam carriages and other vehicles pass beneath, at a depth that makes the head dizzy to look down upon. There is a place called Lock-port where they have cut through a high cliff of solid rock, several yards deep, and then constructed five locks, all connected together so as to raise the water a height of 70 feet before coming to a level; the whole distance from the bottom to the level above is not more than 150 yards in length. There are also some splendid manufacturing towns and villages on the way up; some noble stone buildings or groups of buildings at every mile or so from Albany to Buffalo.

On our arrival at Buffalo we found the Cholera very prevalent, which gave us but very little time to look about, and we took the first steamer starting for Milwaukee. We thought to get a boat for Washington, but on inquiry we found that there was no boat running thither, that being a place hardly known, or thought but little about, of inconsiderable trade, and where no American would go or settle if he got the land for nothing. The Americans say that it would require a man to go in his youth to Washington if he wanted to raise a farm for his children. The land is good, but the immense labour of cutting the timber and stumping frightens them away. I was assured also that a man settled in this part of the country (where I am) can pay for his farm, and the overplus would, in 5yrs, buy a Washington farmer out and out; so great is the difference of labour between the two places. This part of the country is what is called "oak openings". You can plow in between the trees without cutting one down, the trees being about as distant from each other as you would find them in a well-planted orchard. I have purchased a farm of 194 acres with about 25 acres under crop. I have five acres of wheat in the bargain. There are about 120 acres well fenced and cross fenced into lots of from 20 to 40 acres. My farm is situate on the north side of Pewaukee Lake - a beautiful sheet of water, 5 miles long by 3/4ths of a mile wide, with clear pure water, abundance of fowl of all kinds, and the first fishing lake in the whole country, abounding in many kinds of the very best sorts of fish. My land runs down to the lake, it's margin is my south boundary. I occupy ½ mile of the lake. The farm is ½ mile E. and W., and ¾ mile N. and S. I have also a "frame" house on the farm, in the bargain, adjoining the lake. It is a good summer house, but I fancy, if left in its present state, would be cold enough in winter. I have paid 550 dollars to the owner, and I have to pay to government in September 200 dollars more, making in all 750 dollars. I am 1 ½ miles from Hartland. There are two flour mills, and everything that you may require; black-smiths and trades people of all descriptions. I am within 3 miles of Pewaukee Village by land and 2 miles by water, where there also are a fine flour-mill, trading stores, trades of all kinds, as well as a good lime-kiln, and everything else required for convenience. There is a saw mill too, and a medical gentleman of the name of Currrie, who bears an excellent character both professionally and otherwise. He is a Scotsman by birth. Another doctor resides in Hartland. This place is growing rapidly and in short will be very populous. It is 21 miles from Milwaukee - west.

I have already bought 2 cows and a calf and will have to purchase immediately 2 oxen to plow in wheat this fall. I can cut hay enough for 50 head on my own farm. I have cut down 10 acres of wheat for the cattle, that was infested with weeds.

Persons who come to this country ought to possess a good nerve. A man is treated here according to what he deserves. Very little homage is paid to mere "gentlemen" in this place; but if a settler appears disposed to "work" he is respected and assisted. My neighbours are mostly all Englishmen."

Sept. 26, 1849 … Commentary form editor (remember, he's family!) & Letter from Edward Pynn #2

We give today an extract from another letter received per last mail from Mr. Edward Pynn. Like its precursor, it embraces a variety of particulars full of interest to those who intend emigrating, as well as to those (and they are not a few) who feel grateful at the prosperity which to all appearance awaits the intelligent writer and his industrious and deserving family. It will be seen that Mr. Pynn refers to the dire disease which for sometime past has been slaying its thousands and tens of thousands in various parts of the earth, and that he has to express his thankfulness to God for his preservation hitherto, although he had to pass through several localities where it was awfully prevalent. We should have rejoiced if all who left this bay for the same destination, about the same time with Mr. Pynn, had been equally fortunate, but we were grieved to learn that many of our Carbonear friends have fallen victim to the destroyer; ere reaching the termination of their intended journey. It will be our painful duty next week to lay before out readers some further particulars relative to those melancholy events.

*JB note. The next week's newspaper, was not found on microfilm.

Sept. 26, 1849 .. Pynn's letters from Wisconsin #2

Hartland Village, Wisconsin, 14th August 1849

My Dear Sir, How glad I should be if you were only here for a few days to behold the scenery of this place; to hear the mingled sounds of beasts, birds, and insects as they join in one wide chorus to welcome in the day, or bid "good evening" to the setting sun. In fact all day long and I may say all night long, too our ears are saluted with the cries of animals. The nighthawk, the whipoor-will, the dove the frog and a number of others continue their notes from dusk till dawning. I believe we have all kinds of beasts, all kinds of birds, and if possible, more than all kinds of insects. I have noticed two species of hummingbird. The smallest of them about the size of a large bee. We have also the locust and web-grub, but not very plentiful at present, though I am rather apprehensive that the latter will by and by be more abundant than I could wish.

I believe I wrote you the particulars about the piece of land that I purchased, and on looking round and viewing everything connected with the farm, I think I have done well. I have an immense tract of land, and my neighbours, the Messrs. Taylor (natives of England), who have resided in this country about six years, assure me that I have as good and as productive a piece of wheatland as there is to be found in all Wisconsin. Besides this I have reson to believe it to be as healthy a place as I could have made choice of. We have a stream of pure water running down near the house, as good as can be drunk, and our cattle have recourse to this rivulet as well as to the lake. I have bought 3 cows and 2 oxen, and a new wagon, the latter I could not do without to get in my wheat and hay. I have also made a purchase of a steel plough and several other necessary implements, so that I am now quite to rights, as soon as I have housed my wheat and hay, to commence plowing, and putting in winter wheat for the next year. I have bought a lot of spring wheat on the land, all which I have harvested.

Cattle are very high this season. A pair of working oxen are worth about 60 dallars; cows from 12 to 10 dollars; a good span of horses 160 dollars. I am told that the reason of their being so high this season is the fact of so many persons having gone overland to California last spring, in consequence of which upwards of 500 head were bought up by those gold-seeking emigrants. The oxen will travel with heavy loads about 20 miles per day on an average. A great number of cattle have been slaughtered for athe Californian market, and the best horses in the southern states were all bought up during the war; besides which this part of the country is peopling down so fast that the other states cannot possibly supply it with those indespensible animals. Not withstanding the high price of the above descriptions of live stock, there are others which are comparatively cheap. You can buy a calf, of from six to eight weeks old, for one dollar to 7s6d; sheep 7s; veal 1 ½ cent per pound, mutton the same price, pork(fresh), the same, salt pork from 8 to 11 dollars per barrel; flour from 16 shillings to 4 ½ dollars per barrel, wheat 65 cents per bushel, butter from 8 to 10 cents per pound.

Hazel nuts are here in abundance, I could gather thousands of bushels near my own door; hickory nuts, wild grapes, apples, cherries, goose berries, currants are equally plentiful. As for flowers, they are innumerable.

We have cause to be thankful to the Almighty for our preservation from Cholera. It prevailed in many places through wich we had to pass, and at one time, came to within six miles of our own locality. It is now fast dissappearing. Most people coming here first have an attack of ague or diarrhea, but, neither of these has yet made its appearance in our family, though one or two of the children are complaining of sore throats.

Jan 9, 1850 Commentary from editor

Our late worthy townsman, Mr. Hayward, has favoured us, through our mutual friend, Robert Pack Esq of Carbonear, with a somewhat lengthy epistle, which we have given elsewhere, containing some interesting particulars relative to his journey through the States, and his final settlement in Washington County, Wisconsin. He seems rather to commiserate Mr. Pynn upon the locality which he has chosen for his future residence; but as Mr. Pynn appears delighted with his bargain, and indulges (in some of his private correspondence) in the very same kind of sympathy for Mr. Hayward - we mean in reference to the situation of his farm - there is every reason to believe that BOTH are well satisfied.

Jan 9, 1850 … Letter from John Hayward Correspondence - (to the editor of the Herald)

Sir, Many of the inhabitants of Conception Bay who have thought about emigrating to this country will, I have no doubt, be anxious to hear from those who have come before them; and from this impression I deem it my duty to fulfill a promise made to many of them, of giving them the best account that I can of this State through the columns of your journal, and of the best and least expensive way of traveling hither. Persons coming here will be beset by others in New York, all soliciting their patronage for their boats, and offering them passage to Wisconsin for 7 or 8 dollars each; but those who deal with them, if not grossly taken in, will be deceived, and will never have their expectations answered. They must have nothing whatever to do with them, but pay their way as they go, and make the best bargain they can at each place. From New York to Albany in a splendid steamer, 148 miles, the highest charge 1s3d per head: nothing for children. On the canal from Albany to Buffalo, 360 miles, 1 to 2 dollars; and from Buffalo to Wisconsin, 925 miles in a first class steamer, 2 dollars. This is about the cost, and board yourself. The first of these journeys will be about 10 hours; the second a week, and the third about 74 hours; besides calling at a number of ports. Probably if I give an account of my own actings and doings, it will be the best course I can take to enlighten my friends upon the subject of which I am now treating. Several persons who came from your towns took passage in the same boats with me, and we were considerably alarmed in consequence of the cholera raging in every direction. We wished to come direct to Port Washington, but when we arrived in Buffalo we found that all the boats had sailed for there that were to sail that day. The next boats would sail the following day, but we would not remain a moment there as the cholera was raging, and therefore took a boat for Milwaukee, just going to sail. When we arrived we found that the cholera was there also. We were puzzled to know what to do; we thought of taking the steamer from thence to Port Washington but were too late for that day. Not wishing to remain a moment we started in wagons for the country, not knowing where we were going, except that we were flying from disease. We at last arrived at a town called Hartland, in Waukesha County, about 22miles inland, and having procured a comfortable boarding house for my family we were, from the kindness and attention of our host and hostess, for the first time since leaving home comparatively happy. Several of the other persons who left your towns with me put up near the same place. I used to meet them nearly every day, and with very little exception, they were all wishing themselves back again, and indeed, I was amongst the number. I could see nothing like what I anticipated, and would sacrifice all rather than remain there. The land poor and the wheat giving but from 12 to 15 bushels per acre. No trees to be seen but stunted oak and the space between covered with underwood We were beset by persons anxious to sell their farms and indeed, so constant were their applications that I used to say "There must certainly be something wrong here when everyone wants to sell." The fever and ague was very common there, in fact, you could not escape it; numbers were suffering from it, but yet I was determined not to leave without convincing myself and traveled many miles for that purpose. I was shone all the farms about that county, but saw none that would pay a man interest for his money and could not be persuaded to live in such a place. I found too, that nearly all from Conception Bay were of the same mind. Mr. Pynn however, being tired of traveling with a large family had to purchase there, which I was sorry that he or any other Newfoundlander should do without traveling farther, yet with his extensive help he may, and I trust, will get on.

I decided if this place were a specimen of Wisconsin that I would return home again as soon as I could do so with safety, but decided also making a tour into other counties. Some who read this may think it strange that I should say so much about this part of Wisconsin, but I do so as I have been informed that many from your towns who were fellow passengers with myself have returned disgusted with it; and I wish by these remarks to point out the reason why they did not, I believe, travel to any other county but the one of which I have spoken. Had they traveled a few miles east and once got from the stunted oaks and dry, gravelly, unproductive soil of Waukesha which requires from 2 to 6 yoke of oxen to get a plough through it, into this or any other farming county where they could raise a crop and where the beautiful scenery would enliven them after the tediousness of a voyage. The same change would probably have been wrought in them as in myself who have decided on remaining where I am, and if I should not remain here forever, at least give it a good trial. I need no stronger evidence to strengthen this statement than the fact that all the Conception Bay people who came here the past two summers are settled in the same County with myself and within a few miles, and that none have returned, bit I believe that all are well pleased. Whereas all those (with but one exception) who saw no other county but Waukesha got disgusted and returned home.

After minutely surveying Waukesha County, I started for Washington County, and fortunate that I did, for here I saw a prospect of farming. I traveled about 25 miles to this place where I met persons who had lately come from Conception Bay. I was remarkably well pleased with this part of Wisconsin, so much so, that I was here but a few days when I purchased 80 acres of beautiful level land, which cost me 332 dollars, and altho' I have only been here four months I have now eleven acres cleared and part under crop, and have it stocked with cattle, pigs and nearly everything necessary for a farm, besides having erected a comfortable house &c., all of which (independent of my house expenses) only cost me 600 dollars. I can safely say that this is the best part of Wisconsin to settle it. The timber is thick and high showing a good soil, and there is no wnderwood. As soon as it is cut down you have a farm a once, and if one does not think proper to cut it himself he can get it chopped for 5 dollars an acre. Here you have always plenty of fuel, and timber for the saw mill and what I consider a great advantage in a family, you can make as much sugar as you please from your maple trees which are not known in Waukesha.

Any person coming here need not be at a loss for land; they can purchase plenty, nor need they be many hundred yards from their Newfoundland friends as they are all centered here: neither need they be afraid of fever and ague as this disease is not known here. Farmers here all have their 5 or 6 cows which give them plenty milk and butter to dispose of, 40 or 50 pigs which cost nothing except the raising a stock of pumpkins amongst their Indian corn which cost them no labour. They have their stock growing up to kill or sell. They make their own sugar and vinegar from the maple trees on their own land, and on their farms they raise plenty flour for consumption, and for sale, besides all sorts of vegetables and all delicacies in the shape of melons, cucumbers &c, and all with little trouble. I speak in praise of this part of Wisconsin. The weather is beautiful and has been since my arrival here without a days exception. If all turn out according to my expectations I shall not repent of my coming here, at present we all enjoy ourselves much. A man who has a few hundred pounds to spare can readily procure 12p cent and over, and need not work much on his farm as he can procure plenty labour. I would scarcely advise a Newfoundlander to come here with less than L300, and then he must expect to have plenty healthy work. Any one who has this amount and over, and cannot live there, will do well to come here, but I don't know that I could take the responsibility upon myself of advising anyone to leave except he finds that he is likely to lose his capital or cannot live in Newfoundland. At the same time I think that a person who would take a pleasure in farming and had fair means would live happily and well support his family here. I am, Sir, Yours faithfully, John Hayward. Washington County, Wisconsin November 27, 1849

P.S. I don't know of any tradesman except a Blacksmith, that is lacking here … and a good one would , I have no doubt, do well just about the place where I live. There isn't one within 7 miles.