In when Elizabeth turned fifteen years old, she met a handsome commanding officer twice her age. In John Grave Simcoe's case, John's parents were close friends. Over time and daily interaction in residence, both John and Elizabeth quickly fell in love to the delight of Margaret and Admiral Graves. The two remained in contact and by September , John and Elizabeth became engaged. On December 30, they were married. In the same year, her husband accepted an assignment to travel to Upper Canada as the new Lieutenant Governor.
Ensuring that her children were cared for, her children either remained at Wolford Lodge and stayed with other family or they came along with her. Elizabeth Simcoe began painting Canadian landscapes and waterways. She captured the Magdalene Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on her journey to Quebec City. When the couple arrived in Quebec on November 11th of , Elizabeth sketched her first sleigh ride which she expressed as quite 'jolty' and the journey as very cold.
As the Simcoes settled in Quebec, on December 26th, The Constitutional Act of came into being and was the first step in amalgamating the land for this new country. On June 5, , the Simcoes continued on their journey through Upper Canada in Ottawa and stayed at the Chateau de Ramezay which could be one of the oldest buildings in Canada.
The thermometer continued at 96 for two days, and the heat was not ill-described by a sentinel who exclaimed, "There is but a sheet of brown paper between this place and hell. By these circumstances, I believe, the heat is increased.
The Government House is built on arches, under which are very large offices, which might be made very comfortable summer apartments. Simcoe , The Simcoes traveled to Kingston and briefly considered Kingston as the capital of Upper Canada but the location and geography did not appear to be suitable.
Moonlit Coastal View
Days later, they sailed to Niagara where Elizabeth captured the breathtaking Falls in water colour. On January 16, , her daughter, Katherine, was born. On the American side the river passing over a straight ledge of rock has not the beauty of the circular form or its green colour, the whole centre of the circular falls being of the brightest green, and below it frequently seen a rainbow. Even today, her words appear to ring true.
Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe, 1762-1850
Many current visitors can attest to the same visual beauty from its roaring depths. In July, her ship, the Mississauga , entered the Toronto Harbour. Sadly, not all of Elizabeth's journey was positive. Elizabeth's daughter, Katherine perished on April at 14 months old. CityNews wrote an article on this interesting plot of land. On a happier note, her first son Francis Simcoe survived the Frontier. The family created a lovely castle in his honour and named it, Castle Frank. Sadly, Castle Frank is no longer standing and through time, several changes to the landscape occurred.
On September 11, , the family returned to England and never returned to Canada to enjoy this residence.
Consider perusing these interesting titles to appreciate her remarkable journey:. Much of the Canadian and Toronto traditions were inspired by John Simcoe and then brought to life in muted colours and lively written text by Elizabeth Simcoe centuries ago. Menu For Toronto Public Library site. Elizabeth had an extensive inheritance from both her mother and father. This enabled her to purchase the Wolford estate of approximately 5, acres near Honiton in By this time the Simcoes had six children. Their four eldest daughters, Eliza, Charlotte, Henrietta and Caroline, did not accompany their parents to Upper Canada, but remained behind at Wolford in the care of friends.
The Simcoes brought their two youngest children with them, Sophia aged two, and their first son, Francis, who was only three months old.
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It was for Francis that the Simcoes later purchased a tract of land east of York now Toronto , which they named Castle Frank in his honour. After their posting in Canada, the Simcoes had five more children, including Katherine, in , who died the following year. Another daughter, born in , was also named Katherine. She also had a favourite location where she sketched the falls of Niagara. Simcoe made several trips through Upper Canada, leaving a visual record in the form of her drawings. Elizabeth Simcoe also left an indelible stamp on the recorded history of Upper Canada in the form of her diary.
The Diary of Mrs. The diary begins on 17 September , nine days prior to the Simcoe's departure for North America. It finishes on 16 October , three days she and her husband arrived back in England.
Mrs Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe. Influential Women of Hemyock Castle, Devon
It is a record of her daily life in the Canadas, providing commentary on the social and civil life of the new province. The diary originally took the form of letters mailed weekly to a Mrs.
The diary existed in three versions. The first is the letters, containing brief descriptions of Simcoe's daily life.
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These were then expanded, adding more detail and improved penmanship. Finally, the drawings evolved from rough sketches drawn on location to finished works that were sent home and included in the diary. After her return to England, Simcoe made further watercolour copies of her artwork. The Simcoe family left Canada in Although Simcoe maintained correspondence with friends in Canada, she never returned. Elizabeth Simcoe died near Honiton on 17 January at the age of In addition to her diary, she left more than watercolour paintings depicting the Canadas in the late 18th century.
The township of Whitchurch, today the town of Whitchurch-Stouffville , was named in honour of her supposed place of birth.
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