Stewart, Frances

Frances Stewart, née Browne, diarist, letter writer (b at Dublin, Ire 24 May 1794; d near Peterborough, Ont 24 Feb 1872). One of the first white settlers in Douro Township, Upper Canada, Stewart's lively letters and journals describe pioneer life and nearby friends - the Stricklands, Traills and Langtons - providing the earliest account of settlement around Peterborough. Frances was raised and educated by her cousin, author Harriet Beaufort. Married to Thomas Alexander Stewart, 17 Dec 1816, she immigrated with him and 3 infant daughters to unsurveyed bush in 1822, overcoming isolation and initial privations to become an established settler. For 50 years Frances wrote regularly to Irish relatives describing her experiences. A proposal by Maria Edgeworth to publish some of these letters was withdrawn, but after Frances's death her daughter, E.S. Dunlop, published a heavily edited collection entitled Our Forest Home (1889). A second edition was published in 1902.