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Fonds Level Description


Accession Number: 92-1002


Frances Stewart fonds. Additions. -- 1854-1870. -- 10 items. -- 1 photograph : b&w ; 9 X 6 cm on cardboard 10.5 X 6.5 cm.

Biography / History

Frances Anne Stewart (nee Browne) was born May 24, 1794, daughter of Reverend Francis Browne and Anna Maria Noble, in Dublin, Ireland. In 1796, Rev. Browne died quite suddenly in front of his wife. The resulting shock left Frances' mother somewhat of an invalid until she died in 1809. Frances was left in the care of her great-uncle, Robert Waller in Allanstown, Ireland, where she was raised by Harriet Beaufort, who managed the household. Harriet was a well educated young woman, and sought to give Frances the same quality of education. Under Harriet's instruction, Frances received a much more academic education than was the norm for young girls of those days. In the summer of 1816, Frances, and her aunt Susan went to visit some distant friends, the Stewarts, who lived near Belfast. This is where Frances met her future husband, Thomas Alexander Stewart (1786-1847). They were married December 16, 1816. Thomas worked for the firm of Robert Reid and Son, which manufactured linen, cotton and silk. When the company ran into trouble, and eventually bankruptcy, Frances and Thomas decided to emigrate to Canada. The Stewarts went with Thomas' brother-in-law, and former business partner, Robert Reid and his family. The party of 27 set sail from Belfast Lough, on June 1, 1822. Seven weeks were spent on the ship before reaching Quebec. From there they traveled to Kingston, and then onto York, where Stewart and Reid were each granted 1200 acres, provided they settled in an unsurveyed township. Douro Township was suggested as a promising region. On September 9, 1822, Stewart and Reid traveled to the area with Richard Birdsall, the surveyor, and each chose land on the Otonabee River. Life in Douro Township was very isolated for Frances, but she managed well on her own, looking after her home and children. Thomas Stewart died in 1847 from typhoid fever, and Frances Anne died several years later on February 24, 1872 at Goodwood. Extensive biographical information on the Stewart family, plus friends, neighbours, and associates, may be found in accession 02-001.

Custodial History

The letters were written to Harriet Stewart and other relatives by Frances Stewart. They were amongst keepsakes passed on to Harriet's younger sisters who were unmarried. Adopted into the family was an orphaned girl, Kaye Richmond, who was a distant cousin of the family. Since there are no Stewart descendants left in that branch of the family (Charles Edward Stewart 1833-1879, 5th son of Thomas A. and Frances Stewart), Miss Richmond in her senior years donated them to the Trent University Archives through Professor Michael Peterman, President of the Peterborough Historical Society, in 1992.

Scope and Content

This addition to the fonds consists of 10 letters (some fragments) written by Frances Stewart to her granddaughter and relatives in England, concerning her pioneer life in the Peterborough area. There is also one photograph of Harriet as young child which was photographed in London, England (biographical information is written on the back of the photograph).


Title based on creator of the fonds.

This fonds was donated by Ruth Richmond of Suffolk, England via Professor Michael Peterman.

Restrictions: Materials are fragile; researchers will be required to use the transcripts and photocopies found in 94-006.

Finding aids: Y

Associated material located at the Archives of Ontario.

This fonds along with 74-1006, 77-1006, 78-008, 94-006 and 94-1001 is an addition to 74-1005.

For related records see: 69-1003, 71-001, 75-011, 93-1013, 94-007, and 02-001.

Located in Large Materials Cabinet - Drawer 46.

Finding Aid


Letters transcribed in full.

Letter 1: August, 1854 (Original)

Letter 2: 4 April, 1859 (Original)

Letter 3: 18 July, 1859 (Original)

Letter 4: September, 1860 (Original)

Letter 5: 11 September, 1866 (Original)

Letter 6: 25 March, 1868 (Original)

Letter 7: 15 December, 1868 (Original)

Letter 8: 15 April, 1869 (Original)

Letter 9: Christmas, 1869 (Original)

Letter 10: 24 October, 1870 (Original)

Photograph: Harriet Mary Stewart (eldest child of Charles and Charlotte Stewart)