Juliana Horatia Ewing
Uncle Charlie lived in Gagetown. On his visits, he entertained us with stories of the river boats. His descriptions were so vivid that I could almost see Captain Taylor dressed in a blue suit as he greeted the passengers.
As Juliana Horatia Ewing and her husband travelled on the river boat the David Weston from Saint John to their new home in Fredericton, she sketched all the way. This enabled her to give her relatives in England a view of New Brunswick’s river scenery.
On June first, less than a month before her trip to New Brunswick, she had married Alexander (Rex) Ewing, an army Captain. Within the week they sailed from Liverpool, as Rex was posted to Fredericton when his regiment, the 22nd of England, was ordered there.
Their first home was a twenty-one-room house, they rented from Professor Brydone Jack, president of the University of New Brunswick. It was situated on Waterloo Row and Juliana named it ‘Reka Dom”. They later moved to Aunt Judy’s Cot, a house on George Street, owned by Emma Partelow.
Since her mother, Margaret Gatty, worried about her health and living conditions in a far away country, Juliana sent letters and sketches to her parents and family members, describing life in Fredericton and the surrounding area. She even varnished the many coloured leaves of autumn and sent them to England.
When growing up, she preferred the arts to learning the tasks of cooking and housekeeping, thus she lacked much in culinary skills. Margaret Medley, wife of the Bishop of Fredericton became her friend and more or less took her ‘under her wing’.
Another friend was Peter Polchies of the Malecite community. She bought beadwork and baskets from him to send to family members. He also made snowshoes and a canoe for the Ewings.
In the two years, she lived in Fredericton, she was continually sketching scenes of the area and writing children’s stories.
In September of 1869, she returned to England with her husband. She became a very popular Victorian children’s author. Her death on May 13, 1885, at the age of forty-four was met with sadness.
The book titled “Illustrated News - Juliana Horatia Ewing’s Canadian Pictures 1867-1869" by Donna McDonald has many of her sketches and watercolours, as well as details of the time she spent in New Brunswick.
A variety of her letters have been transcribed and can be read online at http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/ewing/canada/canada.html. Also at this site are facsimiles of eight of her water-colour drawings.
Several of her publications can be read at http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/
The letters, paintings and writings of Juliana Horatia Ewing during her two year stay in Fredericton, give an insight into everyday life in the 1860s.
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