Diary of the Wood Family
[Note: Travelling party consisted of: George C. Wood & his wife, Jennie Wood, their son George (15), and daughters Gertie & Jessie; along with George & Mrs. Howard, daughter, Beattie (20) and son, George (19)]
These cabins are nicely fitted up. Of course I'm speaking of my own in particular, but I suppose the rest are all similar. We went into the dining saloon about 2:30 and our party of nine choose our places at one end of a table all together -
There are quite a lot of little children on board & we also have several good bred dogs which seem very contented. At 4:40 we dropped our ropes and stood out for the middle of the river with waving of Handkfs. & Hats. Just before doing this I had hoisted up to me a small packet containing the photos of Ada Williams 2 children. Poor Ada seemed very sorry at parting with us & tears could plainly be seen filling her eyes. At 5:30 the tea gong sounded & once more we dived below. We had boiled tripe, grilled steak & onions & cold meats washed down with good tea & accompanied with bread & butter, plenty of it & well served. We have gone all round the ship by now & have found a nice smoke room for our use if too cold on deck. The sea is beautifully smooth & we scarcely feel the motion of the boat.
The moon has now risin & is a fair height although quite day light as yet. The gulls are following us in scores & look very pretty. At 8 o'clock we are out of sight of land completely & have been for some considerable time. We are all now going down at 9 for supper & having had bread & butter & cheese with hard biscuits for a variety we have, the table cleared & Mr. & Mrs. H. & Wife & self sit down to a game at Whist which was not won by the former.
So taking it so far our trip has been a success in every way. After a trot on deck & a last pipe I turned in to my bunk about 10:45 Jenny having retired about 15 minutes earlier. Then began the fun, we could hear the folks in the various cabins trying to scramble into the top bunks which is no easy matter (mine's a top bunk) & there was no end of laughing & joking. We settled down to sleep at last which I got in bits, what with the vibration of the engines & other strange noises.
Wednesday (May 17)
At 4:40 (am) I was up again & on deck. I believe I was first on top & we were then passing Belfast Lough with its fine lighthouse & Bay. We should be quite 5 hours in passing the north of Ireland with its fine view of the Giants Causeway, whilst on the opposite of the boat Bonnie Scotland seemed close to us. Both in Ireland & Scotland house & other objects were quite distinct. At Breakfast we were well catered for commencing with porridge, fried plaice & chip potatoes. Grilled steak & onions with hot rolls & buttered toast washed down with tea or coffee, all of us for the time living at the rate of £500 per year.
The sea has been like a duck pond up to now with a hot bright sun & not a bit of wind with never a single one sick out of about 1000 passengers. We are now rapidly leaving the old country behind us with what I hope all our troubles & vexations & are looking ahead to a happy reunion & a brighter prospect. All of our party are good health & are eating like thatchers.
We are just passing a very pretty island with signal station & Lighthouse, the rocky coast of this is very fine.
Dinner, Wed. 17th : -
The dinner gong having sounded we go below and as by this we are fairly out on the broad Atlantic we are for the 1st time enjoying a gentle ground swell. We all went down but Jessie [was] feeling dicky declined with thanks anything to eat & quietly left the table. Beattie was next to go before she had had a bite. Gertie did manage to stay dinner out but scarcely touched anything although everything was very nice & inviting. All the rest of our party enjoyed their dinners and are now on deck enjoying the delightful weather.
Shortly after dinner I went into the smoke room & got about 1 ½ hours sleep when after a nice wash & a game of deck quoits we all adjourned to the saloon for tea. Beattie was first to go, then Mr. Howard followed suit & retired as it turned out afterwards for the night. Mrs. H., myself & George H. were the only 3 to take supper -
My wife had a very sickly bout the 1st part of the night but eventually got to sleep & had a fairly good night. I slept well only waking once. At about 7 I went out on deck and this commenced
Thursday, May 18th :
Only 3 of us sat down to breakfast: myself, Mrs. H. & young George. During the morning 2 whales were seen spouting. The sun shone beautiful & warm & we were playing deck billiards & deck quoits. At dinner Jessie, Beattie & Jennie were still on the sick list & would not touch anything to eat. All rest were at dinner & eat heartily.
Tea time found Jessie & Beattie still sickly & about this time we ran once more into a lot of fog which made it rather cooler. Mr. Howard turned sick just before tea & has been in his cabin up to suppertime.
Friday morning (May 19) Beattie who had been very sick all night got up about 4 -
Saturday morning (May 20) Today has been passed in much the usual way with the exception at about 4:40 P.M. we passed a Manchester Trading steamer who signalled to us they had passed through a lot of ice. We, steering a little more to the south than heretofore, have missed it. We are all of us now past our bout of sea sickness except Mr. Howard who complains of dizzy head.
Sunday (May 21) We attended service in first class Saloon & had a good old hymn or two in which all joined. Mr. Howard is still a bit off. The sea during the night was very lumpy, but we are all eating well. Had bath in morning.
Monday (May 22) Although this is our 7th day at sea we are still out of sight of land. The air is very icy & I believe we are in the neighbourhood of icebergs but as yet have not seen any. All our party are now well & got accustomed to the boat pitching.
Tonight we have had a concert at which I was elected chairman & I think everything went off most successfully. Weather still very cold especially so on deck. Had a few hands of Whist then off to my bunk about 11: 15.
Tuesday morning (May 23) I was up by 5:45 after a good night’s rest went on deck & for first time saw an iceberg. We are now passing several others. The morning is beautifully clear & bright & my breakfast of Oatmeal Porridge, Steak & onion & Ham & Haps went down with a big relish. Lots of fog during the day -
Wednesday morning (May 24) Up by 5:30 passed Cape Race in Newfoundland at 6 AM & saw another small steamer the 2nd ship during the voyage.
Thursday (May 25) Passed Anticosti & met Allen Liner Victorian bound for Liverpool.
Friday (May 26) All day we are sailing up the St. Lawrence River. Have taken & dropt mails at Rimouski. Luggage is all being drawn up out of the hold in readiness for landing ashore. Weather rather dull but all our party is still well.
Went to bed about 10:30 not to sleep but to suffer the torments of Dante’s Inferno for no sooner had we laid down our heads than the engines stopped & we dropped our anchor which was the 1st startler we had. Then commenced the working of the donkey engines pulling up other cargo, so what with this and the larking of the fellows in adjoining bunks, we got little or no sleep.
(Saturday, May 27):
We were up again at 4 and had to pass the doctor. This occupied a rather long time & as the cabin was the place where we underwent examination it was so overdoing with the heat that Mrs. H. fainted away.
Having got this over we landed our boxes & then we had some hours to wait at the station getting these labelled for Winnipeg. Having attended to this we got a little light refreshment & got in the train about 2 P.M. Purser's Report: confirms the dates and times mentioned in the diary.
Record of G. H. Howard (age 19) matches.
Unfortunately, many entires not visible due to faded ink.
Saturday (May 27th ): I forgot to say we got off the boat about 7 A.M. and were at once in the station (at Quebec City). It took us from this time till 2 P.M. before (we) got on the train. We got fairly under way for Winnipeg at 3:30 P.M. All along the line was dotted with pretty little villages each one having an ornamental church. We turned in to sleep at 9 P.M Up to now we had had several stoppages & we climbed down to stretch our legs & gather strawberry & bilberry bloom. The ferns & foliage are fine & the lakes & rivers are immense.
(Sunday, May 28)
at 2 in the morning reached Ottawa. Here we stayed an hour to buy more provisions & although it was Sunday morning, a brisk trade was done. Left Ottawa Station which is a very large one at 3 A.M. & began to get among hills, lakes, rocks & wood.
Monday & Tuesday: (May 29 & 30)
Passed for some hundred of miles in & out on the shores of Lake Superior. Here the scenery was of the wildest. Tunnels through the solid rocks, through pine forests many of which had been burnt by forest fires, then close down to the water’s edge, up hill & down till at last we reach Rat Portage Station in the Wabigoon district-
Continuing we past the Lake of the Woods, Keewatin &
(Wednesday. May 31): at 4 in the morning roll into Winnipeg Station -
[Note: The remainder of the Journey was not recorded.]