Anne Langton - Gentlewoman, Pioneer Settler and Artist: Settlement, Part One - Page Banner

Table of Contents


"... on the fifteenth of August, 1837, we reached our new home. How anxiously we looked for it as we were being rowed up Sturgeon Lake; but it does not come into sight until you are quite close to it. Certainly my brother had fixed upon one of the most attractive spots, where a creek finds its way into the lake in almost a bay, for a beautiful point of land projects into the water on one side, and the ground rises considerably at a little distance from the lake. There on the hill stood our still unfinished house ... There was nothing to dishearten in the aspect of things, and we had had it fully described to us. The only thing that did startle me was the extreme roughness of the ground. My fear was for my old people. I felt as if there was no spot where they could take a little turn without stumbling upon a stone, or catching their feet in a root."

Anne Langton, Blythe, Sturgeon Lake, 1837
(SOF, 65), 65)

Click here to listen to a recording of the quote
in wav format (584K)
or aif format (584K).

For the Langtons, settlement involved major adjustments. Relatively affluent in comparison to other emigrants, the family had never before confronted such basic living conditions; heavy physical work, lack of some necessities, geographic isolation... Thomas, Anne's father, who was already seriously ill, died just eight months after arriving on Sturgeon Lake.

From the time of the family's arrival Anne began to chronicle life in their new surroundings in her journals and letters. At the same time, she embarked on a self-imposed mission to create a visual record. Her intention was to give William's family in England and a small circle of close friends, "some sort of a notion what this world of ours is like" (GUC, 72), in all its "lights and shades (SOF,104)."

End view of John's house, Canada, 1837
Click to see a larger image (82K)
End view of John's house, Canada,1837
Anne Langton
Graphite on cream wove paper
Reference Code: F 1077-8-1-4-19
Archives of Ontario, I0008042


Interior of John's house [looking north], 1837
Click to see a larger image (79K)
Interior of John's house [looking north], 1837
Anne Langton
Graphite on cream wove paper
Reference Code: F 1077-8-1-4-20
Archives of Ontario, I0008043

Interior of John's house [looking south], 1837
Click to see a larger image (80K)
Interior of John's house [looking south], 1837
Anne Langton
Graphite on cream wove paper
Reference Code: F 1077-8-1-4-22
Archive of Ontario, I0008045

"At last ... after all delays and disappointments, our long journey is accomplished. John looked very proud when he handed his mother into his little mansion. His arrangements for our accommodation are very snug ... My mother and I sleep in the larger bedroom behind, Aunt Alice in the small one John used to occupy at first. My father has the hammock put up every night in the sitting-room, and John himself has a tiny apartment curtained off by a sail from the ante-room. Here we expect to make ourselves comfortable for perhaps a couple of months, or maybe more, if as many unexpected delays occur as have occurred in the preparations at 'the big house,' as our future habitation is elegantly denominated.


Anne Langton, letter 22 August, 1837
(GUC, 37)

Click here to listen to a recording of the quote
in wav format (483K)
or aif format (483K).


John Langton's cabin with surrounding buildings, 1834
Click to see a larger image (48K)
John Langton's cabin with surrounding buildings, 1834
Anne Langton
Graphite on cream wove paper
Reference Code: F 1077-9-1-17
Archives of Ontario, I0008465

Anne actually executed this sketch in 1834, three years before she emigrated. In The Story of Our Family this image is given the caption "N.B. The sketch of which this is a copy was really done from dictation, before I had seen the place; but in some respects it gives a better idea of it than the view done from nature ..." (SOF, 69)


Designed by John Langton, Blythe Farm was the first double-storey log house to be built in the area. With its well-proportioned dimensions, gabled roof, gothic windows, columned verandah, it was an elegant, architectural rarity for its time and place - referred to in the neighbourhood as "the big house."

This view shows the house as it appeared a few years after the Langtons' arrival. A ground floor addition has been built to the side and rear. The verandah has been extended and landscaping of the grounds has begun.

Blythe after the addition
Click to see a larger image (46K)
Blythe Farm (detail), 1841
Anne Langton
Graphite on cream wove paper
Reference Code: F 1077-8-1-4-27
Archives of Ontario, I0008050