Biography & Credits

Samuel Strickland (1806-1867)

Samuel Strickland was one of eight children born to Thomas & Elizabeth Homer Strickland. When Samuel was an infant the family moved to Reydon Hall in Suffolk in England.

Thomas Strickland oversaw his children's education, emphasizing discipline, self-reliance and practicality. A large home library provided the children with literary and imaginative stimulus. Eventually all but one of Samuel's sisters became authors.

Although the family was once comfortable financially, Thomas lost a major investment. When Thomas died in 1818, he left his wife Elizabeth with little income and six children to raise.

In 1825, when barely twenty years old, Samuel emigrated to Canada at the invitation of an old friend, who was married and established on a farm near Darlington in Upper Canada. Samuel's book "27 Years in Canada West", describes his voyage when he left England on March 28, 1825, through to his arrival on June 5th, when he was landed in Whitby Township on the north shore of Lake Ontario some few miles from his friend's farm.

After acclimatizing himself to his new homeland and farm life for several months, Samuel bought and cleared property for a farm in Otonabee Township across from the embryonic village of Peterborough.

During the years of 1828-1831, an energetic Samuel worked for John Galt in the Canada Company. As Superintendent of Settlement, he oversaw the construction of roads and bridges so vital to the settlement of Canada West (Ontario) and in particular, the "Huron Track" north of the 43 parallel in western Ontario.

Samuel sold his first farm and in 1831 became of the earliest settlers in Douro Township, north of Otonabee Township. His new property was on the east side of Katchawanooka Lake, which is now occupied by the present day town of Lakefield, Ontario.

In 1832, Samuel's sisters, Catherine Parr Traill and Suzanne Moodie, together with their respective families, left England and eventually settled on lots adjacent to Samuel's on Katchawanooka Lake. These sisters, who were already published authors in England, also wrote books about their lives as settlers in the backwoods of Canada.

Samuel was active in church, military and town life. In 1847 he became a Major and in 1851 he was the Reeve of Douro for three years. He also became a Justice of the Peace. In his later years Samuel established an agriculture school for young men and boys interested in pioneer farming.

Samuel Strickland is buried in the cemetery adjacent to the Christ Church in Lakefield, Ontario., Vol 3, Chap 10
Samuel Strickland's house in Lakefield, Ontario (burned 1913).

His book "Twenty-seven Years in Canada West" is of unique value, since it is an educated person's record of a lifetime spent on the agricultural frontier.

Biography/History associated with Strickland photographs and clippings fonds. (83-1003, Trent University Archives,

Heirloom Series (

The Life and Times of Susan Moodie (Hastings & Prince Edward District School Board (

Historic Plaque, Col. Samuel Strickland 1804-1867. (Erected by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board, Ministry of Colleges and Universities. Location: At Christ Church, Lakefield, Ontario)


Twenty-Seven Years in Canada West; The Experience of an Early Settler, in two volumes, Vol. I.

by Major Stickland, C.M.
edited by Agnes Strickland
author of "The Queens of England,", etc.

Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty.

Printed by Samuel Bentley & Co.
Bangor House, Shoe Lane.

The transcription of "Twenty-Seven Years in Canada West; The Experience of an Early Settler" by Major Samuel Strickland, was produced by E.D. (Tedd) Brien based on scans of the book found on the Library and Archives Canada, Early Canadiana Online website (

Last revised: February 2005

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