Catharine Parr Traill

Catharine Parr Traill books and biography

Catharine Parr Traill

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Catharine Parr Traill, ne Strickland (9 January 1802 – 29 August 1899) was a British author who wrote about life as a settler in Canada.

An older sister of Susanna Moodie, Traill was one began writing children's books in 1818, after the death of her father. Her early work, such as Disobedience, or Mind What Mama Says (1819), and "Happy Because Good", were written for children, and often dwell on the benefits of obedience to one's parents. A prolific author, until her marriage she averaged one book per year. In 1832, she married to Thomas Traill, a retired officer of the Napoleonic Wars and a friend of her sister's husband John Moodie, despite objections from her family (aside from Susanna). Soon after their marriage they left for Canada, settling near Peterborough, Upper Canada, where her brother Samuel was a surveyor.

She described her new life in letters and journals, and collected these into The Backwoods of Canada (1836), which continues too be read as an important source of information about early Canada. She describes everyday life in the community, the relationship between Canadians, Americans, and natives, as well as the climate and wildlife. More observations were included in a novel, Canadian Crusoes (1851). She also collected information concerning the skills necessary for a new settler, published in The Female Emigrant's Guide (1854), later retitled The Canadian Settler's Guide.

After suffering through the depression of 1836, her husband Thomas joined the militia in 1837 to fight against the Upper Canada Rebellion. In 1840, dissatisfied with life in "the backwoods", the Traills and the Moodies both moved to the city of Belleville. While Susanna was more concerned with the differences between rural and urban life, Catharine spent her years in Belleville writing about the natural environment. She often sketched the plant life of Upper Canada, publishing Canadian Wild Flowers (1865) and Studies of Plant Life in Canada (1885).

She died in Lakefield, Ontario in 1899. Catharine Parr Traill College, a campus of Trent University in Peterborough, is named for her.


  • The Tell Tale - 1818
  • Disobedience - 1819
  • Reformation - 1819
  • Nursery Fables - 1821
  • Little Downy - 1822
  • The Flower-Basket - 1825
  • Prejudice Reproved - 1826
  • The Young Emigrants - 1826
  • The Juvenile Forget-Me-Not - 1827
  • The Keepsake Guineas - 1828
  • Amendment - 1828
  • Sketches from Nature - 1830
  • Sketch Book of a Young Naturalist - 1831
  • Narratives of Nature - 1831
  • The Backwoods of Canada - 1836
  • Canadian Crusoes - 1852
  • The Female Emigrant's Guide - 1854
  • Lady Mary and Her Nurse - 1856
  • Canadian Wild Flowers - 1868
  • Studies of Plant Life in Canada - 1885
  • Pearls and Pebbles - 1894
  • Cot and Cradle Stories - 1895

This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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The Backwoods Of Canada

By Catharine Parr Traill
Canadian History

The Backwoods Of Canada
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