Fonds F 47

Simcoe family fonds

About these records

Simcoe family fonds
Dates of Creation
1665-[ca. 1918] (predominant 1762-1848)
Dates of Accumulation

[ca. 1750-1918]

Physical Description

2.67 metres of textual records

63 volumes of textual records

353 watercolours

63 drawings

8 prints

4 photographs

1 sketchbook (63 watercolours and drawings)

98 maps

3 celestial charts

4 technical drawings

2 architectural drawings

1 sabre with scabbard

1 dress sword with scabbard

1 walking cane

1 wedding ring

Scope and Content

Fonds documents the official and private lives of several members of the Simcoe family in England and Upper Canada, predominantly in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The fonds also contains records from John Graves Simcoe's Lieutenant-Governorship of Upper Canada 1792-1796. The records document the administrative and military careers of four generations of men of the Simcoe family, as well as the family's private life, including management of the family estate in Devonshire, financial matters, and genealogical research conducted by later generations of the family.

Family members represented in the fonds include Captain John Simcoe, John Graves Simcoe, Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe, Francis Simcoe, Eliza Simcoe, and John K. Simcoe.

Records include personal and official correspondence, letter books, reports, returns, and commissions. The fonds contains a considerable quantity of graphic materials, including watercolour paintings, drawings and prints; maps and celestial charts; architectural and technical drawings; and artifacts attributed by Simcoe descendents to John Graves and Elizabeth Simcoe.

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Administrative History or Biographical Sketch

The Simcoe family were prominent in the administrative affairs and social life of early Upper Canada and in Devonshire, where the family was based.

John Graves Simcoe (1752-1806) was a soldier and administrator who became first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, and was instrumental in organizing the first civil government in what is now Ontario.

Elizabeth Simcoe accompanied her husband, John Graves Simcoe, to Upper Canada during his tenure as Lieutenant-Governor. She managed the family estate and became prominent in the social and artistic life of both the province and in Devonshire, where the family was based.

Francis Gwillim Simcoe (1791-1812), son of John Graves Simcoe, became a soldier and was killed in 1812 while serving with Wellington's army on the Iberian Peninsula.

Eliza Simcoe (ca. 1784-1865) was the eldest daughter of John Graves and Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe, and resided throughout her life at the family estate.

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Simcoe (family)

Simcoe, John Graves, 1752-1806

Simcoe, Francis Gwillim, 1791-1812

Simcoe, Eliza, ca. 1784-1865

Simcoe, Elizabeth Posthuma, 1762-1850
Restrictions on Access
Refer to series and sub-series descriptions for information on access restrictions.
Terms For Use and Reproduction
Records are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on reproduction for research and private study. If you wish to use other than for research and private study any of this material, submit a Request for Permission to Publish, Exhibit or Broadcast Form.
Custodial History

The Simcoe Family papers were held by descendants of John Graves and Elizabeth Simcoe until the mid to late-20th century.

Eliza Simcoe, the eldest daughter of John Graves and Elizabeth Simcoe, retained possession of the records which make up this fonds until her death in 1865. Between 1859 and 1861, a portion of the records were loaned to the Canadian Library of Parliament for arrangement and partial copying.

On the death of Eliza Simcoe, the records passed to the children of the Reverend Henry Addington Simcoe, Eliza's only surviving brother. Some time after this, part of the records came into the possession of the Vowler family and the Coles family, each related to the Simcoes through marriage to a daughter or granddaughter of Henry Addington Simcoe. In the late 1940s Dr. S. McLaughlan purchased the records then held by the Coles family and donated the whole to the University of Toronto Library.

In 1951 the University and the Ontario Department of Archives and Records opened negotiations to transfer the custody, but not ownership, of the Simcoe records to the province. In 1952, an agreement was signed, and the Simcoe Papers were transferred to the Archives of Ontario in order that they might be preserved in more appropriate circumstances and to ease public access to the records. The records which came to the Archives under the terms of this long-term loan agreement represent the bulk of the fonds.

A subsequent purchase by the Archives of records and artifacts from other Simcoe descendents in 1993, and a number of small donations from a variety of sources have since added to the fonds.

Associated Material

The Clements Library of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, holds a collection of correspondence from John Graves and Elizabeth Simcoe dating from the 1770s through 1810. The Archives of Ontario possesses a microfilm copy of this collection. Please refer to MS 29.

Library and Archives Canada holds a large series of transcriptions from the Simcoe family records. See the correspondence of Eliza Simcoe and the Coles family for details on these copying projects. The originals from which these transcriptions were made are largely contained in this fonds.

Related Material

Fonds F 1174 (John Ross Robertson fonds) contains 57 items of incoming and outgoing correspondence by John Graves Simcoe and Elizabeth Simcoe. Robertson was a biographer of the Simcoes.

MS 83 consists of a Letterbook dated January 1792 through July 1793. Evidence points to this item being the missing volume from F 47-2-5, Brigade Majors Department.

Availability of Other Formats

Refer to series and sub-series descriptions for information on the availability of other formats.

No further accruals are expected.

Finding Aid
Please see series and sub-series descriptions for listings.

How to order these records

From our Reading Rooms

Consult the online series or sub-series list to identify the records that you require. For microfilmed items, consult the appropriate reel of self-service microfilm. To access any other material, contact a Reference Archivist.

Click here to see a list of records series that make up this fonds or collection

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Online Images

Digital images of all or some of these records are available for online research.

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By Microfilm Interloan
This material is not available through Interloan.

Records series that make up this fonds

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Reference Code Series Title
F 47-1 Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada chronological files
F 47-2 Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada letter books
F 47-3 John Graves Simcoe military appointments and correspondence
F 47-4 John Graves Simcoe subject files and personal correspondence
F 47-5 Simcoe family cartographic and architectural records
F 47-6 John Graves Simcoe correspondence relating to Wolford Lodge
F 47-7 John Graves Simcoe's records relating to St. Clair's Expedition to the Ohio
F 47-8 Elizabeth Simcoe diaries
F 47-9 Elizabeth Simcoe correspondence
F 47-10 Elizabeth Simcoe subject files
F 47-11 Elizabeth Simcoe sketches
F 47-12 Francis Gwillim Simcoe correspondence and journal
F 47-13 Simcoe family correspondence
F 47-14 Simcoe family records regarding Wolford Chapel
F 47-15 Simcoe family genealogical records
F 47-16 Simcoe family property and financial records
F 47-17 Simcoe family miscellaneous documents
F 47-18 Simcoe family artifacts