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HomePort is pleased to provide information related to the Duder family of St. John's Newfoundland that traces ancestry to Thomas and Ann (Congdon) Duder of Kingskerswell, Devon, England. Ann sailed in 1833, to join her husband to North America. She arrived in Quebec expecting to join him there. He had left word in Quebec, of his relocation to Newfoundland. She eventually joined him and despite her initial fears, the family became well established in business there. She affectionately called Thomas, "Duder".

Ann (1785-
1863) and Thomas Duder (1787-1855), according to a will probated in 1881, had a family which included four sons - John Congdon, Charles, Edwin, Henry John, and daughter Ann. It appears from family letters that Emma was also their daughter and possibly Mary as well.
During the sea passage, Ann wrote of her journey in a document that eventually became know as The Duder Letter. Eventually the letter was typed and this web copy is based on that typewritten document. It was provided by Janet Steer Story, who is a great, great, grandaughter of Ann and Thomas Duder.

                                                                                            August 5th., 1833

To My Dear Daughter, Sisters & Friends at St. Mary Church and Elsewhere,

    You know that on Saturday the 3rd instant we sailed with a favourable breeze, twenty-seven in number - the crew and passengers - It was a great trial to part with you all: I felt it very much, particularly you, My Dear Ann and John left.

    All the females soon got sick. Mary was but little sick - it was long time ago I saw her look so well as at present. I was very sick all the afternoon and the morning of the next day. The Captain told me it was better to go on deck, which I did and my sickness left me. Ever since that I have been quite well and hearty. Emma is quite delighted, running about the deck with three other little children. We have a very nice neighbor next to our berth. She says her servant shall empty our slops, but we have not found the necessity of it yet, as dear old Nurse's grandson has been attentive for the purpose. We are all very neighborly here, exchanging a slice of roast beef for ham and a slice of pudding for apple pie, etc. Our cider I find very acceptable. All the crew except three know Duder or the Boys and have very kindly offered to do anything for us. Had I heard from Duder before I left I should have been more comfortable here than I have been this week or two past. We are all well pleased except the Captain - it is too calm for him.
    7th. I could not write anything yesterday as there was such a strong wind, and I was obliged to keep on deck, the moment I went below I was sick, but we are the best sailors among the females. Could not sleep last night for the noise of the waters and the men on deck, and my neighbor being so timid - she kept on singing out, “Mrs. Duder, don't you hear the water coming on the deck, sure we are sinking”, and then she saw a light shining through the crevice or the Forecastle- “Surely the ship is on fire.” I thought she was something like my sister Preston - full of fears - but presently I heard rather more noise than usual and the Mate came down and said something to the Captain, who sleeps next berth to us: I asked him if there was something amiss- he said “no”- after that I slept sound until morning, which was a very beautiful morning indeed and the vessel going along fine and the porpoises playing in the water: -- I felt my heart drawn out in love and gratitude to my Great God and Saviour: but I've not time to enter into particulars as I do not like to be below - I sit and knit on deck.
    Emma made the men laugh today, she came up crying and saying, “Mother, the plates are all broken, I left them on the chest and they slid off”. It was well Mr. Spence nailed my chest and other things. I must go now and get my tea - Can't get Mary to do much, she is walking the deck now led by the Captain - he pays more attention to us than any of the rest.

    8th. It is very calm today, we cannot get on at all.
We never find it too hot here. I have been thinking a great deal about all my  friends today - remember me very kindly to them all, Dear Mrs. Weymouth, Mr. & Mrs. Evans, and all that inquire for me - I cannot name them all. Tell Nurse her grandson is much liked, he never gets an angry word, but the poor little Cabin boy gets it from all quarters. Dear little Emma is quite unwell today: she caught a great cold yesterday. I have just put her to bed, and the boys are cleaning and sweeping the deck for our evening walk and as I have not Emma to lead, shall accept the offered arm of the Captain, we all walk two and two, up one way and down the other. I can walk very well by myself now. We have all got rid of our sickness now except one woman that lodges in the Forecastle.

    9th. I must tell you we had a most delightful sight last night. The Sun went down under a cloud, which looked so grand and gave such a beautiful appearance to the water Shining with all sorts of lovely colours, an Emblem of the Sun of Righteousness Shining on the poor sinners heart, and I was enabled to offer up my heart in prayer and praise to Him, and to rejoice in His Love and hope in His Mercy.

    We have a very fine wind this morning sailing seven knots an hour and a vessel close alongside of us. The Captain has spoken to her. She is the “Dort” bound for Quebec. I assure you we have many things to amuse us here. The Mate and all the Crew are very civil and kind to us all, willing to do anything for us.

    12th. I have not been able to write until now. The night of the 9th it blew a gale of wind. I did not like to take off my clothes for the night, so I caught cold. Some of our things were knocked about and broken - it carried away a top gallant sail and broke some ropes. The vessel laboured a great deal and shipped a great deal of water. Poor Mrs. Horsay, my next dear neighbor was; in a sad way. It was dark, I could not keep in my candles, so I could not go to her. She attempted to come to us, something knocked her down and the ladder fell on her and overset the slop pail. The men hearing the racket came running down saying they believed some of the women were killed. They were obliged to put Mrs. Horsay to bed, and had a fine mess to clean up. They begged us to go to bed and be quiet, saying how glad they should be if they could. The next day it was a great calm and the wind contrary, but such a swell, the vessel rolled about so that we were all sick again. And now we are sailing along with a fair wind, nine knots an hour, and if you had not seen the sea the other night you would fancy it very rough now. Mr.Banks says we are 1,100 miles from Torbay. Mr. Hore from Exeter is going out to buy land. He was a brewer, the report is that he lost his custom by putting horse bones to colour and fire his beer. He seems a nice man, very kind and attentive to his daughter, a genteel girl, but poor thing, she is very ill, so sick and faint they bring a bed in on the deck and lay her on it. Mrs. Hore is a second wife. I do not like her very well. Their son Charles seems a good tempered boy. There is a Mr. Burnell with them. Mr. Banks says his father is a man of great property and this young man has a few hundred at his own disposal, and he says he is going to Canada to make the most of it. He has got dogs here which he spends most of his time about, Yesterday was Sunday. I thought much of St. Mary Church and all my dear friends and how gladly I used to attend the public worship of my God, to hear His Blessed Word preached; but now I am deprived that precious privilege. but I hope not forever. I trust the time will come when I shall again join the People of God in prayer and praise, if it is not an Established Church I shall not care so long as I can hear the Gospel preached and worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth.

    l5th. What beautiful weather we have had this day or two past. The Captain says it is quite remarkable such fine wind this time of the year. We are sailing seven knots an hour. I sit knitting on the deck most of the day. I have been uneasy this day or the two past thinking of you my dear Ann. I wish I could have heard from George before we left. Poor John. went away and left his shirt behind.

    19th. I again take my pen to write a few lines to my friends at home. We have had very fine weather these few days past, very little winds, three knots an hour. We are nearly on the Banks of Newfoundland. My little room, that I beheld with such dismay when I first came here, appears to me now quite comfortab1e so true it is that practise makes perfect, when one is able to suit their mind to their circumstances.

    I have just made a meat pie for dinner, they killed a sheep and I have had a neck of mutton which is quite a treat now, and Mr. Banks has given me a bottle or two of porter. I might have more if I like. He is a nice man and treats us with great kindness and respect. He has promised to call on Ann and you my Sisters when he returns. I would advise Mr. Evans or any of our Neighbors that come out to come with him as he looks to the comfort of all his passengers. I dream of some of my friends or neighbors every night. Two or three nights ago I dreamed a very dismal dream that depressed my spirits very much. I though I had got to America and found Duder in great poverty and wretchedness both in body and mind. He was not at all glad to see us come to be partakers with him in poverty and misery. I trust I shall not find it quite so bad. I assure you I am in great anxiety concerning our future destiny; I pray the Lord may give me a calm submission to His Will in all things; I fancy I could suffer, anything rather than see my husband or childred suffer, but I trust in the Mercy of the Lord that as my day is so my strength shall be; I do not think I shall regret leaving my native country (although that country is very dear to me and absence from my dear childred and friends will always be keenly felt), for I see the Lord’s Hand in it, it is as His unerring Providence hath appointed; The Holy Spirit says, “Be careful for nothing, etc.” He would have us to be without carefulness, “Casting all our Care upon Him, for He careth for us.” I trust it will be for our eternal if not for our temporal good. Our Blessed Lord is oftentimes doing his People good when they are ready to say with good old Jacob, “All these things are against us.”

    22nd. We are now on the Banks where my dear father, Brother and Children and friends have so often crossed; it has brought to my rememberance many a melancholy feeling. This day or two past we have had contrary winds and rough weather, the wind is still contrary but very fine weather today, so that we have taken our tea on deck and sat here and worked with our shawls, and yesterday I was obliged to have shawl and cloak both, so changeable is the weather at sea. Mary lies on the bed all the day but I must go on deck if the weather is ever so bad, and there I sit holding fast by a rope, and the sea washing in over the fore part of the vessel I shall not be afraid without I saw the sailors were, then there would be danger. I do not like to see the poor little Lawrence go up the mast head when the wind is blowing hard, which he does very often, and my poor boys too, nut I don't see them. Good nightnight, I must go on deck again to see a most lovely moonlight before I go to bed. It's very pleasant at sea when fine weather.

    26th. Now my dear Daughter and Sisters we are in sight of land the Island is called “Cape Breton”. Mrs. Horsay is quite delighted her husband is a joiner, he is doing remarkably well at Kingston. Mr. Hore got up at two oclock this morning to see it, the Captain called to tell me of it. I said if it was Old England we were in sight of, I might get up to see it. I assure you My dear friends the sight did not produce in me any pleasurable feelings; nor yet that thankfulness and gratitude to the Lord for His goodness in bringing me thus far in health and safety that I ought to and that I strive to feel; were I assured that Duder was there and doing well it would be quite different: even then I should feel the parting from my friends and native place very keenly. Dear little Florence, I cannot forget how dismal she looked when I told her I should never see her more. She will soon forget me. I should have liked to have seen dear little Mary and Henry Blacklor before I left if I could. I long to know were poor dear Ann is whether George has taken her with him or not, and whether poor John is gone from Dartmouth. I hope some of you will write me the first opportunity all particulars about yourselves. Mary is writing dear Cousin Ann Underhill. I hope some of you will write dear Mary Ann a long letter and let her know all you know about me and tell her I shall write her the first opportunity after we are settled. Give my love to Miss Wish and tell her I am sorro I did not see her before I left. I thought she would have come down to see me. My kind love to dear Mrs. Weymouth and her fami1y, Mr. & Mrs. Sprencer , Mr. & Mrs. Evans,  Mrs Tozer Woodley, Nurse Mary Cudmore and all Kingkerswell friends.
    It is very calm today. Yesterday we had it very rough, or what the sailors call a good stiff breeze. The vessel pitched a good deal, we were obliged to take our tea on the floor and drink out of one cup. Towards the evening the sea ran high and washed in over the bows of the ship. Mary, Emma, and I were the only females that stayed on the deck, which we did until nine oclock; we have not felt any sickness for sometime. We have praise from all for being good sailors. It was a long time, ago I saw Mary look so well. These are blessings certainly that I ought to be thankful for. We all do enjoy the voyage very much. Captain Banks did not go to bed for the night, looking for the land, he is a very diligent, active man, a very strong constitution, allows himself but little sleep and when he is wet lets it dry on his back.

    30th. I have the pleasure to inform my dear friends that we have now arrived in the River St. Lawrence. The Captain says we may be in Quebec in a few days or we may be two weeks. It is a lovely day, land on both sides at a great distance and a great many vessels going to St. John's, they say in Quebec it is very healthy. Mary says she shall be sorry when we are come. She likes the sea so much, and Emma is very happy. She is made so much of amongst them I am afraid she will be spoiled, The Mate has tied up a swing for her which she amuses herself with when it is fine weather. They killed a pig and we had some roast pork for dinner, we live well here. Mr. Banks won't let me want for beer or grog. The biscuit is very bad that Mrs. Godfrey packed for us, three quarters of a hundred John bought for me, a quarter hundred and that is excellent. We have not eaten half of it yet. I wish I had brought some barm, if I had the cook would bake some bread for us. Today we have a fair wind, a good strong breeze, with rain so that we cannot go on deck. The Pilot is come on board and in a few days we may be in Quebec.  I wish we could go all the way we have to go, in the Oscar. It’s Sunday today. I suppose the last I shall spend here. I see the men honor the day by cleaning themselves and putting on clean shirts, stockings and shoes. It is a very orderly crew and much to their praise be it spoken I never hear them swear. I must bid you farewell for the present as I hope to spend the remainder of the day in reading.

    2nd. Sept. We are now going down the River. There are houses on both sides. It is most lovely scenery.

    3rd. Last night we arrived at Quebec. The passengers were all delighted except myself and Mary. I do feel my spirits much depressed.
    4th. My dear friends judge of my disappointment and dismay when Henry came an board this morning and said his Father has gone to Newfoundland. He left a letter here with Henry that informs me he went six hundred miles up and found he had not money enough to purchase land. It requires two or three hundred pounds at the least, and it was not a good place to set up his business; and what we are going to do at St. John’s with such a little money I cannot think. I have a most miserable prospect before me and I have got to cross the Banks again in a little sloop or schooner for there are no other vessels go from here now and the cold season is fast approaching and I shall have to pay a great deal more for my passage than I did to come here, and to go with I don't know whom. My poor husband and boys had seven weeks passage with a bad vessel, bad weather and a Bad master, a drunkard and a great many passengers. By Henry's account they all suffered much, one poor boy died on the passage. This makes me prize Captain Bank’s kindness much more than I did. Dear man, he feels so much for me, a father or brother could [not] be kinder. He has just sent me a nice piece of beef and a loaf of bread that he bought at the town and a bottle of porter.

    6th. Poor Henry found out the Oscar again. His father left him here to find me out. I have to pay fifteen shillings for his board and lodgings and to go there myself before I can get a vessel to go to St. Johns, but dear Captain Banks says we shall stay on the Oscar until he can get a passage for us, and has made Henry come here with us. Yesterday Mr. Hore and family, Mr. Burnell, Mr. Banks, myself, Mary and Emma dined on shore at an English Hotel. How very kind it was of him to take us with him and to pay for our dinner. I never should have found out Mr. Elliot  if it was not for him. We went all over the town to all the merchants and clarks before he could find him. He is a very gentlemanly man and was very kind to us, but poor man he is in a bad state of health. He says he is sorry Duder is gone to St. Johns, he is sure not to do well there. Poor Emma was tired and Captain Banks hired a carriage to take us to the vessel. We are anchored in the river some way from shore. It is most beautiful scenery all around us.

    The Captain, Mary and Henry are gone on shore this afternoon and are to visit some other vessels. Some of the masters were here yesterday, and among the rest Smallridge's son at Torquay a nice steady young man.

    13th. My Dear Friends I have engaged with Captain of a Schooner called the “Irene” to take us to St. Johns for six pounds and to find ourselves, but what we shall do there without money I cannot tell all against the winter too: it is miserable to think of. I shall leave the “Oscar” with a great deal worse heart than I left St. Mary Church. Yesterday we went on board the “Hamel” with Captain Cummings to dine. He has a fine vessel and two of his sons with him. He is going to Cape Breton, Newfoundland. I wish it was going to St. Johns. I should have good accommodation and Captain Cummings says it should cost me nothing. The vessel we are going in is very small. A day or so ago we went on board the “Superb” to tea with Mr. Smallridge. It’s a very fine ship, a very large cabin, nicely fitted up, a large after cabin and a large state room. They brought out three hundred passengers from London, 13 gentlemen in the cabin. They have a cow on board and every comfort and to attend on the cabin a steward and cabin boy, and cook and cook’s, mate, black men. Tomorrow we intend to go on board the “Bonard” to tea. The Captain has got his wife on board. It’s his own ship. We shall not go unless Captain Banks can go with us. He has a great deal of business to attend to. He gets up at four or five oclock in the morning to go up the river buying his timber and he never stays on shore after sunset. He certainly is a clever man and so very kind to me that I hope if he visits any of you my dear friend that you will behave to him with great attention and kindness. The Mate, Mr. Penney of Shaldon, is a very nice steady young man. He is going to call on my sister Harriet. He had likewise been very kind to us all. Quebec is a large place, but I should not like to live there. Henry is delighted with the ships. He goes up the river with Captain Banks when he goes after his timber. He says he will make a fine boy. There are three boys here or he would take him. My dear Ann please to send this scrawl to my dear Mary Ann with this lock of hair, as she requested by Mr. Chord and do let my dear friend Mrs. Weymouth read it, although it’s not worth reading, yet she will be pleased to hear of me. I will write her from Newfoundland and must beg that she will write me there in the Spring. I suppose we shall leave this in three or four days, and as I must go the sooner, the better, as the winter will be coming on and a dreadful dismal winter I expect. I know that my sins have deserved much greater punishment than I have deserved much greater punishment than I have received but I trust that My Heavenly Father will fulfil His gracious promise to me, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”.

    I think I shall not direct this letter to Ann as she may have left St. Mary Church. I hope you will all write me the first opportunity. Mr. Elliot has been on board the “Oscar”  three times to see us, which is very kind of him. He says he wishes his sisters were here now, then we could stay with him. I don't know what I can say more than that I am,
                                    Yours affectionately, 
                                    ANN DUDER.

This letter was transcribed from a typewritten copy, which had previously been made of the original handwritten letter.
Web version by Ian Scott, Charlottetown, PEI - July 9, 2006 - Any corrections are appreciated.

St. Mary Church Road and Kingskerswell are located between Newton Abbot and Torquay in Devon.

Check out the Duder Family material, on Jackie Ebsary David's website. Newfoundland Writer was a Success at Home and Abroad an article on Edwin Francis Duder, is valuable (despite an error in the name of the pioneer couple who arrived in Newfoundland).  Dr. Cluny Macpherson (1879-1966) Reflection of a Newfoundlander tells the story of a son of Campbell Macpherson and Emma Duder.


Do you have information that could be helpful in correcting or adding to the contents of HomePort ?  We appreciate your comments, suggestions and additions. We also appreciate making contact with other descendants and researchers involved with family history research. 
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