Library and Archives Canada, no. 1972-118-2
Elizabeth Simcoe was born Elizabeth Posthuma Gwillim in England. The exact date and place of birth are uncertain, as she was orphaned as a baby and lived with her uncle, Admiral Graves, and her aunt Margaret. She married her uncle's godson, John Graves Simcoe, when she was sixteen.
In 1791, her husband was appointed the first lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, and they made the trip from England. After spending some time in Quebec and then Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake), she arrived at York on July 30th, 1793. In 1796, her husband was given a leave of absence and the Simcoes left for England, never to return.
During her time in Canada, she kept a diary and produced many sketches and watercolour paintings of her surroundings.
François Alexandre Frédéric, duc de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, described her in 1795 as:
...timid, and speaks little; but she is a woman of sense, handsome and amiable, and fulfils all the duties of the mother and wife with the most scrupulous exactness. The performance of the latter she carries so far as to be of great assistance to her husband by her talents for drawing, the practice of which, confined to maps and plans, enables her to be extremely useful to the Governor.
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