Dated: Aug 13, 1911
Addressed to: Mr. N.C.Draper, Grand Coulee, Sask - My Dear Noah
Mailed from: Huntsville, Ont.
Profession: Farmer's Daughter
Writing instrument: Fine point pen, black ink
Written on: Off-white, beautifully textured, linen-like paper, 9 inches x 7 inches, folded in half with a pansy motif. This is standard early 20th century pre-folded notepaper. Ethel has written on the pages in booklet form numbering 1-4.
People/places mentioned in this letter:
- Aunt Sarah - *Sarah Elizabeth Glover, sister of Ethel's mother
- *Uncle John - John Thomas Winter, Sarah's husband
- *Ernie (Ernest) Winter - 9 yr old son of Uncle John and Aunt Sarah
- Aunt Mary Rigler - Uncle John's aunt *Mary Breckon Rigler Sibley
- Uncle *Emanuel Nelson - Ethel's Pa's paternal uncle
- Mother - Ida Amelia Glover Nelson
- Pa - James Henry Nelson
- Ella Smith of Huntsville area
- Mary Smith of Belhaven
Places/things mentioned in this letter:
- the portage - see Genealogy Notes
- *Toronto - 146 miles south of Huntsville
- Play: Modern Courtship
* Look under the Categories/Labels in the right side column for more posts on this
person/place/thing. If you don't see a label, use the search box at the top of page.
** see Genealogy Notes below
Huntsville Aug. 13, 1911
Mr N.C. Draper,
My Dear Noah,
Oh, I hardly know
how to wrie to-day. I am
feeling so lonesome. Idont know
what is the matter with me but
I just feel as though I couldn't
stand it any longer, but this is
me right over, get the blue's I guess.
Well Noah I am not particuarly
run down with hard work.
Although I was feeling rather down
mostly all last week, but am
feeling better now. I guess you dont
need to worry about me. I think
I am too lazy to ever hurt myself.
Uncle John has just come in he has
been down to the station to try & get my
ticket extended, but the agent said we
had left it to - long. you see it runs
out to-morrow & my ticket would have
to go to Toronto, so I guess I will be
going home to-morrow afternoon.
Uncle John is going back to work to
night on the midnight. He didn't know
what to say when we told him his
Aunt Mary Rigler was married
We were to the show last night, one
play was "modern courtship". Say
it was certainly fine. The poor young
man was bald headed.
Had a letter from home saying they
were all quite well. although Uncle
isnt any better. I guess his time is short
& I am rather anxious to go home to see him
I guess you must be busy with all
your extra work this summer. Say!
dont you wish you had never saw the
East last winter. You think of me
perhaps overworking myself but what
about yourself. remember your just as
important in this world as I am. and
life is to short at is best. and we
must try & not do or use anything to
shorten our days. Aunt Sarah & I were
talking of who we thought we would
miss most. she thought she would rather
die than Uncle John or her children.
I have often thought I would rather die
than you. or any of my sisters or brothers
or mother & pa. I have often wondered if any
thing happened to you. if your folks would send
me word. I am sure I would want to know. I guess
you would know by my writing that I
was kind of out of my mind. (haha)
Ernie is trying his best to coax me
to stay until Wed. he wants me to
go to their S. School pincic on Tuesday
at the portage. I was to the portage on
Wednesday. & enjoyed my boat ride fine.
I expect a Miss Ella Smith to call
this afternoon. she is a 1st cousin of
Mary Smiths & Belhaven. Well I guess
the next mail I get from you will
be at Belhaven. I close for this time
With lots of love & xxxx from one whose
love is all for thee your Sweetheart.
All my research into what and where they were talking about pointed to one place: the portage between Peninsula Lake and Lake of Bays which was a short boat ride from Huntsville. The portage was only 1 1/8 mile long, but because there was a 100 foot height difference between the two lakes, the only way in 1911 to get from one lake to the other was on the Portage Railway - the shortest commercial railway in the world.
Also known as the Portage Flyer, the railway's main purpose was to transport cottagers and tourists from one steamboat to another. During my research, I happened upon Charlie Cooper's Railway Pages where a wealth of information can be found not only on the Portage Flyer, but on railroad history, railroad modelling, and toy trains.
The following map from Charlie Cooper's Railway Pages has the best diagram for showing you the location of the Portage Railway, while his website shows more detailed drawings of the actual route.
On July 1st, 2000, the Portage Flyer made it's inaugural run from the Muskoka Heritage Place to the round table at Fairy Lake and back again. Once billed as the World's Smallest Railway, the Portage Railroad now opens it's doors for tourists and historians every summer.