Dated: June 26th, 1911
Addressed to: Miss E. Nelson, My Dearest Ethel (21 yrs old)
Mailed from: Grand Coulee, Sask
Writing instrument: Fine point pen, Black ink, but looks blue-grey in places
Writing Paper: Thick, textured, linen-like paper, 9 inches x 6.5 inches. Paper is folded in half, written on front and back like a book, but inside, paper is turned sideways and written across short length and down both pages.
People/Places mentioned in this letter:
- *Joe Perrault: married to Noah's sister, Eva Amelia
- Reuben and Irwin: 11 & 9 yr old sons of Eva Amelia and Joe Perrault
- *Will Rigler: married to Noah's sister, Ethel Maude
- George Metcalf: local carpenter
Phrase: Better late than never**
Noah signing as Little Willie**
* Look under the Categories/Labels in the right column for more on posts on the above people.
**More info under Genealogical Notes
Grand Coulee June.26.
Miss. E. Nelson,
My Dearest Ethel;-
Received your welcome
letter Saturaday and
was glad to hear you
were still O.K. hope
this will find you the
same a gain.
Well Ethel it is now nearly
six months since you made
me the happiest of men and
it will be nearly six more
before I can clame your
promise. wish it were
tomorrow. but it is better
never, but better never late. eh.
Well I am drawing gravle for the
house expect to get enough home
by. Friday night as I want togo
to Bell Plaine on the first to a
picnic & also to play ball.
Say it wont be safe for me to go to
the Coulee now. for Pence was to
play us to night. and I never thot.
about it untill it was to late to
go. so if you hear about my funeral
dont be suprised. Ha. Ha.
Reuben and Irwin came home
with me Sunday morning
and intend to stay for a few days.
Oh say I didnot tell you that
the game was postponed on Sat
on account of a storm and I dont
know when it will be played.
Well the carpenter was just here
and so I am going to finish this up
now & send it down with Will in
the morning. Oh say. Pense was
down last night but G.C. beat
so I guess I will be safe Ha Ha.
score was 10 to 2. There is a game
tomorrow night between the
married and single men and
I guess I will be at that if
nothing happens I bet the
single me will beat. Ha. Ha.
Oh say Irwin got homesick
and went home with the carpenter
(George Metcalf). he is building
Joes barn. it will cost him
over $3000. by the time it is
finished & will be all done
by the last of the week.
Say my barn cost me just
about $150. Ha. Ha. quite a
Suppose your barn is
well on the way by this time
& Ill bet you will be glad
when it is done. Well Ethel
I guess I will ring off for this
time so good Bye. With lots
of love from your little Willie.
Noah says: Better late than never, but better never late. I don't know where he got the last part of the phrase from, but the www.phrases.org.uk site attributes it to Geoffery Chaucer who wrote the Canterbury Tales back in 1386.
However, I found an earlier reference to the Roman author & historian Titus Livius who quoted Better Late Than Never when he lived back in 59 BC - 17 AD.
Genealogy Notes #2 - Little Willie
Several times now Noah has ended the letter by saying your Little Willie so I figured it was time I found out who/what he meant.
It seems there are 2 references to draw on depending what you're looking at:
1. 1899 - Little Willie in Mischief Again - a short comedy film
This is one of at several where Little Willie gets into mischief. In one, he draws a face on his sleeping father's bald head, in another he ends up with a face covered in soot, and in a third, he sets up a bucket of water so someone else gets drenched.
2. 1910 era newspapers contained Little Willie jokes as fillers. These were the same jokes we've heard referred to as Little Johnny jokes in recent years, and apparently there were Little Audrey jokes in the 30's. I've seen these jokes in The Newmarket Era and from touring the net, as well as references for many other newspapers of the time.
The last Little Willie joke I read in the Era went like this... Little Willie's aunt (or grandma) is about to slice up the pie and Little Willie asks if her spectacles magnify things. She answers, yes, they do. She's pleased that he's so smart. Little Willie responds that perhaps she'd like to take off her spectacles then before she cuts him a slice of pie.
I wonder if Noah calls himself Little Willie because he gets into trouble whether he likes it or not, or is it because he's a smarty plants like Little Willie the schoolboy? Can you tell from his letters?