Our last 1911 Courtship letter was Mar 5, Dear Noah. This week's letter is dated the day after that as Ethel and Noah's letters cross in the mail somewhere between Belhaven, Ontario and Grand Coulee, Saskatchewan.
Author of Letter: Noah Clement Draper
Dated: 3. 6-11
Addressed to: Miss E. Nelson, Bellhaven, Ontario
Mailed from: Grand Coulee, Sask
Writing instrument: Fine point pen, Black ink
Writing Paper: Thick, textured, linen-like paper, 9 inches x 6.5 inches. Paper is folded in half and usually written starting on the front as page 1, then inside for 2 and 3, and
ending with page 4 on the back. Noah has changed the way he fills the inner pages again by turning the paper in a vertical position and writing across, and all the way down over both pages.
Mentioned in this letter:
- Joe & Eva - Joseph and Eva Amelia - one of Noah's sisters and her husband
- Maud (Victoria Maud) sister of Ethel's mother, Ida Amelia Glover
- Percy - Noah's older brother
- Arley - no idea who he is yet
- Mother - Sarah Sophia Deverell
- Ethel (Ethel Maud) another of Noah's sisters
- Louie - see the Genealogy notes for a new development!
- Veda - 16 yr old daughter of Joe & Eva
- Fanny - Joe's niece
Grand Coulee, Sask. 3. 6-11.
Miss. E. Nelson,
Dear Ethel; -
Well Ethel another week
has slipped away and a nother
day of rest is here but not much
rest. Ha. Ha. Was down to church
this morning & over to Joes for dinner
& tea then back to church &
now home. clock just struck
Well Ethel I missed your letter
this week but guess I know the reason.
How do you like it at Maud's?
Have been at office 3 times
& Percy has been down twice
but all th was a
Post Card from Arley. Havent saw that
yet Percy has it. but he could not keep
your letter if there had been one.
Was in Regina last Tuesday with
Mother & Ethel ordered mother a fur
coat made it is to be finished next
Well I have found plenty to do
since I came home & will not run
out of a job for some time i guess
dont you feel sorry for me. Eh?
Saw Louie at church today & was
to go home with her this morning but
got over as far as Joe's and Joe & Eva.
went so I stayed there to run the
house & I had a hard time of it I
can tell you. between Veda & Fanny,
Joes. Niece they keep things lively.
Say Ethel when I got home them
post cards I was telling you about
of the engineer & I were at Percy's
so I am sending ne. Hope it
won't scare you to death. You
know me as I am not as it shows
me. Ha. Ha.
Say Ethel mother gave. Ethel her
organ & Ethel sold hers so I will
have to whistle for music all next
summer. but never mind I like a
pianno. dont you.
Well every body is getting back
from there trips now & I can
tell you they are coming back
to bad roads but nice weather
as a rule. it has only stormed one
day since I got back. guess
I must have some influence
with the weather man.
Welll I am preety nearly
run out for this time. but
I will look for a long newsy
letter next week & if you dont
send expect a storm. Well I
guess this is all for this time
write soon to your. (What
shall I say) little Boy Brown.
x x x x x N. C. Draper.
I found Fred & Louie - I think! It's amazing how the genealogical facts fall into place once that first piece of the puzzle is found. And now the Fred & Louie puzzle is complete. Here's what we knew as of the Feb 27th Courtship Letter where Fred was first mentioned:
- Louie is the nickname for Sarah Louisa - Noah's sister
- Noah had written, "Was at Joe's last night for tea and also Fred and Louie we
had a big time Louie took mother with her so I had to take the girls. O. Joy."
- as explained in the genealogy notes beneath that letter, I hadn't been able to find out who Fred was because I didn't have his last name.
Earlier this week while waiting for the school bus with the boys, I sorted through a bag of assorted sized photos from Ethel's treasure box and put them in a small album* I'd found. I was disheartened that none of the photos showed Fred and Louie and yet Fred's name was so familiar.
I had found a Fred Coventry in JD's small address book, but discounted it not only because the man lived in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan - a 45 min drive at today's highway speeds, but because most of the names in JD's address book were for men and their loved ones in WW2. If JD's Fred had been the husband of Louie, you'd think - as JD's Aunt - he would have put 'Aunt Louisa', or 'Fred and Louie", etc.
Louie's last census appearance was in 1901, age 22, in Ontario. The family's move out west happened about 1904 and since Louie was of marriageable age, I thought she may have stayed out east. During my search, however, I stumbled upon a 1916 census listing:
- Louie Stewart, female, est age 35, married to Fred Stewart, living in Red Deer, Alberta
Our Louie would have been:
- Louie ----------, female, age 37, presumably married to Fred ------------
A further search yielded this Register of Deaths:
- Louisa Stewart, female, est birth 1881, died in York, Ontario, 29 Dec 1919
Our Louisa would have been:
- Louisa -------, female, birth 1879, place of death unknown, (born in York), died 1920
So Louie Stewart in the 1916 census was close, and so was the Louisa Stewart in the death register. And although dates can be off by a couple years, it just didn't feel right. Something kept niggling at me.
I went back to Ethel's treasure box and began searching the dozens of postcards knowing that many were actually photos. An earlier post Early Kodak Advertising showed how simple it was to take photos, label them, and turn them into postcards. Another post Early 1900 Camera Talk showed photos of a camera hubby had received from his father years ago, knowing it had been passed down from his father, Noah Draper. So, many of the photo postcards in Ethel's treasure box were taken from that very camera of Noah's.
So there I was, looking through Noah's postcards of WW1 ships, sailors, English castles, and people he'd come across on his travels... and I came across a ripped photo of a man and his horse and buggy. And a quiver went through me.
The niggle came back and I remembered the little address book in Ethel's treasure box. A quick flip through the pages and I found this:
With the knowledge that Fred Coventry was a very real possibilty of being Louie's husband, I went back to Ancestry.com and searched for Sarah Louisa (Louie) Coventry.
IN MEMORY OF LOUISA DRAPER
BELOVED WIFE OF
G. F. COVENTRY
BORN MARCH 17, 1879
DIED FEB. 1, 1920
Here's what I now know out about Fred and Louie:
1906 - Both lived in the Regina area but not married
1911 - They were married and living in the Regina area
1916 - Unable to locate in the special Western supp census
- no further Canadian census released
- no further record of them until Louie's death in 1920
But most surprising of all, according to the 1911 census, Fred and Louie had no children and although Fred was almost 10 yrs older than Louie, he had never married. So the big question is... Who are the girls Noah is talking about in his letter?