Dated: October 1st 11
Addressed to: Miss E. Nelson, Belhaven, Ont., My Dearest Ethel
Mailed from: Grand Coulee, Sask.
Writing instrument: Black ink pen, but looks grey in places and then darkens as he dips his pen in the ink jar.
Writing Paper: Thick, textured, linen-like paper, 9 inches x 6.5 inches. Paper is folded in half and written in booklet form. Noah hasn't numbered the pages, but he has written them - as usual - in the order of 1, 3, 2, 4. For your benefit, however, I've shown them here in the order they should be read.
People/places/things mentioned in this letter:
Will - *Will Rigler married to *Ethel Maud, Noah's sister. Will and Ethel's kids:
1. Viola - Mary Viola b 9 Sep 1903
2. **Violet - Clara Violet May b 7 Jul 1905
3. Merlin - David Murlin/Murland b 28 Mar 1908
Percy - *Percy Draper - Noah's brother
Mother - *Sarah Sophia Deverell Draper - Noah's widowed mother
Eva & Joe - Noah's sister, *Eva Amelia and her husband, *Joe Perrault
- **whooping cough
- his bite was not as bad as his bark
- ring off
* Look under the Categories/Labels in the right side column for more posts on this
person/place/thing or use the search box in the header
** see Genealogy Notes below
Grand Coulee, Sask.
October 1st 11.
Miss. E. Nelson,
My Dearest Ethel; -
Well Ethel a nother week
has passed & it is that
much shorter time before
I can squeeze you again
say it certainly will be a
happy day when I leave
for the East. for I get as
lonesome as the d---l. Ha. Ha.
Well we are good & buisy
here now. threshing has
started. Will has his wheat
threshed. Percy is threshing
and I will start Tuesday if it
dont rain or any thing else
happen, Say you seem to
think our crops are all spoiled
but they are not I should have
at least 5000 bushels of fair wheat
so that will help some and
about 2400 bu. of feed which
will help some more. eh.
and wheat is a good price
this year so things are
not so bad. Will had
between 35 & 40 hundred bu.
of good wheat & has 100 acres of
flax yet to thresh & Percy
has a lot but I dont know
how much yet.
Well I guess this is enough
of this kind of talk sonow
for something else.
Mother went down to church
with Ethel this morning
so I am at home alone & expecting
them at any minute. guess
Eva & Joe will be up to but
I had rather spend the
after noon with you than
a week with them. but that
Say I dont know wheather
I told you last week that
Viola Violet & Merlin have
the whooping cough. I was
over yesteraday & asked Merlin
what he was barking at & he
said at me. Ha. Ha. told him
I was glad his bite was not as
bad as his bark.
Oh say Ethel do you remember
Mrs. Walter Young. I think I
told you she went over to
England four years ago. she is
back here now & I guess she
will be up for a few days
on Monday. she said she was
going to bring her sister back
with her for me. but I guess
she forgot. Ha. Ha.
Say Ethel I don't know wheather
Percy's have named that boy
yet or not but will find out
later. HaHa guess there is no
name good enough - eh.
Well I guess I will have to ring
off for this time so good bye with
lots of love and 1 000 000 xxxxxxx
PS. guess I will go down N.C. Draper
to night & post this. N.D. x x x x x x x
The definition of Whooping Cough according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is, "Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis."
You can check the CDC website for more official information, because I thought I'd share my family's experience with this disease...
Back in the late '90s, my kids and I developed a cough. We didn't think much about it, but over a few days the phlegm thickened in our throats. Jessie was around 9-10 yrs old, and Nick was 3-4. I don't remember if little JJ was affected as he was just a baby at the time.
But after a couple days, the coughing sounded like barking - just like Noah says in this letter. The kids would cough and cough and then suddenly throw up without warning. It wasn't fun. But it was different for me, because the phlegm clogged my throat and interfered with my breathing. I remember standing in my kitchen unable to catch my breath - straining for air. Several times I kicked the cupboard in frustration and I don't know if it was the kicking that did it, but the phlegm would come up and it would be okay for a couple hours.
The doctor said we were the first confirmed cases of whooping cough in Saskatchewan for years and they didn't have any antibiotics to combat the new strain.
Please don't take what I say next as medical advice in any way, but I can't say the above without telling you the rest... After another day of puking and breathing problems, I turned to natural herbal remedies and bought a bottles of cough syrups known for clearing chest congestion with ingredients like garlic, coltsfoot, elderberry, and mullein. Within a week, the doctor confirmed we were free of whooping cough - and then with pen poised over his note pad, he asked what we'd taken for the disease. As Noah and Ethel would say, Ha Ha.
Remember Ethel's Treasure Box - the source of all of these letters and many of the photos? Here's one of the photos I found in that box:
As you can see in the above image, it doesn't seem to match the people it's referring to: Merlyn Rigler, George Nelums, Ted Rigler, School Teacher. Mainly because Ted Rigler in the photo is a female and Ted is usually attributed to a male.
The names are written in Ethel's handwriting, and since Noah's sister, Ethel Maud married Will Rigler, I was able to confirm that Merlyn was indeed Ethel and Will's son, who was also written as Merlin, Merlund and Merland on census records and other documents, although his birth record had him listed as David Murlin.
Next in the image was George Nelums, but he didn't match anyone in the Draper family tree, nor was he shown in any other photos.
My research began by using the ancestry.ca search engine where I found a Death Certificate for Violet Sarah May Nelms. It didn't sound promising, but as I read down the document, I saw that Violet Sarah May was born on July 7, 1905 in Grand Coulee, Sask and her parents were Ethel Maud and William Albert Rigler. Although the birth month and date was off by a month, the year was correct and the informant for Violet's death was her husband, George Nelms. That document provided a well of information for the family tree about the woman Noah called Violet, but it didn't mention anyone named Ted.
I googled George Nelums and all known different variations of Violet's name and finally got a hit on www.ourroots.ca for the Peace River, Alberta history book, Across the Smoky, for a George and Violet Nelms.
The history book contains a listing written by George Nelms and although it's chock-full of information, he doesn't say anything personal. Of the several photos he included, however, is this one with a caption that reads...
Nelms family, back row: George Nelms, Roy, Ted, (mother) holding Joyce. Front: Margaret and Cousin Joan Mitchell.
The comma after Ted threw me off at first, but clearly, Ted is the mother in this family photo.
I'm confident I finally found the Ted Rigler from Ethel's photograph, who happens to be the Violet Noah mentions in this week's letter.