Well, yes. I am. It seems like every time I have one question answered, there are several more wanting the same. Here's one example...
Last week's post was 1909: To Noah, A Letter From Home where we read a letter - or perhaps dissected would be a better word - from Noah's father, David Draper. The whole point of the letter was that David was hurt and couldn't run the farm any longer. He wanted Noah to come home to take over the chores and keep everything running smoothly.
If you recall the letter, it starts by saying... and remember, I'm quote it all verbatim...
Grand Coulee Feb the 21 1909
As I looked at the other letters this week, however, I noticed that most of them had another location after the salutation. David doesn't use a saluation and so he doesn't have the second location.
On all the others, the first location - the one beside the date - is where the letter is from.
And the second location - beneath the saluation is where it's going.
With that thought process, last week's letter is from David, Sarah and Louie, who are all in Grand Coulee already. Of course, that means they didn't move out in the 4 months between David writing the letter and his passing away, but earlier. How much earlier? I don't know. But this is what I do know:
- 1901 Canada census records show the Draper's were still in Ontario.
- 1906 Saskatchewan census shows they hadn't arrived in the west yet.
- 1909 - Dec 29th, Noah buys land in Saskatchewan.
- 1911 Canada census records show they were no longer in Ontario.
So the mystery is to find out when they moved from Ontario to Saskatchewan, and which members of the family moved with them. *Stay tuned as I will be posting updates as I find them.
I found 3 postcards that fit in this time period. Although they don't answer the question of the westward move, they provide clues toward the answer. First, let's look at a map stretching from Belhaven, Ontario which is where the Draper family was living, to Grand Coulee, Saskatchewan where they ended up.
Postcard #1 to Ethel Nelson
Dated: June 26, 1907
Addressed to: Miss Ethel Nelson, Belhaven, Ont.
Mailed from: Huntsville, Ontario, Canada (Green A on map)
Writing instrument: Black ink, possibly fountain pen
Stamp: 1 cent Canada
Huntsville June 25
Dear Sister and all the rest.
We are all well. hoping you
are the same. we have
had 5 thunder storms here
since last Wensday. there
was a terrible storm here
yesterday. this picture is
right across the river from
us. Write soon and tell me
the news. Bye Bye now
Miss Ethel Nelson
We can add another piece to the puzzle:
1907 - 17 yr old Ethel was still living at Belhaven.
Postcard #2 to Noah Draper
Dated: December 25th, 1908
Addressed to: Mr. NC Draper, Burks Falls, Ont (North of green A on map)
Mailed from: Ignace, Ont (Green B on map)
Writing instrument: Pencil
Stamp: 1 cent Canada
Dec the 25, 08
NCD Well you
will see by this that
we are on our way
to Toronto go by
Mr. N.C. Draper
Twenty-one year old Noah is in Burk's Falls, which is an hour or two north of Belhaven. The Huntsville resort in Postcard #1 is between Belhaven and Burk's Falls. We don't know why Noah is there, but he's old enough to have gone out to get a job.
Noah's older brother, Percy, is on his way east - presumably to visit the Belhaven family they left behind. Toronto is one hour south of Belhaven.
I like to think that Percy and Noah will meet at Belhaven for Christmas, but I really don't know. I need to find and decipher more letters. I'll also do more searches in the Burk's Falls area like check the directory/phone book, etc to see what I can dig up.
Another piece to the puzzle:
1908 - Percy is on an eastbound train, so he must be coming from Saskatchewan.
Since we know the Draper's weren't on the 1906 Saskatchewan census, the window of their move is now between June 1906 and Dec 1908.
Postcard #3 to Ethel Nelson
Dated: February 4, 1910
Addressed to: Miss Ethel Nelson in Toronto, Ontario
Mailed from: Belhaven, Ontario
Relationship: ? possibly a friend
Writing instrument: Blue inked pen, possibly fountain
Hope you are
having a good time
I was to S.S. on Sunday
and Sadie said you
could have them with
fishers and I think that
will be all right if you think so.
Send the sample
if you think best
Don't stay too long.
Bye-bye Ella (or Eulla)
Miss Ethel Nelson
- I don't know the author, Ella.
- I don't know what she means by 'fishers'.
- I don't know anything about the 'sample'.
However, this postcard is important because it's proof that Ethel lived in Toronto for a time before marrying Noah. In some of the other letters, mention is made of her time in Toronto, but until I read this, I didn't know any dates. It wasn't uncommon for people in this area to work in Toronto during the week, and go home for the weekends. Neither back then, or now.
We now have the following information on Ethel:
1905 - age 15 - passed entrance exam for collegiate or high school
1908 - age 18 - worked in Toronto, although we don't know at what occupation
Again, the postcards are raising more questions, but like the letter, they're puzzle pieces in the life of Noah and Ethel.
Have you picked up anything from these postcards that I have missed?