Author of Letter: Sarah Louisa Draper Coventry aka Louie
Dated: Mar 4 or 9, 1917
Mailed from: Rutland, British Columbia
Profession: Farmer's wife
Addressed to: Mrs. N.C. Draper, Dear Ethel, Mildred & J.D.
Relationship: Louie is a sister of Noah Draper, author of the WW1 letters
Writing instrument: Pen, black ink
Writing Paper: 2 sheets, 8 1/4" x 10", lightweight textured writing paper. Louie has written on 3 of the 4 sides of paper.
People mentioned in this letter:
Ethel* - Ethel Isabel Nelson, 26 yrs old, Noah's wife of 6 yrs
Mildred* - aka Midge, Noah & Ethel's daughter, 3 yrs old
JD* - James David Draper, 10 months old, aka Jay in early months
Alice* - daughter of Sadie (Ethel's sister) & Cecil Prosser
Ethel's mother - Ida* Amelia Glover Nelson in Belhaven
Louie's mother - Sarah* Sophia Deverell Draper (visits from Sask)
** Louie and Fred Coventry, and their children: David, Sarah, and James
Fred's parents - David Coventry* and Eliza Grogan Stevenson Coventry
Siblings Ethel, Helen, & Eric Thompson - neighbours
Della Mahoney* - Ethel's close friend and neighbour
Millie & Ethel Morton* - friends and neighbours
** old Mrs Draper (Hannah Bennett*) & Edith Draper**
Aunt Jennie Terry - Mary Jane Draper who married Frank Terry*
Etta Terry* - Louie and Noah's cousin
Mrs Campbell - Fred Coventry's sister Margaret who married William Campbell*?
Places/things mentioned in this letter:
Keswick - where Ethel is staying with family
Rutland - where Louie and Fred Coventry live near Kelowna
Kelowna - city in the Okanagan region of British Columbia
the Coulee - Grand Coulee, Saskatchewan
Toronto - 45 miles south of Keswick, Ontario
Word or Phrase Use:
C.S. - Christian Science? (Louie was an ardent member.)
* 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 at the top of this page
** See History Note below
Top left corner:
Monday. I was up in the bush for some wood it is lovely up there LC.
Rutland BC Mar 4th 1917
Mrs N.C. Draper,
Dear Ethel, Mildred & J.D.-
I received your letter on
Friday and was very glad to hear from you and
know you were all well. Sorry to hear Alice had been
so sick, hope she is OK before this. How is Sadie & Cecil
are they still at Mr Prossers. Give them my love.
I guess your Mother will have her hands full with
with her Grand children. Ask her for me how she would
like to have 17 like mother has.
How does Mildred like it down there I suppose
those boys will just work her How big is J.D. now
Well Ethel the children help me busy Sara is just
a little terror climbs all over today she learned to
climb on Davids stool Mother is used to her but
I am afraid she will make Mr & Mrs Coventry fairly
crazy when they get her. We expect them any time
now. They intend to stay up here now. I hope they take a
house in Kelowna.
We named the baby James Lloyd he was two months
old today and weights 14 1/2 lbs.
Mother is just going to bed so she said to rember
her to you and that she wanted to hear more about
the children when you write - x x x from her
I was glad to hear about our old neighbors. Where is
Ethel & Helen Thompson. It hardly seems possible that Eric
is old enough to be a soldier, but times certainly flies.
How is Mrs Herb Winch and family I often think of them
Has Della any children? Do you ever see anything
of Millie & Ethel Morton. If you see Milly tell her I
would like to hear from her. It seems such a little
while since we were at school.
How is old Mrs Draper. it seemed to bad she had
to fall. Poor Edith will be left alone where will
she be staying.
Have you been over to see Aunt Jennie Terry
she must be having it hard. But I hope Etta is
home before this. Where was she staying? and did
she have any of the children with her?
It is over two weeks since we heard from the
Coulee. They were all well and everything at your
place was O.K.
Did you ever get your broach & other things?
Mother & I wrote Noah a long letter tonight. Had a
card from him last week. We sent him a box
about three weeks ago. And intend sending one
this week. Do you send him parcels? I wonder
will he ever get them.
I was to a concert in the school last Friday went
with a neighbor and left Fred home with the
children Had a good time. And found everyone
asleep when I got home. Mother went down to
Kelowna on Tuesday and came back Saturday
I started to go after her but met her coming
with Mrs Campbell.
They have come back to there ranch I am
afraid they will find it pretty cold
Mr Hardy our storekeeper says there is no
use any one telling him this is a mild
climate as he lived 27 years in Toronto and
never felt the cold so much. But I guess
it has been a hard winter all over.
Have you got your Science and Health with you?
Did you tell your Mother and Father about it?
And what do you think of C.S.
Well Ethel it is after 12. so I guess I had
better go to bed.
Tell your people I send my regards.
Kiss the children for me.
Fred joins in love to all
Write soon to Louie & Mother.
History Note 1 - Louie Draper and Fred Coventry
Louie is Noah's sister, Sarah Louisa who married Fred Coventry while both families lived in Saskatchewan. At the time of this letter, Louie and Fred had 3 children and would go on to have one more:
- David Ross born 1913 in Grand Coulee, SK
- Sarah Elizabeth born 1915 in Kelowna, BC
- James Lloyd born 1917 in Rutland, BC
- Beatrice Letitia born 1918 in Kelowna, BC
It was a lengthy search to discover details of her adult life, but with the help of Ethel's 'treasure box' and other surprise blessings, I finally unravelled the mystery which is detailed through these links:
- the search for Louie and Fred
- update on Louie and Fred (looks like another update is needed too)
The image at the top of this post shows Fred Coventry in 1920 surrounded by his children.
History Note 2 - Edith Draper
Edith Draper was born in Belhaven, Ontario, in 1868. She is 2nd cousin once removed to Noah. I first posted about Edith Draper back in Noah and Ethel's 1911 Courtship Letters, after Ethel wrote to Noah "Saw Edith Draper this forenoon. She is the same old girl."
And now in this letter, Louie writes, "How is old Mrs Draper. it seemed to bad she had to fall. Poor Edith will be left alone where will she be staying."
Edith Alicia Sarah Jane Draper was the youngest of 13 children born to Luther Draper (1819 - 1904) and Hannah Bennett (1823 - 1917). Twelve years separated Edith from her next older sisters, twins Martha and Margaret, born in 1856, so Edith may have stayed home and single to care for her aging parents because she was the youngest daughter and felt obligated.
By the time Noah's sister Louie wrote this letter to Ethel on Mar 4, 1917, Edith was a 49 year old spinster still caring for her mother, Hannah Bennett, in Belhaven, Ontario.
However, on July 28th of 1917, Hannah Bennett Draper died and Edith was left alone for the first time in her life except for the numerous friends and relatives she'd included in her social circle throughout the years.
The Newmarket Era dated April 18, 1919, carried this article about her:
"Miss Draper had a very successful wood bee on Friday afternoon, when a number of the young men of the vicinity cut up nearly all her wood. Some of them brought their sisters along. They spent the evening most enjoyably, but could not finish all the fine repast provided by the hostess."
The 1921 Canada Census shows Edith living alone on her family's farm near Belhaven.
And then, on Nov 6, 1926, at the age of 58, Edith Draper married William Gordon Crowder, a widower who owned the Belhaven store, although it appears he lived in nearby Baldwin. (The newspaper clipping of her happy wedding shower is on the right.)
On Nov 19, 1926, the ERA reported that: "Mrs. William Crowder is moving from Belhaven to-day to her new home at Baldwin where she and her husband will be glad to see their many friends come to patronize their general store, at Baldwin."
The following week on Nov 26, Edith's family farm, which had been passed down from Luther Draper and Hannah Bennett, was up for Tender. The newspaper clipping (on the right) stated a brick house, wood frame barn, stable and shed, situated on 50 acres in North Gwillimbury.
The same Nov 26 issue of the ERA mentioned that Crowder's store at the north end of Belhaven looked abandoned since the owner and his new partner in life have moved to Baldwin, and are wished success in their new step in life.
Sadly, William Crowder died on Sep 28, 1938 after 12 yrs of what appeared to be a happy union according to local news snippets. William's obituary stated he and Edith had moved to Ravenshoe, just south of Belhaven, in 1931 where they bought and managed that store. After his death, Edith continued to run "Mrs. Crowder's store" as well as enjoying her always-present social life.