Dated: Jan 1/17
Mailed from: Grand Coulee, Saskatchewan
Attached to: N/A
Addressed to: Mrs. N.C. Draper
Writing instrument: Pencil
Writing Paper: 8" x 10" medium weight writing paper with a linen-look and feel. Percy has written straight across the first sheet and down to the bottom, left the backside blank, and then he's filled the second sheet, turned it over and finished halfway down the backside.
People mentioned in this letter:
Ethel* - Noah's wife of 5 yrs, Ethel Isabel Nelson Draper (b 1890)
Will* - Will Rigler, husband of Noah's 35 yr old sister, Ethel Maud (b 1881)
Mr. Buts - 60 yr old John Butts is Noah & Ethel's lodger/hired man**
Places/things mentioned in this letter:
- Keswick - where Ethel is staying with family
- Regina - downtown Regina is 12 miles east of Grand Coulee
- The ERA - local newspaper printed in Newmarket, York County, Ontario
- dispecer - liquor dispenser/vendor (see **Prohibition & article below)
- stalk - he means animal stock as in cattle, horses, etc
- fire insurance**
Word or Phrase Use:
car - automobile since a street car didn't run from Grand Coulee to Regina
nearly strapped - out of money
Merry X Mas
* 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 Notes below
Mrs. N. C. Draper.
Dear Ethel & children
Received the Photos & think they
are fine. Have been waiting
for a letter from you ever since
I came home but have not had
one as yet. how are you all
any way we are all as usually
I think around here. We have
had some very cold weather
ever since I came home until
last Friday it is quite mild now
very little snow I was in to Regina
with the car this after noon the
roads are fine. Well I had a
letter from Noah that was wrote
the eighteenth of Dec said he had
had his first experence on salt
water 20 of them trying to row
a boat 50 ft long and could not
make it go at all some sailors
ah. Well Ethel the stalk is all
looking fine. I think the old man
is getting along pretty good now
he was away for several days selebrati...
just before I got home but was
back to work when I got home
Will had to do his chores while he
was away. I guess it wont
happen again now the doors
of the dispecers closed Saturday.
Mr Buts was telling Will he wished
I would hurry home that he was
going to quit but he has never
mentioned it since I came. I see
by the Era that yous have lots
of snow now. Hope you had
a merry X mas & a Happy new
Year. Say Ethel have you sent
Mr Buts any money yet he came
in the other .and said he was
nearly strapped. had been a little
reckles with what he had : But he
is to get twenty dollars a month
isnt he. he would have $40 coming
to him to night he said.
And your fire insurance I guess
Noah forgot about it I will enclose
there letter to you it should be looked
after at once. Well I must close
hope you can make this letter
out & dont forget to send
us a line.
I remain --- as be fore
Prohibition reached Saskatchewan in April 1915 when Premier Walter Scott and his liberal government halted the sale of liquor within its borders. Bars had to close by 7 pm with no liquids carried home. According to the Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan, Premier Scott blamed alcohol for domestic violence and high crime rates, and felt that it was unpatriotic and more dangerous than German submarines. The following year, in July 1916, bar and club licenses were abolished. Individuals and businesses were prosecuted for non-compliance, and Saskatchewan became the first Canadian province to ban the sale of alcohol in the private sector.
As you can see from Percy's letter, written on January 1st, 1917, it's months later and liquor is still available. I wonder if it's because they were allowed to stay open while disposing of their stock? I don't know if the vendor in question was the local hotel, or if Mr. Butts had been in Regina, which grew into one of the hottest red light districts on the prairies in the following decade, but someone in the area seemed to have alcohol on hand.
In this letter, Percy mentions that Noah and Ethel have received a letter for fire insurance and that he's going to send it to her because "it should be looked after at once".
It's interesting to note that one of the my first posts on these letters was 1906 Percy's Policy which included the magnificent graphics of a life insurance document that is now 110 years old. Percy wasn't married at the time and although single adults of today are told they don't need to spend money on life insurance if they aren't married, Percy's beneficiary was his mother, Sarah Draper, who would receive $1000.00 upon his death, even while his father, David Draper, still lived.
Percy's admonition that Ethel see to the fire insurance at once was in direct contrast to Noah's response in WW1 Letters Home - Dec 19, 1916, when he says, "Well Ethel I dont know what money you mean for Percy to send down but if it was for that life insurance
I dont think I would pay it."
Noah doesn't know that Percy is talking about fire insurance rather than life insurance, but that makes it worse...Noah can't swim...he's in the navy and spends/will spend a majority of his time on the water...and he's heading into a war zone. Unless the policy is for someone else, why wouldn't Noah want Ethel to pay the premium on the life insurance?