Dated: 18 Sep 1911
Addressed to: Mr. N.C.Draper, My Dear Noah
Mailed from: Belhaven, Ont.
Profession: Farmer's Daughter
Writing instrument: Fine point pen, black ink
Written on: Off-white, textured, plain, linen-like paper, 9.5 inches x 6.5 inches, folded in half in booklet form as 1, 3, 2, 4 although I've showed them here in order. The letter is very hard to read - as if the ink was still wet when the letter was closed and folded.
People/places mentioned in this letter:
- Uncle Harry Barkers - family of Harry *Barker and Margaret Ellen *Glover (Aunt Maggie) sister of Ethel's ma
- Ma - *Ida Amelia Glover Nelson
- Pa - *James Henry Nelson
- Ellie Sweet - Elizabeth Lepard - 1st of 3 wives of Alexander Sweet (1864-1929)
- **Willie Sweet & Laura Traviss (both have Draper Tree connections)
- Uncle Stephen Draper - brother of Noah's deceased father, *David Draper (Stephen Draper is the father of *Stewart Truman Draper in Indian Head)- *George Draper - Stewart's brother (both cousins of Noah)
- Percy's - *Percy Draper (Noah's brother) and wife *Parthena Fisher
- Old Mrs. Pine - local resident
- Belhaven Choir
**The men who headed West:
- Orville *King
- Elgin Barker (unsure if relative of Harry Barker) is at Phillips - ?
Places/things mentioned in this letter:
- Ravenshoe - a few miles south of Belhaven
- Chicken Pie Social
- **Box Social
* Look under the Categories/Labels in the right side column for more posts on this
person/place/thing. If you don't see a label, use the search box at the top of page.
** see Genealogy Notes below
18 Sept. 1911
Mr N. C. Draper.
Dear Noah, -
Rec'd your letter
last week and was very glad
to hear once again. It certainly
was quite a letter I rather
enjoyed what you wrote from
your own mind. rather than
the dictators. You see I like queer
peoples letters better the ones from
the --------- Say I had my fortune
told yesterday. Even if it was
Sunday. We were down to Uncle
Harry Barkers for dinner. and
Old Mrs. Pine was there. Say you
certainly would nearly die laughing
to hear her talk & tell our fortunes.
They had Harvest Home services
at Ravenshoe yesterday & there
is a chicken Pie social there
to-night. I don't expect to go
Our Belhaven Choir is getting
up a box social it is to be held
Friday evening in the Sunday
School Hall. You had better come
along & get a box & enjoy your
I was weighed yesterday & i have
gained nearly 10 pounds since I went
to huntsville. so I guess that is
proof enough that I am not very
bad. "eh" getting lazier every day
I was awfully sorry to know that
your grain was all frozen. It
seems funny one goes to work and works
all that time & then lose nearly
all. The crops down here were
not up to much. Pa says the oats
are light in weight. (not color) ha ha.
The men are cutting corn to-day.
The phone is ringing in great
style to-night. Wish you were
on this line: and I wonder how
many wishes I made this last year
& they never seem to come true
The young people are going to decorate
the hall on Wednesday evening for
this great social of ours.
Say there is a big wedding to-morrow
(Wed) Willie Sweet. Ellie Sweet's son
is to be married to Laura Traviss of
Well have you run across any of the
boys yet. Orville is with his cousin &
Elgin Barker is at Phillips so we heard.
Pa was talking with your Uncle Stephen
last night and he said George was
having very good luck hunting.
You never told me what Percy's
call their little boy.
Well I guess I must close for this
time hoping to see you some
time soon. but I hope you
dont have to walk by rail.
you might happen to play out
before you got here and that would
be worse than ever. ha ha.
from Ethel Nelson.
1. Pie and Box Social
2. 1911 Telephones
3. Willie Sweet and Laura Traviss
These events were used in the past and are still used today as fundraisers. For the box social, single ladies would decorate a box and fill it with a meal - a boxed lunch. At the Box Social, an auctioneer would hold up the decorated box and the single men would bid on it without knowing who had contributed it, nor what it contained. Sometimes, a lady would give her beau a hint so he'd buy the right one. Once all the boxes were auctioned, the men would claim their box and dinner partner and they'd enjoy a meal together.
In 1911, this is the type of telephone Ethel would use when she writes in this week's letter ... The phone is ringing in great style to-night. Wish you were on the line.
To phone out, the person would grasp the funnel shaped receiver in their left hand and place the wide part to their ear. They would then lean in with their mouth close to the speaker - broken on this old phone - and they would use their right hand to crank the handle on the right side which would making a ringing sound as it turned. It would also make a ringing sound in the headset of an operator at the local switchboard who would ask who you wished to speak to and then she would connect you by physically plugging in your line.
When your conversation was done, you would turn the crank and ring off which would signal the operator that you were finished so she could unplug your line. In reality, however, the operator had a grand old time listening in on everyone's phone call and rarely needed to hear the ringing to confirm the fact.
In this week's letter, Ethel says, "Say there is a big wedding to-morrow (Wed) Willie Sweet. Ellie Sweet's son is to be married to Laura Traviss of Holt."
As I mentioned in the previous post, the Draper Family Tree has descendants named both Sweet and Traviss, but because they were distant cousins, I hadn't filled in all their historic details. I've taken several days to do that and finally have this Sweet - Traviss connection figured out...
William Sweet (1775-?) of Pitney, Somserset, England married Keziah Rogers (1781-1828) of England
William and Keziah had 7 children between 1796 and 1818 including a William, but it's the Andrew Sweet line we're interested in. Half of the children were born in New York State, and the rest in Upper Canada (now Ontario).
Andrew Sweet (1810-1893) b in New York, moved as a child to Ontario, married:
- 1834 - Laurilla ? (1813-1840) offspring: Eunice b1834, Orrin b1836, William b1838
- 1840 - Matilda Lydia Ryner (1820-1854) offspring: 7 children
- 1854 - Elizabeth Willoughby (1801-1881) 2 x widow, offspring: 1 daughter
In 1851, Andrew Sweet lived next door to Joel Draper Jr, grandfather of Noah Clement Draper, the groom of these Courtship letters.
- 1859 - Jane Coomer (1841-1864) offspring: Andrew 1860, Hannah 1862, Alex 1864
- 1868 - Mary Matilda Sedore (1850-1915) offspring: 8 children incl'g 1 set twins
Alexander Sweet (1864-1929) lived in North Gwillimbury, Ontario, married:
- 1888 - Elizabeth Lepard (1859-1894) offspring: Ellen 1888, William 1891, John 1893
- 1895 - Edith Ellen Sedore (1870-1911) of illegitimate birth, offspring: none
- 1911 - Mary Ann Sedore (1867-1951), offspring: 6 from previous marriage only
William Sweet 1891 is the one Ethel mentions in her letter of Sep 15. While researching William's family, I found the 1911 census which had been taken June 1st - just three months earlier ...
- William Sweet, 20 yrs old, Laborer
- Laura Traviss, 19 yrs old, Domestic
So while William worked in the fields for Robert Davidson, Laura worked in the house as a Domestic for Lily Kellington Davidson and helped care for the children. Since both William and Laura are recorded on the census, they lived there as well. I wonder if they applied for work there because they wanted to spend time together, or if they met and fell in love while working there? In any case, William and Laura are about to be married.