Dated: Aug 6 . 11
Addressed to: Mr. N.C.Draper, Grand Coulee, Sask - My Dearest Noah
Mailed from: Huntsville, Ont.
Profession: Farmer's Daughter
Writing instrument: Fine point pen, black ink
Written on: Off-white, beautifully textured, linen-like paper, 9 inches x 7 inches, folded in half with a red carnation motif. This is standard early 20th century notepaper, pre-folded in booklet form. Ethel has written on the pages in booklet form numbering 1-4.
People/places mentioned in this letter:
- Aunt Sarah - *Sarah Elizabeth Glover, sister of Ethel's mother
- *Uncle John - John Thomas Winter, Sarah's husband
- Uncle *Emanuel Nelson - Ethel's Pa's paternal uncle
- *Sadie - Ethel's 16 yr old sister
- *Veda Perrault - Noah's 16 yr old niece in Grand Coulee
- Glover cousins
**Mr Bradley - Huntsville next door neighbor
Places/things mentioned in this letter:
Huntsville Fire Tournament
*Burk's Falls Fire Brigade (another post shows location on map)
H. Landing - Holland Landing, southwest of Belhaven
- Try. & Try again, you'll succeed at last.
- put in lockup (jail)
* 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
To get you started, here's a photo I found in Aunt Norma's Treasure Box (see last post) of Uncle John and Aunt Sarah. Since the photo is taken at the wedding of their son Ernest, they look about 20 years older than they would in 1911. Read the names, too, because most of the front row have been mentioned in these courtship letters.
Huntsville, Aug 6. 11
Mr N. C. Draper.
Grand Coulee, Sask.
My Dearest Noah, -
Rec'd your letter
last week and was glad to hear
from you once again. It still found me
here at Uncle Johns having a very good
time. but am going home on Tuesday.
Aug 15th. I guess we will be busy
this next week running around &
working too. We are going on a boat
excursion on Wednesday. Had a big time
on Thursday last at the Fire Tournament.
Burk's Falls Brigade won the banner, but
Huntsville was the quickest. but they couldn't
take the banner on account of thier running
on thier own grounds. Now I wonder if I too
would'nt like for you to be here and
give me a little advice. Never mind
when we get the chance, I wonder if we
will have forgotten how to give advice. Eh
Well we have been rather lazy to-day
hav'nt been to church to-day. it has
been so dredfully hot. I wish your
busy time was over now, and that
you were on your way down here
Remember you are to come as
soon as you finish up nicely and
can get away. I don't want you
to stay away any longer than possible
It certainly is long enough as it is.
Sorry to hear you were defeated in
your base ball game. Try. & Try
again, you'll succeed at last. Aunt
Sarah is reading some comic jokes
Uncle John is coming home next Sat
to spend over Sunday. Well here I am
again, we have been out on the lawn
talking with Mr Bradley, the next door
neighbor. Mr Bradley was telling of
seeing so many young girls, (school girls
he called them) running around with
boys. It certainly is true here in town.
And say! the drunken men you see.
Some nights after we have gone to
bed you will here them going by. swearing
and yelling to the top of thier voice, and
the day of the Tournament, it was simply
awfull to see so many young men drunk.
& put in the lockup. Have saw more
drunkenmen since I came up, than I ever
seen before I believe. I hav'nt had a letter
from home this last week. but I guess they
must be all alive or I would have heard
Uncle Emmanuel was very low the last I
heard from them. I don't know whether
Sadie has passed her exams or not.
How is Veda? is she as lively as ever.
Say I have never answered her card. but
will some of thse days. Am going to stop
a couple of days on my way home at
H. Landing to see my cousins Glovers I am
to getting rather lonesome to see home once
again. I now must close for this time with
love from Ethel (xxxxxxxxxx lots of them & love)
1911 Courtship: July 16 Dear Noah - Uncle John was. at the station to meet me. he had a row boat there. and so I had a good boat ride first of all...The river is just about 20 rods from their door. The boats are running all the time Sundays too.
1911 Courtship: July 23 Dear Noah - The big boats are running here everyday. The Ramona went out this afternoon. I have been down to the Wa Wa, and have been up on the Mountain.
This week Ethel mentions seeing and hearing all the drunken men walking by, which indicates she was living near the downtown core since that's usually where the dregs of society congregate due to it's normally central location.
But the clincher came when she mentioned Mr. Bradley as their next door neighbor. She's mentioned him before, but not who he was. Armed with that knowledge, I went back to the 1911 census record and searched for Mr. Bradley near John Winter's entry. And there it was - boxed in blue - right above the red box of John, Sarah, Ernest, and baby Mabel.
I opened Google Earth and searched for 11 Elm St, Huntsville, Ontario. The program zeroed in to a spot near downtown and near the river - across the river in fact, where I guessed Ethel was staying.
Ethel said they lived 20 rods from the river and could see all the boat traffic going by. The photo at the top of this post shows that she could see the town dock where the big boats berthed, as well as the swing bridge. It must have been exciting for her!
Now about those drunken men mentioned in this letter... Huntsville had only been settled in the last quarter of the 19th century. Due to the rocky terrain however, farms were few and far between. Most people made their money by with the fledgling tourist trade or the logging industry. Huntsville was a gateway to the northern places like North Bay where the logging industry was the main industry. During the forest fire season, crews of fire fighters would be brought in to combat the blazes.
That put a lot of young, strong men in an area where they outnumbered the young single women by about 10 to 1 or more. And without a home life, the single men were spending their leisure time looking for a girl or trying to keep the one they had. Along with drinking away their loneliness - and maybe even homesickness, I'm sure a lot of fisti-cuffs erupted.
I think it's ironic that in a recent letter Ethel was worried about Noah hiring a girl to help feed his men in case he found the new girl was 'the one', when he's back on the prairies and probably spending too much time thinking about her and all those available men.