Dated: July 23rd, 1911
Addressed to: My Dearest Noah (Noah Clement Draper, Grand Coulee, Sask.)
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 blue forget-me-not motif. This is standard early 20th century notepaper, pre-folded in booklet form. Ethel has written on the pages in booklet form however, she's written the inside straight across the widest part so there are only 3 unnumbered pages.
People/places mentioned in this letter:
- Aunt Sarah - *Sarah Elizabeth Glover, sister of Ethel's ma
- Uncle John - *John Winter, husband of Aunt Sarah
- **Mrs. Rigler - Genealogy Note #2
- *Elva Mitchell
- Mrs. Winter - a relative of Uncle John ?
- Miss Gall
- May/Mae Anderson & Stanley *Mahoney
Places/things mentioned in this letter:
- *North Bay - north of Huntsville
- **Steamboats: S.S. Ramona and S.S. Wa Wa
* 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
Huntsville, July 23, 11.
My Dearest Noah, -
Well I missed your
letter this week. but thot perhaps you
sent it to Belhaven. there will be an
anxious girl until she gets one, I
havent got a letter from home either
since I came up here. Aunt Sarah is
writing to Uncle John he is away up to
North Bay working in a mill. I hope you never have to go away off from home to
work. for I can imagine just how it would
be, I think I ought to know a little, "eh"
when my best friend living is miles and miles away. But for the
meeting some day. Well Thrusday was Lennoxs picnic. and I see
by the paper that they had a big time. They presented Lennox with
a life size oil painting of himself. Be an awful thing for him to look
at, "eh", Are you Conservative or Reformer? I am for the right party.
The fire Tournament is to be here in huntsville on Aug 3rd.
I guess we will be to that all right. I was telling uncle Johns
that Mrs Rigler was married, and they wanted me to ask you
her name and address. So that they can write to her &
congratulate her. We are expecting company sometime this afternoon
a Mrs Winter & a Miss Gall is coming in,
Suppose you will be having a great old time when the Worlds
Fair starts at Regina. I guess the fair would be all the people could
talk about now? "eh" The day of our raising some girls were at me,
wanting to know when I was to be married. I told them in Sept (ha) May
Anderson was one of the girls so I ask her the same old question and
she said in August. Stanley & May are to be married in the spring (haha)
Well it is just 1 week yesterday since I
came up here. and I got a return ticket
so I guess I will stay until that runs out.
Oh, Noah you want to write often.
I guess you think I am a impatient
kid, it is rather lonesome sometimes.
Was down town last night, & think I will
go to-morrow night also. Will go untill
I get some mail. What has become
of Elva I wrote to her some time ago &
she has never answered. 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, - will send you a picture
postcard of them soemday. Will close
With all love from Your Friend & Lonesome
& Loving Sweetheart. Write, - x x x x x x x x x x
#1 - Muskoka Steamers Ramona & Wa Wa
#2 - Finding Mrs. Rigler
Genealogy Note 1: Muskoka Steamers Ramona & Wa Wa
In this week's letter, Ethel mentions the big boats - the steamers Ramona and Wa Wa. It took some doing, but I finally found an image of the SS Ramona of Huntsville...and yes, although it's not as big as Ethel made it sound, it is bigger than an Uncle John's rowboat...
And on Wikipedia I found a steamboat chart for the Huntsville and Lake of Bays Transportation Company (HLBTC) which has this notation:
S.S. Dortha, 1894, HLBTC, Lake of Bays, Renamed the Ramona in 1908
Unfortunately a search for an image of the SS Dortha didn't bring up any results.
That left the S.S. Wa Wa, as Ethel mentioned, although this steamer proved even harder to locate than the Ramona. One clue was a reference in passing that the Wa Wa berthed at the dock of the Wa Wa Hotel in Lake of Bays, not far from Huntsville. My research was hampered by the fact that the Wa Wa Hotel burned down in 1923, so what happened to the steamer?
And then I found this photo at the Virtual Museum of Canada.
There is a final note to this story... this research triggered a memory about a souvenir folder of postcards I found in Ethel's treasure box. The postcards are all together accordian-style and feature the Bigwin Inn which sprang up beside the Wa Wa Hotel in Lake of Bays. I won't display the postcards here because we don't have room to discuss the Bigwin Inn here, however, the souvenir folder is from Noah and Ethel's daughter, Midge, and was posted in 1944 when she went up to the District of Muskoka. And it's Midges's note that relates to this week's post...
Hello Everyone. -
We were over to Bigwin this
afternoon, so I got this folder to send to
you. - it certainly is a grand place, - the
Bigwin Dock is where the Wa Wa used to
be, - the Wa Wa burnt down abut 1919
or around there somewhere, - about 15 lost
their life, - Bigwin is on an island.
We went up to the tower today, - you
certainly get a grand view from up there, -
you can see miles.
So long. - love. Midge.
In this week's letter, Ethel asks Noah for the newly married Mrs. Rigler's name and address so that Uncle John can write and congratulate her.
It made sense that Noah would know because his sister, Ethel Maud married William Albert Rigler, and it's at their house where Noah stayed before the weather was warm enough for him to move down the road and camp on his own land - which he's doing now that his house is being built.
What didn't make sense, however, was that Uncle John would ask for Mrs. Rigler's new name and address because his own mother, Nancy Maria, was a Rigler before she married his father, Reuben Winter. However, if the marriage was recent and in the North Gwillimbury area, then perhaps the news hadn't reached Huntsville yet.
Although I could have peeked at the upcoming letters for Noah's answer, I decided to research on my own in case I discovered more history about John's family which is very sparse. Here's my research path:
I have 8 Mrs Rigler's posted on our family tree and there are probably more because we only list the branch relating to Ethel Maud Draper's marriage to William Albert Rigler on 25 Dec 1901. I started by bringing up the Rigler Family View on my laptop screen so that at a glance I could see who had died prior to 1911. Sadly, Uncle John's own mother died 3 yrs after his birth. Of the ones that were left, I looked at their profiles to see if anyone had married in 1911 - and drew a blank.
In another tab on my browser, I pulled up the index for the Ontario newspapers online website and searched for Rigler and then 1911. Lots of news, but no marriage.
I reread what Ethel had written and it dawned on me that if Mrs. Rigler married and had a new name, then Rigler hadn't been her maiden name, but that of her husband. Yes, it makes sense, but it really hadn't clicked before. Knowing that, I began to search the Family View for a Mrs. Rigler whose husband had died prior to 1911.
And there it was... As I just mentioned, Uncle John's mother was Nancy Maria Rigler and her brother was Albert William Rigler. If the name sounds familiar, it's because he was the father of Ethel Maud's husband, William Albert Rigler.
Albert Wm died in 1904 leaving his widow - 49 yr old Mary Elizabeth Breckon aka Mrs. Rigler, 15 yr old Joseph, and 8 yr old Ernest at home since the other children, including our Will, had left home already.
My search on Mary E. Breckon found another marriage record for her...
Bride: Mary Rigler of Newmarket, 63, widow, daughter of Joseph Breckon
Groom: Robert Sibley of Newmarket, 67, widower, son of John Sibley
Marriage: 22 May 1911 in St. Catharines, Lincoln County, Ontario
So, Ethel is asking Noah about Mrs. Rigler because Mary E Breckon is the mother-in-law of Noah's sister. I think part of that was also because the marriage occurred way down in Southern Ontario and The Newmarket Era didn't have any details, which is strange for a community newspaper.
I hope the above research encourages you to try your own paths of discovery.