Author of Letter: Elva Mitchell, age 24 (Ethel's cousin)
Dated: July 15, 1911
Addressed to: Ethel Isabell Nelson, age 21
Mailed from: Indian Head, Saskatchewan
Relationship: 1st cousins (mothers are sisters)
Profession: Farm worker's wife
Writing instrument: Fine point pen, Blue ink
Written on: Cream-colored, slightly thick, unlined writing paper, 5 inches x 8 inches. This letter seems straightforward with page 1, 2 and 3, however it's not quite that cut-and-dry. At the top of page 3, Elva has written, "3. the first one" although I don't know what that's about.
People/Places mentioned in on Page 1, 2 and 3 of this letter:
- *Elva - Elva Jane Nelson and husband, Will Mitchell
- Mrs Draper (pg 1) - *Bertha Hamilton, wife of *Stewart Draper, of Indian Head
- Norma - **Norma Draper, 7 yr old daughter of Bertha and Stewart
- *Lennox's Picnic - see the Genealogy note on July 2 Dear Noah
- Roy Cowieson and wife (Roy's wife, Lavina, is the daughter of William Rye and Hartie Draper - 2nd cousin to Noah)
- Ernie Glover - Ethel's 1st cousin (Ethel's mom, Ida, is sister to Ernie's dad, William)
- Jim Philps/Phillips (Ernie eventually married a Phillips)
- Ethel's Aunt Mary - Mary Ann *Glover, sister of Ida, and wife of William *Linstead of Sintaluta, Sask (about 10 miles from Indian Head)
- Mrs Draper (pg 2) - Noah's mom, *Sarah Sophia Deverell, in Grand Coulee, Sask
- Uncle Jim - *James Nelson, Ethel's dad
- Fathers - **George Caleb Nelson (Elva's father who was on his 3rd wife in 1911)
- Uncle - possible Emanuel since he was very sick in an earlier letter
- Miss Hunt - still haven't discovered the identity of this gentle spinster
- *Indian Head, Saskatchewan - 1 town (about 10 miles) west of Sintaluta on Hwy #1
- Sintaluta, Saskatchewan - 34 miles north of our farm
*Look under the Categories/Labels in the right column for more on posts on this person.
**see Genealogy Notes below
Indian Head July the 15.1911
Miss Ethel Nelson.
My. Dear. Cousin.
Received your welcome
letter a short time ago we are well
hope this to find you folks all the
same. Ethel this is Saturday
afternoon well Ethel this is Saturday
but a week later. it is Just a lovely
day. Mr's Draper is getting supper.
she came home on Wednesday.
morning she has been away for
6 weeks up to the home stead
Norma and I are going to town
to night Mrs Draper Just has
2 children the same two
that she had down East.
But they are big youngester's now
Well have you folks got the Barn
raised yet. I suppose you will be
going to Lennox's Picnic I was there
last year but I guess I will
not be there this year. Roy
Cowieson and wife just live about
3 or 4 mile from here. I was to see
them a few sundays ago.
Ernie Glover is working for Jim
Philps. I think perhaps that
Will and I will go over to Philps
tomorrow. Ethel I have not
been over to see your Aunt Mary
yet but will go. some of these
days. we only live about 4 mile
from the head. go in quiet
often. I have not been up to
see Mr's Draper. is she down
East yet. Well Ethel when you
come west don't for get to come
3. the first one
and see me.
tell Uncle Jim he had better
come up West there is lots of
money up here. people I think
can do a lot better up here.
Well Ethel I can not think of much
to write this time do you ever see
any thing of Fathers. and is Uncle better
now. is Miss Hunt married yet. and
does Benie still go to see her.
Well Bye Bye with Love to all.
hope to here from you soon
Box 142, Sask.
P.S. Please Ethel do not forgot to
put the number of the Box
142, as you other one ws in the
office for nearly 3 weeks.
Genealogy Note #1 - Elva Nelson and William Mitchell
Elva Jane Nelson married William Mitchell in 1907 and sometime after they headed west. In Noah's letter of May 1 Dear Ethel, he writes, "So you did not know Elva & Will were in the West. yes they are working for Steward this summer."
Since 1911 was a census year in Canada, I thought it would be easy to confirm the above fact. Nope. I couldn't find them anywhere. Not in the East. And not in the West. Elva is the sister of Leslie Nelson, the missing cousin, also spoken of in the May 1st letter.
And then I couldn't find several of the names Elva mentioned in the 1911 census - people who were all living around the Indian Head area. (see the map) But a quick look at the census revealed an inky mess and it's a wonder anyone was able to transcribe it at all. What I had to do was find the record in Qu'Appelle's subdistrict #20 and go along page by page. That's what I did and I was on pg 13 of 28 when I found this gem:
- Rigler, Joseph (Joseph Walker Rigler)
- Mitchell, William (Elva's husband)
- " , Alva (should be Elva)
- Linstead, Norman (Aunt Mary's boy from Sintaluta)
The problem is that whoever transcribed the image couldn't read the handwriting and so the 4 names were typed as follows (lower red box):
- Royles, Joseph
- Midahild, William
- Midahild, Alva
- Lumhead, Normon
No wonder the search engine didn't pick them up. One or two letters off would have been okay, but with these errors, the names would have been at the end of thousands of records if I went by search alone. So in this case, knowing the small area to be covered and the small population of it, bypassing the search engine and checking each page was the most efficient way to get a result. Actually, I'm just thrilled I found them!
This presented another problem since, as I said above, Elva and Mitchell are working for Stewart for the summer. If so, why are they listed under Joseph Rigler who happens to be the brother of Will Rigler, husband of Noah's sister? It seems that the 4th person mentioned in this record is 5 yr old Norman Linstead - son of William Linstead and Mary Ann Glover of Sintaluta - yes, the same as in the letter. (And yes, that makes 3 Williams in the same paragraph.)
Since Will Mitchell is listed as a laborer and not a lodger of Walker's, does that mean he's working for both Walker and Stewart? Perhaps they're next door?
I'm not sure how little Norman fits into this if the census was recorded on June 1st and Elva's letter is July 15th, yet Elva hasn't been over to visit her Aunt Mary in Sintaluta yet. But perhaps Norman was only visiting Walker during the census taking period.
When Elva says on Page 1, "Norma and I are going to town to night Mrs Draper Just has 2 children the same two that she had down East" I assumed she meant Norman but left off the N. But no, Bertha and Stewart have 2 children: Norma (b1904) and Lennox (b1906) - both born back in Belhaven before the family moved west. So Norma is with Elva yet I don't know if she's only visiting or if Elva's job is babysitting/child care for Bertha during the day so Bertha can take care of the men.
Genealogy Note 2 - Elva's father, George Caleb Nelson
One more thing about Elva... she's the daughter of George Caleb Nelson which means her grandmother is Eliza Crouch Nelson of last week's missing letter. In this week's letter, she asks Ethel, "do you ever see any thing of Fathers"?
I'm not sure why she added the s at the end of fathers, but here's the story of George Caleb Nelson:
#1 - Hannah Victoria Lantham died in Jun 1894 - mother of 5 kids including Elva
#2 - married Emma Lantham April 1895 - (Hannah's sister) Emma died Aug 1896
#3 - married Mary Tryphena Smith Jan 1897 - she died Aug 1913
#4 - maried Mary Ellen Traviss Aug 1914 - she died May 1922
George Caleb Nelson died in 1936 having outlived his 4th and last wife. His 5 children were all from Hannah.
Perhaps with his record, she was ready for bad news at any moment.
As for Ernie Glover, I found him on 2 different 1911 Canadian census records. At first I thought perhaps the censuses were recorded with a few months between them which would give Ernie time to move west, but they're both dated June 1st, 1911. Take a look at this first one:
As mentioned earlier, Ernie is found at the farm of Jim Phillips. In the upper image, he's the last one in the red box, and in the bottom image, he's the red box.
Everything looks good. According to this letter, he's where he's been confirmed as being. So how can he be on another census? Let's take a look...
One more thing about this census - the search engines will continue to find this census for Ernie because he is indexed in the transcription (the red box in the bottom image). As long as he's there, he'll be found. Because of that, I left a note in the update option beside his name in order to save others the same grief I had while searching for him.
As can often happen in the field of genealogy, I ran into a couple problems just prior to posting the July 14th letter from Eliza Crouch Nelson in Atkins, Ohio. The main problem was that some of the information couldn't be confirmed - or sourced. I had originally planned to post it anyway in the hopes that another 'hidden' relative would find the post and come forward with new information. However, with suspected problems on both the Nelson and Crouch side of the tree, I used last week to research - not intentionally, but one day lead to another and suddenly the week was gone. Although I've made strides, much of it is still speculation.
So until I can confirm more details, I've put Eliza's letter aside.
And that's it for this week. Wow, what a week!