Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Letter 143: I thinks the folks have died

Edmonton, March 12, 1913

Dear Brother,

I received your letter of February 26 and was glad to hear from you and to know that you and your family are well.

Sorry to hear that Mistress Watters is sick, but she seems to be ailing most of the time.

I am much obliged to you for looking after my business back home. I don't hear from them very often.

You wanted my advice in regard to coming out West. Well, I think the West is ahead of the east in some ways but it has its drawbacks. If you want to go farming the frost and hailstorms is after you. I think if you want to come out west you best buy an excursion ticket and have a look at the country.

I wouldn't advise any person who has a comfortable home in the east to pull up stakes and come without considering it.

There is lots who made money out here in real estate but prices have got too high.

I never bought any lots but Charles has. I filed for homestead the first year I came out to Edmonton, but caught pneumonia and could not go out to prove on it so abandoned it in order to get my rights back.

Gordon bought a lot in Fort George BC, will be going out there soon.

We had wagons moving all winter in the city, there wasn't more than six or eight inches of snow. They had a fair bit north and south.

Building hasn't started doing much yet that is the principal industry in the city.

They have their money in tight, but will have to loosen up some if they do the building. They did last year. Write soon and give me the news. I think the folks are died since I went out west.

Your loving brother,


Letter 150: News of the wedding

A cheap wedding. These handmade place cards are likely fashioned by sister Flora. A wedding contract, executed on the same day, proves that Marion brought nothing to the marriage but her clothing and wedding gifts. Hugh would give her all household furnishings purchased from that date - and insurance benefits "by the simple fact of celebration of said marriage" - that is unless the couple separated for any reason, then "such donations will be deemed void."

J.W. Mclean,
Winthrop Avenue,

October 23, 1913

Dear Sir,

I received the Richmond Guardian and was very much interested in reading the news about your daughter's wedding. Reverend McLeod is a son of Murdoch, but who is the J R McLeod from Scottstown? I do not know him. Not much of the old people left.

The only one from the Gore living here is J D McNaughton. I get most of the Gore news from him.

Kindly remind me to all my friends. I will write to Alex Watters. I saw his name in the Guardian.

J W McLean.

Letter 149: How generous she has been

The Mansions,

June 9,


Dear Mother,

Your welcome letter seemed a long time coming this week. Tuesday as you know was a holiday and coming at the first of the week seemed to make it longer than usual. I am amazed to think of you going to see a wedding.

I remember asking you many a time to go with me, but seeming there is to be one in the family, you are beginning to take notice. This morning Marion W and myself went to the Unitarian church to hear Grace Cross sing.

This afternoon Flora, May and myself went down to the Notre Dame Church to hear the organ. It is supposed to be the best in the city. Tonight we expect to hear Dr. Guthrie of St Andrew's Beaver Hall Hill.

Flora is very well.

I do wish Father would write Marion. Mr. Silver has offered her a first year class. You know how she worries. And Hugh of course is anxious to know what they are going to do as he has to look for a house. And Marion wants to get everything before she comes home so she will save a trip into here later.

On course, we will all be sorry to see her married in a way. But if it is to be, let her do it now. Flora and I are left to help. And perhaps we can in some part do as she has done.

I'm sure we should never forget how generous she has been to us all. And so ready to help.

I wish father would write her and give his full consent. Last night I saw there was a sale on a Morgan's. I was in at Wilder yesterday to look for rugs, but could not see anything. We will let you know as soon as possible. With heaps of love from your three dears,


Letter 148: I am almost ashamed to write


June 13, 1913

Dear Marion,

I am almost ashamed to write to you at this late date after promising to write you after you wrote back from being home for the 24. I have been waiting to see if they would send me to go back, but now I think they will not at this late date. And besides, I am dead broke and do not know just what answer to give you.

Should you want my advice in the step you are thinking of taking would like to have something to give you a decent wedding but I am at my wits end to know what to do and do not want to stand in your way. So I am just telling you just where I stand.

I have some of Herbert's paper in the bank that comes due first of July and he does not seem to bother himself about it so you see I am held for it and it must be fixed up in some way with the bank.

It makes me feel so sad to think of him being away now nearly three years and hasn't sent one cent to pay any of the debts he left, when he writes always leaves it to me to look after it.

And besides I haven't earned anything for six months.

I cannot see what Herb does with his wages, it would appear to me that he must spend it foolishly in some way. Hope he has not contracted any bad habits. Do you girls write him or do you hear from him at all?

Now I am going to leave the matter in our own hand as I cannot address you what is
best to do. I have told you just where things stand with me so it may be a guide for you in your decision.

Hope you are all well and will be glad to see you all home soon. Mr and Mrs. Matheson and Irene has been with us for the last two days left at 10 am today for Sherbrooke and then for Montreal and home to Vancouver. Likely you will see them when in Montreal.

I think mother is writing to some of you tonight and what I have forgotten she may think of.

With much love to you all

Your affectionate father N Nicholson

PS I wrote Hugh some time ago and got his reply. You likely have heard of it. Kindly keep this letter under lock or destroy it. N

The letter was not destroyed. It was written with beautiful penmanship, not typical of his other letters, that were scrawled.

Letter 147: I wish to consult you

May 29, 1913

Dear Sir,

I wish to consult you on a subject that deeply interests me while it indirectly concerns you and I hope that my presentation of the matter will meet with your approval.For sometime past your daughter Marion and I have been on intimate terms of friendship which has developed into affection on my part, and I have reason to believe my intentions are not indifferent to her, so I would therefore request your consent to our marriage.

Yours sincerely,

Hugh Christian Blair

Letter 146: Some people are foolish

May 14, 1913

The Mansions

466 Guy Street

My dear People,

This is just to inform you that your second daughter saw a diamond ring coming her way and now has it on the third finger of her left hand. It certainly is a beauty, looks like this, rather too nice for me but some people are very foolish. I suppose there is no need to tell you where I got it.

And as yet I have not resigned and don't quite know although I sometimes think I will but when I do I will let you know, so you can just tell me what you think about it. Did Edith tell you that Mr. Rowland was going to Richmond to take part in the opening of the new Masonic Lodge so you will probably see him.

I have been having a rather bad time with my teeth. They have been aching like the mischief but I am now getting them fixed. I think that is the most important news at present. So good by for now. Lovingly, Marion.

Letter 145: She is not militant

The Mansions
466 Guy Street
May 2, 1913

Dear Mother,

You have had Flora's letter by now so know that we arrived safely with our trunk and are now settled in our little flat. Marion W came up this morning - had a splendid trip and looking fine.

Henry (her brother Henry Watters) gave her a new suit and hat.

Ethel was in this afternoon so she can tell you all about our place of abode.

I only saw her for about two hours and then we were shopping. She is looking so well and had a pretty new grey suit and a becoming hat.

My throat is better, but I did suffer from it for a few days. Marion and Marion W went up to the Shaw's last night.

They were quite nice and took over the telephone so we have that off our hands.

Tell Mr. And Mrs. McMillan to call and see us. We are in most days after four.

Some of us anyway. Tell him I was sorry to miss those Methodist jokes. And if he hears any others to keep them stored for me.

What a house we left behind us. I suppose you are working all the time trying to get things staightened out. We are going to try and hear Mrs. Snowden, but she is not a militant for which I am sorry.


Saturday morning Marion and I went down to the St. Antoine market and I had my first real marketing experience. We got along nicely. Got strawberries, potatoes, roast of beef, grapefruit. Pineapples. Fruit is selling quite reasonable.

Mrs. Snowden was Mrs. Philip Snowden, suffragist and wife of a prominent UK politican. Reports reveal she was a stunning-looking woman and a superb speaker famous for her dazzling wit. Few speakers brought in from the UK admitted to being militant, for some people believed militant suffragettes were as good as criminals. One exception was a Miss Barbara Wylie, who came to Canada in 1912. Not a famous British suffragette, she had a brother who was a politician in the Canadian West. Edith likely heard Wylie speak as well, as she clipped out a newspaper report of her arrival at the Montreal where she had been invited to speak by the Montreal Council of Women. Apparently, reporters were surprised (and delighted) to see a handsome and well-dressed woman -and not some battle-axe- detrain. "Miss Wylie (it turns out) is a tall really beautiful looking woman with every appearance of refinement and intelligence above the ordinary."

Mrs. Snowden had given a speech in Montreal in 1909 and on this occasion in 1913 she was there as a guest of the Canadian Council of Women that was holding its annual general meeting in the city. Carrie Derrick, President of the Montreal Council of Women claimed at the same meeting that not all of the members of the Canadian Council had decided to support the the cause of woman suffrage. The very next year she would help found the Montreal Suffrage Association, which was not militant in its views.