Monday, March 28, 2011

Letter 101: The winters here are too cold

Howarden, Sask. May 26th 1912
Dear Father,

Your letter of the14th received as well as the one which I should have answered long ago but did not and I must admit I have no any excuse to offer for not doing so.

I have a lot of writing to do and when I get through I usually put off writing letters from day to day. I have to report on every man I can which always means from four to a dozen reports each day and these I usually make out in the evening.

Only received your last letter on Wednesday as I had not been to Brownlee for about two weeks. I have over 100 miles of territory to cover up here along the railway which takes in 16 towns and at each town I have to make drives back as far as 15 and 20 miles in both sides of the railway so you see I cannot always be just where I figure on being at the end of a week.

When you write me again address me to Elbow as I get to that point more often than any other.

My territory starts just northwest of Moosejaw and takes in a line running from Moosejaw to Outlook and is called the Outlook Branch of the CPR.

The country is new in one sense, but the land is all taken up within a great many miles of the railway.There is a lot of it not broken up yet but it is all held by some party either a company or an individual and is selling in the raw prairie state at from 20 to 30 dollars an acre. The more expensive being that closest to a town or railway siding. The Towns are in population from about 150 to 200 up to 400 and 500 with the exception of Outlook which they claim is about 2000.

The town which I always compare with a village like Kingsbury look larger from the railway as they are all surveyed out square and consist of a stretch built on both sides for a few hundred feet quite thickly and the other buildings scattered about in saw two blocks with a house on each corner. The owner thinking because he has a corner lot he may sell it sometimes and make his fortune. Every man expects his town no matter how small it is now to be a city or at least a large town some time. They all tell about new railroads that are headed their way and probably every town for 50 miles is building on the same line coming to their town. Of course, you cannot compare the amount of business done in these these towns with what a village in the east like Kingsbury as here there is as much business done in a month as Kingsbury will do in six or possibly the whole year.

I mean not considering a business like Crombies but the stores.

Glad to hear that you got your old work back and while it is not very nice for mother or yourself. Being away it will not be quite as lonesome for mother when Edith and Flora come home and Marion will not be away much longer.

I do not know how the Quebec school teacher's certificates work here but will try and find out. I would not advice you to come west and would not stay here myself if I had had a good position in the East. I am trying to keep my eyes open though and will let you know if I find or see anything that looks good.

It was good judgement to keep but of the Quebec elections when things looked like they did but it is too bad now. Why don't you write Tobin and have him get Peter McKenzie to try and get you something with the provincial government.

I see Gouin is going to build good roads in Quebec and a position as inspector would be pretty good. Suppose perhaps it would be as well to see Peter as he might not like you working it around through Tobin. That was certainly a wonderful victory in Quebec for the Liberals after what happened last fall. I believe it there was a general election today that Laurier would be elected.

They are having a big time here. Reciprocity is the main issue and the Scott government will be elected sure unless they buy the country.

The Quebec results is a bad slap to the conservatives they say that Gouin win on his record and reciprocity was not the issue and are quoting him as saying that he wanted to be elected or judged on his record rather than stand; he took in favor of Reciprocity.

And while Gouin did not say, they forget that they tried to beat him on the reciprocity issue and would not allow him to drop it. Out here they do not want reciprocity mentioned, but in the east they will not listen to anything else. I will send you the two opposition papers and you will see how bitter the fight is.
Now I think I have written about enough for this time however close for now hoping that this will find you well.

I had a letter from Mother and Edith and they are well. Marion and Flora are well. Now about that insurance, I would rather not transfer that to Marion . Now I do not want to do anything that would be displeasing to you but since you ask me I am going to tell you. This policy was misrepresented to me in the first place or it would never be in the shape it is now. George told me there was a clause with that carried it until the whole insurance was taken up by non payment of premiums. Now he says it is different. So he may have the whole thing.

I would rather Marion would insure herself and tell her not to take insurances in the Manufacturers or through Alexander. Now I do not want to give Geo the satisfaction of knowing that I am sore about it but just want to let you know. I am taking out insurance myself.

I don't know how to compare the machinery business to the banking, I would rather sell machinery in the east than work in a bank but the drives are a little too long in this country.

I do not think it will make any difference to the Eastern Townships, the fact of their amalgamating with the commerce as they are a good lot of bright young men and can hold their place with any of them. The only trouble will be that the Commerce have a lot of Scotsman who work for too small pay. I may go out to the coast this fall to see what it looks like. Think if you were coming west or making any change that would be the place to go.

The winters here are too cold.

Sorry I had to write this with a pencil but all the ink in the hotel is being used. I do not expect to work for these people much longer if things turn out as I expect. Think I can get a position collecting for a threshing machine company.

Your son


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