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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Back In Dorset For Next Christmas

Those were the words that my Grandfather's cousin, Jack Goff said around the time of his first Christmas in Canada in 1903. Out here on the homestead in the district of Assiniboia that would later become the province of Saskatchewan it was a pretty harsh change from a winter in the south part of England. Jack along with his cousins, Tom and Alf Goff had just arrived on the homestead in May of 1903. Homesteads were cheap, 160 acres of land for $10 but a man had to work for it. They had to build a place to live, good enough to survive a Canadian winter, break a few acres of land. Plus buy some horses or oxen to pull the breaking plough. The closest settlement was Fort Qu'appelle some 20 miles south which was a long journey in the days before roads.After spending their first few months in a tent they managed to construct a 10x12 foot log cabin in which to live which was a big improvement over the tent. Still, it must have been a real eye-opener when the snow came and the temperature dropped to the -20s for long periods. It was likely during a spell of that weather that Jack made the statement that he would be back in Dorset for next Christmas. He never did make it back to Dorset though. As they made progress on the farm he may have come to accept the extreme weather conditions as normal. Or it may have just been lack of funds to make a return trip to England that kept him here. He farmed the land for another 40 years before retiring to town. Here's a picture of the little homestead shack as it stood in 2003, a hundred years old.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Littlest Immigrant

The youngest of my ancestors to leave England for Canada was my mother's cousin, Ernest William Nevard, or as everyone knew him, "Bill". Born in 1902, he was only 4 years oldwhen he boarded the ship with his mother to sail to Canada and join his father, Ernest, who had come to Saskatchewan to homestead in 1903. Bill had very little formal education learning all the basics from his parents. He was a voracious reader and prolific writer writing many short stories and works of fiction on whatever scrap paper was available at the time. He also loved to draw and left many pages of his own unique type of art. Bill began helping out on the homestead as soon as he was able to and went on to farm the land himself until 1948. He loved his horses that he farmed with and they all had names. When farming became more mechanized and tractors were taking over from horses, this must have helped him decide to leave farming and seek other employment. Bill worked at the Fort Qu'appelle t.b. sanatorium for the next 20 years until he retired. He enjoyed his retirement, gardening re-building the old farm homestead house and spending part of the summers there. He died at age 73 doing a job that he enjoyed, cutting firewood on the farm on a sunny morning in November of 1975.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Century Apart

100 years apart, approximately. Thats about how much time is between these two photos.The home of my mother's uncle Arthur Nevard. I took the lower, colour photo today, November 27, 2008. The early black and white was taken in the early days of the 1900s, not long after the house had been built judging by the bare, unplastered poplar logs. Since there were no churches nearby, an Anglican service had been held in Arthur's homeon the day this photo was taken. It must have been a full house with all those people packed into the little log cabin. Today only a depression in the ground marks where the cellar was. The rusty kitchen stove beside the remnants of the brick chimney, the collapsed log walls laying nearby. 97 years ago today my grandparents were married in that little log house.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Memories of WWII

At Bognor Regis
Les Goff’s WW II Memories
July 6, 1944, 2nd Canadian Anti Tank Regiment of the 2nd infantry division left Tilbury Docks at London, England bound for France. We arrived on a beach near the town of Bayeux, Normandy where we were able to disembark without having to wade or drive through water which we were grateful for. However our trucks and towers were water proofed up to a point, possibly 3 or 4 feet of water. We arrived without incident
We had 17 pounder anti-tank guns which were towed by either Ford or Chevy towers carrying six to seven men. All kit, 40 rounds of 17 pounder ammo, five thousand rounds of 303, also each man carried a rifle. One bren machine gun per gun crew. A number of grenades , two mortars and various other pieces of equipment. So we were rather squeezed in. The ammo and packs were carried on the roof of the tower which was built for that purpose.
On going ashore there was plenty of evidence that there had been a lot of shelling. There were a lot of knocked out tanks and I regret to say that they were mostly Shermans which fell victim to the deadly German 88 mm. It was a very capable and versatile artillery gun which we would soon learn was better than anything we had and we better respect it. However the 17 pounder proved to be a good gun and came close to matching the 88's power.
We spent our first day and night somewhere in the vicinity between Bayeux and Caen, just out of range of the firing which we could hear. We were very concerned about where , when and what our next move would be. We did not have to wait long. Towards evening of the second day we were informed that we would be moving into position after dark taking over from the British 51 Division which was coming out for a rest. Our officer informed us it was pretty grim up there. That remark was very sobering. I realized later that he was not exaggerating. So, come darkness we started our move to the front. There are no lights, no cigarettes, just slowly moving with officer beside driver to show the route, a narrow dirt road. As much as I could see it was a fair amount of trees and hedges alongside the road. All went well for awhile when suddenly there was a burst of machine gun fire that sounded very close. We came to a very sudden stop. Our officer ordered everybody out. We piled out double quick, rifle in hand and hit the ditch. After laying there for 2 or 3 minutes all was quiet so Armstrong, our officer says quietly,"Unhook the gun, we have come too far, turn around and head back a ways.".........................

Thursday, October 23, 2008

102 years ago

Ernest Nevard at left, Arthur Nevard on the right.
Just occurred to me that it is 102 years ago this month that the old homestead shack was built on the Nevard homestead. So here is an excerpt from the family history, "The Narratives of The Nevards"......

As a school girl Mother (Mary Nevard) never dreamed she would ever come to Canada. One day in school, Mr. Motom, the teacher was taking a geography lesson and pointed out the province of Manitoba. He said “This is man-ah-to-bah, some day some of you may immigrate out there.” Mother's thought was, oh maybe the boys might but she never would. Her brothers never came out here but she did. Mother came out with another lady who had been out here before. I believe her name was Miss Prince. She came out to marry her fiancĂ©e, a Mr. Hammil.
As the train steamed on it's way towards Winnipeg Mother noticed the wild roses blooming in the prairie grass. She thought, Canada can't be such a bad country if roses grew there. A passenger got off the train at one stop and picked some roses for her.

Dad was waiting for them in Winnipeg. From there they went to Indian Head where Dad had work for the summer. He rented a house from Captain Corse. Uncle Arthur and Uncle Horrie were also working in Indian Head at that time. In October the weather was turning colder. Captain Corse who was living in a tent for the summer wanted to get back into his house before winter. Dad and Uncle Horrie went up to the homestead and built a two room house. Uncle Horrie said there was a snow storm while they were building.

During the summer of 1906 Uncle Horrie purchased a bicycle which he rode up to the homestead one day. Along the trail he had a flat tire and nothing to repair it with. He called at Fort Qu'appelle but there was nothing to repair tires with in the village. He had no better luck when arriving in Lipton. He had to stop quite often to pump the tire up. It was rather difficult riding on the Touchwood trail as the ruts were so deep one had to steer the bike straight and not swerve or one would catch the sides of the ruts with the pedals and over you would go.
I believe it was on a Friday when the five of them left Indian Head bound for the homestead. They started with a loaded hay rack mounted on wheels. When they arrived at Fort Qu'appelle there was snow on the ground and they switched over to sleighs under the hay rack. They stayed in the hotel at Fort Qu'appelle the first night. I think Dad ate a whole duck for his supper. Meals were cheap in those days. I think Dad said the meals were 25 cents.
Saturday morning they continued on their way along the Touchwood trail til they reached the stopping house of Neils Larson north of Lipton. Larson kept a stopping house for travelers along the Touchwood trail. They were no more than three miles from the homestead so they arrived in good time the next morning. Mother told me that just as they got onto the home quarter the horse tied behind the load broke loose. Uncle Arthur went off running after it and was successful in catching it before it went very far. When Mother came around the bush and caught sight of the house I don't think she was very impressed. Bill was safely hid in amongst the various household effects and could see nothing. Among many jobs which had to be attended to that day was the airing of the bedding.
Uncle Horrie chored for Tom Norris that winter, 1906, while Uncle Arthur chored for one of the Watsons.
One day that winter Bill thought snow looked tempting. It was so nice and white. He took a lick of it on the edge of a dipper and his tongue stuck to the metal. Results were that he had a very sore tongue for a few days. It was a long cold winter and they were only too glad to see spring come. Bill enjoyed running from bare spot to bare spot on the prairie. Mother never saw another woman all winter.
In 1907 Dad went out to work and Uncle Arthur stayed on the farm and did some breaking. This was the year Uncle Horrie worked for Dick Copithorne in the Wideawake District north of Indian Head. Uncle Horrie filed on his homestead in September 1907 taking the N.W. Quarter of section 24. This was the quarter which the Browns had filed on previously. That was the year that Bill had a bad scare. There was a prairie fire north of the house traveling from East to West. Uncle Arthur was fighting fire. Mother ran across to tell him something and left Bill on a rise of ground in a safe spot. When the blaze got into a bluff of dry wood the flames suddenly shot sky high. Bill thought they were all going to be burnt in the blaze.
When they first came to the homestead there were no tall trees, just low bush. Frequent prairie fire had destroyed the trees over quite an area. These low bushes reminded Mother of the English hedges. Mr. Bellrose lived about three quarters of a mile south and west and for a few years until the trees grew, they could see the Bellrose shack over the top of the bushes.
Mr. Bellrose had a lime kiln dug into the side of a hill. Dad, Uncle Arthur and other settlers bought lime from him to plaster their houses with. In 1907 the crops were frozen.
In 1908 Uncle Arthur was again looking after the homesteads. There was sadness in the community that year when our neighbor Mr. McNeil died. Uncle Arthur, Mother and Bill attended the funeral in Fort Qu'appelle. About the same time Mr. Phillips died. My people did not know the Phillips family until later.
Mr. Neils Larson was doing some breaking for Uncle Arthur. Mother had left some food for him. In those days jam came in wooden pails. Mother had just bought three pails of jam, each one different. Later on when my parents began using the jam they found that Mr. Larson had taken a sample from each pail and then nailed the lid back in place. This happened while they were away at Mr. McNeil's funeral.
In 1908 they harvested their first crop. It was threshed by the Dummy outfit, so called because several of the men were deaf mutes. Mr. Larson acted as interpreter. Uncle Arthur worked on the outfit as separator man or fireman on the engine. Tom Goff was on the outfit and the Nevards and Goffs met for the first time.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Renovation 1967

The original Nevard homestead shack built in the fall of 1903 served them well and was lived in continuously until about 1950. Constructed of vertical logs and covered with willow withes and plaster. The dreams of a new house are reflected in the cement foundation a short distance away, now obscured by trees. That was as far as they got with it when the depression years hit making it impossible to continue building.

This photo shows the renovation that went on in the year of 1967. Young "Billy" Nevard was only a year or two old when he came to live in this house in 1905. Here in this photo he works on the roof. In his sixties and retired from years of farming and later working at the sanatorium, this was his restoration project. Preserving a bit of family history.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sad ending to a young life

A letter from Susan Hall to her daughter, Mary Nevard in Canada.
Grove Farm
Nov. 13th, 1910
My Dear Mary
I thought you would like to hear from me again as soon as I could write. You asked me about things
that you couldn't understand. I will try to explain everything. I may have told the same before.
I received a letter from dear Annie the Thursday after the baby was born, it was born the Tuesday night.
In it, it said Annie was going on alright and I needn't worry but I still felt bad when I found the dear little
baby was dead. I wrote back directly and she received my letter that same night and she was very
pleased to receive it. Then I had a postcard on the Saturday morning to say she was going on nicely.
The next monday morning there was a letter to say that poor Annie was suddenly taken worse the
Saturday night. I said well I must go and see by the next train, so Alice and I both went. We couldn't
have both went and left Louie but Mrs. Nevard came here the Friday before.
We sent a telegram to Herbert to say what train we would be going by. He met us at Liverpool street
and told us poor Annie had passed away. We wanted to go and see her but he said he couldn't take us
it would be too much for us coming so sudden and he couldn't bear it. But he said he had sent a telegram
for Father to go up but we were got to the station before it came. He kept saying he wanted Father to
come so he sent a telegram to Father to say we were coming home, would he go. So Father went by the
five train. Alice and I were very much upset. We felt it terribly to think we couldn't see her. Alice took her
night dress and other things, I though she could stop with Annie a few days.
When Father went he cheered Herbert all he could. He said he had nothing to live for in this world. He
seemed as if he didn't know what he was doing. They all told Father he had done him a world of good.
Father said he done the right thing not having us go to see dear Annie. If I had known I would have left
anything to have gone and see her before she died.
Dick and Maude had been waiting to come when Annie and Herbert came for their holiday. I am sending
you a memorial card of dear Annie. They were not done when I wrote to you.
Herbert's sister, Susie, thats living in London used to go and see Annie very often. She was there the
Thursday before she died. She said she worried so about losing the baby. I wish they had wrote and told
me then. I should have gone but I didn't know it.
We shall send you some of dear Annie's clothes later on. We thought of sending her wedding coat and shirt
and white silk blouse as I should like to send something good. We were glad to hear you had got the threshing
over. I hope you will be able to make a good price. I will answer Ernie's nice letter another time
Hoping this will meet you all quite well.
With love to all I remain your everloving Mother.
Susan Hall

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Silver Birches

Silver Birches
No, those are just common Poplar or Trembling Aspen trees in the picture behind me. But they have the similar white bark that might fool some on first appearance. I wonder if these are the type of trees my grandfather, Horace Nevard saw back in 1906 when he first came to homestead this farm. It was not uncommon in those days to have a farm name for the homestead and the three Nevard brothers were no exception. Ernest named his "The Poplars". Brother Arthur named his "Winstanley Grove" no doubt inspired by his wife's maiden name of Winstanley. Horace chose "Silver Birches". In the many acres of native bush land on that farm I have yet to find a single Birch tree although I have not seen it all. My Uncle always claimed there were a few left but never got around to showing me where. The search continues.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Alice's trip to London

Letter from Alice to Horace on New Year Eve 1909
Grove Farm
Dec. 31st, 1909
My Dear Horrie
I was very pleased to receive your nice letter. Mother sent it on to me because it came while I was
staying with Annie and Herbert. I had such a nice time at Christmas. I hope you all had a happy Christmas. I should
like to have seen you. I went to London last Friday and there was such a lot of people went by that train but I managed
to keep a seat for Cecil at Colchester. When we got to Liverpool St. we did not see Annie and Herbert for twenty minutes
as they were on another platform so I was very glad that Cecil was with me or I should have felt quite lost. I stood and
waited with our luggage while Cecil went and had a good look all around the different platforms so he found them up.
We went by tram part of the way to Annie's home. Cecil came with us and had tea and then he went on to Victoria to
meet his young lady. I did not go about London very much as Herbert was on duty all night and Annie does not know
very much about yet to go with me alone without Herbert. We went to Victoria Park on Christmas day. It is lovely in the
summer. Annie and I went to Stepney Church on Sunday morning and we stayed indoors the rest of the day. Herbert's
sister came in the evening and stayed to supper.
On Monday we went and saw Herbert on parade with the other policemen but we did not stay out only about half an hour as
we liked to be at home best in the evening and then on the Tuesday Annie took me to see the tunnel which goes under the
Thames and it is two miles long and lit up by electric light. It looked very pretty but I think it would make anyone deaf to stay
there long for it is one continual noise all day long. Herbert went with Annie and I to see some moving pictures one evening
and they were very good. I had never seen anything like it before. I think it is wonderful how it is done.
It is a nice quiet street where Annie and Herbert live only the trains run quite near by the house all night long and I could feel
the bed shake when they went past. There is some rope works at the back of the house which commence work at 6 o'clock
a:m and they make rather a noise. I like Annie's little home very much. It is very nice and cozy and they have furnished it nicely
and they are very happy. Herbert told me I could stay a month if I liked but I thought I had better come home as there is a lot of
work for Mother to do here alone so I came home by the next and reached Saxmundham about six o'clock. Father was at the
station to meet me. Mother was rather worried about me as I wrote and told her I was coming by an earlier train so she was afraid
I was gone on to Yarmouth but I am got home safe and sound.
You said in your letter that I must tell you all about my visit to London and I expect you will think after reading all this that I have
done so. I would like you to have been with me, it would have been so nice. Cecil wrote to Louie and told her that he had enjoyed his
holiday very much. I have been to Saxmundham this afternoon and I feel rather tired today, but Louie says it was riding in the train
yesterday for such a long while which made me tired. Dick and Maude and the two little girls came here on Christmas day and went
home on Sunday evening. I expect you have finished threshing. This is New Years Eve but I don't think I shall sit up to watch the old
year out and the new year in. It is past ten o'clock now and they are all gone to bed except me so I think I shall soon go too as I don't
like to be here alone. Louie sends her love to you and best wishes for a happy new year.
And now dearest I think I will conclude hoping you are all well. With love to all and my best, truest love to you dear I remain,
Your everloving Alice XXXXXXXXXXXX

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Alice, letter from Grove Farm

Alice Hall wrote this letter to Horace Nevard in October of 1909 describing the wedding of her sister, Annie, to Herbert Button.

Grove Farm
Oct. 15th, 1909
My dearest Horrie
I hope this will find you quite well as it leaves me. It is nearly a month since I heard from you so I'm beginning to
long for one to come as it seem such a long time. I thought I would write to you so it should not be quite so long
before you got my letter. I should have written to you before but we have been so busy lately that there has not
been much time to spare and I expect you have been busy too Dear as Arthur said in his letter that you were gone
away threshing. So I expect that is the reason why I have not heard from you but I hope I shall hear soon (all the same).
It was four years ago yesterday since you came with Willie in the van. I expect you have finished the harvest long
before this time and I hope the crops are good this year.
We are feeling very dull as Annie and Herbert went to London this morning. I expect you will like to hear about the
wedding so I will try and tell you all I can remember.
They were married at Carlton Church at quarter to twelve. We were going to walk across the fields but it was a wet
morning so Father went and ordered two carriages as it would have been too muddy to walk after the rain. It was nice
and fine when we went to the Church and the sun shined a little while. There was eight of us went to Church.
Herbert and his brother, Philip, and Louie and I went in the first carriage. The Church was trimmed up for the harvest
festival so it was rather nice.Herbert's brother, Philip, was the best man and father gave Annie away and I was
bridesmaid. There was 14 of us to dinner and tea. My Aunt and Uncle from Leiston came and Dick and Maude and the
I wish you could have been there Dear, it would have been lovely. Herbert's father brought his gramaphone and melodian
so we had some music and we didn't go to bed much before the morning. On Tuesday morning Annie and Herbert
went to Leiston to Haylings to dinner and then to Theberton and came back here on Wednesday. Annie asked at the
Post Office about sending wedding cake to Canada so I expect that Mother will send some in a box when she write
to Mary.
Annie went to London for a week to get the house ready and furnish it and then she came home with Herbert on the
Sunday October 10th. I forget if I told you that Annie and I went to Rushmere one Sunday. We went by train in the
morning and came home at night. Emily came here for the week end a fortnight ago, just from Saturday to Monday
so it was a very short stay. Annie says I must go and see her at Christmas but I don't know whether I shall yet. We
miss her very much. When you come home Annie say we can both go and see them. And now my dearest I will
close my letter with my very best and truest love to you hoping all are well, with love to all I remain
Your everloving Alice

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Annie's Letter

My grandmother's older sister, Annie Hall would have been 24 years old when she wrote this letter in October of 1906.
Annie had gone out to work in the town of Ipswich for the Turners. Not too many miles from her parents farm at Saxmundham.
The Herbert referred to in the letter is her fiancee and they would eventually marry in 1909 but that is another story for another
9 St. Edmunds Road
Ipswich, Essex
Oct. 1st, 1906
My Dear Alice
As I have a little spare time I thought you might like to hear I have reached here in saftey. The young person in the train
conversed with me all the way so we had the carriage to ourselves all the way. She had been after a situation as cook
at Mrs. Frank Garret's. Her home was at Bury. She seemed rather lost at Ipswich station so I saw her right and then
went on my way rejoicing. It was half past one when I reached Ipswich as we stopped at every station with the exception
of Westerfield. You did not stop to see me out of sight. I hope you got home alright and did not feel lonely going back
because as Horrie says, " I will be back again one day".
Ethel had got a beef pudding to welcome me back. Then this afternoon she has been baking so I have been having tidbits.
The Turnerites have returned with rather ruffled tempers so we very thankfully saw them take their departure out to bridge.
I am by myself as usual as Ethel and Annie have gone out (to see if it is a nice evening I expect).
I found my letter awaiting me. Herbert's brother, Fred, is getting married at Christmas and I do not think there was any more
news in it that would interest you . When you think of coming to Ipswich again beware of the Aldeburgh train. I wish I could
have had a little longer stay with you. I hope Mother's lip is better, also her cold. I expect you will be going to the Harvest
Thanksgiving service at Saxmundham Church on Thursday. You must tell me all about it when you write.
I daresay you are gone to bed as it is just on ten so I shall have to post this in the morning. Now I do not think I have any
more to tell you this time, (only to be sure and not forget which corner the bicycles come around and that Annie has had
her photo taken, I hope she did not crack the glass). So will close with love to all and to yourself.
I remain your loving sister,

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Leaving Essex

No date on this letter but it would have been spring of 1906 when Horace was preparing to leave for Canada to join brothers Arthur and Ernest.
My dear Alice
I am just writing you a few lines hoping you are quite well as I am up to the present. It is getting rather close now for me to be off.
I should like to have seen you once again before I went but suppose I cannot, but cheer up, there will come a time some day.
I went last night to see my friend off. I expect you will not know who I mean but Louie does. H. Buck. It was not a very nice night
but he seemed cheerful.
I am just having a look now to see what I want to take with me and the others are sticking away and Cecil is writing labels and
marking my things. I went to town today and bought a few more things and had a good look round. I have just been to choir
practice for the last time. I expect you have gone to bed by this time. It is about 11 o'clock and I don't think I shall be about much
longer so goodnight and God bless you.
Friday afternoon
We have just finished dinner and Mary is washing up. Who do you get to help you wash up now have lost the butler? I daresay he
will come and help you again some day. Don't you think so?.
Of course you will not be able to answer this letter as you will not know my address, but I shall let you know it as soon as possible.
I daresay you will think it a curious letter and written rather funny but I thought it would be easier with a pencil. We had a letter from
Arthur yesterday and he said that Ernest was at Indian Head so it wiill be better for me won't it? I will write and let you know what
sort of a voyage I have. Louie said in her letter that you got home alright. You must not worry you know or you will get thin and
worry killed the cat. And every cloud has a silver lining.
Saturday afternoon
I have been packing my box and have just been to Pickfords office with it. We had rather a heavy load so Mr. Beaumont took it
I had a day yesterday of saying goodbye, a job that I did not care about but I have got it over at last and I am just going to have
my dinner and then off. So goodbye and cheer up. May I always remain your ever loving boy

Monday, January 21, 2008

This month in history

Just past a family history milestone here on Jan. 15. It marked the date of the funeral in 1942 for my Dad's Uncle Alf. He would have been 71 give or take a year or so. Just about 39 years earlier he had come to homestead in Sask. on this location with his brother and cousin.
Alf was born in Chetnole Dorset, U.K., the son of an agricultural labourer. In his early twenties he travelled by sailing ship to Queensland Australia. A voyage that took well over a month .Living conditions were not the greatest in Dorset at the time with little chance for improving your lot in life. Although why he went so far as Australia is not known. He did have a cousin living there at the time so this may have been a factor He worked on a sheep ranch near Graceville, Queensland for several years before returning to England. Then he and his brother Tom (my grandfather) sailed for Canada. Few details remain of this adventure but it is known that they worked on the railroad construction crews through the Canadian Rockies.
Continueing on their way south into the U.S. they worked on threshing crews eastward eventually arriving at New York harbour to return to England. This would have been in the early 1900s as by 1903, Alf, Tom, and cousin Jack all left Dorset again and sailed for Canada to homestead farms in what was at that time the Northwest Territories, later known as Saskatchewan.
The rest of his life Alf lived alone in his log cabin, never travelling any further than the 11 miles to the village of Lipton for his mail and other supplies. It must have been a quiet life especially in the winter. No tv, radio or telephone. Long cold nights with only the light of a coal oil lantern or the flames of poplar blocks burning in the wood stove. No sounds other than the howling of coyotes or the wind swaying the trees outside his log cabin.
This photo was taken of Alf in the early 1930s just in front of the door of his cabin.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

1907 letter to the Homesteader

This letter was written by Emily Nevard of Lexden, Essex, England, to her brother, Horace, who had emigrated to Canada a year earlier in 1906. It gives a bit of insight into the hardships of travel, homesteading, etc. The date , "guy day" I believe refers to Guy Fawkes day , early in November.

Lexden, Essex
1907 (Guy Day)
Dear Horrie
I am just writing to let you know Mother is sending you a parcel. Cecil posted it off today. It is the vest you were to have
taken with you when you went away. You know you put Cecil's on instead of your new one so Cecil had to wear it last
winter and one like the one you took away. Now mother has mended them both well and has sent them to you as she
thought even if you have the money you cannot get them so good out there. Mother has sent another old one as besides
she thought it would be handy for Mary to patch yours or Arthur's vests or pants, or Ern's if they wanted it instead of
darning so much. Unless she would like to make a vest out of it for young Ernie.
You will find a small pair of pants in the parcel. Mother made them for him. The parcel weighed about 3 1/2 pounds before
we put them in. Mother didn't like the idea of paying 6d for the half pound so she thought she would send all she could.
She made the pants in a hurry out of a pair that was too small for either you or Cecil. I hope you will get them alright.
Cecil wrote on the post office form (which we have to put on the parcel) "worn underwear", not subject to duty. The post office
official told him to write on it, "made in England" as he said if it is made in England and there is any duty to pay they deduct
some. You might let us know if you have to pay any duty. You don't ought as they have all been worn and mended.
Mother put one of your white collars in that is marked with your name. There is a skein of wool sewn into the sleeve of one
vest which you can take out and give to Mary. There is a piece of white cotton wool. Mother thought it would be handy if
your toes were sore at any time.
The things were sewn up in brown calico, new. We thought it would be stronger than paper and would come in useful for
Mary. So take care of everything and take them up to Mary when you go.
I do hope you will get the parcel alright as it is worth a good bit as the vest you left is a very good one.
Mother did think of sending them to Headlands but as you are stopping on she thought you might be glad of them.
Mother will be very anxious to know if you have got it. She is going to buy Cecil 2 new vests out of her club ticket.
We are very sorry to hear from Arthur that their corn was frozen. It is very discouraging to Arthur after so much labour.
I expect it will make it bad for you all. How will Arthur and Ernie get on this winter? Do you think they will have money
enough to carry them through or will you have to lend them some? You need not let them know I ask you this as I know
Ern is very much against being in debt to anyone. But if you cannot help being so you must.
I expect Ern gets very worried over it all sometimes. Do you think he wish he never went out? Of course the first few years
is rough to everyone, especially without money.
Will Arthur and Ern be able to sell their corn at some price? I expect they are going to have it thrashed as Mary said something
about the men coming in one of her letters. If I had a nice sum of money I would lend them some.
How will you travel when you get to Headlands, by road or rail? How did Ern go? I hope you won't have a rough journey like
you had last year.
We have had lovely weather for the last few days. We didn't light a fire in the room Saturday or today until just before tea.
Of course its chilly but when we are busy we don't notice it.
I haven't seen one Guy today and we are not haveing any fireworks on the shed at the back.
Friday morning
Dear Horrie
We haven't much work this week. We done the mangling last night. I have a fire in the ironing stove and shall soon make a start.
I often wonder what you all are doing and I expect you do the same of us. Cecil was busy putting panes of glass on the greenhouse
yesterday as there were several off. Mrs. Wilson of Colne Rd. is painting the house in front so we shall look smart.
Mr. Wilson left R. Beaumont's 2 years last March and has been working on his own ever since and have got on well. You see I
reckon he does it cheaper than Beaumont's firm. He do a bit of carpentering or put a tile on where it is wanted so he is the handyman.
Arthur Clayden is still at home. He has no situation at present. We had very nice services at the Church on Sunday as we kept all
Saints day then as it was last Friday. Father used to like "The saints of God , their conflict past".
Grandmother went to the 8 o'clock service on Friday morning and to evening service on Sunday. They are both fairly well, as well as
one could expect for their age. Grandfather still takes the pail and gather manure.
We are all well and hope you are well. I hope you will get nice weather. I shall have to leave off now as Cecil is going.
So goodbye with love from us all, from your loving sister ..
Emily E. Nevard.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Another letter from the "Homesteader"

Headlands P.O. Sask.
April 27, 1908
Dear Horace
We got your letter alright and I sent 2 letters off to you and I am sending 2 more off today that Earn brought
home last week, he forgot the address.
Earn has seeded about 9 and a half acres of wheat and I have 7 acres ready to seed and my stubble burnt
off ready to seed.
I shall disk it twice and seed it. We have picked a flour bag full of wheat and another one half full so we may get
enough for 1 acre each. I have hand picked 1/2 bushel of oats. The wheat is easy now as there are not many weed
seeds in it. The oats are easy too. Jerry's ride is a good big one. I have written off to the Free Press to say what they
say about it. We use the two oxen on the seeder. It is a bit heavy for them but they manage it. I used the two
horses on the disk but the shag is not heavy enough or she is getting too near foaling as she nerly played out.
I had a letter from Aunt Eliza and Aunt Annie. Uncle George was to be married on Easter Sunday. Willie Luceny
is out in Canada at Quebec working for the Dominion Bridge Co. Cecil Nevard is working in the bush in New Ontario.
I had a letter from Emily and Louie as well. Grandmother is getting a little better but she is not right yet.
Canon Lester is leaving Lexden. He is exchanging livings with a clergyman in Somersetshire. He is leaving 2 weeks
after Easter.
Billy started opening one of your letters before Mary noticed him so you can paste him for that when you come up.
Mary asked me to tell you one of the pullets has been setting for 3 weeks and I have no money to buy her eggs.
I took a load of wheat down and got $4.10 for 16 !/2 bushels. I don't want to take anymore as we have only the fanning
mill cleanings to take or the stuff we got out for seed and it is like throwing it away. I do wish you could send us some
money the end of the month or in May I mean, if you can get some as I am nearly ashamed to go and see Mrs. McNeil
after butter as I can not get any money off Chapman and we will be out of bacon and sugar in a few days.
We have enough bacon for a week and sugar for 2 weeks. I have $14 to come from Chapman yet and I am bound to get
even if he threshes for me in the fall as I will stop it out of the bill.
Earn has built the pig pen and has only to sod the sleeping place up to be ready for them to go into. I expect you are
having rough weather down there like us. We have quite a snowfall up here. The rain came alright to soften the breaking
up. We can knock up the lumps better.
I will let you know about the wife later on as I have to get a letter from her. But I shall try and persuade her to come
out next spring to spare me going home as it will cost a lot one way and another and will take off money that will be
wanted for other things.
Cecil sent me a note last week in the People and asked me to tell you the K.R. Rifles beat the town for P. Charity by
3 goals to 2. They are very dirty players Cecil says. Young Horace is going to stay with Mother and Emily for a time at
And now I am going to have my dinner so I will have to conclude as there is nothing going on up here. I forgot we are
getting some hay for the use of the feeder off Bonham. And now don't forget the money if you can get some. I would not
ask but the need is very great.
Goodby, love from all, I remain your loving brother, A. Nevard.
I tore one of the envelopes off to make it lighter as I did not want it to cost more than 2 cents as I have not many stamps

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Homesteader's Letter
This letter was written by A.W. Nevard to his brother Horace who was working for a farmer at Indian Head , Sask.
for the summer. A.W. was back at the homestead taking care of the farm. It gives some idea of the hardships and
obstacles faced by the early homesteaders that came to this country from England.

Headlands P.O.
Summer, 1908
Dear Horace
I thought I would write to you as Mary is writing to Earn. We have put 29 loads in a stack of hay at the back of the stable
and Mr. McNeil I expect has cut the hay on his own place so I am going to team on there on Monday and then he will
move over and cut about 10 more loads on our section.
There were 12 cows and 4 calves on my oats on Wednesday afternoon so I got Mr. McNeil to help me and we fetched
them over here and put them in the pasture field and while I was gone the blamed things broke out and went in the oats
and Mary sent them down the bottom and they went in the barley.
Between the cattle and gophers we won't get much barley and between the gophers and cattle and oxen I won't have many
oats on my place.
I went over to see the Jew and charged him $10 for my own time and Mr. McNeils and damages to the grain so he will work
for me with a team for 2 days.
If you have not written about that homestead you had better get a move on and write as it is over now about 9 days and you
want to come up and enterprise as soon as possible so you are not doing that when you might be out harvesting as I would
like you to be here from Sat. to Monday night so you could help me put that roof on the house as I have got the roof lumber.
You might fetch me a pair of work boots when you come , like the picture if you can get them or something like them.
Size 11. You can get them at Chisolms near the P.O. in Indian Head.
There is no one on that quarter so Brown has no right to it now and if you do not get it we shall have a blame Jew on it and have
about 20 head of cattle running in our crop I expect. So get a move on. I will pay you for the boots out of the first money I get......

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Winter birds

Starting out with a pic of one of the more colourful birds that show up at the feeder most days this winter. Its a male Pine Grosbeak. They love the black sunflower seeds. Strong competition for the chickadees who are a lot smaller.
January has been way above normal temps so far . Global warming maybe? Or just a temporary break from normal. Whatever, we won't be complaining I think.