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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.

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